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Struggling to accept breakup & future

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This topic contains 44 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Shelbyville 1 hour, 12 minutes ago.

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  • #248723

    Shelbyville
    Participant

    Hi all,

    I’ve been posting on another thread about my situation but it’s a long thread now and hard for anyone to get a concise view of my situation so I said I would start a new one, looking for tips. My ex ended our almost 4-year relationship 9.5 weeks ago. We had split up previously a couple of years ago for a few months, but reunited. I loved/love him and I felt he cared greatly for me, but it became apparent that when I wanted to move forward, he was unable to do so. We have had no contact in many weeks.

    Since the breakup, I’ve experienced huge anxiety – at the start – but that has abated since I increased my SSRI anti-anxiety medication so that has helped and I attend a therapist. I’ve kept working and meeting friends for walks etc. But despite my functioning and surviving improving, my mindset has not changed. I miss him now as much as the day we broke up and I want to be with him. So basically I’m in denial or whatever. I can’t seem to get past this mentality. I feel the loss is mine and that he’s amazing and that I will forever broken-hearted without him.

    I know it relates to the way I view myself in the sense that if I had more self esteem I would see the loss as his, which everyone else tells me it is. Even my therapist feels he didn’t deserve me, but due to whatever issues he has himself, he couldn’t go further with me.

    I feel like I’m doing everything that is suggested by my therapist, friends, blogs and my mentality is not even slightly budging. I’m managing getting through most days, but I feel like I want to contact him, be with him, reunite with him – despite nothing to suggest that’s even a possibility.

    Essentially I want to be happy, I don’t want to feel this sad and needy forever and not moving forward in any way. The idea of doing anything much without him seems heartbreaking to me right now. I had so many plans for travel and for our own house etc, it’s just so sad and painful.

    I’ve met some lovely posters on this forum who have helped me through a lot, but right now I feel I’m not progressing at all, I feel lost and empty and while people say time heals, I’m worried it won’t, if my own feelings are to try and retrieve what has been lost.

     

    S x

    #250765

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Shelbyville:

    I would  like to help you, therefore I suggest the following: for you to heal and  move forward it  will not be about “looking for tips”, or  more  tips. You already have all the tips available, which you shared so clearly   and  generously with  others on your other thread. Healing will take challenging and rethinking  some assumptions that you made.

    I believe that the  labels you used to explain you, your ex boyfriend, the relationship and the breakup (HSP and empath for yourself and commitment  phobe for him) are such assumptions that need to be challenged. As is, these very labels may be keeping you from learning and healing.

    Maybe he was afraid (phobic)  not  so much of commitment as from feeling not-good -enough for the rest of his life if he marries  you (You wrote that he told  you  that he felt that way repeatedly while in the relationship with you).

    It is  possible that  you were not aware (and therefore not perfectly sensing and empathetic as the labels you identify with suggest) that he was miserable feeling that way  and that something  had to be done or changed  then, over the  months and years of the relationship so to correct your communication to  him.

    On this thread you wrote: “I would see the loss as his, which everyone else tells me it is. Even my therapist feels he didn’t deserve me,  but due to whatever issues he has himself, he couldn’t go further with me”-

    people say these things without thinking if these  things are true because  it makes the  heartbroken person feel better. But it  is a  temporary  band aid at best. If these  things are not true, if  you had issues  that were your own, and  if it  is your loss more than it  is his, these things need to  be examined and confronted, for healing sake, for the purpose  of feeling  better in the long run and living  a better, more fulfilling life.

    anita

     

    #251651

    Inky
    Participant

    Hi Shelbyville,

    After the holidays I would encourage you to “get out there”.

    You CAN travel. You CAN buy your own home. You CAN find love again. You CAN date again.

    Yes, you will always have a special place in your heart for him. “Always” gives you permission to keep feeling whatever feels you may have for him. “Place” means just that: a PLACE in your heart. Not the entire heart. Not even close. You have a long life ahead of you, with new, more, and better characters to meet and adventures to be had.

    Let your family and friends take care of you this holiday, and then grasp 2019 with two hands!

    Best,

    Inky

    #260475

    Shelbyville
    Participant

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>Thanks for the advice. I’m just struggling to see any positivity in the future alone. From where I am right now, it’s just hard to come to terms with the loss and see any other possibilities in the future.</p>
    For me, I just have this feeling that I won’t get over it and there is more heartbreak en route for me, whether it’s due to being on my own or trying to reunite with my ex and getting spurned again.

    I wish I was like other people who can walk away with head held high, sad but determined. I don’t feel I’m getting over the loss at all just yet.

