Trying to deal with anxiety and loss after relationship break up

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    Hi Sammy,
    <p style=”text-align: left;”>You are welcome to pick my brain. I would be happy to help someone avoid my mistakes or even just offer a Male perspective to overcome the fallout. What can I help you with?</p>




    Hey @Sammy

    Thanks for your kindness in saying I am insightful. I am glad my and others’ perspectives helped you.

    Significant dates are always hard. In the last 10 days I have had the anniversary of meeting my ex, her birthday yesterday and tomorrow will be the anniversary of us becoming “official”. I have been really sad on and off, thinking about the could have beens but are nots. Getting frustrated at myself that I am ruminating about old memories and giving her headspace. Still, there is some progress to celebrate; yesterday I wished her a happy birthday publicly on Facebook (Because she wished me on my birthday I felt I should return the favour) but otherwise did not attempt to contact her. A few months ago I would have used it as an excuse to meet up with her despite knowing it would make me feel bad. Now I would not meet up with her, even if she suggested it. I can see what I am holding onto is the hope of re-experiencing the intoxicating feeling I had when I fell in love with her, nothing more. Still, it’s hard. I have no real advice for you except to say, try to be kind to yourself. Acknowledge and label what you are feeling, and trust that even if it feels uncomfortable it will pass with time. You (and I!) just have to make the space for it. All the best. xx


    @Adelaide1 it is nice to hear from someone familiar, you have done so well to push through the associated emotions of back to back significant dates. That intoxicating feeling you mentioned is what makes it so difficult. That high is so addictive. I wish you speedy healing from the heartache. You seem so in control of your emotions and more rational, you should be incredibly chuffed with your progress. Keep pushing through and it will pass with time like you said.


    Tomorrow is what would have been our 5 year anniversary, I thought I had convinced myself of never going there again but I find myself tempted to contact him even if it’s for a brief fling. I feel lost. I have started to drink again, I’m worried with pubs opening and tomorrow being our anniversary I will sink back. Do these dates carry significance for men? Do men miss women in the same way? How did you move on?


    Hi Sammy,

    I empathise with your situation. Previously I posted how much reading this thread took me back to my very own experience. That’s what it was an experience, I no longer dwell on it, it was a road I had to take to get me to where I am today. I’m a much better person and stronger as a result. You too will make it out. It just takes time and willpower.

    1)Do men miss women/do dates carry significance for them?
    Do not be fooled by the misconception of men being devoid of emotions. In general, at first most men go into denial, compartmentalise and carry on but shortly after it hits them incredibly hard, some like myself lose themselves. So let me reassure you even a brief encounter as long as there was any genuine connection formed then he too will be thinking about you especially on anniversaries/with any associated memories and I’m sure he will be missing you but this doesn’t mean he wants to be with you. For that to happen a person has to make the effort to change and convey this through action. This applies to both genders.

    2) How to move on?

    I will not dictate to you what you should and shouldn’t do. That is your choice and decision to make, if you want to go back into that relationship you will make that choice and if your self worth is low you most likely will despite knowing the relationship was unfulfilling and unhealthy. The outcome will be the same.

    I hit rock bottom unfortunately to see the light. There will come a point when you grow weary, you’ll catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and question what you have become, why you let someome who doesn’t even value and love you in the same way because if they did then all this pain would not exist. You gave so much control over your mind to this person, that you lost yourself and spiralled. And finally surrender for your own good. If you have good self esteem and love for your sanity. It will come much quicker. In the end I walked away for good . If you are determined to walk away then here are some tips:

    Firstly you need to learn to separate the emotions. Think logically. Sex is a drug, it deceives and fools people, both men and women, so I would advise against using that as a reason to return, I say this as a man with strong desires, the short term thrill of the physical connection will be great but when your partner has not changed and still unable to fulfill those same needs which caused the issues to begin with then you’ll find yourself in that toxic cycle once again as your needs seep out remaining unfulfilled. It is not worth putting yourself in that situation for the short buzz of the physical connection you once shared.

    One chance and walk away for good. This is my number one rule now, if your partner has been given this and doesn’t grow then that should be a warning sign informing you this person is actually selfish and can not handle the responsibilities of a relationship. If you chose to have a relationship, then you must take the needs of your partner into consideration. So your choices consequently need to change and adapt, an example would be when deciding on a significant purchase, you look at how this decision will impact your significant other, your future together etc. If your partner isn’t doing this and flaky, then this behaviour is engrained and very hard to change.

    I have learned if a relationship doesn’t progress after the initial honeymoon phase of 6-12 months, it is probably because someone isn’t willing or able to be vulnerable emotionally to take the big leap and risk to opening up and moving into deeper territory. They don’t see you as the one because if they did trust me they would fight for it.

