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Guilty, guilty, guilty.
June 3, 2011 6:33 AM   Subscribe

It's me again. I broke up with my boyfriend yesterday. How do I minimize the guilt I feel for hurting him, and the hurt over him being back on the dating site already?

We haven’t spoken since the break-up, but I checked his profile on the dating site we met on and he was already back to single and looking and now he’s friends with someone he met there on facebook. He told me he took two years to start dating again after his last relationship ended, so why is he already looking after breaking up with the girl he loved and wanted to marry a week ago? I could understand if he was just the type to do that (I’ll admit that I do this, not because I‘m over the person but because I want to get over the “I’ll never click with anyone again!!” feeling) but he’s not. So, I mean, what the fuck?

I feel guilty for hurting him, because he really is a great guy. He’s amazingly sweet and loving and generally wanted to make things better. He was my best friend for almost the entire time we dated. We just weren’t compatible in a few areas that made continuing the relationship difficult. I feel SO HORRIBLE for hurting him. I feel awful for not sticking by him while he’s going through a rough time. Normally I would have, but I didn’t see the incompatibilities getting any better. The thing that makes it worse is that there weren’t any big blow-ups, fighting, him doing things to hurt me, etc that would have made it an easy decision. It was just, he tended toward the cynical, pessimistic, doesn’t seem to enjoy life and/or hides his enjoyment of activities and is generally “meh” about things and I’m pretty much the polar opposite of that. I know plenty of people like that that he’d be a great match for, but I’m not one of them and I couldn’t handle him when he was upset. I broke up with him because even if we got through this and everything was fine, I would have the same difficulty dealing with how he reacted when his life got tough again. There were other reasons but that was the main one.

I also feel bad for being generally OK. Sometimes I’m not, but it has more to do with being jealous and hurt that he’s looking already and feeling bad for hurting him than it does with wanting him back. In my past relationships it was always hurt over losing the person, still being in love with them and wishing that somehow things would work out. I’m still in love with this guy but I already know he’s not my type and I’m OK with that. When we broke up I cried, not because we were breaking up but because I knew I was hurting him and I didn't want to do that. But… I feel like I should be suffering more, that I should feel lower-than-low horrible like I did the first time we broke up slightly over a month ago. And then the kicker, I’ve met someone (a few weeks ago, I know that reflects poorly on/is hypocritical of me) that I click with and who’s more compatible with me than my ex, and I feel bad for going out and spending time with and having fun with that person. I’m pretty sure they’re a major reason I’m not a heaping pile of lonely mess right now, and a major reason it’s easier to be OK with my decision to break up because their personalities differ in little ways that make it easier to see the type of person I should be with. It’s like… okay this is going to be a shitty analogy, but do you know how in the Sims when two Sims are talking and you get the little ++ and -- depending on how the conversation went? I feel like with my ex a lot of the conversations led to a -- reaction and with my friend it’s mostly ++ reactions.

I'm 20, female, and the relationship lasted 6mos. I know that isn't long but of my other two relationships, 4yrs, 2 yrs and 1 month respectively, it was the only one that wasn't a trainwreck and where I actually felt safe with the person, they were there for me, we got along well, they didn't do/say hurtful things for no discernible reason, I could tell they were in love with me, there wasn't some glaring reason we'd have to break up anyway like them not wanting kids, etc. So it's still super-hard.

1) What can I do to assuage the guilt I feel over breaking up with him over the first place, being mostly OK with it, not staying with him while he’s going through a tough time in life, and having fun with/being cheered up by someone else I have romantic feelings for?

2) How do I feel less hurt and jealous over the fact that he’s already out there looking less than a day after we’ve broken up? How can I be OK with not speaking to my best friend and not knowing when/if I’ll ever speak to him again?

3) Is there a type of forum that I can go to discuss my feelings, because I don’t have any close friends I can talk to about these things?

4) How do I force myself to stop checking his dating profile, checking my e-mail to see if he’s e-mailed me, checking his face book (we aren’t friends on there but you can still see who he’s added), etc?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (63 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
You know, if the guy is already dating and meeting people, he's probably not that hurt. No need to feel guilty. You've no reason to think you were the love of his life and that he's beating his chest and questioning the meaning of living out the barren, arid remainder of a natural lifespan without you.

Block his profile on Facebook and on the dating site to keep yourself from peeking at his profiles. You're only going to find out stuff that will hurt your feelings and keep the old hurts fresh.

And if you've found someone else whom you enjoy being with, by all means spend time with that person. As for losing the guy's friendship.... I know it's hard, but let me tell you, I am no longer in touch with my best friends from when I was 20, not because I had a falling out but because I outgrew them. You'll meet other people. You'll change a lot more than you expect now. These feelings will all pass given time.
posted by orange swan at 6:44 AM on June 3, 2011 [16 favorites]


The thing that makes it worse is that there weren’t any big blow-ups, fighting, him doing things to hurt me, etc that would have made it an easy decision.

This is getting to be above our paygrade because he very much did something to hurt you (remember how he was cool with putting your future as a musician in danger by hurting your hands?) and there were very good, concrete reasons for you to break up with him, but you are steadfastly in denial.

You know that we will tell you that he was not good for you and that it was not a healthy relationship, so coming here with paragraphs defending him and your relationship as "normal" confuses me. I don't know what you want from us and I think that it's really time to hash this out with a professional.
posted by the young rope-rider at 6:47 AM on June 3, 2011 [75 favorites]


2) How do I feel less hurt and jealous over the fact that he’s already out there looking less than a day after we’ve broken up? How can I be OK with not speaking to my best friend and not knowing when/if I’ll ever speak to him again?

A buddy of mine went through this EXACT same thing a few months ago, and I'll tell you what I told her...

Ok, you broke up with him. This was CLEARLY the best choice for you AND for him, because what's the alternative? Stay in a relationship that doesn't work for the rest of your life? No, of course not. Breaking up was all you could do, and good for you for realizing that.

HOWEVER, the second you broke up with him, he became no longer 'yours,' and the way he now chooses to cope with the pain of this breakup is exactly NONE of your business. I know you still 'feel' like a couple with him, but you're just not. Just as his emotional state is no longer your responsibility, by the same token, his romantic life is none of your business. You chose to move on with your life, so you can't very well blame him for doing the exact same thing, can you?

Going on a dating site immediately after a breakup could be an attempt to make himself feel better about you leaving him, because he's sooooo devastated; or he could be totally fine and excited about getting out there again. You don't know, and you never will because it doesn't concern you anymore.

And, yeah, block him, at least for now. I PROMISE that it will stop hurting to see him interacting with other girls, but not for a while.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:50 AM on June 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


You know that we will tell you that he was not good for you and that it was not a healthy relationship, so coming here with paragraphs defending him and your relationship as "normal" confuses me.

I totally agree. You say there weren't any big blow-ups, but this dude pulled out a gun in your presence! I know you're in a lot of pain right now but a lot of the stuff you're saying now doesn't seem to jive with what you said in your last past, almost like you forgot all about what really happened in this relationship. Everyone goes through that a little bit, I think, but yours seems more on the extreme side. Finding a professional to talk this over with could be really helpful.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:51 AM on June 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


I don't know the backstory, but -- his problems now are not your problems.

