I feel like I've been hit by a Mac truck.
March 11, 2009 7:38 PM   Subscribe

Coming-of-age Filter: My world is coming crashing down. Is this a sign? Should I just soldier on? How? Trying to be a rock-em sock-em robot and get back on the horse. Details inside.

So, last week was up there among the worst weeks of my life. After having some seriously frustrating days at school (full time college student) and dealing with the resulting work and hardships I came to the conclusion that it was a good idea for me to move out of my boyfriend's apartment. I posted a question here and got some very encouraging responses, the timing felt right, so I told my boyfriend I wanted to move out. It wasn't necessarily the end to our relationship, I felt I needed the liberty and thought it might help salvage something out of our relationship if I played my cards right in the move out, but I tried to be understanding of however he'd take it. He seemed pretty understanding and we went forward. The next morning, however, more fell apart.

My sister woke me after only a few hours of sleep to tell me that my grandmother, my last grandparent, passed away of a stroke in the night. She had been miserable for a long time, especially since my grandfather passed in 2005 and her health declined to the point of complete bed rest. I witnessed first hand some very serious times with her health while I was in high school. Since then I've moved away and I'm in college, trying to live my life. Being poor and lacking a car I wasn't able to visit her nearly as much as I'd have liked, at the same time I was incredibly afraid to speak with her. The whole situation made me so sad that I distanced myself and didn't call her nearly as much as she deserved. She died lonely, and I waited too long to say many things that were really important for me to say.

Regardless, the news shook me. After working both of my jobs on Friday evening I headed out at 6 am with my family in a giant carpool back to Virginia Saturday morning. I rode with my emotionally unstable mother most of the way, and issues with her rollercoaster mood swings persisted throughout the weekend. I had to email my professors because I had to miss school and had to get my shifts covered for the weekend at my jobs. The funeral was hard, I cried a lot. It was the end of a chapter of my entire family's life and there's no telling what's going to happen next.

After a long and stressful drive home today with my pregnant sister, brother in law and 3 y.o. nephew I just wanted to get home, to my boyfriend's house. As the evening progressed, despite my excitement at seeing my boyfriend and desire to simply recuperate and feel the sadness of the weekend, my boyfriend called me out about my recent moods. He basically outlined absolutely every doubt and concern I'd had about the relationship and completely pegged my intentions in the long term. He broke up with me, saying it was unfair for me to be with him if I wasn't in love with him.

In the next weeks I have to complete insane makeup work, get back in the swing of things, find an apartment, move out....

I feel I've been run over by a truck and I don't know how to recover. I know I was coming to terms with the inevitable need to break up with my boyfriend, but tonight was perhaps the least convenient time for my rattled and depleted self to lose such an important part of my life. Now I am here, living in my ex boyfriend's apartment until I find a new place.

So tell me, is it unfair that I was going to give it time after the move-out to see what things would be like? Should I only be with someone if I am madly in love with them?

I'm afraid the stress may all pile up and seem insurmountable, has anyone ever been where I am before? Has everything fallen apart and been restored to working order? I don't have the ability to take a break from anything, so I need to be able to take on each of these challenges face-to-face.

My apologies if this is sort of talky or is just me complaining. Report it if you'd like, I wouldn't be surprised after this week if it gets deleted. I just.... need to talk to someone. All of a sudden my friends have all disappeared into their own lives and my family is consumed with the recent loss. I am truly alone and confused.
posted by big open mouth to Human Relations (37 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure how much this will help, as I think my advice might seem cliche...but life sure does tend to rain when it pours, doesn't it? And I've totally been there. I think everyone has. I always feel like things pile up all at once or "happen in 3s".

When stuff like this happens, I find that I need to find one area of focus--be it school, be it taking care of myself, listening to music, going out or not going out, cleaning, WHATEVER--as well as allowing myself to feel sad and grieve. Having a good ole cry and getting it out of my system. Taking it one day at a time.

And there's nothing like a death of a loved one to make you wish you could just be held by someone and wish that they could make things all better. I think you in the long run followed your heart, though, and did the right thing by moving out--if none of the crappy things had happened, would you be having 2nd thoughts?

All in all, thanks for posting. I've been having kind of a rotten day myself (not to trivialize what you've been going through by any means), and you have reminded me to tell myself that this, too, shall pass. This will be one of those things you look back on in some years time and appreciate where you are all the more.

