They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but when my boyfriend was struggling to commit and acting like I’d wait around forever, I taught him how to roll over by breaking up with him.
I was done hoping things would work themselves out.
Our relationship was constantly on and off, which was tiring AF. Every time I felt like we were getting ahead and things were going well, it would all fall apart and I would find myself having to start ‘back at square one. He’d apologize and make the same empty promises but I eventually had enough and decided to try a different tactic. I had to walk away so he could see what his life would be like without me in it.
Being direct about what I wanted had gotten us nowhere.
No matter how clearly I communicated my thoughts, feelings, or ideas about what I wanted from him/our relationship, he’d just either shut them down or completely ignore them. I stopped giving him clues or hints on what I expected and I stopped asking for attention. I just observed and never gave feedback, and he eventually realized that no reaction was a reaction. Everything I’d been asking for all that time finally came to me, and all it took was me not asking for it anymore. WTF?
I gave up trying to fix the things I hadn’t broken in the first place.
I tried so many times to fix this relationship and it never worked. Instead, I suggested we restart from scratch. Once we took things back to the beginning, he suddenly became the guy I’d been trying to get him to be for so long. He was more gentle, supportive, passionate and understanding in every way. It was like he tried harder now that nothing was expected, and I was relieved that I could finally stop tearing my hair out trying to get him to change.
I set boundaries and insisted we were just friends.
Every time we’d ”broken up” in the past, I always went back and tried to do whatever I could to win him back. I’d continue doing all the relationship stuff I always did like nothing had changed. This time, I just stopped helping him with anything. We had a farm together and our son was only still a toddler so this was hard, but it made him realize and appreciate my presence so much more. We were now friends and co-workers and our relationship didn’t go past taking care of our son. Setting this boundary gave him a chance to reflect on his true feelings for me.
I was no longer his doormat.
He used to blame me for things that made him angry or upset because I was the only one he could take his frustrations out on. Once I removed myself from the situation, he changed the way he spoke to me and how he acted in my presence. He valued our time and thought about his behavior instead of just lashing out. My absence as his punching bag made him a better person to be around.
I made myself emotionally and physically unavailable.
After we broke up, I wouldn’t answer every text right away or call back immediately if I missed his calls. I said I was busy even when I wasn’t, but generally speaking, I preoccupied myself with my own life for once. There was no makeup sex this time around and he couldn’t just apologize and expect to be immediately forgiven. I needed him to feel a yearning need for me which he never really could before since I was always there. Slowly but surely, he started showing he wouldn’t ever let me go again if he got the chance to get me back, and that made a world of difference.
I let him live like a single man.
As much as it hurt and bothered me sometimes to know that he was going out with his single friends, I tried really hard not to think about it. I knew I had to let him be himself by himself to really be able to appreciate what I had to offer him. The novelty of the single guy lifestyle quickly wore off and he came back as an appreciative and thankful man, every day since.
That crap about letting the thing you love go to see if it comes back is true.
I had that gut-wrenching feeling so often where I thought there was no way I could go on trying to fix this broken relationship. I had to stop being the one who made all the effort because I deserved better, so that’s exactly what I did. Once he realized that I meant business, he changed. It was as if all my effort made him uninterested in putting any in. Once I started acting indifferent about what happened with us, he was the one taking every opportunity to let me know he wasn’t going anywhere. When I let go, he found ways to hold on.
He finally realized the grass wasn’t greener on the other side.
After all of this, he was a changed man. It’s like he’d matured pretty much overnight into someone who knew what he wanted and how he had to behave if he expected to keep it. He no longer took me for granted or treated me like crap—in fact, he’s turned into the best husband ever!
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