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Slowly Normalizing Relations


Brownstone322

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The ex and I talked again. That was almost unthinkable as recently as last fall.

 

She and I broke up about a year ago, and for the rest of 2009, we had close to zero contact. I'd estimate that from March through the end of the year we spoke for about 60 minutes over three conversations, two initiated by me and one by her. Late last spring I even started a thread here pondering how a dumper could "freeze us out" after a long-term relationship for no obvious reason (that is, no infidelity, no physical abuse ... you know the drill).

 

Time changes things. I don't feel any urgent need to reconcile with her anymore. And she, apparently, no longer feels the need to freeze me out.

 

She called me in early January, and we spoke for 2 1/2 hours about a lot of things, and I even vented some of my frustrations with her post-breakup behavior (long overdue, that was). More recently, I became aware that she has lost her job -- which was a senior position in her organization -- because she doesn't see eye-to-eye with the new executive director. So I called her to see if she was OK (left a message), and she called me back at my office a few days later. We talked for another hour and a half (no relationship talk, just catching-up talk), and I had to end the conversation because I had an appointment.

 

The point of all this? It's that the pain and animosity of breakups do indeed heal with time, and you can't contemplate reconciliation until you allow that to happen. It's mid-February, and I've been on the phone with her for four hours since New Year's -- four times as much as the previous 10 months combined.

 

One step at a time, folks.

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The point of all this? It's that the pain and animosity of breakups do indeed heal with time, and you can't contemplate reconciliation until you allow that to happen. It's mid-February, and I've been on the phone with her for four hours since New Year's -- four times as much as the previous 11 months combined.

 

One step at a time, folks.

 

Yea, wise words. Hard to initially see post breakup but after a while you do definitely see it this way. I'm feeling great today after a bad week, I started playing the blues again on guitar and even if I say so myself, the results have been staggering (I can pull of convincing srv/hendrix and write my own stuff), I got the mojo back that she sucked out of me. I carry on having this picture in my head of playing a concert and doing great and her being there somewhere and being blown away and wondering what the hell she did. Some might say that is unhealthy but I'm not doing it for her, doing it for me, anything that might happen is coincidental. I am going to say something cheesy now but never underestimate the power of the blues. Dayum..

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Im curious, are you hoping to reconcile though? It sounds like you are giving advice to those who hope to reconcile, but I couldn't tell if thats what you want from her. Anyways, its amazing how time heals everything, huh?

Um, fair question.

 

Answer is ... I don't know. It takes two to break up, and it takes to reconcile. With most breakups, there was lots of blame to go 'round, and you have no chance of getting back together successfully until both sides make peace with that.

 

I went through a stage, as do lots of people here, of romanticizing my thoughts of my ex and our past relationship. With time, I once again recognize what I had known before: She has issues of her own, she's "high maintenance," and living with her day after day is a trying and frustrating experience. No more idealistic notions of what we once had.

 

For now, let's just say that I'm happy to be on civil terms with her again. Whatever happens will happen.

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Hey Brownstone and Hobbes..great posts..I have not played balls out guitar since the b/u...so I am happy for you. Brown..I think you have the attitude I wish I had now...I'm still inclined to worship her...her voice just really gets to me...thanks for the inspiration-Bung

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Interesting Brownstone. I was wondering if after this long, and with the romanticizing of the relationship over, does ambivalence set in? Anyhoo, glad you are at least getting onto civil terms again. A start, all we can ask.

 

 

Oh, and how'd that snow go there?! Good grief that's something.

I think, a couple posts up, that I already expressed ambivalence -- mixed feelings. (Which isn't to be confused with indifference -- no feelings.)

 

And it has snowed so much here that I'm both tired of it and used to it. (Hey ... there's a analogy there.)

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I think you bring up some really good points in your post Brownstone.

 

I think when we first break up, we are all looking for that instant fix of getting back together. But the longer we are apart, I think we begin to realize a lot of things - our faults, their faults, things that we never saw about the relationship. I am at almost 8 months post-breakup now, and I see things completely differently than I did when I was at 6 months even. I was one of those praying to get back with my ex - but the longer we have been apart, I realize, that if we would have gotten together back together months ago like I wanted, I wouldn't have been able to evaluate the relationship the way I have been able to now. I don't think I am alone in realizing this - my ex just recently too has mentioned several realizations that he has come to recently.

 

I actually really liked the title of this thread. I think the challenge for us is adjusting to what the "new normal" is going to look like in our relationships with our ex, and being okay with whatever form that relationship takes. And I do think that takes time. And it is actually a little intriguing when you think about all the possibilities that lie ahead.

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Well put and I think most of us that are at least several months post break up can agree. The more time that passes the more clear and rational things become while looking at the relationship. Great post. Too bad it takes time to make the realizations, because it's kind of embarrassing looking back at the stuff we did early on to try and get them back.

