My girlfriend of 8 months and I just broke up.  I don't post here often, but it's almost easier to type out thoughts to random people that can offer objective criticism and encouragement rather than friends or family.

Everything spiraled down hill quickly.  We had planned on moving in together, and really just rushing everything.  She lives out of town, and we both work in different cities.  Out of those 8 months we got to see each other less than a hundred times.  It really takes it's toll when you're alone with your thoughts.  I told her my fear of moving in together.  I don't believe it was a commitment issue.  

We are very different people and barely share the same interests. It was difficult to hold a conversation sometimes, quite a lot of time was sitting in silence or awkwardly messing with a phone or something trying to thing of something interesting to say.  Neither of us have been happy where we are financially, mentally, physically.  It seemed to me that moving in together would have made those things exponentially more noticeable and we would be trapped in a bad situation.  It has been harder everyday to imagine myself growing old and spending my life with this girl.  It's hard to make other people happy when you can't make yourself happy first.

I feel like a terrible person for the break up, and even worse that it happened over the phone.  It was decidedly mutual but our phone conversation escalated quickly and then that's how it ended.  I'm 29 years old and I'm starting to think that I'm meant for the solitary life, or maybe it's just the anxiety.   

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I'm starting to think that I'm meant for the solitary life, or maybe it's just the anxiety.

Beats me what it is. Without knowing you better I can't offer feedback on that. 

You and your now ex-girlfriend sound similar to me and my recent ex-girlfriend. My ex and I didn't share many interests either and it was hard at times to hold a conversation. We had two different directions for our life and the entire relationship was really just rushed and cobbled together for no reason other than to date. It ended earlier this summer. It was bittersweet but I know I'm better off for it. 

You'll get through this. I can tell you cared for her and 8 months isn't too shaby. I feel your pain. But honestly, from my perspective it's better that you ended it. You two just don't sound cut out for each other and 8 months may have been too long as it was. I think you were justified in ending it. I can't blame you for doing so. Now whether you should have done it in person or over the phone is another matter and I don't know enough details of the breakup to give you advice there. 

In sum: this sucks for the time being, yes. You were justified breaking up with her IMO. You'll get through this. Hang in there. 

You are probably feeling down from the breakup. Sorry bro.

We are very different people and barely share the same interests. It was difficult to hold a conversation sometimes, quite a lot of time was sitting in silence or awkwardly messing with a phone or something trying to thing of something interesting to say.  Neither of us have been happy where we are financially, mentally, physically.  It seemed to me that moving in together would have made those things exponentially more noticeable and we would be trapped in a bad situation.  It has been harder everyday to imagine myself growing old and spending my life with this girl.  It's hard to make other people happy when you can't make yourself happy first.

Buddy, if all of what you have said is true, what was the basis of the relationship other than maybe loneliness?

A relationship is based on exchange of value. You need to provide your value to her, and she hers to you, and then you're both better off together than you are separately.

It's not unusual not to have a lot of common interests with a woman; think of a traditional man and a traditional woman: he might enjoy fishing, working on his car, beer, and that sort of thing, and she might enjoy making quilts, talking to people she knows about people they know, and dancing. The question is how you can add value to each other.

Common experiences DO help a relationship, but they can be somewhat contrived and still based on a division of labor. Oddly enough, they do NOT have to be deep; it actually works better if they are broad.

Common VALUES are more important. For example, it would be disasterous if one wanted a big family, and the other loathed children, or if one wanted to run a ma-and-pa business, and the other was too insecure for that and demanded corporate or government employment.

It's hard to make other people happy when you can't make yourself happy first.

I agree. I keep saying this over and over. If you have an "infectiously" cheerful mood most of the time, you'll help other people feel good too and they'll be drawn to you. I wish I had a definative program to refer you to. I'm working on one but it's years from delivery.

In the mean time, spend time with friends or family doing things you enjoy, to help you get over the end of the relationship.

I feel like a terrible person for the break up

Maybe you feel that way, but being someone who still has something to learn about making relationships work does not make you a terrible person. A terrible person would never have invested much in the relationship in the first place, and he wouldn't care about anyone's feelings except his own. So you're not really a terrible person, and you can feel better about it after you resolve your feelings.

If appropriate, it might be a nice gesture to write a letter telling her that you enjoyed the time you spent with her, say something about appreciating her as a person, and express regret (not an apology...) that it didn't work out. It should be upbeat, friendly, positive, and concilatory without any other agendas. The purpose would be to make her feel better about it, and then you can feel better about it too.

I completely agree with everything Rob says here, and he makes a lot of good points regarding exchange of value and spending time with friends and family and focusing on yourself to find your happiness again.

The only thing I would change / disagree with is the writing of the letter.  While it seems like a good idea, what good would it really do?  Letters rarely work out the way you intend them to.  The key is, you can't be responsible for making her happy again.  You can't help her get over the relationship.  That's something she'll have to do herself.  I've found that last-ditch letter writing usually does more for the writer than the recipient.  My suggestion: Write the letter but don't send it.  It'll be good for you to vent your feelings on paper. 

As for the solitary life, don't give up so easy.  I'm 29 and just broke off an engagement.  Talk about back to square one in the dating world.  I'm happier now though, and stronger because of it, and I'm confident that I'll find a great woman one day, but I'm also not on a timeline.  Just get out there and live your life for you and enjoy yourself, focus on being a good person and a strong man, and the rest will fall into place.

Good luck,

- PK

A bit too soon for thinking your whole life will be alone but being alone is a lot better than being with the wrong person.

Sounds like you know she wasn't right and while it was a tough thing to do, you did the right thing. So now comes a couple of weeks doubting yourself, but as the person who broke it off with her, you will bounce back quicker.

 

Biggest and most important thing to remember, IT IS OVER. Don't contact her, don't send texts, no emails, no letters, nothing. Move on.

 

You said you need some improvements. So, improve yourself in the ways you already wanted to improve yourself.

 

You are not a loser because this didn't work out. You are a strong man that recognized some potential red flags and had the balls to do something about it.

 

You have had a girlfriend, you can have others. You have had a girlfriend, you aren't socially inept. You have had a girlfriend, you aren't fit for the solitary life.

 

Have a good weekend and remember the positives hoss

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