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The Other Side of the Relationship

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  • #91907
    jd0209
    Participant

    Hi,

    Anita had asked if I’d be willing to start a new thread to cover some more ground on the issues that I have dealt with in the past, and am currently dealing with now in the present.

    I apologize in advance if my post seems lengthy – it isn’t possible for me to cover my entire history in one post, but I’d like to gradually open up and share some of the issues that I’ve experienced/and am currently experiencing, that have made me the person that I am today. In a way, speaking out like this is very therapeutic for me. It makes me feel good to be open and honest with myself, and allow myself to be vulnerable and share this part of myself with you all. I’m hopeful that someone out there who struggles with the same things I do can find some comfort in my words.

    ———

    To make a long story short, I recently got out of a relationship that was very special to me. My partner was the one that ended things, and while I do understand that the relationship had to end, the break up still devastated me. It’s been a little over a month since we’ve separated. I am doing better, but I’ve still got a long way to go before I’m truly healed.

    The relationship that he and I had was everything that I could ever want and need. It was instant attraction. Sparks flew. We liked each other immediately. He is accepting, kind, thoughtful and giving – a great communicator that always wanted to know what I was thinking and how I was feeling – he is everything that my ex wasn’t. He is someone that I felt I could talk to about anything and everything with, someone that I really felt I could be with for the long term – someone that I could grow with. I felt that we had such a great connection with one another, and whenever I was with him, I was happy…it felt like the sun was shining down on me. Problem was that the demons of my past entered into our relationship, and it slowly started falling apart over time. I was confused…I was scared…I started pushing him away because I was indecisive…I distanced myself. Towards the end, I kept wanting to hold on to him, even though our relationship was already on unstable ground. Even though it wasn’t fair to him and it wasn’t healthy. Throughout our relationship he would sit down and talk with me, asking me for reassurance that everything between him and I was ok…and even though deep down inside I knew that it wasn’t, I continued to tell him that we we’re fine, that everything was great. There were moments where I would ask for time apart, to think – time to reflect on what was going on in my life so I could finally reach a decision on whether or not he was someone I wanted to continue pursuing a relationship with. After a week or so went by, I still hadn’t “made up my mind”. I would find myself over-analyzing everything – this guy was good to me! He’s everything that I want and need! I’d be crazy to let this person leave my life! I’d miss him terribly, and I’d find myself reaching out to him. I’d come back, and for awhile, things would be wonderful…we were communicating, we were spending all of our free time with one another, we would share ourselves with one another…we enjoyed each other. But because I failed to “correct” the issues that were troubling me, because I failed to seriously take the time apart to truly reflect, getting back together would only be a temporary “fix” – it didn’t solve anything…it was just a band-aid on a broken relationship.

    In the beginning of December, he called me. He finally explained that this was very difficult for him, that it was a difficult decision for him to make…but that he couldn’t do this anymore…that he couldn’t take the risk, and that he needed to walk away from the relationship. He told me that he wanted to be with me…but that he couldn’t anymore. He told me that he didn’t want to end things with me…he never wanted to. He told me that he wished I would’ve given him my all…that he wished I would have “chose” him. By that time we were both weeping over the phone…I was trying to hang onto the phone conversation for as long as possible, because I knew that once we hung up, that would be it…it would be official…it would be over. Finally the conversation came to a close…he told me to take care of myself…I told him the same…we said goodbye to one another…and finally hung up.

    Since then, I’ve gone through another whirlwind of emotions: I reached out to him a few times after we broke up, crying and begging for another chance…I was hurt that our relationship was over…I was sad that this wonderful person who I shared a part of my life with would no longer be a part of it…I was angry at myself for making a mess of things…for not being fair…for not being honest with myself and with him…for not giving him my all…I was hopeful that he would come back to me…that he would accept me again, even though I had mistreated him…even though I had broken his heart. I beat myself up over what had happened…what I had done…what I should have done. But at the end of the day, thinking this way doesn’t achieve anything. It doesn’t help me and it doesn’t help the other person involved. It doesn’t get me anywhere. At the end of the day, what we had together is in the past…as painful as it is to say that. There isn’t anything that I can say or do that will change what happened. I can’t continue to hold onto something that I have no control over. I can’t expect any acknowledgement from him. I can’t expect forgiveness or any form of reconciliation. I can’t continue to hope that he and I will get back together. This is all between him and his heart…and it’s up to him if he wants to make peace with this, whether it involves me or not. I messed up…I made a mistake…and now I have to live with it…but at the same time, I can’t continue to sit still and beat myself up over something that I can’t “fix”. As painful as it is, I’m coming to terms with this and have accepted the consequences of my actions and inactions. I take responsibility for how I failed to understand him…how I failed to prevent his suffering…how I failed him as a friend…a partner…how I failed our relationship…and how I failed to respect him and decision he made when he was finally strong enough to walk away.

