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One Month NC...from surreal to real...


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A familiar place this is...Intially, this latest breakup of a 6 month, long distance relationship was not as difficult as previous breakups I've been through, especially the one that brought me to this board 2 years ago. But what I am realizng now is, a month after a rather confusing breakup e-mail from my long distance girl friend, that being alone feels very real. It's odd when you've been through this before a number of times (being dumped), because I can actually watch the stages of grief with this one, almost as if I'm observing another person. Today at various points I felt strong and indifferent, angry and this evening, in pain and missing "her."

 

Initially, the whole thing was surreal. We had just had a pretty good weekend together in her town, and the dumping was completely unexpected. I went NC after a day and haven't looked back, other than I realize now the hole that I again feel being alone seems very real. The whole long distance thing was doomed from the start I think. I posted on that a few days ago on the LDR board, and the consensus was that LDR's are nearly impossible if you haven't established a solid relationship before you live apart.

 

So what hurts now is not missing her per se. It's what I had hoped might happen in the future with her. We were just starting to talk about moving, getting more serious etc. when it ended. The prospect of getting out and meeting women, dating, weeding through, that entire process almost sickens me at this point, and yet I feel that hole with the wind blowing through it...almost as if this 6 month relationship never happened. I'm tired of failing at relationships, at recovering, improving myself, finally getting over someone and then meeting someone else who I cautiously fall in love with but with whom it ends in a few months or a year of two.

 

I know that's the nature of modern relationships...but I'm not young anymore and I despair sometimes whether I'll ever have a relationship that actually works, where, when problems arise, my partner works things out with rather than leaving for greener pastures. Kind of a vent here I guess. I know how to do this stuff...but I am tired of it and feel a longing tonight, not for her exactly, but for that connection that I thought we shared but obviously did not in a strong enough way.

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Hi Coyote,

 

You are a valuable asset to these boards and someone who's posts have given me great insight and wisdom. I just wish that that wisdom and insight didn't have to come from such hurt and loss for you.

 

In reading many of your posts and some of your history i have noticed that we tend to share common personality and behaviour traits in relationships.

 

Is it possible that this LDR was something that you got into because it was destined to be difficult and ultimately fail because of your own caution and fear? I know that i have a history of seeking 'difficult' relationships as a way of almost self sabotaging before the relationship even commences, in order to protect against my own fears.

 

I relate to everything you wrote unfortunately. I am tired of the failures and the loss, and tired of waking each morning without any enthusiasm. I have worked with a psych the last 3 months to pinpoint my fears and my repetitive behaviour patterns and although i now know where it comes from and what to look for, resisting the addiction will be the immense challenge.

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Hey Coyote,

 

I'm feeling in about the same place at the moment.

 

My 6 month relationship ended about 6 weeks ago, and I went NC knowing that she wouldn’t try to contact me anyway. Things have been great, but as you say, the real stage is here and it really has come on strong the last couple of days. It’s not that I miss her, but I miss having someone to go out with, to hang out with and to cuddle. Sure, I have my friends, and they have been great. We hang out and are continuing to hang out, so that kills time.

 

One of my friends is in a similar state to me and it has all seemed to hit home this week. Most of our friends are single males, but the two main couples in the group have just recently married – within a month of each other – and I think that subconsciously this is affecting both of us.

 

I have been feeling great up until the last couple of days, have not really been interested in dating and have been planning to stay single for a while and get on with some of my own projects. Have felt great about setting the goals and targets, and even achieving some, until yesterday when boom, I start to feel lonely and like I’ll never find anyone. So I am happy with myself and where I am, but just don’t understand why I am suddenly down.

 

I guess all we can do is knuckle down and get on with life. I have definitely learnt that I don’t need to be with anyone to be happy and that even at my age, there is still plenty I need to do for myself. Take the focus off being with someone and fulfil yourself. As they say, it will happen when you least expect it, so I’m making myself too busy to worry that no-one is there, and then just deal with stuff when someone is.

 

The next girl will come along when she is ready, and if she isn’t the right one, I will learn from her to be better for the next one.

