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Three years later, still feel haunted by a past girlfriend


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This is such a sensitive topic in my head, heart, and soul that I've never opened up to any friend or family member about how significant this girl meant to me. We (20 and 18 back then) were together for a year and a half and she broke up in 2018 initially because of distance (we were a state away, but I visited her pretty often). During some sort of breakdown in her personal life, she threw in the towel even after how positive and emotionally perfect the relationship was. She claimed she should be seeing someone closer and with less experience, and so we parted, I was so shocked and taken by surprise I knew no way to object. She later admitted she wishes she hadn't done what she did in breaking us up, especially in the fashion that she did, she knew how hurtful it was.

I was devastated beyond heart attack. I had endured breakups 100x worse in their ending that didn't make me feel how empty and lifeless this breakup made me, and I still carry this feeling today. It was the kind of sadness and loss that makes you feel insane, detached from reality with a feeling that never fit with reality before. Before this breakup I always had a small fire of hope for happiness in my life and a will to make it happen, even through the darkest times. But for some reason, this wound has never healed, and I can't tell if it's my fault I'm feeling this way, or it's my fault that I let someone that was more special than anything I've found in life yet leave without more fight in me. My grades in college plummeted that year, and I started drinking and taking pills, I would get notices or knocks sometimes on my apartment door asking if there's something wrong because of how much I'd scream and throw *** around when I got overwhelmed with negative emotions, anger, rejection, disappointment, betrayal etc. Sometimes there were days where I felt my mind breaking so bad, that my dysphoria turned into a form of euphoria (and not in a good way), as if my brain was trying to turn the thought of self destruction into a ultimate goal. I'd say my mental acuity, reasoning, and sanity took a 180 dive after that year, the entire year's experience of being so off the walls of emotional stability was without a doubt was the craziest time in my life.

The immediate suffering of the thought over time has dissipated, but when I hear someone say these things "just take time" I get violently angry inside. I've been waiting a lot of time, nothing has changed in the grand overview of my emotional and spiritual well-being. The pain of the loss has left me, but the loss is a scar tissue in my brain that will not heal, no matter how much perspective or time I receive. Even with all the possibilities in life somehow nothing is more appealing or worthwhile than the future we both know we were going to have. I still see her in my head every time I accidentally start to daydream a life I would be happy with, not to mention waking up every few mornings and realizing my happy dream was just because she was in it. I actively suppress thoughts of her when they come up. I still wake up and go to sleep believing I won't be able to live happy, and the temptation to end things prematurely becomes more attractive by the month.  She messages me every couple months, saying I should be seeing someone, or that I should come visit her, but it never seems like I'm an important thought to her like she is to me. She mentioned a year ago she wishes we would've stayed together, but it never seemed sincere, since she continued to pressure me into finding someone else, it was angering, but I have no way to express myself to her other than surface talk, trying to prevent every urge in me from scaring her with these deep feelings that I still have. 

I don't know where to go with this, so I'll just end it, I just had no other place to go to vent this, and the feeling is boiIing over that I am all on my own. I don't know what my future holds, and not in a good way. I see no possible future I will be as happy as I could have been, and that makes me infinitely miserable. 

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2 minutes ago, doughnutboy9 said:

 I got overwhelmed with negative emotions, anger, rejection, disappointment, betrayal etc. 

Sorry this is happening. Go back to your physician and psychiatrists and discuss all these symptoms.

Make sure you follow up with ongoing support from a qualified therapist.

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I agree, please see your physician and ask for a referral to a psychiatrist. Also, please confide in a trusted friend or family member. Your suicidal ideation is very concerning. 

You might also consider asking her to stop contacting you. Her contact is a trigger.

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Is she seeing anyone? Would you feel better if you told her you still had feelings for her? Not in a scary way, just in an honest but brief way. “You know, I’ve never really been able to get over you. How would you feel about starting over?” 

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38 minutes ago, indea08 said:

Is she seeing anyone? Would you feel better if you told her you still had feelings for her? Not in a scary way, just in an honest but brief way. “You know, I’ve never really been able to get over you. How would you feel about starting over?” 

Please do not do this.   The distance has not changed and it is over.  

Please seek out therapy.  You also need to block her so that you can move on.   

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50 minutes ago, indea08 said:

  Would you feel better if you told her you still had feelings for her? Not in a scary way, just in an honest but brief way. “You know, I’ve never really been able to get over you. How would you feel about starting over?” 

