how to get over an ex completely?
February 24, 2012 12:51 PM   Subscribe

how to get over a breakup when you don't want the person back, but feel no closure? (note:very long)

Okay, so this might be a bit lengthy but please bear with me. It will be in two parts. The backstory, and then everything I am confused about. I apologize again for the length.

Okay, so on and off I get all depressed about this relationship's ending. Sometimes I feel fine, but other times I become so debilitated emotionally.

Onto the backround behind all of this...


Okay, so I met this guy back in high school. I will just use the letter "X" in place of his name. So X and I had a few classes together, and we used to joke around alot. He would wait for me after class to walk to our next class together pretty much everyday. We used to talk on the phone for hours, but nothing really came of it. Out of the blue I realized I liked him alot and I told him. Once I did he became distant and started saying I stalked him because he would always see me in the halls. (um, yeah..we had similar classes, so wtf?) but yes, we still spoke here and there, but he became a bit arrogant. I guess this is why I became more attracted to him, it was now a game. Eventually we hung out a few times a few months later and he decided he liked me back.blah blah blah
During those 3 years we hung out quite often, and eventually he moved into the city.. we only saw eachother on the weekends from here on out. we would alternate weekends. As the years went by I realized he put others before me. He was used to me just "being there" I suppose. I noticed how he seemed to always have to have someone else around. We were never alone except during intimate moments, or a random walk around my town. We ended the relationship because we felt like we grew apart. During this relationship we also liked other people, but we got through it. I guess things just take their toll. We ended things around Feb. that year.
So, after things ended he told me he would never be with me ever again.. and to move on and date other people since he was done.
Things during that next year weren't so bad, since we still had contact. I did try to move on though... nothing lasted because i felt ill being with someone else so soon.
He and I still visited once in a while...but it was very tough not being intimate, and well..things happen. Of course he said he still didn't want to be with me, I just think I was comfy, so I kept pushing.
So then September rolls on in, and my family has an annual camping trip to the beach. X decided to come along. It was quite difficult not to be with one another. We were inimate a few times during this trip. I felt great because I felt X felt how I did...
Next thing I know, he is distant again. I start dating someone else. This guy was very good looking and funny, but I still felt wrong being with someone while healing still. I obviously wasn't ready.
I went to my ex's family's christmas eve party, and after that we were kind of seeing eachother again.

I MUST INCLUDE I AM BEST FRIENDS WITH HIS SISTER, AND HIS BROTHER IS DATING MY SISTER (I know....I know..that makes it harder to get on with it!)

By that next February he makes it official, and we are seeing each other. Things are fine, but we did discuss life without one another. I tell him the truth because that is just how I am. He became so sad, and said I was a liar and I betrayed him, and he will have a hard time trusting me. I told him I was with other guys, because HE TOLD ME TO MOVE ON. It hurt me that he felt this way. I actually started to believe I was a horrible person because I did those things. I thought it was what he wanted, but apparently not. He said he said those things to move on, but he still loved me.

very confusing.

so these next 3 years (yes, that number!) we are pretty good, but then I start to develop depression and anxiety. I became super dependent on X.
I had to follow certain rules of his, or else he would leave me. I had to always be covered, so guys could not stare at me. No pictures of me was I allowed to even show a bare shoulder. I had to attend family parties and events, because if I couldn't be close with his family, he couldn't be with me. I was forbidden to talk with any males unless they were friends of his, and even then he accused me of flirting with them. I couldn't talk to any ex's for any reason AT ALL. he was insecure...I knew this and felt bad, so I abided by his rules because I put him before myself. Although, he didn't see it this way.
We went on a roadtrip back in 2008 and it was fun, but I felt a weird connection. At times I would be experiencing my anxiety and I felt bad, and he would scream at me. I ended up experiencing "lady times" a bit early and got sick, he was upset about this.
I remember one time during this trip I stared at him and he looked like a complete stranger. I felt so off..I didn't know what to do.
When we returned home, he was happy..but I still felt that weirdness. Eventually, I became confused over what I wanted. I asked for a break, but he said "it's either we are together or we are not, that's it!" So, that was it..
A month went by and I started talking to a close guy friend also from high school. We got along very well, and I started hanging out with him. The last time X and I ended, and I thought it was the end..I dated this old friend. It didn't work out of course.. I guess old feelings were still there.
While I was with this new guy "W", his best friend died. I felt I had to be there for W, even though X was trying to get me back.
I really though it was the end for X and I...but he kept pushing.
Since my sister and his brother started dating amidst all was harder to avoid one another. He would go to things with them, and I would be there. He would be following me around like a lost puppy, crying, begging. He told me how right before we broke up he spoke to his family and mother about how he was going to ask me to marry him that winter. I felt horrible.
So, eventually we got back together.

