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Wrestling with depression and grief after breakup


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Hey everyone. It's been a few months since I last posted. Last time, I talked of a break up that happened back in November 2019. Well, here's what's happened since then:

 

I'm afraid I did not take the advice of cutting contact with her back in November. For a while, I was doing well about just talking with her has friends. But over time, it became clear that we could not handle that sort of thing. In December we went back to talking like boyfriend and girlfriend again, and it wasn't long before we were talking about how we could be a better couple in the future.

 

After having not seen her since the end of September, I finally saw her again during a New Years event. While we were super anxious about seeing each other, it was honestly very nice. We got to catch up and remind ourselves of why we had feelings for each other. Honestly one of the most romantic events of my life. That being said, when I returned home after those few days out of town, I remembered all the reasons we originally broke up, and I knew that those reasons were still there. I felt like we were about to jump into the exact same situation, and once again I felt a horrible gut feeling about moving forward. So on January 10th, I once again let her go.

 

For some reason, the break up this time was so much harder on me than in November. Within the month, I learned that she was already talking to a new guy. I was shocked at this, for she was always expressing that no one in her life compared to me, and that she wanted to spend the rest of her life with me. I thought, for these reasons, it would at least take her as long to heal as it would me. I have been distraught since then. I have been wrestling with depression and grief. I've questioned how she could move on so quickly from me, and I questioned whether I really ever meant anything to her or not. I've wondered if she even thinks about me anymore, and wondered how I can be so easily forgettable. Even tonight, I noticed on a certain social media platform (Pinterest) that she and this new guy are sharing things about houses, suggesting to me that they are already talking about living together or maybe even spending life together. I am shocked and devastated.

 

I have to say, all the free time that has come with the coronavirus quarantine has made the healing and moving on process 100x harder to deal with. I even feel more broken than I did in January. I have shed more tears in the past 3 months than I have in all my life. While I'm taking baby steps about working on myself during this time, it has been hard to motivate myself to do anything substantial. Life has not felt worth living. I have lost all hope. I'd love to believe her being with this new guy so soon is a red flag and shows I made the right choice. Do you guys think that?

 

I don't know what to think or do anymore. I am a heartbroken fool. I feel betrayed, even though obviously I know she has not wronged me. I realize I brought this all on myself; I know I must take responsibility. But I could use some advice and encouragement right now. Thank you.

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I don’t have any advice other than the standard “stop following or looking at her social media and do total, absolute NC.”

 

As far as encouragement goes...I would encourage you to keep looking for ways to grow and heal, as you say you have been. I see glimmers of your knowing of the truth in your post: of course she remembers you and in fact she would do anything to avoid the pain of your breakup. But we all know you can only defer pain for so long before it surfaces and DEMANDS to be felt. You’re feeling yours on the front end, so to speak...so on the other side you will have done your healing and growing and made yourself into a better mate for the next woman you date.

 

Sorry you’re hurting...it’s a really tough time to be going through heartache. Glad you posted again and I hope you hear exactly what you need from the replies to follow in this thread!

 

Good luck!

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"So I let this girl go on Wednesday night. We had been talking for around 5 months. While I do think we have a lot of chemistry and potential, I ultimately turned her down and told her my heart wasn't in it anymore for the following reasons:

She still lives with her ex who she broke up with in June. I honestly don't believe I am the rebound because she's had a thing for me ever since we met 4 years ago, and I do trust that she has not been messing around with him anymore. But he is extremely jealous of me and toxic (sometimes borderline psychotic) to her, and he doesn't allow me over. She says their relationship was toxic , that he was sexually harassing her. I told her from the beginning she should get out of there, but she just started trying to find a way out of the apartment only a few weeks ago. Her ex has been draining to both of us.

We live an hour apart. I can't visit her 95% of the time because the ex is there, and she can't come visit me because she doesn't have a car. That hasn't made a good combination of things.

Within a month of us talking about dating, she already decided she wants to spend the rest of her life with me. This made me uncomfortable, especially as someone who does not have any serious or long-term relationship experience. I've felt bad about holding this against her because she has had a crush on me for 4 years, and I know how easy it is to get overexcited with crushes. But she's really very confident in her intuition and thinks we would be amazing together.

