Tortured by regret of breaking up with him

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    My name is elle and I’m a senior in college. I’m here to ask for advice because I’m being tortured by regret.

    I started dating my ex around this time last year. We had six great months together (even though six months really isn’t that long in comparison to other great loves you hear about on this site). He’s a year younger, smart, charming, funny, extremely driven, everything you would want in a boyfriend. He pursued me 100%, I was hesitant to date him at first because I wasn’t overwhelmingly drawn to him but he quickly won me over. He’s the nicest guy I’ve ever met in my entire life. I get along with his family, he gets along with mine. Our values are the same and we are very similar souls. We fell for each other hard, I was the first to say the big “I love you”. He treated me like a queen, he was my best friend, we laughed about the same things, our physical relationship was great, everything was blissful.

    Towards the end of the relationship, however, my feelings started to lessen. I was still in love with him and wanted to be around him but I noticed as he was become more intense, I was becoming less interested. I was feeling uninterested physically and emotionally and more depressed and frustrated. I wasn’t sure if this was because of the new medication that I went on with similar symptoms, that we were in a rut, or that I truly was falling out of love.

    I wrestled with the thought of breaking up with him for quite some time and came to the conclusion that it wasn’t fair to drag someone along that loved me like he did when I don’t feel the same way. I finally broke up with him almost 4 months ago today. At first it was a huge relief. I felt incredibly guilty, but I no longer felt those feelings that I did over the summer. He was absolutely devastated. I wanted him to desperately to move on with someone new so I didn’t feel guilty anymore. He tried to talk to me about getting back together a few times at first but I explained that I just didn’t feel the same. His friends, whom I was still on good terms with, tried to convince me to come back but I had made my decision. From what I heard, he was depressed for a while and wasn’t sober for most of the month after the breakup. I felt horrible, but I didn’t regret it at all……

    Until now. 4 months after the breakup and I’m absolutely devastated. He was my best friend and I feel like part of me is missing. I miss the relationship and him as a person. At first I thought I was just lonely, but I crave his presence and I have dreams about him. I wake up every morning thinking about him. I’m completely tortured by regret. I can totally see a future with him. The issue is that now that I feel this way, he’s moved on with a rebound girl. He does stuff with her he used to do with me and it just rubs salt in the wound. All of his friends say she’s okay but doesn’t bring much to the table. They’re nothing like him and I used to be.

    I understand that it’s selfish to feel this way right as he’s finally getting over me, but I can’t shake the feeling and I’m absolutely tortured by the regret of breaking up with someone that amazing who treated me as well as he did. We’re on friendly speaking terms now but it hurts to talk to him as a friend and I know he’s flaunting his new girl in my face.

    Whether it’s advice to move on or get him back….please help me.


    • This topic was modified 6 years, 6 months ago by Elle.

    Dear Elle:

    My advice is not to try to get him back at this point, not now. My advice is for you to explore and get an understanding of what happened and what is going on with you first. It will not be fair for him that you follow your current feelings for him when you don’t understand what is going on.

    Back to when you broke up with him, you wrote that you stopped feeling loving feelings for him, maybe because of a medication. What was that medication, a psychiatric medication? What was your mental situation and life circumstances at the time preceding the break up and afterward?

    What was the relief about breaking it up with him about?



    Dear Anita,

    Thank you so much for getting back to me. I really appreciate it.

    I do understand that it wouldn’t be wise to try to get back with him. Especially since he’s seemingly happy with this new girl and I don’t think he would have any problem shutting down my attempts to rekindle things, whether it be out of spite or fear of being hurt again. It’s just extremely hard knowing that I caused the breakup and that now I whole-heartedly regret it. At first I thought it was because I was lonely or because of this new girl, but I genuinely think I miss him as a whole person.

