Overcoming a bad romance

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  • This topic has 13 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated 9 years ago by Will.
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    I (23) was with somebody (26) for nearly 4 years, who I thought I would one day marry, who I believed that I had a strong, healthy, and loving bond with. It’s funny how you realize AFTER such relationships, that they were really quite the opposite of what you believed them to be. The fact of the matter is, I entered this relationship to escape the pain of loss and being alone. In the process, I deliberately ignored/justified a lot of red flags, I made exceptions for this person because they claimed to have had a mental illness and because I thought that they were making exceptions for me. I accepted a lot of behavior that I did not under any circumstances deserve. I truly settled for less – and I ultimately got a lot less than what I settled for. In the end, I realized that I’ve been lied to, manipulated, cheated on (emotionally and possibly physically), and really, just on the receiving end of a ton of abuse. I was betrayed by this person who I loved(?) but also, for the last 4 years, I’ve been betraying myself on a regular basis – just by being with this person and putting up with whatever they had to dish out instead of just walking out of a bad situation. And as for the things I couldn’t ignore, I simply tried to to not put up with by not responding to – which now I realize that this passive behavior was only enabling the abuse and not helping to stop it.

    I wish I could just write it all out – all of the horrible things that were said and done, but theres just too much! The break up was incredibly messy and lasted longer than it need to (several weeks longer than it needed to). He slept with another woman after only 24 hours of breaking up with me. All the while, I was under the impression that our break up was temporary and that we were going to get back together – so the next time I saw him, we slept together. And then that’s when he decided to reveal this other woman (his “friend”… Now girlfriend) to me. He managed to seamlessly hop into a relationship with her after only weeks of separating from me. When we were in contact he made sure to report to me that they are happily together. After badmouthing her to me. After telling me he still wanted to get married to me. After weeks of him trying to manipulate me into sticking around and being “friends for now” and after my many many futile attempts at trying to break free.

    I had tried just about everything. I begged and pleaded for him to just give me my space – if only for a little while. I tried Bargaining and making deals with him. I tried setting boundaries. Even when I resolved to blocking his number, he contacted me from different numbers. Ultimately, after I learned about the mysterious death of our 1 year old puppy that he had full custody of (who, when she was sick he was taunting me with her sickness and telling me about how him and the new flame were taking care of her) I had to change my phone number because he simply wouldn’t leave me alone when I had asked for it. The last words he ever said to me was that he has so much hate for me and that he hopes everything I ever did to him comes back to me (ie I had an abortion because I wasn’t ready to be a mom at 22 – he had never forgiven me for “murdering his baby”).

    Needless to say, I have a pretty bad taste in my mouth. I feel all of the feelings imaginable. Positive and negative. Lately, I get upset mostly for the fact that he left me for a stranger who he made out to be so terrible. What I want the most right now is to move as far in the future as possible and to learn and take as much as I can from this experience. Help 🙁


    I’m so sorry you’re going through this. Bad breakups make an already awful situation even worse.

    I think that your intention to learn as much as you can is so incredibly awesome and strong. Don’t ever stop that. It’s awesome.
    Moving on, I want to know how he broke up with you. What was said? Was it in an appropriate mature tone (I’m doubting it but I want to make sure)? Or was he mean?

    I feel sorry for him to be honest. When people are just that awful, (because the things he said were really really mean and unnecessary) you know that they must be going through a lot. A lot of what? I don’t know. But it has to be something. Something rotten is going on with him, there is no reason to be that negative and hurtful otherwise.

    I applaud your efforts in taking initiative to try and separate yourself from him. That is a very hard thing to do. Keep going. You can do it. Focus on your safety and well being. Take all steps necessary to make sure you are the most important person in your life.
    Idk if I even helped. I just read this and knew I had to reach out to you.
    Please let me know if I can help in any way.


    I’m sorry for your anxiety and pain but not for that relationship ending as it was clearly toxic. I’m glad you have learned some lessons from this experience. As hard as it sounds, I would not concern myself with what he is now pursuing or dating… Do not look at old photos or Facebook. Etc. This is self inflicted toture.

