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Thread: 7 months later, I still love him

  1. #21
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    Originally Posted by dias
    He was not a different person up north. You just didn't know this aspect of his character that emerged when you moved to London. Different environments trigger different aspects of our character. You couldn't predict this change unfortunately.
    Totally agree.

  2. #22
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    Originally Posted by Hollyj
    What do you love about him?

    He treated you like crap for the majority of the relationship. You should have ended it long ago. He also sounds like a man child.

    Are you still in touch with this guy?

    I think that making your life fuller (volunteering, clubs that involve your interests, Meet Ups etc...) and moving back home will help.

    Never make your life about another person.
    No, I haven't had any contact with him since January. He sent a text on the anniversary of my dad's death saying 'thinking of your family today' (very impersonal) to which I replied thank you, and that was it. Otherwise, been NC.
    What do I love about him? That's a tricky one. I think it was more to do with the comfort and companionship we shared. I was comfortable with him, we had some laughs and I miss his cuddles. I know...not a solid basis for a relationship by any means!

  3. #23
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    Hey there, Jen. Sorry to hear you're still in the spins a bit. Been there. Grieving these things is a strange process, non-linear. I'd say I spent the 7 months following my last breakup—also a 3 year relationship—in much the same shoes: there she was, always on my mind, scratching away, throwing my mind back on the treadmill through the ashes.

    I have a slightly different take on things than some of what's been written, which I'll admit is informed by the bias of my own experiences and also my read on your language, how you frame this, very narrative-oriented, writerly. (Yes, I remember your vocation from past threads.) You might not love what I'm going to write, but know that it comes from a place of respect, and with the hope of nudging you an inch or two off that treadmill.

    Anyhow, I don't believe what you're describing right now is "still loving" him. Or even, really, love. And when you can land on that—and land on what you are using the word "love" to keep buried in the closet of your head and heart—you'll find the freedom from this you're searching for and find yourself on a path toward something so much greater than you’ve known.

    Because the "I still love him" stuff is a nice story, sad and destabilizing as it is. There is pain in it, but there is comfort. The comfort of tragic movies and songs, of being devoured and destroyed by the all-powerful force that is love. You get to be Anna Karenina, the heroine of an epic tale, rather than, you know, you.

    Obsessing about him is easy, in short. It’s a coping mechanism, your version of drugs or booze, as I think he may have served that role a bit more over the past 3 years than you’d like to admit. It allows you to avoid turning the lens inward and asking what’s up with you to be obsessing about him—and, by extension, what’s up with you to have found yourself in this place at a point in life where society tells us we’re supposed to have figured it all out. That stuff is humbling, even temporarily humiliating. But there is value in it.

    Here's a maybe more accurate, if wince-inducing, title to this thread: "7 months later, and my ego is still on fire." That demystifies things, the things you’re feeling, stops giving him power he does not have and never did. It makes this a story, or this chapter in it, not a story about love, but about your ego: how it responds to pain, how it lead you to get entangled with and attached to someone who did not make much sense, how it can use some taming.

    Part of you still wants this to "make sense." You're replaying everything in your mind, shuffling the story around, assigning lofty meaning ("I still love him") to it all in part to sidestep viewing it—and yourself—under the unforgiving lights of the operating room. We can talk plenty about his shortcomings, but it's clear, from everything you've written, that you don't have much respect for this man, and, if I had to bet, you never really did. I don't think you ever believed he was really on your level—but, hey, dinners, flowers, spooning through a movie, and the general drug of feeling adored are all powerful forces. Good for the heart, sure, but really good for the ego. And your ego is in withdrawal right now.

    That lovely era between you two—lovely but not so deep, a cursory shade of love even at its best—ended a long, long time ago. Or, put another way, proved itself to be kind of shallow a long, long time ago. The guy bringing you those flowers and so on—well, he was also a mid 20s dude whose interests pretty much began and ended with hanging with the mates, partying, skimming the surface of what life has to offer. And it didn't take long, in the scheme of things, for his truest self to poke through.

