How do you get over such a huge loss?
December 4, 2012 8:44 AM Subscribe
How do I escape these mental traps post breakup? FYI: I'm in therapy but I'm turning here for extra insight and tips about combatting mental distortions.
posted by anonymous to human relations (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
TL/DR: skip the background section to the mental traps listed at the end.
Background on the breakup:
Although we're late twenties we were each other's first loves. I was his first relationship because he'd been unable to commit to any other girl. We were together for a year and a half. He said many things very early on that he ended up reneging later. He saw us getting married, having children.
He changed about six months ago into cold, selfish and erratic. The change coincided with his acceptance into a prestigious program that turned his life around. I was the one who encouraged him to apply and spent time helping him polish his application. In general when things were going well for him he would cool off and when things were going badly I would hear from him.
I spoke to him a few of days ago, and he said he's already mostly moved on. He told me he's being "doing really well" since we stopped talking in the last week and he has "closed the book on us." I asked him if I ever cross his mind and he said "not really, no." Only a week ago he was telling me he loved me and missed me so much. At this point he no longer contacts me but sometimes I weaken and contact him, which makes me feel pathetic. It's been hard because he was still basically treating me like his girlfriend for awhile after we broke up, telling me he loved me, calling me every day, using his pet name for me.
Aside from him I have one friend. I'm shy and socially awkward so it's always been an ordeal for me to make connections. I'm around enough people at my job, but none of that contact has led to a friendship. I asked someone I work with recently how I come across and the first thing they said was "quiet and awkward," so it's not just my perception.
I know the generic advice is to get out there and meet people, but for me it won't be a matter of just joining clubs and making some friends within a few of months. It's reasonable to expect it make take me a few years of effort to make a single new friend or two. And that may require some sort of focused social training. Whenever I've tried to do this in the past I've never made any headway, and have usually given up after a few months.
How do I escape these mental traps?
1) I'm obsessive and haven't processed past breakups in the healthiest way. 2.5 years after my last breakup I still feel damaged by it. I no longer miss this ex at all but I still get a real twinge in my heart when I think back on his total rejection of me and the knowledge that he never wants to speak to me again because he felt I was too clingy post breakup. I got over him as a person and no longer miss him but my self esteem never fully recovered. I did all the things you're supposed to do -- therapy, tried to make new friends, took up new activities -- but something went awry mentally in however I processed the trauma. With this breakup there is the potential for more damage because I really loved this ex, while I was lukewarm about the earlier one. Basically I have a helluva time feeling like yes this is the right choice for me, I can and will do better than this guy.
2) He was the only guy of my type who has ever returned interest in me, so I'm doubtful that I'll find another like him who doesn't have his problems and also likes me. I tend to be drawn to guys who are intelligent, creative and also have a slight edge. Guys like this rarely like me, and it was so refreshing that he did. Given that he was literally the only guy I ever felt a deep connection to (despite having had 6 or 7 boyfriends), what's the chance that I'll find another connection like that and one that's actually healthy in time to get married and have kids? (I'm almost 30 now.)
3) I keep thinking that by not contacting him I'm making it easier for him to move on, and I'm afraid that will extinguish any chance we ever might have of rekindling our relationship down the line.