Advice: Is it really over between us?

Last updated 05:00 09/05/2013

She says it's over between them, but he still really wants her in his life. Can there be a way back?

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My ex says she wants nothing to do with me anymore. But I also know a connection such as we had doesn't come along every day.

I was engaged to her, totally into her, wanted everything with her - wedding, family, life. Then after our-near perfect time together we had our first disagreement/fight caused by me trying to clear a path for us to get our lives together. I was trying to get my ex-wife out of our lives, but we both had problems with how that happened. She was asking for time and space to do her thinking but that I was (and she is right) crowding and pushing her to make a decision about us being together or not. So she felt pushed into a decision - which was a negative one.

I fully admit I panicked when I realised I was losing her, and that by texting and emailing her all the time I certainly didn't help my cause. When we hit the bump she withdrew, I became uneasy and in hindsight perhaps even needy. She didn't fight to keep us, instead she walked.

When her marriage broke up, well before we met, she said it was because he refused to fight to keep them together - yet now she is repeating his mistakes by not fighting for us, she refused to try couples' counselling or anything, but then the way I was pushing for reassurance probably didn't help there.

About two weeks ago I made (another) mistake in calling her mother to wish her a safe and happy trip overseas (my former partner was going too).  Her mum said she was sorry things worked out as they had, as she could see Miss X and her kids adored me... and she (Miss X's mum) actually liked me. I let slip that it was a shame we didn't get to follow through on the plans for a family and wedding, not aware her mother didn't know. She actually sounded happy to hear from me, and sorry things had ended.

The following night I got a text from Miss X saying: "Do NOT contact me, do NOT contact my mother or family, do NOT contact my friends. Stay out of my life. If you continue to harass me, my family and friends I will be seeking
legal advice with regards to a protection order. Obviously my previous efforts have fallen on deaf ears. It is over between us and there is no chance of a future relationship or friendship of any kind. Goodbye."

I can't accept that it's over, I have to find a way to get her back. The best hope I have is that maybe I can leave her alone and get back in touch with her again in a few months. Hopefully by then she will have calmed down and may be willing to reconsider things. I hope she is just angry and hurting and lashing out - but that time will heal. Hopefully she won't have moved on in that time.

What should I do?

I Can't Accept It

This is very painful for you, and you have lost a lot. It is a terrible feeling when the one we most love and want to be with turns away from us and says no. You are willing to share your vulnerability with your partner, as well as fight for the relationship. These are great qualities that will serve you well in relationship.

There is not the detail here about what initially went so wrong in your partner's eyes and how this snowballed to such devastating effect to be able to comment too much. I imagine you will have some insights into your contribution to this, as well as into your partner's contribution to it. This insight is likely to get clearer over time as the pain and emotion cools.

There is a common pattern that couples get into when stressed that involves one partner withdrawing and the other partner pursuing. The more one person withdraws, the more the other person pursues. The stakes get higher and higher, and both people become more and more desperate until one person is needing space for survival, and the other person is needing connection for survival. It sounds like this is what has happened here, to the point that your partner has lost all trust in the relationship. Once this pattern gets kicked off it can be very hard for the couple to resolve by themselves. It is best to get some professional counselling help to identify the dynamics of the pattern and move on from it before the relationship has been too damaged by the cycle.

Her messages to you are very clear, she no longer wants any contact with you. You have to accept this, it is the way she feels and what she wants. Your role now is to learn how to deal with the pain of this in a constructive way, and let her go. We can't force a relationship on another person when they don't want it, no matter how much we want it, and the feeling of powerlessness in recognising this can be very painful and difficult to be with. This is a very difficult time for anyone. It's a time to be close to family and friends and to get the support you need.

I would strongly recommend that you get some professional counselling support to help you through. This will allow you to develop insight and understanding about what happened, and how to avoid it in the future. It will also support you to continue to have faith in relationships and to not make life limiting decisions on the basis of the pain you are now feeling.

I wish you the very best at a difficult time,

Chris

For more advice and information on counselling, visit Relationships Aotearoa online or join them on Facebook.

We'd love to hear your take on this week's issue. Before you comment below, though, remember that this is a real-life situation. This reader has bravely shared their personal life with you; please show them respect by refraining from hurtful or abusive comments.

- Stuff

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