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How to go from break up during a break to back together


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Closure is the end of the relationship pure and simple. It's very normal to have many questions but we have to accept they will remain unanswered sadly.


This is a great time to fill your life doing whatever you want! Go for a run, go watch a movie, catch up with old friends try your hand at a new instrument etc etc.


You can use this sad time to enjoy many positive experiences. It's important to keep busy but don't push yourself too hard.

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My head is racing with thoughts - what if there is still something that is worth fighting for? I was prepared and behaved like she is sure of not wanting to be with me but it looked like she wasn't 100%. We hugged and she cried and she was sad - how can all that not mean anything? I guess I wanted her to feel that I am strong and am ok with whatever happens - but I am not - I guess at least not yet. I want to contact her so badly and ask why we are doing this and why we don't just try to work it out slowly :(

And talking to her and seeing that she cared rekindled all my thoughts of how good of a fit we actually are/were. I want to think badly of her but I can't and I can't even think of bad situations that we had - as I said we never argued. I am crying and can't focus on anything else right now.

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Ok a bit black and white here but if she wants to come back she would be back. It' ok to be sad and upset, you should totally have a good cry it will help BUT...


She knows how you feel and that the door is left open for her so why do you think she's not walked back through that door? It's the easiest thing in the world for her to do so why hasn't she?


Theres no doubt in my mind that she cares a lot for you and is herself genuinely sad it's over but, sorry to say, that doesnt mean she wants to fight for the relationship thats ended.

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Hey TestTest,


I have been following your thread since its inception. I haven't contributed because I would only be echoing the great advice you have already received, however I thought I might take a crack at it now to see if I can help out with the maelstrom you now feel in your mind.


I have been there. The primal, instinctive urge to scrape and grasp at anything; any clue or whisper of hope. To fight for something, even if you know on some level that 'something' is illusory. I really do relate, and it is OK to feel like this. What got me through was stepping back and taking stock of my feelings. From the moment it started going south, you have been in a tailspin, gasping and flailing at nothing. You sit awake going over what-ifs and maybes. Does that feel good?


How about when you stood strong, and held your head high. When you said, I need space and time, and I will be blocking you for my own sake. When you came on here and had an outpouring of support and bravos (to which, may I add my own)? Did that feel good?


On a basic level, if my own experience is anything to go by, you can't trust your rationalisations and internal logic right now. It's scattered and unreliable. But if you just think about the best moment, feelings wise, over this whole experience, I am sure its the time you stood up and said 'I need to move forward and be strong'. When you took control of your situation back, when you decide that you could move on. Hold on to that, you can have that feeling again. You will still fall back into the maelstrom, but it becomes less frequent, until one day you are left, strong and standing tall.


I hope that makes sense. I just empathise and wish you the best.



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I know - still feels so weird and kind of like she needs a "push" to remember how good it was and how we can make it good again if we work together. Feels like I just wasn't clear enough that I don't agree with the outcome of our break and that I could have done more to convince her to try again. Logically you are right - just can't see it this way right now unfortunately.

I remember her saying when we hugged that I should call her anytime if I want to hear her voice - why do you say stuff like that?

I need to get it in my head that she does not want to be with me and that it's over - and here I am still not seeing clearly in black and white and hoping for this all to be just a massive mistake and her realizing it too. Damn this is gonna take a while!

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She's definitely clear about what you want from what you've told us. I don't think telling her yet again is a good idea.


It's great that you do realize you're grasping at straws, though.


I recommend you list her number in your phone as NO DON'T so you don't end up sending any messages.

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These spins are normal, part of the process, hard as they are. Been there. Bro hugs. These are the moments, hard as they are, where you kind of get to choose how you handle pain and discomfort. You can choose to become stronger so you can connect even deeper down the line, or not, to put it bluntly.


Follow me for a moment.


I'm a surfer. It is a b*tch of a sport. Simply trying to paddle out to the waves, at some beaches, feels like death. All you want to do is turn back, especially when you're learning. Many do. Then there is being out in the water, trying to catch waves. You miss most of them, which is defeating. You're kind of scared the whole time. Then you get pummeled and, again—the feeling of death. Turn back? Or stay in? The people who learn to surf and get to taste the exquisite joy that is surfing are the ones who stay in—they get stronger, learn to take the death-like feelings as part of it. They don't quite go away, but become something that you can live with. In living with it you have a path toward exquisite joy.


Know why surfers have that kind of chilled attitude? It's not from riding waves and sipping beer at bonfires. It's because they've learned to get comfortable feeling like they might die.


