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It's been an astoundingly hard week, and as it has been approaching 4 months since my utterly devastating breakup, most of my other resources are waning interest. Because of this, I've decided to make an account on the forum that tells me that I'm not alone. I'm doing what I can, but I think I need more help healing.


A super short summary: I'm 25 years old and should get my Bachelor's degree this May. My life has been hard and is harder than ever alongside trying to heal from the breakup. I was with my ex long-distance for 8 years (with ~10 months sleeping in the same bed from visiting) and was planning to move to be with her after graduating so that long distance + my home issues no longer strained the relationship, myself, or etc. It seems like she left me in order to date someone else. The circumstances of the breakup are dumbfounding to me and I honestly just feel screwed over in so many ways.


There's so much to share and I expect to live in this thread (if that's what I should do?) for the next 11 weeks, so I'll try to summarize everything as well as I can, but I still expect this to be a long post. I feel like my life story is kind of necessary for understanding the relationship, the breakup, and the healing process I'm having now.



My Upbringing/life (prior to relationship):


I developed serious depression, suicidal tendencies, abandonment issues, fears of neglect, panicking issues, rejection issues, feelings of loneliness, self-confidence issues, and unhealthy attachment issues as a consequence of my upbringing/childhood.


My parents were divorced since before my earliest memories. My father lost the custody battle for my brother and I to my mother (bad decision by the courts). I grew up with my mother, brother, and maternal grandparents while regularly visiting my father. My grandfather was the most influential person in my life and set me up for success in life (he was very successful, intelligent, and made few mistakes himself). Until I was 8 years old, life and childhood were pretty good for me. Life was not as good for me from age 8-16. From age 9 onwards, I started using online games (MMORPGS) as an escape from my home issues. Also went through a kidnapping attempt when I was 11 or 12 which didn't help me any.


My mother has had a lifelong struggle with serious mental illness (schizophrenia & bipolar) and addictions to basically every substance you could imagine. She started going downhill when I was 8 years old. From age 9 - 13, my life would cycle between periods of pain and periods of childhood. My most striking memory is how I spent my golden (11th) birthday. I spent over a month prior asking my mom that she only stay home for my birthday (she'd disappear for up to 4 days at a time, inexplicably. Drugs, illness, and awful friends being involved). I ended up spending hours on my birthday just crying on the phone, begging my mother to come home and spend time with me (which happened regularly otherwise, but that ruined birthdays for me going forward. I don't remember special dates anymore. I forget my own birthday every year.) She went into several months of treatment when I was turning 14.


With my father, because of my mother's illness and her tendency to badmouth him, my relationship with him was always strained/limited. When a child has divorced parents and one badmouths the other (especially with custody), the child ends up thinking poorly of the other parent as well. My father could be a bit of a hard ass as he had a tough upbringing himself, and he's not perfect, but he's hardworking, has his head on straight, and fought like hell for my brother and I. Because he could be too tough, and because of some other issues (like certain allergies, or him struggling with smoking on/off while I have asthma), my relationship with him was prone to falling apart. There were two major instances where my relationship with him came to a temporary end, once due to him smoking and me seeing that, and the other due to him getting a dog despite me having allergies to dogs & cats (hypoallergenic dog, though. He was very careful about this.) After 8th grade, to avoid any risks of being put in foster care, it was agreed between my mother and father that I move in with my father in a rural area with no internet. This came at a time when I hadn't been that close to my dad, but it of course helped me get closer with him.


For myself, I was a pretty normal kid until I was 8 years old. After that, I became depressed, overweight, escapist, sort-of addicted to online games, suicidal, and etc, alongside having no discipline or work ethic and being pretty overly sensitive. After moving to live with my father, I had a more controlled diet and got far more exercise (hauling wood and biking especially), so I got in much better shape alongside getting some character building and some alleviation of my other issues. After I turned 16, I turned myself into a class clown and began working out in order to create a niche for myself in high school. I ended up getting pretty fit, gained some self-confidence, gained many friends, and etc. I visited my maternal family every other weekend and regularly in the Summer throughout high school, and for most of that time, I would spend the majority of my time playing one particular MMORPG. That game is actually how I met my ex.



