How do I understand and cope with my love leaving me?
May 24, 2012 4:49 AM   Subscribe

How do I understand and cope with my love leaving me?

My love just broke up with me yesterday. It is coming up on a year. We had talked an hour before about what to make for dinner that night and I had no inkling something was wrong. Then he calls, says "baby we need to talk, can I come over", sits on my couch, and very coldly delivers me a speech....I zoned out due to shock, but it was something like "I feel like I should feel more IN the relationship...can't return the same feelings...see no future...etc". I got very angry and said how could you do this to me, I loved you, etc. I said why did you always tell me all the time how much you loved me? He said he thought he did love me. He said breaking up with me is his worst nightmare. I woke up feeling sick this morning, because I had a dream we broke up, and then I woke up and it was true.
This was my best friend and lover and I've never loved a past boyfriend like this. I thought we would be together forever.
I've already talked to my parents, grandmom, friends...
I can't help thinking the death of his mom 2 years ago had something to do with this, he started dating a year after her death and he didn't have time to properly grieve...maybe he is scared of getting close to another woman only to lose her.
I remember when he first started dating that he told me he was friends with a girl in high school and tried dating her in college but it didn't work...he told me I THOUGHT I LOVED HER. This is what he told me. I'm his first serious relationship. Could it be he doesn't know what this kind of love is supposed to feel like? I had plenty of time to go through relationship anxiety and also times where the butterflies had settled but I still loved the person I was with and continued the relationship- maybe these feelings are new to him and thinks it means not love. I just can't believe he didn't love me after how well he treated me and the things he said to me. Maybe he was scared about marriage, because he knew I was headed in that direction, and bailed. I feel so betrayed because I trusted him with my heart and everything, and he leaves work in the middle of the day to tell me that. He said he cared deeply for me and didn't want to hurt me but that he thought it would get better but it just hasn't. He denied it was anything I did wrong, but I don't know how much I can believe him now. I want him more than anything to come back to me and to call him....God, what should I do? I had been through a 7 year relationship before and a shorter one after that, and I truly took my time getting to know this guy and thought it was IT. I didn't in a million years expect this to happen, and to have to grieve the loss of my love. I want him to change his mind. I know I cannot expect that, as I've been told. I said when he left, so I'll never see you again? He said it's hard for him to imagine he'll never see me again. He seemed like such a level headed person, from a nice family, knew what he wanted. Even in the beginning when I was being cautious and he was so into me and said I was who he wanted....just, everything does not line up, the whole year of our relationship, then what he said yesterday. I hate leaving it like we left it yesterday. I want my best friend back and I hate him for this so much, for leaving me. Should I abstain from calling him? Will he call me? I've always been the one to end relationships, and this raw hurt is deadening.
posted by dt2010 to Human Relations (31 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
How do I understand and cope with my love leaving me?

You don't call him; that will make it worse. Neither do you stalk him on Facebook or obsessively refresh your email in case there is some word from him in it.

You go out for a run or a long hard swim or something that will wear you out.

You indulge yourself for a bit; look after yourself, in the same way as you'd look after someone else who was hurting. Eat well, have a nice bath, buy a new fluffy dressing gown, or whatever you can manage that makes you feel good.

You let the emotions take you over for a bit, because they will; there's no avoiding it.

Slowly you start focusing more on you, on who you want to be and what you want out of life and where you are going. This is what brings you slowly out of the funk and on to new things.
posted by emilyw at 4:58 AM on May 24, 2012 [4 favorites]

This is going to be hard. They way to make this work is to allow yourself the right to feel shitty. Don't act out, but allow the pain to hit and hurt. It is about the process of acknowledging the loss.

Don't contact him for a loooong time. You need your time to be you and he needs to properly assess his loss.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:59 AM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

You can't logic your way into this. It sounds like he cared for you a lot, but didn't feel the intensity of emotion that he felt he needed in a serious relationship. That's it. You didn't do anything wrong and neither did he. This happens all the time. You can't blame it on his mom dying before you even met, or on it being his first long-term relationship. It just happens.

Also: this happened YESTERDAY. Frankly, I think you need to just accept that you won't be capable of 100% rational thought for like a week minimum. Go to work, come home, eat some takeout, and go to bed. Tell your friends, and maybe plan something REALLY low-key for this weekend, but don't feel like you need to make yourself go out and do things for a while.

The annoying thing about emotional pain is that it always gets better with time, but when you're right in the middle of it, it's hard to accept that you have to deal with however many more months of this before you feel right again. But you will! Just don't expect too much of yourself for a little bit.
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:04 AM on May 24, 2012 [14 favorites]

This sounds cold, but the subtext of that speech is "I've met someone else" not "I"m still grieving for my mom".
posted by unSane at 5:05 AM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

Oh, hon. I'm so sorry this happened. The surprise breakup is one of the worst. And I'm afraid there's often no understanding it to be had, apart from "well, I guess he wasn't getting what he needed, even if he never gave any indication". But you will need a lot of time to hash this out.

