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She Messed Up Her Relationship. How To Fix It? Is It Too Late?

Updated on April 9, 2010

Dear Veronica

I am impressed by the advice you've given and wish that I stumbled on it earlier. I was in a similar situation as Marla recently. We are in early 30's and broke up about a 1 1/2 yr ago because he thought we weren't compatible long term but realized he was wrong. After about 7 months of being apart, we eventually got back together with the first 9 months being fantastic until I began pressuring (he had not thought about engagement when I brought it up but we'd talked about future, kids, met parents, etc, him not thinking about it made me freak out). Btw, he moves very slowly, he kept telling me he wanted to be with me and for me to be patient. We began arguing over stupid things, etc. A t the time, I also lost my job and didn't realize how much that put my focus on him. He had been unhappy and he ended it 2 weeks ago. When we broke up he said I'm not happy and I don't love you (even though two days earlier he said he loved me). I've realized that it's been my fault and I was putting my needs and focus on him, etc, when other parts of my life was not where I wanted it to be. I also realized that I had 'baggage' from the last breakup and that I was testing him to see if he was going to change his mind after we started talking about engagement. This time around before I began pressuring he had been committed and there wasn't any reason why I should have doubted him (except for my baggage from the other time around). I recently sent him an email explaining all of this and apologizing because I think I should have treated him better and he didn't understand why I was acting the way I did. It's been such a painful lesson because we are perfect in so many ways and I do think we both thought we were each other's one. I am completely devastated--mostly because I realized what huge mistakes I made. I've come into a lot of clarity in the last couple weeks and grown up quite a bit. He has not responded to my email at all (it's been 3 days). Is there anything to do once the pressure is out there and I think he ended it in part because of that. I really want to make amends and there are so many things I want to do differently now if we are together again. I would be grateful for any advice you may have. Thanks in advance.


Dear Amanda,

Thanks so much for reading me, and for trusting me with your specific situation.

I must say, I'm truly impressed by how clear you are. And how you've really stepped up and owned it all. Seems like your Rites of Passage brought a lot of focus and clear thinking for you, which is wonderful.

Pressuring someone into marriage commitments often turns out the way your relationship did. Taking a step that huge that should involve the entire rest of your life is a tremendous decision. It's not just about love, it's about self awareness, security. It's about how a person feels regarding the path they are on, and every branch of that from wanting or not wanting kids, to loving or hating your job. It puts all of your dreams on the line, and magnifies all of your insecurities. The decision to marry can't be forced. And pushing someone into making a decision they are not ready or not able to make can only ruin your relationship with that person. They don't see you as a partner, and why would they. They see you as demanding, unsympathetic, needy and controlling. They see your disregard for their feelings. They see your behavior as the shadow of things to come with you. Most likely, they imagined a life partner who'd be a friend and companion as well as a lover. You aren't any of those things when you are demonstrating intolerance.

What you're doing

I've often said throughout many hubs, that actions speak louder than words when it comes to the men. It is very common that they can't articulate what they feel, fear and want. And it is also common that even if they can, they just don't. So it's always important to watch what they do.

For example, if he's saying he doesn't want to talk about marriage yet, but he's opened a joint savings account with you to put some cash aside for the wedding or a house, then that's a very major indicator that he IS planning his future with you, even if he's not ready to talk about it.

Consequently, if he's saying, "Oh yeah, I'm gonna marry you, babe. Someday." And he continues to party away all extra cash, doesn't tell his family or friends about you, doesn't share any responsibilities with you like rent or a bank account... he's telling you with his actions that he is not planning any future with you as of this moment.

Amanda, you have to put this logic in reverse. Since for most guys actions speak louder than words, you have to realize that what they see you do speaks much louder to them than what you are saying.

Your words of remorse and insight are beautiful, and admirable. I was blown away by your email. However, for him, it's not going to have that impact. He's going to cycle that into what he's "heard" before. He still sees you in his mind's eye through the behaviors and fights he's remembering.