 

Congrats on wherever this is going Brownstone. You have always remained cool and mature on the forums and your posts have helped keep me on the level. How did you come about talking and getting things rolling again?

 

Thanks for clearing up indifference and ambivalent. I've been saying I am indifferent, but I'm more ambivalent. Good to know, lol.

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Glad to know that you are happy with how you are getting by.

 

However, I am going to offer a different angle here. Like you, I too haven't been in any sort of contact with my ex, after she dumped me last April. Whatever contact we have had is through two line exchanges online, or through texts. Some time ago, she upped the tempo and started chatting more casually online. Regular chat, no relationship stuff. For a while, like you, I too was happy with the way things were playing out, even though they seemed to be taking their own sweet time. I no longer felt as intensely about her, and the breakup. I had kinda done away with most of the romanticized thoughts too. And I thought I was on the right track, if one day, we were going to have anything close to a relationship.

 

However, over the last few days, I have come to realize something very different. The people who choose to walk out of a relationship, as dumpers, move on very fast, after the breakup. They are in a position to have neutral conversations, devoid of emotion and relationship stuff, quite early into the breakup. However, we are not. Which is why the casual neutral conversations don't happen. Over time, the dumpers expect that we have been able to move on too. Hence the increased frequency and length of conversations. Thats probably all there is to it. As people who want the relationship back, we always try and rationalize things in ways that comfort us. While you say that your feelings for her have matured to more ambivalent ones, I think with passage of time, the dumper becomes more and more indifferent. If after being several months apart, she doesn't WANT to talk to you when something major happens (like her losing her job), chances are she is indifferent towards you. At least in my case, thats the idea I get. Whenever I talk to my ex now, its all pleasant and casual. However, I can't help but notice that she has moved on while I haven't. The way I imagine it, if a reconciliation is to happen, then after several months apart, the dumper would still have some residual feelings for you that would well up every now and then and make them WANT to talk to you. Right now, I feel like my ex doesn't feel she is missing anything by not talking to me. If we talk, its all good. Even if we don't, its all the same to her. Thats indifference.

 

I don't know how much of this applies to you. Just a different perspective. Irrespective of that, if you are getting by fine, thats all that matters at this point.

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Brownstone, it is good to be civil, but you need to put this in perspective.

 

You went 10 months without contact, right? That was over 7,200 hours without contact. And now you've had 4 hours of contact in 10 weeks, where there were 1680 hours.

 

So you've had 4 hours of contact with her in 8800 hours. That 4 hours feels HUGE to you, but meanwhile, she is off living her life without you, and you are off living your life without her but desperately hoping she will come back, with the tiniest of drops in the bucket amount of time spent with her.

 

Please don't confuse the fact that just because she is civil to you, it is 'progress' in terms of reconciliation. It is very simple, in that she has all the time in the world (and so do you), and if she wanted to see you or get back with you she would. She spends more time with her hairstylist or talking to the postman over the course of a year than she does with you.

 

I am not meaning to be cruel, but meaning to help you recognize that you need to not let your life go by alone just for those small moments when she might throw some crumbs in your direction. She isn't your girl anymore, and you aren't a big part of her life.

 

I see nothing wrong at all with being happy that she's civil, but you need to quit waiting for her and wasting all those hours thinking about her for the most tiniest bits of contact. You need to think about just dating other people and putting her on the shelf and getting her out of the center of your life and thoughts, because time is slipping away and she's not with you. Live your life fully, and if in future she changes her mind, fine, but don't revolve your world around someone who has been gone a year and has only minimal 'catch up' time iwth you. Your life passes day to day, so please live it fully, and find a woman who really wants to live it with you.

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Brown, I am very happy for you. Always a great poster and a very knowledgeable when it comes to things around here.

 

Hope things work out the best for you and in the manner in which you want them to.

 

Patience is key and you seem to be the most patient person I have ever seen in my life.

 

BTW, I see your from Virginia. My family is up near Fairfax area. Calling for more snow week I heard!

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But being together 19 years is no predictor of her coming back! Plenty of couples break up around middle age, and never look back because one of the partners feels they have grown apart and are no longer compatible, or that the fire has just gone out and they don't even want to try to rekindle it.

 

My point isn't that he is desperate, it is that life goes on and time passes by, and he's a lovely person who should be spending his time looking for a new partner who does want to be with him rather than hanging onto the past for the sake of a few hours of contact a year. The rest of the time, he is alone.

 

Yes, she could come back, but equally so, she may not, and meanwhile he is alone and she has moved on. It never hurts to get on with your life and look for someone new, to fill your life with new possibilities rather than hanging onto the past.

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I think, a couple posts up, that I already expressed ambivalence -- mixed feelings. (Which isn't to be confused with indifference -- no feelings.)

 

And it has snowed so much here that I'm both tired of it and used to it. (Hey ... there's a analogy there.)

 

Yep, I thought so, that was the sense I got from your post but wanted to ask. I know at 8months I'm drifting that way. A strange feeling though not unexpected I suppose. So she's calling you now. I figured she would after that first talk. She told you so! haha Sorry couldn't help myself. But hey, a good step forward.

