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Yeah, I love her, and I let it in it too late. (Or, love in the internet age)


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My ex "Rachel" and I went out for 2 and a half years. We actually knew each other as children, and our families were friends, but we didn't speak for many years since I'm a few years older. (I guess when you're 12, you don't really hang with 9 year olds...)


We were reacquainted in late 2005 after one of my parents died. Her family came over and we got to talking, and before I knew it we were out for coffee and hitting it off something fierce. She was only 18 at the time, and I was 21. I know, there's a big difference there, but we had some crazy chemistry anyway. (Now I'm 24, and she will turn 21 in a few weeks.)


Things were pretty good for the first year and a half or even two years. We took it pretty slow at the beginning, because I was somewhat emotionally challenged due to the death in the family. But she stood by my side the whole time and helped me get through it. At first, I was unsure about us, because some of my friends implied that I couldn't be that into her due to the different maturity levels at the time, and that she was just filling a gap in my life left by my mom. At first I agreed, but this was all years ago and as we grew together, we really did fall in love with each other.


Things started to turn poor last October. We had a semi-breakup (I would call it just a fight, but she'd disagree) and didn't speak for just a couple days. On New Years Eve, we had a large fight and broke up. But after 5 days, I got her to take a nice long drive with me and we talked for a few hours. By the time we got back to our neighborhood, we had agreed to give it another go. I promised to see a therapist to try and handle my stress and job better and not come home and take out my problems on her (verbally). Also she felt I never properly grieved for my mom and was holding back emotion.


I never did go to that therapist. And after a few months, we got to fighting a lot. But it was really strange, because we would also have some of the most romantic evenings ever, lovely dates, really happy times. But in between we would argue about petty things like who drove what nights, who picked whom up, etc. I'd get a beer with my buddies after work and started brainwashing myself into thinking I wanted to be a single guy again, but just temporarily. Both of us started thinking internally about breaking up. We discussed things and I said words like "take a break" and "see other people" (dumbest thing I ever said.) On May 31, we agreed to break up. (May 30 we had a really nice date that was bookended by arguing.)


I'm a teacher. The week that followed was the last week of school, and I spent my time cleaning the classroom, wrapping up loose ends, etc. I spent some time with friends. The Tuesday of that week, she called to tell me she had gotten a promotion at work and was very excited. She clearly wanted to tell me before anyone. (She is a college senior and part time worker so we have pretty different schedules.)


A week or so I went by. I started realizing inside that the fighting did not define our relationship and that all along, I have been truly filled with love for her. After a week and a half, Rachel and I met up at the bookstore to talk (I would have preferred more privacy) and I told her that I did not think I could just be her "friend" as suggested. I offered what I thought was a practical idea - instead of breaking up forever, or being best pals forever, why not scale back... go on a date once or twice a week, talk on the phone, etc., but not stress so much about getting accross town to see each other. You know - get our own affairs in order, but still have each other in our lives. She said she'd "sleep on it" and gave me a big hug. She said she didn't want that to be the last time we ever saw each other, but that I was saying it was all or nothing. I didn't reply but thought to myself - "so are you".


The next day she had signed up for an online dating site. My stomach sunk when I saw her profile. I signed up for one too, trying to send a message "look, I'm doing OK too, I'm strong" but unlike her, I didn't try to mask the fact that it was me. (She tried to be very anonymous, but I knew it was her.)


Apparently this floored her. She immediately started talking to guys.


The next Monday (this is about 2 weeks in now) I had a very bad night. I cried all night, realizing that I loved her all along and was too afraid of my own emotions to let her in. I wrote an email I wasn't going to send (dumb thing #1), but when she became "un idle" on IM in the middle of the night, I took it as a sign and sent it. Plus, I was just fearful that she was online replying to date emails.


She did not reply to the mail. I spent all that Monday crying to my family, aunt, grandma etc. I stayed over with my grandma because I didn't want to be alone in my apartment. My family said, hey, you agreed to this break up and you're changing your mind. You better know exactly how you feel before you proceed.


When I woke up on Tuesday - I was no longer crying, and I realized for the first time exactly how I felt. I'm filled with love for her, despite our arguing...we have shared 10,000 memories and I have this feeling... this premonition that we are supposed to share 10,000 more.


