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Thread: Second guessing again

  1. #11
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by catfeeder
    Focus on healing, and make it a private goal to surprise everyone, including yourself, with your resilience and ability to bounce back to create a fabulous future for yourself. If there's a shot in hell of ex returning, THAT would be the most fertile ground for it. It's your percentage play: either ex will respect your recovery and be curious about you in the future, or you'll have legitimately healed and she will become less and less relevant over time.

    That's a win/win, and the complete opposite of what hanging onto crumbs would buy you.
    Glad to have helped a bit. Catfeeder, per usual, really nailed it with the above.

    I had two big relationships in my 30s, both ending before I wanted them to end. Humbling stuff, especially for me, a guy who spent a lot of early life dodging humility with ninja-like gusto. This was always my approach. Partly it's because I'm something of a mercenary when it comes to protecting my own core, but even when all I wanted into the world was for the ex to "come back to me" and reignite that core I knew there wasn't a chance in hell that she'd return to a leaky, wobbly vessel or that anything remotely close to the kind of relationship and connection I seek (in the abstract, with a specific human) can be built on a foundation that includes my weakness.

    Probably I had an "advantage" of sorts. I spent a lot of my 20s breaking up with people, in short term and longterm relationships, who would have preferred I didn't break up with them. The ones who froze themselves in the first state of grief, putting on maudlin and manipulative shows in order to convince me I'd made a mistake—they were the ones who just confirmed my choice. The ones who took it with grace, walked on and flourished with flair—they were the ones who had me second guessing myself, even reflecting on where I, not them, lacked the juicy internal juju required for sustainable intimate connections.

    Can only speak for myself, but I suspect when I look back on my life I'll find those two junctures of immense heartache to be some of the most important and rewarding of my journey. With the pain now a memory, the humiliation softened into humility, what I recall more vividly is the personal transformation and transformative experiences those moments produced. A love of yoga. A motorcycle trip through Japan. A cloud forest in Ecuador. Learning to cook exquisite meals. New friends and deepening old friendships. Purchasing my first home. Getting absurdly fit. Connecting with myself on a level that made those past connections, formative and fun as they were, strike me as shallow: a taste of thing I want from life, but not the meal.

    So, time to start walking that path, for real. Find your Athens, your sun. Date yourself as you'd want another to date you.

  2. #12
    Member SixOfOne's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by bluecastle
    ...a guy who spent a lot of early life dodging humility with ninja-like gusto.
    Oh my god this made me laugh. 😆 And I know exactly what you mean about walking away with dignity as opposed to attempting to manipulate with grief. I have to give myself credit: at no time during the breakup did I beg and plead and cry and argue. I honored her desire to split and didn't bombard her with texts and emails and phone calls. I didn't see or hear anything from her for at least a month, at which time she suggested a get-together. It was then that she expressed the hope for us to remain friends, and it was then that I agreed. Big mistake, but during it all I feel it was the only overt mistake I made. But I've rectified that now, so it's history. On we go.

  3. #13
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Love your attitude.

    And that's not a "big mistake" or even a mistake, in my opinion. Her truth at that moment was that she wanted to remain friends. We can write stories about whether that truth was genuine or self-serving—that's the ego, our internal novelist gunning for the Pulitzer. You agreed because, right then, it was your truth. And we can write stories about how that was really just desperation and despair—but, again, ego.

    I like facts. Emotional facts are strange, because they can change shape quickly, as if planet earth could go from spherical to cubical, and back, in the matter of seconds. Still, the ability of feelings and emotions to shape-shift doesn't negate the truth of whatever they are, at any given moment, so always cut yourself some slack. All that was just turbulence on the flight, not a crash. If these journeys—be they through love or through grief—were totally linear and turbulence-free we humans would be bored our of skulls and much more simplistic animals than we are.

  4. #14
    Member SixOfOne's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by bluecastle
    And that's not a "big mistake" or even a mistake, in my opinion.
    That's slowly making its way through to me. Thanks again, and all the best to you.