Seemed like all my close family, friends, and mentors were telling me it didn't seem like a good idea. Partly because it was stressing me the hell out, and they could see it in my whole demeanor.

I've been in a big transition period in my life lately. Graduating college and leaving that freedom to live with my parents once again. Trying to get my foot in the door in the real world. I'm still trying to figure out the next steps as I enter into adult life. Thinking about a relationship where the other person is already down for marriage has been a bit overwhelming among all this."

 

I am confused. It doesn't even sound like you dated. She was living with her ex bf and you and you had been talking all this time.

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I don’t have any advice other than the standard “stop following or looking at her social media and do total, absolute NC.”

 

As far as encouragement goes...I would encourage you to keep looking for ways to grow and heal, as you say you have been. I see glimmers of your knowing of the truth in your post: of course she remembers you and in fact she would do anything to avoid the pain of your breakup. But we all know you can only defer pain for so long before it surfaces and DEMANDS to be felt. You’re feeling yours on the front end, so to speak...so on the other side you will have done your healing and growing and made yourself into a better mate for the next woman you date.

 

Sorry you’re hurting...it’s a really tough time to be going through heartache. Glad you posted again and I hope you hear exactly what you need from the replies to follow in this thread!

 

Good luck!

 

Thank you for your reply. Since everything is so fresh, I really see no good in any of this. I've torn myself down every day saying I am the reason that everything is falling apart. But what I do know is that nearly everyone I asked to help give me guidance on the relationship said I should probably let her go. And it matched up with my gut feeling. So I know I need to make an effort to believe that this was for the best.

 

The toxic thoughts lately have just been so crippling. I assume I know their relationship, and I assume the absolute worst. And I'm realizing I've placed my value far too much in what she thinks of me. I certainly have a long way to go, and I hope that I'll be better in the end by facing this heartbreak now rather than trying to mask it with a new relationship.

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Well, looking back, I'm not sure why I phrased it like that. We were dating, though what I meant in the previous post is that we never put a label on it. We most certainly went on dates and were very romantically involved with one another. She was living with her ex all the way until I ended things in January, which is one of the reasons I let her go (I felt we were jumping into the same situation again). I think she finally got out of there in March, which means this new guy has not had to deal with the ex near as much as me (I'm quite envious about this -- why did she suddenly put in the effort to leave once I left?).

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We dated for about 5 months, starting in June 2019. We started dating right after I had graduated college. I was able to visit her more (around once every two weeks) compared to later because I had my apartment lease until the end of July. Once my apartment was gone, it was harder to visit each other, but in between we kept in contact through video calls and texting. Then over time it became harder and harder to see on another due to circumstances, going on to seeing each other once a month and after that even longer.

 

TL;DR: At the beginning of the relationship, we got to visit each other around once every week/ two weeks. It eventually came down to seeing each other once a month, and it would've gone on to be even longer than that.

 

This was my first serious relationship ever, for the record. This was deepest connection with someone I have ever made.

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It doesn't sound like this relationship ever had a fighting chance, OP.

 

She'd been dragging around too much baggage from her past, especially if she was still living with ex the whole time. Coupled with the fact that you couldn't see each other too much and never actually officially confirmed that you were a couple? That isn't the stuff of long-lasting, stable relationship. It was too complicated and I don't think her heart was in it anywhere near as much as she led you to believe. The grand promises she made you hold no water when she was still living under the same roof as her ex. She sounds like the immature type who is in love with the idea of love, and gets carried away with the fairy-tale rather than dealing with reality. Again, not someone you could hedge bets on. She wasn't going to grieve this as much as you, simply because her heart wasn't actually in line with yours anymore.

 

You were right to end this. It likely stings that much more because it's your first real break-up and you thus have no frame of reference for how to deal with it. It does get easier, but you need to stop tormenting yourself with the thought of her and her new boyfriend. Block and delete her everywhere, on all social media. If she had been the right woman for you, you would not have needed to wade through all this drama to get to the good stuff. The drama and chaos were your signs that this was not a match.

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It doesn't sound like this relationship ever had a fighting chance, OP.