My upbringing/life (during the relationship)


I started flirting with people on the MMORPG I played the Summer before my Junior Year. This included my ex especially because, obviously, I really liked her personality and felt something click with her. She and I started being together in early October 2009. Summer 2009 through the beginning of 2010 was the happiest time of my life for many reasons (biking, fishing, relationship blossoming, lifting weights every day, etc.) My life was about to turn into an almost neverending disaster, though. My dad and I were foreclosed on in late 2009 (I didn't really realize that until a year later), so we had to move to a different house. I was very happy with things, but my dad was destroying himself as he worked so hard through the recession. He would take a lot of his frustration out on me, telling me almost every day that I was worthless or screwed everything up. My relationship with him fell apart, especially as I got afraid that he may take away my phone and find out about / make me lose the relationship with my ex (who he didn't know about. He just knew I spoke to people I'd meet online). Some issues with my ex at this time also exacerbated things. As soon as I finished my Junior year in high school, I arranged to visit the rest of my family indefinitely and stopped speaking to my dad.


That Summer, I gained 30 pounds and played the game all day, which was amazing because I was able to spend all this time with my ex.


It was decided that I would stay in an apartment with my mother in the rural town I went to high school in during my Senior Year so I wouldn't have to be "the new kid" again. That year was utter hell. I had internet and could escape in the game and with my ex, but my mother's schizophrenia was horrendous for almost the entire year. We'd go weeks budgeting cans of spaghettios for food because she was too sick to provide and I was too broken and escapist. I had to walk her to the hospital many times while she was hallucinating. She had a history of violent behavior and aggressive/violent/targeting language too, so I experienced that first hand. She used to crouch over me when I was sleeping and mumble to herself for extended periods of time (these became repressed memories until last year). Undiagnosed, but I'm pretty sure this ended up giving me PTSD. I barely graduated high school.


After I finished high school, I went back to my grandparents' house with my mother and brother. My mother went into a cycle of a few months sickness and a few months stability that she carried for a long time. In 2011-2013, I was doing so poorly after how badly the prior year and a half went that I gained another 20-25 LBs, failed an entire year in college, and overly-dedicated myself to the game. I was banned from the game in April 2012 somewhat inexplicably, which took away my way to spend time with my ex and took away my escape from my own turmoil, including terribly missing my dad. I was getting night terrors and/or terrible nightmares (ex witnessed them and I obviously lived them). I was hospitalized as a suicide risk in the beginning of 2013 and a nurse there changed my life. She told me to stop worrying about taking care of my mom because she was choosing not to care for herself (she of course kept choosing to go back to drugs/alcohol) and to focus solely on myself. I ended up doing that and it worked very well for a while, but had some consequences later on. My ex and I also started playing a new game together towards the end of 2013 to maintain a presence in each others' lives.


I went back to college in Fall 2013 and, after a shaky first semester, started getting all A's and B's (with an upwards trend that continued until last semester). I found a couple new hobbies that I got really into and I started doing well for myself through 2014. There were very painful moments throughout this time as well (dad had a heart attack but I was too afraid to see him, mother had serious issues as always), but it was honestly an uplifting time in my life.


In the beginning of 2015, it had became apparent that my mother's recent period of sickness (Started in October 2014 or so) was not going to be temporary, but rather, that her illness had progressed to the point of no-return (as it often does for people with illness of her nature). 2015 was a hellish year for me. I slept probably 1500 hours the entire year, usually by being up for 30-50 hours and then sleeping for 5 hours, because my mother would be up for 40 hour rants due to her illness, slamming things around the house. Her bedroom is directly above mine, so I can't do anything to escape it. We'd have to call 911 on her very regularly and she'd get hospitalized, although often times she'd be discharged the day-of and get back to the same issues within a few days. My grandparents both took a downwards turn (especially grandfather), and I was overworking myself. I started developing heart issues and had several health scares with insecurity with regards to whether or not I had insurance (I was tied to my mother for insurance and she had historically been unable to ensure we had insurance due to her illness making paperwork too difficult to process). One was that I spent a month coughing up blood while working with tuberculosis in a lab (innocuous strains, but how was a student to feel safe?) while another was some joint pain that seemed like it might be my juvenile rheumatoid arthritis coming back (which, if that happened, I would have had like a 90% chance of being blind and in a wheelchair by the time I was 30). An issue I'd had for years since the night terrors ended in 2013, where the only dreams I'd have were of me being chased and hurt by some kind of "monster" (person, animal, whatever) became greatly exacerbated. In order to cope with it all, I had doubled down on the Nurse's advice from early 2013 and became astoundingly selfish. "My problems are worse, so I don't have time to care about yours for now" became a motto. I hated being this way, but I needed to survive. I also had so much hurt that I was avoiding things that were "frivolous", as well as a few other things that went into my intentional and loathed state of temporary depersonalization. My 2015 can be almost be summarized by three things that happened during a visit to my ex's family: 1: I had a heart attack scare at age 22. 2: I would cry to my ex about how afraid I was to go back home when the visit ended. 3: I turned to my ex and her family when I found out I got a 4.0 in Fall 2015 semester. An important thing that didn't do too much in 2015 was that my relationship with my dad was re-established in mid-2015.