It was very good for those next 5 months...we baked and cooked together alot. We rode bikes everywhere and went on mini adventures to take pictures with one another. It was good... but then, he moved in with me and my family...
As soon as he did he went a bit nutty again. He went through my phone, my emails, my facebook messages.. he followed me around my house. I didn't even get to spend time with my sister because he would always be there taking my time away. Soon enough we became a bit violent. I remember we were watching a martial arts film, and we would playfight alot. I started up, and he was being funny, but I guess I hit him the wrong way. I pushed him away then stood up. he then proceeded to claw at my chest and tore my shirt off. In front of his brother! The other time he got physical, is when he punched me in the back when I caught him in a lie. He felt horrible... but I just stayed. It didn't happen often, and I frequently blamed myself for causing it.

I felt the urge to escape. Of course, I took part in all this wrong doing and spoke with another guy "C". It was mostly innocent talk. We played videogames with the same group of people almost every night. But I realized as time went by HOW MUCH stuff I had in common with this guy. The kind of weird coincidence kind of stuff where I would listen to a song, and he just listened to it. Or talking about a movie you love, and he just watched it. this happened on a daily basis with he and I. I then realized that I shouldn't be scared to be on my own, because there are other people out there.
So, yes.. horrible me..I developed feelings for this guy. I don't know if it was genuine, or because he was like a saviour for my emotions.
I ended up telling X my true feelings..before anything got crazy. It was hard because he lived with me. I felt horrible, but he had a great job with a great salary. He has lived on his own I knew it wouldn't be hard in that department. heh.. this will enter now into Pt.II of this mess..


So, we ended things. He left for about 2 weeks and slept on his friends couch. his friend's girlfriend was there I feel like that may have made it harder. But eventually he came back to stay with me. We spoke about life being single, and he said he enjoys it..he enjoys meeting new people. I told him that it's a great thing. I never held him back from meeting I was guessing he was talking about girls.
I told him I still had feelings for C, but I knew I needed a long time before jumping into anything after all that time. he snickered.
While he was back, we shared a bed..and intimate moments happened. Mostly, his idea. I felt off.. especially when he begged for me to kiss him. :\
Eventually..he would come home really late and be texting other girls on my bed. He would place his phone above my head and it would go off at 1am, stuff like "thinking of you", or "thanks for the great date". he was meeting girls in bars, and taking them on dates the next day. he would then talk massive crap about me to them, then come home and sleep next to me. One night, I confronted him and he said I had no right to look at his phone (funny coming from him). I told him it would wake me up and it was disrespectful. I mean, to be honest..we were both being disrespectful, but I felt like To keep it out of sight would be less hurtful.
So, I kicked him out. He slept in his car...I went out and gave him a blanket and pillow and offered the couch because I (once again) felt bad. He said no. that next weekend, after I came home from work, all his stuff was gone, and a note was left on the floor that said "bye". he moved in with his best friend's family. Mind you, I was best friends with his girlfriends brother for 3 years. So, she wasn't a stranger. And I remember she would come out in a bikini top and walk past me to flirt. I was like "oookay.." My ex used to call her his little sister, even more gross. I just, never got good vibes from her. She was kind of pompous about herself.

Now... not even a month after we were intimate, he is apparently involved with the little sister. They went on a roadtrip alone and he was "instantly" in love with her.
I was so confused because everything she was, was what he hated.
he would go around telling people how I was a horrible person for what I did. and yet...his girlfriend did it to the guy she was with not even a month before they got together. How can he say this stuff, but accept it in her instantly? (I know alot of her ex's..hence how I know this stuff) She basically was giving massages and hanging out with my ex while with her boyfriend, stating she didn't have feelings, even though she did.

So then he just changed instantly. No one recognized who he was anymore. I became depressed and wondered if I was dating a lie, but his sister said he was the same X she knew her whole life, and now she doesn't recognize him. He changed for this girl in a millisecond.

he bought them matching t-shirts (I know alot because same circle unfortunately), always proclaiming his love for her, etc.. Stuff he never did for me. they even dressed up as characters for halloween, where the girl character looked like me ( i have been told often). I remember asking him why he did this same stuff with her that he did with me, he said "I have to do it to get over you!"...that seems a bit like a illogical way to do so.

Also, our body types are different. I am not judging anyone here. If you like different things, that's awesome. more flavor to life! But I am going by what he fed me. All he would do is say how he felt sick about super skinny girls. He used to tell me he thought my sister had an eating disorder, and this girl was about 25 pounds smaller.
when i asked him about this too, he said " well, if she wasn't strong i wouldn't be with her". I know, I am an idiot for asking..but I was so confused with how quickly he went against everything he ever told me. I never forced him into liking anything, it was his own attraction. he loves large breasts and curves, every girl I knew he was attracted to had these features. This girl is 90lb and built like a 14 year old. Nothing against her, no one choose their bodies.

