This is a long post because I think all the context is important.
Some info: Both of us are systems and are autistic. I will use 'me/I' in order to make this easy to understand, but I really mean 'we' for our entire system.
I met my ex in the beginning of 2022, when I was 16 and he was 14, and we didn't really talk too much until July, and then got really close during August and September. At first, we were platonic partner systems (it's hard to explain what that means, but essentially it's like being best friends with everyone from both systems) starting in October. I had been the one to initially ask to be platonic partner systems. We were super close, and eventually grew to have romantic feelings for each other. At the time, he was dating two other systems, and dated another system while we were dating, but eventually broke up with two of them because they were being extremely rude to him. I was fine with xem being polyam and having other partners, but I didn't really talk to any of them (not for any particular reason).
When we both started discussing our romantic feelings for each other, initially I had said I don't want to be a relationship because we were long-distance/online friends, and I really like affection and it kind of kills me not to be able to hang out with a partner if they're far away. He was fine with that, and understood our feelings, and we continued being partner systems. We were affectionate with each other, used petnames, sent goodmorning/goodnight texts everyday, etc. After a while, he was totally inseparable to my daily routine, and we became extremely close.
I did develop a crush on someone at school around December, and our boyfriend was totally cool with it, because we still weren't technically dating at that point, and I wanted to try to date someone who wasn't really far away from us for once. My crush rejected my feelings, so nothing happened.
In January-March, we had gotten closer and more romantically intertwined, and I was dealing with my own fears and anxieties about being official with him. It was scary to call xem my boyfriend, and I was sorting my feelings out about it, and xe was being supportive and said xe understood.
Something happened with one of my IRL friends during that timeframe, and we began to become really close as well. He was being really affectionate and was being really gentle and kind, more so than usual, because he had seen me breakdown and comforted me through it. He was holding my hand, pressing our faces together, teasing me, giggling at my jokes (which isn't normal for him around me), and even said "not to be demanding or anything, but I'll love you forever if you play with my hair". This happened over the course of a few weeks, and I had grown to have feelings for him, or at least desire to be with him intimately. I fantasized about kissing him and such, so I told my boyfriend-then partner system. At first, he was supportive and understanding, and didn't mind when I was talking to him about my feelings. I felt really bad about the whole thing, because I didn't know if my IRL friend had feelings for me, and I felt like I was betraying my boyfriend-then partner system. He assured me that it was fine. In my head, I knew that it was probably me yearning for physical touch because I craved to have it from my partner system.
In early March, I went on an week long trip that distanced me from my IRL friend, and I was thinking about confessing to him when I got back. I didn't see us having any sort of romantic relationship, mostly because our age gap at the moment isn't really comfortable and a lot of my friends who I discussed this with, including my ex, had said that it was a problem (he's 20 and I'm 17, and we met around 2 years ago). I like being open and honest with my friends, so I wanted to confess my feelings and state to him that nothing was going to happen between us, and that I still wanted to be friends with him. Before our trip was over, our ex got really mad at us and confessed that he wasn't actually okay with my feelings for my IRL friend, and it made him upset whenever we discussed this particular friend, because he felt like I was prioritizing my IRL friend over him. Because he has BPD, he split on me, and we didn't talk for a day so he could calm down. It really surprised me because usually we're super honest and open with each other. I didn't know that I was upsetting him this whole time.
At the time, I felt like I needed to do something to really declare my love for him, so I decided to officially ask him to be my boyfriend (after he had time to calm down from his BPD split and get his bearings, he also did apologize). He said yes, and when I got back from my trip, fully explained myself to my IRL friend. He was okay with what I said, but didn't reveal if he had/didn't have feelings for me, so we just went back to being normal and whenever we hung out he didn't act the same way he had been before.
In the time after that, my boyfriend had only split on me one other time due to scheduling issues and we made up afterwards. Throughout our whole relationship, I had made a point to be compassionate and understanding with him and help him feel better about himself and such, especially because a lot of his past partners we're really horrible to him. He has a history of people sexual abusing him and as a result has a lot of sexual trauma and is hypersexual, so I really wanted to be a good partner to him, even if we weren't official for most of our relationship.
Throughout our relationship, we almost never discussed anything sexual, as neither of us were really comfortable doing anything sexual with each other. This did change after we officially started dating in early March, and I started being more open to the idea of talking to him about sexual things in general, such as explicit literature I would read. We messaged on Discord, so I would spoiler/hide any text in our private server relating to sexual things, in case he didn't want to read it in our direct messages. I made his comfort a huge point, and I always tagged my discussion of anything sexual.
