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Self-assessment: results better than expected

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Warning: this is long. But if anyone's curious about the progress of someone ten months out of a 3.5 year relationship, read on:


OK, I'll be the first to admit I'm going through a crappy time in life. I am in the middle of a job switch and some other lame stuff. I'm almost over the hill - everything should be totally calmed down by May (only two months, woo!).


I'm nearly where I want to be with respect to healing from my breakup. Orlander gave me a great suggestion a couple weeks ago that has really changed the way I feel about things. Basically, he said that it does not matter how poorly my ex treated me before or after my breakup, and that I should wish him well.


This advice has helped me tremendously. I think wishing the best for my ex has permitted me to achieve a near-complete split from the pain he caused me. Additionally, even though I have known since I initiated my breakup (ten months ago, sheesh!) how wrong the relationship was for me, I am finally able to understand this on both an intellectual and emotional level and, as Blender would say, separate the facts from my feelings.


Fact: my ex treated me like garbage for the last six months of our relationship. But I finally understand that he treated me like this because of his limitations and our basic incompatibility, not out of pure malevolence (although there was certainly an element of malice there). Fact: my ex started dating someone a week after he forced me to end our 3.5 year, marriage-track relationship. But I finally understand that his choosing to do so has nothing to do with me and everything to do with his inability to face himself. Fact: the woman my ex chooses to date is my polar opposite. But this doesn't reflect on me in any way; rather, he wasn't invested in our relationship and his choice of someone so, um, lame has to do with his need for an ego-trip.


In conclusion: My ex's ideal relationship (whether it's with his current girlfriend or some other not-so-lame girlfriend/wife) looks NOTHING like my ideal relationship. It has taken me ten months (!!!) to understand this. Although it was wrong of him to treat me so callously, his actions reflect on HIM, NOT ME. He never had the potential to be what I needed him to be because it isn't in his nature. Similarly, I wasn't what he wanted, either. Gee, I figured that out when he treated me like refuse, but I just realized I could never be who he wanted because it was contrary to my nature.


Another great recent development (thanks, Orlander!) is that I am finally beginning to understand why I stayed in an unfulfilling relationship long past its prime. I was living comparatively. I looked to my friends in relationships and believed that to be worthy of their company, I needed someone meaningful in my life, too. I also realized something truly ugly about myself: my old insecurities (most of which have dissipated, but not completely) made me want an ally. My ex has (had?) similar insecurities, and we fed off each other to feel OK. And finally, we had a real connection. Having seen my best friend fall in true love, I don't think what I shared with my ex was quite that. It was real enough for me at the time, but I was emotionally stunted, insecure, and hadn't yet achieved the modicum of self-actualization I continue to improve upon on a near-daily basis. I know myself so much better than I did back then, and I'm so much more secure.


Here in the present tense, I am filled with a feeling of raw acceptance. I feel a little worse for the wear. I'm a little sadder and a lot wiser. I've been on a hiatus from dating/hooking up since November, and I feel that it should continue until I get everything with my job/living situation ironed out. I simply don't have the strength to feel attracted to anyone. Basically, I feel like a turnip that has been attacked by Bunnicula. But hey, a dessicated turnip is better than a sobbing, oozing, crazy turnip any day. I guess I'm licking my wounds a little, kinda hibernating, and will enter into a new phase of dating when I feel a little more energetic.


In summary, I hope that my happiness and zest for life returns to me soon, but I think the final acceptance of my breakup has knocked the wind out of me. I'm still occasionally possessed by random urges to contact the ex to see if he misses me; I'm still occasionally flooded by thoughts of him (not missing, but remembering); the thought of being in the same room with him still makes me a little sick. But it's nothing compared to how I felt before, and for that I am unbelievably grateful.


So there's where I'm at. I don't know if I have any questions aside from, "Has anyone felt anything similar?" and "Am I doing basically OK?"

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Hey finewhine, glad you're no crazy turnip . You know my story so I won't hit you with it. Just coming in to say good for you. You sound like you're in the final stages of the process here, so take heart. I think the new job and a little more time will see you with new hope and a new lease on life.

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Hey finewhine. Thanks for your story.


I am 7 months out of a very similar relationship and think I've been a little hard on myself. See, I thought by this time I'm not allowed to feel any pain anymore. I'm "supposed" to be healed, but I'm working with my idiot ex on a magazine and have to deal with him quite a lot. I am having the same emotions you described.


You said it would make your stomach sick to be in the same room as him or whatever, well, it's not that bad once you've realised that you've grown so strong, you can handle it.


I hit a low today and your thread really made me feel OK. Thanks and best of luck!

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Wow, thanks, Crying Pony! I am so glad I was able to help someone out! I would puke if I had to work with my ex. You must be so much stronger to be forced into doing that. And I work on a magazine too. Fun stuff, although I thank my lucky stars my ex doesn't work there with me.


