Why can't I get over this when I was over it anyway?
May 1, 2011 6:58 PM   Subscribe

How can I let go of jealousy and anger over getting dumped by someone I didn't like that much anyway?

I dated a guy for a few months. It was clear to me after the first couple of months that we weren't compatible for various reasons, and I started thinking about the best way to end things nicely. Before I could do it I had a run of bad luck and needed to attend to some personal stuff (job and health), so I put ending the relationship on the back burner. After all of that personal bad luck stuff started to quiet down, surprise! He dumped me.

At the time I was too busy and stressed to really care or think about it beyond "Well that's a relief, more free time and I don't have to be the bad guy in this." Now I'm a few weeks out and starting to feel irrationally angry and jealous (he's dating someone else). Even though I know that the relationship just wasn't working, I can't help but feel mad at him for rejecting me, and for moving on so quickly. I don't feel sad, and I don't miss him or want him back, I just think "What is your PROBLEM? Why are you so happy go lucky while I am still thinking about this?" whenever I see him (which is often, because of our involvement in an activity that neither of us can quit or reschedule).

I feel very immature for having these feelings which boil down to being mad that someone else is happy, or that someone I didn't even like didn't like me, but I'm having a really hard time changing my internal narrative. This is the first time I've ever been broken up with by someone whom I also wanted to break up with -- I have plenty of experience with lovesickness over losing someone I wanted to be with, but no experience with realizing that it's OK to not be wanted by someone you also do not want.

I would really appreciate any words of wisdom or advice, particularly aphorisms or concepts that I can remind myself of whenever I feel my thoughts verging towards the "I am so awesome and he is a DOUCHEBAG for dumping me" side of things. He's not a douchebag!
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (19 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Bonfires are good things. He ever give you a gift? Have anything that reminds you of him? Kill it with fire.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:11 PM on May 1, 2011

Maybe this incident has triggered painful reactions because it brings up other losses and anger from the past that traipse over the same territory? In this kind of situation, I ask myself what are the underlying emotion around this situation. Here, it seems anger and self-doubt. Have these been residual feelings from an earlier situation?

I found that I had the same kind of reactions to otherwise innocuous dealings because I was 'processing' other griefs - what you are going through might well be seen through that prism, rather than located in this particular guy's influence on your life.
posted by honey-barbara at 7:11 PM on May 1, 2011

Oh no, girlfriend, you dumped his ass.

When you put the relationship on the back-burner (ro mix metaphors) he saw the writing on the wall. His dumping you was just a desperate preemptive strike when he saw your wrath descending.

It's all good, you're the one in control, because you made him dump you, which is tantamount to dumping him.
posted by orthogonality at 7:13 PM on May 1, 2011 [21 favorites]

I think you're just pissed that he beat you to it and cheated you out of the opportunity to dump him. You knew it wasn't working, but were really looking forward to having the upper hand in telling him to take a hike and he stole your proverbial thunder.

Look at it this way: you knew the relationship wasn't working and were ready to move on. He just saved you the pain in the ass that it would have been to have to actually break up with him.
posted by Leezie at 7:17 PM on May 1, 2011 [7 favorites]

Find someone better and you'll soon forget him.
posted by joannemullen at 7:36 PM on May 1, 2011

Date other people.
posted by John Cohen at 7:43 PM on May 1, 2011 [3 favorites]

He is irrelevant. Look at this as a great opportunity for you to evaluate the concept of dumper/dumpee, your role in the past, and how you can do better in the future. This guy is practice, so dial down the emotion and get a long, hard, cold look. Good luck, you'll be fine!
posted by thinkpiece at 7:48 PM on May 1, 2011

Funny how life hands you lessons about how much you're in control of. Live well, love often and show how much class you have in the wake of something that was decided for you. I hope that one day, your gut will understand what your head already knows about this being an opportunity to free up your life for something new and different.
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:55 PM on May 1, 2011

You might want to think long and hard about why you would prefer the opposite.
posted by rr at 8:08 PM on May 1, 2011

personal bad luck stuff...
..."What is your PROBLEM? Why are you so happy go lucky while I am still thinking about this?"
...these feelings which boil down to being mad that someone else is happy

If stuff was going wrong in my life and someone who was on my team dumped me and ran off to be happy, while I was still staggering under whatever load of stress, I could see potentially feeling abandonment, jealousy, anger...

