This is a big ask: help me find out how to healthily move on, be comfortable with myself and have an inkling of ambition. I've had a little trouble moving on from this one relationship, and I think some perspective would be nice. It is also related to various anxieties I have now. Snowflakey details inside. Sound advice deeply, deeply appreciated.
posted by lethologues to Human Relations (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've thought of posting here about this many times, and I've always given in to the temptation to get into the big story of it, but about 3 years ago, got talking to a girl online, met at a few convenient IRL occasions, talked & Skyped a lot, decided to get into a relationship. Two quite happy (and slowly dipping) years later, last November, she goes to university, grows distant, cheats on me, we go on a break for a few days, she cheats on me again, same guy. Things get ugly. Various arguments about whether we were on a break while she gets fixated on convincing herself she made the right decision (her words, 9 months after this) by jumping headfirst into stuff w/ the cheatee. They break up two months later, another relationship starts up, which breaks up too two months later. In the middle of all this, she gets diagnosed with depression and has a couple of worrying suicidal episodes. She wants to stay friends. I had unhealthy and emotionally masochistic inclinations to constantly want to know about her relationships. That second relationship was the last relationship she'd had, but she's got physical with a few people since then, on various levels.
During all this, various conversations about subjects that really needed boundaries came up, and she'd said I had bad breath a lot, even after brushing/mouthwashing, which is why she'd wanted to kiss me less as our relationship went on, all the while talking about the various hotshot guys who she's had great kisses & sex with etc. Yeah, that was all desperately in need of a little self-restraint on both our parts.
Anyway, since we broke up, we've tried to stay good friends, but it's involved a lot of effort on my part which in retrospect, I should have put towards trying to get a good time of no-contact down. I'd say we're relatively settled in feeling like good friends now.
Nothing romantic has really happened in my life since we broke up. Now I'm on an exchange year in another country, and a few days ago a girl I've been hanging out with made it clear she was attracted to me, but I felt somewhere between nervous, unattracted (maybe?) and very anxious about kissing and being physical. I really want to get over this.
I should mention that since about June, she's periodically told me she's still in love with me and all of that was a mistake in one sense, but she's glad we broke up because she needed the time to herself. Right now she seems to be, in a 'no-pressure' kinda way, hoping for things to go again for us once I get back in July. I do have to admit that she seems a lot more self-aware and self-assured than she did when we were together. She occasionally jokes about us one day patching things up and getting married. In fact, since our break-up, she's become quite religious, but thinks I'm the only non-Christian she could ever marry. writing this, i guess our conversations are still a little too comfortable in areas it should avoid.
But, because of all the little bumps our break-up went through, I feel building resentment at myself not having been involved with anyone else. I almost feel like I've forgotten how to kiss a girl or be intimate with someone, which feels kind of emasculating.
I guess what it boils down to is, how do I stop constantly comparing my romantic life to hers? Or not be anxious about getting a little physical with new people. I really do feel like it might be helpful for me not to get too serious with anyone, and I know the 'right person' might be alright with a rusty re-learning curve or whatever. But I do just feel like I'd be good for me to just be a little more casual with a person or two before thinking about that.
I've tried to start going swimming regularly in an attempt to feel more comfortable in my own skin (I was never that physically fit) but I'm quite terrible at it. I'm making progress with occasional lessons, but it's all quite dispiriting.
She still sort of feels like my best friend too, and the feeling is mutual, but at the same time it feels like we're both growing to be two different people, which feels quite painful.
Especially since most days, I'm having a good time on my exchange year, but sometimes I miss how easy it was being with her in comparison to my other friends or new people I've met here. She feels similarly, even though she seems quite popular at university.
If anyone's made it all the way through this, thanks a lot for reading. It probably reads really haphazardly and i'm sorry about that. On another note, I find it hard to generally be motivated to use my time doing the things I find worthwhile (reading good books, watching good 'arthouse' films, generally getting to know the city i'm on exchange in) - I tend to waste a lot of time just browsing the web/staring into space. I also have no idea what I feel like I'd want to do with my life/be good at, which probably has a lot to do with wasting a lot of time to the point of dulling my own receptivity to enjoying anything. Both of these probably encourage a certain kind of mopey idealising the past and fear of the future.
anyway, sorry about that - thanks for any advice in advance. if there's something I feel's worth adding, I will do!