August 31, 2020 at 2:52 pm #365852gemsandrubiesParticipant
I’m really struggling with the situation I find myself in. I was with a partner that I never married nearly a third of my life. When we broke up it took me over 5 years to fall in love again despite dating and when I did, it was a whirlwind. I wasn’t looking, none of the circumstances in our lives were conducive to a new relationship, but we had an instant, undeniable connection. We tried our best to put the brakes on and take it slow, but we were both feeling happier than we’d ever been and so in love, so plans changed. We got engaged six months later, which was a first for me. She has a daughter, who I also fell completely head over heels for and bonded with. Our families started to blend, it was the most joy and love filled time of my life.
A few months after our engagement she said she was feeling depressed. With COVID having just begun and both of us trying to work and continue school from home with a toddler this seemed completely understandable to me. I spent a week trying to find ways to cheer her up and be present with her, but had no suspicion whatsoever anything else was wrong. After that week she said she realized she wasn’t depressed, that she didn’t want to be together anymore, and very quickly and abruptly moved out. I begged her to stay, but she insisted that it wasn’t anything that went wrong with us or our relationship, just that she needed to be alone right now. There were a few things pointed to as issues or things she felt were unresolved for her from past relationships, and there are definitely things I wish I could have done differently in our relationship, but she swore there was nothing I could do or could have done to change this outcome. I didn’t get to know when my last day with her daughter would be. The grief was immeasurable and completely blindsided me. I had a physical reaction to it. This was compounded by pre existing anxieties, a global pandemic, and now having to quarantine alone in the place we picked out and moved in to together after we got engaged.
This is where things got complicated. My ex completely changed her demeanor, as if angry with me. We didn’t talk after she left, but had discussed this potentially being a ‘break’ before then and at very least remaining friends. She kept the ring. But she instantly started treating me like I was some kind of villain, as if a switch had just been flipped. The first week she was gone, I frequently reached out for the support of my best friend and bandmate as I’d always done in years past. She was the first person I went to with everything, so she knew every intimate detail. With over a decade of friendship, she’d witnessed almost all of it. For the first time that I can remember, we ended up in an argument. Essentially, I had what I can only describe as an intuition that she liked my ex fiancé and asked her to please, for my current (likely crazy) trauma brain’s sake, ‘just say you won’t date my ex’. She wouldn’t say she wouldn’t, insisted that people just change their minds, and that I wasn’t being fair to my ex by not accepting that. She is still currently living with her long term girlfriend, although they have been ‘broken up’ or in an open relationship for some time now. I later apologized and felt so guilty and frankly crazy for ever even thinking my friend would do such a thing.
Two and a half months after my ex moved out and after having barely talked to either of them, my friend text me and bluntly stated that it wasn’t to hurt me and that she knew I wasn’t going to like it but she was going out with my ex. She said she waited to message her until after she moved out, although I’d given her my ex’s number while we were still together so she could help her with a school assignment, so they had been talking before my ex moved out. My friend opened up to my ex while we were still together, but I didn’t think anything of it because I truly trusted them both. If anything, I was glad she had someone as easy to talk to as my ex was to open up to during some very difficult challenges in her life. I want to be clear that there is no part of me that wants them to be unhappy, or not experience love. I don’t hate them, in fact, they’re the two people I loved most in the world. My ex fiancé was the first person I have ever felt truly loved and seen by exactly as I was. I learned to be vulnerable with her in a way I’d never done before. She was kind, patient, supportive, and present. She challenged me to be better but in a way that was loving and emboldening. She took such good care of us and was a fantastic mom, which brought me so much joy to witness and to be a part of as a ‘family’ together. But I am just crushed, and responded mostly out of anger and hurt to my friend. I needed the boundary not to bear witness to any of it, so I blocked and walked away from them both. I called our third bandmate to let her know the band was breaking up, and her response was that she wouldn’t have found her current love had they not both divorced their spouses when they met, so she took their side in a way also. Although I don’t feel there need to be sides at all, I just am getting the sense that I need to walk away from it all, which is difficult to accept.
I grew up in a home that was very homophobic and came away with a lot of pre-embedded abandonment, trust, and self worth issues already. My aunt committed suicide last fall, then my fiancé left with her daughter a few months later, and then I lost my best friend and band as well, all in the midst of COVID. I feel overwhelmed by the grief of it all, and the losses are definitely triggering past traumas. I don’t want to be selfish, I don’t wish them unhappiness, but I really need some help understanding how to process all of this. Especially given how the global pandemic has complicated things. I’ve been doing all I can, exercise, meditation, virtual therapy…But the physical sensation of grief feels almost unbearable right now and some days it’s all I can do just to get out of bed. I’m trying to practice compassion with myself, be patient, and just look for the next light under each door as the days go by, but sometimes it feels so hard to even breathe.
