My head or my heart?

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    I am writing this thread being very disturbed at the moment.

    I have explained my story in more detail in my other thread titled “Crushed. Battered. Exhausted. Confused.” Please feel free to go ahead and check it out. To summarize, my boyfriend (A) of 8 years broke up with me last year saying he did not love me anymore. It was a very ugly and harsh breakup. A couple of months later, a long-time friend of mine (B) told me he has feelings for me. Though we did not start dating until a few months later, we continued talking, and I developed feelings for him. He lives in another country on the other side of the world. We started dating after meeting each other in Christmas break and are in a LDR right now. He is extremely into me. My ex contacted me a couple of months ago, 9 months after breaking up, saying he wants to get back together. After a lot of thinking, extreme anxiety, and sleepless nights, I chose to stay with B.

    A couple of weeks earlier, I had a dream, that my ex had found and was dating someone else. I woke up in a sweat. I know he will eventually find and date someone else, but it affected me. I started thinking if I really want to go back. I was thrown into deeper anxiety and depression. After I calmed down a little, a few weeks after that,  I woke up in the middle of the night with a panic attack, thinking I don’t wanna be with B, all of a sudden. This is not the life I want. These thoughts distressed me immensely. I don’t know what happened. I suddenly felt I have no feelings for him at all. I suddenly started feeling this is not the life I want. I started looking at him differently, looking at his faults. These thoughts started distressing me, and I am very depressed right now. He is very into me, and I don’t want to hurt him. He is one of my closest friends.

    I tried to let go of these feelings. But they won’t let go of me. I feel I feel nothing for him. I don’t understand this. When he calls or messages, it makes me anxious, and I don’t want to talk to him. I look at couples in a TV show and feel I don’t have any of these feelings for him. I don’t have that connection with him. I find these feelings depressing. When he says loving things, I feel anxious, and a little of the ick too. I am extremely ashamed of my feelings. I am unhappy. Really unhappy. I even feel going back to my ex will make me happy. But if I seriously think about going back, it makes me anxious too. I don’t know anything anymore. I even get thoughts like “All your feelings for B have been a lie.” “You never liked him.” “You should never have gotten together with B. What were you thinking?” “You were not yourself at all when you started with him. You lied.” I feel everything has been a lie. I don’t know why but the thought of spending my life with him scares me and I panic a little. These thoughts make me very anxious and depressed. I know how happy I was to see B when he came home. Yet everything seems like a lie.

    I get the feeling that if I break up with B, I might be happy. But if B does or says anything that makes me feel the next thing he might say is breaking up, I get very anxious and scared. A few days ago, we had a little tiff, and he said he didn’t want to speak to me for a day. I was very scared till he spoke to me. I don’t understand my feelings at all, and I feel I’m going crazy. I don’t feel like myself anymore. I feel like I don’t even know who I am. B is quite perceptive and instinctive. He knows something is up. I don’t know what to do. He knows I’m depressed. I am not here 100%. I feel I am being unfair to him. My feelings are all over the place.

    To make matters worse, I, in a moment of weakness and extreme distress, told my mother about B. My mother and I have a difficult relationship. But she has supported and comforted me in the past before. In dire need of some comfort, I had told her. Big mistake. She loves B and wants me settled with him. This is putting a lot of pressure on me. I tried to tell her of my feelings, but she said it’s just negativity and I need to throw it out. And then she gets anxious and cries. Because she desperately wants me married. I told her we aren’t there yet. But the culture we are from, and her being almost 33 years older than me, she does not understand the dating business. I thought she would, now after I have told her about my ex as well. But she doesn’t. All she says is “marriage, marriage, marriage”. I told her to calm down. But she starts crying. I can’t take it. It’s too much pressure and she is adding to my stress. I told her that too. So even if I do decide to breakup, she is something else that I will have to handle. That is terrifying for me. Because she just wants me married. Because she is a single parent, and is 60. She says I don’t give her any happiness. Me getting married will give her that. I understand her concerns. But it is too much for me. This morning, she cried coz B and I had a little fight and we didn’t want to talk face-to-face. She kept asking why aren’t you talking, you are scaring me, what is up with you all… I had to yell at her to calm down (not proud of it). I feel bad I can’t give her what she wants. But I feel it’s wrong for all her happiness to depend on me.

