I am male 36 yo and it has been seven months since my (ex)partner ( female 28 ) ended our 3 year relationship and it still feels as raw and unbelievable as it did when it first happened and I am at a complete loss at how to get over it.
Our relationship was in no uncertain terms enviable. She was without a doubt the most attractive woman I have ever met, was interesting , highly intelligent, creative, independent, stylish ..... ( I could seriously fill a page if i continued ) If I was asked to design myself a partner I don't think I could have come up with anyone better and she felt the same about me. We were in a constant state of gushing awe in each others company and quickly formed what seemed to be an unbreakable bond. It had an unmistakably life-partner feel to it which was also voiced by us both. We never fought , had an amazing sex life, travelled together , shared all the same friends, interests, bizarre sense of humour. It was pure bliss. I am well aware that in longing for the past one tends to filter an embellish only the good bits, but I assure you this is not the case. All the above are things I thought and was actively grateful for throughout the whole relationship.
Then she had a major falling out with her father whom she normally was very close to, that resulted in them no longer speaking while simultaneously going through an uncharacteristic employment drought which threw her into a depression, something she had never experienced. Naturally I was as supportive as I could be and our relationship continued albeit with some distance on her part. Not two weeks later on Christmas day after we had finished unwrapping gifts my mother had sent us, she announces to me that she wants to break up. Needless to say I was in shock, and she stated that it wasn't so much to do with me ( that she hadn't grow tired or apart ) but just felt like she needed to be independent to sort out some sort of direction in her life as neither of us despite have many interests are especially career oriented.
I crossed my fingers , stepped back gave her space , she moved out on the new year, and we saw each other very regularly as friends ( minus one spontaneous hook-up ). Our meeting up grew sparser and after a month of no contact, on our next meeting to my horror, she announced that she had become a stripper, and casually proceded to tell me about work and all the predatory tactics to coax better tips from her supremely desperate clientele.
I reserved my judgement , expressing only concern for her safety / mental health in hope that this was merely a desperate measure of her own and hoped she would soon come to her senses. She did not, and seemed to be taking this business on as a proper career. I cannot express how utterly gutting it feels to have someone you care about in the sex industry, especially someone you had come to know as being fiercely strong headed, caring and virtuous (in a non religious way )
I decided at that point I should really keep my distance, and have since, however she would often call me to help her with things or ask if I wanted to smoke a cigarette. Which I did, however falsely it may have secretly fuelled my hope things would get better. We continued to hang out until the end of one evening when , completely out of the blue while walking me to the door announced " you know we are never getting back together, right "
I outright then started avoiding her. After awhile of that, when I next ran into her and she wanted to know why I had been giving her the cold shoulder, and was puzzled at why I would have taken her words so harshly or thinking it cruel to wait till Christmas day ( which she is well aware I feel very sentimentally about ) and pointed out that it wasn't that big of a deal and that often/normally when people break up, peoples possessions end up being broken and thrown out the window into the street and reflected coldly on our relationship as being a learning experience for her.
I have since completely being avoiding her in attempt to get over it , but this is proving to be rather difficult as we have all the same friends and shared basically all the same interest, activities etc. which has put me in the position of essentially having to evict myself from my own life. Unsubscribing form mutual friend's updates on Facebook , severely limiting my social life as the few times I have gone out I invariably run into her in the absolute most painful circumstances: her making out with some random dude, showing off here dancing skills in a bar that happened to have a pole, her and her new boyfriend who is some sleazy character she is clearly dating for money. As much as I try to distance myself and forget it keeps getting thrown in my face, and although I avoid the topic, many of our friends illustrate her behaviour to be now ,distant, sociopathic, and joyless.
A close friend posed that given the sudden and careless nature of her parting from me and her soon after jumping full into another relationship with said sleazy dude, suggests that she uses long term relationships as a means of establishing some direction in life but eventually comes out of it, realizes she's not genuinely interested and /or has gained no clearer path , then ends the relationship and moves on to the next. A notion which in itself is so incredibly disheartening.