So eventually I am told random things about how she has anxiety and he waits 3 hours for her outside just in case. And yet, he hated my anxiety.
She gets sick often and is bed ridden during her period. (i feel bad for this girl..) but once again, he would seem to hate having to deal when i was sick. even when i was in the hospital, he laid in the bed with me..and i was falling out, i just had surgery, and he would laugh!
he never sees his family ever. even though he lives 5 minutes closer. proclaiming he has school, or somewhere else to be. funny how he would threaten our relationship..and now he is fine.
his sisters believe he is in a cult with how he changed. this is their own please don't think i fed them this idea. they miss the hell out of him, and sometimes i feel guilty being close to them..because i feel this is why he stays away. they say "no, he chooses not to see us. you do, we all love you in this family.. we do miss him, but he doesn't put the effort in".
okay, now this one is weird. he goes to nude beaches with her.
where i wasn't allowed to have even a shoulder out, here he is displaying her naked.
she is allowed to hang out with guys whenever she wants, and if X isn't around, she hangs out with ex's.

yeah...hmmmm apparently he doesn't like this but says "i know she loves me ". yup, because I DIDN'T LOVE HIM FOR RESPECTING HIM when we were together.

I know it's dumb of me to say, and wrong and pointless... But I really wish that he didn't move on so quickly after several years. I remember telling him "you should take some time for yourself before anything serious again". and he said "why would i listen to my ex"?

he had a point. but i was just trying to be a friend..

what hurts the most now is that he ignores me. he acts like i never existed. tells mutual friends how he regrets ever wasting any time with me. he says he learned everything he possibly can from me, so there is nothing left to learn.. which is hurtful since i have grown TONS since we ended.

i just figured since our siblings are dating, i am still close with his fam..he could see past our past and be neutral.

it hurts that after 3 years, he is in "love" but if he sees me in public, he has to hide, turn his back, or leave the room. he can't be in the same room as me. i went to a mutual friend of ours presentation, and he and i were both there. i said hi, as did he.. when he sat behind me he kept rustling with papers and not being able to sit still. i felt he was nervous. he instantly shot outside and hid behind the front door talking with our friends.

why this behavior if you are in love with someone else?
his girlfriend gives me weird vibes because she is the type to stand right next to me, or stare at me like she owns the place..while he hides. but she did get upset over a picture of X's sister and i by saying " i feel i will never get close to your family because of her." X's sister's response: "You never try to hang out or call me up. I am always here, and you guys never are." they still put no efforts in.

I did feel bad about this, as I mentioned above. But once again, the sisters always come to my defense and say he is being an idiot, and it isn't my fault for him not being there.

The mother says no one really knows this girl he is with, and how he and I are more compatible now that we aren't together.

as i said..i grew alot. I bought my own car, I traveled and explored parts of europe alone, even performing there... but once in a while, this stint keeps bothering me deeply.

my only reasoning behind all this is that he lives in a huge house FOR FREE and yet makes over 70G a year. he has a nice sports care, which I helped him buy. (I wanted to!) he has 5 pets and lives with his best friend and girlfriend. so he can always go to one or the other when one is occupied. i feel like he is in love with the comfort she brings, and not necessarily her. hence why he makes excuses for her being disrespectful to him... he doesn't want to lose what she brings into his life.

i am also friends with her brother's ex. ha! (i hate these circles) and she says her ex, and X are like the same person. she used to think they were freethinkers, but now they are clones. they even drive the same car and everything. (cult? ;P)

i can't speak for their relationship though. maybe they fight often, but he sacrifices to have THAT life.

it's sad... i just wish things could be neutral.

how can i get over this thing?
i have to hear about it, see his family often, all this stuff.

how can someone change so quickly, and talk crap about someone else who does the same things he accepts now?

i most note I DON'T WANT HIM BACK. I don't even find him attractive at all. it's so weird... I just want neutrality, where we can all hang out without any tension!

i just don't get it...

if you read this the whole way through, i really appreciate it.
posted by teaforone to Human Relations (22 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Ok, your families are intertwined, but that doesn't mean you can't have boundaries.

You need to do Everything you can to get space from him, your relationship, and especially his new relationship. Tell him you need space. Block him on social media. When his family try to talk to you about him, tell them you can't talk about it, you needs space.

Along with that space, you need time. If people ask how long you need space, tell them that it'll be at Least six months, it'd be nicer if it were a year. If it comes to family events where you Absolutely can't avoid him, be polite and do not engage. You don't want him in your life, so get him out of it as much as possible. Go do awesome things to distract yourself, work on yourself, build boundaries, get some therapy if you can to help you with that.

But mostly: Time. Space.
posted by ldthomps at 1:01 PM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have a couple questions for you that I don't see answered clearly in all of this:

1. How old are you?
2. Was this your first-ever relationship?
3. Was this HIS first-ever relationship?
4. How recently did you break up?

Because the answers to those questions have more to do with how you're feeling now than any of the details I see here.

I get the sense that you and he were both young, and that this was the first relationship for you both. And if that's the case, that's your answer right there -- especially if this was a recent breakup. Relationships are intense, and getting over them takes time. No, more time. No, still more time than that.

He's acting the way he's acting because he's still recovering from your breakup -- yes, even though he's got a new girl now --and that can take a long time. And you're feeling the way you're feeling because you're recovering and that can take a long time.

