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Can the spark be reignited?


wonderworld

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I (28F) have been with my boyfriend (32M) for 5 months. We met on a dating app. We are both dating with the intention of marrying and we both are very slow people, so we decided from the very beginning that we will hold off physical intimacy and let it come naturally. Despite the lack of physical intimacy, we instantly hit it off. Since we both work 10-15 hours/day, we usually just text 1-2x to check up on each other throughout the week and catch up on the weekend. We also overtime on the weekend, but we always try to spend one day every weekend together to get to know each other. All our values align and we have the same hobbies.

The last time we met, we initiated physical intimacy by cuddling and kissing. Before we separated that day, we both discussed how we felt about the experience. We both agree that it feels good and right. We both think that it's the most comfortable we have felt with any other human beings. We even discussed starting a family together and being with each other forever. He even invited me to a work party the following weekend.

Then, out of the blue, he sent me a text at the end of the next week saying our relationship will not work out because he feels no spark between us. What is this spark he is referring to? I pretty sure the spark was there at the very beginning of the relationship because that is what kept us spending so much time together. And as we passed the honeymoon phase, I just assumed the spark transformed into a slow burn.

I am just very confused by his decision and cannot figure out what went wrong that made him all of sudden so concerned about the spark. On the same day I received the text, I messaged back telling him I need him to tell me what is wrong face to face  and he needs to respect me by ending it with a serious conversation. I asked to schedule a FaceTime call with him. He left me on delivered and never replied. The same night, I sent him a letter expressing my feelings and asked how he wants me to return his stuffs. It has been 5 days and he still left me on delivered and never read my message. I can be sure he did not block me, because we are still connected on other apps and iMessage still shows the blue arrow when I type in there. I just don't know how to read into his silence because I know where he lives, so I can totally go find him to return his belongings and ask for a serious conversation. What does his silence mean?

I feel like he is an anxious avoidant partner because throughout our relationship, he will pull back each time when we make milestone in our relationship. He will go through periods of no response with text messages. But, he will always reply by the weekend. He did share thoughts of breaking up with me when we hit rough patch at around third month of our relationship. I always reassure him that everything will be alright as long as we communicate our needs and concerns. He always expressed understanding and slowly started to open up to me about everything in his life. Nothing was abnormal about his behavior. 

I just feel so blindsided because we did not even have a conflict before his text. There were absolutely no signs in our most recent conversation and we even made promises to each other about the future. Since I am in grad school and finals are coming up, I have not reached out at all again. I was thinking I will go NC for a month and once I am done with finals I will reach out again to ask him if he wants to keep trying and reignite the spark we used to have.

However, I decided to check his dating profile on the app we met, I saw that his profile photos were rearranged and he never even bothered to unmatch me. My emotional and mental health are not taking this move from him very well. I don't know what I do now and I am completely shattered. I really want to see if we can work this out because we have a genuine connection. Is it stupid to reach out again at this point?  I always just thought he needs some space to think about us. How can he just move on like this? Is the spark never reignitable? Is spark necessary to maintain a LTR? 

Please let me know! Thank you. 

Edited by wonderworld
typo
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It would be in your best interests to stop pursuing him because you’re coming across as aggressive or selfish. I know he didn’t give you what you wanted but don’t let your bruised ego get the better of you. He could file a restraining order or report you for harassment. I would not go to his place or where he lives. He’s made it very clear he doesn’t want to talk or meet you. 

He told you he doesn’t want to continue and that’s it. You are not entitled to a further discussion. You have it in your mind that he owes you something but in actuality he owes you nothing. It was a brief time and it was disappointing in the end but you have to make peace with it and move on. 

Closure comes from within and it’s not something that someone has to help you with, least of all an ex who wants nothing to do with you.

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And yes I happen to think a spark is vital to a relationship, personally. That intellectual, emotional and physical fire and chemistry must be there. Otherwise it’s a relationship of convenience or something more platonic. 

