December 7, 2023 at 9:09 am #425906
Hi tiny buddha community,
I am looking for some wisdom and support.
It has been three years since my ex and I broke up, one year since we have not been in contact (except for 2 random and short text arguments after which he said it would be better if we didn’t communicate). We live on different continents (we were in the same location for most of the time we were together but couldn’t handle long distance).
Its been a very difficult past few years. A family member who I loved and who was like a second mother to me passed away. Two other elders in my family passed away who had been the people we would go to whenever my dad had a psychotic break. Then even more elders passed away, to where my grandparents generation is almost completely gone except for one person who has severe dementia. My meditation teacher who I was very close to went through a personal crises and stepped out of contact with his students. Mum retired and father went through many psychotic eps/2 fractures with multiple hospitalizations across the three years and is now bed bound. I was sexually harassed at work and filed a complaint/underwent the process and got the harasser fired. One of dad’s caretakers was crossing emotional boundaries so I no longer deal directly with him which means I am less involved in my dad’s care then I would like. I left an emotionally abusive job for two new part time jobs, but one of those jobs fell through due to external circumstances and I was in a financial crises for six months although now things are more stable (although still not able to save). I have also doubled my work hrs to be able to support mum post retirement.
Through all of this, I have tried to take care of myself as best I can. There are also things in my life that are exciting and I that I have worked to have. There are experiences I have had in the last year through work and friends that have been fulfilling, meaningful and fun. I have developed and grown as a person in so many ways. I am unrecognizable in how my confidence has changed, assertiveness, and in just being able to be able to relax and connect with others. I have had moments of connection with both of my parents that I never thought possible.
But now after my dad’s last surgery/hospitalization in Nov where we were told there was chance he might pass away during the surgery I am so tired. My dad is back home and stable, although bed bound. I have so much grief and exhaustion that I haven’t been able to even go meet him. I don’t feel like meeting any of my friends, conversation and connection both are feeling without value. I dont feel like meditating, dancing, swimming, going out or having nature time, all of these things that are my life line and have kept me stable and mentally ok through these last three years. All I want to do is curl up in my ex’s lap and have a good cry, but he isn’t here. All I wanted to do when the harassment was happening was to talk to him. I feel the need for his warmth and wisdom so much. There are other men who are interested in me, who even seem like good people (dated a string of bad news boys for one of the years in the middle), and who I can see myself exploring something with, but I don’t want anyone new right now, I just want to be with someone who I know and trust and feel safe with and miss so much. I feel like I have done all the things people say you should do to move on, but I keep coming back to thinking how much easier my life could be if he was just here, but he’s not. Its a reality that I cant seem to wrap my head around. I am stuck in a limbo of wanting things to be different, while knowing they can’t be. There were also problems in the relationship, we didn’t have clear communication, arguments were piling up and then he also had a string of really difficult events (mother passing away, brother having a psychotic break and attacking them, legal battle over the house) also during the last three years and he withdrew from me to the point that we really had no relationship left. Because he was also going through so much I was patient for very long but hurt and anger kept building up and eventually I had to just step away. Even now, I know there’s too much hurt and anger in me and when I try to picture us trying to have a relationship I can only imagine it imploding. So in all ways, I know its not a possibility. But I still wake up missing him and have to have a cry before I can start my day. When a day is really difficult like today was, all I want to do is see his face. I have other friends and a therapist but they can’t fix everything just by being there like he could. I don’t know how to get out of this state, to where I’m able to appreciate and connect with the people around me, and where I want to fall in love again, and where I am excited to date again, but it seems like my grief for him gets bigger with time. It’s like I have already lost so much where I didn’t have a choice, here it feels like we both have the choice to be in each others lives but we are choosing separation and that feels really wrong.
I don’t know, this is an overlong post and I think some of it I really needed to get off my chest. Thank you for reading it and I would really appreciate your wisdom/advice/support.
MDecember 7, 2023 at 11:22 am #425908
Welcome back to the forums! The first time we communicated was on June 21, 2016, and we communicated in most of your 40 threads, last time was on May 23, 2022.
“There are also things in my life that are exciting and I that I have worked to have. There are experiences I have had in the last year through work and friends that have been fulfilling, meaningful and fun. I have developed and grown as a person in so many ways. I am unrecognizable in how my confidence has changed, assertiveness, and in just being able to be able to relax and connect with others“-
– good to read all this, congratulations for your positive growth and development, for your confidence, assertiveness, and being able to relax and connect with others!!!
