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After we'd been dating for about two years, and had known each other four, I moved into her house last fall. In retrospect, that was probably a bad thing to do. She must have seen that as some sort of weakness... but that's a different story. I moved in partly because she had wanted for a long time to go travelling. When we talked about her work and direction, she often broke down in tears, she hated her job so much. I sat with her on her living room floor one day in maybe June of last year, a few months before I moved in, held her in my arms and said "hon, quit your job. Don't let this thing eat at you. I love you and want you to be happy. If you want to travel, go. I'll stay here and watch the house and the dog and when you get back, we'll get a house somewhere." She took my offer, of course.


She left for South America on Feb.6 of this year. She travelled around most of the continent by herself, meeting lots of people along the way. While I worked, went to school, and took care of dog and house, she had adventures and we stayed in touch entirely through email and Instant Messaging. She kept an online journal of the high points of her trip on Yahoo. She was very pleased at how many people signed up for the group to travel vicariously with her. It was a strain, of course, esp. when she told me, for example, about going camping with some strange guy for 8 days in a remote forest. That was excruciating. "Don't worrry, hon. We're solid. You never have to worry that I'll do anything. I love you", she said in IM. In her first week away, she was making supper for some Scandanavian guy -- not a sleep-over thing but just a fellow-traveller thing, she said. She'd never ever made supper for me or for us.


So it went, through Feb and March and April and May. Lots of adventures, lots of places, many people and towns and sights.


She came back in June, but she was changed. She'd met her Perfect Guy, her soul mate, in early May as she waited in an airport for her flight toward the Galapagos. I drove up on June 6 to go with her mom to pick her up from the airport, not knowing about this guy except a brief mention she'd made back then about "meeting a tall Chinese guy". A warning bell had gone off when she said that in May, and she had sounded exceptionally happy about this chance meeting. She said that he had offered to teach her how to dive, and was eager to take him up on the offer. (It turns out now that he hosts dive trips as a profession.) And when she saw me coming toward her, her face fell. I saw total disappointment. She hugged me, though, and I convinced myself that she was happy to see me... but there was clearly bad mojo.


On the first day back, a Monday, and after we'd been apart for four months, the first thing she did when we got home was check email (or IM), apparently for this new guy, and then got on the phone and talked to him for two hours straight. As we'd driven home the day before, her return day, she'd said that Monday, which I'd taken off from work, would be Our Day to get connected again. She spent most of the day instead talking to her new guy, on the phone and on computer. I was beginning to panic. I'd done what I was supposed to do and said that I would do: I tended the house, worked and made money, supported her from a distance by being encouraging and loving in InstantMessaging, took care of the dog. And now things were obviously going south because she'd become infatuated with New Guy.


It's clear now that she spent as little time as possible around me when she got back. I came home from work, and she'd be on the computer. Two days after her return I organized a big welcome-home supper for her with all our friends (who've turned out actually to be her friends). The supper was ok, but when we got home from that supper, she burst into tears and said "I'm different. I don't want to be here. I just want to travel." I asked if this time she wanted me to go, and she paused and then said "no, I don't see you with me". I should have just left at that point, but I'd put so much effort into everything and couldn't just walk away. And I naively still thought that her unhappiness was only about travel, and not about another guy.


Five days after her return, she drove up to LA to spend the weekend with her parents. She called only once while she was up there, a quick call about nothing at all.


Nine days after her return we came home from another grim supper (she was sullen and mopey) and I asked, as tenderly as I could, "sweetie, what's wrong?". She came over to me on the couch and said "I just don't see us together long-term". I said, in a flat and unemotional voice which must have been the voice of total shock, "ok, I'll go look for apartments tomorrow." She said "ok" and got up and went to the bedroom, closed the door, and called her new boyfriend. And that was it. She didn't say "no, I don't want you to go" or "no, please, that's not what I meant." She wanted me out.


I didn't know, until she said ok and then called the new guy, that whatever feelings she'd ever had for me and then a bunch more were now his, this new guy's. But it's a small house, and from the couch I heard everything that she said to him, and even worse, how she said it. The next day I worked like hell to get all my stuff together, to find a place to live, to find storage, to get out. She spent most of the day cooing on the phone to her new guy. That was Saturday, 13 days after she returned. The next day, Sunday, was my birthday. She'd talked to her new guy late into the night and woke up looking kinda disheveled and flushed, as if she'd just had a great time in bed. She came into the kitchen and gave a tiny grin and started to say "happy birthday", but I stopped her before she could finish it. It was not a happy birthday at all. It had become the worst birthday and flat-out the worst day of my life. I moved out and drove away later that day, less than 48 hours after she'd said "ok" instead of "no, don't go".