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I am sorry you're so hurt, OP. Based on your description, the signs were indeed there that this was not working out. Here they are: 

3 hours ago, wonderworld said:

And as we passed the honeymoon phase, I just assumed the spark transformed into a slow burn.

It is very early for anything to have already cooled off to this degree. 

3 hours ago, wonderworld said:

we will hold off physical intimacy and let it come naturally.

The fact that even kissing or cuddling didn't happen until after 5 months is a red flag. It might be one thing not to jump into bed right away, yes, but zero physical intimacy generally means that someone isn't feeling it.

3 hours ago, wonderworld said:

I feel like he is an anxious avoidant partner because throughout our relationship, he will pull back each time when we make milestone in our relationship. He will go through periods of no response with text messages

This isn't an anxious avoidant thing. This is lack of interest, girl. 

3 hours ago, wonderworld said:

He did share thoughts of breaking up with me when we hit rough patch at around third month of our relationship.

He's had one foot out the door for a while, then. When someone wants to break up, that's your cue to let go - not lean into it harder and try to convince them to stick around. 

3 hours ago, wonderworld said:

I just don't know how to read into his silence because I know where he lives, so I can totally go find him to return his belongings and ask for a serious conversation.

Do not do this. No, no, no. It will make you look desperate and a bit unhigned, and that's not what you want. 

3 hours ago, wonderworld said:

Is the spark never reignitable?

Kindly, it doesn't sound like it was ever really there for him. He enjoyed your compnay but doesn't feel a romantic interest. 

3 hours ago, wonderworld said:

How can he just move on like this?

See above - his feelings just weren't where yours were. 

3 hours ago, wonderworld said:

Is spark necessary to maintain a LTR? 

It's necessary to some extent to maintain any relationship, not just LDR. Otherwise, what you have is just a friendship.

3 hours ago, wonderworld said:

Is it stupid to reach out again at this point?

I wouldn't say stupid, but it would be coming from a place of deep denial (on your part) and it's not going to change anything. He has been very clear he doesn't want what you want. 

Again, I am sorry you are feeling so upset. It's hard when you so badly want something to work, but you also seem to have been trying very hard to convince yourself that this was more than it actually was. There were signs he wasn't so into this relationship but you have come up with all sorts of justifications to avoid facing the truth, which is that it just wasn't a match for him. Have you dated much before? I am wondering why you are so hell-bent on keeping this guy who was so lukewarm.  

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2 hours ago, glows said:

It would be in your best interests to stop pursuing him because you’re coming across as aggressive or selfish. I know he didn’t give you what you wanted but don’t let your bruised ego get the better of you. He could file a restraining order or report you for harassment. I would not go to his place or where he lives. He’s made it very clear he doesn’t want to talk or meet you. 

He told you he doesn’t want to continue and that’s it. You are not entitled to a further discussion. You have it in your mind that he owes you something but in actuality he owes you nothing. It was a brief time and it was disappointing in the end but you have to make peace with it and move on. 

Closure comes from within and it’s not something that someone has to help you with, least of all an ex who wants nothing to do with you.

Thanks for your replies. I am just still in so much shock that I don't know how to process all the information I have. I feel like I need the closure to heal my emotional and mental damage. Since I don't want to make this a nasty ending for myself, is it ok for me to go over to his place to drop off his stuffs when he is not there?  

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3 minutes ago, wonderworld said:

is it ok for me to go over to his place to drop off his stuffs when he is not there?  

No. Do not show up without express permission from him. 

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38 minutes ago, ExpatInItaly said:

I am sorry you're so hurt, OP. Based on your description, the signs were indeed there that this was not working out. Here they are: 

It is very early for anything to have already cooled off to this degree. 

The fact that even kissing or cuddling didn't happen until after 5 months is a red flag. It might be one thing not to jump into bed right away, yes, but zero physical intimacy generally means that someone isn't feeling it.

This isn't an anxious avoidant thing. This is lack of interest, girl. 

He's had one foot out the door for a while, then. When someone wants to break up, that's your cue to let go - not lean into it harder and try to convince them to stick around. 

Do not do this. No, no, no. It will make you look desperate and a bit unhigned, and that's not what you want. 