Seconding the advice to decide on some boundaries to protect your own self, and to enforce them; and then to just be patient with yourself, and stock up on chocolate.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:03 PM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

i have to hear about it, see his family often, all this stuff.

i read through this all. and i am exhausted. i cannot imagine how this must weigh on you. i'm focused on the word "have" in the sentence above. i think trying out different boundaries with "his" family could be helpful. boundaries that feel good to you. time and space can be invaluable for regaining personal balance and really trying to "understand" what happened so that you can take what you learned from this experience and use it in future decisions.

you said you are best friends with his sister and his brother is dating your sister. it seems as though that makes some quick boundary setting challenging. but your sister and your best friend hopefully want to support you. and can support your need to not see or talk to him. if they are not or cannot be supportive of your needs, perhaps general space building around them, as well, could be helpful.

and on preview, nthing Idthomps and EmpressCallipygos.
posted by anya32 at 1:05 PM on February 24, 2012

how can someone change so quickly, and talk crap about someone else who does the same things he accepts now?

He hasn't changed - he's putting on a show for her like he put on a show for you. It'll go bad for her eventually, like it did for you.

Forget him. Seriously. He is not worth another moment of your time. All he is doing is showing the world that he needs to do a ton of hard work on himself before he can be a good partner for anyone. Until then, he will be a big drama tornado and you should protect yourself from any influence he might have on your life.
posted by griselda at 1:07 PM on February 24, 2012 [7 favorites]

You have spent too many years wondering why this guy does what he does, trying to understand and respect him. So many years of your youth. Do not waste another second. You need to break yourself free from this vicious cycle. Forget him. When you find yourself thinking of these things or feeling sorry for yourself, stop. Distract yourself. Do something for you.

Do not lose another minute wondering about the actions of a person who repeatedly disrespected you, acted callously, selfishly and hit you! And that was when you were together! He is acting this way because he is acting the same exact way he did when you were together (disrespecting you, acting callously, selfishly, immaturely). He has not changed at all. And he sounds like a nightmare. Time to wake up.
posted by Katine at 1:14 PM on February 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

>If people ask how long you need space, tell them that it'll be at Least six months, it'd be nicer if it were a year.

>getting over them takes time. No, more time. No, still more time than that.

Getting over relationships takes time, if you are letting your instinctive thought-processes run your life.

On the other hand, if the OP would choose to change how she's thinking, she could disentangle herself much more quickly.

>how can i get over this thing?

Bluntly, this relationship looks like it was a masochistic mess; OP would be best served by just morphing the guy's face into something ugly and undesirable, over and over...

and making him, mentally, small and faraway and unimportant...

and tuning into the sound of ridiculous circus music everytime she thought of him...

and hearing that ridiculous, laughable, circus-music play ever louder at the thought of him...

until she finally decided she could now just *cut the cord and erase him*....

and think about something more fun, such as what *new thing* she wants in her life, that she can start thinking about *passionately* and make big and shiny and interesting and desirable.
posted by darth_tedious at 1:15 PM on February 24, 2012 [8 favorites]

"So eventually I am told random things about how she has anxiety and he waits 3 hours for her outside just in case. And yet, he hated my anxiety."

as griselda said. Don't you worry- he'll get tired of it from her too...

There will be much cooler dudes when you get tired of this!
posted by misspony at 1:25 PM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

It will probably be a long time before things are neutral, if ever.

What concerns me about what you said is this:

where i wasn't allowed to have even a shoulder out, here he is displaying her naked.
she is allowed to hang out with guys whenever she wants, and if X isn't around, she hangs out with ex's.

yeah...hmmmm apparently he doesn't like this but says "i know she loves me ". yup, because I DIDN'T LOVE HIM FOR RESPECTING HIM when we were together.

It doesn't sound like he was treating you in a respectful way, you are an adult and should be able to get dressed and see friends without obeying someone else's dictates on what you are "allowed" to do. He might be acting odd when you cross paths with him because he no longer has any way of manipulating you to do what he wants, you should continue to see who you like -- if he acts strange about it, just know that you are RESPECTING YOURSELF by doing what you want when you want now, and if he wants to run away that's his problem and not yours.

Don't concern yourself with how this new girlfriend is different than you -- underneath the surface, and in private, he's probably still doing the same things that made you want to break up with him, and that make you not want him back. For all you know he could be telling her she has to go nude even when she would rather not, or isn't allowed to wear clothes that cover her up more.

I like darth_tedious's idea on how to deal with any thoughts of him. You are getting stronger now, becoming more yourself now that you are away from him. I admire you for ending it with him when he didn't want to take a break from things. You are strong enough to live life on your own terms now.

Keep doing what you want, and don't let yourself worry about someone who runs away from you because he is frightened and weak.
posted by yohko at 1:32 PM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

I confess I couldn't get all the way through, but - he hit you. He'll hit her. He hasn't changed - he's just pretending.