That makes him sound like a weak sap who is all about himself and his inability to cope.

It will gain him nothing and after she rejects him again he'll probably sink even lower.

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1 hour ago, indea08 said:

Is she seeing anyone? Would you feel better if you told her you still had feelings for her? Not in a scary way, just in an honest but brief way. “You know, I’ve never really been able to get over you. How would you feel about starting over?” 

She's told him several times to date someone else.  I don't see how it could be concluded she's interested at all in reconciliation.

I fear if he tried this tactic it would exacerbate his suicidal ideation.

OP, I recommend you do NOT do this.

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I second the comments about taking this to your doctor and speak with a psychiatrist. This was a break up for a relationship that lasted less than two years. Seek help if you have any dependency on drugs or pills. You don't have to do it alone. 

It's not a good idea speaking to this person anymore. Break ups are hard any which way you want to look at it and most people don't have the guts to break it off cleanly for the sake of both involved. End the communication with her and ask for respect and privacy while you put your life back together and receive the help or treatment you need. 

I don't think anything good comes from communicating with this person. Her comments about seeing someone else and checking in on you are doing more harm than good. 

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I agree.. you need some professional help.  You need to discuss with your doctor, need for something to help you along here.  Like maybe something for anxiety/depression etc.. AND to get into therapy, to 'help you work through all of this'. 😞 

I am sorry you are hurting so much.. We are emotional beings, and obviously this experience and loss has affected you deeply. Loss is never easy...

These struggles and to feel this lost & low- and to be struggling along is not good, to be dealing with on your own.

And as mentioned, the last thing you need is the constant triggers of HER.  Out of respect, she should not be continuing to contact you- as one needs to go No Contact- to let go, totally in order to be able to start accepting and healing . * You do not need this*.

When things ended with my ex's.. as hard as it was, I had to let go.  I had to work on ME, and yes, for a time I was in therapy and medicated- as I also hit a real low 😞 .  It took a while, to work through my pains.. but things did improve... I had to change my 'train of thought' and better coping skills.

Like I said.. Loss is hard to accept and after effects are awful, so please reach out for help to work through all of this...so you can feel a little better, someday ❤️ 

One day at a time... we can do this.

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31 minutes ago, boltnrun said:

She's told him several times to date someone else.  I don't see how it could be concluded she's interested at all in reconciliation.

I fear if he tried this tactic it would exacerbate his suicidal ideation.

OP, I recommend you do NOT do this.

Guys, I did not recommend he to say something to her. I asked him if it would make him feel better if he said something.

Perhaps the lack of closure...not knowing how she feels or doesn’t feel, wondering what could be...is making him feel worse.

If you don’t believe that’s the case OP, then start looking at the next option that might make you feel better. That could be ending communication with her, it could be seeking out professional help (this really is something that you should consider, but I also realize that this forum can serve as an in-between for someone who isn’t quite ready to go to that step).

I assure you, most of us have been through a breakup that really rocked us. You are absolutely not alone, we understand that empty, hopeless feeling. It’s okay to feel down, it’s not okay to stay down. Instead of just forcing your thoughts away from the matter, I encourage you to start working your way through it.

I fully believe what you and she had was beautiful to you, but for one reason or another, it just wasn’t the right fit. So imagine how beautiful the right fit will be, once you open up to it. You can love and appreciate her place in your life, while still being open to what life has to offer. Find out what’s keeping you so stuck, and start chipping away. (Again, I do recommend seeking help with this) You’re human, which means you’re an incredibly complex individual, who is capable of loving, and being loved, again.

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1 hour ago, indea08 said:

No offense intended. 

I’m still a little sensitive about words being put in my mouth after all the online political harassment over the last year.

Nothing but love for all the members here. 😘

"Political harassment?"  I believe she told him there is no future.  She has been pushing him to see someone else. The healthiest thing would be for him to block and delete this woman.

I think it is cruel for her to reach out knowing his feeling. 

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1 hour ago, indea08 said:

No offense intended. 

I’m still a little sensitive about words being put in my mouth after all the online political harassment over the last year.

Nothing but love for all the members here. 😘

I'm not offended. I posted a zipped smiley to show that I wasn't going to say anything in response to your post where you insisted you didn't recommend he contact her, whereas your prior post was clearly all about him contacting her and even going so far as to tell him what he should say when he did contact her.

