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Is there any healthy response to this?


bluecastle

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I broke up with my ex in late Sept. She's 26, I'm 38. Short(ish) version of the drama goes: she seemed to really check out six months earlier, and after doing everything I could to revive things I had to pull the plug when I felt my spirit deteriorating. Hard choice—I so loved her and saw clear skies ahead—but it was clearly what she'd been pushing for. I accepted those clear skies as an emotionally-induced mirage.

 

Post breakup I learned from mutual friends that she'd been unfaithful during those last hard months—devastating, but not a huge surprise. She'd been severely depressed, has real self-worth issues, and was spiraling hard. Been there myself when I was her age, and was far from the perfect boyfriend, having spent the first year really commitment-averse, keeping her at arms length, and sleeping with my ex 5 months in and rationalizing it by the fact that I said I wasn't ready for any labels.

 

The day after I learned about her infidelity she broached the topic of reconciliation, which at the time I really wanted. But I wanted everything on the table. I confessed about sleeping with my ex, she confessed, and in letting the lies into the open we found something like peace, connection, humanity. We were raw, flawed, vulnerable, human. Could this, I wondered, be a radical place to build trust and a new chapter? But she started seeing someone else shortly after, and I realized we were just in very different places.

 

All that was in December. After nearly 3 months of peace (LC save polite "hope you're well" texts), she has begun contacting me in a hostile, passive-aggressive manner. The first time was six weeks ago; I ignored it for a month—I've been spending most of my time away from where we live—then eventually wrote her what I thought was a kind note, basically saying I sensed some hostility, didn't understand it, hope we can move forward gracefully, wisher her the best. Just wanted to clear the air, put out into the world the energy I'd like received.

 

She responded kindly to that. But then, last week, she reverted back to vitriol. I'm currently in a different city, and posted a photo of a female friend—zero ulterior motives, as we're both blocked on all social media. I guess someone alerted her to it, because she wrote me, "HER? Really, dude. Hope you're having fun. Shocking choice..."

 

At this point it's both sad and funny. I mean, she began seeing other people a year ago, spoke of being relieved when we broke up, and continued seeing other people after talking to me about reconciliation. All that has sent a pretty consistent message that she isn't really into being with me. So why the sudden meanness and manipulation?

 

Maybe I'm writing this because I'm still struggling to accept that I was dating someone who may be, at heart, toxic and selfish. I've always had pretty elegant partings with people, so this is all a bit jarring. I feel like I've been kind, honest, accountable, respectful, not interfering at all. Is it just that she is in a place where she thrives on drama and any response just feeds that? Or is there something I can or should be saying?

 

Blah blah. Thanks for listening. Any words of wisdom are appreciated.

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I mean, your relationship fell apart. It's hard to say exactly what happened and why, but what we can see from looking at the details here is that this has run its course. It may take some time to adjust to that, since you haven't been given clear closure, but that's the facts of the situation and the sooner you're ready to embrace it on any level which is comfortable to you, the better off you will be (sometimes I have to slander the person in my head in order to get it through to myself initially).

 

She may or may not be a toxic, selfish person. I'd say it's more likely she simply doesn't have the self-awareness and maturity that you do, and thus I'd avoid ascribing any particular traits/intentions to her. That's one of the issues with an age gap, I suppose

 

Try not to take her anger personally. She is clearly struggling - people don't go out of their way to do that sort of thing unless they themselves are in anguish. So this may be a learning curve for her to understand herself and relationships better

 

Leave her be to explore that on her own. Move on with your life

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Just another angle to add to the list of possible things. I’m polyamourously inclined, and I thought I loved my ex, even though he left me twice and shattered my heart and by now there have been more years of pain than love. We have remained friends, the things that drew us together still draw us together. Evidently I always hoped to reconcile, it wasn’t my choice to split.

 

When he got a cuddle buddy I was fine

 

When he moved in with that cuddle buddy 3 months after meeting her I haven’t got words for how hurt I was and that hurt manifested in cruel words, I couldn’t stop myself. I had to physically remove myself from the situation. She could be a horrible person, she could be coming from a place of overwhelming pain. (The impact on you remains the same, if it hurts block block block)

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Just another angle to add to the list of possible things. I’m polyamourously inclined, and I thought I loved my ex, even though he left me twice and shattered my heart and by now there have been more years of pain than love. We have remained friends, the things that drew us together still draw us together. Evidently I always hoped to reconcile, it wasn’t my choice to split.

 

When he got a cuddle buddy I was fine

 

When he moved in with that cuddle buddy 3 months after meeting her I haven’t got words for how hurt I was and that hurt manifested in cruel words, I couldn’t stop myself. I had to physically remove myself from the situation. She could be a horrible person, she could be coming from a place of overwhelming pain. (The impact on you remains the same, if it hurts block block block)

 

Thanks for sharing. In my case, it doesn't hurt so much as sadden. I haven't been dating anyone—traveling, working, healing, therapy, just kind of finding strength in sitting with pain. I guess what confuses me is: she really seemed to want out and has dated other people—same as she was when we were together, but without the guilt. I guess I don't understand where the anger wells up after so many months. If she wanted to see me, or even get back together, she could just say so. Man, what an impact that would have.

