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Struggling to accept breakup & future

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  • #267149

    X
    Participant

    Shelbyville,

    I forgot to add what you might know about the grief process. DABDA: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. You can google more for each of them, but personally, after the initial shock has worn off (“Oh no, s/he couldn’t have! It is a mistake! S/he will come round to her/his senses! Can’t be true”, etc.) and before acceptance (“It is what it is” and you are content, maybe even happy), one goes from one to another. In my case, I started feeling a little anger only now, over three years (!!!) after the breakup. I am not particularly proud of it, but I wouldn’t mind him falling in love with me all over again (also my pride speaking because he has never ever gone back to any old flame of his) and me toying with him for some time to say “Sorry, babe, can’t do it” afterwards. I mostly felt depression (probably had a propensity to it before and the split just exacerbated it) after the split. Bargaining also took place when I thought I could win him back. Well, you can’t “win” anyone back, no more than you can “conquer” anyone or make them love you. I like the sayings “It takes two to tango” and “the relationship is a two-way street” and “You can lead a horse to the water but you can’t make him drink.”

    So I would say don’t be surprised to start thinking “what if” (bargaining) again or crying or anything. You may even play a little psychologist with yourself catching and determining what it is you are feeling right now and what stage of the grief process it is.

    Try to derive little pleasures from your everyday life (buy a pastry, go out to see the night sky, etc.) And tell yourself that you will try to live the life the way it is unfolding and you will revisit and examine where you are heart-wise one year later. It may very well happen that you will notice that you are feeling much better and not thinking about him as much as you used to well before that one-year mark.

    It also helped me to remember on the conscious level that I had been devastated just like that after my very first breakup and very first love. Well, I survived to fall in love again, then fell in love with this guy. Also, I had a couple of infatuations after him. I knew I was not fully ready, but I also knew that with time, the attachment to my ex would fade and if the new guy stayed in my life, I would fall in love with him. Unfortunately, he had his own problems and it didn’t work out, BUT it did take my focus off my ex AND I hadn’t YET fallen in love with the new guy, so was kind of stuck in-between. That happened three years ago, and it has been like that since. For my ex I feel nothing, even wouldn’t mind him suffering (as written above) (so not exactly nothing he-he) and for the new guy I sort of entertain a very vague hope that doesn’t however prevent me from living my life as a single and enjoying it.

    I am also aware that I have much more freedom now to do what I want and how I want (my ex was what you would call high-maintenance). I also remember all those little things that I turned a blind eye to thinking that he was tired, stressed at work, etc and that things would get better with time. Well, they hardly ever get better with time and, for instance, stress and being tired doesn’t prevent my father to do some things for me that my ex could have done but didn’t. I do look at his new wife’s social media account once every three months or so and realise that I don’t want to live the life she is living now, because my ex hasn’t changed. I suspect him to be a covert narcissist, so, in all frankness, I don’t want to live my life waiting for my partner to FINALLY take time off work for us to go travelling (he did it at the very beginning of the romance, but there it stopped both for me and for her – and I have travelled alone to many more places than I could have travelled with him if we had still been together during these three years), to live my life wondering if I am truly the one (he was not exactly a womanizer, but one couldn’t help wondering quite often whether he was behaving as a true gentleman or actually liked another lady – I can see the same in his body language in real life (we still meet occasionally)) and so on.

    Oh, and one more thing that did have a huge impact on me. I happened to come across a short article in a free magazine lying around at work (weird how one stumbles upon meaningful things sometimes!). The short four-paragraph article was about being single during holiday time and the sentence that attracted my attention was, “It is not being alone that hurts, it is being unloved that hurts.” I started digging into it. The long and the short of it was that you can make an effort and try to see love that other people give to you. I remember my mother giving me a chain with a pendant for my birthday and all that I could think was, “Why is it not my boyfriend giving me a chain with that tiny heart? He did give me one when we started dating, he even spoke about a bracelet several times after that, but it has been three years now and nothing…” I resented my mother’s gift because of my boyfriend! See what co-dependency can do to oneself?!! So I started sharing more about myself with other people and making an effort to notice when someone approached me for something – a talk, a piece of advice or information, opening up more, etc. Where in the past I would reserve EVERYTHING for my boyfriend (of course, he is my second half, everything for him and everything with him, if we are not together, the occasion is not worth it), now I tried to “spread” my existence among everyone whom I liked. Doing that also helped me to be less in my thoughts and more in the moment.

