General Question

Yellowdog's avatar

How do I break up with a girlfriend who needs me?

Asked by Yellowdog (4880points) April 20th, 2017

Advice in dealing with her is the reason I joined Fluther about two years ago.

I coaxed this woman out of her shell and did what it takes to get her to fall in love with me, which she did. Even though I was on disability myself, I helped her through homelessness until we finally got a fairly nice apartment together.

I have issues of my own, and am greatly in need of financial solvency again. I am disorganized and unemployed and have done some pretty crazy, radical, unorthodox, and even criminal things (which I am not proud and have regrets) to support myself and her. She has some mental issues—I guess I put up with this for some time because I love her extremely.

She needs me for financial reasons to help pay for a place to live. She needs transportation and me to drive. She even needs me physically and expresses love this way. But after 22 months I am getting my head bit off several times a week and it is becoming evident that this is all the future we have.

I spend every dime I have on her—down to the loose change in my car seats, and provide everything she wants, needs, or craves. She expects me to pay for everything like in a high-end dating relationship whereas I know I have to live poor and find solutions as for how to get by with little or no money. and when I run out of money two weeks before getting paid, she blames ME for not being able to manage money (it all goes to her—I often beg, steal, eat very unorthodox things). I get no benefit from the apartment which I am paying more than 80% for for. I am not allowed to be myself around her because she seems to comprehend only surfacy, mechanical stuff and rebuff my tastes and dreams. She DOES help me stay organized and finds me physically very attractive but that’s about all I get from this relationship.

Leaving is hard because I do love her extremely. But sometimes love isn’t enough. And maybe I’ve even run out of it.

I walked out tonight—after several hours of cold treatment which erupted when it was discovered that I was out of money and will spend the next two weeks penniless (scary, yes)— she is used to ME being the one to pick up the pieces somewhere and by some miracle we get by.

She blames me for a lack of faith and an inability to handle money—again, I spend nothing on myself. And when I start to leave, she faults me for giving up on her and fears being abandoned

She is dependent on me for a car and to help with expenses. But I have no resources and it is just too obvious that she has mental issues and won’t take her meds. I’m unable to continue being rebuffed and trying to live my life alone without her because she can never get ready in time or leave the apartment. She is also completely alone in the world if I leave—she knows NO ONE—absolutely not a soul. But I can’t deal with the shortness and aggression between the few good times. She will be devastated and so will I—but I cannot take any more of this non-relationship and must get out of it. On a pragmatic side, however, she is dependent on me for money and to fulfill my end on contracts (for which she is the only beneficiary), and for transportation.

Though never really moving out of my young adult years, I am what most would consider middle aged. It may hurt the rest of my life and I may never find love again. But I need to get my life and career on the right track. Still remaining, also, is what do I do about her financial and transportation needs if/when I move on ???

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34 Answers

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JLeslie's avatar

Money troubles are the worst troubles, it causes unbelievable tension.

I really don’t have a grasp of whether your relationship with her is worth working on or breaking up. Only you can decide anyway, even if I did have a grasp.

If I remember right, you’re living with your parents, which means if you’re working, and don’t need to pay them rent, but maybe help with groceries, you should be saving a lot of money. Was it you who asked about buying a couch?

You helped you’re gf, helping her pay bills, with only good intention I’m sure, but is she now set up in an apartment she completely can’t afford? That’s not necessarily helping. Is your name on the lease?

You had a big fight, things might calm down tomorrow and you’ll still be together, but the financial situation does need to be sorted out.

If you want to break up, I think sleep on it, and then tell her you can’t go on like this, and that you’ll give her the usual money next month so she has some time to find a roommate. It’s like severance pay. Is she allowed to have roommate? Is it a one bedroom or two?

But, again, you might feel better tomorrow, and everything will calm down, and you both just need better communication when you have a disagreement. I have no idea either way if it’s time to break up.

Seek's avatar

She is an adult. She will figure herself out, or she will not.

Either way, she is not your responsibility.

This woman has leeched off of you long enough.

Jesus, you’re paying for a whole life you’re not even living. Something’s gotta give, yo.

cazzie's avatar

This level of co- dependency is not love. You are enabling her. Save yourself.

zenvelo's avatar

Neither of you has “found love”; you have found mutual hostages.

It will not be easy to break it off with her, but it is easier than the alternative, which will only be continued strife and anxiety and discord. You need to end this to keep your sanity.

LuckyGuy's avatar

As the flight attendants say on every flight: “Put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.”

jca's avatar

You’re paying for the apartment. Is your name on the lease?