Writing him these emails, leaving messages, trying to "talk" is all a woman's way. But it is not his way. And it's not going to get you anywhere. All you're doing with these emails is confirming for him that you're obsessed with him and this relationship, that you aren't a whole person, that you're dependent and needy.

Your ex went through his Rites of Passage/Saturn Return which has brought him clarity, too. You're not the only one seeing things clearly now. He clearly ended all ties with you stating he does not love you. He could not have been clearer. I realize you want to temper that with what he's said before. But you have to see what he did there. He made a clean break. He left you with no hope. After doing so, he gets this long email from you. It doesn't matter what it said. All it "says" to him is that you don't listen. You're the same unhappy person, pushing him to do something he is clearly telling you he doesn't want to do. 

Amanda, this must stop.

What you should be doing

It is my opinion that when you're needy and obsessed you repel the partner you seek.

You aren't needy and obsessed. So make a conscious effort not to act like you are. You said you weren't happy with other aspects of your life. You lost your job, you have some personal stuff going on there. Focus on that. I'm serious. Take a couple classes, take yoga, apply to some different part time jobs so you can get a mix of different things while you're seeking your dream job. Read. Dance. Make plans with your girlfriends. Reconnect with some high school or college buddies. Go to Happy Hour, go to a poetry reading. Sing Karaoke. Break old habits and enjoy new things. You think I'm kidding, but I am dead serious. Your new found clarity has to manifest into your physical life before it makes a difference.

Do this for you.

You have to love yourself and like yourself before anyone else is going to love or like you. You have to become a whole person again. You have to let this heal, and close. And end. You have to move forward.

And I will let you in on a little secret. Months and months from now, maybe even a year or two from now, you could bump into him. Word could be getting back to him. And when he SEES that you have grown and that you're this independent vivacious strong fun-loving woman, he will see you with different eyes.

There is a possibility you two can reconvene. But I guarantee you it will not be because you continued beating the past to death. If it happens it will only be because you let go and moved on, and he saw you for the whole, insightful and beautiful person you really are.

Got a question?

Want my opinion on your relationship dilemma? Ask me, like Amanda did. Send me an email through my profile. I'll do my best to help.


Submit a Comment
  • Veronica profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from NY


    Thanks for your comment. I wish you the best of luck maintaining balance, and not being possessive.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    i totally agree with you veronica with the respond you wrote for amanda. I was in the same situation with her as I closed myself and focused in the relationship forgetting about me and same way that I took my job for granted and worst my children became 2nd priority. Mine is a long distance relationship, we are both came from far away continents but we maintain an everday communication via the internet and mobile but I became so possessive, doubtful and insecure about myself that this also as he expressed to me suffocating him and that he said im pushing him away from me.. im aware that my intention is good but its not going the right way. Until only recently as I discovered hub and read articles on relationship especially long distance once, i am able to turn things around by being the old me as how he put it he wants the "me" that he knows. I am back to my old self and our relationship is saved. I see him to be more happier and committed with me, though I don't hear him say the words "i love you" but indeed, "action speaks louder than words" sure there will still be occassional brawls but it wont be as same as before.... by reading your article veronica, i can relate...

  • Veronica profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from NY


    I'm not hearing the part where you screwed up. I don't usually believe the "someone else is using my computer/profile/photos" excuse. You had every reason to react. The fact that he won't talk or answer texts sounds like guilt to me.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    HI, ive screwed up, i met a guy and we were going ok, he admitted he was crap at communication, which i discovered afew time! He works long hours, is a solo dad- which takes up a lot of his time. Someone used his profile on a dating site where we met and i assumed it was him- mm making shitty comments and now he's pissed as at me. Wont talk to me answer txt, calls. I don't no what to do :( HELP

  • De Greek profile image

    De Greek 

    9 years ago from UK

    Girls, perhaps if you get a man's point of view you may be surprised..

