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[FONT="Comic Sans MS"][COLOR="DarkOrchid"]Hi all :)

Some members may remember me from previous posts about my then girlfriend, Natalie. The last time I posted here was when Natalie and I had just moved in together and I was having doubts about it because I was worried that we were moving too fast (we'd only known each other for six months and had only been together for four months). I was mainly concerned that I couldn't be all things to Natalie; she'd moved away from her dad, her mum, her sister and her fiancé, her friends, her dog and - despite the fact she would have been made redundant anyway - her job.

It was a difficult first few weeks living together because of these worries going around in my head. But we adjusted and enjoyed a very happy six months living together. After three months or so we made the decision to move back our separate ways after the six month's lease was up. Natalie had debt problems and it made life quite difficult for us. It was a difficult decision to make and, at the time, Natalie wrote me a note to say that moving apart again would put too much of a strain on our relationship. I remember being so anxious that she was right, but I convinced myself that we could make a go of things long-distance again, as long as we knew we were heading in the right direction (I was committed to moving to Natalie's home town when we had saved up for a deposit to buy a home).

So, to get to the point - three months after we moved back to our parents' homes, Natalie has suddenly broken off the relationship. Not three weeks before, on our anniversary holiday in Rome, we had both affirmed that we still wanted to live together and one day get married. I had noticed that Natalie was being a bit cold in the days leading up to her revelation. At first she said she wanted a break to consider what she wanted. I respected that and we broke off plans for her to visit me that weekend (last weekend). But that Saturday morning she called me early, as I was about to leave to a revision course for my impending accountancy exams.

The truth came out: she had kissed another guy the Friday before at her work party. I was hurt, not just because she had cheated, but because I thought of how I had looked after her when she was hung-over the day after the party, despite how miserable she was being. Although, foolishly, I cancelled plans to go to college and - on her say so - bombed it to her place. It felt like the longest drive ever to hers, even though I drove like a maniac. When I got to Natalie's she was there to greet me, looking more gorgeous than ever, of course. We cuddled and I tried to kiss her but she turned away.

We spoke in her living room for a while but it was clear that she had made up her mind and didn't want me. I tried to leave after about fifteen minutes but she stopped me. I think the only reason she didn't want me to leave is because she was feeling guilty. She kept saying she didn't want to hurt me and that she hoped we could remain friends because I was still her best friend. She wanted to go into town; I came with her because I felt I had to think of the right thing to say to make her change her mind. Of course, there was nothing I could say :( Going into town just hurt me even more because it made me think of all the plans we had for the summer (it was a lovely day) and I realised that none of that was going to happen or, worse still, she would do those things with somebody else.

I couldn't handle much more so I asked if I could leave. We went back to Natalie's and I didn't even go inside. We said goodbye on the street outside my car. She barely even seemed to want to hug me. But I noticed that she waved at me from her window as I waved out of the sunroof and beeped the horn on my car. The traffic was bad so I had the time to send a text message. I said thank you for giving me so many fantastic memories and ended the message by saying "goodbye". She replied saying she couldn't stop crying because my message had sounded so final. She then went to her friend's house to discuss with her whether she'd made the correct decision.

I guess at this point I should explain the basis for her decision. She said that she wouldn't have kissed another guy had things not been right between us. What she saw wrong with our relationship was that we don't have enough in common. This is something we have discussed before, but not something I've ever agreed with. Her examples of where our interests and outlooks differ were very weak. She also said that we don't have enough mutual friends. That I can agree with. But that's hardly all my fault. Natalie was always resistant to meeting my friends because she had this preconception that they would find her unintelligent in comparison to them. And every time I suggested that we meet some of Natalie's friends, she said she would prefer to spend the time alone.

Anyway, she called me later that evening and was still crying. My reaction to this has been to blame myself for the break-up. I told her – and I do believe – that I pushed her away by taking her for granted and being too preoccupied with things like my studying. She maintained that she didn’t want to hurt me and she hoped that we can be friends. I made the mistake of calling her on Sunday and, when I found out that she hadn’t been as upset as she was the day before, I reacted badly and lashed out about how hurt I was that she could change her mind in such a short space of time. We haven’t spoken since then, although she did send me a text message last night. It was very painful to read because there wasn’t a single kiss included in the message. This is the first one to exclude any kisses.

I only replied this morning because I have been very ill in the night with food poisoning. I told her I was ill, like I was in Egypt when we went away together. She hasn’t replied. It makes me feel like she doesn’t care. First a message with no kisses, now no message. That’s why I don’t think we can act like friends for a long time: it’s too painful for me. I’ve been telling myself that not contacting her is the best thing to do to preserve the friendship (although I’ve got doubts that she really cares), but I think I’m really playing a dangerous game of thinking that, by ignoring her, she will start to want me back. It’s taken a lot of words to get to this question: does anybody think that is a possibility, or should I stop hurting and deluding myself and let go sooner rather than later?

Thanks for reading this gibberish!