In 2016, my home situation got much worse (and I was extremely unhappy with the relationship for the first few months), but my hard work was starting to pay off. I graduated from my community college with 2 degrees and a certificate, got into my university, and once I was in my university, I landed a good on-campus research job. After getting my A.S. from my community college, after getting accepted into my university, and especially after getting that job, I kept feeling like I wouldn't have to suffer anymore. After getting that part-time job, I was audibly repeating to myself, "I don't have to suffer anymore." My brother also started doing far more work in the house as he'd lost his job in mid-2016, both with regards to grandparent care and with regards to crisis management, thus lessening the load on me. Unfortunately, my mother ended up getting to the point where she was regularly violent, a threat to my grandparents, and would hallucinate that she was murdering children (and maniacally enjoying it). 911 calls and hospitalizations lead to as little as 1 hour of control as she'd go back to her issues. She had 2 involuntary commitments in 2016 (The first of which failed because she'd do drugs at the treatment house, the 2nd of which she got out of by illegally walking out of the treatment house in the middle of the night). My grandparents were starting to really wear down from the stress as well, so Vulnerable Adult Protection started getting involved. Through conversations with them, I learned that my brother and I were legally responsible for everything that happens in the house. My brother and I realized that it'd be a felony to move out (abandonment of vulnerable adults), a felony to maintain status quo (elder neglect), a felony if tragedy struck (elder neglect), and it's also endangerment of the mentally ill to kick our mother out (another felony, although the grandparents control the home.) My grandfather is incapable of grasping the situation at this point (although in 2016, he was, to quote him, "just waiting to die."), and my grandmother has dementia and shame issues to the point where she actively works against anything that may rectify the home situation. We have to somehow protect our grandmother especially, as my mother and her are a toxic combination, while our grandmother is trying to prevent all progress while somehow having control of the situation. I'd regularly stay at my Dad's home when I'd fear for my life with my mother, such as one day when she'd been pacing back and forth aggressively towards me with a hammer (later that day, she almost entirely destroyed the kitchen).


The Spring 2017 semester was a continuation of the prior year's issues (including the trend of it continually getting worse), but a 3rd (4th attempt overall) involuntary commitment started for my mother near the end of April that somehow ended up in a long-term stay somewhere too far from the home to weasel her way out of. I finished the 2016-2017 academic year with a 3.91 GPA, I had my lab job still, I was taking Summer Courses, graduation was in sight, and I was able to have some amazing fishing and biking in May through early July. This was the happiest I had been since 2009. A lot of things that I'd missed about myself were coming back, but I was repressing them because I knew my mother could come back at any day inexplicably as she had before, and at that point, I had no faith anything would ever improve with her. Likewise, while I had been making tremendous progress in 2016 and 2017 to fixing many of my issues such as suicidal tendencies or many of my coping mechanisms I'd developed, I was still telling myself that although I disliked how I'd become, I kept telling myself I would "fix everything once I escape the home." After fishing season winded down, my summer courses finished, and my lab job finished in July (as well as losing a venue I used to host events in), I started getting extremely depressed and insecure. All I wanted, and would openly share, was that my ex not give up on me because the positive end was in sight, even if I was feeling awful at the time. This carried on from July until early September. I ended up feeling better again in September and early October, getting back to 100%s on my exams, until my relationship with my ex started falling apart. I started getting horrible nightmares again, this time that she was going to break up with me. I knew the relationship was falling apart and my control in school fell apart. I was scrambling to find an internship for Spring to secure my graduation, and during an adviser meeting, the adviser could clearly tell that graduation was extremely important to me and that my life sucked, so they tried to emphasize that I had a girlfriend who I was going to visit that Winter (as I would ever Winter). That struck an awful chord with me and shut me down for the full day (as I knew the relationship was falling apart), and a few days later, my ex tried to break up with me, although I ended up hurting myself and she had to back down. I was losing control in school, considering withdrawing and hospitalizing myself, failing as a club leader, and ended up tearing apart the fledgling relationship that was dear to me in the end. My ex ended up breaking up with me in the beginning of November (I handled her second, and successful, attempt at breaking up far better. Obviously I hated being so broken and was working hard to improve it). Just 1 day prior to the breakup, I had been reaching out to as many people as I could to help me get out of my mental rut.