    As for the medication, it was just a birth control that I was only on for three months (including the month I broke up with him) before realizing it wasn’t right for my body. It made me irritable, depressed, lazy, extremely negative, annoyed and killed my libido (which also caused a huge rift in our relationship). He would try to be intimate or sweet and I would just be annoyed and angry and most of all, extremely extremely distant. I’m not saying that this birth control was the sole reason for me feeling like I fell out of love, but it definitely clouded my judgement when it came to deciding whether or not to break up with him. I can’t help but think there wasn’t a good reason at all and I missed an opportunity with an absolutely amazing guy.

    As for life circumstances, I was just starting my senior year in college and going out to bars with my friends and having fun. This might have clouded my judgement of wanting to feel free and independent. He always encouraged my independence and life outside our relationship. So thinking back on that now, it doesn’t seem like a logical reason to break up with him.

    The relief of breaking up with him was because I felt so guilty not feeling the same way as he felt about me towards the end of the relationship. I felt like I was dragging him along when I didn’t feel as passionate or affectionate as he did. He was falling more and more in love with him and suddenly I was feeling distant, maybe for the reasons above, maybe not.


    • This reply was modified 6 years, 6 months ago by Elle.

    Once again, thank you for replying

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 6 months ago by Elle.

    You felt guilt because of your inability to give love he deserved. You had no choice but to leave and not drag this man along and thus make the situation worse. When you made your decision you felt relief. All of these things mean something and that is you probably did the right thing given the circumstances. At the very least, I think you felt relief because you knew you did the right thing. Yet as time went on, you started missing him and how he was treating you. When you gave into these thoughts, the doubts set in. All of a sudden your mind started racing in the opposite direction.

    Sometimes our mind is consumed with anger or sadness or the emotional turmoil imposed by something or someone. Whatever it is, our decisions in situations like this are influenced by the immediate position we find ourselves in. While you can toil away at this stuff as time passes, you have to realize that you could not have done any better. And while you are now finding yourself in doubt and regret, I suggest you place yourself back into that period 4 months ago and evaluate what happened. Figure out why you left. What wasn’t enough. You need to just calm yourself down and reflect on this before continuing to dwell on the thought of getting back with this man because there is a very good chance that if you do you will end up leaving again.

    So think about that before trying to get him back. If he is in fact with someone new, I’d recommend not to disturb his new relationship plainly out of respect. He may be very happy with this girl and she happy with him despite of what your mutual friends think of their relationship.

    Remember that you did what you felt like you had to do and you should not ignore this as you’re looking back at the situation. I wish you luck!!


    Dear Elle:

    I read your latest post and then re-read your original post. This is what I see may have been happening, and is happening, let me know if I am on the right track, and if there is any truth to how I see it:

    He became intense with you, too close for comfort, meaning, you got scared so you pushed him away. First you pushed him away emotionally, you withdrew, you stopped feeling love for him. Then you broke up with him. Because you were afraid. You felt relief for a long time because, now safe (not in a relationship with him), you were no longer afraid.

    Then he became seriously-enough involved with another girl. At this point, you were safe because he moved on, he made the move away from you so you no longer had to keep pushing him away so to protect yourself.

    You stopped pushing him away in your own heart and mind because he was safely in a distance, with the other girl. Now that you are safe, you feel the love again.

    People say, fear and love cannot co exist. When we are afraid of someone (from being so close to him), we can’t have loving feelings at the same time.

    What do you think?




    Thank you for your response. You’re very right. I did what I felt was right in the moment and I can’t blame myself for doing that. It just hurts knowing that I miss all the things that I never considered before I ended things. I have to trust myself that I made the right decision and that it was for the best at the time. I do understand that I should leave him be with this new girl. But I’ve never experienced more pain than seeing these two do things together that we used to do. I’ve had friends tell me it’s not the same as when we were together, but it doesn’t matter. The point is he’s trying to use her to fill the void that I left and it hurts so badly. I wish it was easier to say “if he’s happy, I’m happy”.