    Also, I picked up some things that we had been doing or intended to do together. Like travelling to certain places (I would always know where we would go next and then after that – not a strict list, but more like “have an idea for the foreseeable future (3-4 years)) or mastering shooting. It was a little hard at the beginning to restart on one’s own what we had been doing together, but I wouldn’t be starting things that I didn’t like, so the excitement of the activity erased the feeling of missing that he was not there (besides, he didn’t behave the way he said he would after the breakup and my ideal of him was shattered even more on the conscious level; it was only a matter of time for my heart to follow my brain). And once you get better doing something, you get that extra confidence and become more proud of yourself. (In addition, you might meet somebody along the way and cross a few items off your list – only pluses.) So by the time you are done with the original “list” for the two of you, it has been a couple of years (or more – I am very faithful and if I get attached, I get attached), but time and new impressions and experiences do their hidden work in the background, so you emerge feeling relief because your list is done and you are a new person with no luggage (and many more new skills and knowledge).

    So be gentle with yourself and take your time.

    Good luck,

    X

     

     

     

     

    #267307

    Shelbyville
    Participant

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>X</p>
    Thanks for the advice. I suppose the general advice from everyone is that it tales time. I guess I’m worried about how long it will take me and if I will ever feel better. I miss my ex on a daily basis and feel that activities without him are worthless, which is such a pity.

    I have been keeping occupied with family and friends but it can be tiring at times to just keep active. I still don’t have any desire to do anything by myself. Perhaps that will change, but at the moment I haven’t figured out Plan B! I’m still looking backwards at Plan A riding off into the distance!

    I do feel tired of being down though. I feel like I’m wasting my life somewhat, but my attempts to change that feeling have thus far been unsuccessful.

    I’ll keep trying though. Thank you.

    #267333

    X
    Participant

    You are very welcome.

    You might also want to look at the threads of dreaming715. She was dumped by her fiancé, then got emotionally involved with a man who kind of led her on, but didn’t respond to her feelings – situations I could very well relate to. I am not sure she is really-really happy in her current relationship, but she writes that she loves her current boyfriend very much.

    It was a consolation for me to see that the feelings, ideas and thoughts that I had were nothing out of the ordinary and that what I felt might have been felt by another person and vice versa.

    https://tinybuddha.com/members/dreaming715/topics/page/4/

    Also, you might get an idea of her timeline, though of course each case is different. Even with me, when in the heat of the moment, I think that I am just as attached as I was with X, Y or Z, maybe even more, but as time passes, I can see that no, I was that attached and it took me X time to get over and there I thought that I was attached even more, but it took less time…

    My main take on life in general and relationships in particular now is that there are no rules or patterns. Everything should be taken as it comes and viewed and experienced on a case-by-case basis.

    All the very best,

    X

    #267345

    X
    Participant

    P.S. Oh, and I am not sure what kind of “down” is your feeling down. I understood that I HAD to do something more radical than self-help books, venting and waiting when I realised that none of the things that I used to enjoy doing – even on my own – even if it was just to prove to my boyfriend, others and myself that I was not co-dependent – no longer brought me pleasure. Even travelling to those places that I knew my ex wouldn’t want to see, but I would seemed like a bleak prospect! It was something like, “I know I should be enjoying it, I should be feeling elated and should be feeling joy, why am I not feeling it or anything???”

    I was not thinking of a suicide (all that blood and mess and who is going to take care of it after the event and how my family-friends-etc. would feel if I did it), but if somebody offered to switch me off so to speak (and to erase the memory of me from my family’s, friends’ memories (like they did in Harry Potter)), if I could fall asleep and never wake up without any negative consequences to anyone, I would go for it! This really scared me. In addition, I would wake up in the wee hours of the morning and unable to fall asleep again – also a symptom of a mild depression.

