Trying to deal with anxiety and loss after relationship break up

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  • This topic has 1,586 replies, 52 voices, and was last updated 2 days ago by Sammy.
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    @Rob my heart is breaking for you tonight. Thank you for having the courage to share your story. I’m at a loss of what to say as 20 years and for it to be all over is unimaginable. We are all here for you and understand the pain of heartbreak at least. I hope you have support around you too. Sending lots of love to you from Tinybuddha forum x


    @Shelby thank you so much for taking the time to offer that perspective. It makes a lot of sense to me and I can almost hear my ex saying the same thing about being able to still have all the enjoyable aspects of our relationship without the romance. In fact she used the term “emotionally mature” when we first discussed remaining in contact after we broke up.

    Your insights about the ‘pull’ are also very helpful, and even though I don’t want to believe it, I know rationally you are right that it is a security blanket that in the long term will hurt. Ultimately it is a question of how much I value myself – how much emotional pain I put myself through for others’ benefit – and I still have a lot of work to do with that but your advice has helped immeasurably, thank you! Thanks too for your recommendation to look up attachment styles – a useful framework for sure (I’m definitely anxious-preoccupied).

    It sounds like unfortunately you have a difficult decision of your own to make in regards to your friend. I hope that you are kind to yourself in the process. xx

    @genie Thank you for your kind words! I am indeed proud of myself for opening my heart despite the risks, and consider myself lucky to have such a capacity to love deeply in different ways, even though the pay off is that the pain is deep too. Whinging can be good. 🙂

    @rob – so sorry to hear about your unimaginable pain. I too don’t have anything useful to say. You have done so well to get this far. I hope posting here can at least make you feel a little less alone. Love to you!


    Hmmm, lots of anger/resentment the last day or so. I read about 70 pages of this thread, just to keep myself from reaching out to her angrily. It brought me a lot of comfort seeing that others experienced this feeling too. Just angry that it seems to have been so easy for her comparatively. I think she could never contact me again and be perfectly fine with it and here I am pining for her, still. I’m confident I’m at the “no point of contacting” phase though so at least that’s something.

    I suppose I’m feeling angry at the world in general too. I feel like I was given a glimpse at what love could be like – after waiting so long for it (I’m in my late 20s) and just as I thought I was getting somewhere it was taken away. Oh well – I know I’ll survive the day like I have all the others. Thanks to whoever may read this!


    @adelaide1 you are doing so well chick. Don’t be so down on yourself! You seem to be going through the stages that are expected and at a much better pace than I did. It took me years to see how wrong my relationship was and realise my worth. I put him on a pedestal, you need to stop doing the same and remember something better or greater is waiting for you out there. You as a person are strong, you have so much to offer. So feel the anger and let it remind you, you are strong to have tried and will come out of this even stronger. Each day will get easier but don’t suppress the emotions feel them and release them and soon you’ll have let go and ready for your next chapter. Keep chanting to yourself positive words. Sooner or later they sink in!


    Hi all,


    Adelaide, i’m pretty sure the anger is normal. All part of the process. In fact, I’d actually love to be angry, it has always helped me move on from things in the past. But in the three breakups with my ex, anger never came. Mildy miffed at times but no realt anger. Family and friends have even tried to generate it for me towards him or the situation…but still nothing….so maybe that’s why it’s taking me this time to move on or might mean nothing at all. Who knows. I do know that I’m insanely busy at the moment and genuinely don’t have time to think about him. When I’m idle all I do is ruminate. But when I’m busy, less thoughts of him have room to come into my head! I’m not saying distract yourself, but it makes sense, if you have nothing else to do, your brain will revert to familiar well worn thought patterns.

    Definitely try and work on your self worth. It’s my biggest challenge, because apparently if we have good self worth……we can get over things easier because  we’ll realise we’re better off! Or something like that! It’s something i definitely haven’t mastered.

    Genie, thanks for the endorsement but like I’ve written to other people before, I’m not going to be fake and pretend I’ve seen the light. I still would like it to work out with my ex. It doesn’t seem likely and nevertheless there goes my betraying heart! But at least I don’t waste time trying to instigate it, i just think about it, a lot.

