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Done My 30 Days NC - Now What?

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I've done 31 days NC and passed the '30 Day' marker that most guides recommend. Describing it in how many days I've 'done' makes it sound like I'm counting down jail time or something. That's kind of how it feels in some ways...the difference is, with jail time you know there is an end in sight. With this, however, I can't see an end at all. I'm confused about what to do now.


The obligatory background...My ex GF and I broke up a month ago. It was a same-sex relationship with a 17 year age gap which my ex quoted as her reason for ending it with me (I'm younger, she's older, and says she struggled with that a lot). We broke up on the phone. She called to say she wanted to meet up to 'discuss' breaking up. It wasn't unexpected, I'd seen it coming for a few weeks. I jumped right in and said 'well, it's not unexpected, I'm pleased you called about this because I don't want to see you.' This was true at the time...I didn't want to see her because discussing a break-up was too painful for me. However, I think it came accross as abrasive and in hindsight I suppose I entered into a stupid competition about who could end it first even though I didn't want to end it. I think I said it to protect myself somehow. I've only realised this in the last few days.


She seemed surprised when I said I didn't want to see her. She said she still loved me, had a fabulous time with me and still wanted to be friends. I said no, that was not going to happen. She asked what I wanted her to do with some belongings of mine that I had at her house. I told her to throw them away and forget about some money she owed me. I then said I felt very sad that this had to happen, but in a non-chalant sort of way. She said 'oh...er...so this isn't what you wanted then?' I didn't realise at the time but in retrospect, I wonder if I actually broke up with her even though she initiated the conversation?! I'm confused about that.


I told her no, a break-up wasn't what I wanted but I was sick of feeling bad and anxious all the time. She said she was sick of feeling bad too, but in a surprised sort of way, as if she was trying to catch up with me. She then asked me if I wanted her to get off the phone. I said I did and I didn't, but there was nothing more to say. Then she landed this one on me 'Well, I'll wait for you to get in contact with me then.'


What?!?! At the time I just thought to myself 'you'll have a long wait because I'm going into some hardcore bNC.' I didn't even say goodbye when I put the phone down. NC was ridiculously easy in the first 2 weeks, I just bimbled along, feeling pretty good with myself, feeling stronger than ever....but the last 2 weeks have been painfully difficult and I feel worse each day rather than better. I expected that I would feel better after 4 weeks but the opposite is true...I miss her like crazy and it hurts. I didn't cry in the first 2 weeks but I've wept buckets in the last week or so. Surely it should be the other way around?


One month on and I still don't get what she meant by 'I'll wait for you to contact me'. That was her closing line before I put the phone down. Why would you break up with someone but then invite them to contact you? I don't understand and it's hindering my healing process because I can't decide if NC is good in this situation or not. I spend all day thinking about it over and over and I feel stuck in limbo. I can't move on or heal or anything because I can't help but worry that enforcing NC for too long will kill my chances of reconciliation.


I think a minimum of 30 days was absolutely necessary and now that I've reached that point I feel like I need to re-assess the situation and make some decisions about whether to carry on with it or contact her like she asked me to. I want to work through this with her, or at least get the closure I denied myself during the break-up conversation, and given that she said she would wait for me I'm very confused about a) whether to break NC in the first place and b) how to go about it.


I remembered having a conversation with her about NC as a healing tool once when we were still together. I explained to her how it worked and she said 'well if someone made it clear they didn't want to talk to me then I wouldn't talk to them either.' She also said, a few weeks before the break-up when I brought up the topic of ending our relationship, that if I didn't want to see her again then she would politely disappear from my life if that was what I wanted.


I think I can safely say that she's not going to contact me. She's waiting for me to make the first post break-up contact for sure. We're locked in a battle of wills...neither of us want to break the silence and look like the weaker party. If I did contact her, I'm convinced she would reply but I'd feel sick with nervousness about it. I'd also feel pretty silly for breaking NC and potentially damaging my self-respect.


Should I break NC and see what's going on or should I soldier on with another 30 days and then re-assess things? Arrghh!!!