    #261491

    Brandy
    Participant

    Hi Shelbyville,

    I’ve been where you are, so identified with the voice in my head and the emotions that come with it that I’d forgotten how to be happy. I think it happens to most people at some point in their lives. I understand how you feel. This guy is amazing and you want to be with him. You are totally broken-hearted and experiencing great loss. Sad and painful, devastating, I know.

    You have two choices: 1) You can relive this awful event again and again, keep telling yourself how lacking your life is now, keep replaying this sad story of yours, and keep yourself closed off from life (from traveling, etc.), or 2) you can stop resisting and instead surrender, accept everything that has happened, and re-open yourself to all that’s beautiful about life.

    From reading some of your posts on that other thread my impression of you is that you are smart, compassionate, level-headed, loyal, caring, honest, humble, and grateful. That’s what I see in you.

    I’ve experienced disappointing setbacks in my life, as we all have because setbacks are a part of life, but right now where I am it is sunny and cool with a slight breeze in the air and I’m not going to waste this day thinking about my setbacks. If life were always easy we would never become the strong, resilient people we are meant to be. This is your time, girl! Time to see what you’re made of, to see what you got!

    B 🙂

    #261513

    William
    Participant

    Hi Shelbyville,

    I’ve followed some of your posts on the other thread as they’ve been a great help in relating to my own recent experience, so thought i’d post for the first time on these forums here as maybe my experience might also be of reciprocal use!

    In August my girlfriend of 3 years (and friend of 14 years) broke up with me soon after we moved abroad together, which was by far the toughest thing that’s ever happened to me. I’ve struggled with a state of near constant anxiety in my mind and body, which I’d never felt before – partly because I viewed her as the one i would be with for the rest of my life, and partly due to being away from a good support network and having to start life again in a new city (as an introvert, this is pretty daunting…). I’m not sure my story has a happy ending yet – I’ve moved to another city in Europe to be closer to some good friends of mine and away from direct contact with her – but a few things have helped me readjust my state of mind from one of complete hopelessness to one where I am starting to see the small crack of light at the end of the tunnel:

    – Firstly, I’ve started to write my feelings down on paper or on the computer. These forums are one way of doing this, but articulating thoughts as they come to you feels like a useful way of beginning to comprehend and make sense of how you’re feeling. Having a day-to-day narrative that you can refer back to when your head is full of hundreds of conflicting ideas and thoughts can take some of the weight off your mind. You can also read them back to compare weeks or months later, and more often than not, I’m finding that I am making small amounts of progress and things aren’t as sad and hopeless as they once were at the beginning of the breakup.

    – Secondly, I wrote down all of the bad things about our relationship. I’ve come to realise that although it doesn’t take away the sadness of the relationship ending, it does help me realise that the break up was not entirely my fault, and that so many day-to-day actions, words or attitudes on both of our parts over an extended period of time that contributed to the ending of it. Likewise, it is helping me remember that even though I have so much good to say about her, there is no such thing as the ‘perfect’ person for you. Relationships take time, loads of effort and two willing people to commit to working out problems or challenges on a long term basis.

    – Remember your contributions to the relationship, both positive and negative. Tackling these head on is quite daunting and emotional, but only once you’ve learnt from them can you stop dwelling on things that happened in the past. I’m still in this process but having written them down I feel more confident that my own negative actions or shortcomings won’t define me in future.

    – Meditation. Can’t say I’ve cracked this one yet but it does help release some of the anxiety especially when I’m feeling panic-y. I feel that committing to it regularly is one small way to help stay positive and focussed on enjoying the small things in day to day life.

    – Reading blogs and articles about anxiety. Whenever I’m feeling anxious I know I can turn to a few of these that help me remember I’m not alone and that it is just symptomatic of the irrational, emotional side of my brain overwhelming the logical, rational side of it. It does not define me and I know that I can also be relaxed, calm and happy – often in the same day.

    – Reading about other people’s experiences has been really useful too. Although the logical side of my brain knows that others have gone through the same, actually relating my experience to other people’s relationship woes has helped me to see a ‘bigger picture’ somewhat.

    – Proper exercise, i.e running. Feels bloody awful mentally preparing myself to do it in Winter but I’ve usually found I have a subtle mood boost in the day after I’ve done a 30 minute run.