Kindly, it doesn't sound like it was ever really there for him. He enjoyed your compnay but doesn't feel a romantic interest. 

See above - his feelings just weren't where yours were. 

It's necessary to some extent to maintain any relationship, not just LDR. Otherwise, what you have is just a friendship.

I wouldn't say stupid, but it would be coming from a place of deep denial (on your part) and it's not going to change anything. He has been very clear he doesn't want what you want. 

Again, I am sorry you are feeling so upset. It's hard when you so badly want something to work, but you also seem to have been trying very hard to convince yourself that this was more than it actually was. There were signs he wasn't so into this relationship but you have come up with all sorts of justifications to avoid facing the truth, which is that it just wasn't a match for him. Have you dated much before? I am wondering why you are so hell-bent on keeping this guy who was so lukewarm.  

Thanks for your detailed analysis, I really appreciate your help!

I have only had one relationship before this that lasted for two years and that one also progressed very slowly; we did not even get to kissing/cuddling until 7 months into dating. Another piece information I left out is that I am a no sex before marriage girl. This relationship was an amicable break up because I had to move away for grad school. 

As for this current one, I told him no sex before marriage and he said he was fine with it. He told me I should tell him when I am comfortable with becoming more intimate. Until then, he would respect my boundary and remain platonic with me. That is why we were going so slow. He also said that in his previous relationships (2 total), they were platonic until one year into the relationships. It was a mutual decision to go slow and platonic.

When we actually initiated physical intimacy last time we met, I completely felt that he was attracted to me. I felt his physiological reaction. We almost had sex if I did not stop the situation from happening.

The time he wanted to break up with me was when he was also trying to switch to a new team at his company. He was very stressed from his work situation and it was also the same time when we became exclusive and established our situationship into a long term relationship. The reason I say he is an anxious avoidant is because he will always think about me leaving him and hurting him like his previous partners did without any signs. Whenever he is afraid, he would ask me for space to think so he would not sabotage our relationship. His parents were also emotionally unavailable when he was little, so he has a lot of trouble trusting and opening up to others. 

I do agree with you that I am in a bit of a denial. But, I just think we had such genuine connection, even without physical intimacy. I know he felt it too and that is why he would try to spend time with me every weekend even if it means he is loosing sleep to catch up on his projects. It was something above friendship. I just don't know how all of sudden he felt the need to completely end our relationship without a proper discussion. I am facing the truth that he ended our relationship at this point. But, I just want to see if it's possible to rekindle what we had just because we are so compatible and felt the chemistry on so many levels. 

Do you think is worth it to reach out one last time once I am more healed to see if he wants to talk? I just think even if he does not want to reconcile, I would get the closure I need know that at least I tried. 

 

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29 minutes ago, wonderworld said:

Do you think is worth it to reach out one last time once I am more healed to see if he wants to talk?

Again, no, I don't think it's worth it. 

There is no point and he is currently ignoring you and shopping for someone new on dating apps. There really is nothing more to discuss, and he will likely continue to ignore you or even block you if you reach out again.

I am sorry. You will need to find your own closure on this one. 

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59 minutes ago, wonderworld said:

Thanks for your replies. I am just still in so much shock that I don't know how to process all the information I have. I feel like I need the closure to heal my emotional and mental damage. Since I don't want to make this a nasty ending for myself, is it ok for me to go over to his place to drop off his stuffs when he is not there?  

No. I would make a trip to the local donation drop off and drop the things off there. If they’re used personal items throw them in the trash. He has not responded to you which IS a response. He doesn’t want them. He is very much alive and well and reorganizing his dating app profile so you know he’s moved on. He is purposely avoiding you and doesn’t care about those things you still have. 

People sometimes hold onto these items tricking themselves into believing there’s a reason to reconnect. We see it all the time, every time, multiple times on the forums. You choose to let yourself move on when you stop depending on him to discuss things or talk to you again. And you choose closure when you deal with those items appropriately and vacate them from your home. You do not need him to agree to meet you or talk with you. It’s over. 

