Our sexpert offers a reader some post-break-up advice.
Dear Hot Stuff,
My girlfriend of just over a year has just ended our relationship and I am completely and utterly confused/heartbroken/offended/angered by her reasons for calling it a day. She said (and she has reiterated this to my mum, her sister, my best friend and all of Facebook) that I deserve better than her, that I deserve someone who shows their feelings as clearly as I do myself. Her big 'excuse' was that I deserve someone who can give me more time than she can at this present moment.
She is currently at college studying to become a mechanic, working part-time taking any shift she can get. She is also heavily involved in her beloved martial arts, training and teaching. She felt I was unhappy that she barely had any time for me, but the truth is yes I would get disappointed if our plans changed or if she didn't want to do anything because she was sick of me paying all the time, but I loved her passion and her ambition and tried to involve myself as much as I could. I would always try to support her in everything but I had my own life too. We seemed to have a good balance.
She has a lot of issues she refuses to deal with to do with childhood and past relationships, and it's like she feels she doesn't deserve any love, but she does! I'm 24 and she's 33, but our age gap is not a problem - to me at least! (I'm more mature than her most of the time!) However, I think she is worried about the difference all of a sudden…
Her reasons for ending us sound like the typical "It's not you, it's me" cliché, but she's not the type of person who would sugarcoat something. I just don't know what to do. I don't know whether she has let me go as a test of my maturity or whether her insecurities are making her see if I will stick around and fight, or whether she genuinely doesn't want me anymore. (What is weird is that the day before she broke it off she was talking about us getting our own place to escape us both living at her mum's!) She also wants me to still go to see Beyoncé at the o2 in May with her sister!
I really don't know what to do. I think our relationship was worth more than just being thrown away but no one these days really has the 'stay and fix it attitude'. I obviously want to give her some space but I want her to know I still love her and will be waiting for her if she wants me to.
Freddie from Lincoln
Dear Lost in Lincoln,
Thank you for your mail dearest Lost. I feel you, I really do. But you know, complicated as that all might seem, everything you've told me sounds to me like a perfectly normal and healthy break-up. There has been no big reason, no cheating, no lying, just an accumulation of little things. That's how relationships naturally end.
Now I know that it's easier said than done, but her reasons for ending it just simply aren't important. They may seem to be right now, but they aren't and endlessly analysing your time together, your behaviour and what you could have done better, are the wrong things to be focusing your energy on. You can never know! You could ask, and you might get answers, but you'll never really be able to know. Just like you can't really know what's happening in the mind of the other person at any given time in a relationship.
The RIGHT things to be asking yourself right now, concern you and your needs and wants. Things like: if this really was a test, do I want to be with someone who would put me through this? Was I really happy in this relationship? What are my real reasons for being upset? Do I genuinely miss what we had or is my pride just hurt? Even if I could get her back, would I want to?
It seems to me like you have dedicated a fuck load of time and energy to this person and put up with a lot. I'm not sure many people would. Now is the moment to be selfish and think about what it is that YOU WANT.
But you absolutely can't know right now what that is. Knowing how one really feels takes time. I'm betting that in a month you will come to realise that you had a good but complicated relationship and that it might even be for the best that it is over. You could of course realise that you really do love her and desperately want her back. If that's the case, all you can do is leave the door open and see if she comes through. But if that's the case, will the trust that you had in that person ever be the same? No, it can never be.
I'm a very black and white kind of gal. After my very first break-up with my very first girlfriend of 2 years, I remember buying a self-help book with a title that has stuck with me since then and at the end of every relationship I repeat it to myself: "It's called a break-up because it's broken." Think about it.