    – Pouring your attention into something you love. For me I realised that my ‘project’ of the last few years, outside of my job had been simply fully immersing myself in the relationship. This was especially the case in the past year where we’d argue a lot which always disrupted the flow of every day life. I found I was using all my mental energy trying to save a relationship which eventually ended anyway. I’m quite a creative person and for me I’ve been trying to pursue a new creative project. I just have ideas at this stage, but it already feels good to confront what I’ve been missing and own up to the fact that I’ve been neglecting my own personal hopes and desires for the future outside of a romantic relationship. What this ‘project’ is will differ from person to person but for me it’s a creative hobby where I feel most fulfilled.

    – Communication with friends or family. I feel like I’ve bored my family to death over the past few months, especially in August-October when I would call them nearly every day, but just having someone to talk to about it is really useful, in the same way that writing things down is a cathartic and it can help make sense of your own thoughts better. Needless to say they’ll all be getting better-than-average Christmas presents this year.

    – No contact. I find the longer I don’t speak to her the less I feel like I ‘need’ to get back with her, as if things would work out differently if we gave things another try. Every time those feelings are brought back to the surface, it delays me being able to reshape my own narrative (a narrative that existed without her in my life before, and one that will exist without her in my life in future…)

    I’m not sure how useful any of that is for your own situation. I think the more you worry about ‘not being able to get over’ them in the future, the less time you spend in the present where your mental energy can be put to better use. It’s a tricky one to achieve, when the world you know feels like it’s falling away from you.

    All I can say is, those small things combined above have made incremental changes in my mood day by day, and I’m starting to see life in a more positive way again now. I know I’m still very prone to feeling very down and missing her, but even having just a few hours, or days of positive thinking is still a whole load more than in the initial months of the breakup. I mark this as progress. Hopefully this pain, and anxiety of these situations is just making us stronger and more ready to cope with problems in the future.

    #261551

    Shelbyville
    Participant

    Brandy,

    Thanks for your kind words. I must admit I find it difficult to hear positive descriptions of myself, but I appreciate your analysis greatly. I feel like everything I do now is a poor comparison to when I did it with him, which is unfortunate, but I’m hoping it will change soon and one day I see myself travelling again.

    William,

    Thank you so much for your advice and thoughtfulness. I have being do some of the tips you have suggested and I suppose that’s where my fear was arising – I still want to get my ex back so I felt the tips were not working. But it heartens me to not feel so alone in this predicament and that you too feel the same at times following your breakup. I wrote quite a bit after the split initially, but I admit it has waned lately and I thought it was not doing anything to help. I felt I was just writing down that I wanted to reconcile and I missed him every day, but maybe it was helping and I just didn’t know it.

    Well done on doing so much for yourself to feel as good as you can, you seem to have a good head on your shoulders. I honestly hope this pain abates and I become a happy person again. I don’t know about you, but I feel like this event has forever changed me and that I can’t possibly feel normal or happy again, but perhaps that will change in time.

    Thanks again for posting, I really appreciate it.

    #266507

    Brandy
    Participant

    You are very welcome, Shelby. The key, I think, is in realizing that you can be genuinely happy and at peace without this man or any other. I know it’s not a perfect situation and not ultimately what you want but it’s still possible. Once you realize this you’ll start to see that small crack of light at the end of the tunnel as William put it so perfectly. Look at it this way: if your ex called you today and said he wanted to give the relationship another try, your mindset would change for sure but you’d still have one gigantic problem: You’d have that dread that he would leave you again and that the floor would yet again drop out from under your feet putting you back at square one.  This by the way can happen at any time…before marriage, early in a marriage, after 30 years of marriage, and with any partner, not just your ex. Think about that. Anyone you are madly in love with can decide to pull the plug on your relationship at any time, so you need to know ahead that if it happens you’ll have all the tools you need to find happiness and peace again. This puts you, not another person, back in control of your own happiness.

    To get there, there are certain aspects of your own life that you need to be content with. One is your home. Make it a place you love to be in. If it needs paint on the walls, paint them a color you’ll love to see every day. Keep it organized and orderly. I don’t mean an OCD level of order, I mean keep it clean, dusted, comfortable, simple and clutter-free. If you have old clothes that you never wear hanging in your closet, get rid of them. Next is your job. If it’s unbearable start looking for a new one, one that may motivate, challenge and inspire you more than your current. Next, surround yourself with people you really love to be around. And on to what William was saying, find that creative hobby that you’ll lose yourself in, one that brings you back to the present moment. Another idea is to get outdoors regularly to experience nature the way you did when you were a kid. These are all things that can make your life so much better with and without a romantic partner. If you are content with other aspects of your life, then when a romantic relationship ends you’ll still be content with these aspects of your life. It’s when everything sucks at the same time that it’s hard to see that crack of light at the end of the tunnel.