No need to feel guilty or responsible or whatever. It happens.

Do yourself a favour and help Time heal your wounds by not checking this guy out online. Cut yourself off with a new distraction. It's tough, but space and time are what you need to create.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:51 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


How do I force myself to stop checking his dating profile, checking my e-mail to see if he’s e-mailed me, checking his face book (we aren’t friends on there but you can still see who he’s added), etc?

I do this stuff after breaking up with people do -- you know how you stop doing it? Find something else to do. Go out and make some new friends and keep busy.
posted by empath at 6:52 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


do=too
posted by empath at 6:52 AM on June 3, 2011


it was the only one that wasn't a trainwreck and where I actually felt safe with the person,

HE THREATENED YOU AND HIMSELF WITH A GUN.

HE BROUGHT A GUN TO A BREAK-UP.

HE'S FUCKING CRAZY.

If that is not a trainwreck, I don't know what the fuck a trainwreck is. You need to redefine your perception of that relationship because any relationship that includes someone who would do that would end up the equivalent of every Amtrak car in Penn Station exploding if it wasn't already there. How do you get over feeling sad? You remember he brought a fucking gun to your break-up. Last time I checked you don't live in a Danielle Steele novel, which means that shit is utterly abnormal and not OK.

Him dating again? Who the fuck knows why he's doing it? He's fucking crazy, remember? Being jealous of him dating other women is like being jealous because the homeless unmedicated schizophrenic who lives near your street is talking to other people.
posted by schroedinger at 6:53 AM on June 3, 2011 [107 favorites]


You know, if the guy is already dating and meeting people, he's probably not that hurt. No need to feel guilty.

This.

And...

HE THREATENED YOU AND HIMSELF WITH A GUN.

HE BROUGHT A GUN TO A BREAK-UP.

HE'S FUCKING CRAZY.

posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:54 AM on June 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


1) What can I do to assuage the guilt I feel over breaking up with him over the first place...

No one breaks up with someone because they want to make that person's life worse. You break up to make your life better. You did the best thing for you, and while it's unfortunate that it might not also have been the best thing for him, that's not how these things work. He has been holding you emotionally hostage (remember the last time you broke up and he made you think he was going to kill himself?), but you have finally managed to get free. Please don't let his feelings or actions continue to control yours. You have absolutely nothing to feel guilty about--you did the right thing.


2) How do I feel less hurt and jealous over the fact that he’s already out there looking less than a day after we’ve broken up? How can I be OK with not speaking to my best friend and not knowing when/if I’ll ever speak to him again?

You know what this tells me? That he is not as hurt as you think he is, which only serves to reinforce how not-guilty you should feel about the breakup.

The second part of your question is more tough. Back in high school, I started dating my best friend. I didn't really want to turn it into a romantic thing, and said as much, but we were having fun so why not. The problems started when he started making "future plans", even though I had told him I had no interest in continuing the romantic part of our relationship past high school. It was getting oppressive, so I broke up with him and we stopped being friends. I'm not going to lie: it sucked losing my best friend. But you know what? You try to hold on to the good memories and purge the bad, you make new friends, and you move on. In time, you'll wonder how you could have ever been friends with someone who would pull out a handgun whenever their emotional stability was threatened.


4) How do I force myself to stop checking his dating profile, checking my e-mail to see if he’s e-mailed me, checking his face book (we aren’t friends on there but you can still see who he’s added), etc?

I think it's probably pretty normal to want to do that, so while the "best" advice is probably turn of the computer and go outside, I think the more realistic advice is DO NOT let yourself check it more than once a day. And then in a little while, DO NOT let yourself check it more than once a week. And so on. I'm a naturally curious person, and I still "do the rounds" maybe once a year or so seeing how the exes are doing. Just try to distance yourself as much as possible. Like I said earlier, you can't keep letting this guy's actions control yours.

You did the right thing. You'll feel better in time.
posted by phunniemee at 6:57 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ok, I read the previous question...or at least most of it...and I'm going with schroedinger on this one. HE GOT OUT A GUN WHEN YOU BROKE UP WITH HIM. THAT IS FUCKING CRAZY. I have dated some losers and assholes in my day. I have had some really bad break-ups from both the giving and receiving sides. There were never any guns or hitting. I'm not sure you fully appreciate how truly fucked up that is. Don't check his dating profile. Remind yourself that you chose being alone over being with him because IT'S WAY BETTER.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 7:04 AM on June 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


He's out there looking again because he needs another person to hold as an emotional hostage. Count yourself lucky you got out of this alive. As others have said:

HE THREATENED YOU AND HIMSELF WITH A GUN.

HE BROUGHT A GUN TO A BREAK-UP.

HE'S FUCKING CRAZY.


You're very young, and (if my arithmetic is correct) you've been in relationships since you were 13 or 14. Perhaps it's time to take care of yourself a little better so you'll have the emotional tools to make better choices in future. Perhaps some counselling or therapy would help you move past this experience and onto someone who actually deserves you.
posted by essexjan at 7:06 AM on June 3, 2011 [22 favorites]


Sweetie, he may be doing things with his dating profile to hurt you. This man is really troubled. I do think you need to talk it out with a pro (meaning not an internet forum) because it sort of seems you've forgotten about the almost killing himself and/or injuring or killing you.

This is a heck of a blind spot. I say this who was with a man who was cruel. I never saw it at the time. Your feeling bad for him may be overwhelming the very important DANGER DANGER DANGER messages that your self-preservation is sending to you
posted by angrycat at 7:10 AM on June 3, 2011 [19 favorites]


1) You shouldn't feel guilty at all for not allowing him to hold you hostage.

2) A "best friend" wouldn't willfully put you in danger the way he did.

4) I don't know if it's worth the effort, honestly. I actually find it better to keep checking profiles until I'm desensitized/bored rather than beat myself up for it. YMMV.
posted by randomname25 at 7:16 AM on June 3, 2011


I don't know the backstory

Well, you could read the OP's past question, where she talked about how the ex started waving around a loaded gun the first time she broke up with him.

OP, this question and your (anonymous) comments in the previous one suggest that you're in denial. How can you say this wasn't a "trainwreck"? I've never seen a clearer description of a trainwreck relationship than your previous post. In the last thread, over 100 people unanimously told you to get out and cut off all contact, but you said you weren't going to follow anyone's advice. I'm not sure what you're hoping to achieve with this new post. I'll just echo what everyone said in the last question: cut this person out of your life completely. All you need to know is he made you fear for your life with a loaded gun. End of story. This is not someone to be spending your time on, at age 20.

Your descriptions of where your life is at now all sound great. You're doing well, you're dating someone new — hopefully someone sane! That's all fantastic. It's ideal. There is no problem with it. Your happiness is not causing any harm to anyone. If you were to feel "lower-than-low horrible" (the way you wish you felt?? whahhh?!), this would not do any good for anyone.

To recap: happiness — good! Feeling horrible — bad! The fact that you feel happy, not horrible, is a good thing, not a bad thing.

