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Up until little over a week ago, I was in a relationship with a woman for 9 years (this November). We are both 27/28 and it has been the most confusing, hardest days of my life so far. As much as I've tried to understand what happened and why - and why she developed these issues, I've failed miserably.

We spent the last part of August on a week long vacation with some of her family and had a wonderful time. Everything went great (save for a funeral I had to attend on the last two days, causing me to part ways for the last bit of the vacation). We came back, things seemed wonderful. I should preface by saying I've been out of fulltime work for awhile, but I had been taking up freelance jobs when I could and putting in some applications. I'll admit that I wasn't putting in 110% when it came to finding any job because she always seemed to support my search for something really solid and related to my skillset (copywriting, that sort of thing).

Anyhow, I changed my schedule after coming back to make sure I had dinner always ready for her when she got off work. I talked to her about working at a place she did some weekly PT work at and eventually got the ok from her boss. I would be trained by her and then take over for her on a Monday-Friday basis. We went to her high school reunion (which was fun but cut short since she was disappointed by it) which was followed up by a nice sit-down dinner at a restaurant we like. Our love life in the bedroom was also fantastic.

Then two weeks after we get back from vacation and all the above had happened, she complains of a stomach ache. This ache persisted and affected her ability to eat so naturally I was worried. I talked her into going to urgent care, we did the pregnancy check thing - nothing. She became very unresponsive, emotionally which I had never seen in her before. We both appeared to chalk it up to worry over what could be giving her this much trouble eating and these pains. I took care of her best that I could. On the following Thursday I called her at work (she had missed a day or two earlier that week which is unprecedented for her) to see how she was feeling. I knew she had been crying a bit too throughout the week, and honestly we both thought it was hormonal (hence the pregnancy tests). She was really quiet and slow to respond and after asking what was wrong, she stated she had fallen out of love with me.

In our eight years we had both professed the same amount of love for one another. I have no regrets in the way I loved her, because I loved her as I wanted to be loved. We were always open and honest with another, and for her to suddenly say something like that to me I was destroyed on the spot. I couldn't reconcile those words with what I had known for the past 8 years. I panicked and started to pack some of my things in a garbage bag until I called her back and asked her if she could come home to talk about it. We talked for a little but she spoke about being unsure of us, and about how she didn't feel like she loved me anymore. I had never seen anyone, let alone her, this despondent before. I had never seen her depressed and so unaffected by what was going on.

I was trying to engage her in a careful, calm way - to get her to open up to me about how or why she was feeling this way and though we talked about couples counseling and communicating better, she didn't seem to care after it was mentioned (these were things she had told me about, things her friend/aunt had apparently suggested to her - which implied pretty quickly that she had been having some kind of problem but hadn't told me about it).

Then she changed. Part of Thursday afternoon she was her old self. She was emoting - crying - and engaging me. She was crying and saying sorry for putting me through that. I had called my mom to pick me up (she lives 200+ miles away) but she had told me to stay. She said this stumble would help us grow as a couple and I agreed. I knew then that there was a massive problem we had to work on and I was ready and willing to do whatever it took. We kissed and hugged, held hands; engaged in conversations like we normally would. We went to the store to get her some fruit and we held hands in the car and in the store. I remember feeling like "Wow, she's really hurting but I think we can work through this together." Then that night she slipped back into her despondency. The following day we tried talking some more but it was hit and miss due to her mood/health. Neither of us had slept much during the week so when she finally laid down and closed her eyes, I took a short nap. I awoke an hour later to her poking my arm saying she felt claustrophobic and trapped. I thought she needed fresh air so I said to stand out on the balcony. Then a few moments later after pacing she said she was going to her aunts. I thought maybe she just needed a little space, or that she was going to try getting some work done - do something productive to ease her mind/stomach.

She never came home. She texted that she was spending the night at her aunts, and then much later that night the mutual friend said that "she doesn't know what she wants but she doesnt want you anymore. It's best if you leave." I was forced to leave an 8 page letter and pick up what few things I could managed to pack up into trash bags. I cried all night, unable to reconcile anything that was happening. I wanted to give her space but at the same time, an 8 year relationship with no signs of trouble isn't something you walk out on. It's something I believed in with all my heart, and something I felt we owed to ourselves to work on together.

