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Hi there. I've been lurking here for a while, but felt like I needed to post today because my grief is overwhelming and I just don't know how to feel better. My story is long, but I'll try to keep it brief.


I'm a woman in my early 40's who has never been married, but has had several serious, long term relationships. My last relationship ended in June after almost 5 years. My boyfriend and I loved each other very much, and talked about getting married and having a family, but he was unable to find a decent job in the city we lived in. He was barely working the entire time we were together, and as a result he was often angry, frustrated and unhappy. We lived together for 4 years and I paid most of the rent and bills, and did everything I could to help him find a better job so we could move forward with our life together. In the end, it just didn't happen and he decided he needed to move back to the state he was from and go back to his old job. He didn't include me in the discussion, but just assumed I would pick up and go with him. Honestly, if it had been a year earlier, I probably would have, but the last year we were together, so much pain and resentment built up that I felt like we just needed to go our separate ways. I was crushed, but I let him go, as I didn't really feel there was any other solution.


When he left at the beginning of June, he left me a letter telling me he knew he fell apart and he wanted to go back home and get himself together so he could be worthy of my love again, and so that we could get married and have a future together. I read it and immediately fell apart, but knew that we just couldn't be together at that time. A couple of months later, I decided to move accross the country (opposite coast as where he was living) to get myself together and heal. I felt like I needed a fresh start and living in the house where we lived together, was making me sad and unable to move forward. I thought maybe he and I were done for good because when we talked, he didn't seem to be any happier and his life didn't seem to be much better, although he was working and starting to pick himself back up again. After I was here for a couple of months, I told him I needed to not speak to him for a while because I was having a hard time taking care of my needs and focusing on myself, which is what I was really trying to do. The last couple of years had been all about him and his problems, and I lost sight of myself. His phone calls complaining about how hard things were, were just bringing me back to that place which was not healthy for me. I focused on reconnecting with old friends and trying to date a little (which was a bad idea, and I now know I'm not even close to being ready for that).


Fast forward to about 3 weeks ago. He texted me after us not speaking for about 3 months to get a phone number from me. I thought I was over him, but hearing from him again really rattled me and put me in a downward spiral of pain. We texted back and forth for a while. I felt like he was getting his life together and moving on without me, and although I was happy he was doing better it really hurt me to see him moving forward without me. A flood of emotions came back and I realized how much I still loved him. We've been texting back and forth for the past few weeks and have talked on the phone a couple of times. I told him last week that I loved him and missed him, and he said he felt the same way, and then I told him I was interested in trying again. I was surprised that I felt that way, but after thinking about it and reflecting on everything for a couple of weeks I realized that is what my heart was telling me. He was surprised and hesitant. He thought he had lost me forever and honestly didn't think he'd ever hear from me again after how things were a few months prior. It was obvious from our first phone conversation that there was still an incredible amount of love between us. Neither of us wanted to jump into anything, but we both agreed that we were willing to see if we could start fresh and wanted to start talking and visiting each other to see if we could make things work. He was getting his life together, and that was what caused all of our issues in the past, so it seemed like we were in a good position to make things work. Over the next week, we texted a bit and talked on the phone a couple of times, and then yesterday morning he texted and said he didn't know if us getting back together was a good idea because he didn't think we were good for each other. We've talked and it sounds like he does not want to try after all. I am crushed.


I went from thinking I was over him to realizing that I still loved him immensely, telling him I wanted to work on rebuilding our relationship, having him tell me he still loved me and was open to the idea, and then having him tell me he didn't want to be with me ever again, all within the last three weeks. I can't stop crying. I feel like someone has punched me in the stomach. I lost the love of my life and I really don't know how to move forward. I don't know how I am going to get over this and live my life without him. Please help me.

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He wasn't the love of your life. You carried the relationship for years and were fine with picking up your life again and moving on. However, major relocations take time and him getting back in touch and then both of you staying in contact rekindled the good memories while sweeping all of the frustration under the rug. For him to say yes would mean you relocating...and he cannot handle that level of commitment. Which says his changes are surface at best.


Put him behind you for good and get back to healing and moving on.

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He is doing you a big (HUGE) favor and you can't see that at the moment. Even though you're "not supposed to" marry or commit to someone hoping they're going to change, I'm guilty of having done exactly that. My ex was a miserably unhappy man (still is) and I spent our whole relationship thinking "when he has a better job...when he makes more money.... when he makes new/different friends..." I built alllllll of my hopes and dreams on something that never actually existed and it makes me sad to think about even today. As you said, it became alllll about him, his issues, his problems, his moods, while you shouldered the emotional as well as financial burden. Is that what you want to go back to? Of course not. He's the same guy as always who doesn't have has sh** together and one day soon you will be thanking him and the powers that be that this didn't work out.

Don't be hard on yourself. Take some time to cry yourself raw and then enjoy the holidays and the hope that the New Year brings!!


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Noralee, you'll be OK. I promise. But it'll take some time. It's great that he's getting his life together. Now, you need to recommit to doing the same for yourself - live your life loudly. Have adventures, explore, learn, change, grow.


I was devastated when my ex and I broke up. Had to get on anti-anxiety meds to stop crying. When I realized what I was doing wasn't working, I had an epiphany: I needed to do something differently, so I made a plan. You might benefit from the same sort of healing plan. (Actually, my plan was to get my ex to want me back, to become the one who got away.)


Here's what I recommend:


Physical Changes


Exercise every day - preferably, an hour. It'll help get your endorphins up, which will help you feel better quickly.


