The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:
I’m a teacher in my 50s, and the man I’ve been seeing for more than 10 years said he wants to break up with me.
This man supported me in my work and private life, and I respected and trusted him. “When we retire, it’d be great if we could live together,” he once said. We filled out a marriage registration form, and I held on to it.
A few years ago, he was transferred to Tokyo for work, and after he came back, I listened to him talk about his fulfilling job there without any particular worry.
However, this past spring he suddenly said: “Starting next year, I’ll be working in Tokyo. I want to break up.”
Shaken, I told him I didn’t want to break up, and he said we could keep seeing one another for a bit. Now, he comes over to my house once or twice a month, and we have tea. However, when I told him I wanted to quit my job and follow him to Tokyo, he only said: “I just want to focus on work. You should try to find a marriage partner who suits you.”
Even though I know we can’t just go back to the way things were, I’m filled with a sense of loss and frustration. I’m writing you for help in getting over this. Please tell me how you think I can do that.
S, Kagawa Prefecture
Dear Ms. S:
I think it’s completely natural for you not to be able to accept this. You dated him for more than 10 years and even held on to the marriage registration form you filled out.
However, you wrote that you want help in getting over it, suggesting your heart is ready to move on.
I know this is hard, but you both filled out the marriage form, yet he didn’t actually agree to turn it in at that time. That means even if you were both planning on getting married someday, it was only that — a plan for someday. I believe he saw you as a nice fallback plan if something better didn’t come along, a little safe haven for himself.
This is all indicative of his unfairness toward you. However, if you can see this from a different point of view, I think it’s good that at least you now know what kind of person he really is.
I think you can find and date another person as you work and sincerely live every day where you are now. I think you should let a new wind blow into your life, which was once filled with this man. Please shift your focus entirely to what lies ahead for you.
Junko Umihara, psychiatrist