Apologies in advance for the length of this one!
I’ve been in a thing with a guy since July last year. I think for my long term happiness I need to end it, but I really care about him and need to find the strength to do it.
Long backstory and problems
He is a lot older than me and various complications on both sides have meant we’ve kept things secret.
We’ve never defined the relationship, but I don’t believe in overlapping sexual partners and so have been exclusive, and I believe he has been too.
There’s been a lot going on in both our personal lives in terms of difficult and stressful things happening, more so with him, and we both suffer with health issues.
Sex with him is excellent, we are perfectly matched, all our kinks align, and it’s been so wonderful spending time with someone like that. When we are alone together I am totally happy.
Due to the age gap and the different points we are at in our lives I can’t see it working long term, I can’t imagine him hanging out with my friends or vice versa.
I'm clearly not a priority
The issues he’s faced over the last year mean that we’ve not been able to spend decent time together, and I’ve been really understanding of that. We’ve stolen time where we could, I’ve sucked it up when he’s cancelled last minute or hasn’t been able to chat via phone.
But it’s reached a point where I feel I am bottom of the priority list in his life, while he is the top in mine. I am spending more time crying, feeling lonely and unwanted than I am feeling happy with him.
He cancels about 50% of the plans he makes with me, and of the ones he does make often he cuts them short. I know this is due to health issues, but he seemingly has time for everyone else, and will happily work late into the night knowing this will make him too tired to see me the next day.
We have not spent more than 3 hours together at a time since January.
He rarely initiates text conversations, often leaves me on read, and says he will call and then doesn’t.
After we’ve messaged, spoken or met I regularly feel like it was for much less time than I’d like (eg. talking for the first time in two weeks and the call only lasting 5mins) and I often feel more miserable afterwards.
During lockdown I’ve tried really hard to keep things going sexually and I’ve been okay driving that as I know he has body confidence issues, and perhaps worries about initiating. He’s read then ignored pretty much every suggestion I’ve gently made, even when I’ve chased up with a “let me know if this idea sounds like something you might like to try, or if it’s not your thing”.
I’ve checked in multiple times to make sure I’m not pressuring him or stressing him out and he always says that I’m not and he likes my messages, but then still doesn’t respond. And I’m not talking crazy levels of messages here, just normal low level.
I struggle with feeling unwanted as a hang-up I’ve always had, and after a bad incident where he really hurt my feelings we talked about it and worked out a solution that if I needed reassuring that I would tell him - we can both acknowledge it’s a silly thing that isn’t caused by him and he wouldn’t know I’m feeling and a quick little message is all it takes to stop the self destructive voice in my head.
I find admitting to feeling that way really hard because I know it’s stupid and not true and I feel like I’m pestering the other person and being an idiot, but I also know I need to be honest about it so it doesn’t fester. On three separate occasions I’ve felt bad enough not to be able to silence that voice in my head and I opened up and told him I needed reassuring, and every time he read the message and didn’t respond.
My birthday came and went and all I got was a “happy birthday x” in a group message train. I didn’t dare hope for some time together, a night away, a meal or a movie cuddles on the couch or even to see each other on the day (ever an optimist/idiot I kept my plans free in case he came through, I would have loved to have seen him). I didn’t expect a present, though a card might have been nice. I did expect a phonecall…so to reach the end of the day without a call and know I wasn’t even worth the 10 seconds it would take to send a text really, really hurt.
I feel like I’m doing everything I can to be supportive and meet his needs and I don’t think it’s asking too much to have someone that actually wants to talk to me about my day and spend time with me.
I have realised I am never a priority and spend more time unhappy than happy.
If he wanted to talk to me and see me he would make the effort, but he doesn’t.
We are a perfect sexual match but haven’t spent a night together since before Christmas.
It wouldn’t work long term anyway due to a big age gap.
- On some level I love him, as evidenced by the long time this has gone on (which as I am writing I am thinking what a mug I am) and it hurts letting him go
- I don’t know what he feels (sometimes he seems to love me and really care) and I don’t want to hurt him while he’s dealing with a load of other personal problems
- I don’t want to lose him as a friend, as despite everything I enjoy his company
- I am scared I will never find another sexual partner that matches me so well
I know I just need to think rationally and be brave; it is clear from his actions that I don’t mean as much to him as he does to me.
But I will also be really hurt to lose someone I care so much about and have a such a good sexual connection with, and I am scared I will look back and regret it.
Any advice / thoughts / support gratefully received: am I doing the right thing??
(And sorry for the crazy length of my outpouring!)
Thanks for all your support through this - I bit the bullet and had the conversation to end things, and I’m glad I did. Once I started the conversation we had a calm discussion about it and ended things very much as friends. Thank you all
I would always go with your gut feeling you are here once and once only if you do not feel that his has the same feelings or wants the same thing then maybe it’s for the best. You have to be happy yourself and feel he wants the same as you, I would always be happy with what you had and regret as little as possible, you may find someone who thinks and wants what you want and need! Either way you have to do why best for you! In my opinion the is Good luck with what ever choice you make
It sounds like a rubbish situation I think you need to realise your value and put yourself first.
Although it may hurt to make the break now, it’s better now than it keep going on and you feeling more demoralised as time goes on.