As to the ex: Block him. Unfriend him. Delete him as a contact from your phone and email. If you have Gmail, you can create a "filter" so any email from him gets automatically archived or muted.
posted by John Cohen at 7:20 AM on June 3, 2011 [12 favorites]


2) How do I feel less hurt and jealous over the fact that he’s already out there looking less than a day after we’ve broken up?

Try telling yourself that he's only there looking for cheap sex.

Whether or not it's true is beside the point -- this is a temporary assumption you are going to make for your own sanity's sake. Tell yourself he is looking for one-night stands with women who will force him to dress up in a tutu and call them "mistress" before they let him touch their foot, or tell yourself that he is going to end up with ten different simultaneous STD's. But that is not your fault -- that is his fault for trying to jump right back into dating, right? He could stay out of the game for a while, but hey, look, he's not, he's trying to get laid right away by some floozy, the pig!

(You should not hang on to this sentiment for very long, only long enough to stop you from feeling jealous over seeing him on dating sites. At some point you will not care any more, and then you can drop this pretense.)

How can I be OK with not speaking to my best friend and not knowing when/if I’ll ever speak to him again?

I'll come back to this.

Is there a type of forum that I can go to discuss my feelings, because I don’t have any close friends I can talk to about these things?

There are a few -- do a search for "Breakup advice" on Google, and a few forums will come up. I remember looking at a few the last big breakup I went through; I ended up not joining, but just reading some stories, and that helped me. (I don't remember any of them any more, but I know they were pretty easy to find.)

How do I force myself to stop checking his dating profile, checking my e-mail to see if he’s e-mailed me, checking his face book (we aren’t friends on there but you can still see who he’s added), etc?

Block him on all these places.

Now getting back to the "how can I be okay with not speaking to my best friend" -- honey, you already weren't speaking to a best friend. Friends don't pull guns on you. And the fact that you considered the guy your best friend is a sign that you need to really seriously stay alone for a while and seriously think about what your definition of "friendship" is, because MAN does that sound like a low threshold.

Get an actual best friend that is not someone you're dating. Then try dating again.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:22 AM on June 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


so why is he already looking after breaking up with the girl he loved and wanted to marry a week ago?

Because he knows you are watching, and he wants to hurt you.
posted by hermitosis at 7:24 AM on June 3, 2011 [16 favorites]


If you're feeling guilty, know that it won't last. Hopefully with some more distance you'll realize just how bad the situation with him really was.

Stop looking at his dating profile, twitter, facebook, linked in, orkut, friendster...whatver. Make the break complete.

DON'T get serious with anyone else right now. You need to gain some perspective and I hope have some time for real reflection and soul searching. How will you be able to properly judge if new guy is the bee's knees or if he's just more of the same and you were just blinded by the newness. Why did you feel ex's behavior was not as deplorable as the rest of us think it was? Reflect.
posted by inturnaround at 7:24 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just adding weight to the advice to block him on Facebook, the dating site and any other social networks. Continuing to observe his life as it goes on without you is not a healthy decision. Make a clean break.
posted by halseyaa at 7:24 AM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


It is not healthy that you "felt safe" in a relationship that involved, at any stage, a pistol. Maybe you think people have made too big a deal of that detail. They haven't.

You have some relationship issues. Therapy might help, but it sounds like your problems have mostly to do with perspective: Yours is narrow and based on bad experiences. The only real remedy to that, I think, is to have good experiences. I'm sorry that there isn't a formula for how to get those. The closest thing that exists is, "Get back on the horse and try again." It might be smart to get others' (friends, family, etc.) opinions on what you might be doing wrong in choosing partners. Consider what they have to say and whether any of it might be valuable, then take a deep breath and try again. This approach is slightly different, you'll note, from immediately jumping back into the pool without thoughtful reflection and likely ending up in roughly the same spot again.

I don't think it's especially healthy that you keep running to a website full of strangers for consolation in difficult moments (anonymously, no less). If you don't feel like you have a support system that can help with these things, I'm sorry about that—but invest more effort into finding and building one. Friends require effort to find and maintain, but they are worth it. AskMe is great for a lot of things, but I don't think you're using it wisely for yourself.
posted by red clover at 7:29 AM on June 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


Stop keeping tabs on this guy. You made the right call by ending it. Now let yourself move on. As for why he's already on a dating site - it doesn't matter, but he's probably looking for a rebound, and he wants to hurt you in the process. Sounds like he succeeded. He was manipulative before, and he's manipulating you again. Don't let him do it! Move on, live your life, and be happy without him.
posted by katillathehun at 7:31 AM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah I know this is just the internet and that i do not have magical powers of perception but I would bet anyone all the money i will ever make for the rest of my life that the guy you are talking about is not actually a sweet and loving person but is in fact an extremely toxic and manipulative sociopath. Call it a hunch.

If I were you I would cut off all contact with this guy on my way to my new therapist's office. You do not seem to have any awareness of how strange this situation is, and how incredibly ironic it is for you to feel guilty about finally dumping this weirdo.
posted by facetious at 7:33 AM on June 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


First, I want you to know that I am absurdly glad to hear that you broke up with him and are still safe. I was worried about you.

Second, I'm Nth-ing all the people who told you to block him from all social networking sites. Don't look at it. Just don't. You an give yourself a limit, if that's easier: don't look for a month.

Third, perhaps you should find someone who isn't the internet to talk to. Friends are good, family is better, therapists are probably best. I worry for your safety -- this is a man who would have KILLED you and you consider that a normal relationship?
posted by AmandaA at 7:41 AM on June 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


1) - Feeling guilty over breaking up with him: well, look, you didn't do it in order to hurt him, did you? You did it because it was the right thing to do. It's still the right thing to do, even if he didn't want it to be.
- Feeling guilty over feeling mostly OK with it/finding someone else: you know that doesn't make you a heartless harpy, right? That's okay. You made the right decision, and you know that.
- Feeling guilty over breaking up with him when he was going through a tough time: look, this guy's always going to be going through a tough time. People who will draw guns and threaten suicide when someone tries to leave them aren't in an emotionally healthy place, and it's not the kind of thing that changes in the short term. It maybe won't change in the long term either. You know what's sure as hell going to make sure it doesn't change ever? Him knowing he can manipulate people, by waving weapons around and threatening suicide, into putting his own desires above theirs. Staying wouldn't have been helping him out during a tough time, any more than keeping an addict friend well-stocked with heroin would be helping them out during withdrawals.

2) If you feel hurt and jealous, you feel hurt and jealous. It's okay to feel that. It won't last forever. Play some loud breakup music and sing along angrily/mopily, or go out for a long walk, or let yourself cry for a bit, if any of that helps you work through it.

3) Maybe something like LoveShack? But you'd probably get a lot of the same responses you did here, re: "wtf A GUN?", so maybe before talking about it in that way, you should work out why you want the gun thing to be such a minor part of the story when people you tell about the situation are going to see it as such a major part.

4) I'm with phunniemee on this one - wean yourself off gradually.

