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Ugh, that sounds hard. Unfortunately, life is often confusing and irrational, especially intimate relationships. Anger and resentment can be a part of grief, so please don’t judge yourself for feeling them. Of course you’re angry and probably hurt and confused, as well. I would counsel you to try not to judge yourself for your feelings, but to try and work through them. Journaling, therapy, seeking support from friends/family…all of those things can help. It sounds like maybe it’s time to take some space for yourself and not to focus on finding someone else to fill that void. That will only keep the cycle repeating. You’re young and you’re still figuring out who you are (which is a process that lasts a lifetime, btw).
Many, many people say they want a relationship but are scared of opening up in a way that would create true intimacy and growth. I know I’ve felt that way and sometimes still do, and I’m in my mid-40’s. These young women probably aren’t meaning to hurt you, but they may not understand that they’re sending mixed messages. Maybe, like the commenter above suggests, date older women who have more of their act together, and develop strong boundaries with people you’ve dated before. Maybe being friends with exes isn’t something that’s right for you.
Wishing you lots of luck and love!
Thank you SO much, Seaisland! I read the intro to the book you mentioned and started to cry, because not only can I see my BF in those assessment questions, but I can see myself. We’ve suspected for awhile that I might also be on the spectrum, though perhaps more functional than my BF. So that could have a lot to do with a lot of things. I ordered the book and can’t wait to read it.
I do realize relationships take work, of course, and nobody’s perfect. I guess my questions have to do with feeling very lonely in my relationship, more like I’m single. This can’t be how it’s supposed to be, can it?
Anyway, I’ll check out the book. Thanks again!
Hi James – I have some similar issues, particularly around isolating myself. Lately I’ve felt like most of my human interactions have either been negative or have had some negativity associated with it – like going out to a party with friends and running into my ex and his new lover, or going out to dinner with a friend and having her talk mostly about herself. I definitely understand how it feels to feel stressful about people and interacting with them.
I think part of it for me is that I’m moving beyond my current communities. I’m feeling scared, but I think what I need to do is go out and explore communities where it’s not all about drugs and partying and drinking and screwing a bunch of people. Sounds obvious, I’m sure, but for me, it’s a group I’ve known for a long time and I’ve been blind to the negative effects on me, until now.
So I wonder if you’re not reaching out because you haven’t found your people or a community that calls to you.
I think procrastination or numbing behaviors (the internet, the video games, even reading) means that you’re scared to make changes, maybe scared that people won’t like you or want to connect. I think that’s really common; I know I’ve been in that place lately myself – going on Facebook for hours after work and not doing what I need to be doing.
I’m scared to fail, is I think what it is.
Do you know what you’re scared of?May 27, 2015 at 1:38 pm in reply to: don't understand how to meet my needs for love alone #77392
I’m in the same boat and I can tell you what I’m doing, that I feel is slowly, slowly working for me.
For one thing, I use mantras a lot, do some energy tapping (look it up on You Tube) and tell myself “I love myself” when I start to get panicky about my most recent breakup.
I’ve spent years identifying communities where I feel welcomed and supported, and I spend time with these communities while also allowing myself a lot of alone time, which I need because I’m a classic introvert.
I’m working on being very conscious about the people I let into my life. I used to be so desperate to be wanted/loved that I’d let anyone in, even people who were negative, high-drama, and manipulative. It’s hard, but I’m slowly noticing the people who are kind, active, self-aware, supportive, and creative, and consciously making connections with them (i.e. asking them to go out for drink or a movie or a bike ride, etc). This is hard for me because I’m somewhat shy, but I do it anyway because I want to be surrounded by people who have their shit together.
I’ve rediscovered things that I’ve always loved to do, like garden, grow potted plants, go out into nature, be creative artistically, and read, and am trying to do more of those things.
I’ve also discovered that one way for me to stay physically active (and i hate exercising) is bicycling, so I try to do that regularly.
I’m seeing a therapist who has been a great supporter and friend for several years, and am taking her advice in terms of going to events, retreats, and seeking out support in different forms. I’m also in a woman’s support group.
I’m paying attention to what I need in order to feel good – i.e. I love my home being a comfortable nest, so I’ve been working on making it more comfy and nest-like and spending time in it just enjoying it.
And right now, I’m just simply not dating. I don’t feel healthy enough, and I don’t even want to date.
Everyone is different, of course, but that’s what I’m doing!
Good luck to you-
I guess the question is: what behavior makes you feel better about being YOU? I know how it feels to have people pick on you criticize you, gossip. etc, and I’ve certainly felt like being pissy and disrespectful back (and sometimes I am). But at the end of the day, I’d rather know that I did my best to make my presence in the world a positive one (including trying not to be reactive if someone takes out their bad day or misunderstanding on me).
