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Starting Over In a Relationship - B...
Starting Over In a Relationship - Beginners Guide

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My girlfriend and I broke up because she has too much stress things going on in her life even though we have been together for 11 months and were talking marriage. Yes, she did have a string of stressfull events hit her and I was always there for support. See past posts for background. But as she put it, she has too much on her plate right now so as I see it I get pushed off the plate. I was expendable.

She doesn't have time for a serious relationship but wanted to be friends and causally date. I said no. She says she still loves me and wants this relationship as bad as I do. I dont get it. Any women on here ever felt this way in a relationship? Is there some sense to it?

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My girlfriend and I broke up because she has too much stress things going on in her life even though we have been together for 11 months and were talking marriage. Yes, she did have a string of stressfull events hit her and I was always there for support. See past posts for background. But as she put it, she has too much on her plate right now so as I see it I get pushed off the plate. I was expendable.

She doesn't have time for a serious relationship but wanted to be friends and causally date. I said no. She says she still loves me and wants this relationship as bad as I do. I dont get it. Any women on here ever felt this way in a relationship? Is there some sense to it?

 

At first glance, it sounds like she became overwhelmed and the only thing she could do was to get rid of the person she was with because she couldn't get rid of all her problems. Don't tell her this; she must figure it out on her own. A couple of things come to mind, but the first and most important is that you cannot pursue her. This is rule #1. Do NOT pursue her.

 

Secondly, you need to show her that getting rid of you doesn't get rid of her problems, because right now she in some way associates you with the stress she is feeling, whether that is rational or not. You do this by not pursuing her, which means letting her go and doing your own thing, and accepting the decision.

 

If you let her go in an accepting and loving way, then in time she will have a chance to assess the relationship in a more objective manner, which she is not doing right now. Another poster on here (see Siberia's posts) has compared breaking up to sneezing; it's like a reflex and can't be understood in a rational way right now, so try not to feel like you've been "discarded" as it's never really that simple.

 

Here's what you will do. You will be letting go, moving on, and also assessing the relationship in a more objective manner, in the days, weeks, or possibly months to come. Don't say that to her; what you say is: 'I see that you need your space and freedom right now, so I am letting you go with love. This means we can't be friends because that will get in the way of healing and letting go for both us. I want you to know that I am not abandoning you, but that this is really the best way to do things because you really need your space, as it would be selfish for me to be in your life right now as I cannot offer the kind of friendship you might be looking for. I'll leave the door open if you change your mind, but I'm not going to be able to put my life on hold for you. I'll be moving on and doing my thing." You do this in a sincere and loving way, and you really do it and stick to your guns. You don't give in until she gives in, which means you're not going to accept letting her have her cake and eat it, too.

 

We don't know what the outcome of that will be, but I can promise you the worst thing you can do is pursue her. This means you cannot take actions to try to be with her because you miss her, or want to hear her voice, or want to get back together, etc. Don't do those things because that would be pursuing. Any hint of you wanting to get back together will be a threat to her and will trigger those stressful feelings that actually push her further away.

 

Also, very important, is that you don't want her to think she has you dangling from a string. If she says she misses you, you say "thank-you" and do likewise in other similar situations. (i.e. she writes you an e-mail to say you are a great guy and she misses your friendship -- you say, "thank-you for the nice comments, I hope you are doing well, too). Get it?

 

Give her the space she needs so you can step back and see what kind of person she really is, because right now you are not thinking in a rational way (neither is she). When you do that, you also will have a chance to make a decision about whether or not this is somebody you can be with in the long term. You don't have to decide right now because you don't really know what is going on inside of her and what she will do with her emptiness in the days, weeks, and months to come -- you need to step out of her hold on you and take the time, by not pursuing, to see if you could really consider taking her back, or the reality could be that she is too unstable for a committed relationship.

 

As I said in the other thread, sometimes you have to visit the crime scene again to believe it. I say this because I know this will happen and you will feel guilty about it because of the idea of NC -- don't feel guilty, because it's very understandable. Sometimes we really need to go back to the source to really believe what happened. There is a bit of an overreaction to having some contact that I observe in this forum -- you are an adult and so is this person you are with. This is not a game. When you have the mindset that you're not a doormat, that she can't have her cake and eat it, too, and that you're letting her go in a loving way, then you can begin to handle this person. You tell her that you are moving on, and that you can't be there for her because that would be selfish of you (I'm not saying you are selfish, but this is what you say). You let her know that contacting each other would get in the way of healing and moving on, and when she does contact you, you remind her that the two of you can't be friends and have to let each other go.

 

This is counter-intuitive at first, when you are still in the grips of shock from this break-up, which is why it is so important to step back and do things this way, without pursuing. Think over and over about what it means to not pursue this person. Whenever you have the urge to initiate contact or to accept contact, think about if you can handle it. Most people can't handle it which is why complete NC is preached, but if you have the right mindset and really believe in this, then you can once in a while connect with this person, but only when you are not too vulnerable, you won't give in, and you won't pursue.

 

Do not initiate contact -- give this a few weeks to settle and stick to your guns. Accept that "NC without pursuing" is what you both need, especially you. Keep strong, you can do it -- figure out other creative ways to handle the emptiness you are feeling. Come here and re-read these messages if you need to.

