Trying to deal with anxiety and loss after relationship break up

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    Each day I hear about your adventures, I find myself wistfully imagining jetting off somewhere exotic! However, reality soon kicks in and I’m pretty sure my funds would only cover a 3 night B&B somewhere! 🙂

    I haven’t told people about meeting my ex for that very reason. Of course they are going to be worried and perhaps even angry. In fact, i might be worried if they weren’t. It’s how I would probably react if it were someone I cared about going down this path.

    Yes I’m not optimistic as such, but part of me is. I tried to change my feelings towards him and I tried to let time help along the way but it just kept nagging at the back of my mind. I’m absolutely terrified to even consider attempting to go there again with him, after what I’ve been through…..twice. Yet nonetheless, here I am doing it. And I want to do it.

    I realise that it’s an extremely difficult situation and there is very little to show me that he is willing or able. I realise people will say I deserve more, I know I deserve happiness but I love him too. I’m so overwhelmed at the moment with my workload and new course and family commitments that somedays I get so anxious and feel my breathing right. Like I just need a break from life.

    Thank you for still interjecting your trip to offer advice and support.

    @Kkasxo, hope you’re okay? x


    Ha, to be fair, our last AirBnb place was £16/night…and dinner out here is about£5!  So it’d go further than you think –  we’re going hiking in Wales in June and I was shocked how expensive it was for accommodation!  But it is more fun with someone for sure as well as cheaper – did you & your ex go away on holiday together before at all?  I was not brave enough to go on my own when I split from my ex but I did make myself break out of my introverted nature to go away with new friends and whilst it was different, it was so much better than not getting away for a break.

    As said many times, it’s your life and your choices. If you feel like you want to go through this loop again, it’s what you do and that’s fine. It doesn’t matter if other people think you deserve more – it’s what you think that matters. Do I think you are going backwards just because you are more scared of trying out a future fully accepting he is not a romantic part of it – absolutely. Each time you have been apart previously you have yet to actually be apart and not thinking that at some point you will be back together. So it has just been passing the time, which eventually feels pointless to do.

    Am I convinced you love him, not really, if I’m honest.  I do think you need him, which is different. You need him to feel safe, to have a space where you aren’t anxious and feel able to cope with life for a while. That isn’t love though to me.  You say it yourself – “I know I deserve happiness but I love him too”  – love is or should be happiness – yes it goes through ups & downs and changes over time but it’s not something you ever feel like you have to hide from people – if you truly love him, as he is, without changes and without hoping for more or different than what you have – then it’s the best thing in the world for you and you are happy sharing that knowledge with others. I hope in time you get the strength and courage to want the same for yourself enough to work through your anxieties and become able to provide your own security but likewise, if not, I wish you nothing but the best in enjoying your life as best as you can and hope it gives you some of the calmness you seek right now.

    Take care both.


    Morning all,

    To some extent I agree with Michelle, although I don’t doubt that you love your ex Shelby. From an outsiders point of view I can completely understand what Michelle is saying about the ‘need’ for him in your life to create a sense of safety, that comfort zone fuelling your hope for a future and that things will change etc. I get that. Although trying to apply that theory to my own self is where it gets difficult, I think the term ‘easier said than done’ applies here. It is very easy to be able to give you or anyone amazing and constructive advice, but doing the same myself? Well that’s difficult – so I’m right there with you.

    IF/SHOULD you proceed with getting back with your ex I don’t doubt that people will be upset or advise you against it or even angry with you, I’ve actually recently to experienced that myself although not directly as my circumstances are way above and beyond more than just my ex, he is only a tiny part of this mess at this point. BUT yes nonetheless it is not nice to hear, even if I know there is a lot of truth to what they’re saying.