I went to her house unannounced that evening (dumb thing #2) to speak with her. She was in the middle of exams and studying, and my timing was poor. In my whole life, I had never seen her be so hard. She had a candy shell on, shook her head the whole time as I told her I thought we had made a big mistake. "Well I don't." Her mom actually came and started talking to the two of us, and I opened up to her too (dumb thing #2 and a half maybe.) Eventually I ended up just talking to her mom (dt #3) and spilled to her....yeah, I hurt your daughter 1000 times but I never meant to, and I know now more than ever that all I want to do is take care of her like she deserves, etc etc. At the end of that night, her mom made the two of us hug each other (what a mom!!) and I whispered in Rachel's ear that she's the best...I wish I could take back the pain...I still love her. She gave me a little scratch on the back and a squeeze and I wanted to think she wasn't just placating me after being hard as a rock all night. Before she went inside, I asked her if she would see me for dinner later that week. She said she'd think about - I said "Friday?" and she said she'd call me.


(To clarify: by hurt, I mean emotionally. I didn't ever hit her or anything.)


I'm pretty sure after all that bonding, her mom basically told her to forget about me.


(Aside: I know the mom aspect seems kind of weird or childish, but they just have a very close relationship with each other. Rachel trusts her mom very far and confides in her about these things)


Rachel took her dating profile down but added a guy to her Facebook. I know he is from the site based on his age and etc. I knew she was starting to bond with one of these internet characters.


Two days after I went to her house, I sent her some texts that I was proud of her for being so applied in school this year and I'm sure she kicked ass on her exams. She replied that she was unsure but hopeful, but that she was not ready to do dinner yet, that she doesn't deal the same way as I and that it hurts her too. I was floored and ended up verbal spewing all over text messages. I told her that I was in a lot of pain, that I didn't want her to move on from me or see other people, that I missed her terribly and wanted to do all the things I never had the guts to do. She said she had to eat and we would talk "another time." That was 16 days ago. We have not communicated since.


Since that time, she has systematically erased my pictures from all her facebook albums. Just yesterday, she 'untagged' herself from all of my pictures of us. It is clear to me that she is seeing that internet guy now, based on certain things I've seen on facebook like both of them being tagged in X amount of pictures simultaneously even though I can't see them.


My friends try to reassure me - it's just a rebound, it won't last, etc. but it scares the crap out of me because I can tell she really digs him. And yet for the first time since my mom's death I'm so open to feeling these amazing emotions. I told my friends and therapist (that I started seeing, because I promised Rachel I would way back when) that I feel like I won the lottery - for the first time I know just how much I love her, and how ready I am to do all the things for her I had too much baggage to do earlier. And yet even though I won the lotto, my ticket's expired, and it's just too late. And I'm so ready to love her and give her what she needs without all the crap.


She probably thinks that even getting back together in January was a mistake, what with our ridiculous fighting. But I really have grown significantly in the past weeks emotionally and I'm so ready to share it with her.


I've told my whole story to everyone who would listen. I am probably coming off as really obsessive. But everyone has a different angle to give me. "Leave her alone...let her miss you." "Give her X weeks and then send her an email" "Give her X weeks and then send her a text" "Forget about her forever"


And it comes down to all those questionable cliches...is it "absense makes the heart grow fonder" or is it "out of sight, out of mind" -- not to mention the fact that she has a rebound guy to distract her from me.


I want so badly to believe these feelings in my heart that say, we will be more than friends, we won't need to disappear from each other's lives for years like when we were kids, we will have 10000 more adventures together.

I want to have faith in these feelings being true. But she has no way to know about my growth and the 'new me' - don't get me wrong, I'm not "changing" myself just for her but rather stepping into this new world of not being afraid of my feelings just because of what other people might think.


One of my old friends told me online - "when I ask you about Rachel and you're apathetic or dismissive, I know it's just because you're afraid to admit that yeah, you really dig her." - that's the key to the whole situation. I was afraid the whole time and I pushed her away.