Initially and immediately, make some subtle changes - how you part your hair, how you wear makeup. Something that will register on a subliminal level with others. It's a fast way to feel a pick-up.


Change your personal style. Really take a look at your wardrobe and only wear the things that look great and make you feel good. When you think you look good, you feel better. Mix things up, try on things you haven't worn together, make a list of what you need to get the look you want. And don't forget accessories to complete your look. You deserve to feel good about how you look.


After some real thought (and possibly a consultation), you may want to invest in a new hairstyle and cosmetics. But don't go from long to short or no makeup to full on - it just won't feel right. Make it "you", but on steroids.


Whiten your teeth, if needed. It takes years off.


Check your brows. Too thin for today's fuller look? Fill them in with powder. Too heavy? Clean them up. Good brows make you look stylish. (Can you tell I'm an esthetician?)



Social Change


Go out with friends at least twice a week. Doesn't matter if it's just a walk, coffee, a movie. Don't sit at home alone.


Volunteer in your community. Your sense of self-worth will increase as you serve those less fortunate.


Join a team or group. Softball, volleyball, book club, movie meet-up, doesn't matter. New friends and activities will broaden your entire world.


Take a road trip, preferably with a fun friend.


Every week, go somewhere new in your town - a park, museum, cafe. This will keep you from getting into a rut or help you get out of one.



Intellectual Change


Take a class to learn something new. For me it was learning to play the cello (never played a musical instrument in my life). For you could be French cooking, to speak Spanish, tennis. Your self-esteem will improve as you master something new.


Become an expert in something you already enjoy. If you enjoy digital photography, decorating, collecting books, local politics, get into it and learn all you can.



Personal Change


Use affirmations to help build your self-esteem. After a breakup like yours, I wouldn't be at all surprised if you feel "less" than you did about yourself. As stupid as affirmations sound, they worked very well for me.


I used the Law of Attraction (especially when I was ready to date) to put my intentions for myself "out there".




I made a weekly "to do" list. It looked something like this:


1. Meet two new people.

2. Smile at the people at the bus stop and say "good morning". (Bus stop was at my company door.)

3. Help a stranger do something.

4. Give something away.

5. Have dinner with a friend.

6. Send a friend a card by mail.

7. Drive to another town and buy something from a local business.

8. Call someone you haven't spoken to in at least a month.

9. Bake something for office mates to enjoy.

10. Take a picture of a friend and send it to her.


Simple things designed to connect me with people and explore new things.



I had a great job, was on the Relay for Life committee in my town, was taking cello lessons, and looking my best. My confidence was soaring. I was having fun. I stopped crying. I moved forward and, eventually, started dating a little, but gave up on finding someone special. Which, of course, meant I was destined to meet a handsome, brilliant, charming, warm, romantic, renowned artist. We've been together for 2.5 years.


I have my happy ending and you'll get yours, too. You get to decide how long you'll suffer. Make a plan to put an end to it sooner rather than later.

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This guy was an emotional vampire. He took and took and took from you for four years. In not getting back with you, he is doing you a favor. You two had an unhealthy dynamic and getting back together would just have been going backwards.


I think Autumn's advice is spot on. Finally, you have to completely cut contact. While you are healing, getting in touch with an ex can make someone you miss seem like the person you should be with. He is not the love of your life. He is the love of your past.

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Thank you all. Really. I cannot believe how much I am hurting right now. I'm seriously stunned and the depth of my pain.


@savignon, thank you. You really get it and understand where I was.


@autumnborn and @ms darcy, you are both right. The thing that is killing me right now is that I KNEW that he was not good for me. He was truly sucking the life out of me, which is why when he asked me to move with him in June (and then proceeded to propose to me about a dozen times) I said no. I was miserable in the situation I was in. Nothing was getting better. Nothing was changing. So, I moved and moved on. Autumn, that list is pretty darn impressive. I definitely didn't do all that, but I have done a lot of those things over the past 6 months - I've been reconnecting with old friends (I moved back to where I used to live, so it's not a brand new city), I've been working out, have lost about 15 pounds, have focused on having fun, have reconnected with who I used to be and the things I enjoy, etc. I really did think I was over him and had moved on. I didn't think I had feelings for him anymore, which is why the feelings I've had for the past few weeks have floored me. I cannot believe how I'm feeling. The fact that I even felt that I wanted to reunite with me is mind boggling and I don't know where it came from. The only thing I can think is that I never truly dealt with the loss of the relationship, but just stuffed those feelings down inside me and tried to put on a happy face like I was better off without him and ok. When the reality is that although I may have been better off without him, he is still someone I shared a life with and someone I truly loved. I get that he wasn't good for me and that this is probably for the best, but I did still love him.


Part of me is wondering if my pain is coming from the fact that I'm getting older and have never been married and don't have a family, something that I truly want. I'm 41 and I want a baby, but I know that the chances of that happening are slim to none at this point. He really wanted those things with me, and I thought if he could just get he sh** together, we could work through our problems and have that. Now I'm feeling like it's something I'm never going to have, so not only am I mourning the loss of the relationship I hoped I'd be able to have with him, I'm also mourning the fact that I may never be a wife or a mother. I am beautiful, fun, caring, kind, interesting, smart and have a great career. I have my act completely together in every other aspect of my life. I just don't understand why this part of my life just never seems to work out for me. I'm not trying to turn this into a pity party. I just don't understand why I can't have what seems to come so easily for so many people. When is it going to be my turn?

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