Okie (love the name): timelines really do help. When I first broke up with my ex, I read somewhere that it takes about a year, give or take, to recover fully. I think internalizing a number really helped me in working towards that goal. I'm not completely recovered, but I have a couple months to go. I remember the seven-month mark as being particularly horrible for some reason, so hang in there.

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Congrats! Sounds like you are doing awesome. Your post has helped me a lot as well, a big bookmark for you.


As for feeling apathetic, I think that is only natural. After all the emotional highs and lows from a breakup, changing jobs etc. I can totally see where you just need to go on a even keel for awhile to get through things. Your happiness and zest for life will return but it make take some baby steps to get there.


Great post

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This is very inspirational for me to read. You probably know the majority of my story, but I was in a very similar relationship. 4 years, broke up in December and stopped trying to work on things 3 weeks ago.

I know the feelings of acceptance and urge to want your ex to be happy in their life, but I can't get there completely yet. I was there for a day or two, but it quickly passed after I spoke with my ex. Don't do that. It was dumb of me.


My ex moved on very fast, and is already in another serious relationship. That's hard for me to accept, and hurts. I feel like refuse, just like you did, but knowing that I will eventually accept the situation give me hope and a positive outlook. This too shall pass.


Thanks, and Congrats!!

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  • 1 month later...

It's so weird how someone in different skin, and at close examination - altogether different, can sneak into your pores and become part of you.


After reading some of your posts, I can tell you're keenly introspective and have that trait of continuous and growing perspective. I do my best to stroll that street too, and I learn more everyday, mostly I learn how vast a road it is. What I am wondering is... What's the connection? You'd think that those philosophical traits would act like Teflon when another person tries salting your sores, but on the contrary it seems the opposite. Am I making a connection where there is none?


I've always felt I've been above the curve as far as perspective (not floating my boat, but the curve is pretty sad... sadly), and I find myself more susceptible to the anxiety of love.


Have you been in this situation before? I understand that this seems the most serious relationship you've had... or at least the closest to that ultimate commitment? I've never been in a relationship that's gone quite that distance (not even close), mostly because of my own smelly demons. I feel no matter how much I understand people (and myself for that matter), I’m kinda asking for it. My current ponderings are: well... it's kind of a "what came first, the chicken or the egg?" Have I focused on my philosophies in hopes to overcome an unborn monster inside, or has my perspective changed the way I see my soul, and the way others whom I invite in, treat it.


Part of me glares at all the evidence, and find it clearly proves that giving someone your heart is the path to suffering. That has a tinge of eastern philosophy to it -albeit a poor translation- but it’s far from the spiritual. It’s a confusing loophole I’m trying to understand… It’s a mountain-maker, for professional molehillers. Why… WHAT THE F!


Or maybe just a mumble of the mind, with minimal merit.


Either way, it seems that you're gonna get it, all of it (I’m jealous)... you’re at the cusp, I'm truly glad you've shared this.

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Dude ("Big Lebowski" reference, perhaps? ) - you write exactly like one of my friends does. How weird is that?


Anyway, I'm glad you're glad I shared, but I'm not entirely sure what you're asking. Like, you think that because you're introspective, people's stupid actions wouldn't get to you? That's never the case. If anything, when you're introspective, you are more attenuated to people's stupid actions, but you get this pesky sense of superiority to accompany your pain.


I haven't always been introspective. In fact, until about a year and a half ago, I was the opposite of introspective. I wound up in therapy because I was suffering horrible anxiety attacks. Then I broke up with the long term boyfriend and I became HYPER introspective. It was like the floodgates opened up and I was no longer afraid of knowing what I was thinking.


Here's a secret: I used to be ashamed that I had feelings at all. I wanted to be a disembodied brain. Seriously. That's all. And I guess that's why I spend so much time online - it's practically the same thing. But anyway.


My one big point that answers one of your q's: YES YOU HAVE TO SUFFER IN ORDER TO GAIN WISDOM! I can write that in caps, that's how strongly I feel about it. It wasn't until I suffered like a dog for a couple years that I began to understand anything about life. I can't believe what I was missing before I suffered! I didn't understand anyone, and now I relate to most everyone. See? Suffering is good.


So I think you sound like you're at some sort of turning point. May I ask how old you are?

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well... the dude, is in part a reference to the big lebowski, but i'd say mostly it was a quick screen name that's different than anything else i've used, and pretty vague. I feared that someone would happen to fall upon a post and know it was me. thedude is nicely nondescript.


You make very much sense... To answer your question: I feel like I may have been at this turning point for a bit. I use to get straight up anxiety attacks, but now, i'd say i've controlled them to, very seldom moments of pure discomfort. Which has been put the simmer on the point which i'm waiting to turn... but yes, turning point...


and i'm 27.

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