(I am adding the boldface feature to the quotes that follow): “All I want to do is curl up in my ex’s lap and have a good cry, but he isn’t here… I just want to be with someone who I know and trust and feel safe with and miss so much… There were also problems in the relationship, we didn’t have clear communication, arguments were piling up… Even now, I know there’s too much hurt and anger in me and when I try to picture us trying to have a relationship I can only imagine it imploding. So in all ways, I know its not a possibility. But I still wake up missing him“-
– sometimes you felt safe/ trusting when interacting with your ex (in-person and long-distance) and that was comforting. You currently need comfort and you need the feeling of safety and trust, so you miss and long for those times when you felt safe, trusting and comforted with him.
In June 2019, you posted that you were back home, living with your parents after ten months abroad, having left your ex abroad. You shared that you trusted him, and that in the relationship with him, you “felt healthy and happy, and loved”. You and your then boyfriend intended to “try to make things work, in spite of the distance”, but back home, you started doubting the relationship a lot,
You wrote back in June 2019: “I have fallen into the old role of my life revolving around my mum and my primary focus had shifted (from) building a happy, healthy life for myself.. to taking care of my parents and wanting to see my mom happy… My mum feels like my life.. going back to my life with my boyfriend.. feels far off and not real… I am definitely feeling like I had moved backward since coming home”.
4.5 years later (Dec 7, 2023), you shared: “I have also doubled my work hrs to be able to support mum post retirement“- you are a very dedicated daughter, a hard working, caring, sacrificial daughter.
“I would really appreciate your wisdom/advice/support“-
– again, congratulations to the growth you have achieved so far. May your focus and purpose in life shift more and more toward “building a happy, healthy life for (yourself)” (your words, June 2019). You deserve to be more significant in your own mind and to sacrifice your own life less and less.
anitaDecember 8, 2023 at 1:47 am #425921RobertaParticipant
I get where you are coming from, wanting the support and safe space from your ex.
My history was I fell in unrequited love as teenager& then a couple of decades later had a decade on off relationship with that first love. Then for the next decade I would feel the urge/pull to be with him and about once a year we would be in each others company for a couple of hours. Just before I decided to remain celibate for life I wanted one last night with him as I wanted him to be the last person I was intimate with, but I realized that it would be unfair to both of us. Like you I live with my parents/parent I looked after mum with cancer now passed and my dad has dementia so I have an inkling into your sadness. It was the buddhist teachings on relationships that helped me get thrutough times & momements of weakening in my resolve not to take solace in unskillful things & relationships.
I wish you all the best and it will get easier, just hold on to your resolve to look after yourself both physically & emotionally.December 8, 2023 at 6:00 am #425924Dear Anita,It is good to see you again at the forums! I hope you have been well over the past couple of years!Thank you so much for your thoughtful and validating response.Yes, it is when things are the hardest that I miss him the most. I guess these are difficult weeks, and that is why I don’t feel like connecting with new people. It is a shame because it is rare for me to meet people I vibe with. I met a man through work and we had mutual interest, but I am not feeling okay right now to follow up on it.I moved out of my parents house in 2020. I guess I am still not able to live the full home life I wanted because:
I guess for me the big question in building a healthy happy life now for myself is that I don’t see how to be able to follow both my work and my home life goals at the same time. I think part of the reason I struggle to move on is also this, that I don’t feel safe doing the things that would allow me to develop that sense of trust and warmth with a new potential partner, so my ex remains the person I associate these things with.Thank you again for listening!With warmth,MDecember 8, 2023 at 6:05 am #425925Dear Roberta,Thanks so much for your response and your understanding.I am sorry that you have also felt this sadness. Life is hard and the couple of years I had a person to share it with made everything so much lighter and easier, playful, that it took away a lot of the difficulty.If I may ask, are there any teachings in particular that you found supportive?I try to be mindful and stay present with myself, pain and all, but the idea of life without a partner feels bleak. I have been trying to find joy and connection in smaller moments with whoever is around me, rather than depending on a close friend or partner, but it does not feel enough yet.Thank you for reading <3With warmth,MDecember 8, 2023 at 11:47 am #425941
- For me, safety in dating comes in living with a partner and seeing their behavior up close before committing. This is almost unheard of in my country, and I am scared of having men over, because it is not uncommon for women to lose housing over these things. Casually dating in public is also not so openly done, and that makes it harder for those little moments of connection to happen that lead for me to have feelings for someone. I feel I am ready for a serious partnership (outside of these past few weeks) but feel unable to act on this readiness.