    Honestly that relationship was miserable on so many levels. You should be happy to be free from such a burden. You are not seeing things clearly now as it is a fresh wound. I suggest taking up mindful meditation 20 min per day. This will help tremendously to cut through the haze. You will be able to better control your thoughts and emotions which are all over the place now. If you are active try hot yoga as well… Please don’t waste precious life and energy on this anymore than is necessary

    Don’t beat yourself up for not having appropriate boundaries everyone learns this lesson sooner or later. You are young and already learned this important lesson. Next time you will know better… As far as your anger I suggest doing nothing. Do not vent to him. Simply move on. That is the best revenge and will build momentum for your self esteem. He expects you to he upset, don’t give him the pleasure




    Thank you so much for reaching out.

    To answer your question, he broke up with me in the worst way. For the last month of our relationship, he was acting so weird. Any time I tried to confront him, he would come up with some lame excuse like “be nicer to me and stop farting!” So the last time I tried to have a serious discussion with him, I happened to be at work and we were texting.

    He was just acting so strange! I had to talk to him, so I think the conversation just happened that way. The conversation turned to him saying things like “I don’t think I could ever be happy or have a normal family because of the abortion. Have such hated towards what you’ve done. I don’t think I could ever be happy in a family situation or want children. We talk about fixing our relationship but there’s simply nothing to fix.”

    He has always taken the abortion as something that I did as a really selfish means to better myself at the expense of our baby. He took it really personally and always accused me of “not wanting to have his baby” instead of the truth which was, if I’m not 100% ready and if it’s not something I want with all of my heart, then I’m not going to have a child in vain. I’m not going to have a child for the sake of having one. This was argue issue in our relationship in itself because he never wanted to discuss it with me, he didn’t want to go to therapy with me – or even sit in on a session. He just wanted to blame me and take no responsibility for what happened. He told all of his family (including his 16 year old sister), his friends, his coworkers, his boss. And mind you, we were living hours apart at the time because I had to move away for an internship opportunity that I could not pass up (I was fresh out of college). So I was all alone, with not even my family for support.

    Anyway, so he wouldn’t answer his phone once I paniced and tried to reach him, and once I got ahold of him he confirmed that that’s what he really wanted. The conversation was mostly me being confused and him being silent. And after the initial break up, all of these other reasons came out – he really took it as an opportunity to really let out all of his frustrations with me. All of a sudden, my attitude was a contributing factor, my weight and attractiveness was a factor, the fact that we weren’t having fun (even though he JUST moved to my city to be with me be I ended up getting that dream job), he was mad because I talked about my job and new friends too much (even though I scored my dream job fresh out of my 4 year art s hook program and overcame many obstacles to get there – even though it was once of my life’s greatest accomplishments), he was mad because I tried too hard to “control things” because I wanted to wAit until I was ready and things were perfect to live together, get married, and have babies, the fact that’s had tried breaking up with him in the past because I wanted my space and I wanted to do me, and for the simple fact that I didn’t make him happy anymore… For all of this and probably more – he considers me incredibky selfish. Throughout our whole relationship he constantly threw it in my face that I was selfish (when I believed it to be putting myself first). Anything that could be wrong was wrong.

    When I saw him in person and cried to him, when I was having my lowest moments, when my wounds were so freshly opened and I practically begged for him back – he laughed at me like I was an adorable child and told me that I was being so silly and ridiculous because he wasn’t dying and that there was all this hope for the future, given I change. And he was being gross, just stroking my face and making such joke out of my sadness…


    Thank you so much! Both of you have been very helpful. I thought I would never get any responses because I wrote a novel. It’s hard. I struggle a lot. Even though I’m mourning the loss – I’ve gained so much. And I’m thankful that I have enough sense to not have any desire to speak to him. I don’t ever want to be with him again. I don’t want him in my life. My only wish is that he realizes the truth about me – who I really was and what he lost. It hurts to know that there’s sombody out there who had claimed to love me more than life but now hates me and thinks I’m some murderer and who wishes me the worst. Even though he was brutal to me, I’d like to imagine that one day hell deal with his issues like an adult and find true peace and inner happiness instead of using people to feel happy and fulfilled.

