After 12 Years He Ran Off

Visitor's Question from a 31-40 year old Female
My ex and I lived together for 12 years. He broke up with me about 6 months ago. We were best friends and great lovers. I was in my last 4 months of school and working full-time.

I am very close with his entire family. This is our first break-up. He is now living with another girl. The only reason he could give me for leaving was that he felt like we were only friends, and in the same breath he tells me I am the only person in his life that he can count on. He just turned 33.

We had recently planned on getting married and starting a family right after I graduated. He has been unemployed for about 2 years, but this was an agreement between the both of us. I supported us while he went through a police academy which was about 1 1/2 yrs. He has been having difficulty finding a job.

I am so sad that he threw our relationship away and now has rebounded without even attempting to work on whatever reasons made him leave. We really had a pretty perfect relationship. We both had trust, honestly, love, friendship, fun. We had everything most people want. I am still very close with his family and they are all devastated as well.

He is just not the same wonderful person he used to be. In the meantime, I am miserable, sad, and lonely. I want him back, but he has moved on. I am not sure if this is some sort of mid-life crisis or what. I am not sure what I am suppose to do besides go on unhappy. Any suggestions? Advice
Wow, I am so, so sorry for you. That has got to be one of the worst things a guy could do to a girl after all that time. Let me try to make a guess here about what was going on.

First, when people are together for a long while they get to be best friends, with a calm, mellow love. Which is GOOD for long term relationships. The passion-lust that fires up is great for meeting in bars, but you can't survive years on that. You need to be best friends to survive the years and ups and downs of a real relationship. So you guys were in a GREAT stage as far as that goes.

But there's the classic "7 year itch" situation that happens. As much as you respect and admire that best friendship, TV is blasting images at you of passionate couples making love 8 times a night, of busty blondes and suave guys. So then when someone at work starts flirting with you, you get that new-lust hormone rush and you think to yourself, wow, this is great! And suddenly you want that rush. It's an evolutionary thing, evolution wants you to pair up with someone and have sex (i.e. have kids). So it makes you crave that hormone rush.

In any case, most people have self control and either avoid situations where they are tempted to cheat, or they exercise self control when they find themselves IN those situations. But your ex instead decided to go with the new girl because he wanted to feel that rush of new lust again, and value that rather than treasure the best friendship you two had built up. Which is pretty silly - because after 6 months with this new girl, that hormone rush will wear off and what he will DREAM of is that they will attain after years that same best friendship. If he isn't that lucky, what he'll get is a relationship of two people who are NOT best friends who pick at each other and then break up.

So why would he do that? I think you hit it right with the mid-life crisis. Here you put him through training. So he feels guilty that you had to support him. Then he still couldn't find a job even though you'd done all of that. So he felt doubly guilty and worthless. On top of it all you were waiting on him to begin a family. So not only did he have obligations to you, he also was about to have obligations to a child or two. And on the other hand, he has a lust-chick that he owes nothing too. All he has to do is have fun with her and she coos over him and there is no guilt or stress or history or anything. He gets a fresh start.

And all he has to do to get this is betray the woman he has pledged his life to for the past 12 years.

The fact that he didn't even try counselling or talking about it reinforces that. He didn't WANT to work things out. He wanted to run away and please himself. He didn't care that you had sacrificed for your future. He wanted to get out and have fun and not deal with his responsibilities. Who knows, if he's lucky this new woman will also take care of him for a few years until he finds a job, or until he finds yet another woman.

I really recommend going to a therapist to talk about this. You have every right to be furious and upset and to feel betrayed. A relationship is about working together for a common goal. You did your part fully and completely. And when it was time for him to do his part he split.

If it's any consolation, if he is going to be like this, it's best you find out about this NOW. What if you guys did actually marry and had 2 kids and then he ran off with his dispatcher? Now you would have to raise kids on your own and explain why Daddy has a new girlfriend. At least with him doing it before you married, you can find someone else who is more deserving of your loyalty. Yes it'll be hard to trust again. And you'll feel like you just wasted 12 years of your life. But you're still quite young, you're still in the perfect years to marry and begin a family. So if anything, at least you got free of him now while you are still able to start a family. If he'd strung you along until you were 40 and THEN pulled this, think of how much worse it could have been.

-- from Jenn
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