And honestly, I don't want to turn this into a pile-on on the gun thing, but it's really, really striking here that you're so emphatic about what a good partner he was in umpteen ways and how the only reason for the breakup was that you weren't compatible on some things. Well, look: maybe he was okay in loads of ways. Maybe he was really sweet when you'd had a tough day at work, and he had a great sense of humour and you could talk for hours. And maybe when you see people telling you to run like hell because of the gun thing, you think "Yeah, but it's my relationship and it's my call on what mattered and what didn't, and if I say this was a minor thing for me, then this was a minor thing for me."

And you'd be right about that. You feel how you feel, and you process your experiences however you want, and what's important to you may not be important to other people, and vice versa. But however you feel about it, the objective reality of the situation doesn't change.

You say you felt safe with this person, but you were not safe with this person. Even if you believe 100% with every cell in your body that he'd never have hurt you on purpose, you are not safe around someone who'll pull a loaded gun out at a time of emotional turmoil and make you wrestle it off them. That's pretty much the epitome of 'unsafe'.

You say there wasn't any glaring reason why you needed to break up with him, but he gave you that glaring reason. You can't, you can't stay with someone who'll do that to you. It doesn't matter whether he did it as a calculated, deliberate act or whether he did it because he's in such a messed-up place it felt like his only option: either way, the effect on you (and the potential consequences for you!) are just the same.

You say this wasn't a trainwreck, but all trainwrecks start off with the train trundling happily along the rails. What defines it as a trainwreck is the bit where the train crashes.

It might help you to start putting "...compared to my previous relationships" next to all those things in your head whenever you start thinking them: it felt safe compared to your previous relationships, it wasn't a trainwreck compared to your previous relationships. But that just means your previous relationships were worse, not that this one wasn't horribly, horribly bad for you. Relationships aren't ever the kind of thing where you should settle for the least worst option.
posted by Catseye at 7:41 AM on June 3, 2011 [11 favorites]


"HE THREATENED YOU AND HIMSELF WITH A GUN.

HE BROUGHT A GUN TO A BREAK-UP.

HE'S FUCKING CRAZY."

And after pulling a gun on you to stop you leaving, he's like "oh well! fish in sea, etc" and right back on the ol' dating site he goes.

Except, you stuck the part about "btw, I'm the girl who got a gun pulled on her by her bf" in there as a minor detail. I have to echo facetious. You really do not seem to understand how strange this situation is.

I was going to tell you you have nothing to feel guilty about, but really, from the beginning, my intuition told me that the real problem is you're annoyed that he's not more upset. Don't be annoyed, be grateful. And be in therapy.
posted by tel3path at 7:45 AM on June 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


Right now is the perfect time to get into some really good therapy.
posted by so_gracefully at 7:47 AM on June 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


How do I force myself to stop checking his dating profile, checking my e-mail to see if he’s e-mailed me, checking his face book (we aren’t friends on there but you can still see who he’s added), etc?

Assuming you use Gmail and Firefox (procedure for other apps will be similar):

Download BlockSite for Firefox. Block "www.okcupid.com/profile?u=YourEx" and "http://www.facebook.com/YourEx" with BlockSite. In Gmail, click "Create a filter" in the upper right next to the search button. In the From field, but "YourEx@exmail.com", then click "Next Step", check the "Delete It" box, and click "Create Filter".
posted by burnmp3s at 7:49 AM on June 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


There's no need to feel guilty about breaking up with him. It wasn't a healthy relationship--and ending it was in the best interest for both of you. Remind yourself that it is a good thing for him and move to the purging process.

The next step is to purge yourself of things that remind you of him. As others have mentioned, you can make a filter in your e-mail to automatically delete his messages. Un-friend and block him from all social sites. Remove his number and all messages to/from him in your phone. Get rid of most mementos and photos; you may want to save some: put them in a keepsake box and store them out of sight for your older years.

Now, occupy your time with things you enjoy. Take care of yourself. Especially spend time with friends.

At first you will think of him frequently. When this happens, recognize that you're dwelling on him and you will have to distract yourself. Soon enough, without things to remind you of him, you will naturally stop focusing on him.

I hope you feel better soon. You deserve to be happy. Good luck!
posted by combustiblepiggy at 7:53 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Your previous question:

I got up to use the bathroom and shower and heard banging around in his room. I went back in to see what was up because I was afraid he might be suicidal and sure enough he'd gotten out his pistol and had it lying beside him with one round in the chamber.

I tried to get it away from him and he eventually ejected the chamber so it wouldn't accidentally go off and hit me, which scared the crap out of me because I briefly thought he'd pulled the trigger. I spent the better part of the day trying to take his guns/ammo but it didn't work because I don't have a car or a place to hide them. Instead I just sat in the room with him.


This question:

I'm 20, female, and the relationship lasted 6mos. I know that isn't long but of my other two relationships, 4yrs, 2 yrs and 1 month respectively, it was the only one that wasn't a trainwreck and where I actually felt safe with the person, they were there for me, we got along well, they didn't do/say hurtful things for no discernible reason, I could tell they were in love with me, there wasn't some glaring reason we'd have to break up anyway like them not wanting kids, etc.

That discrepancy, coupled with your statement that "I don’t have any close friends I can talk to about these things" convinces me that you need to explore these issues in therapy.
posted by prefpara at 8:10 AM on June 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


Your not feeling more guilty is actually really, really healthy. You were in a dangerous, unhealthy relationship where your partner did things repeatedly to hurt you. He's still doing that and your intuition or whatever you want to call it is telling you this, by not producing guilt feelings.

Nthing all above advice to limit/block your checking on him electronically and to go out and develop other relationships. These don't have to be romantic. See if you can find some friendships from your acquaintences that you can develop in a more meaninful way. Make the effort to take good care of yourself now, and you will find that you will be in a better, stronger place to develop caring healthy relationships in the future.
posted by goggie at 8:12 AM on June 3, 2011


I also feel bad for being generally OK.

You feel generally OK because your sub-conscious/lizard brain is relieved. It/you need not worry any more about being STUCK IN A ROOM WITH A MANIAC WIELDING A LOADED GUN!!!

Listen to your feelings of being generally OK; it's confirmation that you did the right thing. No backsliding. No succumbing to whatever emotionally manipulative thing he does next (including the dating site posts). None.

Let me add that I'm very glad you're ok; I've been thinking about you.
posted by carmicha at 8:47 AM on June 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


As un-useful as this may seem, you can't really say you're incompatible with someone you're in love with. That is, if you were properly in love with them, then nothing would matter. You saying you wanted to break up with him means you either never were in love with him or you have fallen out of love.
posted by sockpim at 8:52 AM on June 3, 2011


That is, if you were properly in love with them, then nothing would matter.

I'd say this is catagorically untrue. Many of us have fallen for people who were addicts or mentally unstable and loving them deeply and truly wasn't enough to make us compatible.
posted by small_ruminant at 9:31 AM on June 3, 2011 [21 favorites]


First of all, GOOD FOR YOU for breaking up with him. Feeling guilty is very common after a breakup, for both people, so please don't think it's a sign that you made the wrong decision. Time is the only thing that will make you feel better. But you need to cut off all contact with him, starting now, and that includes not following him online.