She said afterward, when we were still communicating, that the problem was not that she'd found her soulmate, though that was a bonus for her, but that, really, we "never connected", that we're too different, that we have nothing in common. I disagreed completely, though that meant nothing to her. I'd always thought that we did well together and complemented each other; a number of friends had said that we seemed a good match.


I heard this morning a woman on NPR talking about her adoption of a baby from China, and how well he's doing now. She closed with her definition of love. She said that love is compassionate and caring and provides security, and involves a leap of faith.


I provided security from afar for my ex, I cared, I took the leap.

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I messed up the cronology a bit: I moved out exactly two weeks after her return -- Sunday the 6th of June to Sunday the 19th.


Some days are better than others. I'm grateful for the advice posted in this forum and elsewhere on this site. It's encouraging that others have been down this path and have emerged at the far side, almost uniformly, stronger and healthier for it.

I wouldn't wish being dumped on anyone, and with this feeling so fresh and painful, a week ago wrote an apology to a wonderful girl, an ex, to whom I'd been an SOB a few years ago. I told her that however inconsiderate and stupid I'd been to her, Karma had come full circle and I was receiving it all in kind, and with interest. She wrote back a day later with thanks, understanding, and best wishes.


I feel permanently broken now, and really not likely ever to feel so close and trusting with someone. But maybe that's for the best. I've been reading about religions in a book that we used long ago for religions class in high school, and last night read a bit about some of the desires in life and paths to reach those desires. The writer wrote something like "the self is too small an object to focus all one's energies upon", and that struck a chord. Maybe I shouldn't worry about losing a mate but instead focus on doing good things and just learning to relax and be a good person. One poster here advised another to spend time learning himself before leaping into another relationship. Yes, we need to love ourselves, I s'pose (though I'm not sure about that one right now), and we also need to KNOW ourselves: what we're capable of, what we like and dislike, how we respond to others....

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Hi jng,


I don't have much time right now, but I just wanted to say that I am amazed by your posting. Not only is it very well-written, you seem to have grown already so much by this terrible experience.


I just wanted to say that from the perspective of your girlfriend: travelling for such a long time and through such different parts of the world DOES change a person. A lot. I don't agree with the way she handled the relationship with you though. She should have been upfront from the start and not have started a new relationship before getting involved with someone else.



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Thank you, Ilse. I don't feel right or good... yet. But this event has been the most powerful stimulus I've ever received to get up off my butt... and THINK: to consider and then make choices, to take responsibility for the course of my own life. I miss her terribly, of course, but I think ultimately, if I can fight off a deep depression that's a combination of current circumstances and genetic predisposition, this will all turn out to be for the better.


Her drastic change is proof of what long-term travellling in a distant country will do to (and for) a person. I'm sure that she's more worldly and mature than she was before she left, and that I must have seemed small and stale and so-4-months ago when she returned from her adventure.


I'm planning to travel to Italy this fall, in fact, having been relatively insulated and provincial for a while. I'm looking forward to a change of scenery and pace.

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Buddy i dont have much time, i have to dip out to work now. You have done very well. That is a very tough situation. Nothing hurts more. Dont be afraid to give yourself some time to heal and everything.


You are vulnerable. You took the risk of giving your entire support to someone. She didnt cherish it ya know? I think its funny that she 'fell in love' with this new guy when you were being a perfect boyfriend to her! Hang strong man, and dont get down on yourself when your feeling bad. It all will pass. You seem like a solid man.

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hey good for you man, i should take a page out of your book. I am still having dificulty with my situation and harbouring a world of resentments and anguish towards my ex. BUT i do have one thing that is giving me persepective and sheding some light. its a book called 'the journey from abandonment to healing' by susan anderson. she has a link online link removed

let me know what you think....

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whoa, harsh story to read. I can feel your pain through that message.