    Rose Tattoo

    From the fairest place I can come from, it sounds like he’s struggling with grief and perhaps anger – maybe about you, maybe about the abortion, maybe about something he’s not talking with you about. He sounds manipulative in the extreme and very cruel. If he’s not self-aware or mature enough to deal with his own baggage and come to you in a fair, kind, constructive, and equitable way, he’s not for you. He’s not your man. He has a lot of growing up to do, and he may do it with this other woman or maybe not. But his treatment of you is awful, and even if there’s a reason for it underneath his cruel words, he needs to learn to be kinder and more in control of himself before he will ever be a good partner.

    If he’s getting in touch with you even though you’re asking him not to, consider getting a restraining order or something or just not answering the phone if you don’t know who it is. You don’t deserve hateful words, and it sounds like he’s obsessing over whatever wrongs he thinks you’ve done to him. Block him on social media. Block him on e-mail. And don’t answer the phone if it’s an unfamiliar number. Or change your number, if possible.

    Remember that this isn’t about you, it’s about him. We’ve all made mistakes in relationships, and we all have things to be forgiven for. But whens someone says they love you and then turns on you, he’s dealing with some sort of pain that’s not your fault, but that means he’s in a place of (hopefully) learning and growing. You don’t deserve that kind of treatment, and you’re not responsible for his pain. I’d encourage you to cut off all all ties to the extent that you can. I suspect that you’re responding to him because he’s baiting you. Stop responding, even when he says things that upset you or make you want to defend yourself.

    He may never (probably will never) understand who you really are or what happened from your perspective. He doesn’t sound like he has a lot of empathy. It sounds like it’s time to drop that expectation, stop trying to explain or defend yourself, and just let him go from your life.


    Thanks, Rose Tattoo.

    He’s gone already. In our last conversation he was trying to get me to “support him” and cheer him up about our dogs death (which I think he had something to do with). He was being weird and kept telling me about how I didn’t care about him or about anything and about how I’m acting like a bitter old ex and how I’m so selfish and how I’m trying to “forget the past” because I don’t want anything to do with him… And I said “I would just like you to please stop bothering me. I asked you multiple times to leave me alone. I keep trying to remember that we had good times but you keep ruining that for me. I don’t want you in my life because I don’t think that you’re a good person and I don’t think that you’re a nice person. So please leave me alone now.”

    And thats when he flipped out and said all of that stuff about how much he hates me and wishes bad things would happen to me. And he said some scary things so I changed my number entirely. I feel guilty for saying all of that stuff, but simple asking him to leave me alone was enough… Blocking him without explanation wasn’t enough!!!!!!! And at the time I wasn’t strong enough to simply ignore him. So that’s what I said. And I think it’s truthful, but I still feel like maybe I shouldn’t have. I kind of just wish he didn’t hate me….


    This guy is not in a good way. His hatred will hurt him more than it could ever hurt you. Honestly, I can only agree with your assessment of him in your last phone conversation. He wasn’t a good person, and it’s come back to bite him. His feeble raging at you doesn’t mean that he doesn’t recognise he brought this on himself.

    Don’t worry about his hatred. That’s his burden to bear. Yours is only to let go without bitterness. As you said yourself, learn and move on. Have patience with yourself. The future will find you.


    Thank you for the reassurance. Sometimes I find it hard to believe it’s all real. Or that he was really that bad. Like somehow it was all my fault – which I know for certain that’s not true… I try really hard to search for a comforting thought or mantra to help soothe myself on bad days or dark moments. In my previous, slightly healthier, relationships I could always depend on the fact that I always carried myself with integrity and that I was the best girlfriend possible – that I really put my all into making my boyfriend happy and that I really did my best. But this time, I can’t even say that. I have to admit that there was a lot of unresolved, repressed anger towards him that I was accumulating over the years – anger that I couldn’t express because there would be some major argument. Anger because of things that happened and my inability to do anything about it (feeling of helplessness and worthlessness I guess). Anyway, after so many years, just being around him made me angry and I started to have an attitude with him – just in general. Even in moments when he was pleasant, my attitude would ruin things. He always just wanted me to be nicer but was never willing to have a serious talk and to work with me on our issues.

    I feel like I didn’t do my best. My mother says thats okay because he clearly didn’t deserve it anyway… But I don’t know. This is just a very strange time for me and I feel so grateful to have the tiny buddha blog and all you little tiny buddha bloggers out there to offer me compassion, understanding, and advice. Thanks again.