    I am slowly trying to be ok with all of this…and I know I will be one day.

    Until next time…

    – Jenny

    #91916
    Annie
    Participant

    Hi Jenny,

    It seems as if you are taking the majority of the blame on why the relationship ended. To be honest I am sure there were things that your partner did that contributed to the fallout. Try to think back to those things. Additionally, when someone says that they wanted to be with you, but that they can’t they are not telling the truth. If he wanted to be with you then he would be with you. If he didn’t want to end things then he wouldn’t have ended things. Sometimes when a relationship isn’t healthy or meeting our needs, but we still care for our parter then it’s likely we have on and off feelings about them (i.e. deciding whether to stay or go).

    We are not meant to end up with every person we date. The truth is that most people need to go through multiple relationships to learn how to navigate them. Therefore, a lot of relationships serve as lessons on what to do and what not to do. From your message here I can see that you were comparing your partner to your ex boyfriend and kind of putting him on a pedestal. You said you’d be crazy for letting him go, but you still wanted time apart to think about whether you wanted to stay in the relationship. Another thing that I noticed is that you told him that things were okay when they really weren’t. It’s dangerous for a partner to hide their feelings. If you are unsure of your feelings for them, unhappy, or your needs are unmet then that will show regardless of whether you tell them or not. If the relationship is good you should tell your partner and if it’s bad then you should still share that with your partner and see if you can work things out or move on. Still – both people have to be willing to work through these things.

    Grieve the relationship. It is gone. You will be better,more free, and happier after some time has passed. You will also come to realize that it takes two people to make a relationship. You can control yourself, but you can’t control what he will decide or how he feels. There are many people who are great for us.

    Annie

    #91934
    jd0209
    Participant

    Hi Annie,

    My therapist actually brought this up the last time we had a session together. She reminded me that it takes two to begin a relationship, and it takes two to end it. That this person wasn’t perfect either, and that he contributed to the end of the relationship as well…but sometimes it’s difficult to understand that, especially if you weren’t the one to end things. It’s hard not to put the “dumper” of the relationship on a pedestal – to think that he is this perfect person, that he can do no wrong, that he has no flaws and no faults, and that you’ll never find someone quite like him again. Then the downward spiral begins: you start thinking of all the good times you had with one another; all the great qualities this person had; all the intriguing personality quirks; the spark that you felt when you first met him…

    I think it’s funny that after a difficult breakup, one will go to great lengths in seeking a “cure” for giving up hope, letting go and moving on. I’ve done these things…I’ve googled “when to give up hope” and “how to let go of your ex and truly move on with your life”; I’ve read articles and blogs, I’ve searched through, and read numerous posts’ in relationship forums – re-reading the ones that I can relate to time and time again, becoming dependent on them to make me feel better if I’m having a hard time getting through the day. I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve done these things. I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with it. Having your heart broken isn’t a great feeling – I wouldn’t wish this feeling on my worst enemy. But when it happens, I find myself becoming desperate in finding something that can take some of the pain away; something that sounds similar to what I am going through, hoping that it can provide me with some advice in order to remove some of the sting that I feel in my heart.

    One of the questions that I see come up most often in relationship forums is, “how long did it take you to get over your ex?” – and really, I’ve discovered there is no single right answer. Everyone is different and everyone grieves differently. Every relationship is different. I like to continually remind myself of how long it took me to recover from my last breakup prior to this one, and that’s what motivates me to keep moving forward. I did a lot of “holding on” that didn’t do me any good in the long run. It kept me stagnant, and only prolonged my pain. So I’m trying very hard with this breakup to avoid doing any of that. I’m trying to use and apply what I’ve learned from my previous relationship to help me move past this one as smoothly as possible.