Thank you for anyone that takes the time to read and respond. I’m feeling completely swept out to sea, at the bottom of it quite frankly, and any advice or support is so appreciated.August 31, 2020 at 10:21 pm #365920MarieParticipant
What a heartfelt story of you and your ex. You two seem to have had such deep bond and connection, I can’t imagine how hurt you must be. I’m so sorry. I commend you for trying to stay grounded and strong, that is natural with wanting to take care of yourself. Exercise, meditation and therapy are all the right things. I understand how grief is very real but in time, I hope it lessens for you. If it’s meant to be, maybe your ex will show up/find you in the future, if the universe feels you two are meant to be together again. If that doesn’t happen, it means there is somebody amazing out there waiting for you. Trauma’s happen, yes but in time wounds will heal and when the time is right, it usually will resolve.
Also sorry to read that you grew up in a homophobic environment but the beautiful thing is that, you are/were strong enough to make the decision to love who you wanted to love, regardless of the stigma. It’s amazing these days, how accepted it is and normal. My condolences about your aunt, I’ve personally been through that.
Remember, you are worthy of love and love will come and find you again, when you least expect it. Stay strong, stay positive and continue to nature yourself with love and compassion.
Sending you a lot of love, positivity and light.
All the best and take care while you’re away/offline. There are some other incredible people on this site, that will help guide you also.September 1, 2020 at 4:51 am #365927MochaBParticipant
You sound like such a beautiful soul. We are all flawed in our own ways, but it is good that you did some reflecting on your relationship. That is necessary work on the road to healing.
I’m going to be very honest:
1) Your ex sounds like a narcissist/taker
2)Your bandmate is not your friend
3) The pandemic did not have anything to do with her selfishness. Her true self would’ve been revealed at one point or another.
4) Move on the best way you can
It sounds like your ex takes and takes. She needed support for herself and her child, so she took from you. You got engaged and she left but took the ring you gave her. Now she has moved on to a new, fresh source of attention. She may soon grow bored with that and will move on, leaving a path of destruction in her wake.
I would keep doing the self work, and not contact her anymore. You sound like a giver and she sounds like a taker. Keep in mind that when she senses that you are moving on, she will be back to take and take.
It is what narcissists do.
I hope you find someone who is worthy of all you have to offer. Who doesn’t challenge you to be better” because they already think you’re great.
Meanwhile, find joy in the little things-the sunrise, the birds chirping, when someone holds a door for you, a great cappucino and the foam design on top. Listen to babies laugh. YouTube videos of puppies and children, animal rescues. Fill your spirit with joy. Tire yourself out during the day so you are exhausted at night.
Don’t give up hope. You are already loved, my dear.September 1, 2020 at 7:50 am #365935PeggyParticipant
How awful for you that you have lost both your best friend and your fiance to each other, and so close to your split. It sounds to me that you are really so much better off without them and that neither of them deserved you. I agree wholeheartedly with Marie and MochaB. Your physical sensation of grief and feeling that you can hardly breathe suggests that this has impacted on your chest/heart area so make sure that you intentionally send love to this area. Reclaim that which you have given to others and give it to yourself instead. When you have filled your heart with self love, let it flow to every other area of your body.
You say that this loss is triggering past traumas. Let those traumas come up and then release them. I know this is a painful process but it will serve you well in the long run. The emotion you attached to the events is the part that causes the problem. Taking some time to examine them, releasing the emotions that come up, forgiving anyone that you need to forgive including yourself where appropriate will go a long way towards healing yourself.
You will come through this. Stay strong and let your light shine.
PeggySeptember 2, 2020 at 9:22 am #366000RushKParticipant
I can relate to the situation you are in. My ex and I broke up because we had been fighting about petty things for 10 days and wanted a break. On my end, the fights were resulting from his changing behavior and closeness towards my then best friend – he seemed to have taken some sort of interest in her (and she was showing a lot of interest in him as well, despite knowing that he and I were still dating) and that ultimately resulted in our breakup as I didn’t want to be in a relationship where I felt insecure.
Right after we broke up, my ex started hanging out with my best friend more often and soon after they got into a relationship. Neither of them informed me that they got together, in fact they had been hiding it from everyone until people started noticing and they finally acknowledged. It broke my heart to see them happy together while I had been miserable for so long, I deeply cared for my ex and wanted us to work our problems out – but he had already moved on to my then best friend who was too willing to choose him over our friendship. I didn’t see a way out of my sadness until I decided to let go and work on other aspects of my life. Over the next few months I focused on my career – got my dream internship and converted it into a full-time job offer, made new friends, started enjoying my classes, and tried things I wouldn’t have before. I took baby steps towards finding happiness and have come a long way since my miserable, sorrow-filled days.