 

She'd been dragging around too much baggage from her past, especially if she was still living with ex the whole time. Coupled with the fact that you couldn't see each other too much and never actually officially confirmed that you were a couple? That isn't the stuff of long-lasting, stable relationship. It was too complicated and I don't think her heart was in it anywhere near as much as she led you to believe. The grand promises she made you hold no water when she was still living under the same roof as her ex. She sounds like the immature type who is in love with the idea of love, and gets carried away with the fairy-tale rather than dealing with reality. Again, not someone you could hedge bets on. She wasn't going to grieve this as much as you, simply because her heart wasn't actually in line with yours anymore.

 

Thank you for this. It was my fault that we were not a confirmed couple -- I kept telling her I felt uncomfortable with the circumstances and the baggage and that it was not a good time for us (I realize now that this is silly because we were basically a couple without the label). She always said she was willing to wait until I felt ready and that circumstances are temporary.

 

You were right to end this. It likely stings that much more because it's your first real break-up and you thus have no frame of reference for how to deal with it. It does get easier, but you need to stop tormenting yourself with the thought of her and her new boyfriend. Block and delete her everywhere, on all social media. If she had been the right woman for you, you would not have needed to wade through all this drama to get to the good stuff. The drama and chaos were your signs that this was not a match.

 

I know I need to start making efforts to believe all this. All friends, family, and mentors support and reassure me of my decision, yet I still question it all and struggle with thoughts of what could have been. I think deep down I knew that, as you said, things weren't right between us, and that's why I had the gut feeling that I did. I just hope in time I will be able to look back and be relieved at this decision rather than thinking what if. And I sure hope I can make another connection like I did with her -- it was the most intimate relationship I have ever known. But perhaps I had that with the wrong person.

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Thank you for this. It was my fault that we were not a confirmed couple -- I kept telling her I felt uncomfortable with the circumstances and the baggage and that it was not a good time for us (I realize now that this is silly because we were basically a couple without the label). She always said she was willing to wait until I felt ready and that circumstances are temporary.

 

Read this again. Take time to reflect on what a wise choice that was, OP.

 

It would have been silly to get in a relationship with her unless and until she had moved out. She didn't change her circumstances. Is that your fault? No. It's not. She had months to change something, and evidently, she didn't. Stop blaming yourself for things that were totally out of your hands. Think about it: "Mom, Dad, this is my girlfriend! You'll be seeing lots of her here at my place. Why? Oh, only because she still lives with her ex so we can't hang at her place. We don't want to disturb him. Toodles!" See how ridiculous that sounds? You knew it, too.

 

Again, because this was your first relationship (so to speak) you don't have a real reference point for what a healthy connection and viable relationship prospect looks like. This wasn't it. I am sure you clicked with her on some levels, but man, you can do a lot better than some chick who's still shacked up with her ex. That had red flags all over it from the beginning. It says more about her character than you realize yet, it seems.

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I am sorry OP, but this never had a chance. The lack of time spent together and living with the ex made it impossible to have a relationship.

 

Please block and delete her on everything and in time you will feel much better.

 

BTW, I would not have committed to someone who was living with an ex. This was not your fault.

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I am sorry OP, but this never had a chance. The lack of time spent together and living with the ex made it impossible to have a relationship.

 

Please block and delete her on everything and in time you will feel much better.

 

BTW, I would not have committed to someone who was living with an ex. This was not your fault.

 

We spent plenty of time with one another over video chat, phone calls, and text messages. Video chats especially. That comprised the majority of our relationship. But I suppose that's drastically different than actually spending time with them in person, huh? I guess I just did not realize that because I've never been in a serious relationship like this.

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We spent plenty of time with one another over video chat, phone calls, and text messages. Video chats especially. That comprised the majority of our relationship. But I suppose that's drastically different than actually spending time with them in person, huh? I guess I just did not realize that because I've never been in a serious relationship like this.

 

Video chats, phone calls etc.., do not make a relationship, this is why so many LDRs do not work. I hope that you will learn from this experience, and understand that you need to spend time with someone- in person- for it to be successful.

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We spent plenty of time with one another over video chat, phone calls, and text messages. Video chats especially. That comprised the majority of our relationship. But I suppose that's drastically different than actually spending time with them in person, huh? I guess I just did not realize that because I've never been in a serious relationship like this.

 

It's not even close to it, no.

 

You can't have real intimacy over video chats. You can't spend quality time together. You can't make memories the same way you can in person. When your relationship is primarily digital and didn't already have the proper foundation offline to support it, (if another party had to temporarily move away for work, for example) then all you really have is a chat buddy. It isn't sustainable long-term.