You asked once about renting furniture, which is crazy because you were told on that thread that you’ll pay more than the furniture is worth, when it’s all paid off. Are you renting furniture? Is your name on that rental agreement?

You’re not responsible for this person. It’s nice that you care so much for this person that you put your mental health at risk and you’re paying out financially more than you can afford, even though, like was pointed out above, you should really be using this time to save up for your future.

You would be smart to give her a month or two notice about the financial commitment, unless you’re on it, in which case, you need to legally detach yourself or continue to pay and kick her out.

I have said on previous threads where you asked about her that I would be done, done, done with this whole thing if I were you.

Not only are you beholden financially out of guilt, but you are not even being treated nicely or with any sense of gratitude, it seems. Why continue? You say she finds you physically attractive which I assume means you’re having sex. You can have a whore for less money and she will at least act pleasant.

Coloma's avatar

2 years into a new relationship is when the fantasy romance burns out and real love either steps up or it does not. It is, clearly, not in your case. I fully agree with everyone above. This is not love, it is dependency, co-dependency, based on need not choice, and yes, this women is holding you hostage. We have advised you before, many times, and while breaking up is hard to do, this non-relationship is not working, the only person it is working for is your dysfunctional GF.

Get-out-now. You are not responsible for care taking this women anymore, how she lives now is her problem, as it always was and should be. Relationships are about mutuality and reciprocity, this women is a parasite, how much more blood are you going to let her drain before she sucks you dry, mentally, emotionally and financially? Get-out-now.

jca's avatar

This answers the question about whether you’re in the rental agreement for furniture:

Yellowdog's avatar

Thanks, ica— btw we are NOT having sex which is about the smartest decision perhaps I’ve made through out all of this—beyond the self-control of most people. Its never wise to have sex with someone you don’t marry if you don’t have a serious intent to have a lifetime commitment to. Sex is, and implies, a whole new level of responsibility and committment. Perhaps that’s why marriage is such a serious step and at my age I am mature enough to realize it.

When my youth was ebbing away and I thought I was getting old I fell in love with this woman but it was years before we hit it off because of her trust issues.

She seems to want to help me with some of MY (real) issues involving health and moving on with my life. In an ideal world we would hit it off just fine because she can cook and organize and keeps things clean and neat to the fault of an OCD disability—but in a perfect world I’d have a job and be earning money but wouldn’t be here and neither would anyone else reading this because things are what they are and none are perfect.

Some core things about me she doesn’t seem to understand or relate well to. That’s fine for her—and for the way most people function in this world. But even the simple fact that she doesn’t understand or even apprehend my tastes for Scandinavian romaticism, the Arts and Crafts movement, Celtic things, and my need to keep things around me that remind me of the sea— plus my penchant for a few weird things and my never-ending need for nostalgia—I myself have quirks and needs that she won’t put up with—and needs her quiet and solitude except to commiserate and endlessly talk about her past abuse (which I accept as part of her healing) and talk about her pain issues which she does not seem to be interested in REALLY doing something about.

I don’t have the resources to rescue her but will continue with my end of the financial responsibility to the best of my ability—but as Luckyguy said above quoting what the flight attendants say on every flight: “Put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.”

Relationship-wise I am not having my own identity validated and valued and I am dealing with someone who can’t be reached, But she doesn’t like or tolerate some very basic things about me so I get my head bitten off most nights— I would say we “fight” but all I do is resist fighting and walk away.

This isn’t the person I thought I was falling in love with— she has a few good and valuable traits and abilities but the soul I was looking for and believed I found just isn’t this person. Nor am I compatible with her.

jca's avatar

@Yellowdog: You’ve neglected to answer the question about whether you are on the lease.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

What has been described in at least two posts is not a healthy relationship. Either the two of you need to tackle resolving the problems together, or it’s time to part ways. In both cases, it requires communication.

It sounds like it is time to set boundaries. “If this relationship is going to work, then X needs to happen. If it doesn’t within X timeframe, then it is over.” This should include that she take medication as prescribed. Make the list, get her buy-in, and hold her accountable. The same goes for you.

This is what my sister did when her marriage of 25 years spiralled downwards in the last five. When the BIL didn’t get a job within a year, refused to take care of their child vs. paying for childcare and didn’t help around the house, she filed for divorce. In addition, there was mental abuse to both my sister and their three children. She left with very little money, the girls, and looking like a shell of her former vibrant self.

As any story like this, it ended well, despite the emotional scars. The best thing that you can do for yourself is give it the best attempt at making it work. If it doesn’t, then at least you can walk away with little or no guilt.

Yellowdog's avatar

Thanks—right now I think she knows what’s up and is avoiding communication.

