He left me 3 years ago yet my heart is still holding on…help!

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    Hello and thank you for reading this…
    I was with someone who made me feel so amazing and special, then months in to our relationship it emerged that he was depressed, had a background of abuse and he in fact cheated on me with a previous partner with whom he had a tumultuous and codependent relationship. I spent the next 3 years in and out of relationship with this guy yet when we were together I can still say it was the happiest I’d ever felt with someone. Truly, I would have done everything and more to save this relationship as it was so good when things were good. However, when we spent time apart he always ended up with someone else and I would find out and be devastated. I have been through ups and downs like I have never known these last 3 years, even losing too much weight one year and spent many nights with less then 3 hours sleep if any at all. The toll on my self esteem and body has been huge and I now accept that whatever this relationship and apparent happiness was when I was with him, it wasn’t good and there were many things wrong with the way he treated me and the way I kept being sucked back in. I have had no contact with him at all for a year and he never contacts me – even ignored my 30th birthday and other important occasions over the last year a true friend would have acknowledged…I have other exes who I know really saw me for who I was and cared for me and were kind to me after a break-up. I have never been with someone who has been so unkind to me, and I can honestly say it still makes me very very sad inside. I also wrestle with myself so much, because in spite of how well I understand this guys isn’t good for me, I sill have a heart for him, I still miss him and think of him every single day….3 years after he first cheated, 1 year after he cut me out of his life and over on with someone else….I am in counselling and dealing with severe grief, I am just so frustrated that it si taking me so long. I am doing everything I can to look after myself, I am trying my very hardest, but I’m crying a lot still….I feel so discouraged. Will this ever end? I have no heart for anyone else, I never wanted to love anyone else, only him….why do I feel this? It doesn’t feel like a choice, it just exists inside me. I know I need to change it if I am to get anywhere. Has anyone else experienced this? How can I move on? I am hurting so much.
    Thank you for listening x


    Hey Eliza,

    I’m sorry to hear that you still carry that hurt in your heart. sounds like you’re in need of some TLC. Be gentle with yourself, it’s not always easy to let go of something we crave. It takes time to heal, but the key is letting go of someone who has already let you go. When you let go, you open yourself up to new experiences and new people. Take things one day at a time, that’s what I did well over a year ago. I have to say that it has been quite a journey with ups and downs, but it will get better, I promise. 🙂

    Start by taking time to take care of yourself. Do what you enjoy. Talk to positive and caring people around you. You can totally do this Eliza!

    Sorry, i hope this helps, even if just a little bit. You aren’t alone.



    Hi Eliza,

    I am feeling much the same way as you are. I was in a relationship for 8 years and we were engaged to be married. He was a recovering alcoholic and I met him when he was newly sober. We met in AA. He had a rough time and had tried recovery many times and never made it. I had been sober all my adult life. We had a great relationship for about 3 years and then he stopped going to his meetings and I noticed a huge change. He became very moody and even though we had had a great relationship, or so I thought, he broke up with me saying that he had changed; this was after about 6 years. He gave me no explanation at all and I was devastated for almost a year. I was never able to get over him and for me this was the love of my life. My family and friends had been a bit skeptical from day one but I love him so much and was willing to do whatever it took to be together. After a year he contacted me and told me that he had held on to resentments and wasn’t talking about things with me and was instead, stuffing them. He was resentful. He told me it was all a mistake and that he loved me and wanted to live his life with me. We became engaged again. I didn’t tell my family or friends because they saw all the pain I went through for this man. A month ago he started drinking again and lied to me. I asked him, since I could smell alcohol, and he always denied it but he ended up telling me in a text that he was detoxing in a hospital and that it was over. He broke up with me by text. He hasn’t been willing to talk face to face. I had helped him get a job at one point and so we work together and this is so hard for me. I love this man despite what he has put me through. My therapist says that I projected all me good feeling onto him and that I wasn’t seeing things clearly. The people I work with tell me he is a loser but I just can’t see him that way. I am devastated. Last time my devastation was ended because we got back together but now I have to believe what my friends and family are telling me. I need to realize this man is not good for me and yet I still love him so much and when it is good it is very good. I haven’t contacted him once since we broke up which is huge for me. I know I need to let go but I love him so much that I can’t imagine a life without him. I know it will get better but I believe it will talk a long time. I am in counseling and am listening to a super great CD called Guided Imagery for Heartbreak, Abandonment and Betrayal. It is helping me quite a bit. You can get it through health journeys.com I listen to that at least once a day and I think it has helped. I make it through my work day without tears but cry in my car all the way home. When I read your post my heart just went out to you because I feel much the same as you do. It has only been about 45 days since he broke up with me and went into detox for alcohol. I want so much to be part of his recovery but he doesn’t want that. Anyway, my heart goes out to you and I am so sorry you are going through this loss. My grief is deep as well because it is really the same as a death. I saw him today from a distance and I don’t know why he isn’t having a hard time with our separation. He always told me how much he wanted a life with me. I’m starting to ramble so I will stop but I wish you the best and I hope it is true that time can help with the healing process.