    My recent breakup did devastate me, and it did make me wonder when and how I was ever going to get through this. I do feel that I’m past the point of hoping for his return, and of “worshiping” him, and have come to terms with the fact that there is nothing I can do to bring him back, and that our relationship is over. It’s just those first steps into moving on that are hard for me right now…but like I said, if I did it before…if I was strong enough to get through that breakup then, then I know I am strong enough to get through this one.

    Thanks Annie. Until next time…

    – Jenny

    #91936
    B
    Participant

    Jenny, thanks for sharing more of your experience. I was reading your posts in the other thread you started in and saw some similarities in what you say you went through in the pushing away and hurting the other and found similarities in what my ex was doing and saying in our relationship. He was also trying to move on too quickly from a long term relationship (and a long history of relationships) without taking a timeout to grieve and grow first. And now, after establishing a deep relationship with me, realized that he still has to take that time that he neglected to take. He too would pull away, come back strong and certain, and then sink back into doubt and depressive phases. Eventually we both realized how much pain it was causing us.

    Maybe I don’t know the entire story, but given that I feel that I can put myself somewhat in your ex’s shoes (without the fortitude to do the breaking up, as close as I came to it but failing every time) I wonder why you feel that all is lost? I know that it is necessary to not cling to attachment in order to truly heal and move on, but what is it about the way your relationship ended that has entirely closed all doors to a future between the two of you– whether that is as friends or lovers? Do you believe he really has no desire to hear from you again? Do you feel that the two of you were incompatible and will be forever? What is it that you are scared of?

    Sorry for all of the questions and you don’t have to feel obligated to answer. This may be selfish of me but I am extremely curious to understand this rather unheard from perspective. I’m inexperienced and intrigued 🙂

    #91937
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jenny:

    I am glad you chose to start this thread. I read your original post here but not the reply right above. I noticed the following. In the middle of the original post you wrote: “Throughout our relationship he would sit down and talk with me, asking me for reassurance that everything between him and I was ok…and even though deep down inside I knew that it wasn’t, I continued to tell him that we we’re fine, that everything was great.”

    You didn’t reach out for him to help you by sharing with him what was troubling you. You kept it to yourself. As if you could only tell him positive things or nothing at all. For a relationship to work you have to communicate all the good, the bad and the ugly. You have to tell him what is not so “pretty” about your thoughts and feelings. If he is a good man, then he will love you for being honest, authentic and vulnerable, that is… strong enough and daring enough to appear weak.

    And at the end, you wrote: ” I take responsibility for how I failed to understand him…how I failed to prevent his suffering…how I failed him as a friend…a partner…”

    Maybe, you failed to make it possible for him to understand you… maybe you failed to ease your suffering by reaching out to him…maybe you failed to allow him to be a better friend to you.

    Do you relate to any of what I wrote above?

    anita

    #91947
    jd0209
    Participant

    B,

    I’m not sure if he has any desire to hear from me again. One thing that puzzled me when he called to break up was that he said that he didn’t want to end contact with me, and that if I were to ever need anything, or need someone to talk to, to please reach out to him. Forgive me, but it’s been awhile since I last dated, and I was never provided a copy of the Dating 101 handbook – but I found it strange that a person wanting out of a relationship would even suggest remaining in contact with the very person he wants to leave. It just didn’t make sense to me. I remember a week after our relationship ended where I reached out to him and asked why he still wanted to remain on friendly terms, and why it was so easy for him to “re-categorize” me from girlfriend to friend so early on in the breakup. He didn’t really have a straight answer for me. I suggested that maybe it wasn’t a good idea to remain in contact with one another anymore – he became silent and then stated that he didn’t want to do that, just in case I ever found myself stranded and needed someone to help me. I just found his response bizarre…it confused me, and I ended up overanalyzing everything he had said during the weeks that followed.