The Relationship: Direction and Importance


We ended up getting super close and had a friendship turn into love late in the Summer of 2009. After she had to mostly quit the game for the school year because of her parents, we started e-mailing each other to stay in touch. During this time, I spent about 80 hours over the course of a week doing something in the game to commemorate her which I think won her heart over. After I had to go back to my rural home with no internet, I told her what I'd done on the game for her and gave her my phone number (we had communicated that she could send my phone texts using Yahoo Messenger). We had our first phone call in like November 2009, shared photos in Winter 2009-2010, and moved very slowly as a first relationship, long distance relationship, online relationship. We used online games as our means to "hang out" and spoke pretty much all day, every day for the entirety of the relationship. She first visited me with her mother in Summer 2011 for a week, and I first visited her family in December 2011 for 11 days while staying at her home. She then visited me twice in 2012, twice in 2013, twice in 2014, and once in 2015 (when it seemed like my mother might be winding down, which she did temporarily) by staying at my home, and I visited her every winter break, with each visit being 3 weeks except the last visit (Winter Break 2016-2017) because my University schedule was hard to work around, so that visit was only 10 days. She could not visit me anymore because it could be dangerous.


She became my crutch through my home issues when things were bad, as I was for her when she had things bother her (nothing like my own issues and far less frequent, though. She had a pretty good family and secure life). As things eventually got horrible for me, the relationship became pretty one-sided where I needed so much support and she would give it, while I had a very hard time being very supportive of her. Alongside this, I was so broken that the relationship was often traumatic for her, while for me, it meant the world to me and she was my everything. When things were not going horribly for me, and especially when in-person, the relationship felt great and she'd agree with that.


In Summer 2016 I'd decided that after I'd close the long distance with her (which especially included escaping my home) and we'd fix the issues I knew hurt us both (mostly my end, some her end) then I would check to see if we were both happy, and if we were (and it was confirmed that the relationship worked not as a vacation), then I'd propose to her. We obviously spoke openly of a future together and etc. I'd come to that conclusion after a few months of thinking of breaking up with her, and "not loving her anymore", deciding instead that the issue was my home life and that I was actually really happy with her as someone to keep moving forward with.



The Relationship: Issues and Worst Moments (for me)


Worst Moments:

-In 2010, while my relationship with my dad was falling apart, she sorta cheated on me. She was open to me about hanging out with a new friend the whole time, but was ignoring me in my time of need (which especially hurt me because of my past). I recall her being annoyed/frustrated that I was getting hurt by it and expecting her to stop. The guy she was spending time with almost definitely thought they'd be dating (his friends physically pushed him into her to ask her to hang out, which initiated it). Eventually it stopped, although I can't remember if it was because I really pressed her on how I felt I was being cheated on, or if she lost her interest.

-She kept a gift from the guy for years. I eventually threw it away in a visit to her with her reluctant acceptance.

-In early 2015, my mother was going pretty nuts and I was turning to my emotional crutch for support. She was very consciously ignoring me in a time of need (before it was a constant time of need) to spend times with some other friends she was making online. I caught her doing this and then she paid attention to me, but I was just astoundingly upset with her.

-I always had a sharp tongue, so I had a couple instances where I would just be mean if she was hurting me. The two noteworthy ones I can remember, the first was that I'd told her to kill herself after the ignoring me for friends thing in early 2015, and the second was that I'd called her a "stupid spoiled b****" after refusing to do something (I forgot what, but I felt like it was asking very little) to make me suffer less in I believe mid-2016. The first was in text so I can only assume her reaction, but the second made her cry in so much pain because she's pretty sensitive and it was pretty out of character for me. Other times I'd do something were way less innocuous, and they'd pretty much always hurt me more than they'd hurt her because they'd be induced in panic and I'd be struck with immediate grief and self-hatred.


Issues in the relationship / issues with my ex:

-My issues were pretty hindering. My lack of self-confidence, my insecurity, my feelings of inadequacy, neediness, and etc. were all a drain on her.