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Thanks Atelis...your points are greatly appreciated here. Certainly there are some patterns here...I think I am guilty (as perhaps many of us are on these boards) with falling in love with being in love. This one was beautiful (another achilles heal of mine) and completely into me from day one. I was cautious, because I guess I know that falling in love is not just about hormones, it's about developing mutual respect and really truly enjoying the person. I had never done a LDR before, and I guess I can cross that off my list. While it was exilerating intially, as we got to know each other, there were obvious differences in our personalities and lifestlyes. Perhaps in the same city, we might have seen those things very early on, and ether worked through them, or called it quits after a few weeks.

 

But LDR's are like a sort of state of suspended animation...I thought things were getting real and we were simply beginning to work out those glitches...she was unhappy it turned out and abandoned the relationship before we really got out of the honeymoon phase. So I am glad because a person like that, with a history of leaving men quickly without working through difficulties, is not really serious relationship material. Objectively I know that, but I think I got completely wrapped up in wanting this to work that I overlooked what my common sense was telling me from the get go. Women want to be romanced. I thought I was genuinely doing a good job at that, but obviously I didn't really know her and she didn't really communicate her needs very directly or well, other than to tell me at the end they weren't being met.

 

How do we stop wanting something? I wish I didn't want a serious relationship...simply didn't care. My life would be much simpler I think. It sounds like you have a number of failures as well and can relate to that strong desire for success. It's an odd combination...as I get older I get more picky and selective about what and who works for me, but I sometimes despair that I may never actually find it.

 

Sorry this has turned into another vent. I know it's not about this ex at all really...it's about my hopes and expectations and my own level of satisfaction with my life, sans any sort of intimate relationship. I know there are a number of spiritual traditions that talk about letting go as the key to our happiness...the Buddhists talk about the grief that attachment causes us all....and we on this board certainly know about attachment.

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.

 

I guess all we can do is knuckle down and get on with life. I have definitely learnt that I don’t need to be with anyone to be happy and that even at my age, there is still plenty I need to do for myself. Take the focus off being with someone and fulfil yourself. As they say, it will happen when you least expect it, so I’m making myself too busy to worry that no-one is there, and then just deal with stuff when someone is.

 

The next girl will come along when she is ready, and if she isn’t the right one, I will learn from her to be better for the next one.

 

Thanks Keyman...it really helps to hear from other guys here dealing with simliar stuff. You have said it all right here...take the focus completely off of being with someone and fulfill myself...I know from my own past experience, when I'm not looking is when it finds me...I think as we are single for long periods of time and really choose to grow from these experiences, that the pool of possible partners does get smaller and smaller, which makes looking for it even more frustrating anyway.

 

Many people don't bother to really consider why their relationships fail, or to learn to be alone to really love themselves. I'm going to continue to do exactly as you've said here...stay busy and productive and try not to think about what's missing in my life, even though that has meant over the years learning to enjoy my own company and doing a lot of stuff (running, cooking, travel) by myself.

Stay strong...your words were very helpful here!

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Coyote, i think we share the same issues. We both fall in love without looking for reciprocation from our partner. we don't look at the signs and signals that are perhaps telling us that our partner is not quite on the same wavelength.

 

That tells me that deep down, we feel that we are not worthy of accepting love. we give love as a way of satisfying our needs..........but that will not suffice for a committed relationship. we need to learn that we deserve to receive love as well.

 

Because of this, we lose too much of ourselves in a relationship........we keep giving without any expectation of receiving and we give all the power to our partner. We need to establish boundaries for ourselves and stick to them.

 

Being picky and selective is more about fear than anything else. These are excuses that we use to either avoid relationships or to create doubt when we are in them because at a deeper level we fear commitment and abandonment. i am incredibly fussy, but i do that because subconsciously i know that no women will ever reach those expectations......that then gives me an excuse to avoid or sabotage a relationship.

 

A lot of people do it, they are just not aware of it. I think the same goes for LDR's........i really think that many LDR's are an excuse for people in them to get into something that deep down they know will not last and thereby avoid commitment. So we just hurt ourselves despite trying to protect ourselves from our fears

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Being picky and selective is more about fear than anything else. These are excuses that we use to either avoid relationships or to create doubt when we are in them because at a deeper level we fear commitment and abandonment. i am incredibly fussy, but i do that because subconsciously i know that no women will ever reach those expectations......that then gives me an excuse to avoid or sabotage a relationship.