Anger is a natural reaction to a threat. If the breakup pushed you into a worse head-space in a time when your well-being was precarious, that could evoke anger. And seeing someone having good luck at this time could bring into sharper relief that you're having a hard time now.

I think the answer is to do a better job of protecting yourself from upsetting thoughts about him. Especially while you're still struggling with this personal bad luck stuff, focus on taking care of yourself.
posted by salvia at 8:34 PM on May 1, 2011 [3 favorites]

This has happened to me too. Best thing you can do, get back on the horse. Doesn't matter if it's meaningless (in fact, that's probably better). Stop agonizing.
posted by pourtant at 8:35 PM on May 1, 2011

"The way to get over someone is to get under someone else."
posted by robcorr at 2:25 AM on May 2, 2011

He dumped me.

Who cares? You got what you wanted, anyway, and with less effort. Once you get over the shock, and you should be there soon, you should realize what huge favor he did you.

Laugh about it.
posted by rokusan at 6:15 AM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Metafilter's best advice on jealousy:

The best revenge is living well.

Focus on this:

all of that personal bad luck stuff started to quiet down

So, you're newly single, due for a rebound hookup and on a lucky streak? Live it up!
posted by JimmyJames at 7:29 AM on May 2, 2011 [2 favorites]

Have a little ritual. Call up a good friend (or more than one) and announce that you need them to assist you in this ritual. Make it as ridiculous as you want to - go to brunch, go shopping, get rip snorting drunk, have a spa day, burn sage, play MASH, call out the litany of guys you've dated returning them to the ether, wear a silly hat... what you do isn't so important as the fact that you're doing something. I'm pretty sure you're just bummed because of the sense of loss of control. So regain control over your life just by asserting it with some silly little ritual.
posted by jph at 8:47 AM on May 2, 2011

It's all good, you're the one in control, because you made him dump you, which is tantamount to dumping him.

If by 'all good' you mean 'a fairly shitty passive-aggressive thing to do'. Perhaps the anger is projected, and it's really the poster feeling poorly about how they themselves handled it? Anger over how little effect they really did have over someone's life?
posted by FatherDagon at 12:53 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

He felt bad about it - that's part of why he's dating someone else right now (notice how lots of people are telling you to date other people? He probably got some similar advice).

I've noticed that some people react to feeling bad about something, or to an unpleasant event, by processing and thinking about it for a while. You seem like you might be that sort of person. Other people respond to bad feelings and lingering thoughts about unpleasant events by trying to make them go away as fast as possible, to minimize them. This can lead to a lot of anger, especially surrounding breakups, because when a processor and a minimizer break up, the minimizer will usually try to minimize the breakup sadness by finding someone else to date right away. The processor will then look at this and concluded that the he or she didn't mean anything to the minimizer, since he/she obviously moved on so quickly. But this is wrong - it's applying processor reasoning to someone who doesn't follow that reasoning. Instead, dating someone else really quickly is a sign that a minimizer was very upset about a breakup, and needed something to minimize those bad feelings. It's less that he's over you so quickly as that he's trying to get over you as quickly as possible.
posted by Ragged Richard at 3:22 PM on May 2, 2011 [4 favorites]

"Resentment is a poison you take, hoping the other person dies".

I think this applies. Hearing this helped me quite a bit in the last year as I struggled to deal with anger, bitterness and resentment myself.
posted by bumpkin at 6:18 PM on May 2, 2011 [3 favorites]

I'm really not sure why orthogonality's response has been favourited so much - that's not a healthy way to think about the situation at all. You manipulated him into breaking up with you? Because you had other priorities in life other than a new relationship he "saw the writing on the wall"? Please.

He waited until things quieted down and then broke up with you. If anything, we can tell that he's probably a pretty decent guy. You're just suffering from a dent in your ego, that's it, especially since he's already moved on.

Realize that what you wanted happened in the end either way, it doesn't matter how it came about. I wish you well.
posted by althanis at 11:51 AM on May 3, 2011 [4 favorites]

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