    By then you were attached. To both him, some idea of what he represented, and to willing that idea into reality through gritted teeth in order to keep something else from surfacing. And so he became a mirror to a part of your truest self: the person who, along with your beautiful heart and sharp mind, has some unresolved pain lurking around that served as your navigator. I recall you being abandoned by your father, a pain I know very well personally. It’s worth asking, for instance, if in this man you found a proxy for that pain—someone with similar character defects with whom you could write a different story. A story of love instead of neglect, rather than a story of someone—you—who is still, at 34, a bit hardwired to confuse love with neglect.

    In case I sound harsh or preachy, a personal story so you know I’m just writing here from the same trenches, covered in the sam muck.

    That 3 year relations of mine? It had both a similar foundation and maturity gap. She was adoring and infatuated from minute one—younger than me, enamored of me, and it didn't hurt that she was preposterously beautiful by any and all standards and that our physical chemistry registered on Richter Scales. But gun to head, even at the best times, I think I would have readily confessed that I had real doubts about our connection, that I believed there was something more out there for me—and, by extension, for her too. Something richer, truer, than the thing we had. But, lo and behold, a few months became a few years and that temporary chapter of my life was my life.

    When things got bad I rendered myself a tragic hero, first trying to make them right while eating pain for dinner in much the way I'd lived off affection earlier. When that failed—when it ended, when she grabbed the wheel from me and steered things toward the end in a vicious ways—I was the Saddest Man to Walk the Earth. Devoured and destroyed by love, and so forth. I did love her, sure, but I did not respect her. By which I don’t mean I treated her horribly and believed her to be "lesser" than me, but that our connection was not based on respect. If anything, the opposite. In her I found someone who validated—first through affection, later through pain—the parts of myself that I didn't respect. When it all ended those parts were exposed—and, like any nerve that gets exposed, it hurt. I did not want to see those things, since they challenged my idea of myself, of where I actually was on my journey and evolution.

    Simply put, I was shallower than I thought I was and my desire to make her—and what we shared—deeper than it was was a way to avoid acknowledging that.

    Once I started seeing it along those lines—seeing the pain and ruminating less triggered by her and love than by what she stirred up—something shifted. Humility conquered, became the navigator. I was 37. I had lost. Lost the plot, lost control. So it goes. Blank page for a new story, a truer one. I dug into the pipes, scraped away some corrosion. Lots of daddy stuff. Ugh. Not fun. But somewhere along the way something happened: I found a greater respect for myself than I’d had in the past—a respect not only for the obvious things that make me worthy on, say, a dating app profile, but for my more fragile corners. There was power in that, a soft kind of power I really didn’t know was in me. I learned to cherish the parts of myself I’d shunned, neglected, and started moving toward people who could cherish them back.

    I could end all that with a pretty happy story, telling you about where I am today, two years later, and the relationship I've been in for the past 5 months, how different it is, how it is a sense of shared respect, rather than flowers and cuddling, that make it so electric. There would be some truth to that, sure, but it would also be a Hallmark card. Too simple. My girlfriend is not a reward for my journey and my work, nor is she an escape hatch from the work I've still got to do, the journey I'm on. She is not a plug to my void. She is a person, layered and complicated in ways that are familiar and foreign, just as I am layered in ways that are familiar and foreign, to her and to myself.

    And it's seeing it like that, I think, that is the real reward. A clearing of my lenses, a shift in the paradigm. Some heartache lead me here—not just my last relationship, but the heartache of life it stirred up and taught me to look at clearly.

    I just wrote a little novel, didn't I? I'm tempted to delete it, but I'll post it anyway. I hope there's a word or two in here that helps. Feel whatever you need to feel right now. It's okay. You're moving toward something profound, are already there. It's hard and lonesome, I know, but you are getting stronger right now.
    Last edited by bluecastle; 06-07-2019 at 12:59 PM.

  4. #24
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    Originally Posted by Carus
    Going back to your first paragraph in your OP, don't be ashamed....Goodness, 7 months is not that long really. I've seen people still recovering for a lot longer than that, myself included*

    Just continue putting one foot in front of the other and keep focusing on your healing. Put some short term and long term goals and plans in place. Take care of your health and eventually you will start to pull up*

    Sending You Strength

    Carus*
    Thank you Carus. I've been told it takes 2 years to get over someone. Ouch. I really hoped it would be better by now, and it is on the whole, but there are times when I miss him dreadfully.

