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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Dating Tips > Breaking Up for Good

Dating Tips Advice Column:
How Do I Break Up For Good?

 

Dear Dating Tips,
I'm a 20 year old female, finishing up my last year at college. I've been dating the guy I'm with since freshman year. We dated for the entire year, really experiencing the whole "getting to know" each other phase rather quickly, as we ended up effectively living together. It was fun and intimate and he definitely became endeared to me, but by the end of the year, I knew he was not right for me. I hadn't the slightest intention of entering school and jumping into a long-term relationship. I sort of had this vision of college as a place to spread my wings and explore' creatively and personally. But instead, that year, I found it hard to click with people and he wasn't the type to want to do anything outside of sitting around. He didn't expect the relationship either. But he grew far more accustomed to it very quickly, and enjoyed just having me to sit around all day with.

Once we went on summer break, each to our respective states hundreds of miles away, I realized in being by myself again how much I enjoyed it. I began analyzing my unhappiness socially with my college and realized it was him who was, in effect, holding me back. Not that I blame him; I chose to be with him. So I thought about it long and hard and talked it over with my best friend. It was a tough decision to make then. In choosing room assignments, we chose to live next door to one another. Not a good decision; I knew it even then. We weren't the only ones in on the decision; his roommate wanted to be close to my roommate. But still... I ultimately decided it'd be best to breakup with him anyway, despite him being right next door. The only way I could do it was by phone, which I realize was not a good idea either. But I did it and he was very upset. But it had to be done.

Coming into the next year, I was extremely wary of what was to happen. We were each other's only friends and lived next door to one another. Plus, his grandfather, who was his father figure, had just died. So as much as I promised myself to keep away, he was in such a bad state I felt compelled to console him. I did and almost immediately we began sleeping together again. And that just as quickly turned to being in a serious relationship again.

Now I know all the mistakes I'd made. I shouldn't have gotten back with him. I knew it wasn't going to work fundamentally. But that year was extremely hard for me too, concerning not making any meaningful connections with the people at my school and finding trouble trying to get into the creative community there as well. So, at the time, I was vulnerable and it felt good to have someone, who wanted me there. I sort of let myself be in an unrealistic haze and ignored the problems.

That about speeds us about to just before this summer, as we were choosing apartments. I did what I shouldn' t have done. I got a four bedroom apartment with him for the following year along with his roommate and my roommate (just about the only people I know at my school). Though we were in a great stage at the time we got the apartment, I knew it was a bad idea to decide to move in with him for an entire year. But honestly, at the time, if I had said I didn't think it was a good idea I would have had nowhere to live, no one to live with, and already have made things weird between us in a strange way.

Now this summer comes. I visit him in his home state and the problems are exacerbated to the max. I see how much this can't work and how he isn't the kind of guy I want to be with. Honestly, I don't think he's even aware of how much I realized this. It's almost as if I don't even bother bringing up issues to him because I know he won't be able to change them and he won't respond well to talking about it.

So it's a month before I move in, and my thoughts are constantly on reasons why we should break up and how he is not at all what I want in a guy. But I have no IDEA how to go about this! I have never gotten myself into such a horrible mess. I'm usually the one giving advice, not asking. But it's a sort of situation I feel like I need help with.

At the same time as I know we can't go on dating. I do know I need him there for support, as a friend. And we're going to be in the same apartment! I'm almost afraid that even if I do breakup with him, we'll end up naturally going to each other for intimacy and we'll be right back where we were. Honestly, my ideal situation (for both of us) would be if I were able to cut him out my life completely somehow, make a new friend and he make one, too. Part of me very irrationally wonders if I should "hold out" for the year, and break up with him before I go to program in LA, where I'm graduating. A friend told me to maybe talk about how I'm going to LA in the first place and how this isn't going to work in the long-run, but maybe we can enjoy each other for the time we have together this year. Does that sound totally whacked?

I really just don't know what to do. But I know something needs to be done. Thanks in advance.
~ In Quite a Bind


Dear In Quite a Bind,

Let's see... the only question you asked was, "Does that sound totally whacked?" So, I suppose I could sum up my entire response by simply saying... "yes." :-)

In all seriousness, though... It's always hard when a person feels "trapped" in a relationship and can't see any way out. It's especially hard when so much time and emotional support has been invested into that relationship (i.e. you being there when his grandfather died). Ultimately it seems that the three things you are struggling with most are:

1) The Breakup.

2) Living with him.

3) Fear getting back together with him again.

Let's take these one at a time:

The Breakup
You owe it to him and to yourself to be 100% honest. You also owe it to him to do the breakup in person (the only time you shouldn't is if the other person has violent or controlling tendencies). Let him know what you let me know. In a breakup many people are afraid to be honest. Yet honesty is the only thing that can help the other person truly understand so that they can get some closure. Lying ("it's me") does nothing to help the person you're breaking up with. You also have to keep in mind that one of the things a person in a relationship hates to hear when being dumped is, "I want to remain friends". And that brings us to...

Living with Him
This is a definite problem because the two of you have a very attached history together. In some ways you have become "co-dependent" on each other, it seems. You have to make a tough decision on this, but keep in mind that it will be much easier apart from him than with him. I have a friend that years ago was in the same situation. The only way he could fully detach himself from the other person was to move out of state. He did and both moved on with their lives. It was the toughest decision of his life, but he knew that if he remained within the same vicinity as his ex-girlfriend, neither would ever be able to move on because of that "co-dependency". You may seriously want to consider a new living situation for this year. In order to break a "dependency", you have to remove yourself from the influence. (Read that last sentence again... it's vitally important). And that brings us to...

Fear of Getting Back Together With Him
This is one of your biggest fears, it seems, because it has happened before. You wanted out of the situation, got out, then went right back into it. As stated a few sentences ago, "In order to break a "dependency", you have to remove yourself from that influence". In your situation that may be very hard to do. However, in life we must sometimes make some very hard choices and/or lifestyle changes in order to improve ourselves and move on.

Perhaps the best advice you can hear is the a key phrase you stated in your question. And that is:

"My ideal situation (for both of us) would be if I were able to cut him out my life completely..."

That's very hard to do, but if you know deep inside that it is, indeed, the ideal situation then you need to take the steps to make it happen. That means breaking up, being honest, changing your living situation, and involving yourself with new interests and activities. You know in your heart what you need to do - you just need to summon the internal courage to do it.
~ The Dating Tipster



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