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Thank you all for your replies. It means so much to have the support and the reassurance that I did the right thing. I know it's going to be hard moving forward, but I'm going to start taking steps that I need to take to heal, such as blocking on social media.

 

She wasn't going to grieve this as much as you, simply because her heart wasn't actually in line with yours anymore.

I'm a bit curious about exactly what you meant here, MissCanuck. Could you explain this? When you say that our hearts weren't aligned anymore, where, from your perspective of course, was my heart in comparison to hers?

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Sorry for the confusion and spins. Been there plenty. Internet hugs and fist bumps.

 

I recall your last thread pretty clearly, and think I made the following point there: that the most concrete thing this woman offered you—past the noise, the drama, the considerable roadblocks that you wisely saw as impediments to anything healthy—was the sense that there was someone in the world who was really, really into you. Even when she had a boyfriend—the one she still lived with, and was maybe kinda sorta still with, while dating you—there seems to be a story that you were the one she really wanted to be with: the good guy, the great guy, the guy she'd been crushing on like no other for four years. Intoxicating stuff for the ego as much as the heart.

 

Is part of what you're missing right now the comfort of that? Is part of what makes you feel icky right now is that you know you were seeking that drug-like high from someone you weren't ever going to be serious about? No judgement. It's a classic conflict: feels invigorating to be wanted, to be an object of obsession, even when that comes from someone we know, in our core, is bad for us. So we dance on the edge a bit, enjoying the feeling, telling stories to rationalize the dance, but when it starts to become real, require some form of sincere commitment? That's when logic steps in, and we step off the dance floor. As you've done with her, a few times over now.

 

Again, I don't say any of that to chastise you but to give a clearer sense of where this grief and guilt you feel may be coming from. As others have said, and as you've yourself said, there was really nothing here from which to build anything remotely healthy or sustainable, the sort of relationship you can trust to contain two people securely. You don't get that with someone who is living with one man while telling another, right away, that she wants to be with him 4eva and eva. It would be like trying to build a home with damaged, termite-infested wood: a structure built to break, hard and fast.

 

It says a lot about you that you backed away: strength, wisdom, a healthy heart. It's understandable that you feel "bad" about all that, since you also gave her a version of the same things she gave you: hope, excitement, a potential portal toward security, an unhealthy indulgence of the ego.

 

You are both young, and people much older than you get themselves into similar knots. It is, in short, okay. At some point, hopefully sooner than later, you can forgive yourself, and her, for the whole thing. She has, it's clear, a lot to work out. That's her path, and she'll walk it in whatever way she decides is best for her. But you, too, I think have some important work to do—to figure out what has kept you compelled with her, to keep approaching the flame and then backing off when the burn kicks in. Explore that a bit, with self-love and kindness, and I think you'll find the edge of grief softens as you grow a few inches emotionally.

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Sorry for the confusion and spins. Been there plenty. Internet hugs and fist bumps.

 

I recall your last thread pretty clearly, and think I made the following point there: that the most concrete thing this woman offered you—past the noise, the drama, the considerable roadblocks that you wisely saw as impediments to anything healthy—was the sense that there was someone in the world who was really, really into you. Even when she had a boyfriend—the one she still lived with, and was maybe kinda sorta still with, while dating you—there seems to be a story that you were the one she really wanted to be with: the good guy, the great guy, the guy she'd been crushing on like no other for four years. Intoxicating stuff for the ego as much as the heart.

 

Is part of what you're missing right now the comfort of that? Is part of what makes you feel icky right now is that you know you were seeking that drug-like high from someone you weren't ever going to be serious about? No judgement. It's a classic conflict: feels invigorating to be wanted, to be an object of obsession, even when that comes from someone we know, in our core, is bad for us. So we dance on the edge a bit, enjoying the feeling, telling stories to rationalize the dance, but when it starts to become real, require some form of sincere commitment? That's when logic steps in, and we step off the dance floor. As you've done with her, a few times over now.

 

Again, I don't say any of that to chastise you but to give a clearer sense of where this grief and guilt you feel may be coming from. As others have said, and as you've yourself said, there was really nothing here from which to build anything remotely healthy or sustainable, the sort of relationship you can trust to contain two people securely. You don't get that with someone who is living with one man while telling another, right away, that she wants to be with him 4eva and eva. It would be like trying to build a home with damaged, termite-infested wood: a structure built to break, hard and fast.