    You are responsible for your own happiness. Realizing this is step one.

    B 🙂

    #266515

    Shelbyville
    Participant

    Brandy,

     

    Thanks so much for the advice. You are absolutely right, I would dearly love to be happy independently. That’s my problem, I obviously want to get back with my ex because I feel so unhappy now, all my happiness seems to have been caught up in my relationship with him.

    Susan Jeffers in her book, Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway,  she writes about ‘how whole is your life’ and I’m embarrassed to admit, I let the relationship become almost all of my life. Probably why I’m feeling so lost and empty now.

    I just have no clue where to start now trying to make myself happy. But I’ll certainly start with your advice, thank you so much.

    #266531

    John
    Participant

    Shelbyville

     

    I am sort of in the same boat as you now, although mine is much more recent and involved 15 years of marriage. I kept thinking that because we live together still, because we still interact, because we have children, because she still has not made any moves to file for divorce that the door is still open.

     

    Then one day, I had my normal “10 seconds of bliss as I wake up and forget what has happened and then reality comes crashing down” moment and I just said “Enough!”. We cannot control what they do. We cannot make them love us, miss us, want us. We can only control what WE do. I joined a gym and go 4 times a week. I hang out with friends that I haven’t hung around with in years. I do things without worrying about if it’s going to hurt someone’s feelings that I am doing it without them. I am living for me. I have cut all non-essential contact between me and my wife. Our conversations are very much business related now. I am living my life, because sitting around and waiting for someone else to come along and validate my life is depressing.

     

    Now, this isn’t saying there isn’t a part of me that hopes really badly that my wife will see what I perceive as an error and change. But I am not longer dependent upon it. Life will go on. The sun will rise tomorrow, and I with it. I am making myself a better person, and doing so in such a manner that my wife cannot help but notice it. I clean the house from top to bottom, avoid past vices that got me in trouble (video games), hit the gym like I said, seeing a therapist. I am going to make this decisions much, much harder.

     

    I would say in your particular case, you seem to have some stuff left unsaid for this guy. I would perhaps drop him an email. Do not be needy and desperate. Just tell him how you feel. Avoid the whole “I can’t move on” part, but just tell him how you feel about him and that you just wanted to tell him regardless of how he feels. Until I sat my wife down and said what I needed to say to her, I realized that I would forever wonder if I had left words unsaid that would have avoided this, or at the very least, made this less painful in the long run. Now, I know I didn’t. Whatever happens now is completely out of my hands, and I have come to terms with that.

     

    Once you contact the guy, don’t contact him again. Let him contact you if he feels anything for you. And do not get your hopes up. He may ignore you entirely. He may give you a short “Okay” type response. He may come back at you aggressively (he might be mad about how it ended). You never know. If he does come at you mean or cold, don’t respond. At the very least, you will get to say all the things you didn’t get to when the relationship ended. And you never know what the outcome might be.

     

    As for your anxiety and the like, I am a big fan of Lithium right now. I am currently taking that. Also, there is a device on Ebay called the “Bob Beck Zapper”. It’s like very, very mild electroshock type therapy. You place these things on your ears and you turn it up until you get the sensation of calm. It works so awesome. You feel giddy and happy for the whole 20 minutes you leave it on and it promotes brain growth. Exercise is also great for that. Just kinda tossing some ideas to get you over the hump here.

     

    The sad truth is you stalled in the denial phase of grief it seems. But with a little help, you can get over that hump and be happy again. Start to daydream about those things you say are painful, but this time, just blank out the face of the person next to you. Or remove them all together. And repeat to yourself “I don’t need ANYONE to be happy”. It may be an outright lie, but you can fool your psyche into believing it long enough to move on at least.

    #266801

    Shelbyville
    Participant

    John,

    Thanks for taking the time to post and for your insight. I can only imagine what you have been going through after such a long marriage and all your commitments and responsibilities. You seem like a strong person and well done for finding a way to live a better life for yourself. I wish I had your resolve.

    It might be true actually that I’m stalled in denial. I didn’t look at it that way. I guess I wasn’t sure if it was denial, delusion or hope. There is not one single person who would say there is a remote possibility for my relationship, absolutely everyone, including my ex Im sure, understand that it’s over. For me, I’m the last person chasing after that train, when it’s long since left the station, but I’m still chasing after it.