Stepping down from yonder soapbox now...and hope that you feel better soon.
posted by Ham_On_Rye at 7:50 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

I am not sure what your question is.
posted by dersins at 7:52 PM on March 11, 2009 [4 favorites]

It seems pretty big right now, but really, this is life. Your situation right now is God awful. From this comes growth. Your whole life is out in front of you. Nothing that has happened recently ruins that prospect, but that is not to belittle the current pain. It must be pretty intense. Hunker down with some friends and family, focus on the good stuff a bit, and on how much your grandfather meant to you.

Sometimes when life gets a bit crazy like this it helps to put extra emphasis on controlling the things you can, as the rest of it seems totally out of your control. For me that has been keeping the home extra neat and clean, eating healthy, making sure my school/work schedule was always on track etc. For you it may be different. Keeping control where you are able, can diminish the negative emotional effects of a loss of control in other areas.
posted by caddis at 7:52 PM on March 11, 2009

I just.... need to talk to someone.

That's it right there. These things do in fact happen. They've happened to me, as a matter of fact, and hey, you're gonna make it. From my own experience, yeah, these things do happen from time to time. I can also say from experience, having tried it both ways, that things go much better when you have someone to talk to. Part of surviving will almost certainly involve talking to people you trust. Maybe that means seeking out counseling/therapy. Maybe that means crying on someone's shoulder. There's no reason it can't mean both. Hell, MeFi mail people who seem supportive if it comes down to it.

Them having good things to say is probably not as important as you being able to say what's important to you. It doesn't have to make sense. It doesn't need to provoke a response. Sometimes you just gotta be heard.

Hang in there.
posted by valkyryn at 7:54 PM on March 11, 2009

Taking a little piece of it: it's not unfair for you to want to give it time after moving out, and it's not unfair for him to end it now instead. It sounds like you're still friends and care for/respect each other, so that's good.

The relationship may be over, as there are two votes on that. If you accept that, you may find the rest a little less daunting (in a sad way.)

When things have fallen apart on me like this, the mistake I've usually made is spending precious time and energy fretting over parts of the collapse I simply cannot control.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:56 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

This sounds absolutely awful and I sincerely feel for you. In answer to your question, "Has anyone ever been where I am before", the answer is, "of course". These things feel insurmountable while you're in the middle of them, but with all due respect to what you're going through, it's important not to "castastrophize" it out of proportion. You aren't being hunted down by Nazis, your entire family didn't get shot in Alabama yesterday (like that one policeman's family), you didn't just become a quadriplegic. My point is, millions upon millions of people have suffered in ways that are unimaginable to you and to me -- and (this is the important part) have gone on with their lives and found happiness again in the future.

As bad as it feels right now, keep things in perspective. You will be happy again, and in less time than you think. Life will go on. Connect with whoever you can connect with - even if it's long distance. Go to church, go to social gatherings, go to club meetings -- whatever. Get out and get busy.

I'm sincerely sorry about your grandmother -- and the breakup. That's pretty rough stuff. Good luck.
posted by crapples at 8:00 PM on March 11, 2009

What happened to the friends you were thinking of moving out with? Can any of them move their plans forward? If you guys intend to live together in a few months, have they been looking for an apartment already?

If they can't get out earlier, and you will want to move in with them this summer, then you should be looking for a short term rental, which probably means a room in a share house. Depending where you are, Craigslist is the natural suggestion, but there might also be paper ads up around campus, or a housing bulletin board on your college website somewhere. And the best thing about knowing it is short term is that you can take something slightly less nice than you really want if that's all you can afford for now.
posted by jacalata at 8:04 PM on March 11, 2009

I just.... need to talk to someone.

Does your school have a counseling center? This is what they're there for. Make an appointment to see someone as soon as possible. They might even be able to arrange extra extensions for your schoolwork (e.g. a note you can show your professors).
posted by needled at 8:05 PM on March 11, 2009 [3 favorites]

Most people have one period in their life when it feels like they lose their job, their house, their car, their boy/girl-friend, and all their friends. Just go with it. Read When Things Fall Apart. When everything is this crazy, you may find the resources you need to focus and just do what you have to do.
posted by salvia at 8:18 PM on March 11, 2009

Best answer: One day at a time. That's all you have to get through. Just today. Keep in mind that life doesn't always suck. You intuitively know that. You also know that things are bound to get better. So how do you get from today to better?

Make lists. Lists of everything you have to take care of in the short term to resolve the problems you face. Lists of all the things you are grateful for. The gratitude lists will come in handy when you feel like improvement isn't happening fast enough.