And everyday I just want so badly to get that chance to show her - look...we CAN be happy again together, just like we were 1000 times! I know in my heart it's true. And I don't want to act out of fear, but I am so scared that this guy is going to offer her everything that I couldn't. A stable, affluent, nuclear family. No bull**** baggage from dead parents and a new life.


If I'm Mr. Smith, my kids at work call her Mrs. Smith - she has been a part of my program as long as I have, helping out with our events and trips. I'm so afraid to go back there without her, even though it looks like I will have to. And I try to come to conclusions about upcoming objectives. Like I said, her 21st birthday is coming up and it's something we both have looked forward to forever. I was going to take her on a weeklong trip and now I'm worried that I'm going to have to only send some ridiculous "thinking of you" card instead.


Every day that goes by I get more scared that she is successfully blocking me out of her thoughts, erasing all our pictures online (more even just yesterday), and distracting herself with this guy who isn't a complete ass from what I can tell.


I have turned to everyone for the magic word that will get us another chance. I'm sure to some the fact that we even "broke up" once before is a sign to move on - but the two of us have grown so much together, and where she is now is where I was when we started dating: about to finish school, be an intern, learn what it's like to be a real teacher. I want so badly to be a part of her new life like she was for me. And despite our several weeks of arguments, I still feel like we have a really electric chemistry.


I know we can be happy together, and I just don't know what to do. I feel that she is trying so hard to write me off as a lover forever.


And I know this was a really long post, but after 5 weeks I just feel like I have to pour out every detail.


So at this point... days of no contact: 16.

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Wow what a long story. I am sorry that you have gone so long with out talking to her. She (and you) are both so young still. Let her experience dating, and life. You too must heal, continue your therapy and if she comes back then all is great. But give her the space she obviously desires. And in the mean time, you hang out with friends. Don't visit her facebook, that will only cause more pain. good luck to you.

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Yeah. I know we are young. It's just such a great and horrible feeling at the same time that I know in my heart that if I was to wake up and see her there next to me everyday forever, I would be happy. And to finally be receptive to these kind of emotions

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OK. You need to take a deep breath. I'm very sorry you are in such pain.


But...everything you are doing right now is being done out of fear. Just look at the parts of your post that I have bolded.


You have dated this girl for years, and are terrified that it might be over and that you might be alone. And that is leading to some VERY unclear thinking/behavior. For example:


- Kidding yourself into thinking that you have made any kind of significant change to your life, the way you handle your emotions, or any issues/baggage you have. I'm sorry, but those kinds of changes don't happen in 2 weeks.


- Telling yourself that you "just know" or have "premonitions" that you 2 are "meant to be together". Again, this is the fear talking.


- Involving her mother/family in the situation.


- Monitoring her online activities as much as possible


I think it comes down to this- you got together when you were young. You have had issues with lots of fighting. Your ex is coming to a very significant period in her life (leaving school). You have sometimes wished you were still single and have not been very open with her.


I think you were originally behind the idea of taking a break or breaking up, or whatever, but once the reality of it hit, you became terrified, and that fear has been driving all of your thinking and actions.


I think you need to accept the fact that being single after many years in a relationship is a big adjustment, and it can be difficult. I think instead of trying to figure out if your ex is going to come back, you need to remember why you were in favor of this break to begin with. I think you need to be single for a while, and figure out if you really want to get back together with this girl so badly, or if you are just really scared at this big change to your life.


If, a few months down the road, when you have calmed down some, you are able to honestly say that you would like to try again, contact her.

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You have told me exactly what my aunt did - stop making decisions out of fear.


Of course - you are right in many of those regards, like the adjustment of becoming single again after several years. Indeed I have never been single since leaving college. My mom died four days before I graduated, and Rachel and I were reacquainted about a week later.


And certainly, in the course of only 5 weeks, I would agree that the changes to my handling emotions, etc., are certainly not set in stone. But for the first time, I am doing those things that I could not do before, or would not. Like see the therapist, being ready to dance (see below), being OPEN to feeling love for her without worrying about other peoples opinions and my own fear!


