Why Did She Dump Him?
Q: My girlfriend dumped me after two years for no logical reason, though she had several bad excuses. She kept our relationship going until a few days before our second anniversary, then dropped the bomb on me. She's 55 but appears to be very unrealistic and selfish. This breakup was a total surprise and done over the phone. I've done a lot for this woman and her family, but it seems to have meant very little to her. Her whole idea of a relationship is that of a 20-year-old; she has yet to grow up. I'm just having trouble understanding why this happened and how I can avoid something like this in my next relationship. -- Stan, 53
Dr. Susan: Break-ups aren't exactly logical, Stan. What you call your girlfriend's excuses may be the real reasons she wants to separate, or they may be cover-ups for the real reasons. A surprise break-up over the phone makes me think she's been seeing someone else. If your relationship was a good one, with good communication between you, you should have been able to notice that something was wrong. It seems she made up her mind without giving you a chance. The fact that you did a lot for her and her family wouldn't be enough to sustain a relationship if she was truly unhappy. I'm not blaming you for her unhappiness. She may be as immature as you believe she is. Sometimes mates have very different ideas of what "growing up" means. She may want more fun and excitement, or she may believe the world owes her something (or everything).
I can only suggest that, next time, you don't take anything for granted. Without being overly suspicious, you need to ensure that the two of you talk about everything so nothing comes as such a huge surprise. The other thing is that you probably had hints of what you call her selfishness early on. We all tend to ignore the negative traits when we're in love, but after the end of a relationship, we can see those clues were there all along. Selfish women or men don't make good partners.
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.