 

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I'm tired of doctors. I had a therapist from 2015-2016, then another 2016-2018. Didn't know how to open up about this girl with my therapist when everything came down, but I knew nothing would change, therapy never helped, it always just made me feel like it helped. 

I was prescribed antidepressants for "bipolar" tendencies by my doctor in 2016 but I threw them out, I don't want that kind of artificial fix, one of my worst fears is become complacent with life and settling for less just because of something like a stupid serotonin drug. 

As for the girl, yes she does pressure me to see other girls so it seems like a non conflict rejection, and again, I don't know how to even string the words together to say to her that I should be left alone. I don't know how to bring myself to do that, I feel like I would just be more alone. My self esteem is permanently non-existent, btw. I used to be quite the sweet talker as a teen but after feeling this alone for this long I have no gumption in me for establishing better social relationships. I had her blocked for almost 2 years after the breakup for the same reason that other's say to block all communication now, I just didn't want to think about her at all. But she persistently tried to get back in contact with me, only when she did it seemed like she didn't care. 

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15 minutes ago, Wiseman2 said:

Sorry to hear that. However the problem is not this breakup.

I don't know what the problem is then in that case. I don't know why I was so affected, but I know what I used to be like. I used to always be able to see light at the end of the tunnel, that's why I never took the medication. Things improve, some things worsen, but theres a pendulum to that where I could deal with it. As the years have gone on, I see no light anymore, I have an extremely hard time trusting people, my impression of humanity has worsened, and there's no daydreaming a better state of affairs that will make it better. There's nothing that comes into my mind as "yes, that's something to strive for!" in terms of reaching longterm fulfillment, It's hard to even see myself in the workforce after I graduate, because I really don't have anything tangibly driving me anymore. My Adderall prescription is the only thing that even gets me out of bed in the morning. The only times I feel remotely normal is when forgetting how unhappy I am. 

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You reject every suggestion.  So, what do you plan to do to try to make your life better?

Everyone deserves the chance for a fulfilling life.  It's important to pinpoint what would direct you to a life path you would be satisfied with.  Saying "I can only be happy if this woman is in a relationship with me" is selling yourself short.  It's choosing to be miserable.

I have to presume you dislike feeling depressed and suicidal.  So something has to change, right?

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30 minutes ago, boltnrun said:

You reject every suggestion.  So, what do you plan to do to try to make your life better?

Everyone deserves the chance for a fulfilling life.  It's important to pinpoint what would direct you to a life path you would be satisfied with.  Saying "I can only be happy if this woman is in a relationship with me" is selling yourself short.  It's choosing to be miserable.

I have to presume you dislike feeling depressed and suicidal.  So something has to change, right?

I am not rejecting "every suggestion", I've already considered and have been through almost all these suggestions over the past few years. They haven't helped. I appreciate the tough love but I've given myself more tough love than you'd ever know since this happened to get these feelings to stop. And it's not even entirely about her, it's that I cannot picture anything worthwhile or meaningful to me since losing this emotional and purposeful stability in my life. If you're going to frame my position like that, maybe I really should consider giving up completely if that's how it comes across. Therapy hardly worked for any childhood traumas I had back then, and there is nothing to therapize for other than the loss itself which I manage to look past sometimes, but everything still hurts, even when I'm distracted. Every action feels meaningless and towards no purposeful goal. If the only way I'll feel normal is with lifelong medication, I really am done with it all in effort. I am frustrated with life and disappointed with life beyond desire to "get better", as that just sounds like a longer route to get back to where I am now, I have very dwindling strength or gumption on my own.

 

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Okay, so you have listed what you dont want. But Im going to ask you what is it you want? What are you looking for?

You have more hope in your X returning than you have hope for your own life. You have given up and for what? ONE girl. There are Billions of other women on this Earth, and you are spinning around in circles over ONE girl. Imagine giving one girl so much power that she dictates how you feel, what you do, how you go on about your day, your future and the one girl you gave this much power to has told you to find someone else. Does this make any sense to you?

So is it fear of the unknown? Was the sex that good? Was she so hot that you think you cant find someone else? Was the relationship so solid that you think you cant reach a higher mountain top? Why are you holding on to a balloon that has popped? So rather than me try to figure it out. Why dont you please try to explain, what would happen if this girl was removed from your life? What do you think would happen if she never contacted you again? What is it that is holding you back? Dont say I dont know. Thats an easy way to just avoid an issue. Do you feel guilty? Do you feel she owes you or you owe her? 

