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Thread: can't get over this breakup (1+ years) and it's wrecking my life

  1. #21
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    This is why people should go to doctors, not therapists, first. Don't give up. Look for online support groups.
    Originally Posted by kaninchen

    I was rejected for therapy by the state healthcare system in my country and then by the low-cost private service they referred me to.

  2. #22
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    Originally Posted by Wiseman2
    This is why people should go to doctors, not therapists, first. Don't give up. Look for online support groups.
    I was referred to therapy services by my doctor.

  3. #23
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by kaninchen
    Those things seem so hollow in comparison to the vivid, life-defining relationship they get to enjoy.
    Putting the specifics aside, I'm curious: Do you think, generally, that other people have it better than you? That life is easier for them? Are you prone to viewing other people as competition in a rigged game?

    I ask not out of judgement, but because I'm just trying to understand how much your mode of thinking about all this mirrors a larger mode of thinking.

  4. #24
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    Originally Posted by bluecastle
    I'm very sorry for all this emotional turmoil. Hard on any given, and probably harder on days like these in the world. Can I ask how old you are? It might help with some context in terms of understanding this.

    I wish I had the answer to how to turn off the switch, particularly given all you're describing. From these seats, you're painting a portrait of what sounds like a pretty lousy dude, minus the part where the sex was good. I can't help but get the feeling, reading your words, that part of the reason you're still so strung out on this is because the relationship itself kind of strung you out—that, in short, you're kind of conditioned to seek the very feeling you're here asking for help in not feeling.

    Make sense? It's like you're recreating the drama you had with him—drama being a very different thing than depth—in order to keep "feeling" those feelings. Doubly frustrating, all that, since it's dancing with a ghost, or with yourself, since at this point "he" is really just an idea more than a person. Wonder if you can find a way to kind of see all that—that this is self-generated as much as him-generated—and, with that, see it all as less mysterious.

    Quick question: What are two moments, that have nothing to do with him or men, when you have experienced joy over the past year?
    Missed this--sorry! I'm very early 30s.

    And yes that does make sense. The relationship had so many backs and forths and involved lots of pining for me (for more commitment, for him to grow up), so in some ways the breakup has just been a continuation of those feelings, albeit now without any further imput from him. (Of course it's excrutiating, because he made someone else pine too and then became everything she always wanted.)

    I genuinely don't think I have experienced much joy over the last year. I can't think of a single moment of pure joy. There's been relief and faint happiness and some pleasant times but so much of it has been tainted with grief. I recently looked back at some dairies from before the breakup and I was practically a different person: I enjoyed things, I had hope for the future, everything I did wasn't weighted with this endless sadness. I just want this overwhelming sadness to go so I can learn to be content with my life as it is.

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  6. #25
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    Originally Posted by bluecastle
    Putting the specifics aside, I'm curious: Do you think, generally, that other people have it better than you? That life is easier for them? Are you prone to viewing other people as competition in a rigged game?

    I ask not out of judgement, but because I'm just trying to understand how much your mode of thinking about all this mirrors a larger mode of thinking.
    Other don't have it better than me in everything. I have lots of gifts and have had some wonderful experiences (mostly in the past). But there's been a lot of misfortune and terrible experiences too. I either feel very unlucky, or endlessly question the role I've played in some of these misfortunes/what I did to deserve them.

    And the thing I feel most unlucky in is that I never ended up with a partner, that my 'big relationship'--the one with the most feeling and that came at the time when people settle down-- turned out like this. I know other people struggle too, but I do think it's easier to weather hard times with someone who loves you and supports you and has entwined their life with yours. Eg. I had a truly terrifying, traumatising experience in the autumn and while friends were supportive, I didn't have anyone to fall back on. There was just me. No one to do the profound things like hold me and no one to do the practical things like run errands. The good times are better with someone to share them with too. So yes, I do think most people with life partners have it better than me and their lives are easier.

    I think I'll always be sad about that lack and wish my life had turned out differently. When I did have a bit of therapy, we talked about that sadness as a long-term grieving process--something you never stop being sad about but learn to manage/ shrink so it doesn't take up so much of your life. I'm trying to manage it right now.

  7. #26
    Platinum Member boltnrun's Avatar
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    Hm, my best friend got married in her early 30s and went on to have a family.

    Why have you decided you're never going to fall in love again?

  8. #27
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Okay, some thoughts in response to your last two posts.

    A pocket theory of mine is that it's the most senseless of relationships that take the longest to process. Speaking for myself, for context? I'm 40, with four longterm relationships in my adult life. Cliff's Notes: two were genuinely wonderful and loving, and two were genuinely toxic. The end of all of them was devastating, regardless of whether I pulled the trigger or was handed the pink slip, but the toxic ones? Well, toxic is toxic. Took a bit longer to get clean because I had to figure out why I wanted to get so dirty in the first place. Once I could isolate that—and accept it—the mystery was lost and the lessons could be lived.

    In your case that's the million dollar question, no? Odds are high that, if I met you before you ever knew he existed, you would not have described your ideal romantic partnership as one in which you existed in a permanent state of pining—for more commitment, for him to grow up, for everything that felt almost real or kinda real to feel, you know, real real. Oh, and I suspect you wouldn't have said, "My ideal love? He will go back and forth between me and another woman like a pinball until I feel like one of those cars in a demolition derby."

    Obvious conclusion, then? That this was simply not your "big relationship." It was a relationship, with big feelings, but the big one, in terms of what you actually want? That is still out there, a land not yet visited. If you were writing the above as an octogenarian inside a nursing home in the age of the coronavirus—well, I'd join in your referring to all this as the final chapter of your life story. But given that you are very literally just starting out on the journey of life—with much, much more before you than what's behind you—I just can't subscribe to that tragic narrative. It's literally false, and I do wonder why you're so bent on thinking of what is actually the beginning as the end.

