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How can seek comfort in loss? How can I trust myself and my intuition? 

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  • #385742
    Miss.Lex
    Participant

    I’ve been dating someone for the past three-ish months. What made me so attracted to him was his honesty, his love for the outdoors, and some of the fun little things he would say to me. My affection grew more with over time in how he likes to share his inner reflections and being vocal in how he finds me attractive beyond my appearance…my thoughts, the way I live, and what not.

    However, our in-person time was cut short due to a medical family leave on my part and I had to travel outside of the state for 2-3 months. So majority of our time in getting to know each other has been virtual. I was not expecting him to stay in communication with me since it would be long distance. However, when he continued to be present virtually, I trusted his actions and assumed he was really into me. He even said that he was glad that I left since it affirmed that his attraction to me wasn’t just physical and that he really liked me.

    As time progressed, things got hairy. I began to feel anxious about our developing relationship and at the time I didn’t know what the root of my anxiety was coming from.

    Eventually (after many failed communication attempts), I was able to share where my anxiety was coming from. It was from the lack of empathy, and emotional validation that I was receiving when I was expressing a concern. I want to feel secure when I bring up something that is going on with me — I believe that is normal in relationships. When I vocalized this to him, he communicated again words in a defensive tone. So i felt emotionally unseen again. Couple days later, he shared that he was still heartbroken from a previous relationship (one in which he was ‘in love’ with the person) and vocalized that a reason why he was unable to emotionally validate was because of how emotionally invested in this previous relationship. In the moment, I felt for that. I know how hard it is to express this to me, as well as hold onto this hurt feelings.

    However, now I was met with a new problem of ‘should I stay or should I go’ — I didn’t want to leave because I do like this person, but I didn’t want to stay in fear of being stuck in a therapist role or of not being fully chosen by someone in a romantic way in the end. I truly wished I had known the information sooner before I started to really like this guy…I communicated to him that that we should take a break with no communication until he has done more reflection on his feelings. I expressed that I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to stop talking to him, but it was not fair for me to have an open heart willing to provide unconditional emotional support while he does not due to a past feelings. My intention of a break with no contact was to allow the possibility to reconnect in a healthy way in the future — if he chooses to do so.

    Now I am left here with feelings of disappointment and hurt. In the past, I’ve struggled in my early youth and 20s with self-love and self worth where I let negative thoughts become my reality. I’ve worked really hard to build a strong sense of self. Yet, I am sad. I know I should feel proud in standing up for myself (I’ve never done that before in romance) and also in communicating my needs instead of bottling them up due to fear of conflict. But I do not feel proud. I feel sadness because I feel like I lost something (our connection) while standing up for something else (me). I doubt I did the right thing.

    How can seek comfort in loss? How can I trust myself and my intuition?  How do I stop this hurt?

     

     

    #385746
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Miss Lex:

    I will read and reply to you when I am back to the computer, in about 12 hours from now. I hope other members reply to you before I return.

    anita

    #385759
    Miss.Lex
    Participant

    Thanks Anita, I look forward to what you have to say and welcome other’s perspectives. I would like to share another thing I’m holding, which are the feelings being heartbroken by someone who is heartbroken from the beginning when dating. I wish I had known sooner so that I could protective myself … he communicated wanting a relationships, valued deeper connections, and continued to voice this while still dating me. Even said he still wants to be with me only if I don’t make his situation about the heartbreak an issue — which makes me feel like he does not truly want to be with me. or not truly wanting to be vulnerable and emotionally available. Am I wrong for also thinking this?

    He often tells me that I derive incorrect conclusions based on a ‘feeling’ — so it makes me doubt myself. However, I can’t help but wonder though at the same time, I wouldn’t feel such shame by making irrational conclusions or voicing how I feel, if he showed he cared for me instead of focusing on what’s right or wrong. It makes me feel like his words do not match his actions.

    #385764
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Miss.Lex:

    It often helps to re-read a member’s previous threads so to shed light on the current thread”

    Close to 7 years ago, November 2014, you were 23 years old, you shared: “My ex-boyfriend dumped me a month ago. We were in a relationship for a little over a year. For about 2 months we began to have arguments… Many of these arguments involved me crying about something and all that I wanted was someone to hug me when I was upset…He also mentioned to me that when he thought I broke up with him, he said he was sad, angry and then grateful to not deal with the stress anymore… In the end he said that I was too invested, and that he needed a more independent woman, as well as stating that he wanted to say something positive about me but couldn’t say anything in that moment”,

    “My first relationship was when I was 18… My second relationship was worse and I was 19. It lasted a year, but we broke up and got back together multiple times. Our relationship was extremely unhealthy where a majority of it involved us arguing, yelling, and full of emotional abuse… I met my recent ex-boyfriend when I was 22…  I tend to get sad and cry a lot when my feelings get hurt or when I feel neglected, and I wasn’t able to communicate how I felt in a rational manner… He would always say that he felt like he was walking on egg shells with me, or that the relationship was too difficult and shouldn’t be so hard”.