    One more thing that has helped me a lot is a book called “Daily Meditations for Women who Love too Much by Robin Norwood.” I believe it is still available in print and that helps me so much because I relate to it so much.

    Good luck; if you find anything that is helpful to you, that might be helpful to me, please let me know.


    David Bederman

    Hi Eliza. Thank you for sharing and I’m sorry for your pain. It’s so great that you’re expressing it and sharing what you’ve been going through. After studying love, relationships and self-esteem for many years, the most valuable lesson I learned was the following:

    “You can’t love anyone until you learn to love yourself”

    One of the greatest challenges facing our generation is that many of us – most of us – have low self-esteem. We don’t believe in ourselves enough, we haven’t been tough to!. While love is a basic and fundamental need for all of us, many times the type of love we are looking from others is a way to validate our sense of self.

    In other words, if we have a low image of ourselves, what we might be “hanging on to” when longing for the warmth of an old relationship is actually the feeling of validation that “I’m actually lovable!”. So many of us have grown up without getting all the love we really needed and our inner child concludes that we “must not have been worthy of love”, since we didn’t get enough of it.
    This belief can follow us our entire lives if we don’t get control of it. I’m not trying to judge you and tell you you have “low self-esteem” here, I’m just speaking from my experience and sharing what has made a huge impact in my life.

    In short, the more we learn to believe in ourselves – believe in how wonderful, how amazing and how special we really are – the more we are able to love ourselves, the more we will create the space for meaningful and lasting relationship to happen and the less we will need to hang onto to memories of old relationships.

    Btw, learning to love yourself means building self-esteem. As author Nathaniel Brandon says -“Self-concept is destiny.”. He’s the one to read here. (Check him out)

    If you want, a great first step you can take to building self-esteem and self-love is to spend time every day imagining yourself doing something that’s “outside of your comfort zone”. Scientists have proven that the more we see ourselves doing things that are outside our comfort zone (both in our minds and in real life!) the more our self esteem grows.
    Try it. You’re awesome Eliza! (and so are you Kat!)


    It’s easier said than done, losing the love of your life is worse than losing your life. It feels like a walking corpse, a zombie. You’ll get a ton of advises, you’ll try so hard to stay cool, but nothing works really, you are dying inside. It happened to me too, my soul was crushed, I was left alone in this scary universe, so dark. When you smile at people there’s a millions of insects eating you up in your mind, your eyes swell. Your faith laughs at you, you seem helpless. The only person you wanted to love forever, you wanted to build your future with, the one you had tied your life with, is gone, has changed, has forgotten you for good. You cry at night, you want to sleep forever, you want to eat everything, during the days, at work, your throat chokes for no reason, your eyes swell, and you have to look around and still smile. There’s actually no way out. . . Ok, but what I did, lemme tell you, I left the city for good, went home and lived with my family for a few months, it was terrible even there, I was reeling in pain every moment, couldn’t believe what had just happened, I left home, went to a different city, found a new job (I’m typing this from my new office), met some new people, read a book, read a millions of spiring quotes, watched great movies, joined tiny Buddha :-P. After a year I think little I’m better now, but not fully recovered. Well, I believe it’s all in the mind, and our mind is a stubborn baby, very stubborn one. We better not mess with our minds, no yoga, no meditation, no nothing helps. Give it time, mind is a baby, give it new and interesting things, The biggest reason why break ups are terrible is because we tie our life to a single person and when the person is no more there we crumble, Ok, for a moment forget that person and remember yourself, remember how great your parents were, remember your roots, your grandparents, you are great, come’on. Remember your life before you met this person, it was still great, ain’t it? Alright, people come into our life and change us, we are no more the same, read some Paulo Coelho here, It all happens for a reason. . . . get busy, wake up early mornings, groom yourself, quit smoking, drink occasionally, learn a new language, you’ll be better. And yeah, I haven’t told you the best thing yet. You never know when life takes you to new and amazing things, never know what it shows to you when. Ok, the best thing is to hope for a greener pasture ahead, the most powerful thing in our life is hope. You’ll meet someone new very soon, and it won’t happen the same way again, coz u r wise now, and life wants to test us, we need to be strong. When you meet new and the right love, you’ll laugh at the old one (I surely will). . . Go to a new place, and give it time, laugh a little, little by little, the demon will die, the seed will crack, again, life will begin!