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  6. #15
    Member SixOfOne's Avatar
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    “Impermanence is bittersweet, like buying a new shirt and years later finding it as part of a patchwork quilt.”
    - Pema Chödrön

  7. #16
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Not sure what's going on with your life right now—work, finances, and so on—but if possible I'd use this moment as time to plan something nice for yourself. Maybe it's big trip, or a small getaway. Maybe it's just a massage and a nice dinner. Something.

    I have a rich history of doing that, and while some of it certainly borders on "running away," like the time I flew to England to jump out of plane when I was 28 so I could forget what having sex with Whatshername was like, much of it has been a version of "running into" my feelings in places and environments that invariably produce new ones.

    It could be super small, like looking at a map, searching online, and finding something, or some place, within a two hour drive that you've never seen, never been. And then just go. See the thing, find a place to eat, sleep in a weird motel. You'll have an awesome conversation with some waiter, feel like the loneliest man in the planet for an hour in the motel. Somewhere in all that you also feel like you, and it feels kind of great, or at least needed.

    Also, it fills time, allows time to take on its truer properties, so a day is just a day rather than Another Day, and so on.

  8. #17
    Member SixOfOne's Avatar
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    All great ideas. Right after she broke up with me in June I went to Texas for two weeks to spend some time with my daughter. I also stayed with two of my closest friends, guys I've known since third grade (one hundred years ago). These guys are closer to me than my actual brothers. All people that love me unconditionally. And I noticed during that trip how fun and easy it was to strike up conversations with total strangers, which is totally out of character for me, in the airports and the Ubers and the restaurants. The trip did me a world of good, and as soon as time and money allow I'll be inclined to seek out that random destination where I don't know a soul. Maybe a beach somewhere...?

  9. #18
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Yeah. As essential and wonderful as our support systems are—those old friends, for instance—there is something equally essential and wonderful in remembering that you can connect with new people, new places. Doesn't need to be romantic. Random, at these junctures, is in ways more powerful. Affirms something inside yourself—something that was there all along but got obscured, outsourced to connection that had lost its connectivity.

    I have this friend of a friend, eccentric dude a decade my junior. Had never met him, but had texted a bit here and there about real estate, which is a hustle of mine. Those exchanges would sometime veer toward motorcycles, something we're both into. Gear talk. This eccentric guy would often go, "Dude, you should come ride my Ducatis!" I'd be all, "Sounds fun," to which he'd propose we meet up the next day. We lived 3,000 miles away—so, um, no.

    A week after my breakup we got into one of these real estate-turned-moto exchanges. I was in Texas, as it happens, haven ridden out there to clear my head from a home I own in a neighboring state. So I'm at a Texas motel, feet in a grimy pool, when he goes, "Dude, we should ride motorcycles together through the changing leaves of Japan." To which I said, "Tell me when." I was riding alongside a basic stranger at the base of Mt. Fuji two weeks later. Dude was kind of a nightmare, to be honest, and I shed approximately 100 gallons of tears behind my mirrored visor, but I'd chalk that trip up to one of the best of my life.

    When you continue to fill yourself up like that—and it needn't be so cinematic, that's just my personal forté—it invariably dilutes other things in the glass. A little mainlining of resiliency to compliment the mourning.

  10. #19
    Member SixOfOne's Avatar
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    That sounds amazing. For me, most definitely would be much less cinematic than Mt. Fuji. Texas is about the most exotic destination that's available to me at this time (although Key West is calling my name), but I catch your drift.

    And I find myself starting conversations with complete strangers almost every time I leave the house. Never anything romantic. Could be the bag boy at the grocery store, the old lady behind the deli counter, the clerk at the UPS store... I've never done this in my entire life. The words just spring out of my mouth. It surprises me and it feels good at the same time. Makes me smile, involuntarily. Must be part of that affirmation you mentioned.

  11. #20
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SixOfOne
    I've never done this in my entire life.
    Any moment in your life when you can utter those 8 words means you are living well. Try to take some comfort in that, here and there. When all is said and done I think it's going to be those moments—when we step outside of ourselves to step further in—that defined a lot of the ride and made it worthwhile.

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