Tuesday 21 November 2017

Dear Mary: How could my partner dump me without even giving me a reason?

How could my partner dump me without even giving me a reason?
How could my partner dump me without even giving me a reason?
Illustration: Tom Halliday

Mary O'Connor

I'm a bit low right now as my partner of eight months broke up with me with no reason or explanation - he even said he had no answers himself.

It came as a huge shock to me. I've never felt this hurt before as he was the first man I've ever truly loved and felt comfortable with and he said he felt the same about me.

In fact every day he told me he loved and adored me. I had a bad marriage but I have four wonderful kids, now grown up - my youngest is 14.

We already knew each other for a few years but then we fell in love. He said he always fancied me, even wanted to marry me. We spoke of how our wedding would be. He always texted me from work, sending me lovely messages.

He told me he never felt this way when he was married.

He had a relationship a few years before me and said I was the best woman who came into his life. He never had kids.

Out of the blue one day he was very down - he didn't know why. He went home - there were no hugs, kisses or "I love you", and I thought he needed space but I texted him later that night to check on him. He said he wanted to stay away for a bit as he wasn't in a good place. I rang asking why he needed a break from me.

He had no answer, not even face to face. He only said he wasn't feeling the same any more. I'm heartbroken and miss him. This was two weeks ago. My family and his are in shock as they thought we were for life - his sister said she had never seen him so happy.

I'm 53 and he is 60 and so young looking. He is also divorced. How could a person fall out of love so quickly?

Mary replies: I don't think somebody could fall out of love that quickly if circumstances remain the same. So, for instance, if you had a big row and nasty things were said, or if he found out that you have been lying about something major then his feelings might well change.

But to go from being madly in love with you to not wanting to see you again doesn't make sense.

It is only natural that you come with history given your ages and you have probably shared a lot of this history with each other.

So it is more than likely that you would be aware of anything that was worrying him in relation to his ex wife, or his ex girlfriend.

Other areas of his life such as health - he may have had a bad diagnosis about something - money or news about a family member could be making him anxious.

But once again I don't see why he couldn't have shared this with you.

Did he ever suffer from depression? When people say they are in a bad place it is usually to do with their mental state, and in some people's eyes there seems to be somewhat of a stigma attached to mental illness such as depression.

I realise that you have been in touch with his sister and surely she would know if he had previously battled with depression, but perhaps he didn't tell anybody or it may be the first time he has experienced it.

Another possibility is SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) which is a type of depression that affects people usually in the autumn when there is less light and therefore the level of serotonin which regulates their mood is reduced.

After eight months of a fairly intense relationship, you deserve more than to be cut off without a word.

I think it would be only right if you were to keep the lines of communication open with him.

A letter - not a text - to him explaining your feelings and telling him you are still there and willing to hear from him when he is ready to talk to you may give him the courage to tell you what is really going on.

Some time ago I published a letter from a man who kept ending his relationships because he knew at some point he would have to take his partners home to meet his parents.

He was ashamed of what they would find as his father was an alcoholic and his mother acted very strangely.

Not one of the girls involved with him ever suspected the truth of what was really going on when he ended the relationships.

I use this example to illustrate that sometimes it is what we least expect that is the reason for a loved one's strange behaviour.

I do hope that things get resolved, and at the very least you get some explanation from him as to what caused him to cut himself off from you.

I'm terrified, but I feel  I'm too old to come out

Q. I am a 22-year-old man who is unable to come out about my sexuality.

I spent 12 months in a relationship with the most amazing person ever. He got me through an exceptionally difficult part of my life but, because I was never able to come out and he lived in London while I lived in Dublin, I never asked him to commit.

Eventually the inevitable happened and he met somebody else and we agreed to go our separate ways.

It's now been almost four months since we spoke and I miss him every day. We had become best friends as much as everything else.

I'm terrified of this happening to me again but I feel as though I've become too old to come out. On top of this, I know my parents would have an issue with it too.

I'm just looking for your advice.

Mary replies: I have witnessed men taking years to come out - for instance, waiting for their parents to die - and I have always been struck by how sad that was.

A large part of who they were was kept a secret and nobody, particularly not the men themselves, benefited from this.

So at 22 you are certainly not too old to come out and you should look on your email to me as your first step.

My advice is to come out as soon as possible, but choose the people to whom you first come out very carefully.

You feel your parents would have a problem with it, but bear in mind that all parents want above all for their children to be happy.

They may well wish that you were not gay as they can see possible difficulties ahead for you, but surely they will want you to be true to yourself?

As you haven't come out to anybody you have not been able to share your feelings around the break-up of what seems to have been a wonderful relationship.

That must have been very difficult for you, and when you are coming out to your parents, I suggest you speak to them one at a time.

You will be then able to tell them about him and how you have suffered.

This will give them an insight into your world while at the same time allowing them to help you get over your loss.

If for some reason they are unable to accept you as you are, then there are many others who will and will be there to support you.

The Gay Switchboard Helpline is open seven days a week at 01-8721055, and ask@gayswitchboard provides email support.

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