I didn't mention it in the post but, one thing Rachel was always upset about (and it seems very minor) is that I would not dance with her, like at our friends' wedding. Truth be told I have a phobia for it, as well as some other things like arachnophobia. And in the past month and week of reflection, I, working with the therapist and some good friends, did come to a conclusion that many of the things I did that hurt her feelings came out of a flabbergasting or frustrating situation. Like I danced with her once, and became embarrassed and walked away. Or I unknowingly walked under a huge spider web and yelled at her when she pointed it out (i.e. WHY would you tell me that!!!) Yes, she is very sensitive.


Certainly this is the beginning of a new time in my life and it will be a major adjustment. Like you say I should probably not rush into decisions about my feelings for her. And like you said many of the things I've done were based on fear. But I would disagree and say some weren't. Like my feelings that we have chemistry and are supposed to have more adventures - I didnt say be together there, because I can't know whats in her head and heart. But I do have a deep feeling that we walked away too soon and have a lot left to do together. Maybe that is fear talking, but I also want to think it's just love talking and I can't explain it.


When I went over to her house almost 3 weeks ago, I went to speak to her. Her mom ended up "joining" us and actually apologized for it later and said that she knew we needed private time and hopefully we could find it later. So yeah.. that wasn't really my idea.


What made me open to the break initially? Shooting the * * * * with buddies at work. Thinking I wanted to be an alpha male (instead of sappy sensitive me) and go out and party and get laid. But that's just not me. She and I had so many happy times together and I feel like I don't need to date 100 women in order to appreciate her more.


And yeah. Some things are really uncomfortable to me, like what to do when her big birthday rolls around in another 5 weeks. Say nothing? Send a card? Call? Does it change if she becomes so-called "in a relationship"...I've had relationships in the past but oddly enough never encountered this rebound situation before.


Thanks for the insight. It is really appreciated.

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So I've been reading the site all day. At this point is it too ridiculous to attempt either of the "Perfect Plans" since I've already been to her house, cried, asked her to meet me for coffee etc (these were all about 3 weeks ago)

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Today he changed his facebook status to "in a relationship" and she took hers down altogether.


I keep thinking like a mantra, what my friend told me.

"well don't sweat the new guy...three weeks after a breakup is definitely just a rebound"


"rebound! don't sweat it"

"rebound! don't sweat it"

"rebound! don't sweat it"


Oh man. I'm really trying.

Gives my motivation a swift kick in the rear though.


This all on day 17 of NC.

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Thanks for the insight


I've been trying to stay as occupied as I can being a teacher on vacation. Been spending a lot of time with friends (going to a few big concerts this weekend.) And I've been going to a teaching workshop all week long, just to get out of the house.


Internet-wise I've disappeared, if only to try and pique her curiosity. Stopped checking my myspace, turned off my facebook indicators and whatnot. She still has me on her IM list, I'm sure, but I'm trying to just disappear off the face of the earth and see if she becomes interested.


Yeah, I know, she's distracted with someone else right now, but I don't think it's in perpetuity.


Certainly this isn't the best approach, but it's better than what I was doing at the beginning of this mess.




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Ugh. Just had a low point. I was in my old neighborhood and drove down her street, saw rebound guys car.


And her parents were out front walking the dog she's dogsitting and I'm 90% sure they saw me since I drove right through them.


Bad move I guess. But NC has been really difficult for three weeks now.


I'd be lying if I said I wasn't totally scared that I just blew it with her forever...

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Bro, don't worry about it at all. You have to look at it like she's never coming back. My ex-fiancé of 5 years is out having the time of her life right now with another guy. Does it suck? Yes. But the the same time, can I do anything about it? NO. We tried the begging, the rationalizing, the flowers, blah blah blah. None of it worked. All we can do is move on. They may come back, they may not. Sticking around to see what she's doing won’t help your situation man. I know exactly how you feel but as you can see, without letting go you can't move on.

You have to strengthen yourself. If her new bf dumps her and she comes back, are you going to be weak and take her back no questions asked and let her do it to you again? No, you have to be strong enough to set up your own guidelines and parameters. And if she doesn't come back, then you have to be strong for the next girl that comes into your life. No woman wants a weak man. You showing weakness to your ex only makes her new bf look stronger.

And don't count on the "rebound" not working. It has been 2 months for me and my ex hasn't contacted me yet. She's taking trips overseas with him. She's having the time of her life. We need to do the same thing.

Good luck to ya man!

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