That all in combination with the accelerating decay of my once tight group of great friends due to
success/cocaine/people-turning-into-assholes, has got me feeling more isolated and down on humanity than I can stand to deal with. So exhausted with trying to find a partner or even good friends that are interesting but not disfunctional and effed up. So exhausted with people never being happy with what they have, always wanting more of everything ,feeling like the universe owes them something. I have never been one to settle and be in relationships of any kind for there own sake, and despite my being an independent person socially and generally content in my own company, I have no interest in leading some solitary life as pretty much every member of my immediate family does.( all interesting, attractive, and well adjusted folks I might add ) I so thrive in domestic/social life and find no solace in a future filled with cross word puzzles and smarty pants public broadcasting, and the idea of finding a partner even half as suitable seems now a reasonable expectation as winning the lottery a second time.
My heart doesn't award second prizes and I can't bring myself in good conscience to be with anyone unless I fancy them equally or more than the last best.
For all the counselling, support of loving family, vigorous fitness routine, meaningful job ( mental health/ addiction worker - so yeah I've dealt with/ seen some s***) vacations, hobbies , reading , healthy eating, not healthy eating , television, drinking , smoking , prescription pills etc etc ( I've tried tried about all the things they tell you to do both good and bad ) at the end of the day or in moments of rest or repose it all comes crashing in again and my thoughts sometimes race with such abrasive ferocity that my head physically feels like a dying fluorescent lamp and I often can't sleep without a few drinks but yet feel so exhausted with it all.
I have attempted to take my own life twice. Researched it. Left notes and all . An interesting thing about suicide is that one wonders why people opt for such violent ends ( jumping, guns, hanging ) but in my limited experience, I believe this is so because the more peaceful options ( pills/booze hypoxic asphyxiation ) are tricky and unreliable. This is alarming indeed. I know this would devastate my family who has already seen a suicide or two, but yet I still can't help often entertaining the idea and find some solace in that I have had at least experienced greater happiness in life then I imagine most people will , and to at least end things while the sweetness of these memories is still tangible rather than them sour and crystallize into regret and comparative discontent over time.
In some last ditch attempt at something, at least if for the benefit of my current friends/flatmates not having to find my dead ***, I have decided perhaps to move from my current place in the big exciting Europea city to our dead-endish cliquey small city of origin. Maybe the more natural surroundings might inspire my thoughts out of this bottomless pit. Maybe getting away from everyone else will earn me some peace of mind or perhaps just quicken the decent. Maybe time will help , but dont wanna end up being that 40 yo guy in that club. Which may become a sad truth as I look/act like im in my mid 20s and i see my younger friends in their late 20s looking kinda tired. Ageing just ***** plain an simple. Unless you have a family, people inevitably grow apart , friends have kids, get absorbed by their careers, or just become boring and you'lle be damned if you can get more than one person any day of the week to just kick it and enjoy life.
Not really sure why I'm writing this here as I don't quite expect to hear anything new, but am certainly open to ideas. Perhaps just writing this out in such detail is cathartic in itself
Oh goodness. well, I put in the time and read all of your post. :>)
Hm. Well, first---- let me say that most people who do not want to live solitary lives, don't. You'll always make friends as you are a social person. Maybe right now you are on your own a bit and frankly, that is for the better as you are currently not just trying to add people to your life but replace people and that puts a heck of a lot more pressure on things.
The ex, well----- she certainly sounds troubled. Why do your friends want to hang with her anyway? To be honest . .. other than to watch the spectacle of someone behaving that way---- I wouldn't find a woman who decided to be a stripper, who has an old dude, sleazy boyfriend, who goes out and dances on poles wherever she is at and makes out with whomever she bumps into all that interesting. I'd pity her, sure. I'd laugh at her antics, yeah. But wouldn't find her to be very bright (no matter how intellectual you say she is) or very enticing to discuss anything beyond the latest std with. Maybe it is the cocaine that your friends are into that they find her interesting and want to remain friends with her. But I'd look at your friends list and see if there aren't any that are/were always closer to you than her and tell them how you feel. That you are trying to seperate from her and that she's losing her mind and going down hill super fast and you just don't want to be a part of it. And maybe they'll start doing things with you rather than being her buddy (in it to watch the trainwreck which is now her life). There has to be a few friends from your past that you can still connect with that aren't interested in a friendship with her anymore. (I'd be one of those).
And then start doing some other things. Yeah, you've got interests. But what makes someone REALLY cool is when they add to those by taking up new things. So, make a list of other things you've always wanted to get into and start doing it. Opens up new avenues of people.
And if you aren't ambitious, work on it. Throw yourself more into your job. If taking some courses would enhance it, then take them.
You also could always move. Not far far away but to a new city that is within driving distance of your current one. Why not? You sound young and fed up with where you are. Then you can get a fresh start and reinvent yourself.