-I'd have a hard time consistently having my webcam on while talking to her, while her webcam was always on. She was in fantastic health and beautiful, while I was 50 LBs heavier than I was in high school, so I always felt so self-conscious and like I'd somehow lose her by having the webcam on. It got to the point where having the webcam on was a special treat.

-I was taking her for-granted because I knew my issues were far worse.

-My panic issues and suicide issues were hugely damaging for her. Something would hurt me, sometimes it'd be something she'd do when she wouldn't try to hurt me at all, and I'd just have panic attacks and want to kill myself. It was so much for her and it always hurt her, just as it always hurt me. She would cry and I would panic harder and hate myself because I couldn't do anything to help myself.

-It was a sexless relationship . This really ed with my self-confidence, but I'd become understanding of her own difficulties with this all in early 2016 while I was contemplating a breakup.

-She had a communication problem. She can be very avoidant and escapist about things. She also had a hard time communicating in general. The communication problem was exacerbated because I'd be impatient with her poor communication as I'd be dealing with my own issues, so I had a listening and patience problem.

-The communication problem has made it hard for me to really understand how she felt about the relationship. She didn't open up about things enough so I've had to try my best to figure out what she was probably thinking/feeling.

-She wasn't doing much with her life. She turned 24 with only ever having taken a few college credits, having never worked, and only recently getting her driving permit. This made me insecure because I'd worry that if I couldn't survive my own hellish life and she didn't put in the work for a good life, what would we do? Would our lives together suck? I knew what it's like to lose a home, to go hungry, to not have healthcare, and to suffer from poverty in general (She doesn't know what that stuff is like), so I'd be afraid of that.

-Obviously, long distance was an issue. Where we'd go afterwards was always a question too, though poor communication really exacerbated this.

-She would say for years that she was going to come to my state for college, which would have gotten me out of my awful home. This made me continue taking classes in my state rather than move to hers to live with her family since I already had some classes under my belt. It basically trapped me in my awful home life. She ended up never doing it for one reason or another. Perhaps some commitment-phobia, perhaps fear of the unknown, perhaps fear of responsibility. This made me insecure as well.

-I was overly negative and hateful of things after my life became hell, especially things that I felt were frivolous and that I knew she liked (EX: visual art). This stemmed from insecurity that lack of forward movement in life would make it so my own hellish life would never end and we'd both hurt. I was hurting so much in life that I directed everything negative towards what I felt wasn't going to work towards a better life. In reality, some of my most cherished moments I'd have with her were when we'd draw things together or etc.

-She didn't like addressing issues at the forefront, I did. I'm used to things getting too big to handle, and I don't think she is, so that's a direct conflict of issue management. She used to say there's no reason to focus on something negative, but I'd say we should because it could get worse. I think she was mostly wrong here.

-She was pretty stubborn and had some disagreements with me about a lot of science, biology, and health things, which are pretty important to me (EX: I love getting vaccinations, she really dislikes medical treatment that might be unnecessary).

-I think she's probably emotionally immature and has a self-awareness issue.


-I always felt like she didn't try hard enough to fix big issues, and she always felt like she couldn't do anything to fix big issues.

-I always felt like I was trying harder for the relationship than her

--I was going through school with her in mind, especially so she wouldn't have to lose healthcare at 26 if we'd end up married and so she wouldn't have to experience what I'd gone through socioeconomically. I feel she never really appreciated that.

--I was doing a ton to fix my issues in the relationship despite everything I was going through, but it seemed like she didn't really put in the effort

--I would put in effort, make plans, do research, and other things to ending long distance where she wouldn't.

--I was very open to her about things in the relationship that I was dissatisfied with and what I think those things meant. EX: At one point, I was regularly dreaming of a high school crush. I told her this probably had to do with a lack of sexual fulfillment from her. I also made my insecurities that came from her actions (or more often, her inactions) pretty clear to her.

--I feel like she always had poor expectations of what a relationship entails (EX: more of a fairy tale to her. I feel like she thought a relationship wouldn't take a lot of work, especially if things were bad for one person).

--After the breakup, I went on massive personal improvement (catalyzed by the breakup, I had always been planning all my changes) and did everything I could to salvage the relationship in response to her breadcrumbs.

--I knew she felt unhappy with her own accomplishments and I wanted to make sure we could both be happy in the relationship, so I'd pushed her to take full time classes and get her driving permit in the last few months we were together.



