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Bouncing Back -Trials and Tribulations

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Greetings, all. Many thanks to those who've made their way through my marathon-length posts and offered their opinions. This site is truly excellent!


To sum up my story, I was in a relationship with a girl who, although clearly on the rebound, insisted she was not and that I was "too special to pass up." I, against my better judgment, fell for it, and it turned into a complete disaster, with her initial attraction to me morphing into a mess of incessant complaining, thinly-veiled criticism, lack of affection and, eventually, outright personal attacks on my character. All the things she loved about me at first, the things that "made me different from all the others," were the things she twisted as reasons she lost that "sense of excitement" she felt at first.


So, let's fast-forward to, well, today. It's been several months since the breakup, and I like to think I've come out of it rather well, thanks in no small part to my family, loyal friends, and a lot of other fabulous people I've come accross along the way (including those on this site!). I will freely admit that in the immediate aftermath of the breakup, I felt like a complete tool and even took a couple days off work to regroup. I've always been able to remain cordial with my exes - not friends, but not at all unfriendly if our paths were to cross or if a really important favour was needed. This time though, it was different. When she came for her key, I handed back everything she ever gave me, including all the photos of us I had, and went on the strictest of NC diets. Although I at first toyed with the idea of trying to salvage something, I quickly came to the conclusion that I should have absolutely nothing to do with this person - a notion seconded by everyone I know and the crew here on ENA. She made me feel bad about myself while we were together, while I did everything I could to make her feel good. Something like this could never work and, like one astute poster, servedcold, wrote, I was lucky to get out of this thing after only 6 months.


Now, having taken some time to heal and reflect, working harder than ever, reconnecting with a few old friends, spending ridiculous amounts of time in the gym and, yes, even taking a solo trip to Las Vegas to watch a little boxing and just have a good time on my own, I've launched myself back into the dating pool. It's been going well so far. I've met several nice women and have gone out a few times. I'm simply dating at the moment, getting to know people, letting things run their course naturally and not rushing into anything. Dating seems to be easier now than it was before I even met my ex, like a barrier has come down or something.


But on the negative side, I'm still struggling a bit with some of the scars she left me with. The fact that she called me needy, even though I always gave her whatever space she needed, and cold only because her friends thought I was (I never was to them and certainly not to her) make me think that maybe she saw something in me myself and others don't see. If I asked her about apparent problems in the relationship, she'd say she didn't know or that she couldn't talk to me about anything because I'd overreact, but the reality was that it was she who always overreacted about everything in her life, right down to her jeans being too tight or her dad putting gas in her car for her. All I ever did was listen and try to be supportive. Imagine what she'd have said to me if I took as hard a line as I should have at times! What hurt the most was the night we broke up, she said she was afraid I'd break into her house and hurt her because she had offended me so much. That was the cheapeast of cheap shots, really below the belt. I've never been in a fight in my life, I'd never, ever hit a woman, and I always treated her like the gold standard from the day I met her, still opening doors and pulling out chairs even at the very end. I think of that and it still stings when I do, and I know she said it on pupose because she knew it was probably the worst insult she could hurl my way.


Now, there's been no contact, and that's definitely a good thing. But there's a part of me that's hurt by that, even though it's for the best, because she always made such a big deal about staying in contact with her exes, how they were "important parts of her life," then hanging her head in despair when they cut her out of their own lives. She even spent the night with one after breaking up with the boyfriend before me, although she said it as a mistake and she "felt cheap." She also remains close friends with his parents to this day. But me, I got no such regard, no e-mails, no texts, nothing. I suppose it's more a blow to the ego than anything else (she was only 22, after all), but it hurts to think that after all the good times we shared and all I gave in the relationship, in the end, I really didn't matter much at all.


So, as I said, now I'm dating again and it's been gravy so far, but I sometimes get hit with the double whammy of having to deal with the self-doubt from her comments and the fear of ending up marginalized again should I get into a new relationship. No one had ever treated me like that before. We all say "never again," but love and lust often cloud judgment and make people do foolish things. And of course, it's very unfair to paint women with the same brush and say they'll all treat you the same way, but it's hard not to go into things with your defences up, especially when you talk to so many others who've been through similar things. Now, I'm extremely preoccupied with self-improvement: not being all those things my ex said I was, even though, in reality, I wasn't actually those things at all, and not repeating mistakes that, apparently, I didn't actually make in the relationship. If I was really in the wrong here, believe me, I'd have no shame in admitting it. I'd want to improve myself immediately. But not a single person has ever defended her, and the only line I get is, "How'd you last that long?" So, I suppose my question is, after yet another long message not how to get her back or anything like that, but how to truly put her behind me and forget how bad she made me feel about myself.



PS - Travel is a kickass cure for post-breakup depression, I've found. Time heals all wounds, but distance sure helps too! And Las Vegas, at least for me, was a great destination for such a purpose, whether you're solo or with buddies. I highly recommend taking a trip to anyone who has a bit of time and money to spare and is just looking for a way to break out of a rut and start fresh. And no, I don't work for the Nevada Tourism Board

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