    Just to maybe give you girls a clearer view of my life right now, I am floating, floating in all aspects of my life including my ex. ‘Passing time’ in autopilot mode so to speak. So he is kinda here, but kinda also not here if that makes any sense at all. He IS trying his best to understand, assist me in my healing and even make future-ish plans such as moving out in June – WOAH! WHERE DID THAT COME FROM? But…. words are easy right? Although the moving thing has come into conversation some two weeks ago he is still yet to break the news to his family… Haha and the old patterns return! I guess what I’m trying to say Shelby is that from experience so far I can assure you, nothing changes. Nonetheless, if that is what makes you happy then you do what is completely and absolutely right for you! I’ll be standing right behind you all the way 🙂


    Michelle & Kkasxo

    It’s very confusing. I have repeatedly asked my therapist about my anxiety and unwillingness to let go. I have mentioned some of the advice on here and he disagrees. And he is extremely competent too in my view. I have straight out asked why I want to be with my ex so much when he doesn’t necessarily want to be with me. He says I love him, really love him and wanted it to work out. I ask am I scared of something, am I trying to get something from my ex which is a deficit. I tell him that I really want to know the trust and no need to sugar coat anything for me. He says he would always be honest with me and give me hard truths when I need them. He says I could definitely do with giving myself more self-love for sure, but that apart from that I love the ex.

    Michelle, you have been through a similar process yourself so you have your own experience to add to it. I don’t know if I’m afraid. I must be I suppose. But on a conscious level I don’t feel I couldn’t survive a life without him, I just find it tragic to lose what I thought was something so special.

    I travelled some by myself over the years and some with my ex. Travel is something I always enjoyed either with company or solo. Air Bnb is so handy nowadays!


    I think you’re allowed to float. I tried for so long to rush past my pain and my struggle in the building and my therapist kept saying….shhhh….stop….slow down. Sometimes, in bad situations in life, surviving is an achievement. I’m aware nothing has changed much with my ex since but stupid hope won’t let go. Im also aware that something would have to change or grow in order for it to have a chance of working out a third time. Nonetheless, here I am, this formerly independent, savvy enough woman and Im still going there. Im sure that’s what has led Michelle to her conclusion about my situation.

    Do you feel like doing anything Kkasxo? Would you consider going back to the gym once a week? At least you’re still going to counselling which is a good thing.

    Lately I’ve been feeling like taking a trip somewhere remote with not too many people around! lol



    If I’m honest no, I don’t feel like doing anything at all, ever. I do what I have to do i.e go to work. Other than that, no. My life is an absolute mess and I just don’t know how to get myself out anymore.



    That’s okay. You’re surviving right? So that’s an achievement. You’re doing the best you can right now. I can empathise. I understand you must be completely disillusioned. Is there anything I can say or do to help?





    No darling, honestly you girls do more than enough by choosing to communicate with me as I realise I am not great company or can’t provide much constructive input right now! It means the world to me that I still have the option to continue communicating with you all – you all feel like a little online family to me!

    What is the deal now with your ex? How was the situation left/how is it going since the fishing day? Are you guys communicating etc?


    Hey both – your latest travel update from sunny, warm Thailand again! Few more days here before heading out to Cambodia – will be sad to leave here, love the culture and the food but looking forwards to doing the Lara Croft/Tombraider thing at Angkor Wat in particular.  My travelling style these days is very different to the kinds of holidays I used to do, it’s much slower, more immersive, more real, mostly just walking around enjoying noticing all the little details that make lives around the world both the same and different. It is also a great way to get different perspectives on what is important and just time & space to think, total luxury for me…

    Kkasxo – interesting about your ex and the moving out comments – and I loved your reaction of “well, I’ll believe it when I actually see it….”. Too true, words are the easy part for most people, especially when saying what they think people want to hear. It’s actions and real honesty that I value too, especially from my partner – even if at the time I often hate it….! Dealing with reality is the only real way forwards. I know you are struggling to do much beyond the basics of looking after yourself but that is better than pretending both to yourself and others that everything is ok when it is not.  There’s a lot of pressure in the world to pretend, to have an appearance of total happiness/control/acheivement and so on at work, in relationships, in family – but it is all so much better once you stop pretending and just be yourself.  So at least you are doing that – even if not through choice as yet.   Did you hear any more about that contract role outside London? Sounded like a potentially good option being put your way – having worked in London over 15 years aware it can be a strange/very different culture to outside London – and have to admit I would have gone crazy living there too, hence why I put up with the 2 1/2 hr commute all those years to live up here!