I didn't have any sufficient contact with her for about 4-6 days, when she emailed me. The email was brief compared to mine, and really didn't answer any of the questions I had posed to her in my letter, or address anything I had mentioned. She said that she had learned a lot over the last couple of days and that she needed to live on her own and stand on her own two feet. Then she said her feelings for me just weren't there anymore and that they had started to dwindle at the beginning of the year. She mentioned words and promises not being back by action (I intentionally refrain from using the word promise in my day to day, so I can only guess she was using the term loosely). She had hoped things would change and get better, and that they hadn't.

The above was so surprising to read because of how wonderful everything had seemed. And on Thursday she had confessed to loving my before and during vacation, but that now she was unsure. And these were emphatic 'yes I loved you then's'.

She mentioned two specific moments (one of which was 3 years ago) but the moments seemed so insignificant that I couldn't understand why she would or had clung to them. She's an introvert so expressing herself is hard. She's said this multiple times and I've always tried to show her that I was here to talk, and that I wasn't judging or rushing her. I'm an extrovert, and while I can easily find words I admit to knowing that I know they aren't always the right ones. She felt I was prideful and couldn't accept help (which I don't know why she came to that specific conclusion) and that I was negative. It 'took a lot of energy to live with me' and that she had started to hate herself. We all have our bad days but over the last few years I had had way more good than bad, especially the last few months.

The letter felt really dismissive and then she said 'please respect my space. please can we only write by email'. Then she began the process of closing the bank account and making efforts to secure her own things. I sent 3 emails to her in the two days that followed but haven't made any effort since then and it's been 6 days since the last email I wrote, and 10 days from the email she wrote. She seems able to talk to everyone else BUT me and I wake up every morning confused and on the verge of crying. She said I needed to live on my own and stand on my own two feet, and that she would always care for me and wish the best for me - but it was time to move on.

I still can't reconcile how this is actually happening. I know it's only been 2 weeks but not being able to console or even talk to my best friend is a waking nightmare. I've lost weight since leaving and it's harder and harder to sleep, or wake up without wanting to cry or feel the need to run away.

I really feel like she overburdened herself with these worries that she didn't need to have. The week this all happened, she confessed that she was worried about me when she hung out with friends - that I would be sad and lonely. I laughed and told her I was always excited for her when she found someone to hang out with, and that I had friends I could talk to or things I could do. I'm being totally honest when I say I always tried to engage her and be interested in what she was. I always asked about her day and about the people in her life with genuine interest.

I know there were things we needed to work on, and we could have worked on them. If I had suspect for a moment that me not having a full-time job was endangering our well-being or bothering her, I would have done more to find anything. I can't change the past but I believe that I would have done anything if I had known she was hurting so bad. She just never told me or the signs weren't there. I even went so far as to say I was sorry if I had been that blind or neglectful to have missed her pain, although like I said, I always tried to communicate with her - to keep this sort of thing from getting as bad as it got.

This was the first major issue we've ever had. Everything else we've managed to work through. I had some trouble 2-3 years ago when I felt really down about myself and needed a bit of space (I slept on the sofa for a few days) because it was after I lost my job and I wasn't talking to friends regularly. I felt detached and like I couldn't be there for her emotionally. No doubt I said all the wrong things that day but I never once said I wanted to break up or that my feelings for her had changed. I was just coming down on myself too hard. We never talked about it after that and part of me thought it was because she realized I had been foolish and silly, and that I just needed to shake off the funk.

We're not the yell at each other kind of couple. We always wanted to be better than our parents and had gotten comfortable with talking about children and marriage over the last 3 years.

Her mother hasn't returned my messages and it makes me think the worst. The email my girlfriend had written me felt detached and formal, and the writing/word choice was like someone else had written it. I've been trying to talk to everyone I can but I realized early on that I was trying to find parts of her in them - that all I wanted was to talk to her, to have an actual conversation.

I'm not perfect. I've expressed my feelings or opinions poorly on plenty of occasions and I failed to secure more stable employment sooner. Still, I always expressed my love to her. She always knew how proud and grateful I was to and for her. I tried to be there for her in whatever way I could, when I knew she needed something. When we got back from vacation I really thought we were making progress to achieve our goals. That week she claimed that no progress had been made and it seemed like she had given in to this depression and just believed the worst in herself, me and us - that she had completely forgotten everything that had happened over the two weeks after vacation.

She also said a lot of things about how vacation was 'perfect' and that she just didn't want to have responsibilities, and that she wanted to run away from everything. She also turned 28 on the 6th, which was a terrible day for our lives to fall apart like this.