As for getting over him .. that's such a personal path it's hard to say, but something that's really helped me is a quote I recently saw on some random website -

“The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.”
― Maya Angelou
posted by dotgirl at 1:33 PM on February 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

If I was in your position, I would ask my friends (no matter how intertwined my friends were with my ex's) to not talk about him to me, or make new friends, because it seems like all the detail that you're hearing about your ex's new relationship is hurting you. It's awesome that you bought your own car and traveled (and performed!) around Europe--those things are a lot harder than filtering out a person in your social group, or making some new friends. Get yourself out there and doing fun things, instead of stewing in the minutiae of your past with him.

Your post makes it sound like you're pretty young (maybe your first relationship?). Like a lot of people said, getting over someone who you've spent a chunk of time with takes... time. It really does. I say that the best way to get over this guy is to figure out what you love doing. Love yourself, because this guy was obviously too caught up in his own issues to figure out that you're awesome. Sending good thoughts your way!
posted by Stephanie Duy at 1:54 PM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Closure is something that people often want but don't get, because they rely on the other person to gift them with it. You can "close" this yourself. You really need to consider branching out in your social circle. You need to develop boundaries. You need to stop obsessing over his new relationship. You need to stop feeling like you have to defend yourself or have something to prove to him. You need time and you need space -- lots of it.

You continue to be involved in all of this because you choose to. But you will never be able to get over your ex if he continues to be such a looming presence in your life. The intensity of your previous relationship suggests it can never be neutral, but if you focus on yourself and what you want, instead of on him, you can become a strong enough person that what he does in his life doesn't affect you as much as it is has and continues to.
posted by sm1tten at 1:57 PM on February 24, 2012

how to get over a breakup when you don't want the person back, but feel no closure?

Closure is not really a real thing. It doesn't exist. Occasionally there's a mystery, and you find out what happened (person goes missing, is later found dead.) Occasionally a situation will surprisingly reverse itself (I asked him out and he said no, then he asked me out and I got to say no, ha!) Those things can be called "closure" but other than that, nothing gets "closed." It's just that you get older, and time and distance come between you and this guy. You realize he showed you in many different ways that he had no respect for you. Eventually you are glad that situation is in the past, where it belongs. In your case, you might have to put more effort into this than others, because your lives are so tied together by other people. (Or, on preview, what sm1tten said.)
posted by DestinationUnknown at 2:13 PM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Is it possible for you to begin to extricate yourself from him and his family? I understand that because your family and his are so closely involved right now that might be difficult, but it isn't impossible for you to have other friends, and other business, apart from them. Don't talk to your ex about what else you are doing: not only is it not his business any more, you are far too interested in his opinion of you, and his censure of you will not be useful to you in any way. The only way to get over something and move on is to move on. You sound like you have a normal interest in other people and other friendships, and you should explore that, without worrying what your ex does or doesn't think about that, or what he does or doesn't do.

In general though, interpersonal relationships should not be as chaotic and drama filled as this, without even addressing some of the weirder controlly game playing stuff your ex was into. Try to remember how bad a lot of those things made you feel, and thank your lucky stars you're done with him, and avoid that unhealthy sort of dynamic in future.
posted by thylacinthine at 2:15 PM on February 24, 2012

Some good advice up-thread. I'd like to add: one thing that may help you with "closure" is acknowledging that his behavior was physically and emotionally abusive.


I had to follow certain rules of his, or else he would leave me.

I had to always be covered, so guys could not stare at me. No pictures of me was I allowed to even show a bare shoulder.

I was forbidden to talk with any males unless they were friends of his, and even then he accused me of flirting with them. I couldn't talk to any ex's for any reason AT ALL.

At times I would be experiencing my anxiety and I felt bad, and he would scream at me. I ended up experiencing "lady times" a bit early and got sick, he was upset about this.

He went through my phone, my emails, my facebook messages.. he followed me around my house.

I didn't even get to spend time with my sister because he would always be there taking my time away.

he then proceeded to claw at my chest and tore my shirt off.

The other time he got physical, is when he punched me in the back when I caught him in a lie.

are all examples of abuse. Take a look at this checklist and see what applies to your relationship.

My first serious relationship was messy and intense, but it wasn't until about a year after we broke up that I realized he was actually abusive. Figuring this out helped me let go of him and any remaining aftermath of our involvement. I was also able to let go of the bad things he'd made me believe about myself.
posted by Specklet at 2:19 PM on February 24, 2012 [7 favorites]

Ugh. This guy is gross, gross, gross.
And you are too young and awesome to be wasting your time on him: he was an abusive ass. He does not deserve your attention anymore.

Cut off all contact with him: block him on social media, don't call, don't text, don't respond to his calls or texts.

Members of his family are involved with members of your family. If they bring it up, feel free to tell them that because of your tangled experience with X, you need some time to take care of yourself and focus on some projects you've started. You can tell them that you have nothing against them, but since all this has been hard on you, you may be keeping some distance from them for a while, too.

Then go start those projects: take up knitting, go back to school, take a cooking class, join the peace corps. This guy is gross, gross, gross and doesn't deserve another moment of your attention or thought.
posted by vivid postcard at 2:26 PM on February 24, 2012 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: I'm just going to respond to everyone individually here. So it doesn't get all confusing.

