Category Archives: Breakup Advice

Advice about breaking up, being alone, finding out how to reunite with your ex.

Does A Relationship Need A Timetable?

Hi advice guy!
You’ve answered me a couple times in the past and I’ve been very appreciative. I’m hoping maybe you have some advice for my current situation.

So, I’ve been dating a guy for six months now. When I met him, he had been divorced for almost a year and separated from his wife for a year and a half. His ex-wife pretty much pulled the rug out from underneath him one day and said she wanted out of the marriage. He found out about a month later that she was having an affair with a 55 year old professor at the college they both attended. Now that I’ve met his family and known him for 6 months, I am very confident that while things were probably not perfect between them, the divorce was mostly about her father issues. I don’t think my guy was much of a factor, though he probably missed some red flags about her since he married her when he was fairly young.

Now, he and I have a very good relationship. He still does a lot of pursuing, thought I reciprocate a lot more now. We spend a ton of time together, we have great chemistry on all levels, lots of fun together, etc, etc. All in all, it’s a very good fit and I’ve felt for a while now that I have probably met the person I will marry.

He seems to know that’s where we are headed, and it clearly terrifies him. He says it’s not so much the getting married part, but everything that has to happen after that overwhelms him — buying a house, having kids, etc. Though, he has been very clear that he wants a family some day. He told me he would never understand what he’s feeling right now unless he had been through the divorce and that he knows it’s probably hard for me to understand why he feels that way. He said he doesn’t want to date anyone else, he loves me and thinks I’m wonderful, but he just wants to take things one day at a time right now. Basically, things are great with us right now. We enjoy being with eachother a lot. He’s just uncertain about how soon he wants to do the marriage thing, while at the same time putting a lot of pressure on himself because he says he’s not the kind of guy who’s going to date me for two years without either moving things forward or ending it as soon as he knows he’s not ready to get married for a while.

So, in a nut shell, here is my fear: In six months or so, he’s still not ready to get married again and we break up because of it. The thing is, I have no timeframe and I’m putting no pressure on him. He’s doing all of that to himself. I just love being with him, and if we get married some day, I want it to be because he wants to be with me for the rest of his life, not because we’ve been dating for a while and it’s the “right thing to do”.

He treats me so well. He’s planned several very nice things for my birthday in December. We’re going on a trip together in January. I’ve met his whole family and he says they like me a lot. He calls me pretty much every day to talk, at least for a little while, he spends a ton of time with me. He does small sweet things for me too. He’s very thoughtful and caring.

In a way, I feel like there’s nothing I can do except what he said — take things one day at a time and things will become clear to him eventually. It just feels like such a huge risk. Things are great right now, but I’m very scared about the future with him.

Do you have any advice for me in this situation? Is there anything I should be doing or not doing? Do you think it will just take time for him to work through the remnants of his first marriage and that he’ll come around eventually? He is such a genuine person with a pure heart. Part of me is sure he will work through this and things will be fine. But part of me is worried.

Thank you in advance for your advice!
Susie

Hi Susie,
You have everything to be worried about. From what you’ve told me, on one level he’s this great guy, full of fun and affection, while on another level he’s this scared little kid about dealing with the future.

If he was a friend of mine in this situation I’d tell him that shit happens and to get his head out of his ass and love the woman he’s with and plan a future together. (Excuse my boldness.)

History does not have to repeat itself but if this is what he’s afraid of then he needs counselling to deal with these issues because they will not go away on their own, nor will they diminish over time.

Taking life one day at a time is a huge red flag that he may bolt when things do come to the point where he can’t deal with them. And, unfortunately, the clock is ticking.
Best wishes,
Rob

Do I Keep My Boyfriend or the Guy I Met Online?

Dear Rob,
I’m in a state of confusion whether to ‘breakup’ or end communicating with this guy. I’m 27 and he’s 26.

I met him online and we’ve been chatting for almost 6 months now.

He’s halfway round the world, obviously. We just talk things out if we’re not busy. We like each other but I guess he likes me more because he doesn’t seem to care if I have a boyfriend already ( I have a steady boyfriend for 6 years in a relationship).

I’m totally impressed with his style because for 6 months straight he remained respectful… not a typical guy you’ve met online who would go overboard, you know those stuffs. No pressure at all from him.

He used to tell me that we’re not talking ‘relationships’ but liking each other.  He said, he really doesn’t know why he likes me so much and remained communicating with me even though I shut out our communication for two months straight.

And I don’t even know what type of relationship we are in right now.