Good luck. things sound complicated at the moment. but it is just a moment in time. Weather through this and brighter times are ahead. You won't be lonely forever, I promise you. peace
I will agree with Tink as I too don't believe people all of sudden make drastic changes. The way a person is may be so subtle that it's not noticed until it's too late....I do believe that happens.
Your posts do indeed sound more like cathartic than looking for advice, however, I will offer a couple of suggestions.
1. A relationship should NEVER define who you are and should NEVER be the 100% source of happiness and fulfillment in life. I believe people make this mistake way TOO often.
2. All this really has more to do with YOU than this ex. Sounds like you went into this last relationship with issues of your own looking and hoping the relationship would be the solution for your issues. Basically, you AREN'T happy with yourself and really has nothing to do per se with others.
I think you are becoming more and more disenchanted because you are realizing you can't make others responsible or a relationship responsible for your OWN happiness.
3. Quit looking to others to fullfill "this and that" and start looking inward more. Take the focus off this "ex" and put it back on YOURSELF. Who cares what this ex is doing or who she is with? Why give her that much power and control over YOUR feelings and thoughts? Does it make a heck of a difference that you know "this or that" about her? Don't think so.
Reclaim your power. From the sounds of her sounds like she did you a FAVOR by ending the relationship because she sounds like trouble with a capital "T". She needs to be working on her issues ALONE for sure and it is truly unfortunate she has "jumped" into another relationship BEFORE she resolved her own issues. Doubt her new relationship will last long.
Are you seeking counseling? Wasn't clear about that.
Thanks for taking the time to read my post.
I would like to clarify a few things.
re: "people all of a sudden don't make drastic changes"
Not True . Anyone can be driven do to almost anything given the right ( or wrong ) circumstances. see: Psychology or History
Ever have to tell anyone that they have Aids or that a loved one is dead ? I have . Traumatic experiences will change you pretty quick. I quite clearly pointed out that things went south immediately after her great relationship with her father was completely destroyed right before our break up etc
I am not or have ever been prompted by loneliness or any void within myself to seek the company of others in any context. I have a full life and have tons to be grateful for and have longed for a relationship because I want to share the abundance of my life rather than hide from my problems. The trouble is most people get into relationships for the wrong reasons.( loneliness , boredom, self justification etc ) It's easy to lose something that you got into for the wrong reasons, you can always reflect on it and think , well this or that was never that great anyway. When my ex and i were together i felt like my patience had finally paid off and our relationship was as functional as you could hope one to be.
I am struggling with how to deal with a great loss which cannot really be blamed on anyone. Chalking it up to the idea that she was just a horrible person all along is a cheap fix which only puts me in the position to eternally feel bitter and sceptical towards people's intentions. I certainly am not focusing all my energy on her but when you have something with someone that is uncomplicated and true and you are able to effortlessly share all the aspects of your life is't pretty darn tough not being reminded of them always and as much as i try to avoid her , as I quite clearly also stated, we have all the same friends so it is inevitable that we bump into each other.
I don't quite understand Londres70's comment about " giving her power and control" As much as it pains me to see her making all these poor decisions etc. I certainly don't act upset, and she is clearly oblivious to my feelings anyway , so I fail to see what she would gain from knowing I was upset. Power dynamics are sick in my opinion, and should only be tolerated in relationships you don't have control over having , like your boss, or your relatives etc.
I really feels like the best years of my life have come and gone, not just with my ex but with my now defunct community. It truly was great: dinner parties multiple times a week , movie nights, road trips, creative projects etc.
Losing everything at once has got me feeling uncharacteristically lonely and empty, that is what is killing me. I felt perfectly content on my own before but now everything as good as it still is, feels two dimensional. Perhaps it was naive of to think these things last forever but it is impossibly hard to let go of.
I come from a big and abnormally functional family. I have never had any significant drama or falling out with any immediate or even extended family member ever ( i was a little bit of an ***hle to my sister for 2 months when we were teenagers but thats about it ) and I can talk to all of them with the same ease I could a best friend. ( and for the record that hasn't handicapped me in my dealing with other people and their issues, I am as mentioned, by profession a counsellor of sorts) That said, I feel so suited/destined for family community living, and as much as I can feel content on my own, my life is certainly feeling wasted outside of this context.
And yes I have been in counselling a bunch but they pretty much tell me to do what i have already been doing.