 

Yeah I'd trade you a lil' snow for the endless gray here. Though it is light gray today....

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lavenderdove, that was kind of harsh to criticize him for feeling happy about these conversations with her. you really don't know if they will get back together or not. He certainly has been so very patient and sometimes, when love is strong enough and patience is there, the other person realizes what they are missing while away from you. He was frozen out for a long time. I know what that feels like. I would feel delirious today if I heard from my love. You can't always choose who you love and not everyone can choose to move on. I tried to and just can't do it. It's particularly hard after a really long term relationship that had lots of positives. Good luck Brownstone. I always like reading your responses and wish you the very best.

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Honey, you're totally missing the point... I'm not criticizing him at all, i'm just giving him a different point of view, that it is not noble nor it is good for him to continue to carry a torch for someone who rarely gives him the time of day, let alone wants to be in a relationship with. A few hours of conversation a year is really crumbs, and life and love can offer you a banquet if you're willing to accept that sometimes you don't get what you want (the person back), and that it is better to live your life fully and realistically rather than keeping a vigil going for someone who is long gone and not looking back.

 

Many people who hang around for years hoping to get back together basically waste their lives carrying a torch for someone who rarely even thinks about them, and who are no longer even a part of their lives anymore.

 

So it's not a criticism of the person at all or meant to be harsh, but there are certain harsh realities in life that many who want to hang on refuse to accept. She's moved on, even if he doesn't want that to be the case, if he's only talked to her for 4 hours in a year.

 

Now if she started calling him every week, wanting to see him, AND talking about missing him and wanting to get back with him, then that's a different story. But just because she's talked to him a couple times after a year doesn't mean she's coming back. He needs to be very careful and not continue his vigil based on that. Instead, it is better to go out and live your life with people who really do want to be in a relationship with you, rather than hanging onto someone who doesn't.

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lavenderdove, that was kind of harsh to criticize him for feeling happy about these conversations with her.

To be honest ... I'm not sure if she actually read my post or at least understood it. (I considered putting it in the "Healing" forum, by the way, but I figured more people would know who I was here.)

 

Anyway, the whole point was for those who are in that zone of seemingly helpless, immediate-post-breakup limbo: Things really do get better with time. You will stop idolizing our ex (who was less than perfect), you will stop romanticizing your relationship (ditto), and (most likely) both of you will reach a point where you're comfortable interacting with one another again, which is a good thing. (Well, it's a good thing for those of us who are not bitter grudge-bearers.)

 

To be honest, after I left my ex a phone message, I didn't think she'd call me back. But indeed she did, and she sounded upbeat, and she was eager to chit-chat about the matter at hand (her job), as well as our lives in general. As recently as six months ago, there was no way, no how that would have happened -- she didn't give a damn about sharing anything with me.

 

She didn't even know I had finished my master's degree (as if I had been sitting around doing nothing without her), and she seemed genuinely enthralled that I had won the "outstanding student" award. ("Do you have pictures?") Meanwhile, I specifically (and sincerely) told her that "No one wants her to succeed on her own more than I do," and she seemed to be touched by that. But I meant it; she's looking for something that she can achieve only on her own, and I want her to get there. ('Course now she's unemployed and living alone, so she's finding that it's not so easy.)

 

As for those "harsh" comments, I don't even get them. "Meanwhile he is alone, and she has moved on. It never hurts to get on with your life and look for someone new." Where'd all that come from? I didn't even comment about my ex's personal/social life, nor mine.

 

What "vigil"?

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You need to think about just dating other people ... Your life passes day to day, so please live it fully, and find a woman who really wants to live it with you.

 

If Brownstone's goal is to have a romantic relationship with someone then this is reasonable advice. But that might not be his goal right now. I do think that we on these forums, and society in general, put a bit too much emphasis on the notion of being partnered up, as if that's the only way a person can be genuinely, meaningfully happy (especially salient the day after Valentine's Day!).

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Anyway, the whole point was for those who are in that zone of seemingly helpless, immediate-post-breakup limbo: Things really do get better with time. You will stop idolizing our ex (who was less than perfect), you will stop romanticizing your relationship (ditto), and (most likely) both of you will reach a point where you're comfortable interacting with one another again, which is a good thing

 

Very true. Although for my part I find there is a need for caution at this phase of "re-establishing normal diplomatic ties," lest we overestimate the significance of ex's actions, or imagine intentions. Actually the worst (for me) is to accurately perceive a wish to try again on the part of the ex without responding by trying to make that wish a reality. I find tentativeness and ambiguity very difficult to bear. But if you've really come to terms with what went down, and can account for the part you played, and are truly reconciled to the prospect of life without the ex ... it'll all work out, however it works out. At least that's what I'm telling myself!

 

Like Tired Tiger said, you are a model of patience Brownstone!

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