What it’s called Rob?

Of course I should not expect more out of this because I’m cheating with my boyfriend.

That’s the point.  So…

Why does this guy keeps me at bay?

He doesn’t want to end our communication. He said he’ll be around til we grow old. lol…  He said I have every right on him.. every right.  But he doesn’t want to open up his 3 year relationship with his ex. Could it be he still loves her? I’m just a cover up?

And he also told me that if I want to meet him I just have to say so. But as I see it,  no strings attached, since he’s got plans to have a girlfriend in his place.

It’s just that he doesn’t found someone special. He used to say that why we’re so far from each other.

He’s culture bound and he’s not christian.

What do you think Rob?

Hi,

I think you are cheating on the guy you’re with and looking for a reason to escape this relationship.

I’m not going to give it to you. But I think you’ll make that one up for yourself.

6 years in a relationship and still dating? Living together without a firm commitment on marriage?

Do you see why you have doubts?

You need to decide for yourself which is going to be the better relationship, the one you have now or your fantasy guy that you met online. 6 months of chatting doesn’t amount to a hill of beans.

You are in a fantasy relationship with this online guy, that’s what it’s called.

When you meet someone online my rule is: “You never know someone until you can smell them”.

There are big differences between his culture and yours. Watch out. There is a lot more to this story and what you’re not telling me are the reasons why you don’t think this ‘relationship” would work. Follow your gut instinct about this, and end it.

And if you do go to visit him, yes, there are strings attached. You are becoming emotionally attached to this shadow guy, this figment of an online boyfriend. End it now.

I really think you need some single time or counselling to decide why you have allowed yourself to put yourself in this situation.

What are you looking for outside of your current relationship?

Best wishes,

Rob

Playing The Ignore Game

Dear Rob,
I’m sorry for emailing you, but I asked you for advice before and I thought I would try again.

Well I’m not sure if you remember…but my case was the one where this boy who is 23 and I’m 22–well to cut a long story short… he was the guy who would always ignore me… since I ignored him…

Well to continue on from what happened from the last time I emailed you… Well I tried to go up to him and to show him that I liked him and I think he was a bit bitter or something since he just acted like I did not exist even if I went right up to him. Well I tried for about a month and on my last day he brushed past me and acted like I never existed… I got tired and thought I’m tired of this. We had two months break from university. And I decided to move on… stupidly I found out his name and what he likes and found out we did out first degree at the same university…sometimes I wish I never knew this either…

Anyhow, these past two months I tried my best to forget about him and I had a hard time from other problems I was having. Anyway, everyone kept telling me…oh…he ain’t interested… since guys don’t ignore girls. And that made me more determined to “move on” (wring use of words–since nothing happened to move on from) but anyhow, when I went back to university I saw him at the bottom of the stairs. I acted like I never saw him… which was easy to do… and he was talking to this girl and laughing… and when she was going pass me… he came and walked towards me. He opened his mouth I think to say something. I was just so angry for some reason and had so much on my mind from exams etc., that I just pretended like I never noticed and walked off.

Well for weeks he disappeared–usually I would always see him in the library and nothing. He just seemed to have disappeared.
I saw him accidentally one evening coming out of his department. I for some reason couldn’t help but stare and he stared as well and walked off. Well 3 weeks passed again nothing. BUT NOW we are coming towards the end as in this is my last week and his.

And for a week I saw him about quite a few times and he acted so normal. I would be chatting and laughing with my guy friends and he would come with his mobile sit where I could see him and he would act like I never existed. Again.

Well anyway… I think he knows what time I finish class and this Wednesday I never went class but waited outside the department and he came down with his friends from lunch the usual time I would leave class…purely coincidence. And he saw me and I saw him he stopped few times and acted like he never saw me…and I did same… I waited about 30 min and went in the library where he had gone previously. I walked past him and sat quite a bit away from him and he got up after I sat down and he got up to leave. He had his back towards me at this stage and he was walking towards the door. He stopped before he actually left desk and turned back and we both looked at each other

Now, all my friends say he has “moved on” and is not interested and its time I did the same.
But I can’t feel that he is probably going through the same phases he went in before and now that we are coming to an end of the year and this is it, I think maybe he still has some sort of interest.

Am I reading to much into this? Has he moved on? What do you think?
Thanks
M

Hi M,
It seems to me that, so far, no one has made any forward moves. You’re both still playing this “I see you, now I don’t” game.

You have a choice:
The next time you see him, walk up to him and say “Isn’t about time you asked me out?”
OR
Do as your friends say and move on.

