July 9, 2018 at 8:48 pm #216055
Just over 5 months ago, I broke up with my ex. There have been ups and downs over the last 5 months but no matter what I do, she is still on my mind. I'm a naturally busy person and while this has helped distract me, I find myself circling back to her and questioning my decision. Sometimes I’m doing fine and I actually feel like I’m slowly getting over her but then there’s other times where I spiral down into this hole. We’ve refrained contact for quite a while now and yet there she is, always in the back of mind and often in the front.
So what led me to break up with this woman? Like anyone else, she had her issues. She had a bit of a short temper and while it was rare that it would come out, it would always be an explosion out of nowhere and it could happen anywhere. It was extremely uncomfortable to witness. As a result, I began to monitor my actions and words to prevent this from happening. This over time prevented me from being my complete self and I think it began to drive me insane. I didn’t even really know I was doing this at the time. She would also be very judgmental/negative of people which I wasn’t a fan of. She would call it “being realistic about the people she wants to hang out with” and maybe she’s right, but it began to wear on me. People often refer to me as a “golden retriever” while she has more of a love/hate type of personality.
Now, I’m a naturally distant person (strange considering the golden retriever comment above….. I won’t get into this here but essentially, I have a fear of rejection and tend to avoid things) and have a very difficult time communicating my emotions/feelings/needs. While I eventually opened up about the temper issue, I think it was too late. I had changed myself so much by this point that I was no longer happy and the amount of stress/anxiety I was feeling became overwhelming for me. The relationship began to feel as if I was walking on eggshells and it sucked. I still really cared for her but I couldn’t take it anymore and I abruptly broke things off. I felt relieved of my stress and anxiety but those feelings were replaced with grief.
All in all, she’s an incredible person. Attractive, confidant, intelligent, independent, driven, witty and was supportive of my interests. She challenged me and for the first time in a relationship, I actually felt like we were on the same level. We did so much together and this being my first serious relationship, I was excited to find someone so special. There’s more but I’ll leave it at that. All in all, she was pretty darn close to what I was looking for in a long term partner and I wonder, was I being too picky?
Long story short, here’s where my head is at. Knowing what I now know about myself, I’m having a hard time justifying my decision to breakup with her. I’ll look at other women and I can’t even be bothered to approach them. I still have a lot of feelings for her. I think about her when I’m happy and sad and I’m constantly reminded of her. There’s a part of me that wants to try the relationship again knowing that I need to be more open about my needs/wants/emotions etc but I’m also afraid of breaking her heart again. I’m wondering if I had been more open, would things have been different? Could we work through our issues together?
I’ve been thinking more and more that I want to reach out and grab coffee with her. I want to talk to her and explain what had happened and potentially see if we could work things out but I’m having a hard time doing so. I don’t know if I’m just looking at her through rose colored lenses, if it’s my ego preventing me to do so, or what it is.
Any insights would be greatly appreciated.July 10, 2018 at 4:47 am #216091
This may come as a shock, but if she's as strong and independent as you claim, she might turn down that coffee with you. Forget about getting back together. I don't think you can have her back simply because you feel you could have made a mistake.
From her perspective perhaps: She rarely lost it, and when she did, you couldn't handle it. A lot of women are thus labelled “crazy” this way. Maybe she was trying to be perfect herself and ultimately blew up at an embarrassing level. You then broke up with her, so now she could be going around saying that she couldn't be her real self around YOU! Who knows?
Of course no one else compares. She was a strong personality. It sounds like she needs another strong personality to be with her long term.
Sorry my insights were a bit harsh, but there it is,
InkyJuly 10, 2018 at 8:01 am #216133
You wrote, “while it was rare… it would always be an explosion out of nowhere and it could happen anywhere”-
It doesn't matter that it was rare and it doesn't matter that she was a incredible person otherwise. Explosive anger out of nowhere is damaging. Look what it did to you: “I began to monitor my actions and words to prevent this from happening…it began to drive me insane… the amount of stress/anxiety I was feeling became overwhelming for me… I was walking on eggshells.. I couldn't take it anymore”.
I had a mother like that, and I couldn't take it anymore either. Unfortunately for me, I wasn't able, being a child, to end that relationship. The damage those explosions caused me has been lifetime.