Each day try to tick one thing off your to do lists. That's all you need to do, just one thing each and every day. Then tomorrow is another day. Before long, the chore lists get shorter and the gratitude lists get longer, and stop me before I break out into "The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow."

You can do it. It does get better. Promise.
posted by netbros at 8:24 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

No. There can be situations where nobody does anything wrong and things don't work out,

posted by Ironmouth at 8:34 PM on March 11, 2009

Best answer: Anyone who would choose to break up with you while you're in this state... and blame you for it... jeez. What a loser. You're so much better off without him.
posted by ook at 8:51 PM on March 11, 2009 [2 favorites]

Simplify and compartmentalize. Start by writing a plan for tomorrow. What has to be done? Is there a paper due? Walk the dog? Take it one day at a time and do not involve yourself with stuff you cannot control such as your family or emotional stuff such as your boyfriend. Focus on school and work. Slowly add additional stuff as time passes. What you need to do here is "buy time". You need to let time pass so you can gain perspective. Also, get sleep. It will help you think better.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:56 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

You're right, chatfilter and all, but...

Look at it this way. You've listed 4 big events/issues that have come your way recently.
  1. You moved out of your boyfriend's place. OK, this one's done. You made your choice, you seem happy enough with that decision, so it's behind you. You can let this one go...
  2. Grandmother's death & associated family drama Sad, yes, and there's all the family BS you listed that goes with it, but this too is now over & done with. You can let this one go too...
  3. Insane makeup work, etc OK, this one is current & necessary - you do have to deal with it. Focus on this.
  4. BF breaking up with you See #1, because this is really just an extension of it. You might think it sucks - and it does - but I'd bet most of that feeling is because the decision was taken out of your hands. You'll have to deal with that, but it can be put off somewhat 'til a later time when the current stuff of #3 is out of the way.
See? You started with 4 problems, now you only have 1 & a half - and the half can be put off for a little while.

Apart from that, this is what is called Life, and is an essential part of living...
posted by Pinback at 9:19 PM on March 11, 2009 [4 favorites]

I feel I've been run over by a truck and I don't know how to recover.

We all do feel like that.. and it really can feel insurmountable sometimes... but there is lots of good advise above. If you take some of it... the things that feel like they will work for you the progress will come.

I just really wanted to say 'hang in there'. Sometimes it does help to have our feelings validated and there's lots of us out there who know what you're going through..have gone through similar things. Some have the benefit of being on the other side of those difficult times right now and I hope that helps you feel that you will get there too...

...and to echo JohnnyGunn.. sleep is important for you right now. It's likely hard to come by, but it will help you 'get that perspective' and get the most productivity out of your days - and that will go a long way to helping you feel like you are regaining control of things.

Good luck to you.
posted by Weaslegirl at 9:45 PM on March 11, 2009

Ouch. Datsa lot. Not that this is any comfort, but most people have times when it feels like the world is their oyster, really good things are happening in a short period of time... and the opposite.

One thought: find something distracting and productive or at least not ruinously non-productive. I assume you generally do things to relax (operationally and mentally get away from life's frustrations)--be it hit golf balls, hike, knit, watch silly YouTube videos, read (light, silly stuff or otherwise), play computer games, etc. Within the constraints of demands on your time, perhaps worthwhile to crank up the time and thought devoted to those realms? Try new things that have potential to absorb your focus?

As an example, for whatever reason(s), computer-based video poker, not for money, captures my attention (clears my mind) to the extent that my cat could gnaw off a toe and I might notice a mild discomfort. A friend gets lost in an online game with a zillion people. I used to have a stressful job and there were batting cages 'tween it and my dwelling. 'Twas good to stop at the cages from time to time, spend a couple bucks clobbering baseballs the machines would throw at me.

Nthing thoughts about finding someone to talk to; to each their own, but perhaps grief/death-related group... I'm not sure therapy or counseling is the right word, but I understand that there are group discussions (?) for people who've recently lost someone near and dear, and they're led by a professional person.
posted by ambient2 at 9:46 PM on March 11, 2009

That's a lot to deal with...I'm sorry about your Grandma.

Now...stop looking at the big picture. You just had a huge dose of real life thrown at you all at once, and that always sucks. The only way to get through times like this is too look at the small picture. Get up, get to school, go to your job, eat, sleep, repeat. Do this for about 2 weeks. Do not call the ex, do not dwell on the family. Eat good food, call a friend and heal up. ((hugs))
posted by The Light Fantastic at 9:54 PM on March 11, 2009

Best answer: It's not chatfilter, it's just poorly framed. The question here is how do you deal when life serves you too many MAJOR ISSUES at once. You know those lists that tell you what the major stress producers in life are, right? Death, end of a relationship, relocation. Clearly some family issues, and, oh, you're going to school and working two jobs. The way you feel right now is normal. If you didn't feel much anything I'd be worried about you.