    Shelby – don’t mean to contradict or detract from your progress with your therapist at all, it’s good you have found one you trust totally and who is helping you through this. They are the professionals after all, not us!  I’m sure you do absolutely love your ex in the way you think about love now.  I’m just aware of how much I’ve learned about love and the different kinds, levels, depths through my similar experience and how I can look back now and recognise I did love that guy, but not like I love now. It’s a little hard to explain and it’s not knocking the love you feel now, just trying to explain it can be different, even better. Something I would likewise not have believed back then was possible, people just didn’t understand how special what we had was etc.  Again, not to stop you loving now, just keep your mind open that it could be different. It is possible to have the kind of love you want returned and more.  How is it going now with him? And your sister’s boy still doing ok I hope?



    Your little adventure sounds incredible! Honestly I absolutely love exploring new cultures and even more so recently I’ve really started to enjoy time outdoors and in nature so I know I would really love a trip like this myself! I’m glad you keep us updated so I can at least imagine it in my mind!

    Yes, absolutely to the ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’ 100%. My ex has a thing for saying all the right things, something I learnt or at least acknowledged only after our break up. The sad part is that he actually doesn’t mean harm and he actually manages to even convince his own self that that is what he wants.. until push comes to shove of course and then panic sets in! So yes, the moving out comments are discarded at this point.. I’ll believe it when or rather IF we are sitting on OUR sofa in OUR flat. But I’m not betting on it and continuing my search on my own.

    Regarding work, yes it appears the next contract will be up in St Albans which is only a short drive from London anyway but nonetheless will be lovely to get out of the everyday rat race here. I’m thinking of looking for a property around there to be closer to work. Don’t get me wrong it’s terrifying, it really is. At this point I am so panicky knowing that my family are due to leave the country in the next 3/4 months and I will be left here on my own. I knew this day was coming from a while ago but obviously my life looked different at the time, I had a settled and loving partner who I thought would hold my hand through this. Now I am a general mess with a complete lack of sense of self, barely managing to look after myself + with the added financial stress of having to do this on my own + the idea of moving up there to not only be away from family but also from friends – it’s hard. One minute I want to get away and think it’s a great idea and the next I’m like OMG IM SO ALONE IN ALL THIS AND I AM TERRIFIED!



    <p style=”text-align: left;”>Hi there,</p>
    Michelle, your trip sounds so interesting and right up my alley. It’s the little things that make the big picture and I absolutely love to learn new things about new worlds. I love to hear where you’ve been each day/s.

    You’re right. I don’t feel/believe that it’s possible to have a better love. Right now anyway. Maybe this will change, I don’t know. But I couldn’t even dream of what that would be like without feeling perhaps I would be escaping reality entirely!


    im right there with ya! Want distance and peace and quiet but silently also terrified at the thought! It’s an ongoing dilemma. You are definitely maintaining the cynical approach with your ex anyway and that makes sense, once bitten twice shy. Actions are indeed a true display.

    This week has been overwhelming. My friends younger brother was killed in a car collision and two days after the funeral her husband (who I also work with and am friends with) – his dad who was young and full of life and best mate to his son, died suddenly. My little brother has also had surgery on his face and with Work and the course, I’m at breaking point almost.

    I really really want an escape with complete calm and peace soon!

    No contact with my ex on a day to day basis. Only if we are organising a meetup.


    Morning both. So yesterday’s adventures had an 18-armed giant ( and I mean huge ) Buddha statue with each arm holding something different and presumably meaningful but couldn’t work them all out….one object really looked like a pizza cutter though…….hmm……hungry Buddha…?! I’m not religious as you can tell but do work hard to not be disrespectful of others beliefs and customs – but some tourists here are truly awful though, not covering up, shouting loudly in the meditation zones etc. Such a shame.  So then headed out on a long hike to a lonely beach bar, which was way more peaceful!