    If you really want a partner, like really really? Well, that should help put this guy into perspective. Something like: good lay, bad boyfriend, terrible partner material. Trying to lean on a guy like this to get through hard times? It's like leaning on spikes. Makes a hard time even harder, every time.

    I wonder if you can find something of a ballast by having this kind of cold-water conversation with yourself, reminding yourself just how far this always was from what you genuinely want—and, most critically, forgiving yourself for getting all sorts of strung out anyway. Because, hey, it happens. Because it's okay. Because you are 30ish, not 70ish. Because those very steps I'm outlining here—self-reflection, self-forgiveness—can be a source of joy that closes the door to this chapter, and chapters like this, and opens the door to new ones.

    Chapters. That's all life is, really. Think of your life as a great novel, with this being a kind of boring, dramatic, overwritten chapter a third of the way in. Even Tolstoy has a number of those, so you're in good company. My own life is filled with some pretty tedious chapters—similar stuff, experienced in my own way—but I'll judge it all when my heart stops beating, not when I'm still just getting started. Which, like you, I am.

    Thing is, at the moment, you seem to have mistaken this chapter for the story, so you keep replaying it and reliving it. Wonder what your therapist said about that, or if maybe a different therapist is in order in helping you turn the prism at a different angle. From what you're writing? It seems that you are a bit prone, for instance, to value wanting over having—the pining stuff—which might be worth exploring. I think of that as a kind of cheat code for vulnerability, since it keeps you one step removed from reality, which seems to be the nuts and bolts of this relationship. You got kind of hooked on longing, and rather than go through withdrawal you're still finding a way to keep that high going, to the detriment of your health.

    Just riffing here, hoping something sticks and helps you pluck out the thorns.

  9. #28
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    Originally Posted by boltnrun
    Hm, my best friend got married in her early 30s and went on to have a family.

    Why have you decided you're never going to fall in love again?

    I originally did think I would move on and have other things in my life. Certainly, when I was younger, I’d be miserably heartbroken and then six months, a year later, I’d meet someone else and get a fresh start. But this time it …. just didn’t happen and I read some statistics about women my age and starting over and realised how improbable it would be. It seems like when you’re my age you’re either with someone or you’re going it alone. Maybe I’ll get another chance when everyone starts getting divorced in 15-20 years. But I already feel like the romantic, sexual part of myself has withered and died and by that point I’ll probably be so isolated and weird and celibate that beginning again will be impossible.

    Beyond my age, the biggest problem is that I have had no interest in anyone I’ve met or seen on dating apps in the nearly 18 months since we broke up. I can’t see that changing. Maybe I’m unreasonably picky but I have genuinely and earnestly attempted to date people I’m not really attracted to or interested in. I have given them repeated chances and waited for feelings to evolve, but I still have to force myself to respond to their texts, I still duck out of meetings on flimsy pretences, their interest in me still feels like an annoyance or—if I’m being more empathetic—a burden. At best it’s deeply depressing and at worst (sexual encounters), it’s downright traumatising. Everything is just a consolation prize for not having him and I’d rather be alone than trap myself in a relationship with someone I barely tolerate, much less love.

    Then I’m also apparently terrible at dating. I just never play things right. I think ex picked his gf just because she played the situation better than I did. (I cannot forgive myself for ing up our relationship through anxiety and then not asking for enough. Somehow I have to live with my responsibility for spoiling my own happiness.)

    AND then there’s the problem that men just seemingly never love me—or in this case, never love me enough. They just fall into a kind of sexual enchantment with me that they end up resenting. A male friend said something clarifying to me when ex and I briefly broke up once before, which really changed the way I approach dating. “Men will happily have sex with you but they won’t commit to a relationship unless you’re extraordinary. I was sleeping around and then I met [wife] and she was so extraordinary I instantly wanted to commit to her. And you [name] just aren’t extraordinary.” If I magically found someone I liked as much, it would just go the same way and I don’t have the emotional energy now that I know how the narrative ends.

    The combination of those factors just make it so unlikely that it’s not even worth my effort to try to find someone. And, as I said before, trying just reminds me of what I lost (ex and the relationship he nearly gave me). Scrolling through dating apps actually makes me just sob. There’s just no one comparable.

    So yes, that part of my life is very much over. I’ve never before gotten over someone without meeting someone new. All the narratives about moving on revolve around that too. But I really need to learn how quickly I’m not flattened by grief for the rest of my life. I’ve accepted I’ll always be somewhat sad about not having him and not having a partner, that this was a breakup that irrevocably made my life much lonelier and smaller, but right now the grief so colossal and overwhelming it still makes me physically ill nearly 1.5 years later. That needs to stop.

  10. #29
    Platinum Member boltnrun's Avatar
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    It's a choice you're making.

    You can tell yourself whatever story works for you. Apparently this one does.

    If this is how you choose to live your life, nothing anyone tells you will make any difference.

    Just remember, life hasn't read your story and the world is not obligated to follow along. Things happen whether or not you think you want them to.

  11. #30
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    Originally Posted by boltnrun
    It's a choice you're making.

    You can tell yourself whatever story works for you. Apparently this one does.

    If this is how you choose to live your life, nothing anyone tells you will make any difference.

    Just remember, life hasn't read your story and the world is not obligated to follow along. Things happen whether or not you think you want them to.
    Not to be obtuse or annoying but I don't really see what choice I'm making here. The only active choice I've made is to stop wasting my time and other people's by forcing myself to date people I'm not interested in and to stop making myself sad by using dating apps.

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