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trying to avoid self-destructive behavior

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My ex and I were together for three and a half years. He was a year below me in school so I took a year off and worked so that we could go to graduate school together. Our relationship always seemed rock solid, we never took breaks, we rarely fought and we always talked through our problems. I vacationed with his family (both parents and his three sisters) every summer and it seemed like we were good together. He is from Indiana and I'm from California. About a month before graduate school started, he moved into his new apartment with some people from his department and started a lab rotation. Anyway, he went from calling me several times a day to pretty much not calling unless I called him and asked a specific question that he had to answer (e.g. what is your hat size?).

So he distanced himself from me for about a month and then I came out to school. I tried to talk to him about it but he avoided it. We were supposed to meet and talk about it but he kept backing out of meeting. Finally after trying to decipher his cryptic responses and read into his behavior I finally sent him an email that was like "Hey, when you're breaking up with your next girlfriend you might want to just tell her what's going on instead of making her wonder what's going on and crying about it. I don't know what's going on but things have obviously changed. Have a nice life, consider us broken up." I was really pissed, I hit rock bottom that day. So he responded with this email of how he loved me but couldn't see us getting married and he couldn't talk to me before because it was an implicit lie, etc." I wrote back an email a day later that was like "I wish you'd told me sooner but I understand. When you get back (he was at a retreat for his department) maybe we can meet to talk about it." So we met, there was some small talk for a while and then we actually talked. He reached over and took my hand and said that he loved me. I was like "you love me as a friend" and he was like," well that too". He went on and said that he couldn't see us getting married because we had lived together for 3 years and that it ruined the mystique. Whatever the hell that means...

Anyway, he said something about seeing where we were at later and asking if we could hang out sometime. I was silent for about 2 minutes until he finally was like "well, I'll tell you what, I'll ask you out and you can say no". He also said some stuff about wanting me in his life and that I was his best friend. I told him that if he was going to ask me out that he should wait a couple of months.

I see him about once a week at the pool. We play the same sport, water polo (we both started on the men's team in college together, but I'm a girl) and I started some scrimmages at our new school once a week when the girls team isn't practicing (I'm on the girls team). It's been about two and a half months since I was forced into breaking up with him. Does anyone think that "lost mystique" sounds like bull? Anyway, I guess my actual question is to ask some of the "survivors" how long it took to get over the relationship to the point where they could get through the day without even thinking of the other person. Also, has anyone got over a break up with out dating anyone else? I haven't been single longer than three months since I was 16 so I'm vowing to stay single for a year. I was wondering if I could really get over my ex without dating someone. At this point whenever i see him I'm friendly but I try not to be overly friendly. It's a little hard sometimes because he can be so funny and familiar. Anyway, I've been reading some of the posts and I find all of them very helpful, just knowing how supportive everyone is of each other and that my ended relationship isn't unique. As far as No Contact is concerned, I've stuck to it pretty much except to respond (briefly) to a few emails he sent me that asked about a coaching position (I sort of hooked him up with a coaching position after we broke up) and then I see him at the pool or gym from time to time. Any words are appreciated, thanks!

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I certainly don't think you will be first, or the last, to hear those words "I love you, but...." I'm sorry that you had to go through that. Being much older (not necessarily wiser), I can only speak from my own experiences. However, I notice that many of my friends who dated from highschool through college, grew apart during those years. Sure, they remained good friends, but that was the problem. As people start out in new careers or grad school or make a major lifestyle change, they sometimes want everything to change. The same old g/f or b/f isn't exciting anymore (sorry if that sounds crass), and they assocaite the g/f or b/f with their teenage or young adult years. Now they want to experience life as a grownup (even though no one ever really grows up).


I know I am a different person now at 44, then I was at 34 or even 24. My morals and ethics haven't changed, but my interests have changed, the focus of my life is different and I have more tolerance for some people and much less for others. I am not sure I would still be with someone I dated 25 years ago. In fact, the guy I dated 25 years ago, died 10 years ago, so I guess I know my answer.


Basically it sounds like he has decided to move on, and that doesn't necessarily mean with you. I think he can't let go completely, (as your relationship was a good one and it sounds like he really does treasure your friendship), so he is keeping his options open by asking if he can ask you out at some point. That is not uncommon, but rarely comes to fruision. It's like saying "I'll call you" automatically, when someone has no intention of calling.


As for getting over someone by dating someone else, that is a recipe for disaster. You need to be over the person BEFORE you start dating someone else, at least if you are looking for someone serious. It isn't fair to the other person and certainly won't make you feel better. Casual dating is fine, especially if you date someone who is also just wanting to date and not get serious.


However, if I were you, I would enjoy your freedom and your youth. Now is the time to make new friends, plan trips, live abroad (I lived in Australia for a year when I was 23), and have a good time. Most people (I am an exception) that I know are now in their 40s with teenagers and bills up to their eyeballs, and never went anywhere or did anything, except get married right out of college. Although I also yearn for a long term relationship, I am really glad I did all the travelling I did, and can look back now and know I made the right choice for me.


I know it's hard, but it will get easier. It's been 5 months for me since my breakup, and for the most part, I have stuck to N/C. I think you are doing really well, and it sounds like you have a good attititude. You will be fine.

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Dear southpaw,


I agree with trishcollins. You will be fine. You have a great attitude.


I have to say that dating does help you heal (if you are more a people person, than an introvert). The thing is, it has to be casual dating, i.e., no expectations. Once you throw some expectations in there, then that's when dating stops being healing, and you can throw yourself back to something where you didn't want to be in the first place, i.e., another heart break.


I think when there are no expectations and you can truly be friends with someone you're hanging out with/casual dating/getting to know, etc..., then it will be really healing.


So concentrate on healing relationships now, whether from friendships, casual dates, family - they really help. Trust me.


Take care.

Kung fu

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