    When I read your questions I knew right away you were asking the wrong questions. To really move on, the focus shifts onto yourself. What do I deserve? You should no longer be focusing on him, what he may be doing, thinking etc. You need to love yourself. If you don’t you will be your own downfall.

    I suffered a mental breakdown, an alcoholic and gambling addiction and without a strong support network and therapy would have most likely not be around to tell this story.

    So don’t spend your day drinking yourself into oblivion for a man who wouldn’t do the same for you 😉 Your body and mind are precious, one day the right man will appreciate and love you entirety. That is someone worth dedicating to.

    Have a glass of wine or chug a beer today. But do not use it as a crutch. Celebrate the years you have chosen to not waste and ahead of you that you have to find someone who loves you completely.

    One of the truest signs of self-love is when you love yourself enough to walk away for good from things that are not healthy for you. If their energy is not aligned with yours, if they are not giving you the love that you need, then it’s time to walk away. You will find yourself again. I assure you whether you remain single or enter a new relationship, you’ll be a much better and stronger person for having overcome this rather than trying to retrieve it.



    Thanks Tim for taking out the time. Your experience putting it midly, sucked! Reading you overcame and are stronger is helpful though. Also good to read you are in a better relationship, you’ve done the work on yourself and deserve to be in a relationship where you are made to feel secure and loved.

    You are absolutely right, my self esteem has been shattered. It happened somewhere during our relationship as I fell hopelessly in love and became blind to the facts. I’m trying to regain my confidence and belief in myself back. I feel I have done well but this month and things returning to normal after the covid -19 lockdown was a bit overwhelming, what do I do? Where do I go next?

    It was very hard on the anniversary date, moreso because I think about all the time I had wasted or poured into trying to make that relationship work when i could have avoided it as all the signs that it was not right for me were there. Thank you for the alcohol advice, i had a one drink at the pub but the lack of social distancing was enough to make me turn away and head home. As I walked, I was tempted to buy a bottle but self control kicked in. I cried and then cried some more but it was good to let it out as I hadn’t cried since the initial week of the breakup.

    I’m actually grateful in a sense that I’m not trying to cling to hope that he will have an awakening and we will get our happy ever after. I think the reality of the situation has sunk in. I could keep trying and he may even come back but he never fully chose me, even if he did by some miracle have an epiphany given the number of times he disappointed me, the thought would always be there, he could leave at anytime when things got crap. Throughout the years, even though we discussed our future, had a great physical connection and enjoyed each other’s company, it wasn’t enough he never took the responsibility of being in a relationship seriously and adapted to thinking for two. He never did the work to want to go into deeper territory. So he was selfish. However I still miss him, every morning not waking up to his leg over me. The coffee next to my bedside table. Him leaving the seat up in the loo etc. Those things became my normal.

    I lost not only him but myself, he was such a big part of my daily life having lived together I feel like I’ve forgotten who I was before him. I have blocked him completely but even then no attempt was made by him on our anniversary date so that stung. This person I dedicated so much of myself didn’t take the leap and love me enough to fight for me, he is carrying on.

    So despite it being hard I have reached a small victory, I finally had enough control to say no more I will not contact him even if i miss him. The onus to reach out was on him as he was the one who rejected or failed to accept and love me for who I am. He clearly doesn’t so I have recovered enough self worth to not be desperate to run back to an unfulfilled relationship.

    I just don’t know how to move forward. I fear how this will affect my future relationships. I fear I’ll never be in a relationship again. I fear the intimacy. I fear living my life as an old loner with nothing.


    Anytime, Sammy, I’m happy to offer any advice I can on this forum to help others avoid the pain I had to face.

    Well done on winning a few battles there; not using the alcohol as a crutch, not letting the date overwhelm you to the point you hop back on the bus leading to nowhere new and most of all reaching those stark realisations.

    After being with someone for a period of time, it is natural to feel that void and miss them. Those of us who give our full energy to the relationship find it harder to re-adapt I think.  I think this is because partly we had begun to envisage a reality which we so badly craved but in essence did not exist. To try and come to terms with the non-rose-tinted view is a shock to our system. Questions begin to swirl, was it all a lie? why wasn’t I enough etc ..trying to answer these will just leave you in a worse state.

    You just need to find your new normal much like we are now post lockdown. Humans are survivors. Time keeps moving and you can sit back and drive yourself insane and waste years or take it by reins and control the one thing you can – your mindset.