Thats some messed up stuff. The bit that really hit it with me was when she said that you two didn't really connect and all that. I got the same thing from my ex, after connecting so well and as you say "complimenting ech other" they turn around and say basically "whatever you felt didn't matter cos I never felt it" and thats hurts so much. The person you felt so close to in your life didn't feel the same way about you. That was very hrad to get over cos it all feels like such a crock.


I bet you hate the line "if its meant to be its meant to be"?. I can't stand people telling you that after a break up. Hearing that doesn't help. Who knows, people change, this guy might not turn out to be what she thinks he is and she will realise what she has lost then its up to you whether to risk being burnt twice or believing in second chances.


So yeah mate, I really do hear you but as everyone will say the pain will lessen over time and let it. I hear of so many people still hurting and I know that everyone grieves differently but I really believe that you move on when you want to. Make a constructive effort to move on. I found what helped a lot with me was getting close to a lot of the girls in my life (purely as friends) but just to have girls who wanted to hang around me made me feel needed and wanted again by the opposite sex. Spose cos my confidence was down so much in the female stakes after all that.


I never learnt so much about life as I did when I was grieving over her, use this time wisely. Talk to people who have been through it, read books about it. Take it as a learning experience that everyone has to go through. I don't think you have lived to you have felt that low and it really makes you appreciate the good things more.

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Thanks, eggfree and DRB. That SWIRL process (from the link above) is probably exactly what I'm going through, moving through the stages and then starting again. I lost around 7 pounds in those first three days of moving out and finding a new place to live, and did feel the kinds of shock/withdrawal symptoms that Susan describes.


Today's been hard, and I posted a new topic called "cruelty and asymmetry" about random stuff and about how relationships can be so unbalanced, so one-sided. The only person who said something like "well, it just wasn't meant to be" was her. She said that and also that she "wasn't the girl for me" and "wasn't for me" (saying basically that she belongs now to someone else). That hurt, of course; a statement of finality doesn't get much clearer and more final than that.


Everyone says that time is the great healer, and the best thing to do is just stay busy, wait it out, and -- most important -- learn from what's happened.

My ex got exactly what she wanted and expended no effort on me or on anything she didn't want to do. I'm angry and resentful that it was all so effortless for her, but as someone said on this site, she has a very different perspective and to her it all seemed reasonable and necessary. In time, maybe it'll seem that way to me, too.


I agree, DRB, that we (people) learn and grow, though, when we're *not* getting our way, when things are difficult and we have to struggle and fight to make sense of things and to survive. So ultimately maybe breakups like mine are good and healthy episodes in life that make us stronger and wiser.

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Choosing to be happy, yes. I've been reading about that quite a bit lately, on the net and in books. Happiness is a choice, they say. We can choose to be happy or to be miserable, and if you want the former, you must INTEND to be happy, and then take responsibility for your thoughts, feelings, and actions.


And that resonated deeply with me. I so like the idea of having perfect control over thoughts and emotions. That state of control is a worthy goal, and one that would certainly make my life easier and more pleasant. Is it attainable? After years of beating myself down, I don't know. This breakup, so curiously affecting, is another kick from Life: see? (so Life says) you didn't measure up again! But that's not a good or right way to think, is it? We are, as Dean in the Iron Giant says, who we choose to be. I would like at this point in my life to be a neurosurgeon or some other kind of doctor, like my dad. But in my first year of college, I was thrown off track and never got back on again...


My dad committed suicide when I was 19, in 1992. My youngest brother did the same in 1998 at the age of 21. You might say that the inclination toward self-destruction is exceptionally powerful in our family. Unfortunate and sad, considering, on the other hand, the good and fine and giving things that run in our family.


I'm on medication now, a mood stabilizer, but even so don't know really how long I can hold out in this pattern. So much time lost, so many opportunities squandered, so much love given and lost. I can't do anything rash to our little family that's left now -- my mama and my brother -- but some days I so wish for a quick and easy escape....


Choose to be happy, right? Do whatever it takes. No one told us that life would be so hard, something to soldier through at times. It doens't have to be, of course. It can be as full of fun and happiness as we make it. Hypnosis, that's what it will have to be.. and habit. We are what we think and do. Our thoughts become actions, actions become habits, habits become the patterns of our lives. I'm in training now: to learn to think better thoughts.

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Hi jng92130

I am happy for you.

You made the right choice despite such family history.

There is a proverb that says like these:

"It is not what happen to you that make a difference. It is how you response to what happen to you."

It is a state of positive mental attitude.


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