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Author Topic: Friendship request after break up?  (Read 162 times)
Tokenfam

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Relationship status: Newly separated.
Posts: 7


« on: February 12, 2024, 02:08:09 AM »

Hi all,

Quick background, break up between my ex and I. Relationship lasted 18 years.

Just wondering if there is any advice on a pwBPD requesting friendship and emotional support after a mutual break up? There was no big issue that ended us, just realising that the dynamic of our relationship was dysfunctional and we both needed to step away to gain some independence and untangle ourselves from each other. He says he still loves. I still love him too, but sometimes loves not enough.

My ex is asking for this support as he has identified that he has needs that he has to address independently.

I'm not sure what to do.

We have 18 years of a romantic relationship as history and all the ups and downs that entailed.

The relationship breakdown came after 10 + years of therapy and recently a lot of substance use on his part.
On my part, it was lack of understanding, lack of boundaries and respecting others boundaries, and my own mental health issues.

Other issues included co dependency, which highlighted his unstable sense of self and triggered something in him to start a process of individuation. He says he needed to find himself. He neglected his own needs(neither of us realised this is what he was actually doing) and prioritised mine. I thought that was him showing love only realising last year that is was a one sided relationship and a sign of unhealthy co dependency relationship.

We had an argument leading up to the split where he took off for a day and a half (not like him to do), when he got back he says he was in crisis, but I was too upset to notice and yelled about not knowing how to trust him when he doesn't do what he says he will. (He said he'd be back that night) He told me that he never imagined that I could do that to him in the 18 years we were together and now I've broken the image of myself in his head. He now says that he sees me differently.

Then there's sexual aversion he deals with. Related to freshly remembered childhood SA, he also says he thinks he may just be averse to me and wants to sleep with other people to see if that's true.  Granted my initial reaction to this was abysmal. He had been making comments about changing the dynamics and I was triggered thinking he's leaving me, feeling rejected and betrayed. I worked to understand why he'd say this and apologisied to him. I can now respect his comments came from acknowledging his own traumas and establishing boundaries for himself. Not because of me personally.

I'm personally coming to terms this being the final break up and with how unhealthy the relationship dynamic has been between us for so long and am seeking therapy to work through those things.

The only thing is, He wants to be friends now. He wants emotional support from me. He wants to be able to confide in me. Still.

I don't know if I have the skills, maturity or understanding for that, only because I feel like I'm lacking so much already. And I really need to work through identifying and establishing my own needs and boundaries right now. There's still love there, but is he asking too much?

Any suggestions on what to do would be great.
Thanks.


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tina7868
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Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 309



« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2024, 12:45:05 PM »

Hi Tokenfam  Welcome new member (click to insert in post)! Thank you for sharing your story. I am sorry about the difficult circumstances that brought you here, but glad that you opened yourself up and shared. You are amongst a community of people here who have been through relatable situations. Although everyone`s story is different, the commonalities allow us to, to a certain extent of course, `get it`.

18 years is a long time to be together. When I read your post, I can tell that you have reflected a lot and come to a level of acceptance. You`ve laid out a lot of groundwork for your own healing.

Excerpt
I don't know if I have the skills, maturity or understanding for that, only because I feel like I'm lacking so much already. And I really need to work through identifying and establishing my own needs and boundaries right now. There's still love there, but is he asking too much?

I think what you wrote here is key, and what you really need to ponder, before making your decision. You need to focus on your needs first, because you cannot be there for someone, sustainably, without having your own emotions in check.

What feels right to you?
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Tokenfam

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Relationship status: Newly separated.
Posts: 7


« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2024, 07:22:18 PM »

Thank you for your response tina7868, it's so interesting to see the commonalities of my situation reflected in others in this community. It has been quite isolating, only because I don't personally know anyone who has had to make these sort of considerations in long term bpd relationships.

It has been a very reflective time recently, acknowledging both the good and bad parts and at times emotionally exhausting.

I spoke with him today regarding moving forward and I do feel a level of acceptance for the fact that this relationship was always going to be harder than the average. There's been acceptance that we both have mental health conditions and both deserve the time and space to address these things as individuals and the fact that our history played out the way it did, not because of choices made, but because a of lack of understanding the effect mental health conditions has on a person and the partner.

Although its been a long, emotionally taxing, at times "feeling like the world as I know it is turning upside down" process, I really feel like I've come to a level of respecting the situation and accepting that neither of us wanted this, but having an unhealthy relationship is not an option either.

After the recent conversation, we have agreed to prioritize of own needs, we've agreed that any kind a reconciliation is a conversation we can have at a future date, but now is time for ourselves.
 
He shared with me that he is fighting behaviors in himself like love bombing, strategizing and leaning into codependency as an act of determination for supporting health and wellbeing. I can respect this.

I shared that I am doing boundary work and accessing my emotional and mental wellbeing and needs in respect of myself. He said he respects this.

At this moment, it feels right to step back and focus on myself. I had been really struggling with feeling like I should support him if I love him and the fact the neither of us wanted to break up. But I'm really starting to consolidate my understanding that I most likely have traumas from this relationship due to being so young when we got together and the long term duration of having an intimate romantic relationship with a pwbpd. I've started to recognise that I may have skewed views on love and what healthy relationships look like.

