Got Heart Broken by a Codependent

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    Here’s a long story condensed as much as possible…I fell in love for the first time and it happened quickly and intensely. We were acquaintances, then friends, then after she and her partner broke up after 4 years, we became very close. Problem was she was leaving the country for quite some time so our connection was put into overdrive in the two months before she left. We talked about things before she took off for the other side of the world and decided there wasn’t much we could do. In the end, she arrived at her location and immediately began talking to me online every single day. We Skyped constantly and we became even closer. Through our conversations, I found out that she’s gone from relationship to relationship for the past ten years without any time in between them and she has used a lot of them to ignore “facing fears,” as she puts it. Turns out, she is a textbook codependent. However, she kept telling me her feelings for me were different this time. But, the pattern stuck, and after two months of a long-distance “relationship,” she sent me an e-mail saying she couldn’t do this and she needed to just be alone for the first time in her life. She said a few other things that contradicted themselves, like how everything she’s said and felt has been real. But then she also said some really impersonal things that made it seem as if I was just another notch in her belt, another thread in her pattern of clinging to other people.

    I understand how this works…how she has obviously had a lot of unresolved issues with herself that has led her to continue to behave this way in her relationships. I know it wasn’t my fault and she needs to spend time with herself in order to eventually have a relationship with someone. But I’m having the hardest time with it because she was this huge symbol for me- she was my first love, whether or not she knows it, and she was the person who made me realize I needed to come out to family. Meanwhile, I was just this little nugget of time in her life and she’s just moving on with her life probably not even thinking twice about me or what she did. How do I come to terms with such an unrequited feeling that happened at such a pivotal point in my life?


    I’m not sure I have any meaningful advice to give you on how to move on or let go, but I have been on the other side of the equation.

    I too have suffered from a history of co-dependency – moving from one relationship to another without any time in between where I could spend time alone, learn about myself, learn to love myself, better understand my own needs, and not try to always save or take care of others as way of compensating for past pain or filling a void.

    Like your former lover, I too had this same eye opening realization when I jumped into another relationship after many years of marriage. In just two short months, I fell full in force with passion and high intensity. I saw some kind of pattern repeating again and so I had to break it off. At the time, I didn’t even know why I had to. I just had to. Because I didn’t understand what force was driving me away I had no way of communicating to this person why I was leaving so I just simply walked away. That guilt still haunts me.

    I know I’m not your former lover and maybe I have no right to say this to you, but if I could speak to you as if you were the person I left behind in my wake, I would say this…

    You too were a huge symbol for me in my life. I cared for you very deeply, maybe even loved you and leaving you was horribly painful. You were not just a nugget in my life, but a very important person who made me realize something about myself that I had never realized before. I think about you often and sometimes even miss you. But ours was not a healthy relationship and so I had to leave you in order to take the time to break a vicious cycle in my life. I’m grateful for the time we spent together and for that I want to thank you. If I caused you any pain or hurt, I’m sorry. If I spoke any unkind words, it was only out of pain and sadness of losing you and out selfishness to help me let you go. But leaving you was something I had to do, both for your sake and mine and I hope someday you’ll understand and forgive me. I know you will find love again or you may have already. All I can hope for is that you will think of me fondly. I, on the other hand, will always remember you and think of you as the person who helped me find clarity and insight into my life.

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