    I don’t feel that we were incompatible at all. I felt that we had a really good connection…we both wanted the same things out of life…we accepted each other immediately…we complemented one another very well. I felt that we really enjoyed one another. I don’t know…after some time has passed and the dust finally settles I’m not sure how either one of us will feel about one another anymore…

    I’m not afraid of anything, I just feel that it’s easier for me to accept that I’m never going to hear from or see this person again, and that I need to move on with my life, just like he will with his. It’s nice to think of what could have been, but doing so doesn’t change the fact that our relationship expired. We aren’t together anymore. I lost my girlfriend privileges and I have to move on, plain and simple. I don’t want to make the same mistake that I made in my last relationship by “holding on” – it didn’t do me any good and only prolonged my pain. I don’t want to drag this breakup’s healing process on any longer than it has to. I don’t want to spend my days hoping and praying that he’ll come back to me…because it’s pointless, and I’m wasting my time by doing so. There’s no guarantee that he will reach back out to me…there’s no guarantee that he will accept me again…and there’s no guarantee that he will even want to reconcile…but one thing that I know I can be sure of is that I WILL move on from this. I’ve gotten to the point in my grieving process where I’m ready to rely on certainty rather than uncertainty.

    No need to apologize for the questions – I don’t mind answering…

    Until next time…

    – Jenny

    #91948
    jd0209
    Participant

    Anita,

    I am a poor communicator when it comes to talking about my problems. I feel that one of my biggest faults is that I rarely ask for help. I admit that it makes me uncomfortable to burden those that are close to me with problems that I’m going through, and I have a tendency to keep my troubles inside, hoping they’ll eventually resolve on their own or that they’ll simply go away. It’s funny, but I’ve noticed that I am more than willing to sit down with a friend and ask how they are doing with their troubles, but when I’m asked, I smile and tell them everything is ok (when in reality, it isn’t). I think this is one of the reasons why I tend to get so overwhelmed when something “bad” happens to me. It’s just layers upon layers of troubles that I never took care of, attacking me all at once, and then boom! – my entire world is flipped upside down…I lose myself, and I have no idea where to begin in order to repair the damage.

    What you wrote isn’t easy for me to relate to, but it’s interesting to examine my “failures” in a different light. After giving it some thought, I’m beginning to feel like we both just didn’t understand each other…and maybe that is why our relationship failed. Perhaps we weren’t compatible at all. Maybe it was just infatuation, and nothing more than the feeling of excitement due to being in a relationship again. Who knows.

    Until next time…

    – Jenny

    #91976
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jenny:

    I am assuming you learned long ago that your problems make others uncomfortable, burden others and by others, I am guessing, a parent or parents, the first people you reached out to for help in your life. You learned to not reach out for help and only to help. Problem is you need help, like anyone else. It feels uncomfortable, but if you try it, just a little, here and there, following the discomfort, if you endure the discomfort, you will find it is very helpful to you.

    Without reaching out and sharing your problems, like you wrote, it becomes overwhelming. We need other people, it is not an option but a necessity. If you don’t do it, you will get overwhelmed again and again, in a relationship, and the relationship will not be able to survive.

    You try to help others because you believe others need help with their problem. You don’t think that you are an exception, do you? You too need to tell others your problems.

    Please do consider this….
    anita

    #91988
    jd0209
    Participant

    Anita,

    I’m not really sure why I have so much trouble when it comes to reaching out for help. I don’t know if it’s because I feel that no one would be able to help me…maybe its because I’m afraid of showing “weakness”, or because I worry that the problems I had/have are insignificant in comparison to others’…I don’t know…its a mystery to me. I’m trying to work on this now, because I know its a long standing problem that I’ve had, and I don’t want to return to shutting down and keeping my problems inside with any future relationships that I may have.

    I don’t like going to my parents for help, because along the way, I’ve discovered that they have a tendency to play devil’s advocate. I feel that they don’t really listen to me…and afterwards, I usually feel worse than before we even started talking. My parents are very old fashioned in their way of thinking about things, so I usually find myself in disagreement with them…and like I said in an early response (in Max’s topic), I don’t have any friends here locally that I can reach out to for company and conversation, so I feel very alone at times…

    I remember that it took me a long time to seek counseling after my exes’ court martial. He and I had gone to marital counseling before, and although I found some of the things the counselor said to be very helpful then, I guess I gave up on the idea of seeking further counseling after I found that he cheated again. After he went into confinement, I found myself having extreme anxiety attacks, that came and went as the months went by. After having an attack one day, I looked at my daughter and thought that if something were to happen to me she would grow up motherless. It scared me and I began to panic – that’s when I decided I needed to get a referral to finally see a counselor. With this breakup, I sought counseling immediately because I was having a hard time focusing on my present. I was breaking down at work, I stopped eating, and I just layed around the house all day thinking about him and the relationship. I didn’t want to wait too long to start therapy again because it reminded me of my last breakup, and I just wanted to avoid those obstacles this time around.

