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Struggling to move on and let go after the toughest breakup of my life

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Jean 3 days, 1 hour ago.

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  • #172865

    DCGC
    Participant

    Hi all. This is my first time posting, and I couldn't decide if it was better to place this under “Relationships” or under “Tough Times”, so I apologize if it's in the wrong place. I've been struggling for the past 2 months with a horrible breakup. She is 25 and I am a 27 year old guy. Our story is peculiar (and long, sorry) because of the whole underlying situation.

    Almost 3 years ago, her fiancé died in a car accident. We worked together, and over the next 8 months we started getting very close, and we started dating almost a year after the death of her late boyfriend. During the course of our 1.5 year relationship, she kept saying she had feelings for me but she would hold back and not show them because of what happened to her. After being intimate, she would feel guilty some times, although I was very understanding and patient with her. I thought eventually she would come around and start reciprocating my feelings and showing what she claimed to be feeling, because she would never kiss me, hug me, hold my hand, etc. We went to Europe for a month last year and it was great for a while, I finally felt like she was my girlfriend… but then she would post on Facebook about how she could only think about her late boyfriend every minute of every day while we were there.

    We got back to the US and for the next year, I pretty much slept over at her place 90% of the time and we spent 99% of our time together. We enjoyed each other's company, but it bothered me that she treated me more like a friend in public and would deny we were together when people would ask or hint about it. Additionally, she started putting up a sort of shrine for her late boyfriend, and there were pictures (some poster-sized) of him all over the room, and she even still has his toothbrush in the bathroom. In April, I was feeling severely neglected by her, emotionally, physically, and sexually. She would never initiate sex, she would never hug or kiss me or show me any sort of affection. I spoke with her about this and she said she did have feelings but held back because of what happened to her, because she felt like a hypocrite being with someone “so soon” (more than 2 years had passed).

    This summer, we went on a month-long trip again, but this time to my home country, where she would meet my parents. I talked to her about feeling neglected and unloved by her 2 weeks before we left, and asked her if she saw me in her life in the future, to which she replied she did. She knows what meeting the parent means, and the underlying principle of it implying a steady relationship. After our trip, which went fine but not great because of the tension due to me feeling neglected, she went back to the US for 5 weeks while I stayed with my family. Immediately after she left, she changed drastically. She would rarely call, would seem busy or annoyed when I called, and was hanging out with this one guy that has been chasing after her since she was 18. I always felt uneasy about this guy, he would text her pretty much every day but I never saw anything that made my alarms go off… it was just a gut feeling, but since I never saw much besides them hanging out when she went to her home town, I gave her the benefit of the doubt. Being with her 99% of the time, I know she would ignore his texts until the next day and if she did talk to him, it was probably while she was at work. This guy has a daughter with another woman, pays child support, is a player, lives 9 hours away, and is not someone she would consider dating (all of this according to her).

    However, 3000 miles away, my gut kept telling me this guy had something to do with everything. I confronted her about him but she denied everything. I gave her an ultimatum: Either you decide to treat me with respect and make me feel wanted in some way, or I'm out. Well, she disappeared for a week. When I got back to the US, we talked and she said she could not reciprocate my feelings, that she tried to fall in love with me couldn't, etc. but we ended up having sex. Right after sex, clothes still off (this is the part that has messed me up so much), she told me “I want you to know that N (that guy) has been calling me a lot and we talk everyday”. I was shocked and felt my heart stop for a second, and I confronted her again telling her to admit that she likes him. After a long pause, she said she likes the way he pays attention to her and all the little things he does for her. I put my clothes on and left, I had never felt so hurt in my life. WE didn't talk for a week, and then she called me at 3am just to “see how I was doing”, I told her to call this other guy instead of me, and hung up. She called again the next day, texted me, and I ignored her. The day after that, she texted me good morning wishing me a great day at work. It was confusing, to say the least.

