But we're in love, dammit!
May 31, 2014 1:54 PM Subscribe
How do you get over a breakup when both people were compatible and happy in the relationship?
posted by exutima to Human Relations (15 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Skip to the end for the actual questions, or keep reading for all the snowflaky details.
My girlfriend broke up with me about a week ago. We’d only been together about five months and had been friends for a few months before that, but we had pretty incredible chemistry and both fell hard for each other. The pace of the relationship also sped up when she went through an unexpected and serious medical complication that landed her in the hospital for a month and a significant period of recovery after that – although it was awful, it ended up bringing us much closer and we both learned that we worked really well together through hard times. Though I realize that the relationship was short and that more time might have exposed some problems or incompatibilities, at the time we broke up it was pretty damn near perfect. We made each other laugh, always had a good time together, and the sex was great. Our communication was the best of any relationship I’ve ever been in – we both felt comfortable and safe talking about anything. We handled conflict really productively, were emotionally giving and supportive of one another and our goals, shared the same values – I could go on and on.
Unfortunately, we got together under less-than-ideal circumstances and, predictably, that came back to haunt us. She had a girlfriend of three years when we met, and although she says that she’d been having doubts for a while, she definitely pulled the trigger on breaking up with her ex so that we could date. Their lives were intertwined, and ever since that breakup she’s felt guilty that her ex, who she was supporting financially, has had her life seriously derailed. She also began feeling more and more guilty about breaking off a long-term relationship so quickly, feeling that neither of them achieved closure, all the things that we both should have predicted when we first got together. I had known for a while that she had been feeling this way, but I was too eager to hear only what I wanted to hear – that although she needed to deal with this guilt and with the lingering issues from her old relationship, that she also really loved and wanted to be with me. When we broke up, she said that she’s confused, that her feelings for me haven’t changed but that she’s in love with two people and that we can’t be together right now. I’m taking her at her word that these are her real reasons for the breakup. She needs to resolve things with the ex, and although she doesn’t seem to plan on them getting back together I certainly realize that that’s a possibility.
I know that I’ll get over this with time. Still, I find myself really struggling with the feeling that there was nothing wrong with us or our relationship – we were great together – but that there was this big outside problem that I had no control over. I struggle with the fact that in retrospect, we never had a real chance. Unlike past breakups, it’s hard for me to temper the sadness of losing someone with the knowledge that it’s ultimately for the best because for me, it’s not for the best. I’m trying to stifle my hope that she’ll take some time and space, reconcile all the bad history with her ex, and come back to me feeling truly able to commit to our relationship. I know that that’s a really, really unlikely outcome but I do think it’s a possibility, and although my first priority is to get over her and move on, I also don’t want to close the door on a future together. We had something really special and I don’t want to throw it away if there’s a chance of saving it.
Bonus complication: I just moved to another country for work – the breakup happened during one of my visits back to see her. I’m not close with many people here, so the traditional remedy of spending a couple late nights drinking and/or eating ice cream and crying with friends isn’t really an option. The dating pool seems to be pretty limited here, so eventually moving on via an exciting new relationship is a bit tougher than it would be in the States. She’s also about to move to another country as soon as her health issues are fully resolved. Because of our jobs it will always be difficult for either of us to avoid spending a period of long-distance with anyone, although we were actually much better off than most because our countries are relatively close and would have allowed us to see each other every three or four weeks.
So my questions:
1. How do you move on from a good relationship that ended for reasons not directly related to a problem with the relationship itself?
2. When (if ever) is it okay to hold on to the possibility of getting back together, and how should that work in practical terms?
3. Do you have any tips for getting over a breakup after a recent move to a place with few friends and limited dating prospects?
Thanks in advance.