    I understand that you are having therapy sessions, so your therapist might consider antidepressants if nothing else works in the long run.

    For me, it was the introductory dose that never was increased. I took them for three months, I think. The very first day I started taking them, I would get hot and cold waves all day, maybe even a couple of days – I guess some chemical reaction was at work.

    I don’t think that the antidepressants helped me alone – I think it was a combination of everything, but I do credit them with that final push to the surface out of the quagmire.

    To be frank, sometimes I would have that feeling that time literally stopped and that I would have this grey blanket thrown over me forever with no issue or hope even before my romance (that might be the precursor to Dementors ;)), in fact, long before it. So I tend to think that I had that predisposition for depression that the breakup significantly aggravated.

    But I haven’t experienced anything similar to those feelings of bleakness before the breakup and wish for nothingness, non-existence after since then, and it has been three years now, so antidepressants might be something that you and/or your therapist might want to consider.

    Just FYI. Antidepressants are not something to be afraid of if they are prescribed for the right conditions and if all the rules are followed (such as not stop taking them once you feel better (akin to antibiotics)).

    X

    #267379

    Shelbyville
    Participant

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>X</p>
    Thanks for the reference to the other thread. I will have a read through. I’m definitely at the stage of not being remotely interested in dating anyone, and even more so at the stage, that I can’t even imagine it!

    Im on anti-anxiety antidepressants for the past two years, since the first split with my ex. I reduced them to a very low dose when we reunited but increased them again a few weeks ago, after this second split and yes, they have helped to take the overwhelming intensity off my emotions.

    I resonate with what you were saying about not wanting to exist as such. You didn’t want to take your own life but if you could switch off your life without any impact on anyone, that was your desire! Same!!! I wouldn’t do anything, I feel like if I have to suffer for the rest of my days endurong this sad life, I’ll do it, for my family. It will just be my lot in life.

    It’s been 10.5 wks and I’m genuinely wishing every day away until I get to a year in the hopes I’ll feel better by then. This is torture.

    #267427

    X
    Participant

    I’m definitely at the stage of not being remotely interested in dating anyone, and even more so at the stage, that I can’t even imagine it!

    Sounds familiar. I remember feeling like that after my very first romance. I remember the voice of reason in my head telling me, “Sure, you will fall in love again, but you will never feel those fireworks and that intensity of emotion.” Well, I guess that voice was both right and wrong. I did fall in love again two more times and had a couple of infatuations serious enough so that I would  consider my supposed future life with the man in question (those infatuations didn’t last long, but I do remember how I felt for some time, lasting from a couple of days to several weeks). That voice was wrong as regards the intensity of emotion. Or rather they could not be compared. How can you compare a thin line zigzagging up and down and going very high and very down with acute angles and a thick line going as a sine wave? So I say make a note of how you feel now and be pleasantly surprised when you evaluate your feelings some five years from now :))

    Im on anti-anxiety antidepressants for the past two years, since the first split with my ex. I reduced them to a very low dose when we reunited but increased them again a few weeks ago, after this second split and yes, they have helped to take the overwhelming intensity off my emotions.

    Good! I recalled after my post that I had actually spent six months on that introductory dose and sighed with relief after six months of no worsening after I went off them. Has had no need for them since and, as I said, even those bleak episodes of time going still and that feeling that EVERYTHING WILL ALWAYS BE LIKE IT IS IN THIS VERY MOMENT – FOREVER, WITH NO IMPROVEMENT (even though on the intelligent level of my mind I knew it not to be true because change is the only constant in life) – even those episodes that started to happen as early as when I was 15-16 years old – even they never returned again.

    I resonate with what you were saying about not wanting to exist as such. You didn’t want to take your own life but if you could switch off your life without any impact on anyone, that was your desire! Same!!! I wouldn’t do anything, I feel like if I have to suffer for the rest of my days endurong this sad life, I’ll do it, for my family. It will just be my lot in life.