    In December 2014, you shared: ” I want to work on being more open and honest with all of my relationships in my life so they can see the real me. I tend to put on a facade (not intentionally) that everything is perfect in my life… I told my ex-partner that I cry in stressful situations and I find crying beautiful and therapeutic early in our relationship. He later told me that when I cry he associates that response with traumatic events that he has experienced and can’t handle me crying when my feelings get hurt. (Well, that sucks.)”

    Five years ago, In July 2016, you shared: “I fell deeply for my friend and expressed my feelings and he reciprocated those feelings at the time back in November. However, later I was feeling more than he wanted. I was wanting more of a relationship and he did not. So I told him to that it would be best to be friends in February. When I stated that his actions did change (stopped calling, texting, and checking in). All actions that I liked. I never expressed this to him. Instead I avoided him and tried to forget my feelings. Two months or so later we kissed, which lead to casual sex. I thought I could do this without the intention being in a relationship…Yesterday we had a conversation where he just hurt my feelings… I sat there quietly, crying… I just feel extremely hurt because I just feel like I am never good enough for anyone that I decide to invest my love… I don’t know what else to say, or do, but to just cry”.

    Yesterday, September 4 2021: “I’ve been dating someone for the past three-ish months. What made me so attracted to him was his honesty, his love for the outdoor…As time progressed, things got hairy. I began to feel anxious about our developing relationship and at the time I didn’t know what the root of my anxiety was coming from. Eventually (after many failed communication attempts), I was able to share where my anxiety was coming from. It was from the lack of empathy, and emotional validation that I was receiving when I was expressing a concern. I want to feel secure when I bring up something that is going on with me — I believe that is normal in relationships. When I vocalized this to him, he communicated again words in a defensive tone. So I felt emotionally unseen again. Couple days later, he shared that he was still heartbroken from a previous relationship.. I didn’t want to stay in fear of being stuck in a therapist role or of not being fully chosen by someone in a romantic way in the end.. I communicated to him that that we should take a break with no communication until he has done more reflection on his feelings… I know I should feel proud in standing up for myself (I’ve never done that before in romance) and also in communicating my needs instead of bottling them up due to fear of conflict. But I do not feel proud. I feel sadness because I feel like I lost something (our connection) while standing up for something else (me). I doubt I did the right thing… He often tells me that I derive incorrect conclusions based on a ‘feeling’ — so it makes me doubt myself. However, I can’t help but wonder though at the same time, I wouldn’t feel such shame by making irrational conclusions or voicing how I feel, if he showed he cared for me instead of focusing on what’s right or wrong. It makes me feel like his words do not match his actions”.

    I will now list a few thoughts/ themes that I see as consistent through your above sharing. Each of the following is not true to all your relationships at all times, but are consistent enough, as I see it. If you would like, let me know your thoughts about each theme, and we can communicate further:

    (1) You get very anxious and very emotional when in a relationship with a man, often overwhelmed with intense emotional distress.

    (2) You expect the man to calm your intense emotional distress, something neither man was successful in doing. When they try- they don’t do a good enough job.

    (3) When they fail to calm your anxiety, you blame them for failing, claiming that they are not adequately validating and supportive of you.

    (4) Their failure and your anger at their failure led to frequent arguments and to the men experiencing being in a relationship with you as something that’s too difficult, too distressing, and therefore they withdraw from or end the relationship with you altogether.

    (5) Even though you are very emotional in the context of relationships, you need to learn how to communicate your emotions to them in a clear, honest and responsible way: you tend to express yourself irrationally and to blame the men for how you feel when it is not their fault.

    (6) It seems to me that you felt neglected as a child, unloved.. hurt and angry,  and you feel the same when you are in a romantic relationship as an adult: neglected, unloved, hurt and angry. Angry, they feel that they are walking on eggshells. fearing the next time you cry or get angry at them.

    (7)  You are so needy in the context of relationships with men that you fail to detect and attend to their needs, you are too much in pain to see theirs.

    anita

     

    #385802
    Miss.Lex
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    While I find sharing my past threads both illuminating and heartbreaking,  I find it hard in how listing all of these themes is beneficial to my inquiry. I feel like the way these themes that are listed were almost presented in a chronological manner; which is not helpful.

    I feel like I’ve also grown from my previous relationships and have done good work in improving my self worth, feeling less shameful in having emotions, and improving my communication skills from my earlier behaviors. Your response fails to acknowledge this nor even provides the inquiry to illuminate this. Instead it mad me feel like a failure in relationships who is incapable of communicating. Who is a source of emotional distress to potential partners. Who is needy and incapable to empathize due to being neglected when younger. That was hurtful to hear, and again how does that response help answer: “How can I seek comfort in loss? How can I trust myself and my intuition?”

     

    I acknowledge now that I do get anxiety in relationships with men and this is where I am doing most of my work. I am working on communicating how I feel and where my anxiety is coming from. I know my communication has improved by taking the necessary steps of asking for space to process, to be ask more questions and not assume, and ‘challenge’ the negative thought pattern. Additionally, I enjoy listening to my partner’s experience; it helps me see them see the situation differently and not let my anxiety take over. Also, I don’t want them to agree with me, but to just emotionally support.