- I don’t manage to save enough to host people as I would like.
- I find housekeeping overwhelming because I have trauma around it. This also makes having people over harder, and also makes it harder to set up my home space as I would like.
- I love dancing and playing in public spaces, just hanging out in a park, or walking to the grocery store but these are not very safe things for women to do alone in my country. I do them much much less frequently than I would like.
- Work is the one area that feels very fulfilling, because I feel what I do here in my country makes exponentially the amount of difference it would if I did it in a western context. It is what is keeping me here. My setting, and my being fully grounded in this setting, helps my work be unique and be competitive even at a global level. It also makes me feel like I am helping to build a society more aligned with one I would want to live in. I fear losing this edge and fulfilment/ excitement if I do move abroad again. With my family, my father has a caregiver now who has taken over much of his care, and my mum has family she could move in with, so my family would be cared for if I do move abroad.
Dear Greenshade/ M:
You are very welcome and thank you for welcoming me back to the forums!
You detailed the reasons why, in your country, you can’t live with a man who you are not married to (and you need to live with man so to be able to “(see) their behavior up close before committing“), that you are afraid that if you have men over to your apartment, you might lose your housing, and your social life is limited in other ways.“Work is the one area that feels very fulfilling, because I feel what I do here in my country makes exponentially the amount of difference it would if I did it in a western context. It is what is keeping me here. My setting, and my being fully grounded in this setting, helps my work be unique and be competitive even at a global level. It also makes me feel like I am helping to build a society more aligned with one I would want to live in. I fear losing this edge and fulfilment/ excitement if I do move abroad again”-– It is admirable that you highly value helping your people and your country and that you do the work that you do to make a real difference! And I see why you don’t want to move abroad again.“With my family, my father has a caregiver now who has taken over much of his care, and my mum has family she could move in with, so my family would be cared for if I do move abroad. I guess for me the big question in building a healthy happy life now for myself is that I don’t see how to be able to follow both my work and my home life goals at the same time“-– question, if I may: since it is disadvantageous for you to move abroad, and since your parents don’t need you as a caretaker, can you keep your job if you move to a relatively progressive city in India where landlords would not punish a female tenant for having a male visitor in her home, a place where dating in public is not frowned upon?anitaDecember 8, 2023 at 9:31 pm #425953
Thanks so much for the kind words !
I’m from a big city in Pakistan and with the conflict between the two countries its the hardest place for me to able to move to because of visa restrictions. Which is unfortunate because you are right, with the cultural similarity I would still have the work advantages I do here. And I have family there I would love to meet, plus being able to visit my grandparent’s hometowns.
I think about moving to South America sometimes, or Spain/Italy because I like warm and vibrant places, and I would love to explore the arts and cultures there. Maybe at a different point in my life I will do it, when the pressure to succeed is less :).
MariaDecember 9, 2023 at 7:49 am #425957
You are very welcome. I thought that you were from India, and in the last post I asked if moving from one location to another within India could help you. What you say then, is that you could have maintained your work advantages if you worked and lived in India, only that visa restrictions would make it difficult, being that the two countries are in conflict (and have had a “complex and largely hostile relationship” ever since 1947, when the British India Empire was partitioned into India and Pakistan, Wikipedia)
“I think about moving to South America sometimes, or Spain/Italy because I like warm and vibrant places, and I would love to explore the arts and cultures there. Maybe at a different point in my life I will do it, when the pressure to succeed is less“-
– could you tell me more, if you’d like to, about your pressure to succeed?
anitaDecember 10, 2023 at 5:31 am #425965
Thanks for your response. Let me reflect on this and write back.
MDecember 10, 2023 at 7:26 am #425966
You are welcome and thank you for being the good person that you are. Looking forward to your reflection/ to getting to know more about you.
anitaDecember 10, 2023 at 11:16 am #425968RobertaParticipant
As I understand it there are very few buddhist in Pakistan so you would not be able to receive teachings in person.
I enjoy the teachings from Thubten Chodren and the other monastics at Srvasti Abbey, they have extensive teachings on you tube.
I hope that you find a job that you enjoy and that it pays well enough to meet your needs.