    Bringing up my problem with poor communication/keeping my troubles inside, rather than letting them out has gotten me emotional. It’s difficult to type these words now…because I KNOW that I have a problem and I WANT to fix it, but I just don’t know HOW…I constantly doubt myself, I doubt the people around me, and I get angry with myself. Not only that, but it makes me worry about the future and if I’ll even have a better future. I’m afraid that the counseling won’t work, and that I’ll just go back to keeping everything inside, restarting the entire cycle again – which I DON’T want.

    I really want to get WELL this time. I want to love myself more, I want to get rid of all the doubt that I have, and the doubt that I have for others. I want to be able to trust again. I want to have healthy and meaningful relationships in my life.

    #92026
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jenny:

    You wrote above that it is a mystery to you why you keep things inside and then you wrote that when you used to reach out (tell your problems) to your parents they sided with the person you had trouble with and you ended up feeling worse for reaching out to them. No wonder then you don’t like to reach out- your experience was that you feel worse for doing that. Your feelings were not validated by your parents: they were not on YOUR side (being the devil advocates). So from your post, it is not a mystery to me. I hope you get to see it yourself. This is one reason why good therapy will help:

    In therapy you will SEE what you see now and don’t register, like in my above example, you will get in touch with how it felt when you reached out to your parents throughout the years and understand the break of trust that you had in them and how it carries on into the present (not helped by the events with your military ex husband!)

    I like what you wrote, that you really want to get well, to love yourself, to be confident and to be able to trust again..

    With good therapy you learn to evaluate who the person is before you trust them. You can’t trust just anyone, that would be foolish because many people are not trustworthy. And then, as you get to know a person, you reveal a bit about yourself, reach out a bit and see what happens: is he supportive, do you feel better for having reached out? And if so, you reach out some more, gradually.

    I do hope you get good psychotherapy. I wish every certified therapist was also good but this is not the case. A good one would be empathetic, someone you feel respects you, someone who is hard working and dedicated to helping you.

    Please do post again, Jenny, anytime.

    anita

    #92139
    jd0209
    Participant

    Anita,

    You mentioning that me not going to my parents could somehow be a link as to why I’m not able to express my feelings openly has made me think a lot about my childhood. I’m beginning to realize how some of the issues I had when I was growing up could possibly be related to why I am the person that I am today…

    I’ll be honest, I’ve been beating myself up a lot lately. It seems like these realizations from my past, along with the thoughts and feelings that I have concerning my breakup seem to be coming at me all at once…and yet again, its the classic boom! scenario. I’m beginning to feel confused…I’m beginning to feel intimidated…and I’m beginning to feel overwhelmed, because its a lot for me to take in all at once. I’m trying to be mindful of my breathing to help with my anxiety, and it has helped me…its just that “heavy” feeling in my chest that never seems to want to go away…and I wish it would.

    I am really hoping that my therapist will be able to help me overcome these issues once and for all, in time. I do worry sometimes that she may not be able to though, which only adds more stress to my current state of mind…
    Please don’t mind me, I’m having a typical “its hopeless” pity party!

    Here’s hoping for a better day tomorrow…

    – Jenny

    #92155
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jenny:

    I am glad you expressed that you are overwhelmed with too many things coming at you at once. This is why healing is a slow, gradual process and you are the one to decide when to take a break, when to slow up, when to speed up. In therapy, with a therapist, you are the one to be in control of these things because you are the one with the emotions.

    Healing is not easy and it is possible only at your own pace.

    So… I will not add anything here, other then: take your time. Do what you need to relax. Do not overload.

    And you are welcome to have any kind of “it’s hopeless pity party here on tiny buddha! Just post it and I will crash your party…

    anita

    #92157
    anita
    Participant

    * Corrections: slow down (not slow up) and did I say it right: crash your party, meaning show up with no invitation…(English..)

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