In response to ldthomps :

I understand. Boundaries can be set, but I was trying to be the bigger person and just deal. I tend to take space from his sister, but I enjoy her company. She will bring things up, but she DOES catch herself. But sometimes she says something, then says sorry after.
His brother brings up stuff because he hates seeing a group split up by stuff like this. He just wants us all to have fun together. (if only it was so easy, huh? )

They do know how I feel, but it has been almost 3 years, so they don't get anything either.

I am on and off with my feelings over this stuff. I guess I just have to be more straight and tell them to not tell me anything.

I really don't have to know.

You're right, time heals all things. I guess I shouldn't be so confused over these emotions. I just have to figure out how to not let them take hold of me.

But yes, thanks for reading and the response!

In response to EmpressCallipygos,

1. How old are you? we were together from when we were 16, up until about 24. I was 24, he was 23.
2. Was this your first-ever relationship? This wasn't my first. But it was my first long term relationship. Before this I was with someone for 4 months. Nothing crazy long, but I still learned from it.
3. Was this HIS first-ever relationship? yes, this was his first.
4. How recently did you break up? We broke up 4 days after my birthday in 2009. It has been a long time... but I still feel damaged.

In response to anya32:

Yes, it is heavy on my spirit at times. His sister and brother sometimes seem to forget that they have to be careful when talking about things. It has been a decent amount of time, so I guess they slip sometimes.
His brother is very different, he is neutral with all his ex's and doesn't understand any of this. but is respecting of our wishes. But he does get very annoyed how we can never do anything as a big group anymore. He also has to deal with his own best friend who dated his other sister. They also are in the same boat as X and I. So, I feel kind of bad..

In response to griselda:

I know this. I just always wondered why bother not being yourself just for the security of being with someone? Shouldn't one realize how bad that is, and how unfair it is to the person you are with?

I just think he is scared to be alone, he needs to be needed. It's just sad, really. I kind of feel bad for the new girl, even though I shouldn't feel a thing..

In response to Katine:

Thanks for your response. I think of your exact words often. Except for that bit about how he actually didn't change. That makes almost TOO much sense. Thanks for that!
I am on and off with being over this, I feel like anytime I hang around another relationship or someone accidentally says his name, it starts the engines in my brain again. I think I need to learn how to just accept things, but it is just hard.

In response to darth_tedious:

Thanks for reading my novel here ;). I do have to say though, at one time I was able to change the way I thought. And occasionally it still happens when I am feeling more UP about things. I just focus on how I am free to do whatever I want, and now I can live all the dreams he squashed inside me.
It just still hurts how it ended. It could have been so much easier if he wasn't so quick to hurt me the way he did.
I have been interested in other guys, but they always happen to be too far! And as I mentioned, I am not even attracted to X anymore. So, it's strange I feel this way. I guess first loves just have this kind of hold on us..

In response to misspony:

My sister says the same thing. People can fake and fake, but eventually they break.
Now that I am free, I can actually talk to guys and I have met tons of cool ones. So, it's weird I am so hung up on this. I hope I wake up over being tired of this alot sooner, but only time will tell.
But hey, thanks for reading that whole long thing. It's much appreciated. :)

In response to yohko:

Yes, I totally understand you. During our relationship, I felt like I had to be a certain way for him to stay. He threatened me, and yet when I had the upper hand, he would come begging back. It wasn't based on respect at all, although at the time I thought it was. It was a big mess...

From what I gather (even though I shouldn't continue focusing on this) is that he is now in my place in this new relationship. He has to abide by her rules now in order for her to stay. With her comes everything for free. She is the one who wants to be naked and hang out with other guys. He does everything she wants in order not to lose her.
That's what I gather.

What you said here "He might be acting odd when you cross paths with him because he no longer has any way of manipulating you to do what he wants". I BELIEVE THIS! I feel like he now knows he can't control me in anyway, so he has to leave.

I remember during a concert, I was there with a boyfriend at the time, and he was there with his girlfriend. I walked in holding hands with the new guy smiling talking with friends, he was holding his girlfriend in a corner. After 5 minutes they left. He could not handle it! I am actually quite the fun person, so his loss...really. ;)

I am trying to keep up on the things I do. I have met so many amazing people and I have done things I never would have thought I could have done. I guess I have to somehow shove myself back into that mode of thinking.
And if he can't handle it too bad.
I just have always been the type to make sure everyone is comfortable. So, I avoid places so they don't feel that way. But, I really shouldn't care because I am a free person, and if they leave..well sucks for them.

But yes, thanks for reading, your advice, and everything!

In response to dotgirl:

I am unsure if he will hit her, but I don't know their personal private details. He was a great person, just not a great boyfriend..for me at least.

That quote you posted is quite simple and beautiful. I think I have to ponder it some more.
Thanks so much!

