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I broke it off, but I can't stop missing her

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First of all, it is a real help to read through some of these stories and see that I am not alone in this, and that others can be very helpful.


Background: My ex girlfriend and I were together for one year. There were good times, and there were tough times. We bickered a little too often, found that we had to work at having fun together too often, and in general, I felt like it should have been easier if it was true love. Don't get me wrong, I know a relationship has to be worked on to thrive, but this seemed like the work part was eclipsing the thriving part, and way too soon in our relationship.


At the very beginning, of course, it was fun and exciting, and I was amazed that she was into me. But that lasted only a while. We all to quickly settled into a routine, and got serious. Not serious as in "let's go get married," but serious as in "hard to relax and have fun." That is largely due to our personalities and our set of circumstances. When we bickered, we both got the feeling like, "if we are already fighting like this, how will this ever work?" But we kept going. We acknowledged our problems, and dealt with them as best we could. We both worked very hard, and tried to form a deeper connection.


Now as time went on, there were good spots, great spots, and hard spots. I started settling into what we had, no longer amazed by her or as appreciative of how great she was. She noticed the slow tapering of my affections, and got the intuitive feeling that I was just not that into her lately. She brought this up, wondering why I don't give her as much physical affection, etc. I agreed with her that I was acting this way, but had not really realized it until now. I broke up with her (sort of) that night, but was back at her house in the morning to make up. I was not going to just give up like that. That was at 6 months.


Over the remaining 6 months, this more or less happened a couple more times, with slightly different causes and circumstances, but the similar outcome: We would sort of break up to re-assess what we wanted, and then I would miss her so badly that I would convince her that we can try again and make it work. I really believed that we just had obstacles to our true happiness as a couple that needed to be cleared. Once we did that, and worked through them, we would be blissfully happy.


It was not until almost a year into our relationship that I realized what the problem was. I didn't feel a real connection to her. We never really "hit it off," and we were not "two peas in a pod," or whatever corny phrase you want to use. I thought back and could not remember ever falling head-over-heels for her, even though I thought I was in love with her. No ga-ga feelings on my end. But when we were alone together, just talking, or watching a movie, or whatever, it just seemed like things didn't flow naturally. I wanted to just have fun with her not based on what we were doing, but just because the fun flowed from us being together. The more I thought about this, the more it made sense that we just didn't "get" each other. So we broke up. We were both very upset and sad.


About a week passed, and I thought of nothing else. I replayed things in my head, asked "what if" all the time, and just could not shake her. I missed her. I did not want to let her go. The more I thought about what went wrong, and the more time that passed, the less clear my original convictions and reasons became, and the more obvious her qualities became. Eventually, I thought we could make it work. If we started fresh, I think we could be happy. I was not appreciating her enough, this was wrong, that was wrong, etc. I thought I had it figured out, and if there was ANY chance we could be happy, I wanted to try. I wanted to be with her.


I invited her to dinner, we talked, and decided to take it slow and see what happens. She was very skeptical, and cautious, and I can't blame her. We slowly ramped up back into what we had in a matter of a week, she slowly trusting me again, bit by bit. She really wanted to believe.


One night, exactly one week after our dinner, the overwhelming feelings of doubt attacked me as I lay awake in my bed. We had just spent an evening together and had some one on one time where we just talked and hung out. I guess I just felt kind of blah about her. I loved her, but I was not ga-ga. I felt the same way that I had felt before - like we didn't quite fit together, and it just wasn't enough for lifelong love. I could not explain away these feelings this time. I knew we had plenty of tries, and if it had not worked yet, it was not going to, no matter how hard we tried. There was something missing, and I could not force it.


Needless to say, I felt absolutely horrible about it, and telling her the truth the next day was very hard. I saw the pain and anger I caused her in her eyes, and could hardly believe I had done this to her. I knew that I had not acted maliciously or selfishly, but knowing how this up-and-down couple weeks had been for her, and that I caused it was awful.


So here we are today. It has been 2 and a half weeks since the most recent (and final) breakup. She called me one time a week after because she felt like she needed some closure and had unanswered questions. I have sincerely apologized to her for making her feel the way I did, for pulling the rug from under her just as she was beginning to trust my feelings again. I assured her that I meant everything I told her, and I really thought I felt the way I needed to feel about her. I really believed everything was going to be great.


She has forgiven me, and no longer hates me for that. We met for coffee about a week ago because I called her and asked her to. I felt like I was going crazy, not seeing her. It was not unpleasant to see her, and we were both amiable. Seeing her was like temporarily stopping the bleeding, knowing that it would start again in a little while and the wound was not magically healed. The good thing is that we are ending on relatively good terms.