    • This reply was modified 10 years, 3 months ago by tinybuddha.
    • This reply was modified 10 years, 3 months ago by tinybuddha.

    Hello everyone, Lucia, Kathy David,
    I can’t thank you enough for your kind and encouraging words. I will surely check out those authors and books you’ve all mentioned. Kathy I have been reading a daily meditation called The LAnguage of Letting Go by Melodie Beattie (who you may know wrote Co Dependent No More for people with addictions and those in relationship with addicts/those addicted to a relationship). I’ve found it helpful day by day. And yes David, self-esteem is a huge problem for me-presume away as you would be quite right!! I took a risk to follow my heart to come to London about 6 years ago and as a result of this relationship I have also lost a friendship circle who I loved here, and dealt with this on my own. I have previously been a pretty level headed, balanced, happy person but I feel so abandoned and just livid about the situation. I was the new one in the group, and being from overseas, I don’t know that any of those people really understood the investment I was making with my time and energy and heart, at the expense of other things, when I arrived here, and then in turn how hard it was for me when they all stopped contacting me because of having broken up with this guy (the first time we fell out). I lost him -the man I loved-and I lost them -the group I felt was my group of people here-and one of the complicated aspects of this relationship was that the friendship circle became like a drawing card of power for him; I knew that if we were together I would see these people and if we weren’t I wouldn’t. It sounds silly and if I had a friend in this situation I would think these people weren’t really good friends to have around anyway…but how difficult it is to be in this situation yourself! I never in a million years would have thought I would end up here, feeling so destitute and lonely, still struggling to forgive and come to terms with what happened…he is happy and has moved on well and truly, while I am struggling so hard in London I think I will need to go home. It has been too long now and I can’t seem to find a happier place in myself here since this, it is draining all my energy just to survive. Kathy I totally get the crying – I cry all the time, especially night time. Maybe we can keep encouraging each other…thanks again everyone. I am still determined to get through this, I really want to get better, but I wonder if I need to change countries to do this. Has anyone ever had to move to really help them move on form a relationship?


    Kat, you need a major undertaking. you will foget the fellow – believe me.

    If you dont have your degree yet, go pursue it. Go get an education.

    If you already have your degree, start looking for that new job you want so bad.

    In other words, look for a BIG needle mover – that will change your life and make you better.

    Forget this fool. No one dies for anyone and believe me…you will fall in love again. AND NEVER accept less than what makes you happy.


    I know how you feel. I was married for 24 years. My divorce will be final this month. I am STILL longing for my ex. He has moved on. I cannot. I have tried but I cannot. I wish I could offer some great words of wisdom or more importantly, solace. Time….time…time……this is the only healer that I know to be the real deal. Grieve and learn from it. Big hugs to you…….and always know that “this too shall pass”

    Uchiha Madara

    I’m gonna tell you something pretty shocking so you may reject at first what I’m about to say, but please read it all, think about it a bit and then reply.

    Romantic love is not real.
    It’s something society had made up a long time ago, it’s just an illusion we cast upon ourselves.
    In reality society took this feeling of ‘great affection’ and made it holy and special and unique.
    It was done by inexperienced people who felt this ‘great affection’ for the first time and were overwhelmed by it. (people like Romeo & Juliet)
    Always constantly talking about “The one” as if there must only be one person than you can feel like this for.

    Take a moment and think for a few minutes, what is love really?
    The way I see it Love = great affection + great fear
    One can feel great affection toward multiple people, love comes from the fear you will not find another person whom you’d feel affection for.

    I’m telling you this, so you’ll at least logically understand that you can make a new bond
    with a new guy that would be as strong and even stronger than it was with this guy.
    and you’ll feel the same emotion you felt again, this emotion that everyone and their sister made to a religion.

    I know that losing a bond is difficult but you’re future love life is bright, believe in it, it’s true.

