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Is he incapable of being in a meaningful relationship or did he stop having feelings for me?
Sex & Intimacy / 4:39 PM - Monday August 03, 2009

Is he incapable of being in a meaningful relationship or did he stop having feelings for me?

I was in a relationship for ten months and got broken up with about 3 weeks ago. I've had some time to process, but I guess I just don't understand what happened.

Some background on him and our relationship:
He's extremely independent, ambitious, and career driven. He's dated a lot of girls, but the only other serious relationship he's had besides me was with a girl he was with on and off for two years. He broke up with her three times because they fought all the time and he was unhappy for a majority of the relationship. He's told me I make him a better person and he strives to be more ambitious because of my support. He introduced me to all his close friends and they all really liked me, including his best friend, who he's known since middle school and who was deployed to Iraq around the same time he broke up with me. His close friend told me that he's affectionate and open with me in a way that she's never seen him like with any other girl. She said he'd talk about me all the time, which is uncharacteristic of him. We were always supportive of each other and are in similar careers. I just graduated college and he's heading to graduate school next fall.

When things started getting difficult:
The last two months of our relationship were hard because he got promoted and had a larger workload. He's never really enjoyed his job that much because it stresses him out. When he gets stressed out, everything else gets put on the backburner. He was also taking a class while going to work for those two months, so that made seeing each other more difficult. The times we did see each other consisted of him doing work all night and waking up early to do more, while I eventually ended up falling asleep. We didn't get a lot of quality time together, whereas before all of this started, we'd spend three or four nights a week together. He liked having me around while he did work, but also felt bad that he was so busy. I'd usually read or do a crossword or some of my own work while he got whatever he needed to get done. However, the last month was a struggle because it felt like we weren't connecting anymore. The phone calls became less frequent and sometimes I wouldn't hear from him for three days.

The breakup:
I called him and said I wanted to talk. We'd had conversations before about our relationship and he'd always encouraged me to be open and honest, claiming he wanted to work on whatever problems we had because he loved me. After I told him how I'd been feeling recently, he said he felt like something was missing, but he didn't know what it was. He didn't think we were at a place after nine months of being together that we should be, and that the time we've spent together recently hasn't been as rewarding as he'd like it to be. He claimed he still loves me, both like family and romantically. We lay together in bed for a long time before I got up and gave him back his keys. He said he was sorry it turned out this way, then told me he thinks I'm an amazing person.

I ran into him a few days later at a bar. He came over to my table and we hugged and he breathed me in and stroked my back and asked if I wanted to talk. The entire conversation was just him rambling and giving me noncommittal responses. He said the reason he didn't sit down with me a month ago and tell me how he felt is because he didn't know how to say, "I'm not feeling it." He wanted it to work because he cares about me and wanted to be with me. I said that if he isn't feeling it, then he doesn't have feelings for me, which he basically agreed to. I told him I wish he had been brutally honest with me about how he felt when he broke up with me, rather than lying and saying he loved me romantically when he obviously doesn't. He said something about it not being a switch that turns off.

He seemed really distant and detached. He told me none of his relationships have lasted and that I shouldn't blame myself. He didn't understand why I wasn't cursing him out and yelling at him. We've never been the type of couple to fight; we've always had mature discussions. I told him I felt that maybe we got in a rut because of the lack of quality time we had together, and therefore it was natural that we would start to feel disconnected from each other. He said I had a valid point, but thinks it's a separate issue from the fact that there's something missing. He told me that it's too weird right now to talk or see each other, but he doesn't want me to fall out of his life because he cares so much about me.

The aftermath:
The other night, I hung out with his best friend's wife. She's always liked me and wanted to see me before she moves back to California. She told me she thinks he has no idea what's involved in a relationship and that she was frustrated with him on my behalf because the things he would take issue with were very petty. She said he would call her husband sometimes and seemed to be annoyed and not get it when I wanted to talk about our relationship because I felt that he wasn't spending enough time with me. His friend and his friend's wife both told him he was being ridiculous and that he had no right to be annoyed because my complaints were legitimate. They told him that if he can't handle that kind of thing or doesn't realize that this is what's expected in a relationship, then he shouldn't be in one because he clearly doesn't get it. The wife said she thought part of the reason his feelings faded is because he doesn't know what he wants in a relationship. She said she and his other friend were shocked that he broke up with me, especially since a week before that, we'd all gone away together and had a great time. She said he's miserable right now because he hates his job and it's really draining. She also told me that he'd asked her if he should try and be friends with me because he doesn't want me out of his life.

Recently, my friend hung out with another one of his friends. The friend said that knowing him, he's surprised our relationship lasted as long as it did.

Is this a matter of his just falling out of love with me, or is he really just incapable of being in a meaningful relationship? If it's the latter, I don't understand how someone can be that way.

- Asked by lostinmargins, A Thinker, Female, 26-28

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