Okay. Call your second-best friend. Tell them you need them. Tell them to come over or that you're coming over. Tell them you are going to monopolize the conversation for the entire visit. We also need takeout, snacks and booze. You will need to repeat this periodically, supplemented by phone calls. And not to worry, you know you would/will do the same for them.

Please try to not make yourself crazy, second guessing your and his every move. (Heh. Well, not permanently, anyway. You will have to, at first.) He's probably right, and it's not anything you did or did not do. Yes, you really need to know because you want to avoid doing/not doing it in future, but hon, it most likely really is that his interest faded and he was just not honest enough/too afraid of confrontation to tell you as it started to happen. Or best case, maybe he was hoping it would change. Whatever. You've been blindsided, and you need some comfort from friends and some alone time.

I know this is the end of the world emotionally, hon. I've been there - most of us have. Cry and shout it out. It really, really sucks. But I swear to you, you will be okay. It'll take some time, but you will be okay.
posted by likeso at 5:19 AM on May 24, 2012 [5 favorites]

I'm really sorry this happened to you. I felt the same way when my first love broke up with me. To be honest with you, that feeling stayed with me for over a year. I'm sorry about this, but there's no remedy right now except for Time.

I know exactly how you feel when you say you woke up in the morning wishing it weren't true. This is Grief, and I've had this feeling twice: when my dad died, and when my first boyfriend broke up with me. It's the feeling you get when something emotionally incomprehensible happens. For me, it took over a year (in the case of my boyfriend) for me to be able to comprehend this occurrence emotionally.

The depth of loss that you feel right now is proof of the depth of your love. This deep pain is the sign that you loved him with all your being. You should feel proud of yourself for loving another so deeply. Your life has a depth of meaning which, one day, you will become grateful for. You'll know you lived fully and deeply and understood what it is to love.

I'd try to channel your pain into writing, music, poetry, art, cooking, running, reading, and thinking. While this is a terrible loss and a very painful moment in your life, it is also a moment of wisdom.
posted by costanza at 6:08 AM on May 24, 2012 [7 favorites]

Could it be he doesn't know what this kind of love is supposed to feel like?

No. You have to accept this. He didn't accidently break up with you. Don't call him and stop trying to figure out ways he doesn't "really" want to break up with you. It's only going to make this harder on you in the long run.

You'll be okay.
posted by spaltavian at 6:13 AM on May 24, 2012 [7 favorites]

I'm sorry - I know this really hurts. I would like to gently suggest to you that you should try to avoid lines of thinking like these:
I can't help thinking the death of his mom 2 years ago had something to do with this, he started dating a year after her death and he didn't have time to properly grieve...maybe he is scared of getting close to another woman only to lose her.

Could it be he doesn't know what this kind of love is supposed to feel like?

Maybe he was scared about marriage, because he knew I was headed in that direction, and bailed.

This sort of thing, where you try to get inside the other person's head and understand exactly why this happened, is totally normal, but it will make you absolutely crazy. Some part of you is trying to treat this as a problem to be solved, and that's dangerous, because it implies that if you were to solve it you'd get him back. But he's already given you the only information that you need - he wants to end the relationship. The only thing you can do is grieve and move on.

So: Do not, under any circumstances, contact him. Don't answer the phone if he calls, block him on all social media. Give yourself a week to be as depressed as you want. Then start distracting yourself. Now is a great time to start something that you've wanted to do for a while. Force yourself to exercise, because it will make you feel better. Try to be around your friends as much as possible. Try to set your music at an angry:sad ratio of about 3:2. And if you have any bad habits you want to kick, now might be a good time, since you're going to feel like shit for a little while anyway.

If this is your first breakup it probably feels like this is the end of the world and will never get better. As someone who has been broken up with several times, I can promise you that you will feel better.
posted by Ragged Richard at 6:16 AM on May 24, 2012 [13 favorites]

Oh honey, I'm so sorry. :(

I had this happen to me and it succcckkkkeeedd. Unfortunately, there's no rational thinking or logic behind this because you did nothing wrong. Nothing!

I know you're hurting, but do this right now where you're trying to make sense from the utter confusion: Just table this need to make structure from the chaos, it will help a little. Tell yourself to deal with all that later, but give yourself permission to feel and grieve.

In the meantime, DO NOT call, write, email, text, fax, facebook - NONE OF IT. I know you're tempted. I know what you're thinking...DON'T DO IT. If he initiates contact don't answer it. Seriously - this will get in the way of you feeling and you giving yourself permission to feel and digest all this.