Pragmatically one thing that occurs to me is whether you can eliminate or delay any of the work you face. For just a second don't ask if that's the weakling's way out or if it fits your overall long term strategy. Can you ask one of your jobs for a sabbatical. Can you drop your least favorite class, postpone it to a later date.

To answer your questions:

Is it unfair that I was going to give it time after the move-out to see what things would be like?

No, but he was probably correct that you would end up dumping him anyway. His extraordinarily selfish timing of closing the deal demonstrates that you are better rid of him.

Should I only be with someone if I am madly in love with them?

No, lots of times love develops more slowly over time. What matters is that you are on the same page or that the person who is more invested is willing to wait to give it a chance to develop naturally. You always ask big relationship questions after breakups but it's mostly all just cognitive noise.

Has anyone ever been where I am before?

Yes, lots of people

Has everything fallen apart and been restored to working order?

Yes, just keep taking it one thing and one day at a time.

Remember the contributors to stress. Poor sleep. Poor diet. Get out of your current residence as much as possible, go wherever there are other people and you can study. Make sure your friends actually understand you are struggling. You find out at times like this who your real friends are, and most of us actually turn out to have some. And a person who, for example, was not very close to their grandparents and had listened to you talk about the merits of kicking this dude to the curb could very well figure you were basically okay, I mean, nothing's really changed except you need to get a new apartment, which in college is about as unusual as getting misprescribed antibiotics for a viral infection? right? I know better but from the outside, not very thoughtfully considered, that's the reality.

If you can't sleep think about getting temporary help to sleep, they tell me there are some wonderful pills these days, especially if you don't have to drive a lot. You can talk to a counselor, your teachers, and your adviser at school if you need to dig out some slack, there are things like incompletes and stuff that you can work with. I felt like a complete tool when I had to go to my adviser and tell him basically that getting twisted up over a relationship had facilitated my basically becoming mediocre in school and ask for his help getting my shit together. Now I look back and realize that he must have heard that one a thousand times. You know what he was dealing with at the time? He had cancer. I had no clue. That's the difference between a grown-up and a kid. What I'm trying to say is definitely, welcome to the big leagues, but yeah: this is life. You're dealing with it: you're going to be fine.

Hang in there, and in closing, looking at your related question, jeeze, this guy was 37? That's my age. I assumed he was kid like you. Oh, little sister, I could write you volumes of truth about what went down in that relationship. Suffice to say if this fully grown adult man dumped you preemptive-strike-style the day you got home from your grandma's funeral, yeah, good riddance. Change your profile status from "Taken" to whatever you feel like, go date some kids, f'christsakes. Seriously, you will be fine.
posted by nanojath at 10:23 PM on March 11, 2009 [6 favorites]

I think what is being misunderstood in many of the responses is that the poster told her boyfriend that she wants to move, but she hasn't yet moved out, so she still has that to deal with.

To answer your question, big open mouth, you have to soldier on. There are two things that have changed since your last post: the death of your grandmother, and the fact that your boyfriend broke up with you (though, in fact, you were in the process of breaking up with him).

The main crux of the matter is that you wanted some comfort and a feeling of security after the trauma of losing your grandmother, and you got the opposite. Now you are feeling tempted to try to roll back the situation and go back to a state in your relationship with your ex when you didn't have to deal with looking for a new place to stay, and when you had someone who supposedly cares about you to take care of you and help you through this rough period.

I can understand this, I can sympathize with this, but even assuming you were successful, it would be a very, very wrong move.

Item 1: it would be, essentially, delusional. Your boyfriend does not love you in the way that you crave at the moment. If he cared about you above himself, he wouldn't have hit you with that conversation at the time he did. He would have soothed you and told you not to worry about trying to work out the relationship/moving thing until you were feeling better. Instead he chose to attack you at your weakest moment, in what was probably a deliberate strategy to put you in the position you are in right now - contemplating basically asking for his forgiveness and begging to be allowed to stay... trying to figure out how you can show sufficient "love" for him. Bleh.