    A week later (early September), a friend went to dinner with her and she told her she was indeed “talking” to this guy and that she's excited to see where it goes. I was devastated. I “knew” but now I actually KNEW. I couldn't sleep, I couldn't eat, I had a physical pain in my chest all the time, it was horrible. I called her and told her how much of a hypocrite and a liar she is for denying everything with this guy, for going home to meet my parents only to disappear after a week, and how much of a heartless person she is by telling me she's seeing him right after we had sex, during the most intimate moment two people can share. She finally admitted they'd been talking for two months, which was the time when she was in my home country. I have not spoken to her in a month but I still feel devastated and can't seem to start moving on. I also told her how the image of the grieving girlfriend is a lie… if she were grieving, she wouldn't be sleeping with me next to her shrine and late boyfriend's pictures, while thinking of the next guy she had lined up. I had so much anger built up inside because of her betrayal that I said I regret the day I made her, which I can tell hurt her a lot. I'm not proud of it, but my emotions took over.

    I have so much resentment but I still miss her and love her, sadly. I'm going to therapy, the gym, keeping myself busy, finding new hobbies, recently meditating etc. but nothing seems to help. I have this pain in my heart that won't go away, I can' sleep well, and I feel resentful because she strung me along while knowing she was going to run off with some other guy. I feel so betrayed that it was the guy I always had suspicions about and that she always denied having anything with. Knowing she's all happy and moved on to someone else without regard for me or anything else, when I was the one who helped her the most through the most difficult time of her life is extremely hurtful. I don't know what I need to do to move on and accept what has happened, I can't believe she did so much harm, most of it knowingly, when I was always clear with her that if she felt she couldn't be with me she should just leave.

    What do I do? How do I start moving on? How do I start letting the pain go and accepting the fact that she's never coming back? How do I make peace with the fact that even after all she did, she might be completely happy with this other guy while I struggle to even get out of bed in the morning?

    #172893

    anita
    Participant

    Dear DCGC:

    You wrote that the other guy is a player. Unfortunately for you, so is she. She was probably a player while her ex boyfriend was alive. (If indeed that story is correct).

    You read like a reasonable, decent person. It is too bad that you encountered her, that you had a relationship with her, that you trusted her. She clearly betrayed your trust and I understand the hurt you feel. It physically hurts to trust and be betrayed in such an intimate (on your part) relationship.

    I hope you post again with your thoughts and feelings. I am sorry that you are experiencing this.

    anita

    #172899

    DCGC
    Participant

    Hi anita,

    Thank you for reading my post, I realize it was very long. And thank you for your sympathy. Like I said, I am seeing a counselor because of this situation. He says the same thing you have said… she played me until something “better” came along, and she seems to enjoy the chase more than a meaningful relationship. She is also the type of woman that believes all guys want her because, well, she is pretty attractive, so she plays the naive/victim card when a guy she has met or one of her friends ends up liking her. In reality, she probably just flirts but doesn't accept it. There's a difference between being nice and being flirtatious.

    I struggle the most with feeling betrayed, on top of feeling used and taken advantage of. She knew what she was going to do. And she still decided to go and meet my parents thousands of miles away, when in her mind, she already knew she was going to drift away as soon as she left. I can't believe she was able to do that, I wouldn't have the nerve to do such a thing. And then being intimate with me again only to tell me she was basically seeing this guy she always denied feeling anything for was the icing on the cake. It just seems so heartless, and every time I replay that moment in my mind, I feel physically ill and I feel pain in my chest. It's also really upsetting that she used the death of her fiance as an excuse all this time, when in reality I think she's fine… if you can sleep with someone while thinking of the next person you have lined up, while you have over a dozen pictures of a dead loved one in the same room, I just don't see how you're in grief.

    Additionally, after 2 years of feeling “unworthy”, second best, and unattractive, my self-esteem has taken a huge hit. Since she never initiated kissing, hugging, or sex, I am now left feeling like I'm physically and emotionally unattractive, even though I consider myself a normal person and I work out 5 times a week. I'm just being honest here, I realize I should not have stayed in this quasi relationship for so long, putting so much in and receiving so little in return, but what's done is done. I just want to start feeling better, and I want to start moving on but I don't know how.

    #172903

    anita
    Participant

    Dear DCGC:

    You wrote: “I can’t believe she was able to do that, I wouldn’t have the nerve to do such a thing”.

    I think it will help you to feel better, over time, if you adjust your thinking and believing to reality. Let's look at reality, shall we:

    You wouldn't have the nerve to do such a thing so it is difficult for you to believe that someone else could. There are plenty of things that people do that you- or I- would not have the nerve to do. Parents all over the globe betray the innocent trust of their children in heart breaking ways. It happens every day. There are people who betray the trust of hardworking people and steal their money, all their savings. It happens every day.