    I think that’s my problem. What you mentioned in your last paragraph. I SHOULDN’T need anyone to make me happy….but I do. That’s the sad truth, as unhealthy as that may be. I honestly can’t believe I will ever reach a time in my life where I will feel happy again. It’s such a singular view and perhaps even a little old-fashioned and it’s certainly not helping me right now, but it is what it is. I have this belief that if it doesn’t work out with my ex, that I’ll continue working etc, basically functioning but I’ll always feel the loss and always have a melancholy of sorts and always miss him and basically live out the rest of my days in a mediocre sort of life. Forgive me if that sounds so nonsensical, but it’s a belief ingrained in this head/heart of mine and it’s not shifting.

    iI don’t know if I will contact him, it’s a thought that passes my mind only every 20 seconds or so, but I usually keep putting it off. I’ll see how I get on. Thank you so much for advice, it really means a lot and helps to know that other people understand and empathise. I appreciate it.

    #266931

    X
    Participant

    Hi, guys,

    Once again, I am amazed at how similarly different people may feel and not only people of the same sex – by this I mean that when I read such accounts as John’s or William’s, I realise that men may feel essentially the same way as women, and it is VERY reassuring and comforting. Even if we are talking about co-dependency here (forgive me for saying so).

    I would like to share with you a few posts by and with a member from over a year ago. He went through similar things (it does help to know that others have been through it, doesn’t it?), discovered some things and even posted his suggestions in a separate thread. Something tells me you might find all of the useful. There is a lot on the grief process and SELF-LOVE and BEING WHOLE ON ONE’S OWN.

    Here is his profile page with topics started: https://tinybuddha.com/members/brav3/topics/

    And his suggestions (to which I also added a few based on what I had read by then; surprisingly or not surprisingly enough, a few of those were tested in practice by Brav3 unknown to him ;))

    https://tinybuddha.com/topic/some-suggestions-that-might-help-for-people-going-through-breakup-or-divorce/:

    In conclusion, I would also like to add a piece of factual information. I remembered it when I first read Shelbyville’s message that it had been 9,5 weeks.

    Well, according to science, mourning (doesn’t matter – a mourning of a real person who passed away or a mourning of relationship) becomes easier once one has lived without that person the amount of time that one has spent with him/her. And if that time is more than one year, than one year is the mark. It probably is easier in climates with season changes – somehow it is easier to remember that THAT happened (or that one has been on one’s own) two winters ago, that is that this winter I am on my own, but so I was last winter.

    In my case it helped in the following way: knowing this, I decided that I would revisit how I felt only after at least one year, and before that grim anniversary, I would be trying to go with the flow, to be mindful, to enjoy myself, to do little things here and there that bring joy to my heart, etc.

    Basically, I have been trying to do all that I posted on Brav3’s Some suggestions… taken from that psychologist’s book.

    It did help. (In my case, I also had to take some mild antidepressants for a very short period of time, but that is a slightly different story…)

    SO eventually, it might be just a matter of time for you, Shelbyville. Besides, if he broke up with you, then he wasn’t that ideal for you or you for him, right? Your ideal partner wouldn’t have broken up with you for whatever reason, would he?

    Hang in there all of you!

    Love,

    X

     

    #266979

    Shelbyville
    Participant

    X,

    Thanks for posting that link, I had not seen any of those threads and will have a good read-through when I get home later.

    It most certainly is difficult and I’m interested to see how people who were in similar circumstances are doing now a year or so later. I wonder will I feel better by then.

    I seem to have reverted to the early stages pain again, where reminders take swipes at my heart and my tummy and I can almost instantly cry, which is weird for me I guess.

    I would love to have an epiphany and just have a clear picture about a positive future!

     

    #267029

    paullyt
    Participant

    I haven’t got very good advice but I am going through a very similar situation so please know that you are not alone. I am at work and just crying at my desk some days 🙁 I miss and still love her so much it hurts but what makes it worse is that she is now pregnant with another mans baby and we have only been split up for 4 months. I feel physically sick constantly and just on the edge of a breakdown… so please know that there are many people experiencing the same pain… all we can do is try our hardest to carry on and hope that in time things will get better. I think it’s just unfortunately all we can do is be patient and wait until the grieving gets easier to manage…

    Good luck and I hope that your pain subsides as soon as it possibly can…

    #267139

    Shelbyville
    Participant

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>I’m so sorry to hear you’re having such a tough time too. But I see you’re at work- well done. Many people in your situation would give up, stay in bed all day, in despair. You are continuing to function, so well done.</p>
    I honestly had no clue that this kind of pain could exist in the world. I empathise and sympathise with anyone who has ever had a broken heart. It’s so cruel.

    I hope we all eventually are happy.

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