    Kkasxo – loved hearing you are enjoying getting out in nature more – there really is nothing quite as restorative for me. The snowdrops must be gone by now and into daffodils and crocuses there I guess now? Does sound like you would love it here then – full of pretty birds and flowers – amazing colours everywhere. Often if I had a rough time at work I’d head out for laps round the park until calm again!  Yes, it is sad how genuinely people like your ex mean what they say totally and just as totally fail to realise that they aren’t truly committed to it when push comes to shove. I think you do just reach a point you are actually kind of sorry for them instead of angry/disappointed. Hard not to lose respect for them too I think.

    I’m not surprised you are panicking. It would be a big deal to have (all?) your family leave the country even if you were not dealing with your trauma, break-up confusion and were settled in your own home somewhere already. So it’s a lot of change at once to work through but that’s what you can and will do, work through it bit by bit. Like a plan for anything, prioritise what needs to be done first and tackle that before moving on and thinking about the next step, else it can very quickly get overwhelming and you do nothing ( been there! ).  From a practical perspective, do you have your own budget sorted? As in do you know what you can and can’t financially afford in terms of somewhere to live and areas that fit the bill. St Alban’s is pretty nice – have you thought about looking for a flat/house share there?  It could help both financially as well as being a half-way house of your own space but also company in the new area.  It’s actually what I did when I moved out from my short stay at my parents after ending up homeless and broke from splitting with my ex ( I did have a lovely set of saucepans though so not all bad……!! ). Worked well whilst I saved up for a deposit on buying my own home and might work for you whilst you see how it shapes up with your ex or not later down the road. I do think you are wise not to rely on him committing to moving out in the time-span you have. Better to get yourself sorted out, reduce some of the uncertainty since you have more than enough to deal with and then see.  Happy to help with plans if I can, it’s kinda my thing as you can probably tell……!

    Shelby m’dear. That is a week and a half for sure. It’s actually my step-uncle’s funeral today and whilst we were not close, it’s yet another reminder to me to make the most of the time we have, as it can all too quickly be taken away from us unexpectedly. Your friend & her husband must be struggling to cope right now for sure. Perhaps it’s a good time to look more seriously at booking your trip away. Do you have another meet-up planned?  If you have the appetite for yet another self-help book, one I found really useful was Steven Covey’s Seven Habits for Effective People, plus some of the related ones.  It really breaks things down into simple and annoyingly obvious yet impactful ways to help manage through, think you might find it helpful – once you have some free time/space away to get to it….hang in there.


    Good morning ladies,

    Shelby – it most certainly has been one hell of a week for you. I am so sorry for your loss and my thoughts are with your, your friends and family who have been affected. I’m glad to hear that you are able to get some space away from your ex but not in the way you did before, you do still feel you have the option to reach out. Sometimes that’s for the best.

    Have you thought properly about scheduling any trips away?

    Michelle – how ironic, a LARGE Buddha! It sounds lovely though. Lovely and secluded and full of colours and just everything I could do with right now! Your little updates make my day!

    Also, thank you for sharing how you dealt with your living situation. You have really been through some sh** yourself haven’t you?! It’s so difficult to imagine as you are now doing so well and yet so encouraging as you have come out of it the other and AND you are now doing so well!

    That is exactly the situation I am trying to prevent. Ending up homeless in June/July with no choice but to rely for a while on my ex and move into his family home which I do not want to do, that is a given fact. So I’ll continue to pursue my search.

    I did think about a flat share however I think with my current head space I’m not sure if that would be good for me in the long run. It’s hard because I don’t quite know what is good for me anymore or what it is I want, I just know I don’t want to be here, living in autopilot, lost and confused. Like you said, one step at a time.

    I have looked into my finances and I can afford a place of my own however I do realise that I will be living from pay check to pay check that way – but I suppose if that’s the way it’s got to be for a while then that’s just it.

    I wish I could stop time for a little while so i could figure things out before my family move but unfortunately that’s not an option.