    Rob- Sh*t. You have been hit by the proverbial bus. I’m so sorry. It sounds like you know that all you can try to do for the moment is continue on, survive, develop routine and grieve. No-one ever wants the grief, it’s hard and painful, but I guess it’s meant to be. I’m glad to hear you cry regularly and let it out, it’s important to have a release. I hope for you that each day or week or month the pain becomes even slightly less sharp.

    @kkasxo, hope you’re doing okay.


    @shelbyville I went to see my friend after xmas and she is a therapist. She said something which really hit home that helped me give love or new connections a chance. I am taking it very slow because like you my self worth was in tatters after 5 years on and off the merry go around. I’m trying any my new guy has been a godsend so patient.

    My therapist friend said when we lose a relationship we actually think its all about the ex but really it’s actually a loss within us. Theres a hole there we forget who we were and the meaning we had before this person came. So we lose purpose. She said as long as I didn’t find something that gave me purpose, goals, new meaning I would keep trying to fix something that was dead. She sent me this article and it’s was so helpful. Maybe it will give you the push over the last stages.


    I also think that maybe you should get confidence coaching like me. It does really help you see that actually I offered all this and tips the scales to your side. Then the anger will kick in when you start to realise how you are wasting precious time when you could be out there finding love again. You could be happy again. But you have to give things a try wholeheartedly and that takes risk. I hope it helps as its sad that a chick who has so much good advice to give can’t see how worthy she is xx






    I also think if you are like me the reason you do badly want it to work out with your ex is not because it was good (because let’s face it, it wasn’t how could it be if someone let us go not once but numerous times after we gave them love & after all the intimacy both emotional and physically )This all stems from lack of self belief and worth. If you don’t correct that you will push away happiness that is to come. You are basically saying to yourself I will never find someone who will be attracted to me in the same way. When in reality there is that someone waiting  and willing to give you all the things your ex couldn’t give but unless you believe you are worthy of it you will fall into repetitive cycle in finding flaws and magnifying the good times with the ex. Each time the possibility of creating something new you will unconsciously pass up all because of the fear of risking it all again and believing you are worthy of a happy ending. Instead you hold onto what you had.


    Thanks @Genie and @shelby. I appreciate the encouragement a lot! Soon after I posted that I started feeling bad about being angry and berating myself for all the mistakes I made during the relationship. This always happens, even when the anger towards someone  is justified. I think it speaks to my lack of self worth again in that I always focus on what I’ve done wrong rather than giving myself space to feel when others have hurt me.

    So the anger has just turned to sadness, which I find even more annoying because at least anger feels more productive. I think the sadness this time is about the realisation that I am likely going to have to cut all contact if I really want to move on. Not having her in my life still seems daunting but I think everyone who has said that contact doesn’t help while the emotional connection is there is right. My brain knows this and yet I can almost hear my poor hopeful hert go “but…”

    You’re definitely right Shelby that keeping busy helps! One thing I made sure to do, even immediately after the break up was find as many ways to distract myself as I could. The one silver lining of this is that it has meant I have connected with friends who kinda fell into the background when my ex and I were together, and they have shared their own stories of heartbreak which has made us closer. I talked to one the other day who was helpful reminding me that my ex is not always worthy of the pedestal I put her on.  Of course, that’s only my side of the story but it’s been a good way to get my rose coloured glasses off. She did say that it took her close to two years to get over her first heartbreak which on one hand is very alarming to me and in the other is comforting because it makes me feel like I’m doing okay in the scheme of things. Like, despite feeling quite sad the past few days I did have pockets of happiness and functioned fairly well at work. One of my colleagues told me yesterday that I am a great person to talk to when she needs a pep talk, which I find funny because I have hardly been in a pep talk mood. If only I could give more to myself!

    I don’t really have anything planned this weekend so hopefully I can keep myself distracted enough. I think I am at the stage you were at awhile ago where you were too scared to contact your ex because you knew it likely wouldn’t give you the reaction you wanted. I guess that’s better than having to resist the urge to contact them eh.

