What made you do a 180 and change your life around?

I broke up with my girlfriend of about six months on Sunday. This was my third long(ish) term relationship, and I learned a lot about myself, what I want, what I don’t. Prior to this relationship, I had been telling myself that all I need to get out of the funk that I was in was the love of a good woman, because I felt incomplete, lonely, and the local dating scene seemed to revolve around casual relationships, which is not my preference. I met a wonderful woman, gorgeous, intelligent, thoughtful, perceptive, and funny. We fell in love rather quickly, and spent the last seven months together.

Gradually, though, it became clear that we were having communication issues. I remember the first time it was because I told her (gingerly) that I didn’t get very good sleep when she stayed over, because she snores pretty bad, and she also clung desperately to me in our sleep, which caused me to overheat, and also wake up whenever I needed to change positions (I’m a bit of a restless sleeper, but I’ve slept with partners in the past without issue). So when I told her this, or when I would communicate anything in the relationship that needed to change, she would get very silent, clam up, and seem to take it as personal criticism. I'd have to spend the next hour or so figuring out how to reassure her. Likewise, I’m pretty independent. I work 40hrs/week; I enjoy and value my free time and want to spend a decent amount of it making music, or sometimes I just need to be by myself, but communicating that—the fact that I need time to myself—again was taken as “I don’t want you around,” and caused massive insecurities. By contrast, she said explicitly that she’d like to spend all of her free time with me, so I became like a gatekeeper; we’d only hang out when I’d offer, because she’d always say yes unless she had to work. I began to feel guilty and anxious, because I felt as though I was depriving her of my time whenever I wanted to spend some time to myself. Not only that, but if we’d been hanging out for a while (like three days in a row), I wasn’t able to ask her to leave without seriously offending her.

There were lots of little things too. Like, she’s a heavy smoker who says she plans on quitting soon, but I believed her less as time went on. Anytime we went to a restaurant, we had to sit out on the freezing cold patio so she could chainsmoke. She was also severely late. Literally every time we hung out it was 30-90 minutes after I’d expect her to arrive. I get anxious around lateness, and so I tried to work out a compromise where she just gives me an estimate of when she’d be there, even if she was running late, so I’d have an idea of when to expect her. She then started to walk on eggshells around me whenever she would make the slightest change in plans, as if I’d been abusive or emotionally explosive, which I don’t think I had been. It was just a lot of stuff that added up to serious long-term compatibility issues, which sucks, because we still love each other, but I thought it best to end our romantic relationship before it turned sour. In the last few days of the relationship, she’d grown really distant, she said as a defense mechanism, because whenever I would say I needed space, she felt like she needed to get far away emotionally. It all seemed to be becoming a dysfunctional, non-communicative cycle, and I honestly thought she was about to end it anyway. But she didn’t take it well. She left my apartment and hasn’t said a word to me since (I sent her a couple texts). I’d like to be friends, maybe even more in the future, but right now, it’s not in the cards.

So anyway, I’ve since began to focus on running again (after a heel injury in the fall), and I’m making some serious changes to my diet—drinking a lot less, eating out less, and also smoking a lot less. My apartments cleaner than it’s been in a couple of years. It’s still really painful to think about how she’s not in my life anymore, and how that’s my doing, but I think I’m at least able to channel that into something positive. I’ve got a little more understanding of what it means to be compatible with someone, what it means to break up with someone (I hadn’t really had to do that before), and what it means to make a decision that’s really painful in the now, but is for the best in the long run. Not exactly a 180 degree change, but I feel like it’s the first step in a direction of meaningful change (like maybe a 15 degree turn).

P.S., it wasn't all her, I'm immature sometimes and find it difficult to express myself. The above were my main reasons for leaving. I'm also aware that I pretty much just used this AskReddit question to get all this out of my system. Thanks for reading? I hoped you enjoyed it despite its limited relevance to OP's question.

/r/AskReddit Thread