Reaching out to her? That's heading back to shore after one annoying wave. It's a place you've been. In fact, it's the place you were when this whole thing turned south. You couldn't handle the wave, you panicked, you reached out, you asked this, expressed that, kind of broke up with preemptively, kind of didn't, and so on. You were a man you did not want to be, a shadow version of yourself. It didn't work then. It will not work right now. In trying not to drown you will drown. More surfer stuff: when you get pulled under by the big waves the key is to go slack. Don't fight it. Trust you'll float back up.


You've got to ride this all out, my friend. Come to us, not her. Become a fitness maniac, a chess master. Sit with this void and fill it yourself, from your own juju. I know it's awful, but I'm telling you: if you can learn to do that you are in for a whole different paradigm when it comes to connecting—with yourself, with people, and in romance.


There will be more chapters for you. There always are, for all of us. The world proves that a zillion times a day. This is a moment when you have an opportunity to improve your stroke for when those chapters arrive.

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Thank you all - it's good hear. Made it through the first day without contacting her. One day done - more to go but I am doing my best. Stayed longer at work and have a trip planned with the boys for the weekend.

Maybe she will look back one day and regret this - maybe she won't but you're right that I have to design my own future. Somehow I always feel strong in the evenings after a good day and not so much in the mornings. Maybe tomorrow is different - let's hope so.

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I know you spent most of the past decade with one person, which may mean that while you've got a lot of experience in one realm of romance this realm is a bit more mysterious. As someone with a very different romantic history than yours, I'll just say that, with only a few exceptions, the end of every relationship, even short ones that I've been the one to bow out of, have not been easy for me. The choice is rarely clear as day, the emotions informing that choice are often quite hazy, and in the wake there are a range of feelings, with something like relief giving way to regret, freedom giving way to loneliness, clarity to confusion, and so on.


She's riding hard waves too, in other words. Can only speak for myself, but when I've been in your shoes I've found some comfort in remembering that—not just the ego-soothing comfort of imagining someone regretting the choice to leave me, but the comfort of remembering that connection is rare, hard to sustain, and the end of connections is really hard for everyone involved. I like cultivating that comfort because I think it makes me better at connecting, whenever the opportunity comes. I find it preferable to using rage and bitterness as a platform to dive into the next chapter, because it means you may take that rage and bitterness with you, to the detriment of future connections.


It's all very raw right now, so just feel what you need, express it all however you need to. Just something to file away, as the smoke clears.

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My head is racing with thoughts - what if there is still something that is worth fighting for? I was prepared and behaved like she is sure of not wanting to be with me but it looked like she wasn't 100%. We hugged and she cried and she was sad - how can all that not mean anything? I guess I wanted her to feel that I am strong and am ok with whatever happens - but I am not - I guess at least not yet. I want to contact her so badly and ask why we are doing this and why we don't just try to work it out slowly :(


I remember crying pretty hard when I broke up with my first real long-term boyfriend. I knew it meant that my life was going to change a lot (we lived together and were very integrated in each others' lives) and I felt terrible for hurting him. It wasn't a mutual break-up, and the knowledge that I was causing him pain and couldn't make it go away was very difficult. But I knew it was the right thing to do.


In other words, tears don't necessarily mean someone regrets their decision to end it. It means she cares about you and doesn't want to hurt you, but knows you're hurting all the same. Goodbyes can be intensely emotional for all involved.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So it's been almost two weeks since I last saw her. Went on a couple dates and in the first week I felt like life is ok and going on. Meeting people let me not think about her constantly so that helped but the last two days have been horrible - started dreaming of her and miss her terribly all of a sudden again. Would love to reach out and tell her even though I know it's not a good idea.

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What MissCanuck said.


Learning to just sit with uncomfortable thoughts, instead of running to France to escape them, is a real skill. As is learning to live along voids left by people, so the edges can soften and close on their own, rather than trying to find a new person—or the old person—to fill them pronto. It's in those moments—tough, but vital—where we come a bit further into ourselves and grow a few inches emotionally.


Don't get me wrong. Work, friends, travel, the gym—all that can be great, as distractions have their place. But they can't only be distractions. You have to move through stuff rather than around it, and certainly not back into it, if that makes sense. Time is your buddy right now. Time is on your side. Trust that, steer your thoughts to that idea.


Big picture: You've spent very little of your adult life being single, meaning not being with someone, getting over someone, or pursuing someone new, in some shape or form. I think the lines between those compartments are a little blurry. This can be a good time to shore up the walls between those states of being by finding a new state of being, one that is ultimately better suited for the kind of connections (within, with others) that you really want out of the business of living and loving.


Emotional maturity is essentially understanding that every feeling is something that passes. A high, a low, etc.—these are not constant states, ever, but temporary states. They don't all need to be reacted to, but just felt in order to give way to new feelings.

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