    Thanks for enabling me to come into your thread and dump so many of my thoughts. I can understand the feeling like an imposter when you are still struggling yourself but your replies really have helped me. 🙂

    Genie – the insights you shared about finding new purpose and self worth resonated with me also. Thanks for sharing. I hope things continue to go well with the new guy!






    • This reply was modified 6 months, 2 weeks ago by Adelaide1.

    Hi all,

    Back online and now perched on my balcony in Krabi, Thailand. Loving being warm and sunny again – as well as all the awesome food 🙂  Definitely makes all the long years commuting and working my proverbial off worth it now!

    Anyway – onto more important things, you guys.

    @ Adelaide. Being able to feel anger is awesome. It’s not easy for a lot of people, especially if you’ve been brought up as a people pleaser or have low selfesteem. I found as I went through the various stages post break-up I’d see-saw back and forth through the different stages of sadness, anger, fear, acceptance, peace, forgiveness – it wasn’t a straight-forwards x to y to z thing.  Being angry means your self-esteem is alive and kicking, which is a good thing. A great thing in fact. I was incredibly angry at how fast my ex was ok, just didn’t seem fair when I was in so much pain.  These days I’m actually grateful that he did it as I like myself as the person I am now so much more. So it does change and you will flip-flop around, for lack of a better description but eventually the helpful feelings last longer and longer.  I think its fantastic that the experience has opened your eyes, recognising that you do want a relationship, it is possible for you. No wonder you are angry, you just think it’s possible and it’s whipped away from you.  If you’ve read 70 pages odd you’ll probably have seen my post on where one of the things that helped me the most was being determined to “stay open”. To not let one bad experience stop me from trying again. To not close myself off from trusting again. Not easy and it takes time and baby steps – but I firmly believe you too will come out the other side happier and stronger.

    @Genie. I love the fact you shared Mark M’s post – I love his whole blog and have often recommended sections/articles. He just has a great no nonsense approach, as well as a wicked sense of humour. His advice is usually spot on, if people can take it in the way it’s intended – he doesn’t sugar coat anything. Sounds like things are still going well with your new guy, slow and steady and sharing your fears & hopes. Awesome.

    @Rob. Having been with my other half twenty years in a couple of months, I fully understand the size of the hole that is left. Keep reaching out, either here or with friends nearby, we’re all here to support you as needed. Share your pain as many times as you need to. Focus on the here and now, keep yourself fed, sleep as best as you can, wash. The basics. It’s pretty much all you can do whilst it’s still so overwhelming. As above, you will cycle through a sh*t lot of emotions. Feel them but when you reach drowning point – reach out for help. You don’t need to go through this alone.

    @Shelby. Yeah, it’s a shame you still haven’t reached the anger stage huh. From everything you have shared I would suspect you find anger hard in general. After all, it’s a confrontation of sorts – and you’ve mentioned that your general mode of operation is to run/take flight from anything like that. It’s also easy to feel that anger is “bad” when you’ve been brought up to keep people happy. Easier to just keep the peace and bury those feelings else you might lose control eh.  Intellectually you know it’s ok to be angry but emotionally you just aren’t used to dealing with it. Being angry also means accepting he isn’t perfect, isn’t deserving of that pedestal you still have him on. And if you have to take him down from the pedestal then you have to admit it really is over. And I don’t think you want that – you still believe and hope in your secret heart of hearts that he is still the one for you, hoping against hope that he will realise it too. Like I said, I have seen some really good friends get stuck at this point, great people who remain single twenty years later as no new relationship ever “measures up” to that one guy. Despite everything reality and their friends and family tell them :-).  So it’s not something anybody else can really help you with. At some point you’ll either decide you do want to give a real relationship a go and will let him go from that pedestal – or you can keep him there and stay safe from trying again.  Being busy is a good way to build new habits that lessen the pain but eventually it needs dealing with if you want to move on. Your choice, as always. Both are fine, just different paths in this adventure of life. Just don’t be unaware of where your choices lead you.