In response to Stephanie Duy:

Thanks so much for reading!
Where I live it's a bit tough to make new friends with people since everyone seems to know each other. But that is still no excuse. You are right. I traveled and did crazy things, but was unable to move into a different group of friends. Well, thing is... Most of my friends have kids, are in the process of getting married, or have moved away. You were right though, we were young when we started dating (16). I am 26 now, and I feel like I lost so much time already. I feel like since I was dependent on him I lost myself for a long time.. So it will just take time to rebuild.
My closest friend moved across the country and I think of moving there non-stop. I think I just somehow thought in my head that I needed this to be closed before moving somewhere else. I guess, doesn't work out the way you want or even expect, but that is how silly life is.
Thanks for all your words, It means alot that complete strangers take their time to offer their advice. :)

In response to sm1tten:

Yes, you are right. I choose all of this. I can't blame his sister or brother for slipping and saying things. It is my choice to be close to them knowing that this will happen. It's seems kind of like self-abuse, I just was trying to force myself to not care, but I wasn't ready.
I think I need to get away. Loved ones will always respect the wishes of who they love if it makes them happy. I guess I am scared to start anew. But change is better than being stagnant and in pain... hmm

Thanks for reading my massive question and your response!

In response to DestinationUnknown:

Upon reading everyone's responses, I feel like I am having a better understanding about moving on and creating space. I guess we believe story books and films about receiving closure, and it's some magic thing that makes everything alright. I don't know why I really believe it could be something real. I feel almost like I am waiting. But if I even got anything close to this "closure", would I still be satisfied? Nothing will change. I always thought I was trying, but I guess you can always push a bit harder. I feel like I lost some respect for myself for enduring being disrespected for so long.. so hopefully I can start gaining it back for myself.

Thanks for your advice though. Each bit of you + everyone's responses here are really helping. :)

In response to thylacinthine:

It is definitely a possibility. I have known his family for over 10 years now, so it might seem a bit hard. I have discussed with his sister about moving away, or traveling through Europe or something and she knows that's what i want so she supports me. Everyone is understanding, it is just hard since we built up such a strong relationship.
I must include that when X and I were separated for that year, his sister and I hung out almost everyday.
I feel like she respects me, but at the same time is also hurt because she wishes for her brother and I to be together. I tell her it will never happen, but maybe sticking around is bad for her as well. :\
My sister is dating the brother and I see him about 2x a week, or more. He was training me in a computer program, so I would go to his home to learn. He never mentions anything unless someone brings it up. But, I am still surrounded by an environment which has the faint presence of my X. It is almost like I hurt myself to get passed things, but it just keeps me where I am. I feel ridiculous that I am aware of these things, but sometimes you need to hear a few words from others to get moving.
Thanks so much for your time and advice.

In response to Specklet:

I feel like when you feel like you were in love with someone, it clouds your better judgement over the actual reality of things. It was definitely an unhealthy relationship, but we had great moments as well. I think when you try to go through everything that happened you see most of the good and have those "butterfly" feelings for a moment. Then, reality strikes again and puts you back on your feet.
Some people are just not compatible after no matter how many years they have spent together.
it was a long time, so I think this length of time is normal for trying to get over someone. But I shouldn't let how he is now effect my life. We aren't together anymore.
I'm glad you were able to get out of a relationship like that as well. It really hurts believing bad things about yourself. ESPECIALLY when it is from someone who "loves" you.
Thanks so much for putting some of my past into a better perspective, and for your advice.

In response to vivid postcard:

I must state that he and I have absolutely no contact at all. That was the thing that got to me. Because he acted like I never existed, and that hurts more than anything. I was the one pushing contact since our families are intertwined. I figured it would be more adult to be okay around each other, rather than running away or avoiding places. It has been almost 3 years, so I felt it would be a good enough length where we could be fine, but he doesn't want to be. I guess I should respect his choice, because in all honesty it seems to be the better one. I just thought I was doing the thing thing.
I do however, need a bit more hobbies so I can actually fully move on. These thoughts are sometimes crippling.

I thank you for your time and your words. :)

I thank everyone else for your responses so far. I have tried seeing other people, but I end up messing those relationships up, due to my issues in dealing with this fiasco. I don't want to feel this way anymore, and I was just looking for any advice from people who may have experienced similar things.
When I can recognize patterns in a majority of everyone's words, I figure they must ring true. I have to force myself out of this comfort (and yet painful) zone, and live.
Sometimes, it just takes a few words from people to get that extra push in the right direction. Thanks everyone!
posted by teaforone at 3:05 PM on February 24, 2012

One of the best things about breaking up with someone, especially an asshole like this, is that you don't have to worry about what he's thinking anymore.

But you can't help it, I know. It's really hard to stop. So, here's something to try:

I'm learning to meditate. When you're just starting out, they sometimes tell you that a good way to quiet your mind is to say "thinking" to yourself every time you catch yourself churning. So, I'll be sitting there, paying attention to my breathing, and then I'll start worrying about all the work I have to do today, and I just say "thinking" to myself, which takes me out of the worry and lets me get back to my breath.

I suggest you try the same thing. But instead of "thinking," I think you should say "fuck that guy." Whenever you catch yourself wondering what he's thinking, or why he's doing something, or trying to see any situation from his perspective, think to yourself, "Who cares? Fuck that guy."

