A couple years back I was dating someone. Before that, I'd been single for nearly a decade. I don't open up easily and several bad experiences in between made me very closed to trying. But anyhow, I met this girl and we hit it off quite well. She was actually the aggressor at the beginning, which was nice. She was quite a bit younger though, which made me hesitant to start anything even though I was very attracted to her. So we remained friends, and a bit later she starts seeing somebody else and phew I feel like the pressure isn't on me anymore.
A year passes and we become closer. There's definitely still a spark but we don't act on it, especially not with her having a boyfriend. Anyhow, drama aside (actually there was none), things weren't working out with the guy and she breaks up with him and the focus is back on the two of us. We don't act on it. For a day. After that, well, I was still considering the age gap, but in the previous year I had gotten to know her much better and we seemed much more compatible. So yeah, things start off and they're fantastic. We're absolutely crazy for each other, crazy passionate, spend all our time together, etc. We were practically living together after a few weeks. All seemed good. After a year I was seriously considering proposing, but figured that would be too soon. I had a ring actually.
Springtime I get her a new job at one of my favourite restaurants (a little family run place). She loves it there and is constantly talking about her new work family. She actually starts hanging out with them quite a bit, but I'm never invited along. Summer rolls around and she tells me about this yearly cruise that the restaurant family/employees go on every few years. She asks me if I'd like to go too. Well ok, seems like fun. So a cruise is planned for early February, with the two of us, her family, and the work family.
Now as the months go on she's super excited. She talks about the cruise at work with everyone there, then comes home and talks to me about it. Now, I'm not a super excitable guy. I'm happy to go on the trip, but she's getting all giddy planning stuff with the work family and I have no idea since it's all new to me. She actually starts to get rather frustrated with me around now because I'm not excited enough. I dunno. I don't get it.
Fall time now, and she's been frustrated with me a lot but never tells me why. She's been spending a lot of time with the work family and I'm always left out. I ask if I can meet these people sometime since they're obviously important to her, and I want to be a part of that too, but she always says that it's not her place to invite outsiders. So I'm an outsider now? I was the one that got her the job. Around now the criticisms also start. About my work, about my hobbies, nothing was good enough. She even criticized my relationship with my family. Nothing was as good as this work family of hers that she now clearly idolized. She also starting to become less enamoured in the other more intimate aspects of the relationship as well. I don't make out to be some super stud or anything. Sometimes things are great, sometimes they aren't. But from her point of view, it was always my problem. Always my fault that things in the bedroom weren't working. So it became more stressful, and it got worse, and it was always something that I was doing wrong. It was bad enough that she criticized and chipped away at everything that I defined myself by, that she criticized my family and that I wasn't good enough, but now she was criticizing my masculinity. I was becoming such a miserable wreck that by the end of things I was suffering from ED. It didn't matter anyways, since she cut out all intimacy weeks earlier and wouldn't let me touch her at all.
So the cruise is still coming up. This blasted cruise. She's unhappy but doesn't tell me why even though I keep asking and trying different things. I'm working on the relationship, but she isn't. Nothing I do is good enough with her. She doesn't want to spend time with me; she'd rather spend the time with her work family. It becomes clear the cruise was more about her spending time with them rather than us getting to go on a cruise together.
I've flat out asked to meet her work family now. I want to meet these people who she looks up to. Maybe if I can see what they're like, how she interacts with them, it can strengthen/repair our relationship. No, she says I'm not invited. We try to talk things out. Basically, she wants me to be more like them, but I can't meet them. So what the hell... I'm only going to meet them on the cruise? It actually comes down to an ultimatum: I will meet the work family on the cruise, and if we get along, maybe there'll be a chance for the relationship. So stupid right? But by now I'm so confused that I just go along with it.
So the cruise finally comes along, and I'm miserable. She's showering everybody with affection, everybody but me. She acts differently around me, like I'm holding her back and she resents me for it. I don't know why she does it. I meet her work family, they're good people, we laugh, make the same jokes, etc. When they joke, she laughs with them. When I joke, they laugh with me, she looks at me and asks why the hell am I acting like that, because it's not me. What the eff?
It's a two week long cruise. After one week, things have reached a breaking point. She dumps me. She tells me she got bored of me. That I became an "obligation". Do you know how much that screws a guy up? I'm pretty much a wreck. The past few months have been torment and now I'm trapped on a god damned boat with nowhere to go, no one to talk with, nothing. I am seriously considering tossing myself off the boat. I had it planned down to the drink (and I don't drink), the note that I would write, and the most remote part of the boat where no one would see me. And I would have done it for revenge, because I wanted her to hurt for making me feel that way. So stupid, bit it made sense at the time. The really asinine thing though, the reason why I couldn't toss myself into the ocean, is because I'm afraid of drowning.
So anyhow, the second week is a blur. I'm pretty sure I spent a couple days just crawled under a staircase weeping. Too many things in my head. Trying desperately to figure things out. There were so many clues you see, that I was so bloody blind to over the last few months. I barely remember the plane ride back home, though I know I started fighting with her on the plane. She just wanted me to quiet down, but I was now free from being nice.
It took me about two months to finally figure it all out. Here's the gist of it. She'd been cheating on me. With her boss' son. Guess who was also on the cruise? So that entire family knew and was in on it. She idolized the family, had an unhealthy relationship with the dad/cook, and hey now she had a perfect "in" with the family. How convenient.
And looking back, I should have seen it. She blew me off on her birthday in October and told me she'd rather spend time with her work family. At one point I was talking with the dad on the boat about how she'd rather spend her birthday with them, and he looks all confused because she wasn't with them on her birthday. Ah. I should have clued in there. Y'know, around the same time she cut off intimacy with me. Right, that should have been another red flag right there. Other stuff was happening on the boat too. Even some of the cruise staff were trying to tell me about things they were seeing, but I was so bloody blind.
Three fraking months of running around behind my back, then dumping me in the middle of a two week cruise with no where to go. She even gave me the no-win ultimatum, like some joke to pull me along. I called her on that. Actually that was the fight on the plane. I told her she was unfair and treated me poorly, giving me no chance, in fact just stringing me along, that it was unfair to even force the ultimatum anyways, but goddam it I tried and she knew it, and she didn't do anything. And she never admitted the infidelity. Like I said, it took me months to figure it all out.
Making things worse, the new guy was doing his best to be all buddy buddy on the cruise. Even after she dumped me, he tried to console me, talked to me. Like an idiot, I confided things in him and just started talking about all the things I did "wrong". Wow so in retrospect I basically told him all the things to avoid she he could be a better fit for her. Before the breakup he even had the audacity to ask me about advice with women, saying he'd had his eye on one girl but didn't know how to approach her. Can't believe it.
Frak it all, now I'm all pissed off after writing this out. I'm leaving out things too, but I can feel my blood pressure going up and my hands are shaking. She criticized me, chipped away at everything I defined myself by as a person, and after that she kicked me while I was down and took away my masculinity. Stranded me emotionally, forced me into a no-win ultimatum, and stranded me literally in the middle of the ocean. I was on the brink of suicide held back only by my own phobia of water.