    All this is stressing me out immensely. I have been extremely stressed since months, first due to deciding whether I wanna go back to A and now this. I can’t seem to catch a break. I cry so much.

    I can’t wrap my head around my feelings. Help…



    Hours after her first cry session, she cried again. I asked her what she was afraid of so much. She said, “regarding your marriage. You can’t keep dating and all. You have done that till now (Reminder: i dated someone for 8 years and thought was gonna marry him until he dumped me). Now it’s time to be serious.” I said, “all I’m asking is you be patient. It will happen in good time.” But she cried again, saying that she gets scared, and when she gets scared, she remembers all her past (she has struggled significantly, lost her sister to suicide, emotionally and verbally abused by her mother-in-law, that’s all I am aware of). She says this and I’m stumped. I don’t know what to say to that.

    In the afternoon, she said she needs to cry and get it all out in front of me because I am all she has.

    I feel terrible, but I don’t know how to help her. She makes me feel like a monster.



    Dear anonymous03:

    First priority is for you to survive being with your mother “together all day due to lockdown”. All day with your mother, no break, that’s a very, very distressing situation (previous thread).

    1. If there is a way for you to get outside for a walk a few times per day, do so, quick, fast walk so to get a break, fresh air, some feel-good chemicals secreted into your blood as a result, that will be best for you.

    2. Realize that you are living with an emotionally disturbed and an emotionally disturbing (abusive) person: your mother. She is not a reasonable, calm, stable individual. What you share with her will get back to bite you, so limit your communication with her to practical issues. When she asks you personal questions give her a one-two word answers.

    * When your mother screams at you, if you are sitting down, stand up tall and strong, look into her eyes intently, and say with a strong voice: do not ever scream at me again, do you understand: do not ever scream at me again!

    Repeat this every time she screams at you. Notice: don’t scream back at her; instead use a strong voice and body language as I suggested above.

    3. Consider the following thought: you don’t owe your mother anything; she owes you a lot for having abused you for so long. You owe her nothing. You don’t owe her to get married. You owe her nothing. Take in this thought while taking in a few slow, deep breaths every once in a while.

    4. Regarding A and B: question is who of the two can be your ally in your very difficult situation (being with your mother 24/7). Did you express to any of them your great distress over living with an abusive, unstable mother for so long and did any of them express sympathy for you? The one who did express sympathy for you (or will if you tell him of your situation), is the one you should seek as a friend at this time.

    Explain to either A or B, or both, your situation: in a respectful way (so that you don’t feel guilty about talking disrespectfully about your mother), but honestly, truthfully. Then wait for the man’s reaction. If he is supportive to you, take it from there. You need an ally at this point, not a boyfriend!

    This is not the time for you to make relationship choices.

    * I just read your update: when she tells you that you are all that she has etc., tell her: then don’t ever scream at all-that-you-have, and stop-making-all-that-you-have so miserable by crying and complaining to me!


    • This reply was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by anita.

    Hi anonymous03,

    I would go with radical honesty. Tell B, “I love you as one of my dearest friends, but this isn’t working. I have crippling depression and anxiety. Also, this long distance thing is for the birds.”

    Tell A, “You had your chance.” And mean it.

    Tell your mother, “Look, I have crippling anxiety and depression. You are making it worse. I would love to get married. But it wasn’t going to be with A, and it’s not even going to be with B. But once this pandemic is over, and I can see a doctor for my crippling anxiety and depression, I will start dating seriously. You’ll have to wait at least a month/season/year from what they are saying on the news.”

    This will buy you some time, and at least stop your mother’s histrionics.