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  6. #25
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    Originally Posted by dias
    He was not a different person up north. You just didn't know this aspect of his character that emerged when you moved to London. Different environments trigger different aspects of our characters. You couldn't predict this change unfortunately.
    This is so true. We had mutual friends up north. He didn't really have the same opportunity to party like he does in London. You're right that this change couldn't have been predicted. Does make me wonder how well you really know your partner though.

  7. #26
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    Originally Posted by jenberry
    No, I haven't had any contact with him since January. He sent a text on the anniversary of my dad's death saying 'thinking of your family today' (very impersonal) to which I replied thank you, and that was it. Otherwise, been NC.
    What do I love about him? That's a tricky one. I think it was more to do with the comfort and companionship we shared. I was comfortable with him, we had some laughs and I miss his cuddles. I know...not a solid basis for a relationship by any means!
    Good for you! I suggest that you block him.

    I think that it will be easier for you once you focus on how he treated you when you moved;especially, after your dad passed. The bottom line, is this guy was not there for you, and chose his buddies and partying over you. This is who he is.

  8. #27
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    Originally Posted by jenberry
    Thank you Carus. I've been told it takes 2 years to get over someone. Ouch. I really hoped it would be better by now, and it is on the whole, but there are times when I miss him dreadfully.
    Two years to move on from a three year relationship. Who told you that?

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  10. #29
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    Originally Posted by Hollyj
    Good for you! I suggest that you block him.

    I think that it will be easier for you once you focus on how he treated you when you moved;especially, after your dad passed. The bottom line, is this guy was not there for you, and chose his buddies and partying over you. This is who he is.
    Yes, this is who he is. He'll treat any other girl the same since getting close to someone represents death to him! Ah the two years thing is just something a few friends have told me, from their own experience, but I don't take it too seriously. Probably takes that time to reach complete and utter indifference.

  11. #30
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    Bluecastle

    Hi Bluecastle,
    Wow...I was hoping you’d still be on these boards, thank you so much for responding. You’re right that the grieving process is entirely non-linear. Whether or not I loved what you said does not matter as much as how I benefit from your reply, and I always find such healing and honesty in your words.
    You’re right that ‘love’ is the wrong word. It’s a bit of a catch-all term for ‘still lingering over the remains of a relationship’. I’m not in love with him. He has done everything imaginable to ensure that being in love with him at this stage would be akin to Stockholm syndrome. I’m not sure what it is, if not love. I miss him, his company, occasionally his touch (which, P.S. wasn’t worth writing home about). You’re right also that what is actually going on my life is pretty dull (work, resting and recovering from surgery) and so my mind meanders frequently into tragic love story territory. But, at its very core, this was more a tale of two people who liked each other initially, at a time in both their lives when seeing where a mutual attraction would take them, but who were ultimately incompatible in almost every conceivable way.

    Your assessment of the ego and mine specifically is startling. Taking him out of the equation, here I am still suffering from feelings of rejection and wondering how I ended up in this situation in the first place. You’re quite right – this has nothing much to do with him and more to do with ego withdrawal. Withdrawal from the idea I had of him that never transpired.
    I’m sorry to hear that you are also familiar with the pain of parental abandonment. And you have hit the nail on the head: my ex resembled my father in so many (scary) ways. Physically, they are scarily similar to the point I even questioned whether I had missed this glaringly obvious sign not to go there.

    Your story is scarily similar to mine with the small difference that I hoped, from the beginning, that my ex was ‘The One’ rather than wondering if there was anyone more suited to me. I also think I respected him more than he deserved. But maybe those are just differences between the sexes. It’s amazing that you’ve really dug deep and looked at those parts that were so pained, initially from your father’s abandonment then the relationship which served to reflect this back to you. How did you do that?
    I’m so glad that your story does have a happy ending. Not in the relationship sense (selfishly because I’m sad to hear you’re not single!), but in the sense that you know yourself much better now and have come to respect those parts of yourself that were previously neglected. So, maybe my ruminations are less to do with my ex and more to do with my ego withdrawing from its addiction to someone who was not good for me, and who represented unhealed parts of myself that need tending to. Maybe I’m just crying out to love those parts, and my ex provided me with a bandage over them for a period of time...
    Thank you again for your reply Bluecastle. I’m so grateful you decided not to delete it!

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