I am new to this forum too. Your words have resonated with me.
"I guess distant maybe isn't the correct word. Inattentive maybe. I got into a comfortable rut..... it got to the point where she'd had enough. She needs to focus on herself."
I am taking time for myself too in my relationship. I am too stressed atm and need time out. The relationship is too much. Providing this space for your ex partner is a kindness to her and you right now.
"I don't know how to get through this. I'm being pushed into a life I don't want. I don't want the relationship to end. I don't want to leave our home."
This is very sad. My heartfelt sympathies for your loss. I know this feeling of heartbreak all too well.
At the same time this reminds me of a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis. The lovely warm cocoon of a nurturing relationship and being forced to fly into an unknown world. It can seem cold and scary but my truth (in hindsight) is that it has been exhilarating and exciting. I felt like I wouldn't even be able to walk the path. But I have, stumbling at times, getting up again. Looking back at the obstacles I overcame which were monstrous indeed.
At the ending of my (too long) marriage a number of years ago, I pondered and agonised over the lighter person I used to be before the horrid marriage. I know your experience was opposite.
But recently I have shed the need / desire / want to be the person I was before. I REALLY want to use my experiences to turn me into a far more powerful human being. What's the point of being old hey? I am ALOT older than you btw lol.
"People have gone through this exact situation. I don't know how they survived it."
They probably didn't know how either. Not at the time. I didn't. The one habit I had to shed was looking too far forward into the future. It's a hard habit to break which I'm still working on.
Now I only want to see opportunity. I actually want the love of my life to be me. I want to learn how to love myself, not in a vanity way but in an appreciation way.
I have had a 'new' relationship for several years but am taking a break for the reasons your partner gave you. We do not live together. I love him dearly and don't want to be with another person. I have recognised compassion fatigue in caring for him so deeply. I have children out of home and still at home to care for also. He desperately wants marriage and I desperately don't! lol... But where there is life, there is hope.