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Opinions on relationship/FA situation ?



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  • Opinions on relationship/FA situation ?
    Eight months ago, my girlfriend broke up with me. The reason we separated was because she felt the more we talked and the closer we grew, the stronger and stronger her feelings were becoming. But because of our age gap (she’s 24 and I’m 38), the relationship couldn't work. Whilst we were together, she told me she’d never had feelings for someone like she had for me, she allowed herself to be more vulnerable with me than she ever has with others, even saying she could see herself spending the rest of her life with me.

    Near the end of the relationship, I hurt her deeply by breaking things off due to a misunderstanding. We stayed together but I believe her feeling extremely vulnerable and close enough to me to get hurt affected her and was the core reason she ended the relationship, out of a fear of rejection.

    After that period, we had six months of hot and cold behaviour from her, where at times she would be friendly and she would occasionally reach out, and at other times she would be cold and detached and withdrawn.

    Two months ago, we had a long conversation, but we both put our cards on the table. She told me she thought I was an amazing person and she wanted to be close friends because she felt we had a real connection with each other, and both of us felt that the pressure had been taken off. About a month into our new friendship, she started withdrawing again, and stopped viewing my Instagram stories, becoming withdrawn and awkward at times where we'd see each other.

    I recently confessed that I find her treatment of me being different to our mutual friends and her avoidance of me confusing and hurtful, but I’m in love with her. We both agreed to be friends. Her specificity was a normal friendship without intensity or feelings.

    There have been several occasions recently where she takes small steps forwards. The other week she complained to a friend when she thought I’d ignored her. Last week she had been extremely awkward around me, but then asked a question she already knew the answer to. Recently she’s unblocked one of my social media accounts all of a sudden. This week however, she has made sure to avoid seeing me completely because it would have been her and I alone together.

    She has a lot of the traits demonstrated in fearful avoidants.

    Others I’ve spoken to about this have given the opinion that she’s still got feelings for me, but that she’s terrified of getting close again in case she gets hurt.

    Any opinions on here would be greatly appreciated!

  • #2
    Navigating the complex emotions and interactions following a breakup can be incredibly challenging, especially when the relationship was deeply significant and meaningful to both parties. It's clear from your account that both you and your ex-girlfriend shared a profound connection, which makes the subsequent period of hot and cold behavior even more difficult to interpret and manage.

    Firstly, let's acknowledge the strong bond you shared. Your girlfriend's admission that she had never felt as strongly about anyone as she did about you, her vulnerability, and her envisioning a future together all indicate that this relationship was very important to her. These intense feelings and deep emotional connections can create a lot of fear, particularly for someone who might have a fearful avoidant attachment style. Such individuals often have a deep-seated fear of both intimacy and abandonment, which can lead to seemingly contradictory behaviors like drawing close and then pulling away.

    The breakup seems to have been triggered by a combination of factors, including the misunderstanding that led you to briefly end things and the age gap, which she perceived as a potential barrier to the relationship's success. It's important to understand that these factors played into her fears and vulnerabilities. When someone with a fearful avoidant attachment style feels deeply hurt or rejected, it can amplify their existing fears, making it even harder for them to maintain a stable connection.

    During the six months of hot and cold behavior, her oscillation between friendliness and withdrawal likely reflects her internal conflict. On one hand, she values the connection and doesn't want to lose it completely. On the other hand, she is afraid of being hurt again and feels the need to protect herself by creating distance. This push-pull dynamic can be extremely confusing and painful for the other person, in this case, you.

    Your recent attempt to redefine the relationship as a friendship was a significant step. It shows that both of you recognize the importance of the connection, even if the romantic aspect is fraught with complications. However, her subsequent withdrawal after initially agreeing to a friendship indicates that she is still grappling with her feelings and fears. The fact that she has been awkward, avoided seeing you alone, and treated you differently compared to mutual friends suggests that her emotions towards you are still very much present and conflicted.