Ok, back to the right now: Don't second guess yourself. Don't try to rationalize it. Don't wonder "what if"...just don't do it. Instead, take a day and make it you-day: only do things for you that make YOU happy. Get outside, get fresh air, go for a walk/bike/run/jog/shopping/boozy lunch/whatever. Get that blood moving and get some sun on your face and some fresh air in those lungs. Wear sunglasses if you're weepy, but get yourself out of the house. As soon as you feel ready, get together with your friends or family or people who you KNOW will bring you up and who love you for you. They are your support system and will give you a boost.

Wait...What's that? Oh, a text from this guy two days after he dropped the bomb because "he's concerned" and "hasn't heard from you"? DELETE.

Seriously - give yourself the time, attention and respect to feel and that you deserve that he didn't give you. You've had the rug pulled out and we've all been there. Let yourself be raw right now, it's ok. You're going to be stronger and better after all this blows over. I promise!
posted by floweredfish at 6:17 AM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm so sorry for you.

A lot has already been said. I'll just nth a few points :
- don't try to rationalize or bring logic into it - it serves very little purpose over feeling even shittier

- accept what he's telling you. this is real. it may be conveyed badly, he may be suffering too, but that's not the point. You can't fix this if he doesn't want it to be fixed.

- call your friends. talk about it. don't go through it alone. it will go away much faster.

Take care of yourself. You'll be okay.
posted by motdiem2 at 6:42 AM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

Okay, first off, you'll live. You're hurting right now and that sucks, but just know that in a few years, this will be a distant memory.

The first thing you need to do is de-friend him, block his calls, and screen him from your email. He's already said that he doesn't want to be with you. Take him at his word. If, for some reason he contacts you, it's not good news for you, he may just want a booty-call and frankly, you're over that shit.

Now, I had a bit of a break up ritual, and I'll give you some of it.

First of all, find a song that helps you feel better, my favorite is an old sixties, girl-group ditty called, Too Many Fish in the Sea, by the Marvelettes. Play the FUCK out of it. "I don't want someone who don't want me, there are too many fish in the seeeeaaaa!" Sing along, baby.

Whatever your comfort is, do that. I like taking to my bed with diet soda and sourdough bread. You might like something else. I find that reading Pride and Prejudice helpful, but you might like Bridget Jones's Dairy or some other Chick Lit. Light and fluffy.

If you can, now would be an excellent time for a girls weekend/mini-break. Pick a place that you can get to that has a nice pool. Palm Springs, Las Vegas, a motel 6 on the edge of town. This is exclusively girls. So nice dinners, cocktails at sunset, not going to clubs to pick up random strangers. So choose the friends you'll go with carefully.

Get a massage. You'll miss the human contact, and you'll need to relax. Don't freak out if you cry, it's normal. Just alert your massage person so they don't freak out.

Don't cut your hair. It's too drastic.

Buy a few new outfits. Throw away anything that has an association with him. The outfit you wore on your first date. A dress he said he liked. Replace them with new things.

Catch up with friends you haven't seen for a while.

Redecorate the bedroom. Throw away the the bedding. (or donate it, but you get the idea.)

Clean the heck out of your house. This will provide you with mindless activity, and a feeling of accomplishment. If you run across any of his shit, put it in a bag for throwing away. Play some music that makes you happy, I like Ella Fitzgerald sings Cole Porter, but anything that puts you in a good mood is correct.

Now is the time to pamper yourself. Gentle is the watch word.

I promise, you'll get over it.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:00 AM on May 24, 2012 [7 favorites]

Sorry that this happened to you, and it totally sucks.
I've been down this road myself, and it was extremely hard. It took almost a two good years, drugs and alcohol, and finally a great shrink to get me over that pain. In retrospect, I built an identify of myself around another, and wasn't realistic about the relationship to begin with. Part of my experience was trying to rationalize it. Don't do that, It will never make sense, or understand the "why".
Don't contact him, and don't respond. It will make things worse if you do so. I am not exactly proud of how I handled the situation when she did try to make contact, but "fuck off" worked pretty well.
It will get easier, be around good friends, have a good time, and most importantly take care of yourself. Stay busy, but give yourself time to grieve the death of your past relationship, time does heal most wounds, hopefully it won't take as long as it did for me.
posted by handbanana at 8:18 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Understanding may not be possible (or not for months/years/decades), and doesn't matter - it's not going to change anything. He could have done this because he believes space aliens speaking through his television told him to, or he could have done it because it was a matter of national security - either way, he doesn't want to be in the relationship anymore. And the person who doesn't want to be in the relationship anymore wins.

This happened yesterday. Of course you feel awful and want to make sense of it. Time and taking care of yourself will help it pass.

