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It was the stage...I finally get it...It was the stage!


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An epiphany is a moment of sudden realization. They are the light bulb moments. They are the moments when things that were once hidden and veiled become as sharp as the highest definition television. The road of healing is full of epiphanies small and big, and I just had an important one.

 

I am over three years out from the break up with my ex. I have gone from making every mistake in the book with her and being in deep and prolonged pain for over a year to feeling better but still not being whole.

 

Today has been a hard day. I have had a few hard days in the past few weeks. I think, in part, because I am starting to move into a new stage of healing. This is the longest period of NC so far, and she is blocked on everything. I am committed to this course of action.

 

I WILL HEAL. I WILL LEVEL UP.

 

How I Heal Myself

Part of my process is seeking to understand what happened. I need to know what happened to heal and to prevent it from happening if I am fortunate enough to find myself in love again. I can't risk losing someone I value so much again. I fear it will destroy me.

 

This means I constantly reflect on the relationship and the mistakes she and I both made in it and out of it. Sometimes that means that I search the internet for specific advice or view points to help fill in the gaps in my understanding.

 

The thing I know is that there are always new layers of understanding. No matter how much I think I know or understand there is more that is invisible waiting to be revealed as new understanding and insights peel back once hidden layers.

 

I found myself searching out relationship stages today. I have long since realized that my ex and I were in a long and serious relationship. We were together almost four years, and we were in love and had a deep connection almost the whole time. I thought she was going to be my wife.

 

 

My Epiphany

So what I realized today was that one of the reasons my healing process has taken me so long is that I am not just healing from the end of the relationship and all the trauma associated with it; I am healing from childhood and life wounds that were revealed during our relationship.

 

There comes a time in most relationships, where old and forgotten wounds have a way of infecting an otherwise healthy relationship. Your love for each other is pushed aside and tested during this stage. In fact, I think you have to fight through this phase as a rite of passage in order to get to a real and long-term relationship.

 

And instead of the two of us pushing through this stage together, a grenade of relationship ending things exploded in our hands at exactly the wrong time. We were doomed, no matter how much love we felt.

 

It just wasn't going to happen. We weren't going to survive it. We didn't have the experience.

 

What This Means for My Ex and Her Current Boyfriend

What I also realize is that my ex and her current boyfriend are in this same pattern. They will face the same situation, if different problems, at some point.

They will have to fight through them if they are going to make it, and if they do make it, they deserve it. They will have to overcome her past hurts and his.

 

I also realize that even though she chooses him over me, she knows me better than she knows him. They have been together for half the time we were together, and as far as I can tell, they have yet to go through any real traumas. They have yet to be tested in the way that we were.

 

There is power in this realization for my own healing, and it helps me to understand that I should stay no contact. Don't want to interfere with their relationship. There wont be any winners that way. Nothing will be resolved.

 

What This Means For My Ex and Me

The hard part is that I have to force myself not to reach out to her with this realization. I have to fight against that feeling.

 

So if I want to get her back, I have to wait. I have no chance of stepping in now.

 

I stay no contact. I keep her blocked on everything for now, so that I can heal. If, one day, whether it be a month from now or two years from now, when I am healed and open to communication. I unblock her.

 

Maybe that means that we end up talking some day. Maybe it means we never talk because she is happily married. Maybe it means we never talk because I am happily married.

 

Regardless, I now feel better about why it has taken me so long to heal.

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Really, if you think about it, at first your ex is comparing the worst version of you with the best and most idealized version of their new partner. In time, they learn there new partner isn't exactly as perfect as they thought, and they realize that you aren't as bad either.

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Quite insightful post. It is a pity that epiphanies more often come at the price of deep suffering.

A question: did you "medicate" a broken heart through sleeping with other girls, or you headed direct to realisation phase? I read somewhere on this forum that typically after a BU, men will do their best to distract themselves from the flood of post BU feelings by burring themselves in work, partying wild, sleeping around. They say it takes a man around 3 weeks to realize the gravity of the loss and that there is no work-around the grief. What was your experience?

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I am glad that you were able to find some comfort in this awareness of what went wrong, but i am concerned that you are still thinking about this after 3 years in relation to her and her BF and hoping that the problems that affected you will affect them. Honestly it doesn't really work that way unless the problems you encountered were all HERS.

 

And if you have childhood issues that are significant enough to end a relationship, these should be taken and resolved by a counselor rather than expecting a couple to 'fight through' them. Childhood issues are your own issues, and you need to resolve them yourself rather than using a partner as a foil or a battering ram to hammer out your childhood issues.

 

If it is 3 years later and you still haven't gotten over her and are still waiting and hoping she'll break up with her partner and come back and looking for what you see as 'proof' she may come back (as in, 'she'll have childhood issues with him just like with me then she'll break up with him'), then it is way past time you get yourself to a counselor to work thru this and let go and prepare yourself to NOT have these childhood issues in future with a partner. This is just a trick of your brain looking for more and more elaborate excuses to try to hold on and explain why she doesn't come back. The reality is she doesn't come back because she's done and doesn't want to and has a new partner as well.