Item 2: You were unhappy before. You are unhappy, plus added stress and sorrow now. What you need to work towards is a happier state, not a resumption of earlier, seemingly (at the moment) "better" unhappiness. It won't even be a better unhappiness... you'll still have the grief of your grandmother's death, you'll still have your jobs and your school work to deal with, plus you'll have the burden of trying to prove your love and devotion to your boyfriend... when what you really want is escape from that stifling relationship. The only thing you would really gain is not having to find an alternative living situation at this difficult time. But that is a factor that will be done and over with in a few weeks or less if you face it, while begging your boyfriend to get back together is a move that will ultimately make you miserable for months or years - all for a brief, very brief interlude of relative comfort and relief at not having to face a stressful task right now, and a false sense of being loved and cared for.

My advice is beg a couch or bit of floor space from any close friend right now, get out asap, and find yourself the new living arrangement you were planning on. You also need to check with your school and get whatever counseling/therapy services they can offer to help you make it through this tough time. If you soldier on, this will be behind you in the foreseeable future. If you allow yourself what seems the easier course right now, you will only be digging yourself a deeper pit.

Choose to soldier on, because there's light at the end of that journey.
posted by taz at 10:52 PM on March 11, 2009 [2 favorites]

I think Pinback" said it best. Focus on getting caught up with work and school and use that as your center. Couple that with long talks with close friends and you'll be better after some time.
posted by kinakomochi at 10:56 PM on March 11, 2009

You need a friend.

You also need to just suck it up.

This happens every day to lots of people, some in under worse circumstances.

Grief and loss is part of growing up. How you deal with it is your unique experience of living.
posted by porpoise at 11:00 PM on March 11, 2009

Well, I don't have much in the way of advice, except to answer one of your questions. I've been there and a lot of other people have. Losing a grandparent, nasty breakups, stress, and a fair bit of loneliness were all part of my college experience and yes it does get better. Hang in there and find someone who is not your ex boyfriend to confide in.
posted by bananafish at 11:41 PM on March 11, 2009

Try to get some help from your school. If you're feeling overworked then perhaps you can put off the makeup work a bit or spread it out a little more. You probably need counselling so go to the counselling center. And check with the housing office on whether they can help you find a cheap new place. You're going through a lot right now and your feelings are normal. Your ex-boyfriend sounds like a jerk so don't try to rely on him - go to the professionals and also confide in your friends. Good luck.
posted by hazyjane at 12:13 AM on March 12, 2009

This too shall pass.

I forget what famous author it was, I want to say Longfellow but that's not it, but whoever it was said something along the lines of "All that I have learned about life can be summed up in 3 words: 'It goes on...'"

Keep things in perspective. This month is going to suck. This semester. The rest of this year. But sooner or later a new day will come. Things won't always be like they are now.
posted by allkindsoftime at 3:27 AM on March 12, 2009

Best answer: Yeah, been there. It sucked. Everyone told me "this too shall pass" and ... eventually it did. It was very rough for about 6 months though.

My advice:

- Focus on smaller chunks. Can you handle today? No? Can you handle the next hour? Good, then let's do that first. Then tackle the next hour. And the next. And eventually it will pass.

- Check out your university's counselling services. It's free, and it's there for THIS.

- Let yourself cry/scream/sulk/whatever. I found crying my guts out in the shower to be particularly therapeutic. Don't feel like you should be processing this faster. Everyone processes things differently; let your body do what it needs to do.

- Do you eat more or less when you're stressed? I eat less. I found it useful to just eat what I could, even if it was complete junk, and not beat myself up about that. You can gain/lose weight later. Don't add more stress right now by feeling like you're reacting "wrong".

- Talk to your professors. Or get the university's counsellors to talk to them. They don't want to know the details of your situation, but they will be able to cut you some slack if they know you genuinely need it. Take them up on this.

- Keep the yelling at your ex to a minimum. I wrote a lot of angry emails that I regret sending now. Send them to yourself, keep them in a diary, send them to a sympathetic friend, have that fight in your head. Let it out, just don't throw it at him if you can help it.
posted by heatherann at 6:52 AM on March 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

1 - You moved out of your Ex-BFs place. You felt this was needed. You should not concern yourself with it. The only stress this causes is finding a new place. Try asking a friend if they would like to be roommates with you?

2 - Death in the family. I recently lost my Grandpa. This does suck. However things will get better. Time heals everything.

3 - Tons of work. This could be a focusing point to put your mind to work and keep busy. See it as help not stress.

4 - Break up. As soon as you wanted to move out you knew this was coming. If a relationship cannot work if you live with the person then it will not work out. You are young, in college, and soon to have a place of your own. You'll find someone pretty quickly.