"She's so skinny and I thought he didn't like skinny women, was he lying then or now, and did he change or is-- Who cares? Fuck that guy."

Each time you say it, it will take you out of your spiral and bring you back to your life. If you say it enough times, you might get out of the habit of thinking about him at all.
posted by Ragged Richard at 3:14 PM on February 24, 2012 [4 favorites]

I was the one pushing contact since our families are intertwined. I figured it would be more adult to be okay around each other, rather than running away or avoiding places.

One of the weird things you learn, as you get older, is that the truly adult thing to do is to always take care of yourself. In this case, maintaining no contact with him, keeping a polite (but not very close) distance between you and his family, and maintaining your boundaries is the correct thing to do.
posted by vivid postcard at 3:22 PM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

As specklet says, many of his actions and behaviors were abusive and controlling. You probably couldn't see that because you're right, love blinds you to things. After relationships end, it does take time to heal, so your feelings are in that regard are completely normal.

But this also goes beyond a typical breakup. He was emotionally and physically abusive, and at least some of your confusion is due to having to develop coping mechanisms to deal with that. Now that it's over, you're still stuck in those patterns, even if you don't want to be.

The first step is just realizing that that's the reason you're having trouble letting go even though you really want to. I encourage you to find an offline support group (maybe for victims of abuse or domestic violence) where you can meet other people and talk. I also suggest counseling or therapy if you can't find a support group, or maybe in addition to a support group.
posted by i feel possessed at 6:01 PM on February 24, 2012

Mod note: Teaforone, moderator here. Just wanted to let you know that the format for Ask Metafilter is that the poster asks their question, reads the answers and clears up any important questions or misunderstandings, but does not answer back to each commenter. This is not at all a back and forth discussion space, so please just keep your comments limited to supplying critical additional info if required. Thanks.
posted by taz (staff) at 9:54 PM on February 24, 2012

Woof re: your situation. But there's a huge silver lining too.

I recommend looking into and possibly addressing issues of codependency and I'm drawing on my own experience as I write this. It's common for emotional, physical abuse, anxiety and loss of sense-of-self, & loads of confusion, instability, inner turmoil and uncertainty to be all wrapped together in an unhealthy, codependent relationship.

In my experience, one must deal with the baggage from these kinds of relationships in order to have a healthy relationship in the future. Will echo i feel possessed - there are 12-step programs, organizations and professionals specifically skilled in this area to support and guide you. You are not alone - lots of people feel / have ridden the same rollercoaster.

CLOSURE will happen when you see the relationship for what it was & for how it is manifesting in your life now (baggage, coping mechanisms, habits). It is up to you to come to terms w it. Your healing is not contingent on the other person.

The Serenity Prayer goes "Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

Sister, start doin' it for yourself! You can't change the situation and you can't change the people around you but you can change your attitude, your actions, and your healing! What's the next right thing for you? Do you need space away from him? Do you need to have him excluded from activities with your family so that you can feel safe and stable? Do you need to excuse yourself from social activities if he's there? DO IT.
A good barometer is your anxiety level when you're around him. If your heart is racing and you're cold sweating or if the bell jar is slamming down & you're frozen - whatever it is - those physical cues will tell you right away whether you are acting in a healthy or destructive manner.

And there's no need to worry about reaching neutrality right away or even having that as an end goal.
There will come a point when you will be able to meditate on what's happened & still maintain your serenity. It doesn't mean that you will forget/justify/excuse his behavior. It does mean that you will see the situation for what it is - e.g. he is a hurt & sick (like emotionally damaged) person, you are a hurt and sick person (at the moment), and you are both deserving of compassion and true happiness. You may decide you don't want him in your life at all or if he's there, you may be able to be cordial in the way you'd be to a stranger on the street because either way, HE SIMPLY WILL NOT EAT AWAY AT YOUR INNER PEACE ANYMORE.

You will get there one day at a time. So if you must worry, it's a lot easier & more productive to worry about the next minute than an uncertain point in the future.

This is a priceless opportunity to learn how to care for yourself after a hugely traumatic experience. And I will bet money that some deeply-rooted emotions & wounds will resurface - it's an opportunity to heal those too & grow, grow, grow! And moreover, it is a chance to tap into an immense well of compassion and love inside you.

So to sum up:
1.) Take it one day at a time.
2.) Sometimes things are too much to handle alone. There are people out there that can help.
3.) Your body will tell you what you need to know.
4.) Take control of your situation. Keep the focus on you.
5.) From deep trauma and deep pain comes immense growth - that is what you are nurturing right now.

If you're a reader, I recommend David Richo's books How to be an Adult and How to be an Adult in Relationships. He's great & writes very compassionately.

Best of luck and PS I am passing on what I've learned after going through something similar & it seems several ppl in this thread have also (I'm echoing a lot of what's been said already)!

(hey look, I also wrote a novella here, sry for caps but really had to emphasize)
posted by HolyWood at 1:47 AM on February 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Finding someone else seems to work the best for me most of the time...
posted by pixienat at 5:36 PM on February 26, 2012

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