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Moving on from her
December 4, 2010 6:41 PM   Subscribe

Changing your mindset. Understanding they weren't right for you.

I've posted a few questions about this in the past year. My ex-girlfriend of an over a year broke up with me at the end of September. Our relationship was good. I don't need to go into detail, but I will say that we parted ways because I had loved and she wasn’t at that place but felt it was wrong to continue as it would be unfair to me. In short, she was never looking for that.
The problem I'm having is that I'm trying to convince myself that she wasn't right for me.

The thing with past girlfriends is I did actually believe they were the wrong person. For example, my last ex wouldn't put much effort into us or she didn't really share many common interests. I found those things easy to put together in my mind and realize it wasn't right.

However, with my current ex, the only thing wrong with her is that she never fell in love with me. From a logical standpoint I know this is huge and probably the number one thing I should be thinking about. But everything else she was to me was what I wanted. We were compatible, shared the same goals, wanted children one day, had similar value on life ect. But for her, being 21, it wasn't the right time in her life for "love". She wasn't looking for that right now whereas I was. That was our deal breaker.

I just can't seem to get past this from an emotional standpoint. Or at least make myself believe that timing for someone is just as important as anything else when understanding if one's significant other is right for them. It’s easy to say you shouldn’t love someone who doesn’t love you back, but harder in practice

I don't know if I'm really looking for advice per se, because I feel like I know what I'm supposed to believe and that I need to move on. I guess I just want to hear some thoughts or personal experience in this type of situation.

I feel like my head and my heart are at war.
posted by Atlantic to Human Relations (20 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
However, with my current ex, the only thing wrong with her is that she never fell in love with me.

That sucks, but that's why she's not right for you.
posted by amro at 6:44 PM on December 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


I can say with a fair amount of certainty that I understand what you're experiencing.

I'll just leave this here.

Hang in there, and shoot me a message if you want, ok?
posted by platosadvocate at 6:52 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Amro nailed it. She was right for you. You weren't right for her. Because you weren't right for her, she therefor is not right for you. You deserve to be wanted.
posted by lover at 7:09 PM on December 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


But everything else she was to me was what I wanted.

What you wanted (in this situation) is irrelevant. Her being perfect for you doesn't matter if she didn't feel you were right for her. It's an awful feeling, but it won't last forever.
posted by rtha at 7:27 PM on December 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


At the end of the day, if this girl wasn't giving you her love, she wasn't right for you. As hard as it may be to accept, sometimes you can love someone with all your heart and you can truly believe that they're the one. But those feelings don't always mean the other person will feel the same way. Seems to me this girl didn't deserve you. I don't like how she was with you for more then a year but wasn't looking for love. Sounds like she was sort of stringing you along. That's not what long term relationships are about. In terms of what you should do from here? In my opinion there are really only 2 ways to deal with a broken heart. First and foremost is time. Time will heal all wounds. It will...trust me. It could take a few months, it could take a year. But time will make things better. The next thing that will help is finding someone else. I'd wait until you feel ready to date, but once you feel ready get out there and do it. Once you find another great girl, you'll quickly get over this one. I wish you all the best.
posted by ljs30 at 7:35 PM on December 4, 2010


She wasn't right for you because she didn't want to date you. This doesn't mean she's not a great girl-- just that she's not right for you.

I think you're getting hung up on the fact that she was pretty rad and treated you well. That's great, and it makes the relationship you had a good experience, but you need someone who's rad and wants you as much as you want her.
posted by J. Wilson at 7:53 PM on December 4, 2010


Seems to me this girl didn't deserve you. I don't like how she was with you for more then a year but wasn't looking for love. Sounds like she was sort of stringing you along. That's not what long term relationships are about.

Tell me about it. Had I known that she was not looking for something like that I would have left her long ago. I told her how I felt after 8 months. The reason I stayed was because she said she wasn't there yet. I figured it took some people longer than others, but I had no idea she was never planning on it. It's nice to her someone else say that. You're probably right that she didn't deserve me if she was willing to stay with me that long without committing.

It's funny, she probably would have continued to be with me if I hadn't brought it up again. I guess In that sense, I got out before another year went by.
posted by Atlantic at 7:57 PM on December 4, 2010


For me, it helped to go out and do something with other people, just to stop yourself from thinking about her. Let yourself be distracted by your friends, movies, books, whatever and sooner than later you will realize that you haven't thought about her for x period of time and then you'll realize that you're over her.
posted by onegoodthing at 8:01 PM on December 4, 2010


21 is really young. It's worth keeping in mind that many people that young aren't ready for a long-term commitment.
posted by J. Wilson at 8:14 PM on December 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


I feel like my head and my heart are at war.

Welcome to the painful process of breaking up. They feel like they're at war because they are at war. They don't match. You know it's over but you still feel what you felt before it was over. You know that five years from now this will not be a big deal anymore. But this isn't five years from now. This is 3 months post-breakup.