Hang in there and good luck.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 6:54 AM on March 12, 2009

Oh, I feel for you.

Has anyone ever been where I am before?
Has everything fallen apart and been restored to working order?

This was me a little over a year ago. Out of the blue, a week before Christmas, my boyfriend of three years viciously broke up with me. We were about to move in together, and one of the reasons he gave me for breaking up was that I prefer to have the sheets at the bottom of the bed tucked in, and he "didn't think he could live like that". I went home for Christmas, where my sister came out to me and my family--which meant she would be divorcing her husband. My mother is very religious, and this announcement made a lot of waves, to say the least. Then when I got back home, my roommate announced that she was kicking me out of our apartment, because she found out about some complaints I'd made about her as a roommate (to be fair, we were not a good roommate match and my comments were not nice, but jeez...talk about kicking someone while they're down). In the space of three weeks, I went from being in a couple and having a happy family and nice apartment to being single, broke, with a family who wasn't speaking to or of one of my siblings, and basically homeless, living on a friend's couch since it was too uncomfortable to stay in the apartment with my roommate while I looked for a new place.

And how are things now? I found my own apartment at a price I can afford, and found a lot of peace in living alone. My sister and I are closer than ever, and it's wonderful to see her becoming the person she is deep inside. My mother is coming to terms with things she doesn't like, and while we're not closer, our relationship is more honest. I've been in therapy for the past year and discovered a lot about myself. I found a lot of comfort in my friends when I was in need. The old roommate and I are even friends again. Best of all, I met a guy who makes me happier than I've ever known it was possible to be, and would never complain about how I make the bed.

So, yes. Others have been where you are, and I personally think that sometimes everything has to fall apart in order to be restored to better working order. Out of the ashes will rise something better than you had before, I'm sure of it. Best of luck to you as you get there.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 6:56 AM on March 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Hi all. Thanks for your responses (and for not marking it as too chatty). Last night my ex spent the night drinking heavily while at work. I asked him how he would feel about me talking to one of our mutual friends, and he said of course he knew I would talk to her (she's probably my closest friend, and incidentally is also my future roommate). When I told her and she asked him if he was okay in a text message he acted as though I had broken up with him and sulked all night. We didn't talk about it too much because I passed out hours before he got home. My friends have been pretty helpful, but now is just stressful. And yes, for everyone above who implied that I have already moved out, I haven't yet. I have two weeks left yet.

When I told him I wanted to move out but NOT break up he said he understood, said he still wanted to be with me. I just don't understand why, if he was able to hold this in and not tell me over the phone while I was away (he was at the time being really supportive and caring, even went so far as to talk to me about us having some good stress-relief sex when I got home and getting me turned on all day)... but if he could hold it in for that week why couldn't he hold it in for at least a couple of days? He kicked me while I was down, or at least that's how it feels. Though it had not been my intention to break up with him now and I was pretty sad when he dropped the bomb yesterday, the fact that he dropped the bomb YESTERDAY knowing how wrecked I was is really shitty and makes me okay with this being the end.

Maybe I'm being unfair, but maybe not. Thanks again for all your answers.
posted by big open mouth at 7:05 AM on March 12, 2009

Simplify and compartmentalize. Start by writing a plan for tomorrow. What has to be done? Is there a paper due? Walk the dog? Take it one day at a time and do not involve yourself with stuff you cannot control such as your family or emotional stuff such as your boyfriend. Focus on school and work. Slowly add additional stuff as time passes. What you need to do here is "buy time". You need to let time pass so you can gain perspective. Also, get sleep. It will help you think better.

Quoted for truth. One thing at a time, one day at a time. Make a plan, prioritize it, and power through focusing on the stuff you can change. Getting stuff done at work and finding an apartment seem like the most important things right now. NOT things like this:

So tell me, is it unfair that I was going to give it time after the move-out to see what things would be like? Should I only be with someone if I am madly in love with them?

This is not a problem that you can solve. Of course your feelings are legit, but he's free to disagree. The added stress and sadness of the dissolution of your romantic relationship right now SUCKS, but hey, let's get back on track.

