I’ve just broken up with my spouse of 2 1/2 yrs essentially because i kept coming up against a brick wall over a number of issues which in my book share one common factor: him not being honest about his feelings. the first issue was his difficult 21-yr old daughter and his refusal to acknowledge her behaviour, choosing instead to lay the blame wherever he could: his parents, his ex, and finally ME! it led to other conflicts and his apparent total lack of awareness of who i am. he also claimed i was the love of his life (we dated 30 yrs ago) and i believe(d) him, yet he is 100% uncompromising to the extent that everything i’ve suspected him of being: insecure, jealous, living in the past, messy . you name it, he’s accused me of .. i know what projection is, but until you’ve experienced it firsthand, it would read like a bad movie. i have tons of faults, don’t get me wrong, just not the ones he accuses me of. for instance, he still employs one of his ex girlfriends (i couldnt care less) but he insists i’m jealous about that. i had a conversation with his bro today and it turns out everything i wondered about they (the family) were all too familiar with, yet not necessarily understanding his attitude anymore than i do. i really do love him. he’s funny, handy (yes that’s imp), very smart, we have an amazing physical connection. but he’s never validated anything about me that is truly worthwhile (other than my appearance) and it has led to me leaving and him saying that he’s “serene” with my decision and perfectly content to let me go!!! i don’t play games, i’ve begged him to just once give in or try to understand how he manages (d) to make me feel so inadequate (and i am almost always described as being a strong smart funny (he doesnt think so) independent woman. i just wanted a guy who’s easy on the eyes, funny, smart and willing to “forgive me (some) of my trespasses” .. is that too much to ask? and my question is: how can he just shut the door on so much with such ease? i makes me feel foolish. can you help me understand a little (at least for closure)
Relational behavior is learned, usually from within the family we grew up in and the relationships we have been through. If his family doesn’t understand him either, I would say there are some deeper issues and experiences he is covering for with his behavior that maybe he doesn’t even realize exist. However, from what you say I get the impression that you really want to be valued and recognized for who you are – something he seems incapable of or unwilling to do. His ‘serenity’ at your separation may only be on the surface, but it appears to be yet another knock to your self image that he can walk away so easily. There is too much going on there for an easy answer, but my suggestion is to hold your head up high and believe the truth about yourself as others have recognized it. If he ever gets over blaming everyone else to cover his own faults he will suddenly realize what he has lost, and maybe you two can rebuild on a more even foundation.
First things first – if you need validation that walking away from this man was the right thing to do, you have mine. No matter what his point of view may be, it’s obvious that the two you don’t view the world in a similar manner, and at the age you both are, neither of you are going to change any time soon.
I can think of a couple of reasons he is shutting the door so quickly. The first is that he’s already found someone else, and used everything he could think of to drive you out to clear the way for her. A lady friend of mine had this happen to her after a ten-year marriage – in retrospect she should have seen it coming, but didn’t until it was well over. Something to hold onto if this does indeed turn out to be the case is that it’s doubtful caused his wandering eye, considering he has a history of poor decision-making without your help.
If that’s not the case, it may just simply be a defensive wall to protect his fragile ego. For many different reasons, I’ve resorted to this myself many times in the past (being dumped, losing a job, etc.), and it can be a “safe” way to get past the pain of loss. The main problem with doing this is that it’s a selfish approach – others don’t understand why you’ve become cold and distant. The more often you’re wrong, the easier it is to build that fortress with practice – and it sounds like he’s had plenty of reason to practice.
Finally, to answer your question about the traits you’re seeking and if it’s “too much to ask”, actually, it might be. While you take some time away from the dating world, ask yourself if there are any of the four traits you listed that are flexible when you go on the search again. If you want to find a different man than the one you just had, re-evaluate your approach.
I’m sorry to hear about the difficult time you seem to be having. I must admit in reading your letter, one funny situation you describe your ex as completely unaware and uncompromising, then you are shocked when he behaves the way he does. If he is so unaware and uncompromising then not being upset when you break up with him would be par for the course.
From the way you describe him, he doesn’t believe that he does anything wrong, therefore when something does go wrong he blames other people. He is probably blaming you for the breakup right this very minute instead of looking at himself for why things went wrong. Mike is right, really this is just a subconscious defense mechanism that stops him from getting too attached and then feeling hurt when things go bad. A man never has to feel bad when its everybody else that is at fault.
As you have described he clearly has issues that he refuses to acknowledge, let alone work on. Knowing this, the question you should really ask yourself is “Why does it bother you that he is not hurt from the breakup?” Perhaps what you should be looking for in a future partner is someone who is emotionally available and willing to communicate with you. When listing qualities you are looking for in a future partner, these were two things you never mention, yet they seem to be the biggest complaint with your ex. Maybe its time to re-prioritize the qualities you look for in a man, otherwise you might end up repeating history.
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