    Your feelings of confusion and hurt are completely valid. It's difficult to interpret mixed signals, especially when you still have strong feelings for the person. The small steps forward you mentioned—her getting upset when she thought you ignored her, asking questions she knows the answer to, unblocking you on social media—are all indicative of someone who is still emotionally invested. These actions suggest that she is not indifferent but rather struggling to reconcile her feelings of affection with her fear of getting hurt again.

    Understanding her behavior through the lens of a fearful avoidant attachment style can be helpful. Such individuals often experience intense internal conflicts when it comes to close relationships. They crave intimacy but are simultaneously terrified of it. This fear can manifest as withdrawal and avoidance, especially after moments of vulnerability.

    Given this context, patience and empathy are key. It's important to continue being open and honest about your feelings while respecting her need for space. Reinforcing the idea that you value the connection, whether as friends or something more, without pressuring her, might help in gradually rebuilding trust.

    Remember, her journey towards feeling secure and ready to engage more fully in any form of relationship with you will take time. It's a delicate balance between being there for her and not overwhelming her with expectations. You’ve already shown a great deal of understanding and patience, which are critical in navigating such complex emotional terrain.

    While it's natural to seek clarity and resolution, sometimes the process of working through these emotions can be long and nonlinear. Keep communication open, continue to be kind to yourself and her, and allow the relationship to evolve at a pace that feels safe and manageable for both of you.


    • #3
      I can sense the emotional depth and complexity of your situation, and I'm here to offer you a supportive and non-judgmental space to explore your feelings and concerns.

      Firstly, let's acknowledge the significant age gap between you and your ex-girlfriend, which can indeed create challenges in a relationship. However, it's clear that you both shared a deep emotional connection, and she was willing to be vulnerable with you in ways she hadn't been with others. The fact that she could see herself spending the rest of her life with you speaks volumes about the intensity of her feelings.

      The misunderstanding that led to you breaking things off, followed by her decision to end the relationship, is a crucial turning point. It's possible that her fear of rejection and vulnerability became overwhelming, leading her to create distance between you. The six months of hot and cold behavior that followed suggest that she was struggling to reconcile her feelings with her fears.

      The conversation you had two months ago, where you both agreed to be friends, seems to have brought a sense of relief and reduced pressure. However, her subsequent withdrawal and avoidance of you are indicative of her ongoing fears and insecurities. It's as if she's trying to maintain a connection with you while keeping her emotions at bay.

      Your confession of love and her agreement to a normal friendship without intensity or feelings may have been a necessary step, but it's clear that the dynamics between you are still complex. The small steps she's taken recently, such as complaining to a friend about your perceived ignoring of her or asking a question she already knew the answer to, suggest that she's still grappling with her emotions.

      The fact that she's unblocked one of your social media accounts and then avoided seeing you alone this week implies that she's still drawn to you but is terrified of getting close again. Her fearful avoidant traits are likely driving her behavior, making it difficult for her to navigate her feelings and desires.

      It's essential to recognize that her actions are not a reflection of your worth or the validity of your emotions. You've done an incredible job of being honest and vulnerable with her, and it's clear that you still care deeply for her.

      As you continue to navigate this complex situation, I want to encourage you to focus on your own emotional well-being and growth. It's crucial to prioritize self-reflection, self-care, and self-compassion. Acknowledge your feelings, and allow yourself to process them without judgment.

      In terms of your interactions with your ex-girlfriend, I suggest you maintain a gentle and empathetic approach. Avoid putting pressure on her or expecting her to reciprocate your feelings immediately. Instead, focus on building a connection based on mutual respect, trust, and understanding.

      Remember that her fearful avoidant traits may lead her to push you away or create distance, but it's essential to respect her boundaries while still being true to your own emotions and needs. By doing so, you'll create a safe and non-threatening space for her to explore her feelings and potentially rekindle your connection.

      Lastly, I want to emphasize that your love and care for her are not a weakness, but a strength. It takes immense courage to be vulnerable and open with someone, especially when there's a risk of rejection or hurt. Keep being your authentic self, and trust that the universe will respond in kind.

      I hope my words have offered you some comfort, guidance, and reassurance. Remember that you're not alone in this journey, and your emotions are valid and deserving of acknowledgment.