But I still miss her. Every day I think about her, missing her touch, her eyes, her smile, her body, her laugh, you name it. As time passes, I begin to doubt myself and my decision. I go back and forth, having to trust myself that I did the right thing. And I guess that I understand that, I am still sad. I miss her. Everything I do seems to be stained with memories of her. When I work out, I remember the weight-training class we took together. When I look in my closet, I see some of the clothes she bought me. When I look at my walls, I remember how we talked about repainting them, etc. I will be having a perfectly ok day, keeping busy, but when I get alone and thinking, I feel like I break down. As if I cannot deal with missing her this much. I am trying to make the most of my sadness, but sometimes it it paralyzing. Sometimes I feel like there is no hope that things will ever feel better, but I have to trust that they will, somehow. Each day actually seems to get harder, not easier, like I expected. How can I get through this and break through to the other side?


I am sorry this was so long, thank you for reading this far. It just feels nice to share this with someone.

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Well it's all very common feelings and emotions. You just have to choose to constructively deal with them.


For you to move on, for both of you to move on, you think about putting some space between the two of you for several months. Maybe after that you might be able to engage in a friendship.

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It's hard to say what you really feel but what's clear in your post is that you seem to have something stuck in your mind---whether that's a projection of your fantasy of your ex or a fantasy of a dream woman that your ex could never live up to, I don't know.


I do know that infatuation tends to wear off over time and it's normal to love someone and not feel "ga-ga." It's not clear whether you are comparing this girl to afantasy girl in your mind or if you are automatically characterising her based on traits you started noticing and then just stuck with. Maybe you started noticing things were hard so you began to assume unconsciously that "this was going to be hard." I think it's hard to look at someone everyday with fresh eyes and try something new.


It also sounds like this girl was surprised by your end feelings...which leads me to believe you were not communicating with her as openly as you could have. Did you ever tell her how you felt and actually make suggestions and plans for how you could have more fun? There are certainly ways to spice up a relationship if one wants to try, but you both have to talk about it openly and it doesn't sound like you really got to the heart of your true feelings until the end of the relationship which threw her off, understandably. Why didn't you tell her how you were feeling all along so you could have worked on the problem more concretely?


I think it would be unfair to your ex to try to get back with her again. You've already dashed her hope too many times. You should take a long break to figure out what you really want, if your expectations are realistic, and if you need someone to meet your every fantasy or if you can be happy with this girl and try concrete things to make the relationship better. You know, there are books on communication skills to make things flow better...I like People Skills by Robert Bolton. It doesn't have to be a dead end situation if you both love each other. Just sounds like something is going on in your mind...issues of projection that we all have.

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On the one hand you have an idealised conception of what a relationship should be. On the other you had a relationship that didn't meet it.


Here's the hard part - it never does.


So you are missing her because you love her (it seems to me) and part of you knows that the relationship was a good one albeit not a perfect one.


What you should have done is to work on making what you had better instead of trying to make it was is impossible - perfect.


It may not be too late.

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Thank you for your responses. Knowing that I could not give you all the details (or else the long post would have been even longer!), I think that the reality of the situation is that it would not work with her. I don't believe I have an unhealthy idea of the perfect relationship, and that she just didn't live up to my unrealistic expectations. Quite the opposite, in fact. I am naturally more of a cynic, and I assume things will be harder than they need to be. I don't believe in fairy tales, per se. That is why I tried so hard with her. Over and over again. Every fight we had, 9 times out of 10 I admitted my fault in it, and pledged to work on whatever it was. I REALLY wanted it to work. But eventually I reached the point were I realized it was too much work. Not that she wasn't worth it, but just that we would not be truly happy in the long run. If I was struggling with my feelings for her on a bimonthly cycle, that is not fair to either of us. And by the way, I don't feel like she was doing anything wrong. I just think that as hard as it may be to swallow, and regardless of how hard we tried to "fit," we just were not right for each other.


So, DN, I would not say that our relationship was "good." I would say it was "ok," but not what either of us would really want in the long run. I understand the danger of holding up what is real to the fantasy expectation, but that is not what happened here. I am all too willing to accept the reality of relationships and their struggles. And I don't think this was a simple, "Oh crap the excited feelings have dwindled now that the honeymoon period is over I gotta get outta here" situation.


We did work on making what we had better. All the time. But it eventually didn't matter. Neither of us gave up when we probably "should" have. We kept trying and trying. But it did not flow. It was not natural.


She was surprised about my end feelings, but so was I. We had a week of me feeling great about us, and hopeful, and she believed me. Then the feelings of doubt returned one night and hit me like a truck that came out of nowhere. At first I could not believe that it was happening again, but I knew in my heart we were not right. We had plenty of tries.


What I don't want to do is retain false hope for a future with her. It is hard to think like that, because right now, she is still the only girl I think about in a romantic way. I can't imagine dating someone else, but that will change in time. I do want to find someone I get along with easier, and we have more things in common, etc. I want that magic that was missing. I feel like if I allow for the possibility of her and I reconnecting in a romantic way, I will not move on, or at least prolong this depression. I want to move on, I want to stop missing her. I just don't know how, completely.

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