After 11 years, the ‘what-ifs’ drove him away

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I walked into my house and my fiancé broke up with me. We have been together for about 11 years, we got together young, he was my first and I was his second. We moved in together after a few months of dating and have been together ever since.

Recently communication has been hard, we both work a lot (retail). We take our frustrations out on each other. We have been trying to get pregnant and it just hasn’t happened, and all of a sudden I walk in the house and he breaks up with me. He tells me that he has been having what-if thoughts about our relationship, that he has been having regrets and needs a break to separate from me. I asked him why and he said that we have grown apart, that those what-if thoughts are strong, and that he doesn’t want to look back and feels like we wasted our time, especially because he knows my clock is ticking. I am devastated. I have lost my best friend and my partner at the same time.

All I want to do is fight for our relationship, but it seems the fighting might be one-sided. What do you think? What do you recommend? Should I fight? Should I just let go?

– "The heartbroken what-if"


All you can do is tell him what you want, whether it's to work on the communication problems, stay together, or have some check-in time to decide how it feels to be apart. He can say yes or no, but whatever his answer is, believe him. You don't want a one-sided fight. You also don't want (I assume) to raise a child with someone who isn't all in. He is telling you what he needs. If he doesn't want to compromise, there's not much you can do.

I am so sorry his what-ifs have resulted in a loss for you after so many years of investment. You must be shocked, despondent, feeling like the person who hurt you is also the one you want to run to for comfort. That is so confusing and painful, and I will not pretend it will get better immediately.

But it can feel different, at least, if you can take some small steps. Focus on finding a safe and comfortable space to live, assuming you won't stay where you are on your own. If you can stay, pull in a roommate who makes you laugh, distracts you, etc. Think about who can be good company.

Tell your loved ones what's happening, specifically the ones who boost you. If you want more attention from them, make that clear.

Do not rush yourself when it comes to answering questions about your biological clock, at least not yet. Your only goal, for now, is taking care of yourself and imagining your what-ifs, specifically the good ones.

- Meredith

Readers? Thoughts on next steps?