Cut yourself some slack. Let yourself grieve. Breathe. Distract yourself. Keep yourself busy. Luckily, you're a med student, so that will be very easy! Become able to imagine a future without her by … having a future without her. Your heart will catch up in time. It's okay that it hasn't caught up yet.
posted by heatherann at 8:23 PM on December 4, 2010


Nthing what J. Wilson said. I see from your profile that you're 22, so you may have trouble believing this. But different people are ready at different times. Your ex sounds like me when I was 21. I was half-heartedly in a 3-year relationship with a guy 2 years older than me - not intentionally stringing him along, but vacillating because I didn't know what I wanted. Part of me had romantic urgings of forever; but the prospect of being tied to one person for the rest of my life and not seeing what was out there also made me balk. I'd tried to leave three times and he convinced me to stay every time because he felt so strongly for me. This resonated so deeply with the "love, hearts and forever" part of me that I could not listen to the part of me that wanted to roam till the fourth try.

You seem to be very clear on what you want. Think of this as an opportunity to find someone who is as clear as you are, who also shares the same goals, values and wants children someday. I know it seems like you won't ever find someone who fits you as neatly as your ex did, but trust me, you'll find even better sooner than you think.
posted by michelle lightning at 9:21 PM on December 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh yeah - I say I was half-heartedly in, but my ex thought our relationship was going well and was talking about marriage. The final, definite break came as a shock to him. Throwing this in because you said, "Our relationship was good." Perceptions can differ vastly, although they may or may not have in your case.
posted by michelle lightning at 9:28 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Perceptions can differ vastly, although they may or may not have in your case.

You're also probably right. I can't imagine that she woke up that day and decided it was over. I guess the fact that I brought our status to her was just the breaking point where she knew holding onto me anymore was wrong.
posted by Atlantic at 10:03 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


The problem I'm having is that I'm trying to convince myself that she wasn't right for me.

There is no stone tablet orbiting Jupiter that lists the people who are "right" for one another. This is because there is no person who is "right" for anyone else.

There's a powerful belief that a lot of people have that says that there is a "right" course in life, where the "right" people will be attracted to us and if we only do the "right" thing it will work out for us.

Life is not like that. You wisely broke up with a person that did not have feelings at the level that you wanted given your level of circumstances. Make this a celebration of your good judgment rather than anyone's "rightness" for you.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:22 PM on December 4, 2010 [6 favorites]


Meh, 21-year-olds can't really be expected to be ready to settle down these days. Barely more than children.

Honestly, though, I'd say that thinking about someone being "right for me" is counterproductive. Many fish, this sea is known to contain eh wot.

She isn't right for you because you want forever now & she doesn't. The other stuff may fit nicely, but the whole sum of it can't add up to that. And plenty of other people will have it in their own interesting distributions. And some will even be on your accelerated settle-down schedule.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 12:47 AM on December 5, 2010


I like what anniecat said in a similar situation previously:

"This sounds like one of those stories people tell themselves of the "one who got away" so they never have to engage in the mundane everyday stuff. You aren't enamored with that girl, you're enamored with the idea of her. Obviously there was enough of a disconnect between you two in reality that she didn't want to be in a romantic relationship with you and certainly didn't feel the same way about you. So your nurturing this obsession with the last girl is pretty unhealthy and you need to think about how it's not okay to obsess over someone who feels maybe lukewarm and friendly towards you. It is under your own control and I think how you handle these feelings is based on how you think about it."
posted by Nixy at 3:48 AM on December 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


I think the quote Nixy pulled in just above is very appropriate. The relationship you're struggling to let go of didn't actually exist. You're not attached to a girl; your attached to a fantasy and a schedule, which have barged in and taken over a part of your brain that should instead be engaged with reality. Part of reality is that you enjoyed some genuinely good times with this girl. They weren't all you were imagining they were, but there was good there nonetheless. Another part of reality is that she had at least enough regard for you to end it when it became clear to her that she couldn't meet your needs. These facts are bittersweet, but palatable. Your problem isn't with reality, which is imperfect and even sad but quite decent. Your problem is with a fantasy. Let go of that.

It’s easy to say you shouldn’t love someone who doesn’t love you back, but harder in practice

Ease up on yourself. The agony you're talking about here is nothing new in the world. Feeling bad doesn't mean you're screwing up. Didn't your English Lit classes ever deal with stories of unrequited love? A lot of brilliant people have struggled with analogous situations, for centuries. Don't wallow in it, but don't pretend you can skip past it either.
posted by jon1270 at 7:00 AM on December 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


All relationships are learning experiences, and the non-terminal ones need to be particularly appreciated as such. You now know more about what qualities you like in a person, and also that you need to take into consideration how other people feel about you. Those are important things to know; pack those in your emotional toolbox and then turn around and face forward. Give yourself time to grieve and get over the shock that comes when you think things are going to be a certain way and then you find out they aren't, and then move on.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:56 AM on December 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


However, with my current ex, the only thing wrong with her is that she never fell in love with me.

That's the only thing that was wrong between me and Jennifer Connelly as well. But I've managed to move on and now have a wonderful SO.

Good luck; it sucks, but it's a part -- even an important part -- of growing up and becoming better at finding someone who is a good fit for you.
posted by coolguymichael at 12:21 PM on December 5, 2010


Understanding they weren't right for you

They aren't right for you when-
1. You think they aren't right for you.
2. They think you are not right for them.

Easier said than done!
posted by xm at 12:28 PM on December 5, 2010


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