    @Kkasxo. How goes it m’dear? New job settling in ok or all a bit over your head and swamped with new people and things to do?!  Realised you never said how you coped with your family going back home – are they all back now or are some still with you? I’m mentally sending you a picture of the sparkling blue sea and tropical jungle I’m staring at to help with that depressing British winter!!

    Take care all.


    Morning ladies,

    Apologies for the recent lack of communication. Work is draining to say the least. I’m out of the house for 12 hours a day and it is an extremely mentally draining & demanding job so I don’t even have a moment to myself whilst at work and once I get home it’s shower, cook, bed – what a life eh?! Back in this shitty rat race. Honestly that’s one thing I absolutely hate about this country! Is that you are expected to work such long hours and basically have no life only to be scratching your make ends meet!

    That partnered with the trigger date/anniversary coming up next weekend again has pushed me to take some mental health evenings after work and just complete shut off. Yesterday was quite bad actually as I seem to be doing okay most days until my PtSd kicks in full frontal and it honestly feels like emotional/mental abuse – except it’s my own brain doing it to me. So that happened yesterday which I then in turn cancelled all my plans and sat there completely withdrawn from the world. @shelbyville – clearly right there with ya with the flight response!

    I’m trying my hardest not to let myself dwell because it’s very easy to get in the cycle of ‘see! I’m never going to get better no matter how well I seem to be doing I always end up here’ but there ya go! Also feeling rather strange lately in a sense that I’m coming to some sort of realisation that actually I’m ‘floating’ through life. I’m not actually living, like purposefully walking through my life. I’m just doing. Working, cleaning, cooking, trying to get back to friends etc etc but my soul is so distant from it all.
    So once again, apologies for going awol!

    @michelle, it is definitely freezing here in the UK. I actually feel like I am coming down with something as a result. My family actually haven’t left yet, it seems packing their life up and going back home is a little more complicated – and I think a big part of that is my mum wanting to extend her stay here just to make sure that I’m doing okay and settled.. so their official date has moved to July of this year once my little sister finishes the school year. And to be honest, I am so grateful and so happy about this because I honestly cannot quite picture them not being here…

    @Shelbyville, how are you getting on?


    Hey Kkasxo! Awesome timing and fab to hear from you. I’m really glad to hear your family are still around actually, I know how much support and comfort that gives you, which you will need over the trigger date again especially.

    I know exactly what you mean by the treadmill. I used to be up at 4am and not home again until 8pm, like you say, enough time to just eat, shower, sleep & repeat! Recover at the weekend just about and then start again! The only way I survived for the 15 years of that was knowing it was towards a plan – avoiding that “walking through life” feeling I understand all too well. Knowing it had a purpose and that each week brought me a little closer to my goal kept me sane – mostly!!  So perhaps when it’s not such an emotional time you could figure out something similar, so that you have a “why” instead of just churning on through. I know it helped me so much.

    How are you & Mr A(1 or 2?!) doing? Is it helpful to have him around still or does he just remind you of the trauma more? Just curious as you haven’t mentioned how you guys are doing. Hoping that’s a good thing…


    Hi @kkasxo, How are you doing? I remembered it must be approaching your date again and wondered how you are coping. The PTSD must be incredibly difficult and whilst I do understand that there are time when you feel like you’ll never get out of it, you do have weeks or months, of not feeling horrendous. So perhaps, it’s something you can learn to just adjust to each time it happens and have your coping skills ready. You are more than PTSD, so much more. So don’t let it convince you otherwise. You’re in charge of your brain and apparently we can rewire it so let’s try to keep on rewiring.

    I too wondered how you are doing with Mr.A. You haven’t mentioned him in a while so I presume all is well or is the lack of feeling like you have no direction, partly to do with your relationship with him? I know the feeling of floating….it’s an old buddy of mine! I thought I had found a direction with my ex and that didn’t pan out so again I don’t know where i’m going or where I’m meant to be at. Apparently in life, we’re right where we’re supposed to be so all the research would tell me, but where on earth is that?!