It seems like... you're choosing to interpret the gun incident as a sign of his love--the pain he felt over losing you drove him to make this huge, dramatic gesture. The thing you're genuinely upset about is that he's back on the dating site after your breakup. Both incidents are framed in terms of his devotion to you: Wrestling with him over a loaded gun is okay, because it shows how important you are to him. Updating his dating profile makes you feel hurt and jealous because it shows that you're not important to him. If any of that rings true--and I'm sorry if it sounds harsh--I have to agree that a therapist can help you untangle some of these mixed messages about relationships.
posted by lucysparrow at 9:32 AM on June 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


but I checked his profile on the dating site we met on

You stop that now. You did the right thing and time will take care of your sadness. It will do this faster if you keep this crazy dangerous person 100% out of your life.

it was the only one that wasn't a trainwreck and where I actually felt safe with the person

I'm sorry but no, you are still waiting for that relationship to happen. He loaded his fucking gun to manipulate/intimidate you. Stay away, stay away, stay away, stay away.
posted by nanojath at 9:34 AM on June 3, 2011


I've just had time to reflect on my earlier reply and it came out sounding much more flippant than I meant it to.

Let me just say congratulations on breaking up with him. You did the right thing.

lucysparrow put it much better than I did. It seems as though you stayed because pulling a gun convinced you he was crazy about you. It convinced us he was crazy in the literal sense, and not necessarily about you. Learning to make this distinction is what's going to keep you out of future trainwrecks.

If this is the least bad relationship you've never been in, and you are 20, you really really need professional help to think it through because your sense of what's normal is very wrong.

Please follow advice to block all contact with him so you can't see hide nor hair of him anywhere, any more. When you pay this much attention to an irrational person to whom you are strongly emotionally attached, you become more irrational yourself. Please, please ban him.
posted by tel3path at 9:54 AM on June 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


In the future, when someone is waving about a loaded pistol, you leave. Then you call the cops. This guy batshit crazy guy put you in danger. Your breakup was definitely for the best, and you don't owe him the feelings of guilt. It's natural to be a little blue during this period, but the best cure for it is to cut him off completely. Block his Facebook, filter his email, etc. Spend some time with your friends or with hobbies, or meeting new friends.

You may wish to consult a professional if the feelings persist or make you unable to function. Specifically, you may need help removing the rose-tinted glasses where it concerns your ex-boyfriend. He may have had long periods of treating you well, but waving a gun around in some bullshit guilt-trip effort to keep the relationship pretty much cancels out everything nice he ever did for you, and everything nice he might ever have done afterward.
posted by Hylas at 10:22 AM on June 3, 2011


You've just been through a *complete* mindfuck. I really do recommend seeing a therapist to help you unpack your feelings, and also to help you learn enough about you to help you avoid these situations again. And I am so very glad to hear you are out. I thought about asking for an update on the old thread a couple weeks ago, but decided it would be creepy/none of my business.

1) You let go of the guilt by admitting you were wrong about a lot of things about him. Including that he would die if you left him. You have been viciously used by a manipulative human being. He doesn't deserve one single tear from you, and the fact that he's already on the make for his next emotional cat-toy should be taken as proof-positive. Let the WTF??! instinct guide you there.

2) You can be as jealous as you want, but as you gain some distance in the next year or so, I think you're going to eventually become HALLELUJAH-GRATEFUL! that you aren't part of this relationship. Go ahead and feel your emotions. Jealous, hurt, disgusted, angry, sad for a loss, lonely, all that. It doesn't feel great, but they're yours and they're real & at the moment there's some good reasons to excercize your emotional repetoire. But don't feed the beast. Cut yourself off from the cyber stalking. Throw out his number. Try to put him behind you. I know you miss the good parts, but the bad parts were just way-the-fuck over the top. So acknowledge the pain, but move on.

3) Counseling. Seriously. This is what it's there for. Journalling & blogging might help you purge yourself of all you need/want to say, but if you're going to do it for therapeutic reasons (rather than to add to the drama), do it anonymously. The whole cliche of writing something so the other person sees it just adds drama, and we're looking for drama reduction here.

4) You stop checking through a mix of willpower & stumbling blocks: You tell yourself you won't but you back it up by blocking his number, setting your e-mail to automatically delete anything from him, telling your friends to please not report on him/raise the subject, and by removing any shortcuts that help get you to his websites. We're human. We give in to temptation. But by making the connection from you to him less easy, you encourage yourself not to.

Good luck. Breaking up is hard to do. I know a lot of us are going to sleep better tonight for knowing that you're working on it.
posted by Ys at 10:42 AM on June 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


You know I was thinking that if you feel lonely you could think about how many people from this and the other thread, and lurkers, are probably really glad you broke up with this guy.

There is a whole bunch of people out there who care about the outcome of your relationship and I believe all of them would tell you not to feel guilty.

I also think you should keep in mind that you never have to justify breaking up with someone and that doing so is something you, and your ex, will probably both do many times in your lifetime. It's not a uniquely terrible thing but the way the majority of relationships end.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 11:44 AM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


1) What can I do to assuage the guilt I feel over breaking up with him over the first place, being mostly OK with it, not staying with him while he’s going through a tough time in life, and having fun with/being cheered up by someone else I have romantic feelings for?

How to stop feeling guilty over breaking up with him and being mostly okay with it: Say "He attempted suicide in front of me, and that is some bullshit."

How to stop feeling guilty for not staying with him while he's going through a tough time in life: Say "I wanted to break up with him because of a lack of chemistry. Just because he was going through a rough time in his life doesn't mean I should've stayed in a chemistry-less relationship.

How to stop feeling guilty over having fun with/being cheered up by someone else: Say "I broke up with him because I didn't feel any chemistry. It makes perfect sense to want to spend time with people who I have chemistry with."


2) How do I feel less hurt and jealous over the fact that he’s already out there looking less than a day after we’ve broken up? How can I be OK with not speaking to my best friend and not knowing when/if I’ll ever speak to him again?

How to feel less hurt over the fact that he's already out there looking less than a day after we've broken up: Say "Man, I'm already doing that too, and I don't want to be a gigantic hypocrite. It sounds like I want him to be unhappy and unable to get over me, and I don't want to sound all full of myself."

How to be OK with not speaking to your best friend: Say "Remember how I had best friends before he was my best friend? I guess that means I might have a best friend AFTER him, too."
posted by 23skidoo at 11:56 AM on June 3, 2011


You are a good person.

You are a kind person.

You are a loving person.

You deserve to be loved.

You deserve to be protected.

You deserve to be SAFE.

You deserve to feel that you deserve to be safe.

You deserve to not be fucked with.

I would normally say "you deserve to feel safe, but your own sense of self-preservation has been so fucked with, your feelings of safety are askew.

I realize you've been in some bad relationships in the past, but I think this may actually have been your worst relationship yet, because it has damaged your sense of self-worth so much that you can just blow over the whole "he got his pistol out and let me wrestle with him over it when I tried to break up with him" incident.

People who have had bad relationships are vulnerable to new kinds of bad relationships, because they're wary of all the wrong things.

You are a good person.

You deserve your own life.

You deserve to be happy.