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The hurt and anger could be coming rom anywhere, and being displaced on you. I know I’m upset about more than a partner falling out of love with me (him leaving was the catalyst for having to stare everything face on.

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Do not respond to her at all, OP.

 

You two might be human and "raw", as you put it, but you also seriously betrayed each other's trust and lacked respect for each other. Time to stop romanticizing the toxic behaviour and telling yourself you could build trust from that. That's very rarely how cheating goes.

 

Thus, the healthiest response is to realize that this relaitonship died a long time ago so you can move on. Take what you learned from this relationship and apply it to future ones so you can experience true happiness with someone else.

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Do not respond to her at all, OP.

 

You two might be human and "raw", as you put it, but you also seriously betrayed each other's trust and lacked respect for each other. Time to stop romanticizing the toxic behaviour and telling yourself you could build trust from that. That's very rarely how cheating goes.

 

Thus, the healthiest response is to realize that this relaitonship died a long time ago so you can move on. Take what you learned from this relationship and apply it to future ones so you can experience true happiness with someone else.

 

Great advice—thank you. What you described was my exact mindset back in December. After holding space hoping that we could salvage things in an unorthodox manner, I accepted that the amount of pain and betrayal delivered was just too much. I've never seen infidelity as a total deal-breaker, but I accepted that she probably didn't see it that way, even though she had experienced what it was to cheat on someone (me) while still loving them.

 

So I let go, ceased all contact, doubled down on therapy, and committed to sitting with my pain and mistakes in order to learn from them. She contacted me twice in those three months, brief and cordial: a Merry Christmas text, a "saw you on the street, hope you're well" text.

 

What changed to bring out a more hostile tone, I don't know. Do you think it's at all helpful, as the above poster suggested, to politely let her know that there will be no more contact from here on out? Or is that just another log on the fire?

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Unless you have kids/unfinished business, you should cease all contact with her or any of her people. Also block and delete her and all her people from social media and messaging platforms.

 

No kids, everyone is blocked, though my profile will always be public for professional reasons. As for unfinished business, well, that's kind of the question these sorts of exchanges bring to mind. Is there a discussion to be had? A genuine feeling or thought she wants to express that gets clouded by anger? I've long tried to give space for that to happen. Though I was also betrayed, and though my pain remains immense, I've only expressed gratitude and respect, knowing that is ultimately what dominates for me.

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breaking up is the final event. The end. There is nothing to discuss. No kids or apt or money in common? Stop contacting her.

 

I suppose there's just a part of me that wonders if, somewhere in her anger, is an attempt to continue the talks of getting back together. Of course, if this is how that's expressed it's not the sort of thing I want to be in. Still, the idea of now having to go into blocking mode feels a bit sad.

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I think you’ve both hurt and betrayed each other and the relationship started out as a lie because you were sleeping with your ex! I don’t know how long you were together but it seems to me that neither of you is any good for the other and relationships don’t tend to end ‘elegantly’ when one person learns that they were duped from the very beginning.

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I think you’ve both hurt and betrayed each other and the relationship started out as a lie because you were sleeping with your ex! I don’t know how long you were together but it seems to me that neither of you is any good for the other and relationships don’t tend to end ‘elegantly’ when one person learns that they were duped from the very beginning.

 

You are probably right. I did my best to be open about where I stood in the beginning—that I was working through a lot, was not ready for commitment. Once I was in, I was in, and we had a really lovely and engaged 2 years (3 total). But the seeds of uncertainty had been planted even before she knew what had happened, and they eventually blossomed into resentment.

 

None of that is an excuse for the choice I made, which happened exactly once, just as my actions are not an excuse for her to have chosen to engage in something lasting 2.5 months, we well as another fling, during the last six months of our relationship. Two very flawed humans who hurt and betrayed each other. Hurt people, to quote a favorite line of a movie, hurt people. I've been getting a lot of help to understand the roots of my own pain.

 

Anyhow, none of that negates the realness of the love we shared for me. I guess I wondered if maybe, in airing our mistakes, we could find a bit of the peace and humanity that had eluded us toward to the end. For a moment, it seemed possible. Our exchanges were warm, cordial. Then they took the recent turn.

 

I know how toxic it all sounds, how toxic it all was, in many ways. I can't control her feelings about me, what wells up when. I'll just let the fire burn out on its own without any contact.

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Blue you seem like a really smart guy and I'm sure you know the answer is no response, is the healthiest.

 

But you need to start thinking of yourself 100% of the time now. She's wishy washy at best and no one needs that in their life. Take her hostile remark as jealousy and use it to boost your confidence.

 

Everything is going to be better than okay for you.

 

Mitch

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