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I'm trying to figure out the best way to approach this situation:

I broke up with my 2.5 year girlfriend two days ago. We both knew something was coming, but she didn't expect me to bring closure or bring it up now. Essentially, I asked why she was with me, and after hearing her (inadequate reason) answer, I answered (with even more inadequate answers).

She is 38 and has dealt with some rather severe depression since 27. (This was one of my three reasons: I did not want to hurt her or leave her in such strong depression.) I really do care for her as a person, and want her to be successful. I want to help her get out of her depression and to grow. I want her to find a great person for her. I truly want a lot for her.

I finally realized (and decided) that it was unhealthy for me to be in a relationship for her, as I gain absolutely nothing from it outside of security; growth is essential to me, and her presence with me inhibits growth or at best is not conducive.

My question is this: how should I provide support, or should I? Should I continue to live with her for an extended period of time in order for her to acclimate, or should I physically part as soon as possible?

More background information, if you need more detail to answer:

 

She has been on antidepressants for over a decade, and is on them now. (Serious ones. Currently, she is on Citalopram, though she seems to change yearly or so to try "better" ones.) She is a highly organized ISFP (I think) or possibly an ISFJ. If further typing analysis would somehow help, I can try to answer questions to help define her.

We broke up amicably for the most part. She told me she was with me because "she hoped better medication would help her be happier," implying that she would be a better partner for me. However that's not why I decided to move on; I can put up with endless depression, criticism, and her other faults, but I cannot force her to respect how I think and how I am. I brought closure to our relationship, because there is no respect (going either way) for the way we think and live, despite us both being able to "settle" for each other.

We had been speaking about our relationship now for about two months, when she randomly asked if I was detaching. I told her that I was, yes, and was happy to pursue couples counseling or to "work on" our relationship. Unfortunately I decided that would not ultimately work.

She now says she will never find a man like me, that she will never marry, and that she will essentially die alone. While I am aware that some of these statements are unintentionally manipulative, I can also tell she really believes them. This causes me great sorrow (not even pity), and I want to help her. But I do not know if helping her is best done by physically separating, or by somehow providing something to her.


Any advice would be appreciated. (Oh, and I do not need any comfort but I appreciate the gesture. I will grieve in my own time, but probably not for another week or two.)
 

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Take care of you. You can't fix anyone else. You probably can't even fix yourself.

Be honest with her. she is saying things in the pain of the moment, and yes, she believes them.

So. lets say you have a boil. You can pick at it for dayts, or you can cut it open, let it drain, and move on.
Is it kinder to drag it on for months, or to cut it off and move along?
 
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When things end, things end. Strangely, in society we spend a LOT of time learning how to get a date, that we never learn how to end one.

Don't hang around. One, it will create an atmosphere of, "Maybe there is still a chance," even if you don't intend to. Also, it will just make it harder. There is a reason why you initially feel like you released a lot when you break up--because it's over! It feels good. And perhaps you are a little scared to move on, so you're thinking about taking a few steps before actually doing it.

Just do it.

She's at an age where she should be able to handle herself, and if she can't, then she is about to learn. It may sound rough, but there's even a time when a parent must kick their child out of the nest.

Sorry I can't provide any comfort. It's late at night and my kind meter is tired. :p
 

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@Antipode thanks, and I didn't think your comment was "unkind" at all. I'm looking for feedback, and getting it. More accurately (probably), I'm looking for confirmation on what I subconsciously know I should do, but consciously don't want to. Seems accurate so far.
 

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@Antipode thanks, and I didn't think your comment was "unkind" at all. I'm looking for feedback, and getting it. More accurately (probably), I'm looking for confirmation on what I subconsciously know I should do, but consciously don't want to. Seems accurate so far.
Ending a two and a half year relationship is rough; not that I'd know, but I can only imagine. However, I do agree that you never should have entered the relationship with the frame of mind of "fixing" her. No relationship should form that way. If you think about it, if it does start that way, then your attraction originated from the ability to fix.

If you never do fix her, you run into this draining situation.

If you do fix her, you lose the attraction that was originally there.

It's a no win scenario.
 

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1. Get yourself and your (new) priorities straight.

2. Afterwards, assuming you've additional energy to spare you can evaluate whether or not she can have a part of it.

3. You can't fix anyone. You can help, or try to help for that matter but be prepared that most energy and endeavors may go to complete waste. For as long as your help requires to see actual results and isn't completely unconditional it may backfire on you eventually. It's not so bad if it does but never shift blame for that onto anyone but yourself for not having known better. Know when to let go and learn when to detach.