I think that experiences like these are meant to teach us patience, and to not take things so personally.
It’s easy for people to use shame, but it can also be incredibly damaging. When someone treats you this way, consider tapping into your inherent compassion and realizing that they may not have understood the situation, or are struggling with their own stuff and are taking out their frustrations on you.
Don’t let their struggles and behavior change you for the worst!
That’s hard; it sounds like she didn’t want to hurt you and so ‘forgot’ as a way of avoiding being honest with you and potentially having a difficult conversation. It’s hard to believe she didn’t have any feelings for you if she kissed you and you were in contact so often, but given that she seemed a little ambivalent at the time (was spending time with her ex, etc) and also going away to another country and having her own adventure, it’s not so strange to think that she was not thinking deeply about you and your relationship. Chris Rock did a bit about (excuse the vulgarity here) how women sometimes have male friends as an “emergency dick in a box” for when they’re lonely. This may be what you were to her.
As someone above pointed out, you were both using each other, which I believe is fairly normal in relationships. You asked her to make a decision and then you both moved on somewhat in your lives, and she made the decision, albeit in a pretty disrespectful way.
It would hurt me, too, if I was in your shoes and someone announced on FB that they were involved with someone else. That does show a lack of respect, and I would probably stop contacting her, as well, if I were you.
I don’t blame you for being hurt. I hope you can move on and heal and realize that you deserve someone who is as devoted to you as you obviously have the capacity to be to a partner. Ambivalence is painful. Consider this a lesson for the future.
Wishing you lots of healing!May 18, 2015 at 3:55 pm in reply to: Wanting female perspective on relationship breakdown #76931
I’m sorry you’re going through this. For whatever reason, she wasn’t able to open into relationship with you – whether she was too afraid, or had other priorities that were more important to her. Asperger’s certainly could be part of it. I broke up with a boyfriend recently because he didn’t want the same things out of a relationship, and he still says he doesn’t understand what I mean. I’ve explained over and over and he either doesn’t want to hear it or can’t due to his own baggage. But I’m devastated, too, and I love him very much.
Her ambivalence (running hot and cold) is not because there’s something ‘wrong’ with you; it’s her own stuff that she needs to work through in order to be open enough to be in a true relationship. Try not to take it personally.
I wouldn’t count on being together in a couple of years, though anything can happen. See it as a permanent breakup. Heal. Move on. Take a break from contact. And decide what you really want in a partnership. It will probably be some time before you want to date again, but when you do, remember to look for and take seriously red flags like someone having trouble functioning well in other aspects of their life (i.e. hoarding).
And remember that you’re chemically bonded to each other, so what feels like ‘spiritual partnership’ may simply be the chemicals that make you crave each other. I know it’s hard but try not to make it mean more than that right now. I know how it feels to want someone to be your soul mate or spiritual partner-from-another-plane. But that may make it harder to walk away.
Sending you both lots of love and healing!
From the fairest place I can come from, it sounds like he’s struggling with grief and perhaps anger – maybe about you, maybe about the abortion, maybe about something he’s not talking with you about. He sounds manipulative in the extreme and very cruel. If he’s not self-aware or mature enough to deal with his own baggage and come to you in a fair, kind, constructive, and equitable way, he’s not for you. He’s not your man. He has a lot of growing up to do, and he may do it with this other woman or maybe not. But his treatment of you is awful, and even if there’s a reason for it underneath his cruel words, he needs to learn to be kinder and more in control of himself before he will ever be a good partner.
If he’s getting in touch with you even though you’re asking him not to, consider getting a restraining order or something or just not answering the phone if you don’t know who it is. You don’t deserve hateful words, and it sounds like he’s obsessing over whatever wrongs he thinks you’ve done to him. Block him on social media. Block him on e-mail. And don’t answer the phone if it’s an unfamiliar number. Or change your number, if possible.
Remember that this isn’t about you, it’s about him. We’ve all made mistakes in relationships, and we all have things to be forgiven for. But whens someone says they love you and then turns on you, he’s dealing with some sort of pain that’s not your fault, but that means he’s in a place of (hopefully) learning and growing. You don’t deserve that kind of treatment, and you’re not responsible for his pain. I’d encourage you to cut off all all ties to the extent that you can. I suspect that you’re responding to him because he’s baiting you. Stop responding, even when he says things that upset you or make you want to defend yourself.
He may never (probably will never) understand who you really are or what happened from your perspective. He doesn’t sound like he has a lot of empathy. It sounds like it’s time to drop that expectation, stop trying to explain or defend yourself, and just let him go from your life.