    I saw a lovely quote yesterday; ‘At some point you have to let go of what you thought should happen and live in what is happening’



    Hi Michelle,

    I really do love to hear about your travel updates, it sounds like a wonderful place to explore, somewhere I would love to see someday perhaps! I am quite like you in that sense, I like to be totally immersed and not around loud tourists too much!

    I am still planning the trip to Australia and NZ in the autumn, that’s my preliminary goal right now. I plan to finish in my job at the end of the summer when hopefully I will have passed my course exams too and have that accreditation to my name. I don’t know how things with my ex will or wont progress but I still have that plan in mind, regardless of what happens with him. If we’re together he can come or stay at home, if we’re not, at least I’ll continue on with my plan solo. That’s the aim, but I’m sure I’ll have a zillion anxiety attacks in the run up to it!

    Having said that I really feel like a short break now – it was January 2017 since I’ve been away and that was just the Canaries but I’m really feeling the lack of travel lately! We were supposed to have gone away for a few weeks last October, but obviously those plans went out the window after the breakup.

    This week has definitely been tough. Thankfully my new baby nephew is thriving and good and I’m grateful for so many things in light of what my poor friends have to go through this week. I’m sorry to hear about your step-uncle, you’re right too. We don’t know the day nor the hour as they say.


    Perhaps a house share with one other person wouldn’t be so bad. I know you’d like to have your own space too, but you could keep to yourself if you want and engage when you want. At least it would be company sometimes if you felt like it and it could open up a new social circle for you in time.

    It’s an absolutely terrifying prospect though, I could not imagine how difficult it would be to have my family away from me, let alone be dealing with all you have to deal with. My therapist always says to me “How do you eat an elephant (not that we would!!)??” He says “one small bite at a time”. So perhaps focus on one thing you need to deal with now and discuss that one thing with your therapist. Maybe say it’s about moving forward with living situation and you need to focus on that right now because it’s manageable and see what suggestions and practical advice ye can come up with and then start working on.

    My ex and I were supposed to meet up this weekend but he called me last night to raincheck as he has been roped in again to help with the family business on Sat and Sun. In fairness he was calling me from outside hospital where he had just brought his dad in who was feeling ill, so I can imagine things are tough for him right now. With that being said, I’m adapting your attitude slightly and not putting too much weight into anything right now and waiting to let actions be a sign.

    I hope you’re having an okay day at work?



    Hi all, hope you don’t mind me posting in here. I’m new to the site and I was going to start my own topic but this one is exactly what I wanted to talk about.

    So first of all, I’m male, I feel I should point that out since it appears most of you posting here are ladies. But even so I’m in the same situation as you all.

    Essentially my girlfriend of 6 years had always been sure she wanted kids and a family whereas I’d never been quite sure. I think because of that neither of us we’re 100% committed as there was always this lingering feeling that we might have to break up at some point. However, after our friends told us they were pregnant (that was probably about 9 months ago) it made me think really hard about that stuff and I came to the conclusion that yes I did want kids. I told my girlfriend and she was ecstatic and we decided we’d start trying around the end of 2019 (to give us chance to get in a few more holidays etc.).

    Around 6 months ago I asked her to marry me as a symbol of our new 100% commitment to each other, she said yes and everything was great. But 3 weeks after that she told me she’d be staying with some friends while I find somewhere else to live as she’d had an ‘epiphany’ and realised that I wasn’t the person she wanted to spend her life with.

    I was absolutely blind sided, she’d shown no indication that this was coming and in fact things had been better between us than they had been in years. Her parents are divorced and I know the whole situation was quite traumatising for her and her brother as children so I sorta chalked it up to her being scared of marriage. She was adamant that that’s not what it was and she’d just realised that we weren’t right for each other, but none the less I assumed if I just went along with it that at some point she would change her mind.