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@wonderworld one of the reasons many avoid the serious conversation when breaking up is that instead of listening and accepting the reasons, dumpee often tends tends to argue back.  For instance "but we can get the spark back"  "but the spark has become a slow burn and that's OK"  "why did you make plans for the future if you weren't happy? "  "but you said you were OK having no sex" "please can you give it another try?"  "I know we didn't get a lot of time together, but it can work if we put in all the effort"

I'm just guessing at what he might say in the imaginary breakup discussion, but you can see how the dumper is put on the spot as the recipient of a whole lot of begging and bargaining.  It's awful for the dumper and it's awful for the dumpee.  

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I too think that there were signs - I would expect to be increasing the time that I see my partner more after five months. it’s clear that you both work very long hours and perhaps he decided that this was just not conducive to a relationship? 

I also think the fact that there was no physical affection for five months and the fact that you had a chat to see how you both felt about the kissing/cuddling is a little odd - I too like to take things slow but this is glacial slow…

I can appreciate that he does not feel a spark/is feeling like things are not progressing after five months and I think you need to accept his decision for what it is. I would not contact him again, just try to find something to distract you and let it go. I’m sorry…

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6 hours ago, wonderworld said:

I told him no sex before marriage and he said he was fine with it. 

It’s entirely possible that he has changed his mind. He may have had other platonic relationships prior to sex, but as men get older and have more experience with sex, I think this is much less likely to happen than when they are younger. Perhaps he was looking ahead and simply decided that he did not want to wait - and he doesn’t want to tell you that. Just one thought - 

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Never beg a man to stay with you when they want to leave.  As you can see they leave anyway when they want to.  That's another reason he doesn't want to talk.  He doesn't want to be talked into reconciling.  It's best to move on now and give yourself closure.  He can't give it to you.

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Five months--the spark doesn't disappear in five months. 

I'll share: I once went slow with a woman--we held off on sex, and it was wonderful. We didn't even lip kiss (we hugged and kiss each other's faces). Finally we set aside a night to just passionately kiss and boom, no spark at all. Totally flat! 

We kept dating but ultimately broke up because of the lack of spark. The spark never came. Anyway, what I learned from my experience was that if you can't deeply enjoy kissing each other (mouth to mouth), then you don't have chemistry. Not saying good kissing chemistry guarantees sexual chemistry but I think if you do NOT enjoy kissing each other (wildly enjoy) then there's little likelihood of sexual chemistry. 

I'm sorry--long work hours don't explain anything. If you guys had real chemistry, you would prioritize time together, despite long hours. Also, his lack of responding quickly to your tests, definitely a major red flag. I don't like texting much, but if a partner was texting me, I would respond quickly or I would tell them why I don't respond quickly and how it doesn't mean I lack interest. 

This breakup is not your fault, it really isn't. Look, I guarantee you that as you continue dating, you will experience real chemistry and you'll look back on this time and realize this guy was totally right. Sounds to me that you are out of touch with chemistry, which is different than "falling in love." If you are really pained by this, then get to a therapist. This experience can be utterly transformational for you, even though it hurts right now. 

There are reasons he can share with you about what qualities of yours ultimately turned him off, but be careful about insisting that he explain.  I once pushed and I got told very directly the exact quality my ex partner didn't like and it hurt like hell for a long time! 

 

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Of course a spark is necessary to maintain a LTR... if your goal for the LTR is personal happiness. If your goal is just marriage for security/family reasons, then it's probably not that important, but that sounds like a rather dreary existence.

That being said, it really doesn't sound like you two "ran out of spark" - 5 months is really early for that to happen. It honestly sounds to me like he's just decided that it's not working out for whatever reason. It's unfortunate that he chose to do it over text, but it's just how it is. Pursuing this further will not benefit you.

I won't comment on the physical intimacy since it sounds like it might be a cultural thing. I don't personally feel the same way as you do, but I grew up in a culture where the pace that you prefer is fairly common, so I can see why you might choose to delay physical intimacy for such a long period of time.

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