Good luck.
posted by endless_forms at 11:57 AM on June 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


OP, I also want to add that I know you were hurt and scared by your last breakup with your ex--I didn't mean to imply that it was some kind of ego boost for you. But please don't idealize him. You wanted to break up with him before--twice, I think--and both times he talked you into giving it another try. You were trying to resuscitate a relationship that was already dead.

You already sound so much more enthusiastic about the new guy than your ex. Give it a few weeks and I guarantee you'll be feeling much better about your decision.
posted by lucysparrow at 12:05 PM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Have you read The Gift of Fear yet, Anon? There's a reason it's so highly recommended to young women; it's a really great resource.

Years ago I was in a relationship with a guy who was depressed and threatened suicide when I tried to break up with him. The book helped me to understand and process what happened.

Don't feel guilty. You're young. The only person you should be responsible for right now is you. Take that responsibility and treat yourself well.
posted by giraffe at 12:22 PM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh man, this is a doozy.

First, let me say that I also recently broke up with someone with whom I was "incompatible," and struggled both with feelings of guilt (how could I hurt this person I love?!) and relief (maaaan, dodged that bullet!). This fella o'mine was also given to extreme displays of emotion when absolutely necessary (as in, when I tried to break up with him, which, like you, I tried a few times before it stuck. When we weren't at crisis point, he was content to let my unhappiness ride as something to be patiently ignored.) He also was back on the site where we met before the laptop he'd used to write me the most emo email in the history of emo-dom had cooled from hitting "send." Like you, I had sense enough to let that breakup stick, but I recognized that seeming-grand-gesture email for what it was: A last-ditch effort at manipulating me.

A few things:

1. Your ex was an emotionally/psychologically unhealthy person, and intentionally or otherwise, he was a manipulator of the highest order. I think sometimes people believe manipulation has to be some conscious, calculating, evil act to be true manipulation. It doesn't. All it requires is a degree of narcissism that puts your own needs above all others, including those of people you claim to love, and the willingness to act in whatever way necessary to stop your own discomfort.

2. You're framing all of this in terms of love and devotion and guilt and hurt. That's actually good - it shows you are at least somewhat emotionally healthy, or getting there, because you recognized a situation was bad for you and got out of it. Nthing mefites above who say your relief is a GOOD sign that you are acting from a place of self preservation. Finally. Keep that up. And recognize that this situation was NOT in fact a healthy relationship. It was shockingly, strongly, severely the very opposite of that. My (er, much less violent but equally manipulative) ex would actually say things to me like "you know, I wish you'd been in some bad relationships so you'd understand how great this one is" to me whenever I brought up some very materially sound problems I had with our own. And even though I was dating someone who told me, in effect, my happiness standards were just too high, and that alone makes him a monster douche, I still sometimes feel guilty for breaking up with him, because maybe if I had just tried harder or waited a little longer or explained better.... So yeah, I get you. You really loved him. Thank god you're also smart enough to recognize that love was not enough to build a healthy relationship.

3. Going back to that whole "your ex is an unhealthy fucknut" thing: While *you* may have loved and treasured your relationship with him when it was healthyish in relation to your previous ones, what he likely treasured was how you made him feel. To wit: you hurt someone you loved and it was for the best, but you still feel bad. He emotionally and nearly physically hurt someone he loved, and then didn't wait anytime at all to go looking for a new emotional binkit when the person he claimed he may literally not be able to live without (you, hence his self-harm threats) left him. That says he didn't love *you,* he loved that you loved *him.* And now he needs someone else to love him ASAP before his sense of his broken-ownself as a lovable person is tarnished.

Because, see, people like this? They put their own needs first in all things, and other people aren't so much people to pair with and care for so much as useful accessories to their own lives, or convenient distractions from the fact that they are themselves raging fucking narcissistic assholes. (Pardon my Fransh.) They need constant validation from other people. Time alone means time with themselves, you know, and that might lead to all sorts of inconvenient events like, say, introspection, and the awareness that they are RFNAs (MYERS-BRIGGS THAT!).

To sum up: You're getting better at detecting unhealthy relationships. You've got a ways to go if you're still spinning this one as okay in your head, though. Get therapy. Take these threads as printouts. If you need to, make a list of the bad stuff. Even - especially! - if all that list has on it is "OMFG HE COULD HAVE SHOT ME." Don't feel guilty, this guy doesn't. He's miffed his last-ditch attempt at manipulation failed, and he needs a new victim. And that's what the next gal WILL be unless he gets some deep, long-term, serious therapy.

Whoa that was long, sorry. And if none of the sage advice and commentary from folks upthread is shaking you out of your guilt, maybe think of the alternate ending, the one where he did accidentally shoot you. Because as soon as that gun came out, that was the risk. Still feel guilty about getting out? You shouldn't. you should feel gloriously, fortunately ALIVE. Now go do something fun and productive like getting into therapy.
posted by OompaLoompa at 12:40 PM on June 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


You are entitled to your emotions, but you CANNOT control what others do, whether the relationship is current or after it's ended, which you're finding out at your heart's expense right now. He may do things to piss you off and make childish attempts to hurt, belittle or even romance you again in the future - don't fall for any of that shit or give him a second of your attention span. don't troll Craigslist looking for anonymous pleas from him, and the quickest way to get past this is to avoid trying to psychoanalyze the situation with anyone who isn't a professional therapist. (You'll soon wear your friends out otherwise.)

Part of what you're doing right now is growing up. Relationships shouldn't be like crap you see on TV. Your love life isn't about ratings, it's about happiness - and if your love life were a camel, it'd be a drama-dary.

This seems normal when you're 20, by the way, especially if you haven't had good relationship modeling around you growing up. And it's OK to love someone who's bad for you - but not to pursue abusive relationships. (oh, and by the way? all manipulators are great guys and gals. They're witty, smart, charming - that's how they find your vulnerabilities to poke into later on, that soft, yielding flesh that you opened up trusting he wouldn't go there. He did. Would you do that to somebody? NO. Now tell us how great of a boyfriend he was - I dare you.)

You should be thanking the universe he's looking for the next girl to manipulate, lie to, hurt and act out his dramatics with in the hopes that he'll redirect his energy elsewhere and give you the chance you need to find a sense of normalcy.

also, jumping from relationship to relationship might seem like a good idea now - I hope that's not something you make a pattern in your life. If your identity and happiness is based on being with another person, then who are you? Think about that, please.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 1:28 PM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


a lot of folks have given great advice above. i'm here to offer one idea in response to your #4 question:

How do I force myself to stop checking his dating profile, checking my e-mail to see if he’s e-mailed me, checking his face book (we aren’t friends on there but you can still see who he’s added), etc?

can you take a weekend or more away from technology for yourself? i actually gave myself 10 days (this was after my heart was hurt and i knew i was going to completely fall apart if i didn't take care of myself - of course, i fully admit that 10 days was very much a priviledge) and did not check anything - i even went somewhere new so that all of my interactions were new, fresh, and i was filled with new ideas, people, experiences to think about, instead of the wheel of pain i found myself trapped in at home. it was a miracle. and when i got back home, i had just the itsy.bitsiest bit of new space in my heart to breathe into. so even if my impulse was to check everything, i was able to stop for second and really think about why i wanted to. most of the time, it let me not look for things that would hurt me.

not sure if this is helpful to you, but wanted to share.
posted by anya32 at 2:05 PM on June 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think everyone (or at least anyone worth knowing) feels guilty after a breakup. There's lots of soul-searching to do, and worrying about the other person, etc.