This has gone on long enough, don’t you think?

One of the hardest things for men and women to do is be able to “initiate contact” when they’ve never been taught how to approach others that are not in their circle of friends. After all, how do you reach out to someone that is cute, good looking and probably (as you think) better than you and just going to reject you anyways?

It’s tough, confusing and very hard to prepare yourself to make that first step beyond the distant flirting that goes on when you’re so afraid of being rejected. When your self-confidence is so low.

The reality is that life is full of rejection and disappointment. Another reality is that people play games.

They exert their power of attraction just because they can. Because you showed interest. And as all of this is happening your interest in them rises, you like them more and more since they did show you some initial interest, enough to make you want to want them, then they back off, playing this ignore game.

Get ready to make the move. Prepare yourself for rejection and invite him for a coffee the next time you see him. You may just be pleasantly surprised that he does go with you. And at the very least you will have a definite answer about dating him or “moving on” and getting back to normal.
Best wishes,
Rob.

Husband’s Controlling Behavior: A Success Story

Dear Rob,
I just want to confirm that I am in a controlling relationship.

I have been married to my husband for 14 years. Dated him for 6 years before getting married, so we’ve been together for 20 years. We met in high school and he had always been a jealous guy. He was jealous of some of my male friends, not all of them. He would choose which ones he didn’t think I should be friends with anymore since I was with him now, especially my ex-boyfriend. He would expect me to ignore or be mean to my ex-boyfriend if we saw him in public somewhere to prove my loyalty to him. If I would go out with friends, he would ask me all kinds of questions like did I meet or dance with any guys.

I accepted all this because I thought we were young and he was just immature and would change as he grew up. So, we got married, had kids and everything was fine because I was home all the time with kids and working. Didn’t have time for anything else.

As the kids got older, I started having more freedom to be able to go out with friends again. It seemed like his jealousy from high school started again. He would call my cell phone at least 20 times while I was out. Or, call my girlfriend’s husband’s to really find out if I was out with the girls.

He did this all in subtle ways. Let me explain: when he called my cell phone several times, he would make excuses for calling, so it wouldn’t seem he was checking on me. Like he would say he couldn’t find something or tell me a friend called and he was giving me a message or wanted to know if I was safe and he was worried. When he called my friend’s husbands he would talk about other things with them and then gradually bring up something like “so, the girls are at so and so tonight, huh”? This way he would find out if I was really with them. He only called my friend’s husbands when I was out. Otherwise, he wasn’t friends with any of them. He would call me this much even when I was at the grocery store. I felt like I was being stalked. I felt creepy like I was being watched and he said he was just being a worried husband and I should be glad that he cares. If I came home late from work, he would call my whole family to find out where I was and make my family seem like I was irresponsible for not checking in with him. I only went to buy milk on the way home. He even had my 4 year daughter catching on to his behavior. She would wait by the door for me to come home from work and check the digital clock if it was after 5:00 and start crying if I was home past 5. He is very subtle in his ways. What I mean by this is he’s not loud or demanding toward me. It’s the things he would say, like “I’m a caring husband”, or maybe you’re clinically depressed and should see a doctor”, or “this is just the way I am, I worry too much”.

There’s a lot more but this is just some of the examples. We have money issues too which I think is part of his controlling nature. When I told him we need counselling, he would tell me to go alone and that I am the one with the problem because I can’t accept him the way he is. He thought my unhappiness was brought on by something medically wrong with me and even made my mother believe it. They both wanted me to go to a doctor to find out why I was feeling the way I am. She thought I was depressed. When I tell him I want to separate, rather than trying to make things work, he would threaten me and say he would keep the kids and that I shouldn’t try to find someone else because no one will accept me with all my kids.

Well, that was 4 years ago. We are divorced now and I am remarried. I never felt so much relief in my life after leaving him. Even though he never hit me or called me names, it’s the jealousy that made me feel creepy towards him. However, I am still feeling so guilty about the fact that my marriage failed and I let my kids down and my oldest (the one that would wait by the door when she was 4) thinks I left because I cheated on him. His whole family believes that even though I met my new husband after all this. I need to find a way to get over my guilt for getting a divorce. He makes me feel sorry for him for leaving. Is my guilt the result of staying in a controlling relationship for too long? I started to believe what I’ve been told all these years?