    I’m working at the moment and it’s 14 hour days and a huge amount of stress, all of which was not anticipated but the individual I’m working for has turned out to be far more demanding and unreasonable that I imagined. Nonetheless, I’m trying to make it through and maintain boundaries where I can, but it’s causing me a lot of stress. However, it’s over in two weeks, so I guess I’m counting down the days and I know I can survive that long. I met a friend about prospective work yesterday and he asked me ideally what would I like to be doing…i’ve been applying to jobs so much to try and get a job to have an income coming in, I never sat to figure out what my dream would be. I have ZERO idea. I went red when he asked me as I was stumped. I don’t know what I want to do. He reminded me of my many skills and expertise and said there are so many fields I could get into, but I just don’t know what I want to be doing. I thought I’d like makeup but I seem to lack the confidence to get that off the ground in earnest.

    I’m thinking of you as the date approaches but don’t give it more weight that you need to. The day before it will be 729 days, the day after – 731 days. You have survived all those days and the date doesn’t make it any more difficult, you’re strong on day 729, you’ll be strong on day 730. As always, we are here if you need to reach out at any point.

    Adelaide, this forum is open and inclusive for everyone, I don’t feel I have sole rights to my thread. It has resonated with many people and sharing our stories definitely makes us feel less alone. You’re doing good, a lot better than I was, so be good to yourself.

    Genie, Thanks for the kind words, I’m glad you seem to be doing better. I appreciate the advice and the link to the other website, I’ll have to take a look.

    Michelle….you’re in Krabi!!!! I’m jealous! I keep telling myself once I get paid from this job, I’m booking a flight somewhere, despite all my bills and still paying off my travel loan! What am I like? But in some ways it keeps me going, even if it doesn’t transpire! I know what you’re saying about my ex, on a rational level I always know what you’re saying. All of the advice on this thread seems logical and practical but sometimes it doesn’t move my feelings. I tried last year to move forward to leave that person behind by various different tactics and I continue to do it, but my heart is not in it to meet someone else. I also tried that last year and I just didn’t feel for that person what I know I can feel, the comparisons continued. I don’t mind putting myself out there and trying to meet someone new, I just feel like its a waste of time though if each time I still end up feeling that it’s not as good a connection as before. I’d rather try and manage being happy on my own. Maybe the anger will come, maybe it won’t. I’m guessing that will come perhaps if a he ends up with someone new, if I’d even find out, but I’m at the point now where I’m tired…obviously I’m run down from trying to keep several freelance gigs going but just tried of not having much direction either. Pick one….I hear you say….yup but my mind and heart are completely silent, don’t know why they won’t give me a bit of guidance on that front!

    Also – is it cheap in Thailand, are you going to do some island hopping or move about? Can’t wait to hear more….


    Hey all

    @michelle your advice over this thread has been really eye opening and I have actually screen shot some excerpts that resonated so thank you for sticking with it! I also love your travel descriptions especially as I have lived in a couple of the places. I hope Thailand is treating you well! I like your framing about anger bring a good thing and the reasons it is hard for people to feel it. Afterwards I was reflecting that as a disabled woman I am extremely socialised to downplay my anger in all kinds of situations. The attitude is generally “be grateful for what you get and don’t expect too much” so it makes sense that I would transfer that into this situation. I also resonated with your reflections on eventually being grateful, and again I reflected that actually I didn’t like the person I was while in the relationship. I was so extremely anxious, looking for validation and just… willing to compromise on key wants because I didn’t believe I deserve them I guess. As I have mentioned briefly my ex found physical intimacy very challenging and so I settled for the idea that we would never really have a regular sexual relationship. I fell for her regardless and I believe my love for her was (is?) genuine. But I was so willing to overlook my own need for that aspect of the relationship, and that is not healthy. It’s perfectly fine for me to admit that I desire that, just as she has a right not to, yet at the time I didn’t value myself enough to admit that, and while I love(d) her regardless I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t extremely frustrating and it would have led to resentment as the relationship went on. So yes her letting things go definitely is allowing me to explore – and get to rediscover – myself and my values more.

    Anyway I had a good counselling session yesterday – mentioned how posting here is helping a lot! On top of the relationship, last year, some major stresses happened in my life which I am still working through as well. It was definitely the most unsettling and one of the most difficult years I’ve had. So thank you for the reminder to be good to myself Shelby.