4. For the time being cut down time spent together for a bit and on cuddling/sex - Nothing ought to prevent you from going back to friends eventually, and then from there to maybe FwB or anything but first find a new stable common ground from which to move on and take things on from.
 

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Ending a two and a half year relationship is rough; not that I'd know, but I can only imagine. However, I do agree that you never should have entered the relationship with the frame of mind of "fixing" her. No relationship should form that way. If you think about it, if it does start that way, then your attraction originated from the ability to fix.

If you never do fix her, you run into this draining situation.

If you do fix her, you lose the attraction that was originally there.

It's a no win scenario.
I didn't mean to imply I went in the relationship to fix her. I didn't, I've just been patient with her problems, and only feel the urge to fix now.
@Erbse, I think you're right on in what I need to do. It's going to be difficult.
 

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ISFJ/P and INTP.
I wondered if her depression is partly because she is with you ?
When you are faced with two people who are opposite of you and that you are trying to grow apart... then ....
If you do separate, and want to remain amicable. Then I would try and see if you can introduce her to more SF friends... and allow herself to slowly realises what she has been missing ! Also, tell her what your preferences are, which used to differ...

I think what two people who are opposite of one another, this allows us to survive so much better. Especially if you can allow a part of your own life, and make the best of that. This is the case with my ESFJ sister with her INTJ husband. He couldn't see the friendliness and joyfulness of Fe, unless she brings people around. Yet, he has the best strategy and the best efficiency of Te, when organising things, buying the latest tech for the home etc. But the two of them work well together. She is also a great driver, with her sensing. He is also the best analysts when it comes to billings, costings, and so forth. They are both okay in the relationship because they bring out their own best, within the different areas of a relationship.

The question is what kind of life do you wish to have ??

But when I see my sister's relationship, both of them have always had the freedom to explore and actually flirt with others in the world too, so that they became and was able to grow themselves. There is no "depression" of anybody, but exploration of life, and making the best of everything. Meaning, finding solutions to relationship problems... Which also means, living a little bit in your own shadow too.

But if you are more of a purist, and want to be that mtbi exact profile, then I would suggest that you slowly let her down gently and encourages her to find friends without feeling guilty...
 

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If your girlfriend/ex is already depressed and her relationship is now ending not by her choice, this could obviously make a further huge dent in her self esteem. So, whatever you decide I would say be kind, and be nice. I am sure you will anyway, since you obviously care a lot about her.

If you want to help her, perhaps the best thing when you are talking to her about the break up, be sure to really emphasise her good qualities, what she has meant to you etc as well as the reasons you are breaking up. ISFP/Js both need verbal reassurance and praise; they can overly blame themselves and give themselves a real hard time.

Whether you keep seeing her and continue helping her or not is up to you, I wouldn't want to give black and white advice on that kind of thing. I suppose the ideal situation would be if you could both agree that it would be for the best to just let it go completely, so both of you can heal. If you talked to her about it though and she wants to continue a friendship - then I guess that requires further thought.

Sorry you're going through this, and I hope your girlfriend/ex is ok.

-
 

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My question is this: how should I provide support, or should I? Should I continue to live with her for an extended period of time in order for her to acclimate, or should I physically part as soon as possible?
I'm in a similar situation, but after 15-20 years together. What other people have already said about taking care of yourself and "you can't fix her" is true. I would add: set your personal boundaries, with regards to her, and stick to them. In establishing the separation between you, I would err on the side of being more distant. (but I'm an INTJ, so...) For example, the physical intimacy between me and my husband is currently at a "roommates" level -- he won't be seeing me undressed, casual touching only when necessary, he's sleeping in the guest room.

Emotionally, if he asks me something I'll answer but I don't volunteer information much -- which, for me, is about a friendship-level intimacy. Maybe a little on the cool side.

And then there's disentangling the finances, the pets, the accumulated mutual stuff... hopefully you don't have so much of that to do.
 

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@Bago, I really like your suggestions of trying to show her other "similar minds" to her. The question is how?

The type dynamics we have are not conducive to her depression, that's true, but about half way through our relationship she claimed I was helping. Unfortunately though we aren't opposites which benefit. In fact we're opposites that: a) do not respect the way the other thinks (or really, she doesn't respect the way I think), b) do not work well at ALL together (I have to consciously ensure I'm submissive when doing ANY project), and c) do not enjoy doing the same things together.