And to ica—yes I am on the lease and it should be as much my apartment as hers—but the whole point of getting it was to save her from life on the street or vagrancy in hospital lobbies. God those were miserable times, never knowing what the next day would bring.

There are several good men’s shelters in Memphis and I wish one of the sponsering organizations would think out of the box and do a similar shelter for women.

In order to stay in a womans’ shelter in Memphis, a woman has to meet one or more of the following criteria:

(1) You have to be a whore or drug abuser
(2) You have to have a criminal record— or in some cases, no criminal record even if you were wrongly accused or defending yourself or property
(3) You have to have children—in some cases, women without children can fend for themselves.
(3) You have to CURRENTLY be in an abusive situation—if you are not currently being abused (c.f. if you’ve been on the street for a few days because you were being abused, you are not currently in danger)

You have to put up with cigarette smoke and foul language or the antics of vagrants

No place offers shelter for more than 30 days; there must currently be space available (which is rare); most are in very bad neighborhoods which puts you in grave danger if you don’t get in or when you get turned out in the morning; and none allow you to use a cell[hone or similar device which many women actually need to better their situation and get help or financial aid.

I decided for my own peace of mind and ability to sleep that I’d rather spend every dime I had and eat grass and leaves or on petty thefts than have her living like that for temporary help and vagrancy.

I’m pretty tired of my life but maybe I could at least better myself if not dragged down by someone else.

Coloma's avatar

@Yellowdog You really, REALLY need to understand that sometimes, “helping” others is really hindering them. No rational adult would ever expect someone to carry them in all ways in a healthy relationship. Had you never come along this women would be surviving somehow, and being in a relationship does not mean you are incarcerated for the rest of time, a prisoner to caring for another that gives little, if anything in return. Save yourself first and always.

Becca543's avatar

@Yellowdog Your situation sounds pretty complex.
After a breakup I try to remain friends and help my exes to get back on their feet unless it’s a person who did something unforgivable.
After you break up you can still try to be her friend and help her a little unless she refuses help.
When in doubt I try to be a good person first and try to have a good breakup and stay friends, but if that fails then I just cut ties and move on.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Here are two Memphis shelters that take women.. Please give them a call and explain the situation. They may be able to point you in the right direction, even if it is only where to go to seek counciling for yourself. It is clear that you need outside help, and it appears that we aren’t giving it.

jca's avatar

@Yellowdog: Please remember that you can’t save the world. You’re not responsible for saving the world. You don’t want to sink because you’re trying to save this girl.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@jca Yeah, this is similar to watching Titanic. Why didn’t Rose just move over and share the door as a flotation device?

Seek's avatar

Wait.. you’re her sugar daddy and you’re not even getting laid?

JLeslie's avatar

@Seek You took the words right out of my mouth.

Yellowdog's avatar

Pied: Thanks for the link, but let me tell you about those two shelters.

Memphis Union Mission says it takes women— but it is a mens’ shelter. Women, if they have an addiction or a prostitute or in trouble with the law, have a program through Memphis Union Mission called Moriah House, It is a VERY nice facility and people at my church volunteer and sponsor this program. But it only takes 40 women at a time who go through a rehab program which takes about three months. My GF doesn’t have any addictions or circumstances that apply. The Minister of Outreach at my church agrees with me that Memphis Union Mission would be better if they offered a womens shelter similar to their men’s shelter—clean and safe and upbeat with help available—not a carefully regimented program with a luxury facility like Moriah House.

The other shelter in your link, the Salvation Army women’s shelter—only takes women with children who are currently in abusive situations, Merely being homeless doesn’t qualify you.

A shelter in Southaven, just south of Memphis, might have worked but was full and only accepts women currently being abused in their program. I made a case that if my GF went BACK to where she was living she’d be abused again and yes, homeless.

That’s why we got the apartment. If there are any philanthropists out there, check into the local need for a good womens shelter— a place clean and safe and upbeat that will take anyone. and helps womn get where they need to be in life. That;s what the better mens’ shelters do.

jca's avatar

@Yellowdog: On this and other threads where you asked about your relationship, the majority of Jellies gave similar advice, that this relationship does seem to be helpful to you. It seems that in some way, you are stuck, or you thrive on the dysfunction, or something else. It appears that you have a lot of justifications for staying in the relationship. She needs you, she can’t live without your money, she’d be homeless, etc. I believe this is called codependency.

cazzie's avatar

Yeah, it’s ‘Friends where just she benefits’...

JLeslie's avatar

I can message a friend at Lakeside who can find out about shelters. I used to discharge patients to shelters sometimes, but I don’t remember the name of any of them.

