How do I [F 26] stop feeling guilty about breaking up with boyfriend [M 32]?

It’s been 3 months since it all happened. I was fine at first but it’s been really hard emotionally and mentally this month. I always get this sadness and guilt overcome me. So badly I can’t sleep at night and I just cry for hours – I constantly feel like a bad person.

I feel guilty that I broke up with him because “something was missing” – I couldn’t pinpoint what it was, I couldn’t explain it, something just wasn’t there. He was the best boyfriend and did everything anyone could do, but it would always not be good enough for me and expected more and more and more. I felt bad that I couldn’t give him 100% of my love so decided to break things off because it wasn’t fair on him. He said he didn’t mind but that killed me inside. He definitely deserves a girl who loves him with all of their heart and I felt like I couldn’t give him that.

Sometimes I question whether I gave up too early? – we were dating for over 2.5 years. I feel like I didn’t treat him well enough when we were together, I didn’t appreciate him enough. I feel guilty that I can’t reciprocate the love that he had for me – why couldn’t I have just accepted it.

I want to reach out to him to make sure he’s ok but that would be very selfish of me because if there’s no hope, what’s the point in showing care, he’s probably just trying to move on.

I feel so trapped and lost. I hate this feeling. I don’t know what to do. I know I am being self destructive but I don’t know how to stop. I am literally going crazy.

TL;dr how to stop feeling guilty about breaking up with boyfriend

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  1. Relationships are supposed to make both people feel better. If yours wasn’t doing that, then it wasn’t right for either of you. And just because you couldn’t love him when he loved you doesn’t make you bad in any way, it just makes you two wrong for each other. When it’s right, you don’t have to try to love someone. And if you don’t love someone, that’s just the way it usually is with most people you get to know.

  2. This sounds so difficult, I’m sorry you’re going through this.

    My advice to you is that you don’t need a whole catalogue of long logical reasons to justify breaking up with someone. The relationship just not feeling ‘right’ – even if you can’t quite put your finger on why – is a good enough reason. What helped me get over feelings of guilt at being the instigator of a break-up was the thought that my ex-partner deserved someone who felt completely right with them, where *nothing* was missing in the relationship. Where the person they’re with doesn’t feel like they just need to ‘accept’ the love rather than reciprocate it. And that I deserved that too.

    That being said, I do think that the time after break-ups can be so useful in figuring out who you are and what makes you happy (and as a part of that, what you want in your next relationship). Surround yourself with people you love. Do things which bring you joy, and scope out new things to try. Try to find that balance between allowing yourself to sit in your emotions of sadness and guilt, and picking yourself up and trying to distract yourself from it. One of my closest friends got really into intricate baking after a major break-up a few months ago – if now’s not the time to pick up an eccentric hobby, when is?

    It might also be worth looking into therapy. I know that’s such a trope on here, but you mention self-destructive patterns and feeling out of control, and even though you don’t go into detail it might be worth feeling out professional help.

    I hope things work out for you. Take care of yourself.

  3. You didn’t provide much information on why you broke up with him. It seems you were no longer emotionally attracted to him. And since he didn’t reach out to you, it makes you start to question your decision. It’s that strange uncertainty. What is he doing? What if he is having a good time without me?

    What have you been missing in your relationship? You said you didn’t treat him well enough. That’s because you didn’t respect him enough. And if you don’t respect someone, you don’t feel attracted to them. Something in his behavior turned you off.

  4. Girl, many years ago I was you. I was in almost an identical situation. The guy I was with was truly an awesome person but he just wasn’t “the one”.

    Here’s the thing, all the pain your feeling, it is a testament to your heart and your sacrifice. You knew this wasn’t the relationship for you long term, and even though it’s incredibly painful for you, you ended it to allow your ex and yourself to find someone who is the partner you both need in your lives. What you did was selfless, it was thoughtful and it came from a place of love and caring even if it feels like the opposite at the moment.

    You’ve done the right thing, it’s just going to suck for awhile and unfortunately there’s no fixing it.

    For the record, my ex who I split with in similar circumstances is happy, engaged with two children and I am happy, with my long-term partner who I plan to spend the rest of my life with. You’ll get through this, you just need to be strong for now.

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