Jump to content

Switching it off?


Recommended Posts

Hi everyone! Longtime lurker, just now deciding to post!


I'm going through being broken up with. For me, it was surprising, and it has meant I have been traveling alone after we split-off (by my suggestion) after her announcement that she is not in an exclusive relationship with someone else. There's plenty of backstory I'm skipping -- partly because my ruminative nature means that I can get carried away and pretty much spell the story and all angles out until I get to the Big Bang.


So. I thought I'd maybe try a thread or two where I ask people's views on a particular aspect related to what I'm going through. (I guess this is primarily breakup-related, so posting here, my cozy little forum where I have decided to wallow while I very slowly recover.) I certainly do want to become both a better person and to understand people/ the world better (even if only a teensy bit) via this breakup. Hey, it's a goal!


Here goes. One thing that I find alienating and just plain hard to understand is the ability of people to, I'll call it, switch it off. Other expressions for this are: become cold, become distant. Perhaps 'indifferent' or 'unfeeling' would count for some people, but I find those are a bit misleading, probably.


I do not really have this ability. At all. I certainly have been unkind, uncaring, or angry in my life, no doubt. But extended periods of consistent coldness or anger (not the same thing, I know, but I do tend to find anger accompanies the coldness)? Not really. If I break up with someone, or vice-versa? I just don't think I'm really able to do it.


The person who broke up with me exhibited this x100. She would bristle at even innocuous things I said. She had a hard time listening at all when I tried to talk about my feelings. She would not talk about her feelings much at all. She expressed openly that she was 'being selfish, but...' (followed by something unhappy to my ears).


While it may seem like I am merely bitter, I actually understand, or think I do, at least some of the motivation for her -- being angry, 'switching it off' toward someone, makes it easier. And I think she really was angry with me, to some degree understandably (again, trying to keep this novella-length). I happen to think she is not only a great person, but one with potential for great kindness. At this time, there was zero for me. (It's also more than possible that I read the rejection as coldness -- seems natural, right? But let's just assume I'm right here -- and I really do feel like it's not even subtle in this case.)


However, even if it were for the best, I cannot switch it off. Right now, it would help me immensely, I'm sure! Pick an available reason to be really angry with her (starting with my poor bruised heart), dust my hands, and be done with it! F her! When breaking up with someone else? It would help me cut the cord! Clean break! And so on. As a 41-year-old, I've tried it to some degree at various times in various relationships... but I kind of accept now that I can't.


So, I'm curious:

(1) Are you, or are most people, more like me, or are you able to switch it off? (Maybe it's just me and my experiences, but I kinda speculate the latter!)

(2) If you're a switcher-offer, and can recall an example, what's going on deep down? Do you draw upon particular resources (anger? specific anger about an event or something? something else?) to draw it forward? Does it happen naturally? Are you simply able to hide your feelings, or are they really blunted? If they are hidden, how are you able to do that at opportune moments?

(3) Finally, whichever you are, why do you think you are so? (I have my own speculations about myself, but will save them.)


Thanks, all!

Link to comment
  • 4 weeks later...

I am pretty sure I have switched off before. After some time thinking about whether someone was right for me ( I wanted them to be, they were very kind and fun but they just didn't have enough drive/passion in general for me) and that part was hard. I probably seem harsh to him when I broke it off. He was crying etc and I did nothing. I could barely hug him. In this case I did not love him, I wouldn't say i didn't want him in my life, but I just did not want a relationship because i was going to hurt him as I was not into it as much as he. I did keep him informed of how i felt when I first had doubts, which must have been hard for him, but I didn't want him to have that out of the blue feeling either, i just wanted him to know what was going on.

The only way i could describe it, is feeling a bit numb. Knowing things are going to change, that they have to change and not liking it...but just having to follow through. I think maybe its about sticking to guns.??


You seem pretty mature, got a good head on your shoulders, able to analyze and give advice and have a good sense of humor. I dont know you, but I am sure if you use these things in the future, you will snag a good one.

Link to comment

I have switched off, but I wasn't always like this. It's not actually an entirely good feeling. My switch off feelings I think are only towards men. I thought it would come back for me, that I would heal and move on as everyone here talks about. I don't have warm feelings towards previous partners anymore, though at each breakup I was devastated. The pain went, and a type of numbness replaced it. I was in situations too - more than once where me. Had switched off to me. Each time, I'm quite certain there was another woman. I think mostly, they just got bored and needed someone newer and shinier.


I have love in my life - but not in those types of relationships. They are not real. At least not for me.

Link to comment

I don't think there are people who can actually "switch it off" as you say. There are just people who are naturally cold and distant or people who you got into a relationship but they never really loved you. When deep inside there somebody doesn't have this "sparkle" and feelings towards you they usually act distant, cold and aren't emotional at all.


(1) No. There are just people who choosed a wrong person to get into a relationship(or perhaps became fed up with somebody who at first seemed to be totally different) with, that's why they might seem cold, distant, or "switched off" as you said.

(2) Of course I have also "switched off" myself. It's a weird feelings: you get this "grass is greener" thing, you become distans, you just want to spend time alone, enjoy freedom, party, etc.

(3)I'm neither of them. When I have feelings for somebody I usually express them. When I feel like the relationship isn't working then I just become distans and want to do everything alone, etc.

Link to comment

Thanks everyone! It's really nice to hear your thoughts. (And thank you for the kind words, Trinity.)


Obviously, there is a lot of variation. I can say that I do think some people do this, because I've witnessed it. (Quite possibly, I tend to get involved – attract and/ or am attracted to – women who tend to do it.) I mean the behavior – not necessarily what's going on underneath, which I can't really know. Hence my query, in fact!


I am not sure I explained my view very clearly! Sometimes, things are hard to articulate... sometimes, I'm just bad at it!


In any case, I can, of course, totally understand losing feelings for someone. Or never really being super keen on them in the first place.


It's just that when I've felt that way, I don't think I've ever really felt the need, of my own accord, to be cold toward that person. I might get angry if they are unkind toward me... or if I think they're rejecting me. But if I am, say, breaking up with someone? Not really an impulse for me. I feel bad about it. Sometimes, I admit, I'm not completely the model of empathy -- that can be hard to maintain.


And my feelings don't really normally go from 60 to 0. Or even from 30 to 0. The only cases I can think of are where it was very brief and I was not into the person (and probably she wasn't that into me, I dunno!).


However, again, it's why I'm curious about it. I can think of reasons, again: if she happens to be the kind of person who does, unlike me, lose all feelings when she's 'done'. Ok, different from me, but good to know. Or: anger/ defensiveness makes a person close up like a book and now you're dead to them. (That seems compelling to me as an explanation – though still foreign to my heart.) Or another reason I thought of recently: given all the violence against women in the world, maybe they, in general, have some reason to be a little closed... a little defensive... maybe it's a form of protection, a toughness. (When I was thinking of that, I was thinking how this last one had, like all too many women, had relationship(s) with forms of Intimate Partner Violence/ stalking in them... so there you go.) But it's a whole lot of speculation without much to go on...


Anyway, thanks again!

Link to comment


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...