    To move forward, I suggest you grieve the loss and accept that the relationship is over. Take a good amount of time to be by yourself, rediscover you. With on/off relationships your self-esteem takes a hammering so take the time to be confident in yourself again.  No matter how hard you tried it was never going to be the right fit for yourself. It doesn’t mean you can’t find another one that will be.

    I will be real with you, I went off the rails, jumped into dating to fill a void, I perpetuated the toxic relationship pattern and I felt sick for doing so and hurting a few women. I had enough empathy left and my conscience made me realise what I was doing was hurtful for everyone involved so I sought therapy again and rectified those mistakes and I’m lucky those women are in good relationships now and we are still acquainted. One of those women is my current relationship. So until you are fully over the ex and ready to risk being vulnerable and face rejection, my advice is to steer clear of relationships.

    I being a male, probably can not relate to the intimacy concerns in an exact way. However, fears are normal especially after having your heartbroken by the very person you were entirely vulnerable with.  The therapy I received was great and once I had decided I wanted to dip my feet in the pool again and be fully open and willing to face rejection or face another heartbreak because I had equipped myself with the tools or mechanisms to cope. The first heartbreak is the hardest as you have no idea of the pain you will feel but subsequently it makes you stronger.

    I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have the fear of being emotionally or physically close to another individual. This is where it comes down to a bit of luck and your ability to overcome your fears. The woman I’m with now didn’t make me feel like an asshole, she understood I had been through the wars, understood me and gave me the space to recover. I knew if she slipped through my fingers, I would have been the biggest fool, so the chance she gave me after therapy I changed my outlook and now it is going well. We met each others friends recently and it reassured me that a good healthy relationship is possible as long as you communicate.

    Before the last round of therapy, I made the mistake of comparing and transference. It is when you start to compare, your fear takes over and you act out. You will end up sabotaging something with potential the moment you do that, I can guarantee you will convince yourself your ex was better because you are not allowing yourself to experience a relationship in the same way you did with your ex, especially if it was your ex was your first real relationship. You are also on the lookout for any flaw which will reaffirm your ex was the best. This is dangerous as unless you open your heart again and be willing to assess an individual on their own unique merits by giving it the time to flourish naturally, you will screw up relationship after relationship and lose out on your own potential happiness. Like intimacy, for example, on my first few dates with my current partner, I had all these expectations, partly being a male but I didn’t realise how unfair I was being, the things I loved about my ex took months to develop and to expect that right away from someone new was immature and I had not completely grown, even transference was occurring when I though my current partner was going to do something the ex did but in reality, they are doing nothing at all and when I discussed this with my current partner after we reunited she was so understanding. It was all FEAR. I almost ruined this relationship by not giving it a real chance.

    The physical intimacy, do not worry about when you have a partner who meets your emotional needs and is understanding that part will happen. You will not be loner, learn from the experience but do not let it control your mindset. Take time out, work on other goals, when you re-enter the dating arena be ready to go in open-hearted, confident and leave the past where it belongs so you can give the person in front of you a real chance.



    Cheers Tim, I’ll toast to those small victories 😉
    Not quite an alcoholic yet but I’m definitely drinking more than I use to. Any tips from a former AA member? I don’t want another addiction. The relationship itself was an addiction in itself!

    In a sense the rose glazed glasses came off quite quickly they shattered as he pulled the rug from under me and I landed flat on my face for another time, I thought he was going to propose but instead he called time. I’m strong enough to know I don’t want that for myself anymore. Is that self love or ego protecting me?

    It’s just the void, the emptiness, the thought of forever being alone. That thought makes me think he was better than he was. Then again you can’t easily erase love if you loved the person wholly. I miss it. I miss him. When i feel like that , the thoughts make me ignore how much he wasn’t what I needed and make me long for him. I think I’m just desperately lonely and covid 19 lockdown hasn’t helped. My friend and family tried their best being isolated during a heartbreak was tough. You can’t watch movies or paint the town red with your girls etc.

    I don’t feel ready for a full on relationship again and although I’m not the most religious, I don’t go for casual flings anymore. So you are right unless I can be fully vulnerable, it would be selfish to pursue a relationship and I wouldn’t want anyone to feel pain like myself when I can’t meet their needs as I still need to recover to become fully open. That’s just wrong way to recover. No offense to you Tim!  Then again what you did can’t have been as bad as you think, you’re all still acquainted and you’re in a relationship with one. Don’t be so critical.

    Maybe i should take baby steps, I’m so worried about the impact, at the pub a man playfully flirted with me and usually I would be confident enough to flirt back but I felt for even that I needed few more drinks, I feel like no one will want someone with baggage, fears of intimacy and impact on future relationships, do you think I may need therapy?

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