Thanks in advance for any encouragement you can give,
Ruth

Hi Ruth,
Yes, he was controlling you. His subtle ways became more obvious over time to you.
His jealousy and insecurity that you were too good for him led him to a level of jealousy that has it’s only output as control of the person you are with.
Control of where you are, who you are with, who you are allowed to speak with and even be friends with. Control of money, spending and even gift buying.

I am happy that you had the courage to endure and face the reality of your situation and end the abuse you suffered from your teen years until now. You have no reason to feel guilty about the divorce or how he tricked your family into believing the worse of you. That was all part of his control. His abuse. His uncontrolled jealousy.
You didn’t let anyone down, you did the best you could under the most difficult of situations.

I hope that your letter will bring encouragement to many other women out there in similar situations of abuse.
Thanks for writing me!
Best wishes,
Rob.

Divorcing The Sociopathic Husband And Moving On

Dear Rob,
I was married to what I thought was the “perfect” man for nearly 7 years. He was 8 years my junior. He is now 39 and I am 47. When we met, we were both married. I was in a very unhappy marriage that lacked any intimacy whatsoever for nearly 5 years. He said he was miserable with his wife and that she was hard to get along with and was just simply an angry person.

We got divorces and married each other. I paid for his divorce and mine. He treated me like a queen and declared that he “loved me from the bottom of his heart”. He quickly ran errands for me and seemed to actually spoil me. He gave regular massages. He told me everyday just how beautiful he thought I was. He was the most sensitive man I had ever met–he seemed quite sensitive in that he cried easily upon hearing sad songs or watching sad movies.

I put 100% into the marriage. I was determined to make it work. I was careful not to snap at him and if I did, I apologized immediately. We had one serious argument during the nearly 7 years of our marriage.

I might add that we came from two totally different backgrounds. I had been on the same job nearly 20 years at the time and had a decent income, had just purchased a new home, and had a new vehicle. I was living the American Dream–I guess. He was driving a vehicle that didn’t run half the time, wearing tattered clothing, and working a dead end job with no benefits. I felt he was a good person but had lacked having the same opportunities that I had been blessed with. I took him in, cleaned him up by buying him new clothes and a dependable vehicle. Credit card nightmare!

Also, just before our first anniversary, he became seriously ill. I rushed him to hospital and he had to have emergency surgery for infectionious pericardis. He was in a coma for 13 days. I didn’t sleep for over 40 hours and prayed that God would save him. That was a very spiritual experience for me as God did spare him and after that my husband kept telling me that I saved his life. I would remind him that it was God that had saved him a not me.

Also, before we had been married a year, I learned quite by accident that he had said some pretty perverted things to a young girl who worked at a fast food restaurant near our home. She even referred to him as “an old pervert”.

Then, a few years later he made some inappropriate comments to a young lesbian co-worker of mine who I supervised at the time. Not cool! He told her just how sexy he thought she was and told her not to tell his wife that he’d said that. This caused a terrible scene and nearly caused the organization I work for a sexual harassment suit. I permanently removed him from the property immediately. When I asked him for an explanation for his actions, he first said “maybe I’m going through a mid-life crisis”. When I responded with “so you were coming on to her” question, he quickly said that he was only trying to compliment her.

Then, he called up his brother’s wife and said some inappropriate things to her. He finally admitted that they had once had sex before she was his brother’s wife and before he married me!

Then, I found the phone numbers of two women hidden in his truck. I won’t go into detail but it was really weird how I ran across those. I certainly wasn’t prowling around in his truck! When I confronted him, he started crying and begging me not to divorce him (by the way, this was his reaction to the other two incidents, too), and saying that he only got them just to “see if he could”. He promised me that he’d never even called them and that he would never do anything again and that it would always just be me and him. Silly me! I believed that and continued to trust him although I was informed by people who had known him longer than me that he had cheated on every woman he’d ever been with and that he was a player!

Then, this past December he told me that he was unhappy and wanted to leave. He said he wanted to be out on his own and that he’d never even paid his own rent before and that he didn’t want to be married anymore.
The sensitive man that I thought I knew so well transformed into a monster before my very eyes! I didn’t raise my voice at him–not once–but I did ask him to please tell me what had happened as he had continued to declare his love for me just days before.

He’d turn to me with a very dark expression on his face and look at me with eyes of steel and say things like, “I don’t see what the big f*ing deal is here, we can still be friends, I’ll call you, I’ll even come by your house and maybe we can hook up sometime!”.

I was devastated and reminded him that I was his wife and asked him why on earth he was talking to me like this. He didn’t have any answers. Then, he would tell me that he wanted to try to make it work, then he would scream at me that he had to leave, then he would approach me and tell me how beautiful I was and how much he loved me, then he’d want sex.