    Good effor Veronica

  • Veronica profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from NY

    thanks shelia b.

    I think it's rare, I know of a couple, but they were definitely the exceptions. It is also rare for the person who messed up to see it so clearly and own it, like in Amanda's case. I am curious too. I wish the best for her, whatever that is.

  • sheila b. profile image

    sheila b. 

    9 years ago

    Such good advice. I wonder how many couples who break up ever get back together successfully? I don't happen to know of any, so I am curious as to whether it's possible.

  • Veronica profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from NY


    Again, I'm just so totally impressed. You've really got your head on straight and I applaud you.

    Anyone can mess up, but it takes a special person to figure it out and move forward with the lessons learned. You are going to be just fine, I'm sure of it.

    Writing that email to him was cathartic, and it was good for you to do. Like you said, you stated things you hadn't before and it reflects the turn you made in your head. Hopefully he will read it, and "see" it, if not now, than one day. You're right - it was very important for you to say the things you did in that email. Sigh... give it some time.

    You're already on the path I was pointing at. This is such great news. Please accept my pat on the back, and keep going. The healing, the new activities, the fun, the happy you - this is so good and I promise you, when you are healed and whole and happy, you will attract the right person. Maybe it's him, and maybe it's not. But either way, it'll be great.

    As far as his stuff goes, I have a theory about that. I think he probably doesn't know what to do. He wants to end things, and was adamant because of that, but now he's afraid that even seeing you for those few moments is going to be horrible. So he's stuck. If I were you, I'd hang on to all the stuff. Obviously if he calls or has a friend call, obey his wishes and meet up or drop off or whatever he asks. But if he doesn't, hang on to the pile until you feel whole and happy and healed. THAT WILL NOT BE NEXT MONTH. Understand? I mean, really wait. And when you are absolutely fabulous, when you have regained your independence, dignity, harmony, smiles and center, call him. Keep it fast, and short, and light and bright. VM or live, your side should go something like this - "Hi! So cool to hear your voice! Listen I am rushing out the door right now, but I wanted to let you know I will be at ABC restaurant (or cafe or bookstore or whatever) on Tuesday at 8pm, if you wanted to meet me to get your stuff I can have it in the car with me if you'd like. Take care!" - It's important that you sound super-happy, and busy. Like, you're not looking to have a big talk. That's why a restaurant, especially if you can pick something where your friends will be so you aren't alone.

    This part is important. If he does make the date to pick his stuff up, you HAVE to keep it light. Smile, sound interested in anything he says, tell him happy stuff about you, but do NOT get into the heaviness.

    This is the first impression of the new you. It can not be heavy and it can not be submersed in old you. Even if he tries to go there, - you stop him. You smile, you shake your head you touch his arm and say, "It's in the past. It's behind us. Let's not talk about it." Believe me if you mend you will talk about it. But not on that first new night. Let him see only dynamic you. When he says he's got to go, you say, "OK! Bye!" Be light and airy, and easy to be around. If there's anything real left between you, he will pick up the ball and make the next move.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    Thank you so much for your response. I agree with everything you said and I have been doing things to get on with my life (including takng classes, doing volunteering work, going out with friends, etc). I just haven't stopped thinking about my mistakes. I have not contacted him at all since the break up. I wrote him the one email apologzing etc because it was nothing I had ever said before. Before, when we argued I essentially blamed him for everything or 'explained' my actions. It wasn't until the last few weeks that I realized that it was me. I completely understand what you said about trying to 'talk' as the woman's way and that I should observe his actions--that's what I should have done months ago. I had sent it because I felt so terrible that I ruined 'us' and that I hurt him in the process (which is why I initially wrote the email). I'm having a hard time forgiving myself. Forgiving him is easy. Lastly, at the time of break up, he was adamant about exchanging things that week but never contacted me. Not sure what to do about that either. Thanks again for your response.


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