He’s confused and doesn’t know what he wants, and maybe neither do you. Stop seeing each other until you can talk about what you both want (while sober) and what’s going on with others in your lives. But he sounds like bad news if he’s jealous and all that without you actually having a committed relationship. I’d say end the FWB thing right now and have a real conversation.May 4, 2015 at 2:48 pm in reply to: What To Do with the Terror of Being Flawed & Unlovable? #76134
Thanks. I did actually join a woman’s support group and started seeing a counselor who’s more of a spiritual teacher than a psychotherapist, and has women’s groups. I’m involved in a lot of projects that have nothing to do with dating, and have been making connections with new people who are not in the community where my ex is. I also figured out that the Zoloft was causing the panic attacks. I weaned off of them and now no more panic!
I’ve also been working with mantras, mindfulness, and imagery to help myself get out of the ruminative place where I end up getting angry with my ex, sad about my ex, or worried that I’m not good enough to date. I appreciate your support!
Can you apply for a job with the same company but move closer to it and maybe find roommates where you can develop friendships?
I do 🙂
I’ve never had a parent die, but I do understand how stress and grief can make us do things to numb the pain that, in retrospect, were not the best decisions. I also understand how anger can come up and come out in ways that are damaging, even when we don’t mean to hurt people. I’ve definitely had that happen in my life when I was in a relationship that was making me unhappy and I didn’t have the courage to walk away.
I think the first step is to realize that you are going through a major life transition. A parent dying is a major trauma. Be kind to yourself, let your friends and family and work know that you know you’re not yourself right now, but that you are grieving, and maybe let your friend know that you regret hurting her and tell her how you feel about not feeling heard by her about your continued grief.
It sounds like you need more support right now than your friends or family can provide, especially since your family is also grieving your dad’s death. And you must be so worried about your brother, on top of that. Can you gather your family (even if just on Skype or an internet chat session or something) and tell them you’d like more closeness around the grief? They might be feeling the same way, but may be in too much pain to say anything. They also might think they need to be ‘strong’ and ‘brave’. Maybe you can be brave by talking to them about how much you miss them and how much you want to process the grief together.
Is it possible for you to seek counseling or even group therapy? A grief group might be helpful for you.
Your lover might feel confused and hurt about your mixed messages – I’m sure he can tell that you’re not that into him, and that you mostly want him around when you’re drinking. He’s trying to do the best thing for himself by pulling away. I can understand why he’d do that. have you spoken to him about what’s happening for you, and how you feel about him? If you’re willing to listen to his side of things, maybe you two should have a sober conversation about not the grief, but about your experiences with each other. It might help him understand the mixed messages he’s getting from you, and it might help you understand why he’s pulling away. If he doesn’t want to get into any deep conversation with you about it, you can’t force him, so maybe let go of the expectation that he’s going to be a support person right now. If he’s dealing with his own grief, he has his own processing to do. This is another reason why it might be good to see a therapist or counselor or support group, so you have more people to turn to when you want to process what’s been going on.
It’s too bad that you feel you can’t express your sadness/grief to the world. Have you tried writing it out? I used to blog a lot in the past when I was feeling hurt or sad. You could start an anonymous blog and just write your feelings out, and that way you don’t have to worry that people you know will disapprove, etc. Or maybe do art or something else that can help you work with the feelings on another level than talking about them. Sometimes ‘mentalizing’ about our issues stops being helpful because we end up talking in circles. I’m a big believer in other forms of healing, such as energy work, massage, nature, exercise, animals, meditation, writing, art, gardening, and even watching funny movies or videos on You Tube (yes, really!)
Massage might be one way to have human contact without drinking and sleeping with someone you don’t really care for. Do you have any friends who will hold you and hug you in a nonsexual way? I know how it feels to be lonely and to want to be held, believe me. I’m sending you a big internet hug!
And finally: you have the right to not ‘put on a brave face’. You just had a major death in your life. If you can, give yourself permission and time to grieve, cry, numb out, be sad, and not be productive. Now is a time for you to spend time with yourself and in supportive situations, processing this new reality. Your sadness and feelings of wanting to numb our are saying to you: we need to stop doing what we normally do (acting ‘brave’ and ‘normal’) and take the time to heal.
I’ll be thinking of you.
Is it possible that you need a different job? If you’re getting sick and you’re not with your family, maybe you should look at what you really want out of life, and how to have better work/life balance.
I think it’s a mistake to give our all to our jobs and to pay for them with our families and physical or mental health. If you’re so exhausted you can’t even eat properly, you will not be able to physically even do your job, much less do it well. I don’t know what kind of job it is or what the stakes are, but it seems important to me that you invest in some self-care. And if holding out for another week is going to be painful and make you sick, then by all means arrange to leave early. Say you’re sick or there’s a family emergency. Most likely, you will be OK whatever happens, even if you lose this job because of it. If the job is making you sick, then maybe that’s for the best.