    I understand feeling guilty and bad during a bad breakup. But I don’t necessarily think that it’s a negative thing. It means you have the ability to look at the situation from multiple perspectives.

    To be able to examine ones own choices, thoughts, and actions; evaluate and then have compassion for oneself is a great thing. Just make sure that you are treating yourself fairly, and evaluating yourself with a clear head. When trauma happens, I feel like guilt inevitably rears its ugly head.

    This is a learning experience. Why were you so angry? What was the real reason you were so hurt? And not just the reason you tell everyone. How could this have gone differently? Are your wants and needs any different now that you’ve endured this? You don’t have to share. I’m just saying that these are the questions you need to ask yourself. Take that knowledge and apply it to your relationships in the future.

    You got this.


    There are some things in your last post that make me wonder.

    You talk about being the best girlfriend you can be, and working to make your boyfriend happy. What worries me about that is that sometimes when we take it upon ourselves to make other people happy, this comes at the cost of being genuine and expressing how we feel. Then that gets in the way of real intimacy as well as your own happiness and before you know it everything’s fallen apart and nobody knows why.

    I know how this works because I used to be this person. And it didn’t work out so good for me, or my partner (now ex).

    The way I see relationships now is that it’s not my job to make anyone happy. What I try to work at is listening to what the other person wants or needs, and expressing honestly what I want or need, so that we can work together on creating the conditions for happiness for both of us. And it’s hard, you know? A lot of the time I don’t even know what I want, let alone what I need. But it’s worth trying because that’s how we get close to each other, by hearing about what’s going on on the inside.

    You talk about unresolved, repressed anger. It’s worth looking into the reason you repressed that anger instead of expressing it and allowing him to see what was really going on with you. Are you working with some programming that says you can’t be angry out loud? (A lot of us are. Anger is tricky stuff.) Was he the sort of person who would respond poorly to expressions of negative feelings, blow up, or turn it on you somehow? (Again, anger is tricky stuff, and many of us don’t know how to respond to it. But there are bad ways to respond and really really bad ways.)

    Scanning your posts again, I’m not sure if this applies to you. I do think you’re better off without this guy, he sounds like a piece of work. “Murder his baby” indeed! And I hope that you believe (in a deepseated way) that it’s OK to be upset because upsetting things happen sometimes, and it’s ok to express that upset and expect some understanding and support from your guy. And if you don’t get that, my advice is to get a different guy.

    That’s for the future though. For now, trust in yourself, take care of yourself, believe in love. You’ll be all right again.

    May you be well, at peace, and happy.

    • This reply was modified 9 years ago by Will.

    Will –

    I think what you said applies more to the way I used to be. In my previous relationsips, I made it my duty to make my man happy! I bent over backwards, I really played the part… But because I had such unhealthy experiences in the past, I felt like maybe I was taking the wrong approach and maybe I should just be me and see what happens. I have a complete understanding of what you were describing because that was very very much how I dealt with relationships for as long as I was dating. At some point, I have come to understand that it is not my job to make anybody happy – except for myself. And I guess this is where the conflict came about… Because my ex expects whoever he is with to make him happy. This “other girl” made him happy and made him feel fulfilled and I simply didn’t anymore, so he left. And here I am, getting worked up because I didn’t bend over backwards for him – ever. When it seems like that’s what he wanted me to do, but I never delivered – or maybe sometimes I did, and sometimes I didn’t. Whatever the case, this relationship was my futile attempt at having something real with somebody. I entered this relationship with the expectation that it would be loving, lasting, and healthy. Actually, it’s funny because even until the day we broke up I considered our relationship healthy and happy. I was just as out of touch as he was!

    I mean, he’s gone now, so I’m only left to express my anger to my therapist and my friends (and you guys). When the relationship started, I would try to talk things out and express my anger like a normal person but his arguing style was so weird. He got really defensive most of the time, he’d get up and storm out in the middle of conversations, he’d lie, deny, blame, use his PTSD as an excuse and scapegoat for his actions. And I just went along with it and adapted! I didn’t even think of myself or what was good for me. I just went with it!

