I have recently experienced the ending of an extremely intense 6 month relationship.
My now ex-girlfriend, 20, and I were involved for 6 months. The relationship was very intense, particularly in the last few months - we went on an amazing holiday, lived together for a few weeks and spent almost every night and many days together.
After around 3 months, she told me that she loved me. I felt a deep connection to her but was unsure that it was love. She would refer to me as her “soulmate", tell me that she wanted to spend her life with me (during particularly emotional times i.e. after sex), wishfully discussed our future lives and said, in all seriousness, that she would want to move to Australia with me after university. She even stated that she would be uncertain about an abortion if she were to become pregnant. She discussed our Christmas together later in the year and our children in ten years.
Now, I was concerned about her suitability for a long-term relationship, given that she cheated on her ex-bf – she explained that they didn’t see one another frequently enough due to university separation and that, after a year of only once monthly visits, she got bored and fell out of love with, and cheated on him.
What compounded my doubts was her saying that she hadn’t felt guilty about this ending because she didn't love him anymore, despite her knowledge that he loved her still. She also said that she often wondered whether he had been the love of her life, but later on in our relationship said that she had never had a connection with him such as we had.
She adored sex (and was highly promiscuous when younger), is a middle adult child of divorce – her father cheated on several partners including her mother – and has gone to university to study drama, with the aim of becoming an actress (not that this is indicative of anything necessarily but could be symptomatic of a need for attention in certain cases).
After 6 incredible months together, we both departed for university. We discussed ending things but agreed that we wanted to try a distance relationship as we couldn’t bear the thought. She did, however, say that she was “terrified of messing things up” and recreating past “self-sabotaging behaviours” but couldn’t imagine doing that to me. She said that she was afraid that I might meet someone, a medic (my course) with whom she could not compete, but trusted me “with her life”.
During our time apart, she initially spoke of her excitement over seeing me in the coming weeks, seeing me for Christmas and passionately expressed her love – “I don’t think you’ll ever understand how much I love you”, “you’re my world”, “I miss your mind, body and soul” – although I think she was made more emotional by alcohol on several of these occasions. I received several drunken phone calls during which she stated that she was desperate for things to work, that she wanted/felt she needed me to be there to reassure her, that she missed me a great deal and loved me intensely. However, when I called during the day, I received the same luke-warm reactions I would upon initial face-to-face encounter. Within days of this, by around 3 weeks of separation, she had stopped making any effort to contact me and I would not receive responses to messages/phone calls for 24 hours.
I visited her days later. She became slightly teary upon seeing me but then proceeded to more or less ignore me, to show next to no enthusiasm for my presence (almost annoyance), to text her new friends in front of me and to say that she didn't have the “emotional capacity” to make our relationship work alongside her time-demanding course. She was largely dispassionate the entire time we discussed this – showing almost no emotion as she suggested a break. After me asking whether something had happened, she admitted that she had been invited back to another guy's house and had slept in his bed, cuddling all night, but swore in an impassioned manner that nothing more intimate had happened. Whether I believe her, I have no idea.
It turned out that she had been flirtatiously texting this guy in front of me the entire time I was there – suggesting she would visit him during the Summer and telling him how awkward things had become with us. Even as we ended things she picked up the phone to text him. Furthermore, the only enthusiasm she showed was when he responded to a message.
She made me promise that we could revisit things at Christmas or at some stage in the near future, we had sex and then I mentioned some of my most treasured memories of our time together, resulting in a great many tears on her part. She couldn’t bring herself to say “goodbye” to me and closed with “I’ll see you soon”. It seemed so odd considering her cold and unconcerned attitude just hours earlier.
During our relationship, she would rarely show great enthusiasm and was extremely laid back, like myself. A typical evening might involve a luke-warm reception (no smile or hug unless instigated by me) and somewhat difficult conversation to which I would contribute the majority of the impetus. Gradually, the level of intimacy and affection would increase – a kiss, cuddling on the sofa, sex and then intimate conversation. If we parted in the morning, the next visit would proceed similarly. We never fought and she rarely showed any anger, hating confrontation. She would show annoyance and impatience but denied ever feeling jealousy.
She seemed to be very loving and affectionate during the right moments i.e. watching a movie/in bed/after sex (particularly during the latter stages) but could also be disinterested and condescending. She could also be quite selfish - "forgetting her wallet", buying expensive items despite owing me money that I was in need of etc.
She said that before she met me she found it very difficult to open up to people emotionally, even to her previous boyfriend of 2 years, and had never discussed her previous issues surrounding eating disorders, her parents’ divorce and her issues with self-image (she was very conscious of her weight and looks and had previously suffered from an eating disorder).
She often said that she thought of herself as an individual, not needing to be part of a group and not wanting to depend on people and made a fierce show of being independent.
She frequently said that she wished we had met after university/that she wanted a future with me, due to her propensity to engage in "self-sabotaging behaviours" – cheating, promiscuity in younger days, drug taking and going out drinking - and was scared of ruining our relationship. She also frequently said that she was afraid that I was going to meet someone at university.
But at the same time, she said that, since being at university, she rarely thought of me. She immediately started “seeing” the guy she shared a bed with after we parted.
How is it that she could have moved on (new partner & seeming so happy)/given up on a relationship of such apparent intensity so quickly?
When I received midnight phone calls saying how she "so wanted it to work" and how she was "so afraid" I was going to meet someone, was this an indication that she was grieving for the relationship, subconsciously knowing it wouldn't work, hence her apparent quick recovery?
Or is she just finding it very easy to ignore the situation (hence the emotion shown when I was actually present) - she said she rarely thinks of home and doesn't miss it, wouldn't rather be anywhere else than her dream current university etc. – drama, leading to a career in acting.
I’m not sure whether she feels love to a limited extent, hence the quick recovery/loss of interest, or has an ability to just “go cold” on partners? Neither of these seems to explain how she stayed with, and stayed faithful to, her last bf (who she apparently had nothing near the same connection with and doubted her love for) for a year, despite only seeing one another once a month. I believe that we would still be together had it not been for her going to university (even if I had) so could it just be the lack of a familiar support network – new environment, new people, new challenges, new stresses etc. meaning a heightened desire for a new partner?
Does she just like the novel? Is this a grass is greener situation? Or was our relationship just a honeymoon situation? Did she ever actually love me – to a normal extent or to her own capacity for such a feeling?