Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

Loved & Lost Guy, Part 2 (closure)

This is the follow up to a story first posted in May.  Click here for part 1. And thank you to Mr. G for letting us know how it all turned out.  A note to first time visitors: On Sundays I turn the blog over to guest authors – always guys, hence “A Guy’s Story”.  You can see the whole collection by clicking on that heading.

I woke up that morning looking forward to a busy week of social engagements. I did what I usually do and went on about my routine to prepare for the evening’s events. M was set to do her own thing with friends and I was set to go out to dinner with a friend before I had to pick M up later that night.

M wasn’t too keen on my having dinner with this friend (an attractive young woman). M never liked the fact that I have A LOT of platonic female friends but this was always the case with me since I’ve been a teenager. And I REALLY mean platonic (I’ve never pursued friendship with any woman I’ve been attracted to). The friend I was going out with is like family to me (I’ve watched her grow up). Nonetheless M was always uncomfortable with the fact that I was going to be sharing a meal with any female friend (even ones she’s met several times before). I tried to respect M’s ambivalence and set up strict rules of engagement when dealing with these female friends (e.g. no romantic restaurants, no one-on-one time in private, etc.). But all the rules in the world, gestures to reassure her of my fidelity, and spending 90% of my free time with her couldn’t ease her suspicions. But I hadn’t seen my friend in over 6 months and she was getting ready to move away to graduate school.

After dinner, I picked M up and she looked ravishing. I kissed her and asked her about her Girls’ Night and she replied with short answers that had little emotion; this meant she was upset for reasons she was probably not going to tell me about until we were knee-deep in a conversation whose gist was that I was not into her. M is an open book when it comes to emotions and she doesn’t hide what she’s feeling. I really didn’t have much to say about dinner other than that the food sucked and my friend seems to have taken up whining as a hobby. Besides I was exhausted from the day’s errands and I really didn’t feel like talking.  She would usually respect my not wanting to talk and would leave it at that, waiting until another time to express her concerns.

As we pulled up to her apartment, she tearfully said that “we have to talk”. DING, DING, DING: emotional conversation alert. She stated that I wasn’t paying her any attention that night and that I wasn’t into her. I was annoyed because I was following her lead (i.e. short answers) and really wasn’t ignoring her. I wasn’t… I was sleep-deprived & tired. Talking was not on my ToDo list. As the “discussion” went on, my young friend sent me a text message about her boyfriend surprising her with a weekend getaway and M accused me of having something with this girl who might as well be my little sister. This did it for me and I ended the evening before I said anything hurtful that I would regret later.

I went for a drive that night to calm down. I felt that burning sensation in my stomach that i would always get after one of these MANY, MANY conversations with M where she came at me with emotions ablaze. What it boiled down to was that me being myself (aloof and withdrawn) and her being herself (in need of excessive contact and emotional validation) was causing these repeated conflicts that would leave both of us hurting for days. [“excessive connection” refers to things like LITERALLY spending 90% of my free time with her, spending 90 minutes on the phone with her every night, and ALWAYS having physical contact at ALL times when near each other… even when she was sick or it was 100 degrees outside.] I had had enough. I thought back to a comment Simone made about “wanting to love” M but never really feeling it deeply for M. I teared up and finally admitted to myself that she was right. Maybe I never really was that into her. Maybe by indulging her high need for connection at the beginning of the relationship, I set myself up for feeling smothered.

Do I patch things over and keep going hoping that one day I’ll change? Or do I finally let M go and let her find someone who will love her the way that she DESERVES to be loved? I thought about this over the next 24 hours. Sometime halfway through the next day M said she wanted to talk. I knew what I had to do.

The conversation started with my apologizing for anything I might have said that might’ve hurt her the previous evening. It ended with me saying that we weren’t going to work. M was devastated and withdrew from the conversation. The rest of her words were few but expressive. Hurt. Anger. Hatred. I can’t blame her. A rightful sense of guilt washed over me as I realized what I was losing. A friend. A confidant. An UNDYING supporter. But if the comments left by the women on Simone’s blog were any indication, I was doing the right thing by letting her hurt now rather than years down the road after she’s invested the better part of her younger years with a man who can’t muster up the affection and love she so deserves. I drove away with the heaviest heart I’ve ever had, knowing that I had just hurt the love of my life and my (now former) best friend.

M is a jewel that I couldn’t (or maybe wouldn’t allow myself to) hold the way it deserved to be held. The long history M and I have has demonstrated to me that I had very little hope of becoming the man she wants/needs. I was this “way” throughout the whole relationship and that’s what she loved. But “that” is not the man that I am when I’m in loving relationship (past experience tells me this). In other words, we just weren’t right for each other but we forced it.

The bottom line is that I tried to love someone that I couldn’t love. I can try to overanalyze the situation and lay part of the blame on her “falling for a man that wasn’t giving her what she wanted while praying he would change”, but I won’t. I left out many details about some of M’s past emotional outbursts that really were unwarranted & hurtful because attacking her person would do no good. She doesn’t deserve that. All I can say is that we were too different.

I never thought I would say, “it’s not you, it’s me” but I have no other words to personify this relationship. I just know that she’s hurt, I’m more screwed up than my over-inflated ego ever allowed me to admit, and that 2 good friends who should not have become lovers are leaving each other’s lives forever. My only comfort is that M is now free to love someone who wants to love her the way she wants to be loved. As for me, I’m looking for a good therapist… rereading this has made me see how convoluted my boundaries are and how much we both compromised on things that were important to each of us.