Solve problems like you're a scientist and must stick to the scientific method, or like you're arguing a case on Law & Order (Speculation, your honor! Leading the witness!), or like you're moderating a large community website (heh). Whatever metaphor keeps you action-oriented and amuses you a bit.
posted by desuetude at 7:16 AM on March 12, 2009

I think EVERYONE has had a similar or comparable experience.
Right now, focus on doing what you need to survive- food, sleep, school thebasics. Trust me, there will plenty of time for tears later.
However, I promise you that you will also, one day, find yourself smiling or even laughing.
It is all part of life.
Trouble comes to pass, it does NOT come to stay. It seems that there are many people her to give comfort. Be grateful for that and take strength from it.
posted by pentagoet at 7:46 AM on March 12, 2009

Best answer: A few years back I was in a situation similar to yours. In the span of about a week I lost my job, got a DUI, girlfriend broke up and moved out (taking all furniture) and I came down with 5ths disease (its similar to chickenpox). So....I woke up one morning, unemployed, in an apartment that was empty except for DUI/Court paperwork on the floor next to my bed and I was covered in spots due to the 5ths disease.

How did I get through it?...

1.) Keep simplifying your To-Do list until it seems manageable. Even if that means you take it hour by hour. Its perfectly acceptable to tell people: "I'm sorry, I'm really stressed right now and I need to focus on finishing this XXX project. I'll try to get back to you as soon as I'm able." It bears repeating - if you ever find yourself in a mental state where you feel overwhelmed by thoughts of all your problems at once: STOP for a moment and reset your brain to only focus on the current problem in front of you. Dont let your brain get emotional and race out of control.

2.) Gain some confidence by completing little tasks. You'd be surprised at how better you'll feel if you accomplish simple things like doing the dishes, taking care of some old bills that need paid or simply taking a walk. Once you conquer some small tasks, you wont be so intimidated by larger more stressful/complex drama.

3.) Strangely,.. one of the things I found working through my own breakdown was that I am a lot stronger than I thought I was. Sometimes its perfectly acceptable to curl up in a ball and experience some dark sappy emo grief. But remember that there are positive psychological benefits in remembering to have good posture,.. to walk tall.. and to reach down in your gut and find the strength that IS there. Dont doubt yourself.

Anywho. I made it through my breakdown (and a few since then :).... and you will to. (Part of how I did it was being introduced to Buddhism/meditation - but I wont preach that to you) Remember in the long term, the problems of today are pretty small. But the strength and experience you gain from working through this, those skills will be something you can use over and over again throughout life. (and for better/worse - you'll definitely get called upon to use them again. )
posted by jmnugent at 8:21 AM on March 12, 2009

Best answer: This is a lot to handle, and sure, other people have it worse, but that's irrelevant. You are entitled to all the sadness, anger, and confusion you are feeling. Unfortunately, life continues on, even when we really would like it to just stop and let us catch up with whatever is going on. Everyone who says you do it one thing at a time, one day at a time is absolutely right. You just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and you will eventually end up where you need to be. All the cliches about time healing are true, as annoying as they maybe to hear right now.

In more practical terms, I don't know when your semester ends or what your school's policies are, but you might want to look into getting an excused incomplete. That would take the pressure off, and without that stress, you might do an even better job on your make-up work. Talk with your professors, and see if they are willing to work with you on this. Also, if your school has a counseling center, I would suggest checking it out. Lastly, the apartment issue needs to be taken care of, but it sounds like you already have a roommate, which means this is a shared responsibility. With both of you working on it, it may end up coming together quicker than you think.

As for your boyfriend, I double-checked to make sure your post prior to this was the one I thought it was, and I was right. There is nothing wrong with wanting to take a step back in a relationship you are deeply invested in and see if it can be salvaged before calling it quits. Some people would say that actually speaks to how much you actually really want it to work. From everything you've said, frankly, he's an ass and has handled this whole thing very poorly. I am sorry that you don't have an awesome partner to support you right now. Hopefully, you do have some awesome friends, however, and really, that's all you need to weather most storms.
posted by katemcd at 8:21 AM on March 12, 2009

Response by poster: You are right, katemcd. I do have friends to help me through, and thank goodness my future roommate is also my friend. Last night she came to comfort me and talking about our place together made this all seem like an obstacle which may sometime be overcome. I'm so torn now about everything, I can't tell what exactly is making me sad, but I know that I want to examine us. At times I feel like I'll be fine but other times I think that I still want to be with him, or perhaps don't want to be without him. I don't know. I haven't eaten in a day or so and I'm pretty out of it even after a few hours sleep. I only wish my family wasn't quite as dead set against him as they are. Of course, I understand. I am the baby of the family and the thought of me dating a much older man makes my parents and sister uncomfortable. Still, it means they aren't very comforting as I'm going through this breakup. They claim I've been "in denial" about my life. That is an entirely separate bag of worms, however.