The Extended, Painful Breakup


The breakup process with her was pretty long and painful. She first started talking to me about why the relationship wasn't a good idea for us anymore in October. She would say things like, "I would be better support to you if we were just friends [because of sex]", "You don't let me be myself, I don't even know who myself is anymore", and "This relationship is hurting both of us." To the first, I explained the change in mindset I'd given myself and she dropped that idea. To the second, I explained to her that I love when she acts like herself and showed her some lyrics to a song I'd written for her about that (how I knew she'd sometimes hold herself back and that I loved when she didn't). To the last, I was telling her that things were so good when we were in person and that it was the home issues and distance, to which she'd responded, "I know." She was clearly struggling with the breakup decision for the entirety of October. She was intermittently ghosting me (which was making me fall apart, especially as it reminded me of childhood trauma). We'd both forgotten our anniversary in October, as well as a "second anniversary" we had later in October (in-game characters had an in-game marriage), myself because I was falling apart and already forgetful of dates, her because she was walking out of the relationship.


During the actual breakup, she refused to go on Skype and refused to talk about anything. She said, "This relationship is hurting both of us. I don't love you anymore. I could fall in love again if we were just friends." This made it seem like it might just be a break to me right off the bat, especially with how the last month had gone. There was no real conversation about the why, it felt very inhuman, and I felt really defenseless while being broken up with. This greatly hurt in my pain and confusion.


She did not contact me until 11 days later, despite my barrage of texts/voicemails to her. Within a couple days of talking again, she told me she was going to the gym with some other guy and was excited to be exercising (first session was 10 days after the breakup). I asked her if she was developing feelings for him, she said "It's too early for that." I asked if it's headed that direction and she said either "yes" or "probably". I'd asked her about the "fall in love again as friends" thing, and she said, "Well it's possible." I asked her why she stopped loving me, and she said it was because I'd called her a "stupid spoiled " and because I didn't like that she wouldn't eat hot dogs (which was some really dumb/little thing from like 2012 that was just my own insecurity, kinda felt like she was out of my league because her family was well-off and I grew up on the cheapest hot dogs for dinner).


I ended up having an abysmal next week or so as we'd both be playing the game and she'd be telling our friends about how excited she was to be doing the new things she was doing. She seemed to really like this new guy. She seemed to resent me. I knew my mother was going to be coming home soon, and I was afraid to spend my first holiday season at home (holidays make my mother far worse). I was afraid of breakup mourning with my mother home, I was so unsure if she would get back together with me or not, I was freaking out over her finding a new guy to date, I was freaking out over my classes/grades, and I was freaking out over my future. All this stuff culminated to me having a horrendous panic attack that made me think I was having an onset of schizophrenia myself. I tried reaching out to my ex but she completely shunned me when I told her what I thought was happening. It happened the next day when we were both on the game, but this time she offered some emotional comfort for me. I ended up opening up to her about my changes (especially undoing depersonalization) and being sappy after calming down, which she seemed to be getting into as far as I could tell. It made me feel like she might still love me and only missed the way I used to be before I had forced myself to undergo depersonalization. I decided to take an early Thanksgiving Break after that and regain my bearings.


After Thanksgiving, I ended up deciding, "no, she is amazing and she is worth fighting for. All these stories online and sources online about people getting back with their ex after a breakup have to be on to something. I will do my best to try to win her back. Maybe she wants it to work out with me above all, hence the breadcrumbs, so it'll hurt, but it's worth the possibility." We also ended up connecting over a game we were both playing on the phone, and we started talking more. She seemed to be enjoying her time talking to me again and she started spending more time with me, seemed to be seeking me out, was more responsive to me when I'd talk to her. We started getting playful together again. She started getting more complimentary of me and showing appreciation to me and my existence / the things I'd do for her. This continued for almost 3 weeks when I eventually comforted her when she was sad about something and opened up to her that I still loved her and was hoping we could get back together if her feelings came back while we were friends (as she said they might), because things would truly be different (and yeah, they absolutely would have been. I had enormous personal improvements after the breakup catalyzed them and I'd committed to ending long distance as soon as I'd graduated. It would have been an infinitely better relationship.) She only really said that she shouldn't be a goal, which I addressed in like 4 ways (she's one of many motivations, she's absolutely worth being a goal even if she was and shouldn't lack self-confidence if that's a factor, she's a person not a prize, and something else which I forgot). A couple days later, I opened up to her again about some stuff and tried asking what her thoughts/feelings were with regards to anything, as well as asking her if I was crossing any boundaries (had been flirting with her and etc), and she had no comment for anything and said she didn't know her boundaries. I decided to give her a few weeks space to sort through things without my meddling, as perhaps she needed space.