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14 to “Loved & Lost Guy, Part 2 (closure)”

  1. Pansophy says:

    Wow, a lot that could be said about this one. Really insightful. I will say that you aren’t the one that needs the therapist though. You’ve already gleened the key lesson from this relationship, which is you have to be able to be yourself and if being yourselves with each other hurts the other then it can’t work. M is the one who is going to play the ‘i don’t believe he really loves me’ relationship over an over.

  2. Quirkyeconomist says:

    Thank you for this post – I’ve been M, and G sounds a LOT like my ex, so it’s really interesting for me to think about what might have been going in my ex’s head. I think my ex struggled with very similar issues, though it took me a long time to see that. G, given my own experience, I can tell you that you did the right thing. If M gets some help to deal with her own insecurities, I think she’ll eventually see that and be grateful you ended it. I agree with Pansophy that M sounds like she will just keep repeating the same relationship over and over unless she gets help; I don’t agree that you don’t need therapy too (disclaimer: I think therapy is great because I WAS like M and would never have truly changed without outside help). Whatever it was that led you to stay in the relationship for so long, that made it so difficult for you to recognize that it was unhealthy for BOTH of you, that’s likely to affect future relationships unless you figure it out. Thanks for sharing your story and good luck!

  3. darkheath says:

    More proof of how different I am than most men. Sounds like “M” is what I’ve been looking for all my life.

  4. Hammer86 says:

    I’m glad that a couple of commenters are acknowledging, albeit indirectly, that M is clearly codependent and as a result can never be in a healthy relationship until she deals with her own issues.

  5. bbbex says:

    M was probably let down in the past (another guy, a family member, etc) and can’t let that go. She has a lot to work through in order to be worth anything to anyone else. She is in need of constant validation and that need will only grow into a larger monster the longer she ignores it.

  6. darkheath says:

    To clarify my previous post, as it seems everyone thinks that M has a lot of problems. I’ve only managed to find people who were emotionally unavailable (or even unstable, but that’s another story), so finding someone who wants to be together, do things together, hold hands and wants to be committed to each other would be very refreshing.

    Actually though, I don’t think that M is as bad off as some of the commentors seem to think, it just sounds as if G was emotionally unavailable. He’s already tipped his hat to his arrogance. He’s mentioned that he’s already had his go at multiple women. My guess is, whether he realizes it or not, that is what he’s afraid of giving up. Seems a simple case of “fear of committment” to me.

    Kudos to G, though, for finally ending it. Too many guys would just let it continue due to the comfort of having someone to turn to whenever they need it.

  7. Anonymous says:

    This post made me tear up as it is very reminiscent of my last relationship that ended earlier this year. The hardest part was losing my best friend, I think I’m most sad about that. I think you loved M, just as my ex loved me, but it wasn’t a working relationship. If you didn’t love her, then it would have been easier to end it without much afterthought.

  8. Simone Grant says:

    Everyone views other people’s stories through the prisms of their own experiences and biases. I just had to say that.

    I don’t see anyone “at fault” here. Here are two people who didn’t belong together. G withheld affection – probably because, deep down, he knew he wasn’t feeling it. And so M reacted poorly/behaved in a needy fashion. This same things plays out over and over in millions of couples. Not to make light of how hard this must have been for both of you. I’m just pointing out how common a pattern this is. When one person cares significantly more for the other/than the other, this is the kind of stuff that happens.

    I’m glad you ended it when you did. You’ll both be so much happier in the long run.

  9. bbbex says:

    I really hate to admit this, but when I was in my 20s, I *was* M. I’m now in my 30s and I’ve just now started to see how I sabotaged relationships, and why. He shouldn’t take responsibility for not loving her enough or the right way. No guy will ever be enough. She has to be enough for herself. Who knows? Maybe she had reason not to trust him, but my gut instinct and experience tells me otherwise.

  10. Simone Grant says:

    I think everyone has to be enough for themselves – ALWAYS. It’s kind of one of my central themes here. That no no can ever “complete” anyone else. And I also think that the habit of blaming the end of relationships on one party or another is really counterproductive for all involved. Relationships fail. Not everyone is meant to be together. My point was that for outsiders to point fingers at anyone (she was needy and insecure OR .he was withholding) isn’t really helpful.

  11. Veka says:

    My ex would always say, “You can never love anyone more than you love yourself.” And he was right. If you don’t have enough respect for yourself, how do you expect to have that respect for someone else? You can’t put more or less into a relationship that you expect to get. At least IMO.

  12. Singletude: A Positive Blog for Singles says:

    I’m going to stick up for M here because we’ve only heard one side of the story. Maybe what seemed clingy and insecure to G wouldn’t seem clingy and insecure to someone else.

    This story touched me because I’ve also been in M’s shoes. Not the clingy part–that’s never been much of an issue for me–but the seemingly perfect relationship with something missing. In my experience, there’s nothing more deeply wounding than hearing that someone loves you but “not that way” or that he loves you but something even he can’t explain is “missing.” You never stop wondering what it was that you couldn’t give him, what it was about you that wasn’t enough. You may not have been insecure before the break-up, but you’ll definitely be afterward.

    I hope that G will go to counseling like he said, not because there’s something “wrong” with him but because it sounds like he could stand to clarify what love means to him so that he can recognize it more clearly (or the lack thereof) next time around. Maybe he’ll discover that what was really going on was a fear of commitment, or maybe he’ll find out that he stayed too long in a relationship with someone who really was codependent because he was afraid of being alone. Who knows? What’s clear is that he loves Michelle, sees her as an ideal long-term partner, and is devastated by the loss (he even says he has lost the “love of his life”), yet he feels that he somehow doesn’t love her in the right way. I think it could be helpful to explore what the “right way” is.

  13. Singletude says:

    Errrr, that last sentence should say “M,” not “Michelle.” I have no idea where “Michelle” came from!

  14. VeganD says:

    EXCELLENT – thanks Simone