“Ask Dr. Neuman”

Advice Column

Hello. I was with my boyfriend for 3 years

by | Oct 3, 2014 | Ask Dr Neuman

Q: Hello. I was with my boyfriend for 3 years and we just broke up a 3 weeks ago. We for the most part had great memories and a great relationship, except I had a hard time opening up from time to time. We lived together for a year too. Not even 2 days after we broke up he’s dating someone else. He said that he wasn’t happy for the last 6 months of our relationship but couldn’t hurt me. BUT his actions didn’t change until the last month (which he was already interested in this other girl) He met this girl through a mutual friend. It has been known he has been talking to her via text back and forth for the last month of our relationship. I of course asked him and he denied it. I haven’t been in contact with him for a almost 3 weeks now. I did some snooping because i was insecure, but he said that wasn’t the only reason. He said he needed time to be alone because he felt empty and dead inside because of his moms death which was 5 yrs ago. He said he felt guilty and it wasn’t his fault. But come to find out by several of his best friends and others that was an excuse for a way out. His best friends of 20 years are also on my side and keep bashing him telling him how stupid he is. And they keep telling me I was the best gf he’s ever had. I also don’t see how someone can dare use death as an excuse! I was wondering if this a rebound or what I’ve heard an overlapping relationship? and will he be back? I also don’t see how someone could just forget about 3 years like that like its nothing! I love and miss him so much! Thank you!
– Anynomous

A: When a partner, or a spouse, is in the process of ending a relationship, the reasons that person gives are not reliable. Sometimes they will try to say something that is not hurtful. More often, however,  they say something very like what your boyfriend said: “I have not been happy for a long time.” I think that feeling a particular way now, they imagine that they always felt that way. Since I am a psychiatrist, patients have no particular reason to lie to me. Still, they often tell me (after meeting someone new) that their previous relationship has been going bad for a long time. I point out that they were not inclined to end it until they met someone new, and they agree. But, in retrospect, they think they’re leaving the relationship had nothing to with meeting someone else. “It was going bad for years.”  When a man leaves his wife after a number of years of marriage, everyone presumes it is for a younger woman; and it very often is. Still, that husband may justify to himself leaving on the basis of making little of what worked in the marriage and exaggerating what was bad about it.

There is no point in trying to figure out what is really going on in your boyfriend’s mind. Probably, he does not really know himself. I would discourage you (or anyone else) trying to argue him into staying. It will not work, and it is demeaning.
– Dr. Neuman