Right now, I know exactly what kind of life I want to have, but I would certainly never achieve that or even come close with her.

@februarystars, good points on affirming her as a person. I will do this.

@carlaviii, I think this is how I will approach the here-and-now. We have a dog which we both love, but she said I could visit to see her (obviously not something I should do right away), and I've never accumulated much in the way of assets. Our finances are intertwined heavily, but honestly she and I can probably live separately while still linking finances for a month or two, and try to untangle it one step at a time.

Thanks all for the advice, it has helped.
 

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If there are mutual friends, maybe you can give those female friends a heads up and let her turn to her friends maybe ?
 

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If there are mutual friends, maybe you can give those female friends a heads up and let her turn to her friends maybe ?
That would be ideal, but she really doesn't have any good friends nearby. The closest is two-and-a-half hours drive. :unsure:
 

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@Bago, I really like your suggestions of trying to show her other "similar minds" to her. The question is how?

The type dynamics we have are not conducive to her depression, that's true, but about half way through our relationship she claimed I was helping. Unfortunately though we aren't opposites which benefit. In fact we're opposites that: a) do not respect the way the other thinks (or really, she doesn't respect the way I think), b) do not work well at ALL together (I have to consciously ensure I'm submissive when doing ANY project), and c) do not enjoy doing the same things together.

Right now, I know exactly what kind of life I want to have, but I would certainly never achieve that or even come close with her.

@februarystars, good points on affirming her as a person. I will do this.

@carlaviii, I think this is how I will approach the here-and-now. We have a dog which we both love, but she said I could visit to see her (obviously not something I should do right away), and I've never accumulated much in the way of assets. Our finances are intertwined heavily, but honestly she and I can probably live separately while still linking finances for a month or two, and try to untangle it one step at a time.

Thanks all for the advice, it has helped.
ISFJ - Si, Fe, Te....

I wondered if she thought that you were helping because you had been consistent and that she can recall this always ?
Her sensing is internal. She can remember things... unfortunately. This is true about what people wrote about starting at a good beginning, or starting at a bad beginning. Cos it means she could have been with you cos she was on the rebound first, and then she got so used to this, and does not know how to "switch over" to a more joyfulness, and start to have a new good beginning, cos she is still holding onto the bad beginning. Does that make sense to you ?

In order to let go of the bad which has accumulated, Si, Fe, and Te... and it isn't like she has done anything wrong, and maybe she felt deep guilt and internalised all of this because she thought that the "depression" is killing her relationship. But, what she may not realise is that, her relationship has so many factors to it. It is hardly the "depression". As a sensor, she is also probably a bit of a "stuck in the mud" and do things always the same. So if she stuck to the same pattern of behaviour, this is also add to what she feels depressed about ?

Maybe, both of you need timeouts to remove any habits that you have between you both, in order to gain perspective... Or maybe you need to tackle it this way. Every time you did something good and show your own strength, SMILE at it. Cos what you wrote above, seems like you want validation from her, as if it is say "I accept you for who you are". But in this relationship because you are both different, you got to go way above in a more self altruistic way "I am doing this, cos I will be happy, and it does benefit you too". Over time, it will increase how proud both of you are... of who you are yourself. But in order to also validate one another somewhat, you got to give each other a set of preferences, and hobbies. For example, if you like cycling, then this is your "ME" time activity where you can be your true INTJ self, and enjoy those moments. Overtime, she will see that this is an important aspect of yourself. You should also watch and see what her hobbies are, that allow herself to flourish as ISFJ, and support those hobbies for her. By you supporting her in those activities, she will feel that you do validate her too. Cos those things bring out her "Me" (ISFJ) more and more. (Note: My ISFJ sister does this by shopping. OMG indeed. But she is also good at socialising with girls and she misses this aspect. It is her Fe... ) You have to maybe ask members of the ISFJ forum to check out what Si is. I cannot really understand Si truly.

I mean, the above is a solution if you want to try again. But if you guys want to break up, then... well, maybe as mentioned, to slowly phase out the relationship itself in an amicable way which is conducive to both parties.
 

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I'm trying to figure out the best way to approach this situation:

I broke up with my 2.5 year girlfriend two days ago. We both knew something was coming, but she didn't expect me to bring closure or bring it up now. Essentially, I asked why she was with me, and after hearing her (inadequate reason) answer, I answered (with even more inadequate answers).