3 weeks later, I re-initiated contact with her, and after a day or so of pleasant conversation, apologized for being MIA and explained why. I asked her if space helped her, and she said it doesn't help or not help her and it should just be about whatever's best for me (some kind of devotion to me?). She seemed even more interested in talking to me and spending time with me than before over the next week, to the point where she would actually send me the first text of the day a couple times, one of which had to do with her Professor reminding her of me and her liking that class/professor (such good signs?). I eventually opened up to her again after a week had passed and that went well, but when she said she might be busy that night if I wanted to ask more, a red flag raised in my head. I ended up asking her if it was a date / if she was dating someone, to which she pretty defiantly responded that it wasn't. I asked for more information and she said it might be a movie or grocery shopping (so normal family stuff for her), but that she might not feel up for it. A few minutes later she texted and confessed that she was dating someone else now and that she didn't want to tell me because she was worried about how I would react. I'd contemplated what to do in this scenario for over a month at this point. I responded pretty cordially, told her that I hoped she'd find happiness because she truly deserves it, and told her that I'd have to end our friendship (last time I texted her for almost a month). Out of character, she seemed to have an emotional and almost panicked response, saying she was so sorry, complimenting my traits (things she'd used to say she loved about me), saying she didn't want to say until I'd graduate because of my mindset and grades/graduation, and saying that she's hoping I find happiness too. 10 minutes later she texts that she was really hoping we could be friends but understands if I need my space. 10 minutes after that she says she's still here for me if I need someone to talk to.


Her last texts there threw me for further loops as I'd over-analyze them. Contact with her just leads to over-analysis of breadcrumbs, which is something I'd consider doing for her if my life was manageable, but it's just not worth it when I need to graduate and have a real chance at life. She ended up texting me again a few weeks after for my birthday, although I'd expected she would. I responded my appreciation and wished her well, which was of course sincere.


So, the breakup kind of went a month before it really happened until almost 3 months after it happened. I got strung along for almost 3 months and was basically in relationship damage control mode for 4 months.



The Red Flags


A lot of these details are hazy as I was having a mental breakdown...probably caused by these behaviors.


-While she's had a stressful year and she finally started taking full-time classes in Fall 2017, she seemed to be pretty happy at first.

-I don't think it's realistic for someone to start developing feelings for someone else after an 8 year relationship within 2 weeks.

-The relationship had actually been improving because of my efforts to improve it in the last year.

-The breakup talk seemed really "grass is greener" and out-of-the-blue

-The fact that I was having nightmares that she was going to breakup with me hints to me that I had reason to be suspicious in the end. I might have been picking up on things without really realizing it.

-She started spending more time on campus, often times until very late, while not talking to me until it was very late.

-She started intermittently ghosting me

-She started instigating more arguments with me in the end

-She was generally trying to avoid spending time with me or talking to me

-She kept talking to me excitedly about the guys talking to her on campus, what they like, why they'd talk to her, etc.

-She started getting more self-conscious about her body

-She started wanting to exercise more

-She started wanting to wear yoga pants / leggings (huge red flag, threw me for a huge loop when she first said it. She'd never been the type to flaunt her body)

-She would be texting people while on Skype and I'd ask who, she's say "classmates" or "it's nothing" and stop. Eventually, she started taking her phone out of her room while on Skype almost inexplicably

-The guy I think she's dating now honestly sounds a lot like me. Very frustrating. I remember thinking this too when she first told me more about one particular person while we were still together and how they were similar to me.

-Her language for why we should break up was pretty confusing and typical from how I'd read other breakups of this potential nature end up

-She arguably did this before, but her at 16 was far different from her at 24.

-She could arguably have been having an emotional affair with me while dating someone else.

-Because I did do so much to change after the breakup and could actually document those changes (and she even agreed that I'd had those changes), I think if it was actually "break" then we probably would have gotten back together.



My Life After the Breakup


I went on a tremendous path to personal improvement after the breakup. I regained control of my grades, undid my depersonalization, sorted out my healthcare, started seeing a psychologist, regained a lot of my compassion/empathy, improved my patience/understanding, basically got rid of my panic disorder, basically got rid of my suicidal tendencies, basically got rid of an emotional eating problem, started hitting the gym almost every day, lost 30 pounds in a mostly healthy way (and got huge improvements in things like blood pressure and resting heart rate), improved the relationships with the people around me, analyzed everything I felt I did wrong in the relationship and how I can do better, and so much more. To be honest, I did the majority of this in the first 2-3 weeks because I'd been wanting to have these changes anyways but felt limited by my home life.