I gave him sex in any way he wanted it–I was trying to save my marriage! Then, I found out that it indeed was another woman that he had known for a little over 3 weeks! I tried to reason with him–thought he might be suffering from a mid-life crisis. Then, when he spat at me that if things didn’t work at with her, he’d be back, I threw a rock through the windshield of the truck that I had just bought for him a month or so before. He wasn’t in the truck–I wasn’t trying to hurt anyone–just finally stressed my displeasure with the situation. He left for good that same day.

Since he left, I’ve learned through people coming to me–not once have I sought info–that the man cheated on me with at least a dozen women! It was like he was out there coming on to anyone he could. He also came onto women who were really close friends of mine as well as the wives and girlfriends of his friends. Very risky! The gal he left me for had been married to her husband for over 12 years and had a very comfortable life and a good job.

Before they were together 3 months and before her divorce was final, my ex convinced her to sign mortgage papers with him for a mobile home to put on “his” property which is actually in his mother’s name. The girlfriend told me that she has nearly used up all her savings on this venture. She bought a second late model jeep that he is now driving. I wouldn’t let him take the truck that I had bought him but gave him another one that I had bought that ran better than the one he came into our marriage with. He has bragged to everyone about her income and how she takes him shopping at expensive clothing stores and tells him to get whatever he wants. The girl is really a sweet girl but seems quite naive. She and I exchange emails and I’ve tried to warn her but she thinks she is the “special one” just like he told me that I was the special one.

He even told me before he left me that I should be proud because I was his “record” in that he had stayed with me longer than anyone. I fear he is using this girl in the same manner. I honestly feel badly for her–I’m old enough to be her mother!

The other thing that I might mention is that he would not seek steady employment. He didn’t work half the time we were together and this kept me under a great deal of stress. He was a total pot head and had to have his pot no matter what.

He also had a child support obligation that I paid when he wasn’t working because I didn’t want him to have to deal with court or maybe even jail if he fell behind. She now tells me that he’s only smoking pot on the weekends. When he was cheating on me, he did it all pretty much on his work time, turning in work hours that he wasn’t even there! He worked on his own and his boss wasn’t around very much at all so he had the freedom and trust to do pretty much what he wanted.

The new girl and he work over 100 miles apart from each other so I figured that she doesn’t REALLY know what he is doing. She just hears his great declaration of love for her all the time and all the affection he is capable of pouring out to her. She said he told her in the beginning of the relationship that he had to have sex at least once a day and she agreed because she considers herself a very sexual person as well. I obliged him his sexual desires as well even though I hit menopause a few years ago. That was hard but I kept it up no matter what but he seemed so very inconsiderate during that time.

Also, I’m a very attractive lady for my age and have taken good care of myself. I easily pass for 35 and am fortunate to still have my shape. As far as attractiveness, this 29 year old has nothing on me. I’m not being conceited, it’s just fact. However, I was catching on to his using me and had started to say NO to a few things–especially concerning money.

I’m sorry this is so long but it’s a bit complex. I just don’t understand how a man could seem so sensitive and caring and then so cold and malicious. How could this man have a conscience and how can the girlfriend trust that he won’t do the same thing to her?
Thanks,
Anon

Hi Anon,
What a horrendous story. I am so glad that you managed to escape!

As for whether this man is a sociopath, he certainly has the tendencies to not have any remorse for what he does, ignore the needs of others for his own selfish interests. His apparent “sensitivity and caring” was merely a pretending game for him to set you up, put you at ease, and effect his control over you, the victim.

He also displays a “con man” attitude that he uses to trick women into believing what they want to believe. He uses this tactic as well to his own ends.

Any women that come into contact with him, any woman at all, are merely playthings to be used and thrown away, no matter their investment and involvement with him.

He’s certainly beyond counselling, it seems to me, as well as he’s on the certain road to prison.

Eventually his “needs” will outweigh his reserved actions and he’ll cross into obvious criminal activity, I’d think of a sexual assault type crime.

He’s done this to you, used his “power” over you to get you to do things you’d otherwise never do.

I hope that your divorce is completely final and you can move on from this experience and loss of your enjoyment of the last several years. It seems to me that he married you under false pretences and you should have had the advice of an annulment, if you had revealed all to your attorney. (Just my opinion.)

Again, I am glad that you survived, I hope this other woman manages to see the light before it’s too late.
Best wishes for a brighter future!
Rob.