After a while, I thought he was comfortable talking about more sexual things. By this point, I had turned 17 and he was 15. I didn't really think that our age gap was odd, but looking back, it did make some things I said a bit odd and I don't really know how to process those feelings, and it honestly makes me feel really ashamed, especially because of how much I had prioritized his comfort. Either way, we were discussing things that I had never talked about with other people, and it was a bit embarrassing at first.
One night, we were up texting pretty late (like 1AM), and I had told him that it makes me feel really good when he says certain things, and it snowballed into a sexual conversation. It wasn't explicit, and we didn't discuss anything about genitals, but it was definitely enough to make me feel turned on. It then turned into borderline sexting, and he was really making me feel horny and it was absolutely delightful. I loved that conversation a lot and it felt really nice to have that moment with him. I had sort of rushed into things at first, but I was asking him throughout the conversation if this was okay, and if he could say certain things to turn me on, and overall just making sure if he was feeling okay about what we were doing. He said everything was okay, and when I had asked him to do something in particular, he said he wasn't comfortable, and I told him that was fine and we continued our conversation. I thought it went well and that he had found it as enjoyable as I did.
I had offered to say things to him in order to get him turned on, but he declined and that was okay with me. I also asked if we could call, and he also declined, which again was okay with me. Before I went to bed, I told him I really enjoyed our sext session and that it was really nice to be comfortable enough with him to do that sort of stuff. He agreed and I went to bed feeling really happy.
After that night, I felt comfortable enough to reveal some of my kinks to him, and it felt nice to share that with him because that's info I've never told anybody else. I trusted him a lot and I knew he trusted me, too. I told him that if he ever got uncomfortable he can say so and I'll change the topic, and he did do that a couple of times, but not for this particular conversation about kinks. I thought that I was doing a good job about everything, and was making sure he was comfortable with everything.
At some points, he was discussing his sexual trauma with me. In my head, I thought he was feeling really weary about talking his trauma, so I didn't want to make the conversations about it drag on for too long. I don't really remember how long we would talk about it, but I would eventually shift the conversation to something else, because I didn't want him to feel pressured to keep talking about his trauma and his history with his past partners.
Last week/late May, he texted me and confessed to me he wanted to breakup. He said that he was uncomfortable with our age gap, mostly because we had started to talk about/do more sexual things. Xe also said that xe felt I was cutting xem off when talking about xe's sexual trauma/history, and just felt like I was being a little overbearing when I was talking about sexual things. He also said that at multiple points he was uncomfortable when discussing these things, but he had lied and said he was okay at the time in order not to upset me or anything. He did acknowledge that he had issues with communication, which had slowly begun to be a problem in our relationship (mostly after March), but we usually would talk things through and reach to a conclusion. He said he still wanted to be good friends, since we were so close and stuck at the hip, and that he had been having these feelings for a few weeks.
It caught me off guard, and I had no idea he was feeling this way. It really devastated me to know that I had made him feel uncomfortable, even if he had lied about things being okay with him, and I felt like it was all my fault. I thought our relationship would last much longer, especially because I had discussed with him about seeing him next summer and saving money for a plane ticket in order to do so. I ended up splitting off a new system member because of all the stress I've been feeling, and it's been really disorientating. We agreed to not talk to each other for a while, because both of us need space, but it's been really difficult without talking to him. I did reply to one of his posts on Twitter, but aside from that, we haven't been interacting at all. It's just so weird to not talk to him or even just send him reels on Instagram or anything. It was also really hard removing him as our wallpaper because looking at him made me feel like crying.
I've been talking to my friends about the situation, and for the most part everyone has been nice, but two of my friends had made me cry a few days after the breakup had happened due to them being 'playfully rude' and reminding me of my autism related trauma. They apologized, but obviously it had still made me feel really bad. Lately, I've been a bit better, but it's still been hard on me. I really miss talking to him, but I'm not sure if he wants to talk to me, and I don't know if I should because it might make me feel worse. I just... have no idea what to do with myself now. I had been talking to my ex almost 24/7 and without talking to him, I feel really empty and 'bored'. I don't know what to do most of the time, and my brain has sort of been mush because of it.
I haven't talked to my parents about this at all, mostly because they aren't very compassionate towards me anyways and honestly suck a lot. They wouldn't help at all and would probably get mad at me for the whole thing. I had mentioned about the breakup to a teacher I trusted, but didn't talk about it in depth, and school has ended for me so I won't be able to talk to her further.
I've been trying to take care of myself, like eating more (I have eating disorders that make it hard for me to eat sometimes), making sure I shower everyday (has not been successful), letting myself cry, etc. It's still been really hard. At least I have things during the summer to look forward to, but this whole breakup has been super difficult on me. Does anyone have any advice, reassurance, insight, etc that might help me?
no time spent with a cat is wasted