I've landed my internship for Spring and have secured my graduation for this May, I'm probably going to commit to going to graduate school as I had been contemplating before, and I'm continuing to focus on healing and personal improvement. I can't really make committal for the future yet because it's still too painful as there's so many strings still stuck in my heart, but I'm starting to plan some things for Summer to keep my life moving forward. I am planning to look into a lot of legal options for fixing this home and for protecting myself so I can move out after I graduate.


With that said, all my home issues are still present, and honestly, they're worse than before. My breakup mourning exacerbates the home situation and makes it far more dangerous. I'd always figured there was probably 5-10% chance of being seriously hurt by my mother before graduating (she'd come at family members in their sleep with knives before), but the added strain of the breakup on her mental health, my mental health, and my relationship with my mother (especially as I view her was one of the main causes of relationship strain with my ex) (and thus the entire house's stability) has probably doubled that. I have so much more self-control at not involving myself in home issues than I used to, but I also have so much more pain than I used to, so it can be very difficult, especially with the lingering legal obligation to involve myself. As I've written this entire post, I've had to listen to her scraping the floor and banging things around the entire time (about 5 hours). It's 4 AM right now. I usually get kept up until like 5-6 AM by her and there's not really much I can do.


To add onto this stuff, I also just can't really catch a break in life. I've been horribly sick since Wednesday due to food poisoning: I've been unable to eat much at all, I got to the point of vomiting blood on Saturday morning, and I've been collapsing when I get stressed due to exhaustion (I will see a clinic on campus on Monday); my laptop broke on Sunday ("today") (bought a super cheap new one because damn it, I need to graduate); and the weather sucks. Everything combined is making classes harder for me than they'd ever been (which is added stress because I do want to go to graduate school, so my grades really matter). Thankfully, my professors are pretty understanding and I can open up to them about it all, and I managed to salvage my Fall semester to maintain a high GPA buffer.


It's going to be a rough 11 more weeks, but I only have about 11 more weeks until I am done with this. I think my ex is probably gone, but I can't help but entertain every possibility at all times, which is pretty hard to deal with. I just need to find a way to survive and heal from a breakup while dealing with everything else. The hardest part is that I can't really feel my emotions in sanctity because feeling my emotions (EX: crying) could actually lead to tragedy. The second hardest part is that I don't know how to mourn the breakup because I still don't really understand what happened and what caused it (doing my best to make that not matter).


In the tiny chance that my ex somehow read this...I have my tumultuous breakup emotions as everyone else, and I feel it's important for me to construct working narratives to get me through this, but overall, I don't think negatively of her and hope things work out well for her in the end. She had to deal with an extension of my pain for so long that I honestly hope her days of hurting can be gone.



So, I'm here, eNotAlone. I'll be back regularly because I don't want to be alone in this.

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Hey 11,


Firstly, I think you just won the prize for longest opening post ever on any forum I've seen! :)


But at least you wrote it well with paragraphs...I think by your writing that you are quite academic*


It's 3am here so I can't write too much but the best bit I pulled out of your story is this:

I went on a tremendous path to personal improvement after the breakup. I regained control of my grades, undid my depersonalization, sorted out my healthcare, started seeing a psychologist, regained a lot of my compassion/empathy, improved my patience/understanding, basically got rid of my panic disorder, basically got rid of my suicidal tendencies, basically got rid of an emotional eating problem, started hitting the gym almost every day, lost 30 pounds in a mostly healthy way (and got huge improvements in things like blood pressure and resting heart rate), improved the relationships with the people around me, analyzed everything I felt I did wrong in the relationship and how I can do better, and so much more.

Very good stuff buddy...And don't forget it was the breakup that propelled you onto that path.....


You are certainly not alone....Someone, somewhere in the world probably just got dumped right this very second!


Others will come but if you make your posts too long, less will read them.


Good on you for reaching out. Proud of you man*



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Thank you, Carus. I appreciate your post.


And yeah, the breakup definitely pushed me onto the path of self-improvement, but honestly, this stuff was going to happen anyways as soon as I'd leave my home. I used to get most of these changes while visiting my ex as well only to have them return when I'd get back to my home. I'm finding it really hard to spin the breakup as a positive.

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