    Yes, exactly!

    It’s been 10.5 wks and I’m genuinely wishing every day away until I get to a year in the hopes I’ll feel better by then. This is torture.

    Again, sounds very familiar. I remember telling myself that I would just plough through this day and try not to think that the day to come would be just like this one. Basically, trying to divide life to come into smaller segments and do my best to become engrossed by each of them – as best as I could. I guess that is where mindfulness becomes useful. Then after some time after some event – maybe an interesting documentary or something that captivates your mind so much that you lose track of time, maybe somebody’s story told live – you will glance back at that time span, maybe as short as a twenty minutes or a couple of hours, and realise that you haven’t thought a bit about your love drama or your ex. And then, slowly but surely, such time periods will become longer and more often. And then you will turn back and realise that three days somewhere travelling were so exciting and full of new experiences that you haven’t thought about him or you for three days! And there you will be! 🙂

    Just like that psychologist, Zberovskiy, I would highly recommend an amusement park. Do an attraction involving heights and drops (something I used to be very afraid of). I remember doing it and being bemused at how little fear I was feeling. But it did shake me up a little bit – and even if it doesn’t, afterwards you feel proud that you finally did something (or finally wasn’t afraid of something) that you were afraid of for a long time.

    #267437

    X
    Participant

    I am mad today too. I’m really mad that I’m suffering so much and he’s not. He can’t be, because his heart didn’t break- mine did. He never committed his heart fully therefore he never risked breaking it. I want him to know how much I’m hurt and lost. Every single piece of advice would go against meeting him to discuss it because what on earth would I expect to get out of it? More pain? I don’t know, but I feel I’m slowing breaking into a shadow of my former self and I don’t want him to be okay. I want him to at least be torn up a little by guilt, that he doesn’t get to easily sail off into the distance.

    I still have respect for him, so it wouldn’t be a conversation of abuse etc, but I would like to explain how I feel and what the decision has meant for me. I don’t know, will i suffer badly if I decide to do it?

    Sorry, I saw these on your other thread and couldn’t help commenting on this.

    First, my ex’s heart didn’t break either – his love had been waning for a while (and that is one thing that I still bear a grudge against him for: not that he fell out of love, after all, we can hardly control our feelings, but that he was not aware of his feelings (as he always claimed he was), that he didn’t do anything to maintain his love interest (I seemed to be the only one reading psychology books on love, infatuation, etc. and how to stay in love for a lifetime – he thought it is just a matter of luck and destiny, something along the lines of “if I fall out of love, well, too bad, this only means that you are not the one for me.”) AND how he behaved when he was already head over heels in love with that new woman, but still kept me in the dark about it. He later said that he didn’t want me to behave unreasonably and it was somewhat a fair point. But only somewhat. I compare how he behaved with his ex when he was just head over heels in love with me as he was then with that new woman, and I think that that is where I had made a mistake. I thought he was being careful with her feelings and such (you know like they say, “See how he treats her – that is how he will treat you”), but he was only using her! He needed certain things from her for a while, that is why he was so careful and attentive – a paragon of how one should split with somebody. From me, he didn’t need anything, so he could toss me aside with no regrets (“I met another woman, I am in love with her. You can’t even expect me to say sorry, because we are not in control of our feelings – didn’t you say so yourself?”). A sure narc.

    One more recommendation. Natalie Lue’s website Baggage Reclaim on relationships, self-esteem, emotionally unavailable men, narcissists, etc. If you google “Baggage Reclaim Narcissists,” you’ll get right a few links in Google. All are worth checking. I tried the website itself (https://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk/ ), it seems to have changed navigation, so I can’t find a list of all the blog topics, like I used to be able to.