Best thing you can do is just ride it out. There is no instant cure, it will just take some time to let go is all.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:12 PM on June 3, 2011


From what you're saying, it sounds like he's trying to rub your nose in it. Odds are really good that anyone he ends up in a relationship with right now will not be someone he truly wants to be with, that he's just doing it to hurt you. Funny thing is, he'll end up being the one hurting in the long run when he realizes he's in a relationship with someone that should've been nothing more than a rebound.

You should use this as an opportunity to step back, to carefully consider who you'd like to be with. In no time at all, I'll bet that you end up really really glad that the two of you didn't end up together. Even if he was really all that great, there'll be someone even greater - smarter, better looking, sweeter, better in the sack. There always is.

Forget him. You will be so glad you did, trust me.
posted by item at 2:13 PM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


HOWEVER, the second you broke up with him, he became no longer 'yours,' and the way he now chooses to cope with the pain of this breakup is exactly NONE of your business. I know you still 'feel' like a couple with him, but you're just not. Just as his emotional state is no longer your responsibility, by the same token, his romantic life is none of your business. You chose to move on with your life, so you can't very well blame him for doing the exact same thing, can you?

This this this this this.

Defriend him on Facebook and stop stalking his dating profile. NOW. Block him on Gmail. Block him on Facebook. Unplug from the internet if you have to, but just do it.

You have no idea what's happening in his romantic life or what he's feeling. Maybe he's devastated. Maybe he's feeling relief. You can't infer it from shit like this... but more important, it's none of your business and not good for your own sanity to be monitoring it.
posted by J. Wilson at 3:12 PM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


He's either a psychopath or has borderline personality disorder or some other seriously troubling and difficult to change issue: don't feel guilty about dumping him because he probably doesn't feel any guilt about his behavior, that's a sign of psychopathy. Thank your lucky stars you got out of this relationship safely!

People with personality disorders are really good at making other people feel bad about hurting them—but they care not at all about hurting you. All they care about is themselves. Move on and if you are winding up with types like this repeatedly, get help.
posted by Maias at 3:37 PM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


P.S. They also *seem* incredibly charming and concerned, they are great at faking that stuff but the reason they are so confusing to deal with is that they're faking it.
posted by Maias at 3:37 PM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


As others have said, checking the profiles is bad news.

FWIW, for you to know he was on the dating site, didn't you have to also go on the dating site? You can't infer anything from him having logged in. Maybe he was doing the same thing and checking to see if you'd been on.
posted by the jam at 3:54 PM on June 3, 2011


Please believe me when I say that what he's doing right now is so much better than the opposite: being the ex who refuses to let go. As much as you hate the ambivalent, vaguely jealous feeling you have now about his perusing the other fish in the sea, it is no match for the sheer horror of having an ex who just won't quit, won't let go, won't leave you alone. Nor is it a match for the horror of having someone pull out a loaded gun and threaten to kill himself when you try to break up with him... right?

As I said in my last response to you in your previous post, breaking up with someone is never easy, even if you know the relationship wasn't good for you. What you're experiencing now is a very common feeling that comes out of it.

Assuming your ex continues along the same course and leaves you alone, you will soon feel so much better and so glad that you're away from him. You are viewing the relationship through rose-colored glasses. Eventually you will look back on this and realize how bad it was. Focus on yourself and how you can keep yourself from continuing to get into bad relationships. It's okay to be single for a while. You're only 20. Don't rush into anything new.
posted by wondermouse at 4:20 PM on June 3, 2011


As for a forum where you could try talking about this, I haven't posted here in a long time and so I have no idea what the people are like now, but it seems like it's still active: Relationship Health Message Board & Forum - HealthBoards
posted by wondermouse at 4:49 PM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


[folks, please, less grar and less ALLCAPS. Use your vocabulary not your bold tags and be helpful. Thank you.]
posted by jessamyn at 5:17 PM on June 3, 2011


I'm going to tell you a story now, and you don't need to take my advice, but you need to think about this story every once in a while because it's a true thing.

I know a woman who is in her 50s. Throughout her whole life she only defined herself by the men she was with, her relationships, how much she was desired. She had a regular job, but wasn't career ambitious. She wasn't interested in artistic or intellectual pursuits, didn't have any hobbies, wasn't involved in community activities, didn't maintain any real friendships with other women beyond clubbing friends, or with men she wasn't romantically involved with. Really, there wasn't much room for any of that in her life, because she was just filled with boy crazy. If she didn't have a man, she was a failure, so she always had a man, and all her attention and energy was spent on the drama of the relationship of the moment. And there was always drama; this seems an essential component to the whole thing.

The minute she shed one guy, or he shed her, she was on to the next. Of course, sometimes there was overlap. But everything was always a grand romance, a great passion. She was like this at 20, and she's like this at 50-something – but every year, the men become worse and worse. At this point they're just total loser scum criminals and addicts who live off her (ever-diminishing) money for a while. She still dresses like she's 20 (and she really, really shouldn't), still goes to the clubs looking for her next guy, still has absolutely nothing else in her life but these creeps who steal her money and her stuff, take advantage of her, and occasionally beat her up.

She has slid into alcoholism and hopelessness, but she doesn't know how to live a different way. She has no skills for a more expanded life. She never developed anything else to occupy her mind or energy. Nobody is really interested in spending time with her because her conversation is vacuous and dull. She only has one topic in her toolkit, and her flirty, girlish behavior is embarrassing.

I'm telling you this cautionary tale because by your account, you've been in relationships continuously since around age 13, and the best one was with the guy who waved a gun around. It seems like you didn't break up with gun guy until you found new guy, despite the whole gun/threatening suicide/not-really-that-compatible problem. And you seem very attached to the drama. Instead of feeling grateful that you broke away from a bad scene, you are disturbed that your freshly minted Ex isn't clamoring for your return, and you seem in love with the idea of your responsibility for his happiness. He told you were everything to him, and you want that to be true, even though you've already moved on to the next guy.

You know what? Don't be like the woman I talked about. Don't pin your self-worth on these relationships. Don't expend all your energy and attention on boyfriends. You say you don't have friends you can talk with... well, you should have. You should have friends, and plans, and activities that are not predicated on who you are dating. You need to have your own life and interests that sustain you, and boyfriends should only be one ingredient, not the whole taco. It's very easy to get lost in that and chain boy to boy, romance to romance, consumed by the idea of grand passions, but soon enough there aren't so many boys waiting at the garden gate. Soon enough, people expect more – it's no longer enough to be cute, because others are younger and cuter. Soon enough, other skills and interests become a lot more important. Soon enough gushing about the latest guy, and obsessively recounting minutiae of the relationship just begins to look silly and retrograde. One is expected to be more accomplished, more well-rounded, more interesting.