    He treated me terribly from the very beginning, and I knew it was wrong and there were so many things that bothered me, and as I learned that I couldn’t have a normal conversation or argument with him about it, I just learned to shut up. My options were, have a very long extensive argument that would likely go nowhere (these arguments would usually end up in me crying or him storming away angrily and ultimately, him coming in for a big hug as if that would solve all of our problems and we’d move on like nothing happened) OR if I just let it go, we’d go on like nothing happened. Inappropriate conversations with other women were a factor from the very beginning. That really upset me and he never quit. He lied to me. He ruined my friendships and anytime I tried to make new friends, he’d do something to mess it up. He was jealous. He kept me from having a good time without him. I had to constantly keep in contact with him. If i didn’t answer my phone, he’d call 20 times in a row if he had to. And if I didnt answer, he’d call somebody else to get a hold of me.

    He was so emotionally draining! I never had my space! He was distracting and I got so sick of him! I begged him to stop sleeping at my place every day, and I got the guilt trip, saying that he lived too far away from work and it’s a major inconvenience… Ugh! Just awful! And this was only the first year or two of the relationship…

    THIS is where all of that unresolved anger comes from. I mean, all of this building up for so long, eventually any time we talked it was inevitable that the attitude would rear it’s ugly head. I couldn’t help myself – infact, I wasn’t myself anymore. Anyway… I gave in a little… He lightened up a little after I tried breaking up with him several times (he manipulated me back into the relationship)… And it progressed for another 2 years. And here I am now! It’s crazy because my friends and family said that they feel like I’m finally myself again. They said that I was so unlike myself, that I was like an empty shell of who I used to be.

    Phew, it felt good to let that out 🙂


    I just wanted to write back and say that I feel a great deal of shame, regret, and grief because I was had an attitude with this guy. Because I was mean and frustrated. I can’t help but think that we would still be together if I hadn’t acted the way that I did. It was nothing in particular that I said. I never really *said* anything bad… it was my behavior. I acted in such a way that I couldn’t even recognize myself. And when I got mad, I got so enraged that I would literally have out of body experiences. Sometimes I could barely stand myself. Sometimes I feel like I’m just as horrible as he is.

    And in the end, when I realized all of this and I said I was sorry, so many times, in so many ways. I cried and begged and pleaded. And all I got was a “well it looks like you’re a day late and dollar short.” That makes me sick!!!!! I’m having a hard time forgiving myself… I’m having a hard time with the realization that I may not be forgiven. I want to say that I’m sorry over and over and over again.

    I’m just a confused girl 🙁 I feel incapable of giving and receiving real love. Deep down, I want to do what he did and just jump into another relationship. The fact of the matter is though, I don’t want to do that because I know I have SO much work to do. And I know I’m not ready or healthy enough to experience a healthy relationship. I’m in limbo between my wants and my needs. Somedays, I feel like I’ll never be okay.


    There’s three hours between your posts, and a world of difference. Of course you’re confused. But I really think you are going to be OK.

    Reading your first post it strikes me how clearly you see the situation and identify what went wrong. This is what happened, read this again:

    When the relationship started, I would try to talk things out and express my anger like a normal person but his arguing style was so weird. He got really defensive most of the time, he’d get up and storm out in the middle of conversations, he’d lie, deny, blame, use his PTSD as an excuse and scapegoat for his actions. And I just went along with it and adapted! I didn’t even think of myself or what was good for me. I just went with it!

    You adapted to somebody with a non-functional way of relating. You discounted your heart and your own needs. You turned into someone else. But your heart knew something wasn’t right, and it rebelled. Of course it did. No wonder you had an “attitude”. You were unhappy about certain things and he’d left you no other way to express it. And then he blamed you for it and told you to be “nicer”.

    Please don’t wish you’d bent over backwards for this dude. It wouldn’t have made him better. It wouldn’t have made you happy, or him. If some other girl wants to be his stepford wife, let her have it. You are destined for better things.

    The way you talk about this suggests to me that you have the emotional intelligence and maturity to have a healthy relationship. I agree it’s probably not a good idea to jump straight into the next thing, though. Take a little time to get to know yourself as a single person, let the lessons from this relationship and breakup take their place in your bones. And if someone comes along that seems suitable, now you know what to look for: how does he argue? How does he deal with setbacks and unpleasant feelings? How does he cope when you have a grumpy mood (we all do sometimes)?

    Believe you’re going to be ok. It’s obviously true.

    All good things to you.

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