Yellowdog's avatar

Thanks JLeslie—you have always been helpful through this—but the apartment has a thirteen month lease, and unless I kick her out and live in the apartment myself there is no longer any need for a homeless shelter. I think I will tell her that she needs to get resources to live here on her own or get a less expensive apartment with the lease is up. SOME of the income-based apartments only take ⅓rd your income and include utilities and really are quite acceptable, due to high government-enforced standards of cleanliness and behavior among the staff and residents. Nothing will be easy, but I’m stuck in the lease and shelters are only temporary helps. I guess the original context of my question is, how do I break off the relationship itself when she seems so dependent on me. She clings to me emotionally and needs me for transportation and income but I see the relationship isn’t working — she gets angry or volatile several times a week over things she merely doesn’t like—or because she feels I don’t understand her pain issues or emotional scars

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Thank you for sharing the information on the women’s shelters in Memphis. If what you kindly explained is correct, then yes, there is a greater need for women’s shelters for people like your friend. Hopefully, @JLeslie will hear back from her contact and let you know of another potential lead.

The thing though is that she really needs to take responsibility of herself unless she is mentally incapacitated. If you truly care about her, and it is clear that you do, then it is time to help her set goals that will move her in the direction of achieving a self-sustaining lifestyle. If you can’t do it, then it is time to face up to the fact that this is not a healthy relationship.

Yellowdog's avatar

Y’know if she would just take cymbalta, which she is prescribed, it would probably resolve her neuropathic pain AND her depression issues, She’d probably be pretty normal then. But she will not do it. She claims it has side effects—and no one can MAKE someone do this even if the ultimatums are the end of a relationship. But things have become volitile and it takes her too long to do anything to get ready for an event or outing—and her petulence and pickyness are intolerable and keep things too dysfunctional.

She seemed very apologetic and sweet and affectionate tonight but I am telling her gently that I will support her as long as I am able—but the relationship isn’t working. She might try her cymbalta or other neuropathic medications but for now I have no intention of renewing the lease or building a life with her. Hell, I have problems of my own that are keeping ME dysfunctional.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

That is a step in the right direction. Has she talked to her doctor about the medication and its side effects? There might be something else that can be tried.

jca's avatar

She could also try a different dose of Cymbalta. Maybe she’s taking too high of a dose.

When is the lease up, @Yellowdog?

Yellowdog's avatar

Next February. 2018. We can work this out since getting out of the lease early would not be cost effective or even helpful— but I need to set boundaries and limits as to what help I can give. The boundaries likely need to be tighter than would seem workable but I need to be working again or if I remain on disability then that money is only sufficient for my own expenses. She needs to get all the help available to her for herself.

I can see that unless something really changes, and I mean REALLY changes, this cannot work out. Love isn’t enough. I am giving more than I can and not rehabilitating myself while she is getting the benefits without even getting all the government help available to better her own situation. She also needs meds for emotional and neuropathic stability

Coloma's avatar

@Yellowdog So you need to be crystal clear that when the lease is up you’re done. The odds of this woman significantly changing are extremely low. People do not change easily and, most importantly they should never change for anyone but themselves. I would withdraw all financial support if you are no longer in a relationship with her. She is, clearly, using you. Good luck.

JLeslie's avatar

@Yellowdog I didn’t ask my contact about shelters yet. The way I understood your answer you don’t think a shelter is necessary is that right? Pied’s answer confused me. If there is an alternative to a shelter I definitely think go for the alternative. It sounds like you know what’s available. Let me know if you want me to ask about the shelters.

Did you tell her already?

Yellowdog's avatar

I have told her that the relationship isn’t working and that she needs to find a way to support herself by the time the lease is up. If things are different then, then we can remain a couple or make future plans— but I cannot see any possibility for change. Only the lease is keeping her and me together right now. I will help her and myself find financial aid for our own separate paths.

We have the apartment and there is no reason to get out of the contract or for her not to live there. There would be economic consequences and would put her back where she was at Christmas—living in places as a vagrant. Those were awful, terrible times even in those occasions she had a safe place for the night..

The chances of her changing are as immutable as her taking her Cymbalta. So her unwillingness or inability to change will seal her fate. She doesn’t like being controlled or coerced even if others need to or if she needs to do something for herself. My father said, from what little he has seen and heard, that dealing with her is like trying to herd cats.

We have up to about a year. She needs to get all government assistance available, take meds, and arrange to live independently.

Odd as it may seem, if she DOES learn to be independent and not dependent on me and then so mean and critical and petulant—she might then actually be a decent human being and fine companion and potential for a long term relationship. But I cannot realistically see that happen.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

This sounds like a good plan. Please do keep us updated.

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