    There are people who kill, for financial benefit or otherwise, politicians who start unnecessary wars between nations, thousands of soldiers and civilians killed.

    Injustice and cruelty are common, human suffering of incredible (hard to believe) magnitude results. This is the world we live in.

    What I wrote so far is not intended in any way to minimize your pain or your experience. It is a valid pain. Your experience is as intense as many, worse than others. My point is that believing in what is real, once you accept reality as-it-is, there is a transcending of the kind of pain you feel now.

    anita

    #172909

    Michael
    Participant

    Hey man,

    First off let me just say that I relate to your story 110%! My ex girl did very much the same thing to me, except she didn't run off with the guy I had suspicions about, turns out she strung him along too! Now she's with some next guy and they live in the UK!

    As far as the pain goes I have very little advice for getting rid of it – as I am still coping with some residual pain and heartbreak as well (we broke up almost 2 years ago). Here are some of my thoughts about your situation:

    Her actions first and foremost, are NOT a reflection on you! She is clearly an unstable and unsettled individual who is acting recklessly and selfishly. She is only concerned with making HERSELF feel better, and you my unfortunate friend happened to be caught in the crossfire. You acted in a direct and honest way, by saying (among other things) that if she wasn't happy she should leave and communicating your need for more emotional commitment from her clearly. Thus there was no ambiguity about what you may have wanted from the relationship – SHE refused to provide these commitments and I daresay manipulated you into believing something that would serve her purposes. I understand just how devastated you are; you were bargaining in good faith and you expected her to as well and she didn't – I repeat that's a reflection on her.

    As for her “being happy with someone else” – I would seriously challenge that notion. Although your anxiety and sadness wants you to believe that she is happy with this new guy, she was obviously a master manipulator who used people to soothe emotional wounds. Therefore there is no logical reason to believe that she is any better off with this next guy then she was with you – presumably things were “happy” for a time with the two of you, and she will repeat this phase with this next guy, however the shine will wear off, her emotions may change, or she may find someone knew who excites her in ways he can't. Maybe he's clingy, maybe he's a cheater, maybe she's a cheater? You simply don't know what is happening in the lives of others and I think for you that is a blessing.

    My advice, for the time being focus on yourself!! Absolutely cut off contact with her and expunge her from your life, leave no trace of this selfish, manipulative woman standing; she simply didn't exist. Keep pursuing the gym, your hobbies and your goals, better yourself in every way because if she doesn't rue the day she treated you poorly now, eventually she will. Right now you have two options; give in to the pain, roll over and die, or use it to better yourself, establish boundaries and re-invent this area of your life into something that is comfortable and serves YOU! You are NOT wrong for feeling hurt and betrayed, you were (in almost every sense) I mean for God sake she took advantage of post coital cuddles to drop bombs FFS!! Allow yourself to grieve, allow yourself to mourn, just don't set up shop there friend. Eventually the pain will lessen as you process and cry out these emotions.

    I am SO SORRY you went through this man! But know that you have someone who believes in you out there! Keep your head up, and remember: This too shall pass.

    Hope your day gets better bud! Cheers.

    -Mike

    #172943

    DCGC
    Participant

    Anita,

    I think I am understanding what you're saying. I guess I'm still in denial and not wanting to accept how things turned out, but I'll have to start seeing things as they are. I can't control what happened and just have to deal with the reality of the situation, I guess. It's just hard to do when someone you thought would never do such a thing (one of the reasons I decided to get involved with her) actually does said thing.

    And Mike,

    Thanks for your encouragement. Although I admit my part of the “blame” or responsibility in this situation by getting involved with someone who was emotionally unavailable and who never showed me much in terms of emotion, I do think she did some pretty messed up things, especially towards the end. Dropping that bomb after sex was brutal and destroyed me in ways I could not imagine. I am mourning and grieving, I just don't know how normal this is after almost two months. I had never gone through a breakup this painful, and I struggle because I think of her and what she does still. It's like I want her to fail in this relationship with the other guy, as bad as that sounds, and I realize that's part of the problem. My resentment can't make me dwell on her and wishing bad things in her life, and I want to fix that. Every day is a struggle, but like you said, this too shall pass.