What I'm saying is... my friends (amazing people, by the way) and my correspondences (thank you) here on MetaFilter have shown me a different side of myself, and oddly enough my resolve and hope is pretty high. I feel like a weeble.... "Weebles wobble but they don't fall down".

I think it's the full moon's doing. Or maybe I've been hexed.
posted by big open mouth at 9:20 AM on March 12, 2009

Response by poster: Hah, ahem, I believe the saying is can of worms, not bag of worms. I think I could do with a coffee.
posted by big open mouth at 9:45 AM on March 12, 2009

So tell me, is it unfair that I was going to give it time after the move-out to see what things would be like? Should I only be with someone if I am madly in love with them?

This isnt' chatfilter, just look for the question marks.

Here's the deal, it seems like you are feeling a bit guilty because you were thinking about eventually breaking up with him and doing it slowly, and he decided he didn't want any part of it.

You shouldn't feel guilty about that. You are allowed to say "hey, I want more space and to explore myself as an independent person." But you must also realize that he can say "I don't want that." Remember, just because it appears that you are the more wanted party does not mean that he doesn't have the choice to say that he doesn't want to be with you on your terms. Just as you can say, "my terms or none at all" he can say "my terms or none at all."

This is a basic fact of romantic relationships.

The other thing is that despite the problems you have, he's under no obligation to go through the motions once he figures out exactly where you are at. I know how hard it is. A few years back I found out my law school girlfriend was fooling around on me. She was studying for the bar and had 3 weeks left. I knew I had to break up with her, but I also knew that breaking up with her would make passing the bar a dicey proposition. We had been dating 4 years and I decided to hide my intentions because of her upcoming exam.

It was a mistake. Those 3 weeks were really hard and I ended up burying my justifiable anger at being hurt in order to hide from her my real feelings. When I did break up with her outside my house after a long ride back from the bar exam (I agreed to meet her there to support her, ugh!), she thanked me profusely. But it wasn't worth it because it ended up taking 3 more years for me to really process the hurt.

So by keeping his decision to break up with you secret while helping you get through this period, he might have done more harm than good. In the back of his mind he might have felt like he was getting played the whole time and that is just hard to take.

So, no it wasn't unfair that you were going to give it time, but it also wasn't unfair for him to say "I can't do this."
posted by Ironmouth at 9:46 AM on March 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

In the summer of 2007, I went through my Own Personal Apocalypse. I lost my job and my marriage in the same week. On our third wedding anniversary, my husband asked me for a divorce. He moved out of our apartment three days before my birthday.

Did I mention that I was fired from my job? Yeah, it was awful.

My memories of that time are vague and too painful to get too close to them. I still can't believe I lived through it, but hey! Look at me! I lived through it! And clichés wouldn't be clichés unless they were true sometimes... but my life now is at least 1,000% more awesome than my life was pre-Personal Apocalypse. I wouldn't go through it again for the world, and yes, I would have done anything in my power to avoid it... but now that it's happened, I don't regret it a bit. My current partner and I are much better suited for each other in terms of creating a long-term future and a family. I live in a safer place with a much higher standard of living (read: not in front of crack den eating ramen and stealing wireless from the neighbors. Srsly. Not exaggerating.) I've found a wonderful job in my "career" field.

How did I get from point A to point B? I lived through it. Nothing more. There were moments when I literally howled in despair to G-d. And so, that's what I did. Whatever I was feeling, I just let myself feel it. I told myself that I couldn't hold it in, that it had to come out sometime and I didn't want to spend my life with bottled up pain. It hurt, it hurt so bad. I had more 3AM conversations with friends where they probably couldn't understand me through all the sobbing than I can count. I was lucky to have family somewhat nearby, and they were all incredibly supportive.

Yet, in the end, it was up to me to just keep living and breathing. My mama remembers that I kept telling her the same thing I told myself on a minute by minute basis. This mantra is truly what kept me going:

The only way OUT is THROUGH.

Feel free to MeMail me if you need any support. I've been there.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:59 PM on March 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

"I feel I've been run over by a truck and I don't know how to recover."

I know this feeling very well. It sucks. However, you're going to be ok. You are hurting, which is completely reasonable and expected given your circumstances, but things are going to change. Life is really hard and messed up sometimes. I've been going through some trouble myself recently - I wish you all the best getting through it and to happier times.

Feel free to MeMail me. I'd be happy to discuss things with you further - or even just listen or read.

Chin up!
posted by jacquilinala at 6:56 PM on October 24, 2009

« Older What to do with these paper cranes?   |   How to start off in life without begging Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.