You wrote, “I'm wondering if I had been more open, would things have been different?”- I suppose they would have been worse. Naturally, instinctively, one closes off to danger (aggression does register as danger for any animal, including humans). I don't think it is possible to open up to danger.
The grief you feel, I hope you overcome this. Post again if you want to.
July 10, 2018 at 9:51 am #216169
- This reply was modified 1 week, 5 days ago by anita.
I am with Anita on this one. This is not how one should feel in a loving and nurturing relationship: “I began to monitor my actions and words to prevent this from happening…it began to drive me insane… the amount of stress/anxiety I was feeling became overwhelming for me… I was walking on eggshells.. I couldn't take it anymore”. Actually if you were a woman and physically weaker (if the roles were reversed), you would feel scared, not just uncomfortable. And walking on eggshells is a definition taken straight out of an abusive relationship characteristics.
Did you ever tell her how her outbursts made you feel? If you did, what was her response?
Now when she is gone, you are no longer uncomfortable and remember only good things about her.
Having said all that… If you feel so strongly about her, you can try and talk to her over a cup of coffee. Inky is right – she may tell you to get lost and even get angry . Or she will agree to meet with you, hear you out and want to work things out. Either way you will get a result and hopefully will stop questioning your decision.July 10, 2018 at 7:33 pm #216211
<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>Inky – Thanks for your honesty. I in no way think I could have her back in the snap of my fingers. If anything, it would be a work in progress to build trust again and a foundation with more openness. I wouldn't call her crazy either. I'm very aware of the denial of coffee and I kind of expect it. I'm a very optimistic person but in this case, I think that it's a very real reality. The situation is difficult to explain without further context. </span>
<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>Anita – I'm sorry to hear about your relationship with your mother. It's a difficult situation to be in when you really care about the other person. I think you're right about the damaging effects although, in my case, I don’t feel like I’m damaged (at least not anything I’m aware of). Despite this, I still take a lot of the blame on the demise of our relationship and wonder if I had been stronger, could we have worked through our issues? Who knows. I do think that the rare explosion of anger would still bother me quite a bit but am I being to picky or is it fair to say that it became toxic for me and leaving was the only way? </span>
<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>Xenia – I did. I mentioned that it made me extremely uncomfortable. Often times she would be able to hold it in and it would blow over but it was so obvious that a volcanic eruption was brewing. I knew this was her way of dealing with things and had asked that she at least give me warning but it seemed to be something that would be overwhelming for her in the sense that she was intensely attempting control her emotions and with that, it was only a matter of time before things boiled over.</span>
<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>I go back and forth on my memories of her. Sometimes I remember the good times we had and while I’m aware that I may be filtering, I do try to counter with the uncomfortable memories as well. It doesn’t make me think less of her but I try to keep it balanced in an attempt to remain sane on this breakup. </span>
<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>They say time heals all wounds and at this point, 5 months definitely isn’t enough for me. </span>July 11, 2018 at 2:48 am #216235
In your note to me you wrote “in my case, I don't feel like I'm damaged”- way less than a child would be living with her.
*If you reunited with her and had a child, that child would be significantly damaged, a victim.
You were damaged during the relationship (re-read my quote in my previous post to you, if you will). Now you are no longer living with the danger that at any time a “volcanic eruption” may take place, so you are better for it.
You wrote, “(I) wonder if I had been stronger, could we have worked through our issues”- but living under the threat of a volcanic eruption weakens a person, any person. So how could you have been stronger.
She tried, you suggested, to control her behavior when angry. Sometimes she succeeded. What it takes is complete success so to allow a loving, safe relationship with any person. And it takes more than an intention and more than effort. If she attended psychotherapy where she learned what is called emotional regulation skills, if she learned to endure her distress without reacting aggressively, over time and succeeded in doing so month after month, then there would be a chance for a loving relationship to take place.
Aggression is a requirement in the context of war. Safety is a requirement in the context of love.
July 11, 2018 at 7:55 am #216259
- This reply was modified 1 week, 4 days ago by anita.
I would like you to read this short story. Not written by me, but gets at exactly what I think you need. The end is the most telling: “Time is too slow for those who wait, Too swift for those who fear, Too long for those who grief, Too short for those who rejoice, But for those who love… Time is Eternity”
Stop looking for a sign that says what you already know. Just love. Love without limits or bounds, it's what you deserve, and what you crave. Life is way to short to wonder.