    #172957

    Jean
    Participant

    Hi DCGC

    you sound like a great guy. Gave her room to ‘mourn' and probably put up with a lot trying to let her get past this. I'm am sorry for your heart ache. I know that being betrayed by someone you love is one of the most painful things to go thru.

    My story is complicated but in summary. My ex husband had an emotional affair with his hs sweetheart. He swore up and down that they were just friends and when he called her he was just talking to his friend.  Although in my gut I knew he still was in love with her. The reality was he spent hours on the phone with her secretly, and we were having marital issues at the time.   Long story short, spent 4 years in marriage counceling and then recently got divorced. Within a month of our seperation he is now in a serious relationship with ‘his old friend'

    I know u gave her 2 years of your life. Be happy u didn't marry her or waste more of ur time w her. What lesson can u take away from it??  Were there red flags (she was unaffectionate etc). Make this a life lesson.  Let it be what betters you as a person!

    I am still struggling with my feelings but I will be a better person because of it and so will you.  No regrets, only lessons. All I can say is that it takes a while to get past the pain and hurt. But eventually u will have more good days than bad and u will start looking at life as full of new opportunities. I wish u the best of luck in your journey!

    #172959

    DCGC
    Participant

    Hi Jean,

    Wow, I'm sorry you had to go through all that. Some of my friends and even my therapist have told me the same same, to just be glad I didn't end up marrying her or having a child with her, because it would have made everything a lot harder. I saw her true colors before those things happened and I need to see that as a positive. It makes sense, because the struggles of a relationship can only get worse in a marriage if both people are not 100% committed to trying to make things better. I'm trying to see this as a learning experience and not as a waste of time, but it's not easy. I think she had known for a while that our relationship wasn't going anywhere and she just kept it going until she was sure she could go on to this next guy. Hopefully time will help me feel less anger and resentment towards her.

    #173029

    anita
    Participant

    Dear DCGC:

    You recently wrote: “It’s like I want her to fail in this relationship with the other guy, as bad as that sounds”- notice: you think that it sounds bad, that it indicates some badness on your part, to feel angry at her, to want her to fail in this relationship.

    It does not sound bad to me. Your anger is valid and understandable. It is a natural emotion that follows being hurt, betrayed, misused.

    It is only our actions, not our emotions, that are subject to our choosing and that can harm another. If you remove feeling badly, ashamed or guilty, about feeling angry, your suffering will lessen.

    anita

    #173189

    AlexF
    Participant

    Maybe if you try thinking about why you fell for her in the first place, it might help you. You stated:

    “She is also the type of woman that believes all guys want her because, well, she is pretty attractive, so she plays the naive/victim card when a guy she has met or one of her friends ends up liking her. In reality, she probably just flirts but doesn’t accept it.”

    Men put beautiful women on a pedestal- this society is obsessed with beauty. Whether it is for evolutionary/biological reasons, men sometimes choose a beautiful woman mainly because she is beautiful. If she is somewhat nice, they drool over themselves and think she is in love with them. We women know this, consciously or not, and let's face it, life is about survival- many attractive women use their looks for financial gain and security. Look at Melania Trump. Just sayin'…so don't fall for it when a pretty girl is nice to you. If she is treating you like shit, but you are still fawning over her, it's on you, my friend. She clearly liked you, but she didn't feel passion/love with you, but you comforted her and she didn't want to lose that. She wanted friendship with you, but she knew she could not have that without sleeping with you/pretending to love you. Honestly, I've done it myself in my past. The power we have over some men is hard to resist. She finally did you a favor, and she let go. Time for you to love yourself and eventually find a woman who feels for you what you feel for her. All the best.

    #173523

    Jean
    Participant

    Hey DCGC,

    I agree with Anita, don't beat yourself up over your feelings, of course you are angry and upset.  You have every right to feel that way. When someone betrays you it goes straight to your core.

    Do what makes you feel good!  Allow yourself to feel the pain, be upset, cry, burn a picture of the two of u (lol, that feels good!), then box up your memories (cards pics etc) for when your in a better place to deal with it. I suspect down, down the road when you meet someone very special, who treats you the way you deserve to be treated, you will gladly discard your box of stuff as it will no longer have that power of you anymore.

    Best of luck to you!

    Jean

     

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