Part of me hopes (I'm not the spiritual type so I don't pray) that with space and time she'll remember how much she loves me, and that we were working together the best we could to find our way. She claims to not know who she is anymore or know what the future holds and to me, I always felt like that was something we shared. I was grateful to have someone I could grow alongside and watch grow in turn, and even though didn't know what the future specifically held in store, it always seemed like we knew we had ambitions and were working towards them.I tried telling her that I never once doubted our potential, that I always knew we were going to move and do the things we wanted to (move to another state, find better work, etc). And I meant that from the bottom of my heart; but apparently she lost that hope in the fog she was swallowed by.

I feel like she let these little, silly things pile up until they became serious worries for her; and then she kept them to herself, or told everyone but me about them. I understand that people can get frustrated and that in that frustration, feelings can be hard to recognize. I just don't believe that given what I've learned about her over 9 years, that she suddenly doesn't love me anymore. My mind and body haven't been able to accept that as fact just because I believe that, despite her insecurity (the belief that she doesn't know who she is), I still feel that I know her as well as I know myself. I hope and believe that she won't talk to me because hearing my voice will make it harder to keep away, that she is trying so hard to submerge herself in all of this negativity because it would be easier than working on us or our problems.

One of the weird things she said during her cogent moment on Thursday was how she didn't know why she pushed people away. It was something else she said that made me tilt my head because I had never known her to do that. I've always loved how embracing she was of other people, especially when it was hard to embrace them or when they were turning out to not be worth her time.

We've always been very lovey dovey and open with one another. I just don't understand any of this and despite spending all my time trying to find work here, I'm so tired of people telling me that I have to do what makes me happy or that I need to find myself. All the plans I keep making for myself - working, saving, getting a car and an apartment - are plans we had for ourselves. I feel like I'm living a life for two, only to be alone in it.

I know it hasn't been that long but my life is effectively over while in this limbo. I never felt that I had sacrificed who I was or what I wanted in the pursuit of our relationship; and up until that week, she seemed to share that same outlook. We supported each other and always talked about our goals. We were terrible planners, which is why I think she wound up with all these unspoken expectations we couldn't actualize. Now that I'm back at my parents it's just hard to be as strong as I want to be for her. I'm at the point now where I just want to know how her day was, and how she's feeling. I can't do any of that, though.

For as much hope and optimism that I have that eventually she'll climb out of her darkness and we'll have the chance to talk and work towards figuring out these issues we have, the future seems empty and hopeless to me. I found the person I wanted to marry and have children with and I can't ignore that. I want to fight for us and to let her know I'm still here but she's effectively frozen me out of her life. This isn't the person I knew and loved for the last 9 years. She's someone else and I'm scared for her, and us, that she might be doing things she doesn't really believe in. Like pushing me away because she's confused and frustrated that we hadn't made instant progress over night with saving money to move.

I've always known her to be this really strong woman. I mean, she's my best friend. She has my trust and respect 100%. Inside, I want to be able to process this or find some kind of peace/closure but I can't. There's still so many unanswered questions, and no effort has been made at some kind of reconciliation. You don't just give up on a relationship that's been 8 years in the making.

I'm so sorry this was so long. This is kind of why I stopped talking about my problems with friends/family, because I was only talking myself in circles. I never gained any new insight or ground. The only thing I'm not hearing from friends and family that know us is that we deserve to work this out, or at least the chance to. It hurts to think they're so ready to accept her sudden change of heart/mood as absolute and that we don't owe it to ourselves/each other to bother working on any of this.

If this had happened to me, I would really hope that those who knew me would give me the hope to realize that even in my darkest depression, what comes to the surface isn't what's in my heart.

All I can do is write my feelings down, or write letters to her that I never send. I want to talk with her and I can't. It's a truth I recognize but can't accept. My body/mind just can't process it as fact. I hurt so much for myself and for her. I keep saying that I don't want to give up, that I want to do what I can to let her know that she hasn't pushed me away, and that I'm in fact a very optimistic person. I miss having her in my life, and I miss the things she brought to my life. I miss making her laugh because it took so little effort. The little things I miss most. I'm trying not to be self-absorbed or selfish, and it's hard not to feel like I am when all I have to consider are my thoughts and feelings. I am so in the dark about her and it's like nothing I've ever experienced before.

If you read this whole post you've got my undying appreciation. I'm trying but I know I'm not succeeding.

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