    I am bringing this up because of what you wrote above. Whenever I wanted to talk to my ex, I would have that dialogue in my head – and oh, I knew only too well what he would say. Also HOW he would say it. That voiced dialogue in my head immediately convinced me that talking to him wouldn’t lead me anywhere. Worse, I knew what he would say, so why talk to him? If I complained that he wouldn’t do this or that, he would point to an event when he did it – and rightly so! But as Natalie Lue writes, having taken out garbage once or twice in an entire year means that one can’t say that the other party has NEVER done it, but it doesn’t mean that the other party does his or her portion of chores (just an example). And that is how narcissists twist and turn reality, so in the end you feel that something is amiss, that your feelings are valid, but your reason, your mind tells you that you are wrong and that he is right and that you are such a bad person accusing him!

    I am not saying that your ex is a narc – hey, I can’t even say that mine was (I am no qualified psychologist), but a few of Natalie’s blog entries did knock some sense into me. Natalie may sound harsh, but sometimes, that is what one needs.

    Does he need your explanations of how you feel? I bet he doesn’t. At least, I am 100% positive that mine didn’t. I wrote a timeline of our romance. It became very clear how strong his feelings were for the first two-and-a-half years (that also confused me initially – don’t they say that infatuation doesn’t last that long? So that must be TRUE LOVE!!!)  and then it became up and down, meaning that a few things didn’t feel right, but then there were so many things that showed that he really cared (combined with his adequate explanations and that twisting of facts that made me doubt myself and take the blame on my depression, anxiety, having been dumped by my #1 and whatnot) that the bottom line was “unsure.” And it remained like that until he went MIA before I finally got hold of him and he confessed about that new flame that had been burning for about three months already. Ugh!

    So I vented in my diary and tried to do all those things that Zberovskiy writes about. He doesn’t say that they will bring you immediate relief. He says that time surely helps, but if you do them, you can shorten that time to several months.

    And then the other guy came along (that kind of led me on), took my focus off my ex and so it goes.

    Also, when I met my ex again, he seemed to be a different man – the one I knew him to be with his ex before me. I decided it was safer and easier for me to imagine my ex dead and to try to take this new man as an identical twin of my ex in appearance.

    Just a thought.

    #267451

    Shelbyville
    Participant

    X,

    Thanks for posting. A lot of good advice and a lot to take in. I’m just lonely or lonesome for my ex. I suppose it’s normsl in the heartbreak process, but having to feel it day in day out is tiring.

    I will review my feelings as time passes and I genuinely hope you are right and longer periods of not thinking about him transpire.

    Thank you.

    #267457

    X
    Participant

    Take good care of yourself and mean it! 🙂

    Mark this day on your 2019 calendar  – even if you are not in love with somebody who is worthy of it, I have no doubt whatsoever that your longing to be with your ex will have dulled one year from now. You will probably view this story as a love story with a not-so-happy ending, but it won’t touch you any more. Something like what you have lived through, appreciated the good, cut your losses, learnt the lesson and moved on. You may forgive, but won’t forget.

    Oh, and happy birthday!

    X

     

    #267491

    Shelbyville
    Participant

    Aw thank you so much! I must admit, I woke this morning on my birthday and I felt quite sad but my baby nephew cheered me up as I stayed with my sister!

    I hope with all my heart that I won’t hurt like this forever and that I’m a year’s time I’ll be in a much better place.

    Thanks again!

    #267503

    anita
    Participant

    H A P P Y     B I R T H D A Y,    SHELBY/ STELLA !!!

    anita

    #267599

    Brandy
    Participant

    Happy Birthday, Shelby!!! 🙂

    B

    #267645

    Shelbyville
    Participant

    Thank you all for the birthday wishes.

    I spent the full day with a friend doing various things. It felt bittersweet, but each time I felt like I was missing something/him, I’d catch the thoughtful and say ‘I’m grateful for what I have right now’.

    I did my best to enjoy it, but it has been hard.

    Thanks again to you all.

    #267901

    Shelbyville
    Participant

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>Things are still proving tough.</p>
    I guess it’s just a matter of enduring until it gets better. What if it doesn’t get better though?

    #267905

    anita
    Participant

    Dear  Shelby:

    You were about thirty when the relationship with your ex boyfriend began, there was a life you had before you met  him, three decades of life not having  known of his existence at all, isn’t it correct>

    What was that life  like?

    anita

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