She is 38 and has dealt with some rather severe depression since 27. (This was one of my three reasons: I did not want to hurt her or leave her in such strong depression.) I really do care for her as a person, and want her to be successful. I want to help her get out of her depression and to grow. I want her to find a great person for her. I truly want a lot for her.

I finally realized (and decided) that it was unhealthy for me to be in a relationship for her, as I gain absolutely nothing from it outside of security; growth is essential to me, and her presence with me inhibits growth or at best is not conducive.

My question is this: how should I provide support, or should I? Should I continue to live with her for an extended period of time in order for her to acclimate, or should I physically part as soon as possible?


Any advice would be appreciated. (Oh, and I do not need any comfort but I appreciate the gesture. I will grieve in my own time, but probably not for another week or two.)
I'm a dabbler in psychology (read: I know something) and it's proven that people get sooner over their ex if they have no contact (on facebook especially). Parting would clear the things between you and end that chapter of your and her life, in order for both of you to move on.
Also, I see no reason for you to babysit a 38yo!!! Especially given your statement that she drags you down. Suggest a therapist if she didn't figure out yet what they are for.

Part ways, but contact her occasionally to give moral support or whatever.
BUT keep in mind that this would be most unfair and unhealthy to keep on doing this when you find a new partner (especially if you want a serious relationship). Most people don't want to be burdened with the presence of an ex around. Only sensible. Because you either are or you are not with ex. And if you're not, an ex has nothing to do around.
 

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@Bago - Thanks for taking the time to look over my situation and respond, I appreciate it :happy: It appears we are on slightly different wavelengths and I am not communicating too well (probably to be expected in my situation). I am unsure what you mean by the first paragraph. Our relationship started out great, and after a year and a half or so I began to slowly detach (unintentionally), and didn't realize this for a while.

Last night we talked at more length, and I was finally able to be more expressive (cry for once lol). This helped both of us--me for the needed emotional release, her to see that I actually did care in the first place. (Quote, "I never had a boyfriend cry over me before.")

Staying together is not possible. She and I have both come to the conclusion she will never understand or even respect the way I think, and I will never relate to her. (While this conclusion sounds concrete, I could put it into probabilities: there is a high probability she could learn to respect they way I think, and an extremely low probability she will ever try (not to mention achieve) to understand the way I think.) With this in mind, I have made it clear to her there is zero chance for us to get back together now. I was nice, but firm and I did not beat around the bush whatsoever (or otherwise leave any possible doubt in her mind). Last night, she asked, "so do you doubt we are making the right choice?" I said "no. I want to say yes, but that would be a lie." I also noted she said "we" are making the choice.
@Aenye - Thanks, and you are right--I should not feel obligated to provide for her. I will be following this advice soon, and will probably move out in two weeks or sooner. (Lots of items to deal with in the mean time.)
 

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@Bago - Thanks for taking the time to look over my situation and respond, I appreciate it :happy: It appears we are on slightly different wavelengths and I am not communicating too well (probably to be expected in my situation). I am unsure what you mean by the first paragraph. Our relationship started out great, and after a year and a half or so I began to slowly detach (unintentionally), and didn't realize this for a while.

Last night we talked at more length, and I was finally able to be more expressive (cry for once lol). This helped both of us--me for the needed emotional release, her to see that I actually did care in the first place. (Quote, "I never had a boyfriend cry over me before.")
It's okay Revenant. I appreciate you responding back to me directly also. I guess I responded because I thought there could be a possibility that you will stay, than not stay together. I misjudged the moving situation and your own feelings in the situation.

It sounded like she had been waiting for the feeling validation... But I guess crying also means it is a bad sign in a relationship.

Staying together is not possible. She and I have both come to the conclusion she will never understand or even respect the way I think, and I will never relate to her. (While this conclusion sounds concrete, I could put it into probabilities: there is a high probability she could learn to respect they way I think, and an extremely low probability she will ever try (not to mention achieve) to understand the way I think.) With this in mind, I have made it clear to her there is zero chance for us to get back together now. I was nice, but firm and I did not beat around the bush whatsoever (or otherwise leave any possible doubt in her mind). Last night, she asked, "so do you doubt we are making the right choice?" I said "no. I want to say yes, but that would be a lie." I also noted she said "we" are making the choice.
@Aenye - Thanks, and you are right--I should not feel obligated to provide for her. I will be following this advice soon, and will probably move out in two weeks or sooner. (Lots of items to deal with in the mean time.)
Hm... ok. Te and Si in INTP. You're basing your current situation from your past events... I understand.
It seems to me that you made your decision already. I wish you the best of luck...
 
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