    Good Luck,




    I haven’t read your original thread so I’m just going on what you’ve written here. It sounds like it is a very intense, stressful situation  at home where your mum is putting an extraordinary amount of pressure on you and isn’t caring about your happiness, only hers. I can emphasise a little as my mum does freak out alot if you tell her anything and its always a huge drama and it ends up being about what she thinks is right rather than helping to understand what I would really want and what would make me happy. So in this case your mum is not your ally at all in this situation- she just wants things to be easier for her.

    I would say do you have a trusted friend you could speak to about this? If not I can also emphasise with the back and forth menatal decision between A and B and how draining and frustrating it must be.

    I recommended listening to Michael Singer on another thread I commented on today and I do think again it may help as he has a video on youtube about finding inner clarity which you may find useful. The process basically involves getting still, grounded and centred in your body so your thoughts slow down a bit and you feel more ‘like yourself’. Lots of things that can help that like meditation or running or walking or yoga anything that makes you check in more with your body and come into your body rather than your head. Without any clarity it is very difficult to make a decision.

    I would say that in your last post you associated with word ‘happy’ with your ex and more negative words with your current boyfriend. My take on it is that it sounds like you aren’t feeling your current relationship (and it sounds like its going to be hard work as its LDR and he lives the other side of the world) and so maybe connecting with your ex again and leaving your current relationship would help. You could maybe try mental exercises like picturing your ex and talking to him and writing down how thay makes you feel and then the next day doing the same writing exercise with your current boyfriend to see the difference? In my life when I have needed to make decisions even though my mind could be flip flopping back and forth and even my emotions and heart got too caught up and they were too overwhelming to see the wood from the trees, deep down my gut feeling knew what was right. This felt to me like a kind of “off” or wobbly uneasy feeling when I was in a situation I didn’t like or very intense and memorable dreams. But I guess everyone gut feeling is different so its what yours feels like.

    I really emphasize with your situation. It must be so tough to be in an environment where you don’t feel emotionally safe. I know from experience how hard that is. I hope you are doing okay this weekend. Thinking of you xx


    Dear Anonymous3, I hope you are feeling better. I empathize with what you are going through, and how draining the situation can be. It is a sticky situation. I am partly going through the same situation as you are – unable to make any stable relationship decisions and in the meanwhile handing pressure from family. Its is a toxic situation to be in.

    Sometimes it is hard to understand what we want. But, I can see that you are a strong person.The very act that you are reaching out for help is great. You are aware of what you are going through.

    I will add a few things that may help you:

    It is unfortunate that your ex decided to break up with you after a long period of relationship. I can understand the repercussions it would have caused in your family with your single mother. However, I think as Anita mentioned, you need to let your mom know that you are suffering and she needs to stop pressuring you. And let her know that it will make only things worse. She might not understand this in one day. But, over time you will see a change when you are persistent. By following Anita’s advice of being firm and polite, I think you will do both and your mom good. Protect your emotional well-being, and your mothers too.

    Secondly, with so much happening, please do not think you are a bad or a crazy person. You and your ex would have shared so much over 8 years. It is quite normal and natural that you feel strongly connected to your ex than your new boyfriend. It is like a when you place a dim light bulb near a bright light bulb, the dim light is not prominent visible anymore. It is quite natural that you feel disinterested now with (B) because you don’t feel that connection with him due to the coming back of your ex.  There is nothing to be ashamed of about this. Your feelings for (B) is not a lie. It is weaker probably because it is still in growing stages. Relationships take time to strengthen and build. Long distance with (B) would have made things more complicated. Relationships need proximity particularly when you are in an emotionally vulnerable state.

    You must have gone through intense pain during the break up. Hence, I think you feel very anxious about reviving the relationship with your ex.

    Regarding deciding, who to go with :- Why do you have to decide right away? I understand that getting to stable ground will solve all the problems with your mom, A, and B. But, when your mind is too agitated, it is hard to make a good decision, and more importantly to stick to it. Sometimes its extremely hard either to let go or to stay. I would recommend to make a decision when you are emotionally stable to accept the decision you make. It is OK to take time, and gain your strength back. Sometimes, it is OK to lay low until the storm passes.

    My good wishes for you. Be kind to yourself as you are to others.

    Stay strong!




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