You say a lot of words, but you completely avoid what you want to say. You have given up, resigned, said there is no hope and you have thought about a lot on this relationship, but have not faced your fear. It is really freaking hard to move forward when you have piled your past in front of you. 

So Im going to ask.. What is it you want?

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30 minutes ago, No1 said:

 

So Im going to ask.. What is it you want?

In many ways you are right. So I'll try my hand. I want a family. I want someone that I can have that family with, and a career to support that family. That didn't happen with my parents, they divorced when I was 14. I've seen what happened to my parents when two people make a family with someone they didn't entirely love in every aspect, but "accepted" each other's flaws. They made a family they didn't know they wanted, and my father has spent years and years alone working tireless on a career that he doesn't need the money for. I don't want someone that can just be a good mother, I want someone who I know will bring out a prosperous team to make that family happen and to make my efforts towards a career In society meaningful and worthwhile. 

I want a family with someone that truly brings out the fight and good in me to do good things in the world. That's all I've ever wanted. I was convinced I would have that with this girl, and no one I've ever met gave me as much vigor for life and achieving goals as when every time I looked at her then, and every word we spoke during that time. She had a smile I'd work dangerous labor for just to see. The only explanation I had at the time we met is that the universe, God or otherwise had made us for a perfect match, which made the detachment even more confusing in my reality. If you won't take the answer of "I don't know" then I have no other answer to give on why her and no one else I've met (or any previous relationship) has come close to fulfilling every possible thing I wanted in a companion. The thought of even searching for those things in someone else is completely irrelevant in my view, there is only one person for every one soul, there are no duplicates. There is not billions of copies of this woman, there are billions of women, but many taken, many increasing single mothers, many distasteful ones as well, brought up by our effed up self indulgent culture. The idea that someone can say there's billions of other people and that somehow means you'll find someone better is laughably decimal. 

The ask of finding a needle in a hay stack is more disappointing and demoralizing than it is inspiring in challenge. The answer following this will be "you're looking for someone too perfect" but if I met what I felt was perfect before and lost it, what good will settling for something less than perfect be when all I think about it how to replace what was lost. 

I have 0 hope of being with this woman, I have not tried nor ever tried to re-establish any relationship otherwise because of that. On the front end I also have 0 proof to myself that another woman will make me feel the same way, or bring out as many good things in my being that were there before. To take that and say that means Im still holding on to a chance to recontinue that relationship is childish and obnoxious, and I've scolded myself for even brief contemplation of that before. The fact is I have no hope for anything else, really. 

My answer is still the same as my original post, I don't know what to do.

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So is your greatest fear is the same fear you felt when you were 14? That your parents divorced and you want to find a single perfect relationship where you dont divorce? Your parents struggled and maybe thats the basis of your fear. You saw how hard they worked and you dont want your kids to feel the same way you did. You perhaps dont want your future kids to see your struggle, divorce?

Im going to ruin some myths for you that you have built up in your head. There is no one perfect soulmate. Im sorry to break it to you but its not like the movies. There isnt the one perfect soul that is made and destined for you. You rely on that concept and think this one girl was the one perfect soulmate and since she is gone, you wont find another so why even bother. That reasoning is bull. Out of the billions of women out there you think that you found your perfect mate at 20? Doesnt work that way. You evolve with time and knowledge and experience. Can you say you were the same person now as you were at 14? 

And Ill point out the obvious fact that this girl was not your ONE even if you believed in the one and only concept. How do I know? You two would be together right now. She wouldnt tell you to find someone else. Wouldnt you think if you found your one true soulmate she would feel the same about you? Isnt that how it works if it worked out like that? You two would find each other and be willing to go thru hell and back together? So what makes you think she is your one true needle in a haystack if she doesnt have the same feelings as you? Odd for a soulmate to act dont you think?

There are no guarantees in life or in love. Will your first marriage be your only marriage? Who knows. But you cant be afraid of taking that chance. You cant let that fear be your guide. It is very hard to discover new lands when you are afraid of losing sight of the shore and right now you are more worried about how your relationship will end so you figured if I dont start one, I dont have to see how it turns out. 

This girl that you have placed on a pedestal is more like a fantasy. You had visions of this life, marriage, kids, and in her you thought you had everything you listed. You probably figured she was the one that could make it all happen. Guess what? She is not the one that is going to fulfill your list, she is not the one. So what are you going to do? Give up? Or just think that the one who can fulfill your dream of a marriage, kids and happy life is still out there waiting for you? She is probably at home thinking why cant she meet someone like you. So what is holding you back from finding her? 

