My girlfriend recently broke up with me after several years together.
After an initial honeymoon period, we would devolve into a major fight every one to two months, with more minor fights in-between.
There were many late, late nights staying up arguing, many storm-outs, and many hurtful words said on both sides.
But we’d always make up, even though most of the issues weren’t really addressed (causing recurrence of the fights).
Aside from those fights, everything else was bliss — we were truly each other’s best friend and lover.
I now realize that nearly every fight was caused by me trying to “fix” things that I THOUGHT were problems.
Example: Her lack of contribution, not spending enough time with me, not wanting to show more signs of commitment, etc.
I now recognize how selfish I was and how wrong was my approach. Not much really needed fixing — I wasn’t seeing the forest for the trees.
Following our most recent fight, she called things off, collected her things, said she never wants to speak to me again and ignored all of my contact for a week, which has never happened before.
After my initial kicking and screaming and trying to get her back, she finally reached out and said she is firm, stop contacting her, and just move on.
But, she also mentioned the possibility of “maybe” speaking again in a few weeks just to share things, without the emotion.
I’ve respected her no contact for almost a week, which is really hard.
Even though she appears to have given up on me, I don’t want to give up on her.
How can I effectively express my thoughts and feelings, if/when the time comes?
I don’t want to bombard her and seem like an emotional basket case.
I’m not looking for “another” chance. I want to try and earn one “last” chance to prove to her that I’m the man she fell in love with and wanted me to be.
And that I’ve learned a lot and changed for the better from this very difficult period of total separation.
Devastated But Learning
The see-saw fights and make-up sessions following your “initial honeymoon” phase, is a familiar story to many new couples.
It reflects the awkward, sometimes annoying, but necessary accommodations to each other’s personal styles, moods and needs… with some successes, and some failures.
Your side of that tug-of-war story also reflects your own insecurity, always trying to “fix” things to what you wanted.
Now you see that mistake. It’s a huge act of self-enlightenment IF you can truly change your tendency to want to manage the relationship.
As for her side, perhaps that behaviour is what made her spend less time with you and hold back on commitments.
Or, maybe she too wanted things her way – slower and less intense.
A week of “no contact,” though painful, is only a start.
You need weeks of showing her as well as yourself, that you’re committed to, and capable of change.
Your approach when you meet, should start with what you’ve learned about your own past reactions.
It’d help if you could explore – either in your own mind, or, if necessary, with some counselling – why you took on the role of “fixer.”
Hopefully, your openness will encourage her to also be reflective and honest about her reactions.
This conversation together may cast new light on how you both can try a new chance at being together.
Reader’s Commentary “I’m a woman self-diagnosed with Asperger's ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorders).
“I researched autism extensively after being misdiagnosed with mental health disorders that didn’t explain my debilitating social challenges and physical issues.
“However, for women 50's and older, there’s scarce research on us, even though we often have a cluster of common health issues.
“Doctors and psychiatrists often medicate us inappropriately. Pharmaceuticals uniformly caused me more symptoms and more problems.
“There are no adult ASD resources or support groups in my area. The focus is on children only, males, in particular. But there are online resources.”
Ellie – Connect with the online resources through Asperger’s Societies, which exist in many North American cities and beyond.
The momentum for more community services and greater recognition for mental health disorders, has often come from activism by people affected and their families.
Also, the online associations and their support groups can expand your information and awareness of different approaches.
Tip of the day:
Changing a relationship pattern of fighting between a "fixer" vs. a "withholder," calls for self-awareness and openness on both sides.