One of our beautiful readers, Tulip, was in a short relationship that seemed to be going really well, then he suddenly become emotionally distant and broke it off. She's wondering what went wrong.
Here's her email:
Just recently I have broken up with my boyfriend of a year and a half.
He was a total jerk to me.
Never had the time to come see me when he had time (we lived two hours away from each other) and never wanted to talk on the phone with me. Although a year and a half may not seem long to some people, but it's my longest and you can say, I loved him.
But he just wasn't that committed to this relationship and it was hard for me to break up with him and let go because I will be the one that hurts more and knowing that it won't startle him a bit if we break up, just makes me so angry and sad that I continue to make myself miserable by staying with him.
It wasn't until I met another guy that made me realize I had so much more potential by myself than I ever will with my boyfriend at the time.
This new guy, let's call him Tinman, made me laugh, interacted with me and told me about all his adventures that he has had (note: I'm 21 and Tinman is 27) and it made me want to be a part of his life.
After talking to Tinman for about a week, I became strong enough to let go of my boyfriend.
After that, Tinman and I became closer and talked more often learning about each other's experiences. Tinman is a very outgoing person, loved being near the river and loved nature. I thought maybe this person and I might work out since we had a lot of things in common and Tinman agreed.
Actually he was the first one that said to me that we have a lot of things in common.
Three weeks pass and we're still talking like how we did when we first met (just a little bit more comfortable now) and he, being Asian, has never dated an Asian girl before and me, being a particular Asian, has never dated anyone out of my own ethnicity before. He asked if I would like to give this a try.
But because of our age difference, I asked him if he thinks I am too childish for him. What he said next really took my heart, "I think you have a long journey and many things to see. I can help you with that."
This is the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me.
His response let me know that maybe we might work out. One night we went to hang out at his place and he kissed me but I stopped him and said that we should take time in this relationship because I really like him a lot and I don't want to ruin anything.
He agreed and said the same thing back.
We continued to text each other for the next two days and make jokes around with each other. But the second night that we hung out at his place, he leaned in to kiss me again but I stopped him, said a stupid joke that the last time he kissed me, it was my first kiss.
His response was, "really?"
I laughed and told him it was a joke and after that, he just stopped interacting with me and stopped being interested in what I have to say. When I got home that night, I asked him if I did anything wrong, he said I didn't do anything wrong and enjoyed my company.
The next day, he didn't text me back like how he usually would and I had a feeling it was about last night. So, I text him how he felt about last night and he said that he talked to his friend earlier the other day and she suggested him that he should date someone his own age and he text me that he agrees with her, then told me we should just be friends.
I asked him if he took me as a joke from the beginning. He replied, "No. I thought this was going somewhere, but every time we hangout, there is a misconnection. I don't know what it is".
And I told him that it was fun hanging out with him and told him that he made me realize that I have so much more potential by myself than I ever will. His last text was, "it was fun hanging out with you".
I don't know what went wrong.
I feel very bad and I am so bummed out because I really like him and although we have been only talking and hanging out with each other for three weeks, I felt that I have shared so many moments with him. I can't stop thinking about Tinman and I really want to text him back but I feel like it would make me look desperate.
I hate myself for making that stupid joke and I keep on wondering how things would've went if I had just let him kiss me. I have a bunch of questions in my head of why he had the sudden change of heart.
Did I not seem as easy as I did? Was he lying about not taking me as a joke? I don't know.
I just wish I can go back in time and change what I did that night. I really like him a lot. Now my days are just miserable. I try to do other things that will occupy my mind but almost everything I do, reminds me of him and the three weeks we shared together.
What do you think about this situation Jane? I would love to hear your thoughts and advice.
Thanks for your time.
Don't look back, Tulip.
For all the regrets you have for what you wish you had done differently, there are so many other possible scenarios that could have resulted from you doing everything the way you wanted to.
The fact of the matter is you were yourself.
You said what you felt you wanted to say at that moment in time.
You did what you thought you wanted to do at that same moment.
You acted the way that came most naturally to you.
And yet because it's gone, because he's gone, you've turned on the one person who it's so easy to blame here; you. You beat yourself up over and over again for being who you were at that time.
There's no one who's as harsh with yourself here as you!
But there's a reason these things happen. Our true selves can never hide themselves for very long. It wasn't just about anything that happened that one night; it was about the bigger picture that came through to him that was about him and not you.
Don't look back at the fairy tale version of what you believe things would have looked like, Tulip.
You have absolutely no way of knowing how things with him would have gone if you only done or said what you wish you had done instead that night you're putting everything on.
You did the best you could with what you knew at the time!
And if he was right for you, if you were both on the same page, what you said or didn't say or did or didn't do that night would never have been a deal breaker for him. But by the time it came to you, you can know that this is what you actually want, no matter how much you fight it and want it to be different.
That's how you find your peace in acceptance. It begins with you.
By accepting yourself for who you are and where you're at, regardless of what that looks like in someone else's eyes. You didn't do anything wrong.
Whatever you did, whatever you didn't do, even if it wasn't what you would normally do, in that moment you were being yourself.
Look past your own vision and accept and trust that there's someone or something bigger than yourself out there that knows better what you need, then you can accept that you actually did yourself the biggest favor ever.
By being who you are in that moment, no matter what that looked like, you brought about what you actually wanted in the long run.
People come into our lives for a reason, no matter how difficult it is to accept this or see it for ourselves when we're struggling with our own definition of what that reason is. You don't have to know what it is, you only need to believe that there is one.
Could it be he gave you the courage to let go of the previous man in your life? Can you let it be enough that, as you say, "… he made me realize that I have so much more potential by myself than I ever will"?
You can never ruin something unless someone is willing to let it be ruined.
But the greatest lesson in this, Tulip, is recognizing that these types of experiences that we're so quick to label as rejections of our beautiful hearts are never as they appear.
Don't give him so much of your power. If it's meant to be, it will be; either because of you or in spite of you. You can't mess up something that both people don’t want to mess up!
This living and loving has to be with someone who is on the same page with you, who wants the same thing you want with you and who's willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen!
Don't ever settle for anything less than that no matter how much potential you see in someone or what emotions they trigger in you. Love is never miserable, it never hurts, it never has you beating yourself up over it.
If you ever feel any of that, don't call it love.
I hope this helps give you an outside perspective, Tulip.
This feeling of regret for what could have been is so common for so many of us. Do you have anything to tell Tulip from your own personal experience? Please share your thoughts with her in the comments.