Alright, so I'm trying to figure out where I went wrong with my now ex-girlfriend. This might be a little long-winded but bear with me; I figure I can't expect any realistic advice if I start sparing details.
She and I had been really good friends for two years, we met at work (we're both in the military). When we met she was newly married and expecting a child and over the course of our two-year friendship we became really close; she considered me her best friend and could tell me anything and I thought of her similarly. I think the fact that she was married allowed us to develop this friendship without sex getting in the way; I would never try to steal another man's girl and she isn't the type to leave her husband for another man. So that's how it started-we were two really good friends and both of us considered it completely platonic; and I was more interested in being a single guy who was free to casually date, pining for a married woman was low on my priorities list.
And then I had to leave to go to do some pre-deployment training. We kept in touch every day, either through texts or phone calls. Over the course of those two months of training, she and her husband separated; they had been having problems and she finally gave him the boot back to his parents when she found out he cheated on her. Shortly after their separation, she started seeing someone else, which she told me when I was towards the end of my training. I told her I was happy for her if she was happy. And then a couple weeks after that I was deployed. Over the course of the deployment I was only able to send off a couple emails to her and make a couple phone calls. In one of the emails, she said she had broken up with her boyfriend because it had got too serious too fast and she was trying to get through a divorce, understandable in my book. But while I was gone, we had grown to miss each other deeply and we couldn't wait to see each other when I got back home. I was starting to suspect that I cared for her much more than just as a platonic friend. Soon enough I was back home and coincidentally, she had been visiting family right around the time I was making my way back to the states. So we ended up flying back towards our home station on the same night. We decided to go out for dinner and drinks to allow us to catch up and go have some fun. Towards the end of the night, we had both had a considerable amount to drink and she started to spill her guts, saying that she wanted to be with me and thought about me every day while I was gone and that she loved me. As much as I cared for her and did want to be with her at this point, I had the presence of mind to cool things off and call it a night. If I was going to be with this girl, I wanted to do it right. Getting drunk and having sex after not seeing each other for months just didn't seem right. A few days pass and we make plans to hang out again, so I go to her house. This time sober, she starts having the same conversation with me. We talked for a couple hours and both decided that we wanted to be with each other.
So we start dating. And it was great. The two-year friendship we had was a strong foundation for a relationship and I couldn't have been happier. Eventually the time rolls around for me to decide what to do with my career and I have the option to go take off and do a special assignment, which would have me leave by the end of the year. She and I talked about it and she made it clear that she wasn't ready for me to go leave again so soon. I told her I felt the same but we left it at that for the moment, opting to take some more time to think about it. We talked about me leaving a few more times and eventually she brought up marriage. My first gut reaction was that marriage was too quick; primarily because she has still yet to finalize her divorce and secondly, even though we had been so close for so long, the relationship part of it all was still relatively new (about four months old). And that isn't to say that I don't want to marry her (or that she was suggesting getting married right away), I had never considered marriage before her and love her more than anyone else I've been with; I just wanted to make sure she got her life in order first. So decision time keeps approaching and I decide to delay my assignment for a year, which would give us more time together before I would have to leave and give her more time to square her stuff away. She and I were happy with the decision and excited about the prospect of being able to be together for longer before I took off again. About 2 weeks after this, she suddenly goes distant (what I mean by this is all the sweet texts she would send me and all the time we spent together suddenly vanishes). Everyone needs their space (God knows I do), so I didn't think anything of it at first. But when one day turned into 2 weeks, I asked her what was up and if everything was ok. She seemed to brush the question off with a quick yes and shot me a look as if to say "why would you even ask". I left it at that but walked away still bothered by how things were going. So I approached the topic again the next day and kept pushing for an answer and she responded by saying I was being ridiculous and that I put too much pressure on her. I told her I thought it was ridiculous to go from so hot to so cold overnight and to go from talking about the future to not talking at all, to which she responded by saying that just because we talked about the future didn't mean it was going to happen. Then I asked her if she still loved me and wanted to be with me. She said nothing had changed but she just wanted to take a break. We left it at that but never seemed to recover. At first it was hard to hear that she wanted to take a break but after I had accepted that, I was just trying to be there as her friend, and she didn't even seem to want that. Our conversations became dominated by whether or not she wanted to continue this and whether or not I was being overbearing. This continued for a couple weeks before she broke up with me. She said she wanted to be with someone who could just "go with the flow" and who was confident and doesn't need reassurance all the time. I'm not quite sure what the "go with the flow" thing means but no matter how many spontaneous trips we would go on or how many times I tried to surprise her with something sweet, that apparently doesn't fit the bill. And that was the first time in my life someone said I wasn't confident; in fact, most women I've been with have said they were attracted to my confidence. As far as needing reassurance, maybe I had pushed too hard for this and that's what pushed her away completely but I had never needed reassurance with her until she seemed to turn into a stranger. I don't think it was ridiculous to want reassurance in that situation but at this point, I don't know anymore.
I'm at a loss for how we could go from being so happy and talking about the future to nothing in a few short weeks. Her friends tell me that she's just so used to being with assholes that she doesn't know what to do with a good guy when she finds him. Even though that provides a little bit of comfort I'm not really satisfied with that--1) because I don't think it's fair to just pigeonhole the whole situation into "it's just her not being able to appreciate the great guy you are" and 2) she deserves a say too and if there's some truth in what she said, then I don't want to make the same mistake twice. Sorry for the abridged version of War and Peace. Any thoughts on where the hell I went wrong would be greatly appreciated.
I'm starting to see that I probably did dodge a bullet, as much as I hate to admit that about someone I still love and care deeply for. If not for the inconsistent way in which she treated me but also, as you point out, in her willingness to seek emotional security outside of her marriage. You're absolutely right, marriage (I'm sure) comes with its own bag of tough times (especially in the military) and I probably want to end up with someone who's willing to work out issues with me instead of looking towards someone else.
You're probably right here; I only have three options. And since what I've been doing (pushing) ended miserably and I'm not sure I'm ready to just go back to being friends, I should probably just look out for myself after this one and move on.
That kind of thing really hurts. I'm going to agree with what Charles, Jess, and Rick are saying.
In this case, it sounds to me like her friends are giving you sound counsel. She was married and expecting when the two of you became friends, then was separated about two years later, entered another relationship, and then shortly afterward broke that one off because it was getting too serious.
Then the two of you got involved romantically. And after another fairly short time (@ 4 months, right?), she brings up marriage and would rather you delay a career decision. After a spell, she becomes distant, and eventually ends the relationship.
In as supportive a way as possible, brother, it sounds like she's not able to handle a relationship. My advice is to get your emotional wounds stitched up and take some time to heal. I wouldn't reach out to her, which may be very difficult for you, if you've felt as strongly about her as it sounds.
From what you've said, it sounds like you have made honorable decisions throughout this friendship and romance. You've done what you can, and had the fortitude to resist rash decisions. I hope this helps, and that you can eventually put it aside so that you'll be ready for the woman who is a better match for you.
Yes, 4 months. But I hope I didn't make it sound like she wanted to get married right away because that wasn't the case, we were seeing that as years down the line. And I also hope I didn't make it sound like she was pushing me to delay my career move because that wasn't the case either. She expressed that she wanted more time with me before I left and didn't want to see me go so soon; the decision was one that we came to together but ultimately it was mine to make. But yes, shortly after that decision she became distant and we quickly went downhill from there.
And yes, you're right, it is pretty hellish not reaching out to her. I'm glad I have a job that keeps me busy to keep my mind off her. And I'm glad I found a community like this one to help regain some sanity. Thanks for the advice.