He has so much more understanding than me on why this was important to address. He is very self aware to his condition and behaviours and is highly intelligent in his own right.

But ultimately, after alot of processing feelings of abandonment, rejection and feeling unwanted, I've gained some perspective of respecting the difference between wants and needs. And also that just because you want something, does not mean its good for you.

I'm feeling content here at this moment,  thank you for the insight.
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Pook075
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Gender: Male
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
Relationship status: Married but Separated
Posts: 895


« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2024, 07:51:46 PM »

Hi Tokenfam!

A few questions.

1) How long ago did you break up?  I'm asking because if this is really recent, it could be too soon for you to re-engage with healthy boundaries.

2) Do you want to be his friend and/or support right now?  I'm asking this because the choice is ultimately yours and yours alone.  He doesn't get a say in that.
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Tokenfam

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Relationship status: Newly separated.
Posts: 7


« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2024, 08:20:52 PM »

Hi Pook075, this is exactly what I was trying to figure out!

1) How long ago did you break up?  I'm asking because if this is really recent, it could be too soon for you to re-engage with healthy boundaries.

We broke up roughly a month ago. Yes, this seemed to be the issue at hand. Navigating how to re engage with healthy boundaries or even if it was too much to re engage on any level at all.
Its been messy as we have tried in different ways to re engage over the last month but there is so much to unpack.
Everytime we would try talk, or hang out or be social as friends it would always end in hurt feelings and frustrations.

We both have acknowledged that although this would be ideal, it wasn't working.

[/quote]
2) Do you want to be his friend and/or support right now?  I'm asking this because the choice is ultimately yours and yours alone.  He doesn't get a say in that.
[/quote]

I know that being his friend right now feels like being demoted from partner, and the intimate aspects of a romantic relationship are no longer accessible. I cant see this as anything but a loss at the moment.

This is what I initially couldn't get over. I've told him this and he also asked me if he was asking to much of me.

I got some awesome advice earlier that said
"Nothing is black and white. Life happens in the grey. He needs to put his own needs first however that doesn't mean that he can't support you through your challenges, as long as he doesn't neglect his own needs. That's the grey. For you, don't expect him to carry you, let him love you and be your biggest cheerleader. These are healthy boundaries."

Reflecting on that made me question my attitude towards no friendship.

Honestly I would love if we got to that point, but as you said, it's my choice, and I'm really trying to step into prioritising my needs first. But Im at a place where I feel I need to step back from him and focus on myself for awhile.
[/quote]
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SinisterComplex
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Gender: Male
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Relationship status: Broken Up
Posts: 1164



« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2024, 11:38:33 PM »

Hi Pook075, this is exactly what I was trying to figure out!

We broke up roughly a month ago. Yes, this seemed to be the issue at hand. Navigating how to re engage with healthy boundaries or even if it was too much to re engage on any level at all.
Its been messy as we have tried in different ways to re engage over the last month but there is so much to unpack.
Everytime we would try talk, or hang out or be social as friends it would always end in hurt feelings and frustrations.

We both have acknowledged that although this would be ideal, it wasn't working.


2) Do you want to be his friend and/or support right now?  I'm asking this because the choice is ultimately yours and yours alone.  He doesn't get a say in that.


I know that being his friend right now feels like being demoted from partner, and the intimate aspects of a romantic relationship are no longer accessible. I cant see this as anything but a loss at the moment.

This is what I initially couldn't get over. I've told him this and he also asked me if he was asking to much of me.

I got some awesome advice earlier that said
"Nothing is black and white. Life happens in the grey. He needs to put his own needs first however that doesn't mean that he can't support you through your challenges, as long as he doesn't neglect his own needs. That's the grey. For you, don't expect him to carry you, let him love you and be your biggest cheerleader. These are healthy boundaries."

Reflecting on that made me question my attitude towards no friendship.

Honestly I would love if we got to that point, but as you said, it's my choice, and I'm really trying to step into prioritising my needs first. But Im at a place where I feel I need to step back from him and focus on myself for awhile.


"But Im at a place where I feel I need to step back from him and focus on myself for awhile." - This is the most important part of your response. Cut yourself some slack. Give the time to yourself and take the pressure away. There is nothing wrong with focusing on YOU. Even if you were someone to say something along the lines of being selfish...you are not being selfish and do not let that thought process enter your mind. You are being responsible for you and focusing on what is best for YOU.

After some time passes and you allow yourself to grieve and heal and you feel more comfortable mentally and emotionally you can choose to re-engage at that time. At that time you will engaging coming from a place of power and not a place of weakness and desperation.

Cheers and Best Wishes!

-SC-
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Through Adversity There is Redemption!
Caesar46

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
Relationship status: Single
Posts: 7


« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2024, 05:54:55 PM »

Mine loves doing that too. She always plays to friendship card. I fall for it once and it was torture so dont fall my friend.

Friendship benefits them because they know we love them. Its like having a one sided relationship. They take and take but dont have give anything back especially intimacy.

Dont fall for it!
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