Many thanks in advance

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I'm sorry you have found yourself in this situation you are, it is hard that's for sure. I think alot of exs say at the time of ending a relationship that they want to be friends. But I think woman especially think it should be possible to be friends after a relationship ends. My ex said the same thing, but it's been over a year and I have no plans to contact her anytime soon ! I think her exact words were something like "plz don't be a stranger" ! In my mind I loved her very much and didn't want the relationship to end, but with time and reflection, she turned out to be a different person I thought she was. Because the person I thought she was would not have behaved in the way she did (break up over the phone and some other fairly tame stuff). To me my friends are the people I can completely rely on, no matter what. Due to the way she behaved I don't want her as a friend.


That may sound harsh but I it is just the way I feel. So for me I will not contact my ex in the foreseeable future. If I ever did hear from her I would only allow her space in my life if she has grown as an individual.


My biggest question for you is why do you want to contact her ? To be friends or to restart the relationship ? In my view 30 days is really too soon for either. I think you need some time and space to figure out what went wrong and why before you can even begin to consider approaching her. And if it is friends then 30 days is way too early. As long as your emotions are involved you can not be friends.


Good luck

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I'm not sure what you mean. Do you mean why do I want to know what's going on in terms of reconciliation or why do I want to know what's going on in her life?


The first...well, this was my relationship and it was important to me. I love this woman (I wish I didn't right now to be honest!) I want to know if there's any chance of us working this out because I want to be with her.


The second is interesting. I'm not sure I want to know what's going on in her life. If she's found someone else or whatever then I'd rather not know at all, hence why I said I didn't want to be friends because I don't want to bear witness to any future relationships she might have while my heart is still in pieces

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Hi Scotty I have no intention of being friends with her at all. It may sound childish but it really is all or nothing. I won't hang around playing at friends and hindering my own healing while she progresses more quickly in terms of moving on.


My motivation for contacting her would be to either reconcile or to get closure. I feel like this relationship ended with too many loose ends (e.g. who actually ended it, the fact that I refused to meet her to discuss it, what she meant by waiting for me to contact her etc). I didn't really give her an opportunity to explain her reasons for wanting to discuss a break-up beyond the fact that she struggled with the age-gap.


We broke up for 3 weeks before Christmas. She contacted me all the time and invited me out for lunch, then dinner, then drinks until we reconciled. I know I shouldn't have engaged in that but it was my first break-up and I didn't know how to handle it. However, at least by communicating we were able to explore the issues and resolve them (she felt I wasn't 'there' for her when she was stressed about work).


When we got back together I worked really hard to ensure that the same didn't happen again and she even said she thought I was much more supportive. Again, there are underlying issues with stress at work. She displayed the same behaviour patterns which I tried to work through with her. With this break-up though, she's chosen the age-gap as the reason, which I can't change no matter how hard I try. I think there's something to be said for both of us actively working to overcome her anxieties about that, but I can't do it all on my own.


I can't help thinking there needs to be some communication along the line somewhere so that the reasons for the break-up can be established and we can decide where to go from here, if anywhere. I just feel I cut her off too quickly and didn't give her chance to explain. It felt like a good idea at the time but now I'm kicking myself because I've got all these unanswered questions. Even if she doesn't want to get back together then some closure would be helpful for me because I'd stop over-analysing everything and start to move on.


I agree 30 days is too soon and ideally I'd like to leave it longer in terms of promoting my own healing and self-reflection but because she asked me to contact her I feel like I'm time-limited somehow and I'm anxious that leaving it too long will harm my chances of getting back with her because she'll think I just don't care

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If someone wants to be with you (and they are the dumper) AND they want you back, they will not sit there twiddling their thumbs waiting for YOU to contact them. They just will not leave it up to you or fate or anything else to let get in touch and communicate that they had made a mistake. If you've made it to 30 days and your ex isn't contacting you, then try for another 30 days then another. But at some point you have to accept that something is over.


The trouble with saying, "I'll do 30/60/90 days NC and then I will contact my ex" is that you are NOT accepting the relationship as over, therefore you cannot heal as a person, therefore you cannot grow and move on, so you sit there looking at the clock and waiting for when you can be in touch again, and you'll contact them just as desperate as before because you haven't used that time to accept and learn. You're using X amount of days as a tactic to give your ex space and to give the "appearance" of non-chalance.

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