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What I learned is...if someone is making things difficult in a relationship...it usually means they r not that into u. If someone wants to be in a relationship fully....they will...if they all of a sudden say they want things casual....it means they are second guessing their feelings..maybe their feelings became less and they just want to keep you available in case they decide they want to be with you again...

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What I learned is...if someone is making things difficult in a relationship...it usually means they r not that into u. If someone wants to be in a relationship fully....they will...if they all of a sudden say they want things casual....it means they are second guessing their feelings..maybe their feelings became less and they just want to keep you available in case they decide they want to be with you again...

 

The question is whether or not that person is capable of the love you want and need, and that when relationships enter the break-up stage, it's often necessary to step back to really assess things. The issue is that people don't usually say that; instead, they act all crazy and just break up and start trying to find ways to fill up the emptiness they feel. Some people take their emptiness to new people, others go on vacations, or obsess over work, etc., and they periodically act out in strange ways, string the other person along, and other hurtful or confusing behaviours.

 

Yes, I think it is exactly true that this person wants to keep him available "just in case" and that is really selfish of her to do that. It's important to see how selfish that is. Very important to look at that aspect of it when assessing a relationship, but it's not unreasonable to give it some time to see how this person can deal with her emptiness once the dumpee cuts the connection and doesn't pursue.

 

Now, we also know she is going through a tough time and not thinking clearly. She might be an unstable person in general, and this is just becoming apparent now, but we don't know yet. Sometimes we are in a relationship with someone and all of the sudden they start acting crazy and in ways we've never seen before.

 

The point is that by letting go in a loving way, and really letting go, then in time it will become possible to assess things in a more objective manner. All relationships have difficulties and this does not mean the two people cannot fix things if it is really a viable long-term relationship, but first they must go into their feelings of emptiness before any change can happen. If that emptiness does not provoke the change, then probably this person isn't really capable of commitment at this time, or has too many other issues to be able to handle relationships in the long term.

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thanks for the advice. I have already been doing no contact (learned from superdave).

She already tried calling me twice. (she can't be missing me already?) I didn't answer or call back. Chalk one up for me.

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thanks for the advice. I have already been doing no contact (learned from superdave).

She already tried calling me twice. (she can't be missing me already?) I didn't answer or call back. Chalk one up for me.

 

Yes, but what state have you left her in? i.e. what message does she have from you?

 

That is important and often overlooked. There is a message she needs to have about why "NC" is needed. I prefer to say "connecting without pursuing." That is the message about letting go with love and not being selfish, that I stated above. You can also say, "I know you don't want to be with me, but you also don't want to let me go. Letting go is necessary right now so that you can deal with your stresses and so we both can move on and heal from this break-up." >>

 

This is the mindset that you need. Don't ignore this person -- she'll just get angry. You have to be aware of what message you have left this person with. Ignoring does not equal letting someone go when in your heart you still love this person. You show you really love this person by saying "I'm letting you go so you can be free because it would be selfish of me to be in your life when you need your space. I won't be contacting you because that would mean being friends, which we can't do."

 

Sometimes you ignore, but sometimes you revisit the crime scene, and sometimes you need to give this other person a message, and so you do it.

 

This is at an early stage right now, but there is a window here where you need to communicate this important message before you disappear off the face of the earth from the point of view of this other person.

 

My opinion is that this ignoring, at this early stage, might bring this unstable person back, but it would be too soon and you would break up again, and it would be worse.

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Wow!!!! this is for the response that MrSoandSo wrote to that other person, I feel like he wrote this for me...except my situation is a little different, i am a female and my boyfriend of fourteen years has left, one of the the reasons is that he is going through alot of stress school (college) work, some med.problems, well i also didnt help the situation, I would always argue with him because I felt disconneted from him and I wanted to fell closer, i wanted more attention from him therefore it got a little physical (smacked me on the head),so he decided to leave because he was none to put his hands on me...it had happened a couple times before and he swore he would never do it again, so thats why he decided to leave, he said he couldnt just put a bandage on it, and have it happen again, so he needed to go and find himself and work things out, that as much as it hurts and as much as he wants to come home to me we need some time apart...he says only time will tell maybe he will come back but it wouldnt be wise now...he does want to go to couple counseling with me but only because i suggested us going together.

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Ok Mr. SoandSo I sent the message you suggested and am sticking to no contact. In this case you are right, I need to leave a message of why no contact. Let's see what happens.

 

It's not only a message--it's a mindset. You don't do this to get the other person back. You do this because it's the only way this other person can have a chance to go into her empty feelings and evaluate whether or not she can make a choice for a deeper commitment.

 

They want to be friends or do this casual thing because they don't want to feel empty -- an unconscious desire to avoid feeling the emptiness that comes from saying good-bye forever to the other person.

 

She sounds unstable right now and we don't know what she is capable of doing, and you really need to step back and evaluate why you have this attraction to someone who you can't have right now.