    But here we are 5 months later and I’ve just found out that she’s in a new relationship and I’m absolutely devastated. I think this is the first time I’ve actually realised that she was serious and it wasn’t just cold feet. I’ve missed her for these 5 months but it’s been more in the way that I would have missed her if she went away for work or something, i.e I’m sad to be without her but I’ll make the best of it until she’s back. But now I’m realising that all the stuff I miss and the life we built together is gone forever, so the breakup now feels totally fresh despite the fact it’s actually 5 months old.

    I’ve spent the last few days in tears, struggling to even do the simplest things like shower or eat and the pain is unbearable. I just can’t understand how she went from wanting to marry me to being with someone else in the space of 5 months. And the kicker is that I’m 110% sure I want kids/a family now and I can’t imagine having it with anyone else but her.

    So yea, hope you all don’t mind me joining in on this conversation, but maybe an added male voice might be helpful?


    Morning all…another sunny day here, currently watching some sugar-birds battling it out to own one of the banana trees whilst having our morning tea/coffee – very entertaining to watch them trying to be ferocious given how small and cute they are….

    Kkasxo – ha,yeah, hadn’t twigged but yep, it is funny to be surrounded by huge Buddha’s here and then catch up with you all on here! And yup, I’ve been through the sh** mill a fair few times, which is why I know there’s hope for everyone once they are ready to reach for it. Either with or without saucepans as I’m pretty sure they weren’t exactly an integral part of my healing, even if they were at least a decent set 😉  Seriously though,  I’m actually impressed you know you don’t want to move in with your ex at his family’s house, I can see how it would have been an easy short-term option for you to take, even with the difficult history. But not one I think would be especially helpful or healthy long-term for you, so well done. Even if tight, at least knowing what options your finances give you is one thing dealt with, done.  I would think about setting yourself a time limit on finding somewhere – perhaps aim to take the best place you can find in your budget by end May, so as you can be at least a little settled before your family leave, something like that?

    I loved your quote – that one is just so true to me. Pretty much all pain is caused by fighting reality, wanting it to be different. Every single time that I’ve stopped fighting reality and worked with dealing with it instead, things have started to improve. To me, it doesn’t mean giving up or just letting life happen to you but learning to tell the difference between what you can change and what you can’t. Coveys circle of influence is a very practical example of this but it’s just the same with emotions, people. And it is amazing what happens in your life the more you practice it.

    Shelby – NZ & Australia…..awesome! But with only a zillion anxiety attacks….you really must try harder 😉  Again, seriously though,  I think it’s great you will plan it out for either with or without your ex and I really hope you make it as travel is such a great perspective changer and a great way to look forwards, not backwards.  Btw, I think the Canaries are cool if you stick to the non Blackpool areas – did a house-sit on El Hierro last year and hiked round La Gomera & North Tenerife year before that, all wonderful.  Do you mean you will quit your job to go travel when you say finish?? That sounds a big step for you?  I’m happy to hear you are at least adopting a more realistic attitude with your ex, waiting to see what he actually does, keeping that mind open.

    And hey Griff.  All voices welcome from my perspective, both male and female. I know exactly how rough that feels – it wasn’t until I discovered my ex was in a new relationship that it really hit home for me either that it was over, done. And it was exactly like feeling the break-up was new again, no way round it. In some ways whilst it’s awful it’s also helpful trust me, as it means there is no other choice but to deal with the pain and accept it, but it takes time, a lot of time and trying to hope, to look forwards even when feeling totally lost. You can see the struggles Shelby & Kkasxo have here in not having that same kind of relationship ending.  And you will doubtlessly spend ages circling round trying to understand ‘why’, why did they suddenly change, what went ‘wrong’, what can you do to change it . And the horrible answer is that it really doesn’t matter why and there is nothing you can do to change it. The only way I know through is to look after yourself as best as you can, eat healthy, exercise, make the effort to see friends and family, especially those patient enough to listen many times but also to drag you out from wallowing when the time is right.  You will get a lot of support from this forum I’m sure, many people have been through it and there is an end to the pain as you work through it. Take care and feel free to share whatever you need to, whatever helps.

    I’ll be travelling next couple days so will be a bit more hit/miss on the wi-fi for a while, take care all.

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