Understand .. I loved my N with all my heart, maintained hope and attempting trust to the very end. I am someone you could call .. highly sensitive, empathetic. After 4 years of continuously keeping my guard up, continuously setting my boundaries .. in stone, I was emotionally and physically exhausted. In the beginning I was totally blown away by someone that I cared about saying some of the most thoughtless and unkind things I had ever heard in the guise of being 'direct' or 'honest'. Most of the time he could be gentle, funny and sweet to me, but it would not last, there were those little talks he asked to have, with the supposed purpose of communicating his needs and my failures. It broke my heart, over and over. I would tell him to hit the road .. he would apologize, saying he had changed / agreed with me / wanted to prove how much he really loved me. On my birthday a few years ago, he took me out to eat and before food arrived he told me he had been talking to his ex-online-girlfriend several times a week, late at night. She would tell him how great he was, how tremendously talented, what a wonderful person he was. She would tell him that she could see him becoming a recording star, that his voice was so very beautiful. I am a lifetime musician, and he had a nice, average quality voice .. but even if he had an extraordinary talent, most people don't break into the music business at 50. I appreciated his diligence, encouraged improvement and listened to everything he did, but I couldn't be dishonest with him. I didn't understand his need for the spotlight. When he told me about his ex it felt like he had stuck a knife in my gut. I felt nauseous. I felt extraordinarily betrayed and humiliated. I told him he had just admitted to an emotional affair. He maintains he did nothing wrong. I had noticed the emotional pull away, noticed he hadn't been calling to tell me about his day. Seemed closed off and business like with me for awhile. I broke it off, but he came back promising never to speak to her again, stating I was the only woman he had ever loved, etc. I realized over time that he used confidences as weapons, choosing words that seemed to have the purpose of inflicting maximum pain, hitting insecurities, yet assuring he never had ill intent. Again, 2 years later .. I feel the pull away, inability to make eye contact. Yes .. the ex is back in the picture. Deal breaker to the 10th degree. He said his failure was in being honest, I told him his failure was in doing something he felt needed to be hidden. I finally decided, we cannot be friends, cannot maintain contact in any way. I cannot allow an open door for him to manipulate. Being connected to him is emotionally devastating. He is a cold-hearted predator. He needs me to feel responsible for our failings and he has no ability to feel remorse or empathy. I am emotionally drained to the last drop. I don't like the angry and damaged person I have become around him. 6 weeks after blocking his phone and refusing to allow him in the house, my world is beginning to feel safe again. I see glimmers of contentment and peace. Activities and hobbies that had been pushed aside are now interesting and fun again. I am reconnecting with family and friends and they are supporting and loving me. Each day I feel a little stronger and experience little things that make me smile. I have got a lot of healing to do before I want to consider dating again. I need to learn to love me again and restore faith in my own worth, and belief that I deserve a relationship based on love, trust and respect.