     

    Although not mentioned, when the person I was seeing expressed how deeply he was still heartbroken from his last relationship and in love he was — I immediately felt for that. I was holding both his vulnerability in expressing this information to me and also my need to feel safe too in a relationship with him. I knew my anxiety would take over if I stayed so I provided in my opinion a healthy boundary to be on a break so he could reflect more on his hurt feelings without my presence. It felt right because he agreed as well.

    I decided to write another post on here, because setting healthy boundaries is a step towards addressing my anxiety and emotions. I was seeking on how to better lean into that since that is new, and just like anything that is new it can feel uncomfortable. However, your response failed to support that.

     

    However, it is difficult to not respond to the followed up post itself. So here is my response:

    All of the themes were painful to read, but the most difficult one was (3) since it is not in my nature to discourage someone for trying. If anything I will reflect more on this one. It is not so much that I want my partner to calm down my emotional distress, but instead I want to feel emotionally safe with my partner in a conversation. When I try to express a relationship concern after reflection and talking calmly, my most recent partner would stonewall, interrupt or use words such as ‘always’ and ‘never’ so it made me feel emotionally unsafe which made it feel like emotional vulnerability is difficult for them.  So some of my old habit patterns would come up … but instead of ‘crying’ or ‘shouting’ or ‘blaming’ … I shut down. I go silent.

    So instead of speaking up about it due to the fear of going into this cycle … I was beginning to ‘hide my feelings’ and becoming a scared to voice up anything — which is not in alignment with how I want to grow… so I brought up the conversation on what are some ways we could work on showing emotionally availability. Offered some examples, and he was open to them. He states that it was very hard for me because he feels like he still not over his past relationship…which brings me back to the conversation in my initial post above.

     

    Thank you for attempting to answer my initial post and taking the time read it — I don’t expect a response, and no longer really seeking one here.

    #385804
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Miss.Lex:

    Thank you for attempting to answer my initial post and taking the time read it — I don’t expect a response, and no longer really seeking one here“-

    -You are welcome and thank you for disagreeing with me assertively and respectfully– indeed I didn’t give you the credit that you deserve, and I regret it. If you change your mind and would like me to respond again, this time empathetically and focusing on the positive, let me know and I will be glad to try hard and do a better job replying to you here the next time.

    anita

    #385818
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear Miss.Lex,

    I believe you did the right thing to ask for a break, because he admitted he still has feelings for his ex girlfriend and he’s heartbroken that she left him:

    he shared that he was still heartbroken from a previous relationship (one in which he was ‘in love’ with the person)

    a reason why he was unable to emotionally validate was because of how emotionally invested in this previous relationship

    said he still wants to be with me only if I don’t make his situation about the heartbreak an issue

    he feels like he still not over his past relationship

    If he isn’t over his ex and maybe even wants her back, then naturally he isn’t capable of a deep, intimate relationship with you. Maybe he kept in touch with you after you left to another state because he felt less lonely and it felt good to have someone to talk to. Has he talked to you about his past relationship and his heartbreak? Because that too is a sign that the person isn’t over it and cannot really focus on their present relationship…

    I communicated to him that that we should take a break with no communication until he has done more reflection on his feelings. I expressed that I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to stop talking to him, but it was not fair for me to have an open heart willing to provide unconditional emotional support while he does not due to a past feelings. My intention of a break with no contact was to allow the possibility to reconnect in a healthy way in the future — if he chooses to do so.

    I think you did the right thing.

    Now I am left here with feelings of disappointment and hurt. …  I am sad. I know I should feel proud in standing up for myself (I’ve never done that before in romance) and also in communicating my needs instead of bottling them up due to fear of conflict. But I do not feel proud. I feel sadness because I feel like I lost something (our connection) while standing up for something else (me). I doubt I did the right thing.

    This can have to do with some emotional wound of yours. Sometimes, as children, we believe we need to give up on ourselves to get the love from our parents or caretakers. Standing up for ourselves is not an option, because that means being abandoned by those we love (and depend on). Do you perhaps have such an experience?

     

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 4 days ago by TeaK.
    #386084
    Micky
    Participant

    I don’t think you were wrong to confront an issue that had been bothering you in your relationship.

    It’s hard to breakup with someone that you want to be with.

    I think your doubting yourself because you don’t want to be the one to say goodbye. The “loss” can feel worse if you think you’re responsible for ‘throwing away’ the relationship.

    But I also don’t think you got much support or validation when you spoke up. Instead, he seemed to gaslight you somewhat by suggesting that you were being unreasonable — by “jumping to conclusions” — and trying to make sense of the obvious discrepancies between his words and his actions.

    You can only go off the information that you’re given, and if he’s only giving you mixed signals then of course your going to struggle with the decision.

    At some point, though, the choice to continue to build and maintain a healthy nourishing relationship with you is his. If that’s what he wanted, he would’ve found a way to assuage your fears and clear up any misunderstandings to avoid losing you. But he didn’t do even that , which leads me to believe that he has already made his choice and he just hasn’t told you yet.

    I know its painful. I’m going through a very similar situation myself. I just hope you will find some comfort in my words and make peace with yourself.

    “Don’t set yourself on fire to keep another warm”

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