I'm not saying you are like the lady I described... but based only on some of the things you've told us, I fear you could become like her. Stop worrying about how your ex could possibly be moving on already. Stop worrying about your guilt, and instead think about what you may have learned from this. Resist becoming completely consumed in the new relationship. Make friends. Make plans for yourself that aren't dependent on a boyfriend. Find out what thrills and excites you aside from relationship drama, and explore those things. Live a life.
posted by taz at 7:43 AM on June 4, 2011 [36 favorites]


All human beings should follow taz's advise.
posted by fuq at 10:21 AM on June 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


What taz said, also: you're only 20! You can have such a beautiful life! Do yourself a favour and take your profile off the dating site altogether for a while.
posted by tel3path at 11:35 AM on June 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


I posted a tl;dr latecomer in the post from April earlier today, actually :)

Don't blame yourself for your feelings. Even in a "normal" breakup, there is generally some combination of guild/loss/readjusting and decided what to do next. This is on top of everything you went through initially, which I have tremendous respct for you being able to at least layout your thoughts, and look for a plan.

Also, don't EVER feel guilty about breaking up with someone because you don't 'click'. You should also feel no responcibility to stay with someone while they go through a 'rough-patch' when you already know it's going to end. If the absolutely over the top actions he took in April hadn't occured, I would suggest gently telling him that you're breaking up with him, but you still care for him as a friend, and would be willing to be for him in that manner if he was comfortable with it. PLEASE, do not do this now. IMHO, he lost the ability to be your friend for the forseable future with his actions.

People have relationships, and they breakup. It sounds like you were initially very honest and truthful when you started to explain your reasons. And of course, you didnt want to hurt him, because you did, or at some level still do, care for him. But the level of pain you believe he's going through? It's abnormal. Over the top. And mostly self-inflicted. Granted, this may be caused my some mental condition/imbalance of chemicals, but it seems like he's been going through his ups and downs long enough, and partially aware of him, that a portion of the blame for not seeking medical treatment starts to rest firmly on him.

Also, there is no rules as to how long a mourning period should last, once the breakup is clear. Go out and ENJOY yourself. It'll help you with the jealousy.

Looking at his FB/reading his emails I would warn against, but I also know it's nearly impossible to stop doing so until you are ready. Maybe the fact he's already with someone will help to ease your misplace guilt for breaking up with him when you needed to. And maybe the cheering up by the nice new guy will help take the edge off ;)

And honestly, my first thought when I read he was seeing someone else took the edge off my worry that he anger and depression and suicidalness would boil over and end up with him doing something really scary to you.

But take your time. I get so verbose in my posts because of the similarity of your situations and feelings to my own. It took me a lot of time to figure out what -I- enjoyed in life, rather than sabataging that by trying overly hard to make sure everyone else was enjoying themselves.

Again, if you would like someone to just kinda ramble on with about it, feel free to memail me, and we'll swap email addresses. If you are anywhere near Lansing, MI, we'll get coffee.
posted by waxlight at 2:25 PM on June 4, 2011


You know, Reddit goes there far too often but from skimming the backstory you could do worse than:
hire lawyer
ensure your rights and safety are good. gun brandishing threats for breaking up? sheesh
hit the gym
get/stay in shape. prevent depression, get good endorphins, feel good about your prospects with fit body.
delete facebook
at minimum, stop following him around online. why torment yourself? nothing you learn can make you happier. even better, shut down all inane social network and dating sites for a bit, focus on your life goals instead of what (especially) past/potential romantic partners "expect" from you.

posted by vsync at 8:37 PM on June 4, 2011


You've spent seven years in relationships that you describe as train wrecks plus one with this very manipulative guy who does and says the things you've described in two posts. You don't even know who you are. You're treating yourself as if you only have "relationship" value. We are all very relieved that you had enough gumption to get out of that relationship, but you need to stop now and get smarter about what you are doing. You need to feel you have value to you.

Please read taz's cautionary tale again. Read it more than once. I feel sure you're afraid to be alone. There are plenty of us who have been there. When you're twenty, a day can seem endless and six months seems like a significantly long time but that is just not necessarily true. Find things that you like to do and use them to help you learn to be alone. Sometimes we all have to be alone. You need to know what contributes to your life in order to build a happy life. So far, all you have to build upon is what three bad relationships have left you with. You've been investing your time and attention and, I fear, your self worth, in the wrong place. Also, you need to change the way you pick your guys because, from here on out, you need a better character of guy. You can't afford to spend even a few more years chasing the idea that falling in love with whoever is standing there willing to be nice to you when you leave a relationship is going to provide you with happiness.

A good life needs interests, pursuits of the mind and accomplishments that are pleasing to you, circles that include a number of people, some of them close women friends as well as men friends. It needs becoming educated, furnishing your mind. At twenty, you can easily seek out teachers; your life should be about learning right now. The more you learn and mature, the better you will become at avoiding those train wrecks. The more time you spend on developing your own resources the better equipped you will be to lead a happy life.

People have made good suggestions of things to read. One of my suggestions is that you check out some feminist sites online. A lot of times women don't even know what feminism is or why it's important. There's plenty to read for educating yourself plus an open thread every day at Shakesville that is like a community of people, feminists, most fairly young, talking about whatever they want to talk about. It is a safe space.

My other suggestion is that you find a good therapist and talk about your relationships and whatever else you might need to talk about. I think you need a good and wise friend right now (who is not a man you are in a relationship with) and sometimes a therapist can help you in that same way and especially when you don't have enough support of friends around you.

Please take yourself and your development as a human being more seriously than you have done as evidenced by considering yourself in love with a guy who behaved as your gun hobby man did. You have wronged yourself and you need to stop doing that. After three times, it's time to learn.

If your life is going to get better, you are going to have to do some different things. The thing is, you really, really can. And you can make a good life for yourself that includes love and happiness. We know that and we want you to have it. But you have to care about you, too.

Good luck.
posted by Anitanola at 9:08 PM on June 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


If I can favorite taz's comment million times, I would.

Please live a life and not let someone else' life become your center and everything. Someone said this once and please correctly quote me if you know who said it -

"You're already living with your greatest love of all time" (yourself)

Congratulations on taking a big step towards discovering your true love. Please learn to love yourself first and foremost before moving on to love others.

Good luck and my heart is with you.
posted by Kimchee.Noodles. at 11:42 PM on June 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm so glad you broke up with that guy - well done! I hope you're using the free time to play the music you said you loved in the last thread.

I guarantee you that he's on those sites hoping to find someone he can use to make you jealous. And if you fall for it, you'll just be wrapped around his little finger again. You feel happy right now, and are beating yourself up for it. Why? What's wrong with feeling happy now you've broken up with someone who tried to emotionally blackmail you with a gun?

Do you want to be happy, or do you want to have lots of drama in your life? Because you can't have both at the same time. And having tried both, I can tell you that drama is cheap and easy, but it leaves you stuck in one place your whole life. Feeling happy is more difficult, but it's so much more satisfying and will help you follow your dreams.

To answer all your questions: Right now is when you need to grow a backbone, block him on all the social sites, take your profile off the dating sites, and call up people who will play some music with you without involving you in drama. It's the only way you're going to feel better.
posted by harriet vane at 2:04 AM on June 6, 2011


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