 

I suggest that you take care of yourself first, and put this relationship on the backburner for now, so that you can do an honest, rational evaluation of this relationship in the days, weeks, or months to come, in which your two lives are separate. I know this is difficult when you are in the throes of all these mixed emotions, but you can do it when you really understand that sometimes, if you really love somebody, you have to let them go. Maybe that person will come around, but maybe not, but either way you are moving on.

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Well here's the response I got, it was very hurtfull. I guess just leave it alone now and move on she even admits to holding back from me which she had been doing over the past several months. I dont get it after all I have done for her.... I am so hurt right now.

 

You obviously don't deeply love me like you think you do or you would be willing to be my friend right now when I need a friend most. Yes you are abandoning me but that is your right. Yes you are being selfish by not offering me your friendship right now but that is also your choice. I have always held back from you because my gut feeling has been that you really couldn't handle being involved with a woman with all that I have to handle but I just wanted to try. Please don't try to act like you are doing me a favor and being so unselfish. I have been thru this before and obviously you are no different.

 

Have a good life.

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Now you have to step back, take a big step back, and go way, way back from this person. You can sense this because she's only offering pain and rejection right now. We knew she wasn't going to say the only words that could make you happy -- there's was no reason to have expectations of any kind of reasonable response from her. That's why it is so important to let go of this other person so she doesn't pull you into her vortex of confusion.

 

This is what she said to you -- she wants you to feel guilty so that you'll let her have her way. It's really tough right now to see that because you're so vulnerable right now, and she's using harsh "words" to try to have it both ways with you, because "words" are all she can do right now. This is called crazy-making behavior -- she's the one acting crazy, but she makes you feel like you're the crazy one.

 

It's very important that you see that these are just words. You have to see that -- they're just words from someone who wants what she wants, the way she wants it, and that's it, with no regard for your feelings at all. I don't know if you this or not, but she's very selfish.

 

I want you to see that the words don't really matter very much -- that is the thinking part of her that is trying to make sense of a mess of emotions, which is a mess you need to step away from because she's only going to send you into a much deeper depression.

 

Remember, she broke up with you and expected you to just hang around and just, kind of, be there for her, despite all the pain you feel. That is very selfish. When you don't give her what she wants, she's going to try to work on you, make you feel guilty, suck you in. This is very, very typical. I seriously wonder if she acted like this during your relationship, too. Would you say that she was selfish and acted out during the relationship?

 

This is the stage where you don't initiate any contact. Do not pursue this person! She received the message and she understands it, but right now she's so wrapped up in her instabilities that all she can do is act out. It is way, way too early to expect anything rational from this person.

 

Now, what you do, is you need to step back, don't initiate contact with her, and do your thing. What she wants you to do is to be the selfish one! That would mean you would be by giving in and doing things the way she wants, which would actually mean that she is the selfish one. That is why this is called crazy-making behavior, and it's so dangerous for a vulnerable person.

 

You know you can't be friends and give in to what she wants because it would be way too painful for you. Do you see this? She'll either put a tremendous guilt trip on you or run to the nearest male pursuer, which she might do regardless. I know it's hard to reconcile this, right now, with the idealized image of this person, but in these moments she is not the person you used to know.

 

When they want their space, they want it the way they want it. It's completely selfish. They get angry at you when you don't give in. But you can't give in -- it would cause you more pain because you be subjected to a regular dose of rejection, and she'd string you along and you would be miserable.

 

It would make more sense if she said, "I respect that this causes you pain and you need to step back and can't be friends with me right now. I understand that that would be very painful for you, because right now I have a lot of stress, and I'm confused, and I don't know what to do." But, instead of saying what she means, she instead tries to lay down the guilt on you, because right now she's not thinking like a sensible person.

 

You need to be strong right now and pull back and do your thing, and not take these words too seriously. The alternative is that you give in and expose yourself to a much worse depression. It's your call.

 

You left her with the right message. As I said, this isn't about getting the other person back. This is for you. I don't recommend you give in to this person, but it's up to you.

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No, I am not giving in, I can see this is down right selfish and disfunctional. Thanks for your perspective. I actually feel relieved

 

Good -- you see that side of her now. It's so hard when they are acting like this, not to get sucked in. By not giving in, you step back and focus on yourself.

 

Don't pursue this person. She's really unstable right now. Of course, there is a part of your heart that would like to be there for her, but my take on things is that you would be in much worse pain if you did that.

 

Most people can't handle giving in. I can't recommend to you that you give in to her because that's all about her needs and pays no respect to your needs.

 

I'm going to suggest to you that you pick up a good relationship book. I've recommended 'Make Up, Don't Break Up' on here before, which is a good choice. Clearly, something went wrong in this relationship, and you would do yourself a good favor to work on acquiring new relationship tools and a better understanding of what happened.

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MrSoandSo:

are you a professional counselor or clinical psychologist by chance. You seem to really know your stuff. I have a bachelors degree in psychology so I can tell when someone knows what they are talking about in this area.

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MrSoandSo:

are you a professional counselor or clinical psychologist by chance. You seem to really know your stuff. I have a bachelors degree in psychology so I can tell when someone knows what they are talking about in this area.

 

No, I'm not a professional. I used to date a psychologist, though! She was an expert in crazy-making behavior

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