I attract complications. This is not me looking for sympathy; most of the time I think I don't actually help myself at all. I get myself in to such messes, mostly because I try to keep everyone happy and so end up weaving a web of confusion for myself to unravel when everyone else is sleeping happily in their beds at night.
There was this situation once, with a relationship of mine (let's call him Robert...not his real name of course). We were together for a long stretch. It was good most of the time but then I realised that what we had was more of a friendship than a relationship. When I called halt on things it took a long time disconnect, and I don't mean months! We had 'talks' so many times where I would say 'I can't do this anymore, I care about you, but can't be in a relationship with you'.
Through all of this I knew Robert wanted me back. I actually think he never thought we had split in the first place. I was still his girlfriend in his eyes.
The trouble with this situation was that I met someone new and had to continue trying to sort out Robert through all of it. Now, you may just think, 'well, if you met someone new, just tell Robert and leave...'. If you have been in my situation you will understand how hard and emotionally draining it all is.
The cliche of loving someone but not being in love with someone in the sense of a relationship and physical intimacy is not something one can just cast aside overnight. You worry, feel guilty, cry (a lot), think about all the things they have ever said that were nice, increasing the guilt further still. This is a vicious circle of events until you feel like you are going crazy. I would imagine Robert at home, on his own, or having an accident and nobody knowing about it or being there to help - I may not feel I can be with him now, but you never stop caring, or worrying, and that is terribly hard on the soul. It is hard to move forward with your life feeling like that.
This isn't the sort of thing you can explain to a new man in your life either. Can you imagine a man saying this about an ex girlfriend. Come on girls, we'd freak right out wouldn't we?! Only we know how we feel and as you get older, life just throws more 'interesting' complications. But I guess that that is what we are here for, to learn, to make mistakes and to come out the other side feeling wiser and a tad more knowledgeable than where we started.