    Thank you for your response. I have never seen myself as someone who was afraid of the intensity of love but you may very well be right. It was very hard for me to fathom that someone loved me that much and it did freak me out that someone was willing to do anything for me. I’m not the kind of girl who likes guys that play “hard to get” but it definitely threw me off that I was with someone so loving and willing to be so vulnerable around me. I think it was a lot for me to handle and on top of that we were in a bit of a funk with our physical relationship and I think just bored overall. Instead of ending it I should have talked to him about it to try to work through it instead of running away in fear and guilt. I see that now. Unfortunately, now is too late and I don’t want to be a home-wrecker and interfere with him and this new girl.

    I want more than anything to run over to his house and tell him how I feel but I am so scared of rejection and the thought of him shutting me down because he’s happy enough with this new girl. I know he still has hidden feelings for me and remembers how good we were together and our inside jokes but I don’t think he would ever open up to me again. I’m trying my best to move on but it’s hard knowing that I’m the one that ended a perfectly healthy relationship out of fear and boredom.



    Dear Elle:

    In your post above you wrote that you “have never seen (yourself) as someone who was afraid of the intensity of love” and then you wrote: “I should have talked to him… instead of running away in fear..” and again, at the end of your post: “”I’m the one that ended a perfectly healthy relationship out of fear.”

    I would say: examine that fear, will you? We can communicate about it here together, if you’d like.

    Still, in the post above you wrote: “it did freak me out that someone was willing to do anything for me…and willing to be so vulnerable around me.”

    Do you remember yourself, as a child, being vulnerable, being totally vulnerable, loving your parent/s completely, totally… and what happened then and there to that love, that vulnerability in that relationship/s?



    Hi Elle

    i just came across this post and it felt like I had written it myself. I was exactly in the same situation – including feeling very different after going on the pill. I was with my boyfriend for three and a half years and we have been broken up quite a while now and I have gone through many moments of regretting it. I wanted to get I. Touch to ask how are you now? Did you move on from the break up?

    Singing Soul

    Hi Ella,

    I know it has been four years since you wrote this post, but I just have to ask…did you ever move on?

    I am going through something similar, except that I ended my 3 year relationship more than two years ago now. He has now gotten married, so it is definitely too late for me, but I feel pain, literally every single day, and I just have to know…did you ever move on?

    I truly appreciate any response from you.

    Thank you.


    Hi Singing Soul,

    How funny it is to be sitting here, replying to the post I wrote 4 years ago when I was in such a dark place.

    The long story short is: I can finally say that I’ve healed. There’s no magic formula, nothing I specifically did, and no new boyfriends since. All I can say is time heals all. I’m sure that’s not the response you were hoping for, but I’d say 2.5 years after my senior year of college (so sometime in 2018) I finally realized that thinking about him, or us for that matter, didn’t hurt. The only thing I can attribute that to is time. While he was with his new girlfriend (they have since broken up) I was so hurt. But after a while of seeing them together, sickened with the fact that they were happy and I was alone, the pain started to get less and I was distracted by my own life. Focus on yourself. I haven’t dated anyone since him and I’m happy to say that I’m single, living in New York City with a great job, have a great group of friends.

    I am so sorry you’re hurting. I know how painful it is and how it can effect your entire life. Here’s my advice to you:

    1. Don’t drink too much. I found myself getting emotional when I drank and starting to think unreasonably about us and how good we had it. Take care of your body and go for a long walk if you’re feeling sad or anxious.

    2. Stop looking at pictures of him and his life. No really….stop. For me, this was like quitting a hard drug. It hurt to look but for some reason I couldn’t stop. Cut them out of your life. Even go as far as set reminders for yourself once a week.

    3. Just know that what is meant to be for you, will be. If someone had told me this when I was at my low, I would tell them to eff off. But really. I know for a fact I put my relationship with this man on a pedestal and he is not who I am meant to be with. Sure, he is the most recent man who has loved me and vice versa and it’s hard to move on from that, especially when you don’t have a new person in your life to distract you. Ultimately it is up to you. Give it time, and what is meant to be will come to you. Don’t rush it, you will heal when your heart is ready, but in the mean time focus on yourself and not him.

    I am proud to say I pulled myself out of a dark place and back onto my feet all by myself. I know you can too. Give it time, be kind to yourself and know that what is meant to be is meant to be. There’s someone out there for you that will not make you think twice about this man.

