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Terra's Past Letters


Breaking up:
"He said that I embarrassed him."

Hey Terra,

I just broke up with my boyfriend. We've been going out for 4 years. Although I wanted to take the relationship a step further, he never talked about getting married or moving in together, and that made me feel frustrated. He has been separated from his wife for the past 6 years and after his son gets back from school this summer, he will get his divorce.

Anyway, we got into a discussion, and he accused me of not being able to handle myself socially and that he didn't feel comfortable with that issue, he said it tore him apart, but that I embarrassed him. To make matters worse he later said that his family did not like me, and that he could not expect us to live without socializing because of my inability to behave properly in public. I feel hurt for his comments and especially that he has labeled me in this manner.

How can I go on like this if we get together again? He said he needed time alone, but I will always be aware of these comments and feeling resentment against him for revealing this issue in this way. I still call him, and talk about other things, but I don't want this to build up and wonder whether its worth the hurt it causes me to know he thinks of me in this manner. Can you help me?



Dear Crushed,

I have no idea why he said what he did, but I understand how it must have hurt you. After 4 years of going out with a person, you'd expect that he would have voiced his concerns (in a sensitive, caring way) a long time ago. It makes me wonder why he dumped this on you at this time, just as he is breaking up with you. All I can imagine is that, for whatever reason, he wanted out of the relationship and he felt the need to insult you in this way to justify his leaving.

Why he did what he did is really not important. What is important is what can you learn from the feedback he gave you about yourself. I realize it's difficult to accept feedback which is delivered in such a hurtful way, but if would be helpful if you could take a look at the substance of what he said and ask yourself, "Is there any truth to these observations?" If the answer is yes, then he may have given you a tremendous opportunity to make some changes in your behavior that will make you a more self-aware person who is more comfortable for others to be around. If you can honestly say that there is no truth in what he said, then so be it.

I'm a bit surprised to hear you ask "How can I go on like this if we get together again?" Why would you want to be with someone who obviously cares so little for you!? A person who has called all the shots in this relationship for 4 years, withheld his feelings and at the last moment fires off parting shots to intentionally hurt you and cut you down?

No one deserves treatment like that, especially not from a long time boyfriend! So, if you really want my help, here's the best advice I can give you: Stay away from this guy. Do not call him any more. He does not have your best interests in mind.

The only other thing I will suggest is that you get in touch with a counselor (your phone book is good resource and so is your County Department of Health and Human Services). I believe it would be beneficial for you to talk with a counselor about what happened in this relationship and what you can learn from it.

I hope this helps.

In friendship,


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