 

You need to own your own childhood issues, and fix them on your own as well rather than expecting a partner to deal with them. And also after 3 years you are stuck in your healing and really need to get some counseling to help you let go and adjust to the reality of the situation, that she is gone and not your partner anymore, so you should be looking for a new one rather than holding onto the past.

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I totally agree with most everything you are saying, LavenderDove. That's why I have a therapist. Three years is a long time to heal from the end of a relationship, which is also kind of my point: That I am healing from more than the end of the relationship.

 

There was more to the end of our relationship than the end of the relationship--hidden childhood wounds, my dad dying, work stresses and more. The loss of that relationship was and is significant, but there's more to why I am still not healed.

 

To clarify, even though a part of me wants them to have problems and break up, I actually want them to be happy and find the sort of love that lasts. We all deserve it, and I want it for myself.

 

That's part of why I fight so hard to understand. If she and I imploded, any relationship can implode. I want to learn from my experiences so that I can have a better shot next time. I need to understand what happened so that I can believe that it's possible for love to happen again.

 

And when I say that they will have problems, it is a recognition that all of us, when we come together with a partner, eventually have to reconcile our past hurts with those of our partner. I don't believe they will face the same issues. That's pretty much impossible, but they do have to face their own issues to form a happy long-term relationship. And often those things are hidden until years into a relationship or difficult traumas bring them out. It's how you deal with those issues that either make a relationship the type that we want or not.

 

Look I know she isn't coming back right now and probably not ever. She is pretty happy with her current boyfriend. They are probably going to get engaged here pretty soon. She has chosen him over me. However, I also know that there is no telling what may happen in the future. Not a one of us has a crystal ball into the future.

 

She cares about me. She regrets what happened between us. She still loves me as of four months ago, but she loves him, too. She's staying with him.

 

There are any number of possibilities out there that can and do happen everyday. I am not counting on any one of them happening over any other. I am working to accept and address my issues and to be open to the future.

 

That said, I do miss the girl.

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Yes, made the mistake of being in contact. First year it was more about getting back together. Second year was more about me chasing. Third year was me learning how to go NC for real.

 

It worked out so that we got in contact every three months, no matter how hard we tried not to talk. I even had to change my number twice to make it happen. Long story short, the person who got my old number had my new number and gave it to my ex. Now she can't get in touch with me without going through someone.

 

And I know she cares about us both because of the last contact we had. She said that she is still in love with me and the situation is impossible because she loves him, too. However, she can't address her feelings with me without hurting him. That everything with me haunts her and is the biggest mistake of her life.

 

It's all silly though. She's with him. No other option for me but to not contact her and heal myself as best I can.

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This sums up my thoughts. I think your initial insights are great. Childhood wounds definitely shape and impact our relationships. But as you went on, you seemed to digress. You are again focusing on her relationship. You have no insight on her growth and most likely she is a different person than you remember (as you are "stuck" with the picture of her that you had during your years together and the minimal contact you two have had.) And staying stuck on your image of her, you yourself are staying stuck in some ways.

 

And I agree that after three years entertaining the idea of getting back together is not helpful to you because she has chosen not to be with you for three years.

 

I think letting go of the hope of getting back together will be a real turning point in your healing process.

 

Pulling for you man.

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Honey, it is time to think only about you and not her. She's thinking about herself and him, but not about you! All this 'I still love you' is very dramatic, but it is meaningless if she is choosing him and staying with him when any day of the week she could leave him for you. There are reasons why she prefers him, and the rest is all nostalgic babble or drama because she likes the idea of two men in love with her.

 

So time to REALLY cut the cord. Stay in no contact, and recognize she has made her choice, and it is not you, so you need to start thinking about yourself and what is good for you, and dreaming about someone who is long gone may be dramatic, but it is not in your best interests at all so you need to find a REAL woman in real life to live it with your rather than some faint memory of a selfish woman who will string you along like that for nothing while living her life with another guy.

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Do you want to let her go? Honest question. If you had to choose between letting her go or being miserable, would you choose to be miserable?

Obviously there is still enough payback in this loop and communication you've had with her to keep you going.

 

What would your personal "this is enough. I can't do it anymore." be?

 

Her getting married to this guy? Children?

 

I'm asking because sometimes it can be helpful to think longer term. Realistically, that is how it will play out. You'll stay in love with her, but have no one to love you and hold you and be there to share your life with. She'll keep up with this guy, get married, or go off and find another guy. And keep doing this too.

 

So it is affairs ville that you have sent yourself to now. Right now it might only be emotional. But you'd probably take it further if you could, right? IF you are honest with yourself.

 

To be the guy on the side...is that how you pictured yourself, is that what you want for yourself? How does it make you feel?

 

The 'harsher truths' are what are going to help you heal, and take action. What do you really want? Sometimes people are so focused chasing a carrot that they totally lose touch with what they are actually after in the first place. Even if you got the carrot now, you'd probably (after an initial thrill), be like "I'm really hungry now. A carrot isn't going to do it at all.".

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