 

A lot of people do it, they are just not aware of it. I think the same goes for LDR's........i really think that many LDR's are an excuse for people in them to get into something that deep down they know will not last and thereby avoid commitment. So we just hurt ourselves despite trying to protect ourselves from our fears

 

Well put...I thought for the first three months that she was much more into me than me into her...I even talked about the logistical issues and how we might cross those bridges...but I think she liked the almost narcotic affect of being in love with someone that wasn't really real to her...I was the wonderful guy she saw on the weekends and who wrote and talked to her about her and about my dreams several times a day...even as I resist when women project that on me, but rather than recognize it as a fatal flaw, I became addicted I think to the positive regard and affection she showed towards me. I guess I sent some mixed messages, or at least I did in this one...on the one hand wanting it to work, and yet also being fearful of the very abandonment that ultimately happened. You are so right that we hurt ourselves despite trying to protect ourselves from our fears. In past relationships, I've been self disclosing about those fears, rather than pulling away, and that's caused women to pull away also. So I feel like either way, I've ended up at the same place.

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yes you feel damned if you do and damned if you don't.

 

if you open up and tell them, they may back away through fear. if you don't and you try to hide your fears during the relationship, it only builds anxiety and makes those fears more prevalent until they boil over.

 

It is the irony of fear.......we hurt ourselves by trying to protect ourselves from it........it's like we are booby trapped.

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canali, i think what coyote meant was that we have both had failures and probabaly didn't admit to our issues early enough to try and resolve our own issues.

 

I know that i had a pattern to my relationship failures, but i just couldn't see it until i finally woke up after this latest one. With the help of therapy and deep self analysis, i connected all the dots and can see why i choose the partners i choose and what happens to me in a relationship when my fears are triggered.

 

I should have woken up long ago, but like most i lived in ignorant denial and looked externally for the answers. Unfortunately for me, i have lost a wonderful woman in the process (although she had her own issues which she won't admit to)

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ooops sorry!...next time i'll try to read S L O W E R.

 

canali, i think what coyote meant was that we have both had failures and probabaly didn't admit to our issues early enough to try and resolve our own issues.

 

I know that i had a pattern to my relationship failures, but i just couldn't see it until i finally woke up after this latest one. With the help of therapy and deep self analysis, i connected all the dots and can see why i choose the partners i choose and what happens to me in a relationship when my fears are triggered.

 

I should have woken up long ago, but like most i lived in ignorant denial and looked externally for the answers. Unfortunately for me, i have lost a wonderful woman in the process (although she had her own issues which she won't admit to)

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canali, i think what coyote meant was that we have both had failures and probabaly didn't admit to our issues early enough to try and resolve our own issues.

 

I know that i had a pattern to my relationship failures, but i just couldn't see it until i finally woke up after this latest one. With the help of therapy and deep self analysis, i connected all the dots and can see why i choose the partners i choose and what happens to me in a relationship when my fears are triggered.

 

I should have woken up long ago, but like most i lived in ignorant denial and looked externally for the answers. Unfortunately for me, i have lost a wonderful woman in the process (although she had her own issues which she won't admit to)

 

I think in the wonderful mix of emotions that is a relationship, it's hard to know where one person's issues stop and anothers start. I think that successful relationships are ones that both partners can allow fears to surface, but no one runs away. I still believe (perhaps naively) that we not only learn from relationships, but also can heal with those who can love us even as we are fearful and cautious. I have tended to pick partners who do not want to really look at their own issues, consequenlty I think self disclosure on my part has scared some away. In this most recent one, I was less self disclosing and perhaps less emotionally tuned into her (she needed a lot of attention).

 

I think it comes down to the fact that, regardless of what we do, some people are just runners. That is the most common characteristic of the women I've tried to love...I knew that about them going in. Why I am attracted to them of course is truly the question...and how do we change what we are attracted to? Difficult when that initial chemistry is what draws us together.

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