    Lot of love,



    Hey Elle,

    Your story actually hit me pretty hard . Actually I was the one who got broken up with . Not be confronted or by a text . I was straight up ghosted . We dated for 6 months & you could say I was the rebound but she wasn’t really looking for someone in the moment but she found me & very liked me. I was really good to her & always made her happy for the first 5 months . She was really happy with me & say things like “I haven’t laughed & smiled like this in a long time “ The ghosting is definitely feelings so much guilt & Shame. Last month I could say I got needy & saw all the signs of less texting & less conversations . She confesses to me she has depression & numbness etc.  She would tell me all her ex’s has cheated on her but now it looks like I’m the only one who hasn’t . She would tell me we were friends at well but it looks like how she treated me doesn’t feel like we are . Sometimes people need space & time to reflect . She will remember all the great memories we had & all the things I did for her . Thank you for your post & no longer putting her on a pedestal because I know my worth & value . My heart breaks for her because she has no idea who she lost & wont find someone like me who actually loved & cared for her .



    It’s funny how this story still resonates.  This week was the first time I had really pushed away someone who had real feelings for me.  After months of trying to feel the right way about him and the way he treated me, I just knew I was feeling more anxious and depressed trying to hold it together.  Today was the first day I felt the weight of what I was leaving behind, and began panicking about my choice and where we’ll be without each other.  This was really the first time I’d tried to be with someone in a serious way in years.  After college, depression kept me out of a lot of dating opportunities, so I already felt like I was making up for lost time.

    I’m glad these posts stay up, because the advice works very much in my own situation as well, and I know I have to trust why it didn’t work and give myself adequate time to heal and learn from it.  Before we’d started dating, I’d become really comfortable with being single and dating in the new age.  Now though, I’m just disappointed in my inability to stay with someone kind and real.


    Ella, it is kinda strange that after four years, in this month alone, you’ve had a few hits on your post again. I felt like you were me and It was a writing from my journal! Every piece of advice you received. Im going to take as my own. I broke up with my ex 6 months Ago and we did not date long but we were close from the start. He was my first everything within the bounds of a relationship (intimacy, sleeping over etc) I  world randomly feel bored or mad  because I couldn’t help him feel motivated or feel happy and I couldn’t be his magic pill. I felt like I was using him for my happiness and keeping him from being with someone who loved him more than me. I broke up with him and was a mess, and told him and kindly he let me be friends with him. He now has a girlfriend of maybe a month and I’m in so much pain. Exactly how you felt and i just want to tell him I miss him and want his friendship. I can’t remember why I broke up with him and I wish he knew that I need him.



    A fascinating string of entries here spanning multiple years.  Dealing with heartbreak, it seems, is timeless.  🙂  I’m somewhat embarrassed to say I found these entries exploring if my now ex-girlfriend would eventually regret expelling me from her life.

    Triangle Sun probably summarized it best; my ex did what she thought was right at the time.  Life had gotten out of control for her (she had textbook symptoms of anxiety and depression) and had pulled back on all intimacy, had become irritable, was dealing with self-esteem issues and just couldn’t ever seem to get through her to do list.  I knew she was going through a lot and loved her unconditionally, but the guilt of not being able to reciprocate was just too much for her.  She had been through two horrible relationships and openly asked me why I treated her so well, so it really threw me for a loss when she ended things and then completely ghosted me.   Our one mutual friend commented she’ll look back some day and scream for kicking me out of her life.

    Your last posts about time healing definitely caught my eye, because that is what it will take.  She’s been removed from my phone, her robe and all mementos were burned and all pics have been deleted, but erasing a lover from the mind and heart is no easy activity.  And, naturally, coronavirus quarantines do nothing to help move through the stages of grief.   Anyway, I take solace in your comment that it took you awhile to move on, because it definitely isn’t something that just happens overnight.

    I do wonder, although I know it’s just wishful thinking, how I’ll react if she ever reaches out to rekindle things.  How would you handle things if your ex asked you to give things another try?





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