Good luck with whatever you decide and we’re here for you
@Cassii you imply that you’re both single ( both being exclusive) but he never seems to have time for you, plus despite the age gap, there appears to be no good reason for the relationship to be secret after all this time. He finds time to work over and see friends, but not you. Your birthday came and went with a whimper, he didn’t make you feel special or give you a good time. You both have health issues, which is pretty common, so there’s no reason the relationship can’t work. But it appears it’s all one-sided. You say the sex is good, but that’s no basis for a healthy relationship if every other thing is wrong. I think you are answering your own questions in your post, and just want us to confirm what you know deep down. If you don’t sort this out, you are destined to be in limbo forever. There are plenty of men out there who will treat you as a human being, not just as a semi-regular date for sex. Sorry if that seems harsh, but i feel that from your post, it’s true. I wish you well.
Thanks @Gazza_64, @MsSubExperimenter, @WillC I think you’ve got the mail on the head. I think you’re all right and you’re saying what I need to hear to make me sort this situation out.
It hurts a lot to do it, but I know I have to
Ha! Thanks @Ian_Chimp, that made me laugh
There is some super advice already here and not much to add but something certainly isn’t right. Based on what you’ve said you a worth far more than you are taking from the relationship. I feels like a happier life is to be found away from it.
You`re welcome @Cassii you are definitely worth more than the way he treats you. You don’t say what the age gap is, and age gap relationships do work. But i can see you being nothing but a drudge, caring for him when he needs you, but getting no love in return, based on your current treatment.
@Cassii I would not dream of try to offer you relationship advice other than if you were to read about someone else in the situation you have just described what would your advice to them be ? I think deep down you know what needs to be done and i wish you well with whatever you decide.You know you always have a bunch of friends here ready to listen and offer as much support as you can on a forum.
Very rare that you get everything you need out of just one person…
Good luck… sometimes we have to go with our head others our heart.
I don’t think she wants an open relationship though?
Sadly no, I know it works great for some people, but for me sex and love are entwined and I need (and give) a lot of affection, so long term I couldn’t be physical with someone without wanting and needing more emotionally.
Had a similar issue myself about a week ago, posted about in the old Rant Thread to get forum advice. Overwhelmingly (and rightly so) the answer was to ditch waste of space men and try to move on. People make time for what matters to them, it takes 2 seconds to send a text and keep in touch with someone else. I read a quote recently that if someone tells you they’re too busy, then that’s not a reflection of their workload but a reflection of where you fit in their schedule. It absolutely sucks when you have a good friendship with someone when you do see them but it’s the getting to see them that’s an issue. Hope things get clearer for you soon! xx
Sorry to hear you’re going through a difficult time and thank you for sharing. Sending love! I am no relationship expert in the slightest, but I can definitely relate with certain aspects of what you’ve described and it can be difficult for us to not cling on to certain things with the hope that things will change or that it’ll ever be enough.
There’s loads of excellent points and advice on here already, and I think you know what you need to do already.
What I try and do is think about what my non-negotiables are. I do this in all aspects of life but if we think about it in terms of a relationship, what are the things you need for you to be fulfilled in a relationship? Everyone will have things that are absolute for them, and there are other things that we will be happy to negotiate on or not have completely. Based purely on what you’ve written (so this may be misinterpreted and there may be other things you think of), it sounds as though some non-negotiables for you would be things like good communication and occasional quality time. Question whether he is providing this for you, if the answer is no then your needs are not being fulfilled.
Your wants and needs are so important and I think it’s important you value these. We can constantly make excuses for other people but ultimately people will always have things going on in life, and if something is important to someone then they will make it a priority.
In terms of practical advice (and some of which is definitely easier said than done), if you do decide to finish things then I would suggest thinking about a short, clear statement with what you want to say. Make sure you outline your boundaries - for example, you’re happy to still see him in group scenarios but do not want anything sexually to happen again. I think the most important (and most difficult) part is to not expect anything in his response. I know personally in the past I’ve been disappointed in responses if I’ve had these conversations, and almost want them to try and make me change my mind, but when I reflect on this it doesn’t matter what their response is as there was a rational reason I came to that decision.
Hope that makes sense and comes across okay - I can be a bit of a “tough love” type advice but I just want you to recognise your value and the importance of your needs being met
I must say, I’m very much in agreement with @WillC 's original statement.
I don’t understand why the relationship is a secret. As you say, for most of us sex and love are intertwined as that’s kind of what makes it a loving relationship rather than a f*** buddy (which of course there’s nothing wrong with but it doesn’t sound like that’s what you want). The age gap shouldn’t prohibit it being out in the open to both your sets of friends and maybe if it was he would prioritise you more? It does kind of sound like one or other of you is ashamed of the relationship which means I don’t think it is ever going to produce the loving bond you’re after.
You’re an amazing person and you deserve to be loved by someone who is proud of you and prioritises you… if they’re not kinky enough in the sex department at the start of the relationship I’m sure you can introduce all you need over time!
Thanks @CurvyJilly, very true, but here’s hoping
Thanks too @GoGirl12, @VanillaWithSprinkles, @SexInTheCity, @Peitho, your input is really appreciated. Deep down I know my basic needs aren’t being met and I need to do something about it, and it’s good to have that reality check.
@VanillaWithSprinkles, I saw your post and reading it I realised that it was a similar thing and knowing you absolutely deserve more than that guy it really made me re-evaluate what I’m doing too. I hope your situation gets better and you find someone who appreciates you xx