EDIT: I forgot to mention that Natalie was hinting for many months that she wanted to get engaged. I was cautious of making that step because I wanted to give it another couple of months to see how we got on living apart again. Of course, now there's this massive regret hanging over me that had I proposed to her, might we still be together? It sucks.
[FONT="Comic Sans MS"][COLOR="DarkOrchid"]Hey guys :wave: I just need to vent. It's about a week since I last posted and my state of mind hasn't altered much. I haven't spoken to Natalie since last Saturday but she has contacted me. She sent me a text message on Tuesday evening which was very patronising, asking if I was okay as though I'd die without her. I'm hurting a lot but not so much over our relationship - over relationships in general. That's what I want to talk about really.

Natalie contacted me again last night to ask how I was and why I hadn't replied to her previous message. I told her that I had replied (I wondered if someone had deleted my message from her phone before she got the chance to read it - she used to check my phone all the time, which is typical considering it was her who cheated on me). I was surprised to learn that she wasn't out clubbing or something.

When I told her I had replied to her message, she said she was glad because she thought I "didn't want to know". She said she had been comfort eating all week and wasn't sure if she'd stick to her plans to go out tomorrow evening (tonight) because she had a cold sore (she's very vain, but needn't worry because she's gorgeous and knows how to expertly apply makeup). I asked her to say hi to her sister and her fiancÚ and I think that annoyed her because she said good night after that.

Of course, every time she contacts me, the memories get dredged up closer to the forefront of my mind. I was reading the messages she sent that evening and accidentally stumbled upon some older ones on my phone (which I didn't even think were there because it's a new phone). I read one that made me wonder what we were talking about in that particular exchange. I had half an idea, so I checked the archives.

By the "archives" I mean a text file on my computer in which I typed in every text message that Natalie ever sent to me (some thousand since we met). I started doing it because the early messages were so soothing to the wounds of my previous relationship. In fact, very few of Natalie's messages were mundane and most made me feel like a god amongst men. On this particular date (26 March), I saw that the theme was that of marriage proposal.

Natalie had obviously been preoccupied with thoughts of engagement and had told me she was feeling down because it felt like it would never happen. In one message she told me that she had "a fantasy of when and where" I would propose to her. This was, of course, Rome - on our anniversary. From the next couple of messages, I get the gist that I must have told her that I thought we needed to take more time to be sure that things were settling down after moving back apart.

So I feel like I blew my chance to be with the girl who excited and complemented me so well :( But I already knew that because she'd told me. It just made it worse to see that she had even spelled out to me what she wanted. I cannot fathom why I didn't act on that message. Engagement was what I wanted too. I think I was just too wrapped up with my exam studies. The irony is, the exams are next week and I couldn't give a you know what whether I pass or fail.

Anyway, I still haven't really got to the point of my post... What is [I]really[/I] bothering me and keeping me awake at night (and infiltrating my dreams), is how Natalie could have gone from saying "I want you to propose marriage to me in Rome" on 26 March, to saying "I don't love you anymore" on 26 April. One month. I can't appreciate it because I've never fallen out of love with anyone. But I can't believe that it can happen that quickly, without a loathsome act on my part. Or was it so loathsome that I didn't propose at that particular time?

I know nobody has any hard and fast answers for me. I suppose you will say that my lack of proposal made Natalie re-assess what she wanted from our relationship, and she probably woke up from her dream and realised that she had been chasing a fairytale and had overlooked the fact that she didn't really love me. But I don't like that option, but I don't want to - and can't - believe that Natalie wasn't in love with me for at least as long as until we lived together. Indeed, I can't believe that she wasn't in love with me on Valentine's Day.

That leads me back to my inital theory that Natalie got itchy feet when she commenced her new job and met a new group of people (including the guy with whom she cheated on me). But I don't like this idea either. I don't like it because it conforms to my very pessimistic worry that all my future relationships are doomed because new people will come into my girlfriend's life and say and do things that chip away at the love she has for me.

I specifically remember Natalie telling me about these "lads" in her department at her new job who always seemed to be joking around and flirting and generally acting all cocky and confident. I knew she was telling me because that is how she wanted [I]me[/I] to behave. I think it was how her exes before me used to be. But I'm not that kind of person. Am I doomed to lose all future girlfriends to loudmouth guys who have all the smart moves and chat-up lines? I know it was the kind of guy who my previous ex slept with after me.

I'm rambling now, but my general point is that it feels futile to get into another relationship (I know I need lots more time anyway), because the girl is always going to turn on me eventually. It came full circle with Natalie: when we met in Bulgaria and I told her I liked her, she said I was a "nice man". Great. Just what you want to hear. But then I showed her that nice men can be exciting men and she seemed to find me very attractive for a year. But since splitting up and saying she just wants to be friends, Natalie has told me that I am "lovely" and a "dear friend". Like I said, full circle.

Do I need to change if I want to hold on to my girlfriend in future? Am I too "nice"? I just wanted to be with one girl all my life; settle down and start a family. I'm not strictly Christian (I don't go to church simply because there's always something "better" to do), but I have always believed in monogomy and I only ever wanted that one special girl. How long is it going to be before she comes along and how many holes are there going to be in my soul before I get there?

Natalie told me that she wanted the same things as me and I believed her, just as I believed my first girlfriend before her. I know they might have meant it at the time, but why do they have to change their minds? Would a life time with me be so bad? Does it have to be too early for a girl to settle down? I blame the media, I really do :( Rant over.[/COLOR][/FONT]

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