It does sound like you might want to assess whether the job parameters can be changed so that you can experience less stress and more closeness with the people you love.May 4, 2015 at 1:56 pm in reply to: Replacing the need for romantic love with self love #76127
I second what other commenters have said. I also have just left a relationship. It wasn’t abusive per se, but he didn’t treat me the way I deserved and it’s been excruciating to walk away, even knowing there’s a better match for me out there.
Right now, you’re in grief and probably fairly traumatized. It’s OK to feel totally overwhelmed. At this stage, I think it’s OK to distract yourself and take some time away from as many responsibilities as you can. I’ve taken days off of work, spent days watching TV, etc. You don’t want to do this for very long, but I think it’s OK to let yourself numb yourself sometimes. We can only handle so much emotional pain, IMO, and it can be a kindness to allow ourselves some escape as long as they aren’t too damaging in the long term.
I wouldn’t try to forgive your ex right now, either. Your anger is natural and healthy and you SHOULD feel angry at being treated badly. You’re probably feeling a lot of the anger you suppressed during your relationship. If there’s a way you can channel the anger but still feel it, do that. I’ve heard people suggest taking kickboxing classes or using a punching bag a the gym to move the physical energy of anger out of the body. Or punch a pillow or go into your car or basement and scream and yell.
I don’t think you need to worry about feeling angry. It’s part of the process. And women are so often told we shouldn’t feel or express anger, which I think is a mistake.
Do what you can, and let go of feelings that you ‘aren’t doing enough’. I also got off track in regards to eating well, exercising, etc, and I often beat myself up because I wasn’t doing better. But I finally gave up beating myself up and just gave myself permission to do the best that I could. Walk for 5 minutes and let that be enough. Eat a salad from a grocery store and let that be enough. Eat some junk food and let go of guilt. Do one or two practical things a day that are important to get done, and let that be enough.
I had all this stuff I couldn’t do because I felt so demoralized, and finally, I asked friends to help me. So next weekend my friends are coming over to help me clean up my backyard that I totally let go to weeds because I was so sad, and my parents are paying for me to hire a housecleaner because I still feel so bad I can’t make myself clean the house.
Ruminating can be dangerous, but again: forgive yourself and only do what you can. I noticed that in the mornings, I woke up being upset and lonely and missing my ex. So I started to chant “I love myself” or my mantra: “I am living a life of abundance and deep love” when I noticed myself starting to ruminate or have an internal dialogue about the relationship, how crappy my ex was, how much I miss him, etc. It has definitely helped interrupt my ruminative cycles, not that I’m perfect at it or catch it every time.
But give yourself permission to take small steps. You don’t have to be functional or forgiving right now. This is a huge transition, especially considering there was abuse.
I’m really glad you have counselors, and I hope you give yourself permission to process the ending of the relationship as well as to explore what you want your life to look like going forward.
I sometimes feel like I “shouldn’t” talk about my ex anymore or process the relationship anymore, because it was so obviously bad for me, and it’s been two months since I ended it. But it still hurts, so I try to give myself permission to speak about it to close friends and my therapist, without feeling like I “should” be more over it than I am.
I think the main thing is to let yourself feel what you feel and cope as well as you can, and to be kind and gentle with yourself.
Good luck to you! Big hugs.
- This reply was modified 8 years, 9 months ago by Rose Tattoo.
Nobody is ever ‘perfect’ for us. It sounds like it’s time for you to figure out what your priorities are and what you want in a relationship. It’s not so much that you ‘deserve’ financial stability, but that it’s important to you.
Your choices are A) leave your boyfriend because he’s not good with money and financial stability is more important to you than the relationship, B) stay with him and maybe try to work with him around learning better money-handling responsibilities or getting a job, etc (if he gets a job, maybe you can take on the money-handling tasks while he takes on something in the relationship that he’s better at than you are?) or C) stay, do nothing, and continue to get resentful and angry, in which case your relationship will eventually end painfully.
If you’re a good match in every other way, maybe there’s some way to more actively support him in getting work and/or learning better skills. It seems to me that, if you really are a good match in all these other ways, it might be worth trying some other tacks before you end it. It’s not that often that we find someone that is a good match.
On the other hand, if financial stability is one of your top priorities, and he’s not going to be able to provide that to your satisfaction, it might simply mean that you need to find a partner who brings more financial resources to the table. There’s no shame in wanting that. People break up for lots of reasons, who love one another and are good together in many ways.
Good luck in whatever you choose to do!
And I don’t agree that you’re ‘using’ him any more than any of us ‘use’ our partners and friends to help get our needs met. Your desire to be financially secure is totally valid.