I am telling you all this to let you know that there’s hope. There will be days when you feel low and would want to do nothing but cry in your bed. So do that. And then work on something meaningful that would benefit you in the long run – building new skills, getting better at your job, anything else you’d love doing. As you progress in your life, you’ll think less and less about your ex fiance and best friend and more about your own life. Sure, you’ll have breakdowns during the process, but the frequency and impact will reduce. Keep going and before you know it, you’ll emerge as a better, stronger version of yourself!
Stay strong and take baby steps towards happiness.September 2, 2020 at 12:36 pm #366011anitaParticipant
I hope you feel better as you are reading this. It almost always makes me feel better when I understand a situation better. Some people feel better if they don’t understand any more than they do, but long term understanding feels better and improves our mental health.
This is my current understanding based on your original post alone. If you are up to it, we can communicate about it and understand more:
You and your ex fiancé had “an instant, undeniable connection”, a connection that as meaningful as it was led you to see her partly, keeping yourself blind parts of her. What you saw was the “kind, patient, supportive, and present” woman who “took such good care of us”, a woman who saw you exactly as you were (“seen by exactly as I was”). What you didn’t see was.. well, I don’t know what it was that you didn’t see.
We do that, when we have hope, when we want something or someone too much, too intensely, too desperately, we see what suits us, we close our eyes to what doesn’t.
If the connection she felt was as “undeniable” as it was for you, she wouldn’t have denied it as she did. If she was kind, patient, supportive and present with you while living with you, all those things (her kindness, patience, support and presence) had a short time limit.
It is possible that the “whirlwind” nature of your beginning relationship with her was an exception for you, but a pattern for her. Possibly, your former best friend who is now dating your ex fiancé- was your ex’s next in line whirlwind ride. There are people for whom staying in one place and with one person feels like death, and the whirlwind movement to someplace/ someone else feels like a breath of fresh air, it feels like.. living again.
anitaSeptember 8, 2020 at 10:51 am #366349gemsandrubiesParticipant
Thank you everyone for the replies. It has truly helped carry me through some of the roughest days. In some ways, the grief and pain of this has created a lot of new growth I don’t think I’d have experienced otherwise. A chance encounter led to my starting a new band, one I’m so grateful to be creating with. I’m more excited about the music we’re making than I’ve ever been about any music I’ve made in the past, which has been a very unexpected blessing. One I wouldn’t have been graced with had this not happened the way it did. This has also led to beginning new friendships. I’ve been writing a lot (not just music) and that has become my new favorite creative outlet. I’ve even been growing the courage to share some of it, which is a first for me. On the days where the grief doesn’t just exhaust my body, I’m getting ready to run my first half marathon this month. I still have many rough days and moments, but I’m trying to be compassionate with myself and just lean in when I have them. I’ve been caring for my mind, body, and spirit in ways that are much healthier than I ever have before and not trying to avoid the pain, but also paying attention when I’m ruminating in ways that are harmful. Despite all of the hurt, I’m surprisingly grateful I allowed myself to be vulnerable and accept love from my ex in the way that I did, even if things didn’t work out. It’s shown me that I now have evidence that I’m capable of loving and accepting love. It also shown me that I’m stronger than I thought, as I’ve shown up in this suffering to face my greatest fears of unworthiness and abandonment. Beginning learning to be enough for and with myself has been a gift. My ex best friend and ex fiance are now “in a relationship” official, which didn’t take long. Anita really nailed it when she said I must have closed my eyes to…I’m not sure what, but there must have been something I chose not to see in her. In truth, I was always very anxiously attached in this relationship, more than I have been in any other. I thought it was because I finally felt as though I’d found my ‘one’, and I was scared to lose it. Learning about attachment styles has also helped me make more sense of this. Another lesson that’s come from this is learning to trust my own intuition more. Maybe I’ll understand more as time goes by, I’d like to, but I’m trying to accept that I may never fully understand or get closure and either way I have to quit grasping for it. The anger and feelings of betrayal are still things I’m working on, so I can truly find forgiveness within and move on. Any advice you can share on this would be so helpful. Peace and love to all of you, again, I can’t express how grateful I am for your support.September 8, 2020 at 12:12 pm #366355anitaParticipant
You are welcome. Good to read that you are taking good, compassionate care for your mind, body and spirit, and that you are celebrating life, trying a few new things, and with new people: writing and creating music with a new band (and writing otherwise), training for your first half marathon, new friendships.
“I was always very anxiously attached in this relationship, more than I have been in any other”- I imagine that in addition to the hurt and anger over having been left and betrayed, you are also feeling relief about being out of a relationship where you felt very anxiously.
Regarding the advice you asked for, how to move on from the hurt and anger, other than what you are already doing (self care, writing and creating, new interests, new friendships): if you are still in contact with any of the two women, and if you follow their social media and such contact stirs up your hurt and anger, maybe you should end contact with them in person and via social media.