Also @ specialmom your suggestion to take up new thing was good , will look into it for sure when I'm moved back.
I don't think the best has happened in your life yet. Nope, I don't. Hang in there. It is really normal to have lots of mixed emotions about a relationship ending and when it was a good one----- we think that maybe we will never have that again. You will. Be patient.
Sounds like a transitional time for you. These can actually be good things. We can look at what we want to change in our life and go from there. We keep some people, get rid of some people, try new things, stop doing others.
You clearly are articulate and bright. This will serve you well for ensuring your life is what you want it to be. Get through this rough patch and I am sure you will be on track with life going in the direction you want it. And you'll meet someone else that you can love and will love you.
Take your time getting over this past relationship. Do you journal?
My statement....."Why give her that much power and control over YOUR feelings and thoughts?" Clarifying......why give the situation/this past relationship power over your feelings and thoughts? Sounds like you had something wonderful and it is unfortunately no longer. Reclaim your life by doing just what SM recommended..... taking up new interests, etc. It's ok to want the best for someone and be concerned, but in the end he/she is responsible for his/her life and his/her choices. She isn't your responsibility.
My statement...."I will agree with Tink as I too don't believe people all of sudden make drastic changes. The way a person is may be so subtle that it's not noticed until it's too late....I do believe that happens." Clarifying.....this is in regards to this particular situation and NOT all situations. The way someone deals with issues and problems in life in general might be maladaptive and you wouldn't necessarily notice this until he/she is in a "tight" spot. In this case it wouldn't be considered any "drastic" change but in essence who he/she is......just had to wait for the opportunity to present how he/she really is.
Your statement..."Ever have to tell anyone that they have Aids or that a loved one is dead ? I have." I have too as my background is in the medical field. I can't even count how many times I've had to say those words to a family or give terrible news to a patient and/or his/her family, however, I sure can't compare that with a relationship breaking up. That would be like comparing "apples with oranges." I wouldn't consider the latter situation per se "traumatic." Painful, yes.....traumatic.....not in my opinion.
Your statement...."I have attempted to take my own life twice. Researched it. Left notes and all . An interesting thing about suicide is that one wonders why people opt for such violent ends ( jumping, guns, hanging ) but in my limited experience, I believe this is so because the more peaceful options ( pills/booze hypoxic asphyxiation ) are tricky and unreliable.
This is alarming indeed. I know this would devastate my family who has already seen a suicide or two, but yet I still can't help often entertaining the idea and find some solace in that I have had at least experienced greater happiness in life then I imagine most people will , and to at least end things while the sweetness of these memories is still tangible rather than them sour and crystallize into regret and comparative discontent over time.".... Is this all related to this breakup? If it is, that would extremely concerning.
Yes, if you have thought of suicide, sorry I glossed over that. Yeesh. That is indeed quite serious. That is something to follow up on and if you continue to think of it, that would indicate depression of a clinical nature that needs treated. By a physician. Please make sure you are safe in that regard. peace
You may do well to do some research on grief. What you are experiences has to be felt fully. You've lost a lot. Dreams, and hopes. And you can't just turn off feelings towards someone, no matter how nasty she's become there will always be a sentimental part of you that remember how things were, and your dreams of what they could be.
Your lose can be blamed on someone, you were wronged, and acknowledging that is healthy. It doesn't make her a bad person, just means that she made a choice that negatively affected you. Forgiveness is also healthy. You can't forgive though until you recognize that wrong was done to you. It doesn't have to make you bitter. But it is important to recognize truth.
"I have attempted to take my own life twice."and "I have a full life and have tons to be grateful for and have longed for a relationship because I want to share the abundance of my life rather than hide from my problems." Don't really fit together unless the suicide attempts were from the far past. If you are still having thoughts of death or dying, or are actively suicidal please reach out for help. Call a crisis line, or see a doctor or therapist. You mentioned counselling so I hope you stick with it.
Another reality is you may have to make new friends. Maybe don't go to the pedestrian community of origin, but go to a new city if you can find a job. Join a few clubs, go online and ask a few people on dates. From what you say you are likely an extrovert and need the fellowship of people to be truly happy. Every extrovert (about 75% of the population) needs this, and it is healthy.
And it will get easier with time. Your feelings for her will become less intense. And maybe then you can enjoy being with mutual friends.
I wish you the best in your grieving. The only way out of the pain is to experience it fully.
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