He was the first guy I really loved and we were together for almost three years. But from about 18 months into the relationship, I started to get the feeling that things weren’t going to last – and I actually didn’t want them to. Here’s why:
- He didn’t support my dreams. How crap it is to show someone my most fragile, vulnerable part – my dreams – and have them not support me? I was always supportive of what my BF wanted to achieve, but he wasn’t exactly a great cheerleader when the roles were reversed. He would always question and challenge my ideas, which would have been valuable feedback, but he also criticized them as though I should have expected to fail.
- He stopped paying attention. It’s normal to get used to things and people, but when your partner stops paying attention to you, it really sucks. I’m not talking about him not noticing my new haircut, but he wouldn’t even notice when my eyes were swollen after a night of crying my eyes out. Talk about feeling like you’re damn invisible.
- We were in different life stages. There was quite a large age gap between us, which I’d initially written off as not being a problem. But then I started to see just how much life was stuffed into those years. He had gone through a failed marriage, a few careers, had kids… I was just starting out. Whatever milestones we reached, even marriage, it would always feel like I’d be blissed out on happiness and he’d be the cynical guy who’d been there and done that. I wanted to share firsts with someone who was going through the same life phases at the same time so we could be in them together.
- We had different views of the future. As time progressed, I saw how we really wanted different things and I had ignored those red flags. We saw ourselves living in different places and we had different views about kids. He wanted a more traditional relationship and I didn’t want to be pigeon-holed into gender roles. It was real stuff that we were clashing on and that would have caused resentment later. If I hadn’t ignored our differences, I would have saved myself a lot of time.
- I wasn’t his usual type. I couldn’t seem to shake the feeling that we wouldn’t end up together because I was so different, not just as a person but also from the type of women he’d dated before me. Although this could have been a good thing, in this case it really wasn’t. We came from different family setups and had different values. I became suspicious of his female friends who were more similar to him than I was, and the funny thing is that he did leave me for someone who was much more like him – right down to working in the same company as he did.
- I fought for us; he didn’t. I didn’t want to let go of the relationship even when I started to have such serious doubts about it. I wanted to at least try to make things work, so I would be more loving, affectionate and supportive. He, on the other hand, started distancing himself from me. That was a huge sign (if I needed any more) that we weren’t meant to last. He just wasn’t right for me and it was good that things had ended.
- I was lonelier with him than on my own. There’s nothing worse than feeling lonely in a relationship. Sometimes, it felt like my ex and I were miles apart even if we were in the same place. An example was when we’d attended his friend’s party and he didn’t spend any time with me at all. I was left sitting with people I didn’t know who weren’t even speaking English, so I didn’t have a clue what they were talking about! I knew that this was definitely not what a long-term relationship should be about. I’d rather be single and make myself happy than be lonely with the wrong guy who isn’t really including me in his life.