 

It says a lot about you that you backed away: strength, wisdom, a healthy heart. It's understandable that you feel "bad" about all that, since you also gave her a version of the same things she gave you: hope, excitement, a potential portal toward security, an unhealthy indulgence of the ego.

 

You are both young, and people much older than you get themselves into similar knots. It is, in short, okay. At some point, hopefully sooner than later, you can forgive yourself, and her, for the whole thing. She has, it's clear, a lot to work out. That's her path, and she'll walk it in whatever way she decides is best for her. But you, too, I think have some important work to do—to figure out what has kept you compelled with her, to keep approaching the flame and then backing off when the burn kicks in. Explore that a bit, with self-love and kindness, and I think you'll find the edge of grief softens as you grow a few inches emotionally.

 

Thank you as always for your very insightful reply, just as you provided last time. I think you bring up some very strong points here. I have definitely wondered why exactly I feel so strongly now, yet when it came down to us moving forward, I froze up and couldn't do it. That has often been a huge source of self-deprecation for me, the question of "Why couldn't I have just loved her enough to move forward with her?" I made it a question of whether I loved her or not. I think this was a false dilemma.

 

I think I did get a high from knowing I was so very desired by her, and I think, especially over time, I placed the weight of my worth on that. As you said, it was an intoxicating thing to my ego and my heart. So now that it's gone, I long for it again. That is not to say that I never cared about her or loved her (I'd say I certainly did), but I realize it does show the way in which I contributed to the unhealthiness of the relationship as well as to the pain I feel now. I suppose I knew deep down that our relationship had no legs to stand on, but I clung on desperately to the hope that we provided ourselves when I discussed my reservations with her: that we'd be a wonderful couple, that we were healthy, that nothing was wrong with us, that all my worries and concerns were intangible and all in my head.

 

I think I also fell into the myth that if I truly loved her and cared about her, I would stay with her no matter what the circumstances or the consequences. I see now that that is nothing but a fairy tale. If it all were to come down to only our two personalities, I would say that we shared a lot of compatibility and chemistry (I don't know if that's me still looking through rose-tinted goggles or what). But the situation we found ourselves in was unavoidable, and I hope some day both of us can come to understand what happened and forgive each other. I cling onto hope that we'll be able to give things another try some day when we've both grown some down the road. But I know that, as you said last time, I need to focus on forward-movement, for that is the only way progress is going to be made.

 

Anyways, those are my beginning thoughts on the insights you described. I certainly will continue to explore this further and to get to know myself and what happened.

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I'm a bit curious about exactly what you meant here, MissCanuck. Could you explain this? When you say that our hearts weren't aligned anymore, where, from your perspective of course, was my heart in comparison to hers?

 

Sure. My perception is that while you knew it was the best thing to let her go, you probably still hoped something would change and you could still have a future together at some point.

 

She sounds like she wasn't really that committed to a future with you any longer. In the time she knew you, she hadn't made measurable changes to her living situation that would make a relationship with you possible. I'm not convinced she genuinely wanted the same things you did, by the end.

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Sure. My perception is that while you knew it was the best thing to let her go, you probably still hoped something would change and you could still have a future together at some point.

 

She sounds like she wasn't really that committed to a future with you any longer. In the time she knew you, she hadn't made measurable changes to her living situation that would make a relationship with you possible. I'm not convinced she genuinely wanted the same things you did, by the end.

 

Ah, okay, I understand. You are spot-on about me hoping for us to have a future together at some point. As far as where her heart was, what I know is that she was quite devastated, just as I was, at the breakup (that is, until she found someone else quite quickly). She was even willing to wait for me to feel ready and comfortable, but I told her to go and live her life without me restraining her anymore. And the excuse she gave for not having moved out all that time was that she was simply unable to (that is, until two months after I left). I actually worry about what she thinks of me now because I think she is convincing herself that I never truly loved her if I was not willing to wade through all this with her. Her mindset was that "everything is figure-outable," so I guess my breaking things off totally defied her system of logic. I hope she will understand some day.

 

Thanks for the clarification!

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