You have a vision of what you want. The only person in this world that is preventing you from making it happen is you.  

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8 minutes ago, No1 said:

So is your greatest fear is the same fear you felt when you were 14? That your parents divorced and you want to find a single perfect relationship where you dont divorce? Your parents struggled and maybe thats the basis of your fear. You saw how hard they worked and you dont want your kids to feel the same way you did. You perhaps dont want your future kids to see your struggle, divorce?

Im going to ruin some myths for you that you have built up in your head. There is no one perfect soulmate.

You're largely right, but I feel like you miss a bit of the point as to why I'm still affected. It's not as much that I'm convinced I lost my 'soulmate' (as you've stated), but I was so convinced of something so unfathomably perfect and it turned out unreal. It felt like life lied and my biology lies to me about what will make me happy here. and if I were to state a fear higher than the ones you mentioned (a very strong assessment) it would be that I think my biggest fear in its essence is wasted time. I know that's ironic, being that I'm not doing anything with my time currently, but I truly don't know where to go, or how to go about actualizing the vision you speak of. I saw the time my father wasted on my family, he made a son (me), who thus far in life just wishes he wasn't born to endure all the childhood trauma. He married a woman that divorced him, and had a stepson from that marriage that he never really liked. He works to obtain money for my college, which is honestly the biggest thing that has held me back from suicide before (his wasted time on me as a terminal son). He tries to convince himself going cross-country RVing will make him happy with his retirement, but I know it won't, he's lonely with no purpose; not bored with a sedentary lifestyle. If he chose the right woman, all those years ago, so much wasted time and pain in both his, my mother's, and my life could have been avoided.

If so much is at cost with such a simple decision on establishing a family in a relationship in which there is no "one person" that is right, then living out that cost just to fill myself with any meaning or purpose to continue seems pointless. If that is null, then I really do have nothing to look forward to. My being and organic entity will not allow me to be happy over ultimately meaningless things in an ultimately meaningless place. If the story ends with everything destroyed and everyone miserable, then I wish to not waste my time with that story, I don't care what ***ty lessons it has to teach. 

And maybe that's just where all my problems meet. Even if there is the scenario you described where someone is waiting in my same position, the fear of everything going wrong as they repeatedly have and the good things being an illusion to an ultimate end of wasted time/opportunity or potential is too big for me. I put a lot of time and immense amounts of energy into this previous relationship for it to end as simply as it did, It's too discouraging to have worked for nothing, and the efforts to go through that difficulty again with no promise of a return is an even greater cost. It's a tiring thought, and my core is exhausted.

 

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Well, I have to thank you for being so open. I dont know if you were this open with your counseling but you have been blunt and honest about what you have seen. Just remember that you are not your father. Your life is not his. And thats pretty harsh to think you were unwanted. A father who worked hard to provide for you, to make sure you were fed, and went to school, made sure you got medical attention when you were sick doesnt sound like one who didnt want you. In fact it was perhaps you that kept him going. Ever think about the times that he wanted to quit, it was you that was the reason why he worked so hard? You probably saved him more than you know. 

And divorce is not a bad thing and its not a bad word or anything to be ashamed of. Divorce is a means to end a marriage between two people that dont want to be with one another. I think you have thought that divorce is such a bad thing because of your experience you havent seen what other couples have done since a divorce. Maybe others here can say their life was enhanced or better because they found someone else who was better for them. 

Sounds like you want that guarantee that says "this relationship is guaranteed not to end and you will be blissfully happy". You want all the reward with zero risk. I wish life was like that but its not. And maybe part of your anger and frustration was because you spent so much time and were on your best behavior and you did everything right and it still ended. Well my friend, thats just how life is. Sometimes you can make no mistakes and still lose, its life.

Will the next girl you meet be the love of your life? I dont know. Will she be the one that can fulfill your list? I have no clue. Can I guarantee that the next girl you meet stay with you for more than a year? Nope. Will it take more than one person before you find the right match for you? Probably. 

Point is, you dont know and I cant tell you and there is no one on Earth that can tell you what will happen when you meet the next girl. But there is only one way to find out right? 

Just one question... Are you worried that you will turn out like your father and be aimless and without purpose? He is on his own path and doesnt mean thats your path. You carve your own out.  

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