    Had an unexpectedly emotional day at work today after messaging with a friend about some relationship issues of their own which triggered me. I ended up going to the bathroom to cry, which I really didn’t expect but feelings come as they do! We ended up meeting up later for a coffee and having a very deep and meaningful conversation (with some more crying on my end). Again, not something I anticipated on a random Tuesday but maybe the universe thought we both needed the connection. It’s weird how this experience has allowed me to share vulnerabilities with people I otherwise wouldn’t and vice versa. Being a human eh… what a ride.

    Thanks for reading, and for your continued kind words. Take care all.


    @michelle yes that article resonated when me too. Great content. Sometimes you need a dose of reality and straight talking! Otherwise if I let my feelings consume me I would continue spiralling like I was deeper into feeling unworthy and despair. It’s almost like the devil vs angel battle on a constant basis. My emotions creep in whispering “you will not find the same love. Any new guy will not match, new guy will leave you too so don’t let him in etc etc slowly wearing me down ” but I have had to literally shout out aloud or chant on my runs “I am going to love it will be a new kind, and if I believe it even better. I will not let myself be defeated. I will be happy etc” so f u stupid voices. The new guy and I are taking it very slow. I don’t feel pressured to be more than I can be for him right now and he has been a breath of fresh air. I now have new hope that with time I can create something special with him. It’s not easy but he is incredibly patient. I always try to focus on his dreams etc so it’s not all about me. Fingers crossed.


    @shelby I get it I really do, some days I’m so tired of this world because I feel like I have had the best and I cant possibly get what I want. It is these thoughts that have drained me though so now I’m trying to change that I’m making a huge push towards a more positive attitude to life. In stead of dwelling on what can’t be changed and has passed.

    It doesn’t sound like you are ready for a relationship because you are comparing and trust me as long as you do that no one will ever match up because no one will be a clone of your ex. Tbh is your ex even worth the comparisons? Everyone that has eventually moved on would say what the fuck was i thinking?!. Exes will always carry a special place in your heart forever but you need to realise on your own accord that being with your ex was not right or else you would not be where you are now. You said you didn’t feel anger I think you did I read all this thread when I was at my lowest at xmas. Your ex said he would resent you if you tried again. Your self respect kicked in and you were done. That feeling of someone resenting you after all you have done for them and loved is a sickening feeling it carried you into putting yourself out there doing stuff for yourself. What set you back was the texts which is a shame because you are your own enemy. Had you deleted and blocked you ex no. And social media you would not have gone backwards. You might gave found yourself in my position. Not fully ready to jump in to a serious relationship but taking baby steps and risk to create a new adventure with someone new..

    I suggest you make a list of all the flaws your ex actually had which there will be plenty for you to have not worked out. Instead of seeing him with rose tinted glasses, write down how the person you loved made you feel at each break up. How the comment of resentment made you feel. This will make any self respecting being pull themselves out of putting their ex on pedestal. I guarantee you will have done more, loved harder bent over backwards so when that scale starts tipping by now you should be saying I DESERVE BETTER. I AM GOING TO GET BETTER. I WILL NOT LET one persons lack of reciprocated love define my entire life!


    like Michelle said be wary of where your choices are taking you in life and what you may regret trying or missing with someone new. If this had been a new fresh break up then sympathy and molly coddling is often needed but chick theres a huge world out there for you to explore. New adventure to be had!


    What happened with your close friend? Did you cut contact? If so that’s sad you could have gone on adventure with him. Book a mini break even if you don’t have funds do something local after your project ends have fun. Snap yourself out this funk!


    @adelaide I have so much respect for you despite your disability you continue to live life as it should be lived. With courage and passion. I know people often compare the longevity of relationships as some sort of marker but I truly believe the feelings you had in the short space are identical to what I experienced in 5 years. That is why when I read your insights and how you are doing I feel motivated to do better. Your ability to recognise that the relationship caused you to feel all the bad things so you deserve better us exactly what I was trying to convey to @shelbyville in my prev post. You did it so much more eloquently.


    Keep going chick. Proud of you. We are all going to come out on top! Xx

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