    My recommendation for you is to start noticing when you’re thinking about him, and when you do immediately stop and think about something else,
    also make sure to make yourself as occupied as possible this is crucial.
    When you feel the time is right go out and meet new people.

    so Eliza I hope after reading this you now feel super special awesome 🙂


    Eliza ,I just spent half an hour writing to you,and managed to delete the whole thing now if that is not clever I don’t know what is.
    So I am going for a walk and will try again,We do have to go through the pain not try to avoid it I am sure.
    A dear friend of mine went through this with her boy friend and I went through it with my girl friend.So I will go and get clarity as you have given us all here a chance to get clarity on our own pain,by reading and writing about it,so a hug for that I sure as needed it,as soon as I saw the topic I had to come here.
    Hope the healing has begun.
    There are sure some caring people here,and we all know it isn’t easy.
    Well I am back from my half hour walk that took 2 hours.
    My relationship was for 10 years(note I had been married for 27 yrs before that)in the relationship due to different culture we did not handle things as well as we could have,we broke up 3 times,it hit so hard that I ended up being taken to a care home,Loved the woman with all my hart always will.( made the mistake of being over emotional)
    The first point I wish to make is this as you begin to heal,if the person comes back or you see them etc,the pain starts all over again.I had begun to heal only after 18 months there was communication again,then none and the tears and the mental hell started again,this meant crying when a song came on the radio,or two people holding hands,or a simple walk through the Mall would result in me wanting to flee ,and boy I cried a river or two.
    A friend of mine who tried to help could not understand why I wanted to get back with my partner,now this friend of mine is going through the same,and yes she wants him back,now she understands you don’t just flick a switch so second point if the person hasn’t been through it,really they have no idea what it is like,listen to the person who had their hart broken ,and now talks with compassion and understanding.The true lesson I have learned is if we put our happiness in the other persons hands we allow them to have control of our lives,and we hurt and hurt,we need to come from a place where we love but not with conditions,we cant be needy as then people avoid us,wake to your truth ,and you will blossom you will attract through your energy someone who loves you back,don’t think so little of yourself you are to great to do so.


    You write things like “I understand this guy isn’t good for me” and “there were many things wrong with the way he treated me and the way I kept being sucked back in”. I’ve been stuck with the same logical reasoning, and I kept being confused as to how it didn’t correspond with the way I felt. Logical reasoning and emotional reasoning are very different and does not work together very well. Alot of logical reasoning is in fact not ourselves speaking, but things coming from outside of ourselves. It is a very objective and intersubjective way of looking at something that is in fact very subjective and private. Everything we see in things, events and other human beings are, to large extent, a product of our own imagination and . This is not to say that it’s not real, quite the opposite actually. It is what makes up your world. Think about this – When I think of my mother, I project some specific traits upon her. I love her as a son loves his mother, with all the memories that I associate with her. But when one of friends thinks about my mother, it will be in an entirely different way. Another example could be my father – even though I dont associate any form of romatic or sexual feelings with my mother, my dad does. In this way one person, object or event can mean alot of different things to alot of different people. While this is old news its easy to forget the consequence of this – that whatever feelings or thoughts we relate to different things in our life, theyre within ourselves and does not neccesarily reflect any objective truth. I urge you to stop focusing on him, and instead look into yourself. Why do you think you love him so? Why were you drawn to him in the first place. When you answer this, try to avoid anything beggining with “because he..”. Instead really look within and see what it was/is inside of yourself that he seemed to “fill up”. You express your dissapointment that he hasn’t been there for you, didnt congratulate you on your birthday, used your friends against you etc. Maybe he is just not the person you’ve made him into, in your mind? As I said before, rarely does our mental image of things correlate to their objective nature(whatever that is). You could also turn it against yourself and think that you deserve this treatment and that if circumstances had been different he wouldve treated you better. This thought of course, doesnt serve any other purpose than keeping you in an emotionally masochistic state – something that can be quite addicting, especially if you’re already struggling with self esteem and have a habit of negative reaffirmation. Sometimes it’s painful to realize that something or someone that we hold very dear, is in fact just a feat of our imagination, but it can be incredibly liberating too.
    It can be hard if you dont have a strong sense of self. Ive been there. I am still there to a certain extent, and I am writing this for myself just as much as Im writing it for you. To my experience, the people that have been the most absent emotionally(These people often had ”a void” inside themselves too), have been the ones that really got my imagination going, and I created an idolized picture of them. When their actions didnt correlate with this picture, it hurt me. But that was all inside myself – all their “super powers” and the incredible feelings they sparked in me. Hope this helps, though I’m sure you’ve covered alot of things in therapy already. Every tiny step is a step nonetheless. Take care

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