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Cutting off someone you love

Community Member

I fell pretty hard for someone and believed he felt the same way, he said he thought he felt it stronger. Over time we got incredibly close. He had an ex he had recently separated from who was still on the scene so I was cautious. At the point of finally committing to each other, his ex partner came back saying she couldn't just throw it away and they should try again.

He said ok and told me that first sign of failure they'd agreed to part and he wanted to do this for her to end things on a civil note. It meant we couldn't be in contact, at all. He said he didn't expect it to last but he couldn't abandon her and their history if she wanted to try.

I went and nursed a broken heart without the person that I had discussed building a life with just days before. 6 months later he made contact with me and since then we've been chatting intermittently. Early on it was very clear he was unhappy and missing me and I kept hope that he'd come back.

The anxiety of guessing and waiting made many of our interactions feel strained and he slowly seemed to become more resigned to not coming back. Comments like realising he couldn't ever have a fulfilled life and learning from past mistakes in reference to our previous honest and open conversation style. I realised he was letting me go romantically.

I've tried to be a friend but our conversations are superficial and stilted. Anytime I'm kind/supportive he shuts down and stops speaking to me. I asked him about it and he said it was a defensive mechanism, but I don't know what he's defending himself from? I've managed to be ok with this so far because I'd bump into him in public sometimes and it would feel ok.

I've seen him twice recently and it's not felt the same and it's caused anxiety flares after. I thought I was truly wanting the best for him to be his friend, I've happily offered things to try to improve his life and relationship, but obviously not if it hurts me so much that things have changed.

The last visit he mentioned he had seen a female friend of his that there had been romantic links with before. She didn't like me very much when he told her about me originally. I feel more anxiety around this than around him still living with his partner.

In the past week I've been clear enough to see the red flags, that the anxiety relates to the fact Ive been bluffing myself about being over him. I think the best thing is to cut him off and move on BUT I CANT FOR THE LIFE OF ME DO IT.

Any advice?
9 Replies 9

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hello Failsafe,

I'm really sorry to hear about your situation. I'm in a...similar, situation with my ex of three years, and I know how keeping in touch can really throw you into a bit of a constant emotional tumble.

It sounds like you already have some sense of what would give you the best long-term peace of mind and the space to heal, so I won't bother repeating that, but perhaps it could be helpful to chat about what makes it so hard.

If you're anything like me, you've probably done a bit of googling on this kind of thing already and you may have read that wanting to keep in touch with someone you've created an emotional bond with is not uncommon. Wanting to be friends is also pretty common, but it often seems like we can trick ourselves into thinking we only want to be friends and nothing more.

The trouble is, having this emotional bond means so much of your happiness right now is tied to someone you can't speak to about changing, or honestly, hardly see at all anyway. As you can feel already, it's not a healthy situation for you to be in.

For me personally, seeing my ex these constantly these last few months has taught me to put my time and effort into myself. I've not taken the step of cutting ties because I don't want to and I also can't, since we share a dog. But I have tried to really seek happiness elsewhere, rather than get caught up in my ex's life changes. For the time being, it's meant we've actually had a really good friendship and I've got to really enjoy being single and living my own life. Perhaps in your case, building a life on your own may help you move on from the person you thought you were building a life with, since you no longer feel a need to be tied to them in the future? Just a thought...

I hope that helps.


white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion
Hi, welcome

Moving on can be near impossible for some. What can help?

- time
- distraction
- dating
- friends

In the 1980's I lived with a woman for 7 years, she had severe psychiatric issues. For 6 years every 3 to 5 days she'd leave me. She'd leave a note. After 6 years I gave her an ultimatum- "make up your mind in 12 months or we are finished." 12 months later nothing had changed- I left (one of the most difficult things to do).
6 months later I bumped into her. She was living with another guy. I asked her if she had left notes for him? She had.

As much as we love our partners logic has to play a part as does self preservation and some selfishness. If we only make our partners our priority but our partners have significantly less commitment then we are open to great hurt.

Finally. When in love we don't believe we'll ever find it again with someone else....which is simply not true.


Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Failsafe, thanks for coming to the site, and from what you've told us bluffing yourself about being over him maybe what's happening to any other person you may or may not know about.

As much as you may love him and the times you've had together, a person who has several people having a crush for him is not anyone that can secure a steady relationship.

Dealing with someone who is never going to logically be trustworthy with you and who will provide trust in a relationship is something no one wants.

Take care.


Community Member
Thank you all for your comments and for letting me get this off my chest.

There was a long period after he left where I put my whole life on hold, not having certain experiences or doing things because I had wanted to share them with him. In the past 6 months that's changed and I am trying to live my life and move on.

I guess I thought I was maintaining a friendship and telling myself I felt nothing but I know now I wasn't. In times where this has happened before, typically the other person no longer wants contact and I process and move on. I've never cut anyone off myself before.
Here the 6 months of no contact still had the expectation he'd return and so did the first few months of us talking again so the process has been stilted. And now I'll hear from him around once a week if I'm not initiating contact, which I've tried to stop doing.

Like I said, if I'm kind or supportive he shuts down so it's hard to maintain conversation regardless as that's my default as a person. Maybe it's as simple as not responding anymore.

I'm aware it's not a good situation and I need to look after myself. I'm still very anxious today so I'll try to focus on menial tasks and taking my dog for a walk and hope I can recalibrate.

Thanks again for listening, it's good to be able to get it out my head a bit.

Community Member

I love that thought of recalibrating!

What a good way of describing it.

It can be so hard to break that connection even when we know the relationship and how they treat us is bad for us. I have been there before.

My connection with my then ex had been habitual in filling emotional needs so i had to learn to replace it with something else. It was hard and they didn’t give me the same satisfaction as the relationship did but I was able to break the habit and create space for a new one.

wishing you a day of peace.


Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Failsafe, a good reply, and in this particular thread, you simply can't be understanding, kind and supportive all of the time and have no reaction from him.

All relationships are different and sometimes what I've just said, does actually happen, but each case has to be taken separately.

Look after yourself, that's very important, and enjoy having time with your dog, it's you who needs to take care of what you want to do.

Good hearing from you and please get back to us.


Community Member

Hi Fail Safe.


It must be really tough for you to be stuck in the middle of something that can end up leaving you emotionally and physically confused -> the worst feeling. You need to understand that you deserve better. This guy is not trustworthy, reliable and mature in any way. He has chosen you as a back-burner. You are no-one's back-up/ option. You are not a game, you are a human being who deserve love, care, support, companionship and loyalty. This person cannot give you that - he wants to give that to his girlfriend. You need to look after yourself and focus on your needs and meet someone who wants no-one else but you. Make you the best version of yourself.


Hi again,

Thank you all for your kind words and advice.

I realise the things that cause my anxiety and discomfort here are all the things that I can't control and which I know are red flags.

As said at the start I know what I need to do, I think it's the letting go of the possibility that is harder, the vision I'd seen of a future. But also the closeness and support we had which I miss so Lagela you are on the money with the emotional needs bit.

The sooner accept that the above is gone now the better off I'll be and the easier it will be to end the friendship.

Thanks again, hope you are all doing well with your individual journeys. Thank you for taking the time to offer some thoughts.

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hello Failsafe,

I'm glad you feel like you were able to get a lot of this off your chest. It's really hard to let go and accept that something important to you has ended, and sometimes just speaking to others can help that along.

We'll be here if you'd like to speak again in the future.