If you're in the US, you may have a long weekend coming up, and free time is kind of the enemy right now. If you don't have a way to stay busy, consider some deep DVD escapism - TV series work better for this than movies.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:24 AM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

I was your boyfriend a few months ago. I was with my ex for alittle over a year, and we were very close. Probably got too close too fast too young (I'm 25, she's 24.) The reality of it is he did not share the permanence feelings that you did. He cares for you and your feelings, but he just can't be your boyfriend anymore... he probably can't explain why and doesn't know or can't put into words exactly why.

He's probably not leaving you for another girl, although part of leaving a relationship is it opens you up to new ones (both of you!) I know when I knew my relationship wasn't working, I had to drop it on her out of the blue.... would you have preferred he acted shady for months / started withdrawing / gave you warning signs and months of anxiety of wondering what you could do to fix it? Its better this way. He probably knew there was something just "not right", but tried very hard to make it right / wait to see if it became right but after a certain point you reach a conclusion that its not, and you have to hurt the person you're closest to for both of you to move on. Being in a close committed relationship such as yours, I'd bet it was very hard for him to hurt you, but it had to be done.

But you admit right there that you're ready to commit to someone in marriage. He was not, so thats one HUGE difference in values, it doesnt invalidate either of your values, its just a mismatch. The next perfect guy you wind up with may have the same values as you, and you'll be so happy you're not still with your ex, and realize it all worked out in the end.

But the place you're in now sucks. I know it, everyone knows it, but when you're there it just seems.... more painful than any pain anyone else has experienced. Just know, from your own experience and others', that it DOES subside, and you will come out of it a more experienced person. As you said, he treated you well, you know how to respect yourself and how you want to be treated, take that into your next relationship. You're better off than the girls who post on here who are mistreated and abused by their boyfriends only be be dumped or cheated on for their efforts.
posted by el_yucateco at 8:28 AM on May 24, 2012 [7 favorites]

It's not your job to figure him out. It's your job to take care of yourself. You can't stop this from happening.

Allow yourself to cry, to feel like a zombie, to lie in your bed. You'll come out of it. Make sure your friends (the ones you love and trust) know that you're suffering.

I also recommend a hypnosis app through the iPhone App store called "Move On" by a hypnotherapist named Andrew Johnson. It can be relaxing and can help you sleep.

Take care of yourself in ways that would be ordinarily relaxing. Draw a warm bath, get your eyebrows threaded----even if they just feel like motions. You might feel numb or might only feel sad. Put on soft clothing. Let yourself wallow and cry for three hours, then two by Saturday and less everyday.
posted by discopolo at 8:39 AM on May 24, 2012

I could have written this question a few months ago (in fact, I kind of did) so believe me when I say that I know how you're feeling.

One of the single best pieces of advice I've gleaned from my time reading AskMe is this: if someone tells you something about themselves, believe them.

Not only because it is invariably the least painful path, but because 99% of the time, they're telling the truth. Or they're telling you all you need to know. It's the same thing.

As you can see from the question I linked to, I struggled with this idea for a long time after my ex broke up with me. Then I realised that if I loved him, if I really felt as much for him as I claimed I did, the best possible thing I could do for him would be to respect his decision. He knew he couldn't be in a relationship with me for whatever reason, so he ended it -- and even though it hurt at the time (boy, did it hurt), now I look back on it and I'm grateful that he didn't string me along or try to cover up his feelings. He sat me down and told me the truth, even though (as I now know) it was incredibly difficult. So I'm grateful to him for that bravery.

Look, you don't need to know why he did it. Finding out will only cause more pain. Only that he did it, and now you're here, and you're still the beautiful amazing person you were before you met him, and you will go on.
posted by fight or flight at 9:06 AM on May 24, 2012 [9 favorites]

Could it be he doesn't know what this kind of love is supposed to feel like?

Yes. This is entirely possible. It's also completely irrelevant.

How he feels is largely a given. He told you he doesn't want to be in a relationship. Even if this is a result of his wrong expectations, he still doesn't want to be in a relationship with you.
posted by ThisIsNotMe at 9:19 AM on May 24, 2012

I read somewhere once that if you’re sad about someone who’s dumped you, you should picture them with their pants pulled down, trying to sit on a chair with a sharp thumbtack on it. This brings them right down to earth and reminds you that this is a flawed, fallible person who has hurt you, but is not a god, or magical, or the only person you will ever love. And it might make you laugh :)
posted by pink_gorilla at 9:36 AM on May 24, 2012

First of all, I'm really sorry.

I too have been through this experience a few times. In fact, I went through something similar three months ago (after which I had to sit next to him in a very small class for the rest of the semester--now that's fun). Here's one truism that has given me comfort as I try to move on: it's time to treat yourself as you would want a boyfriend to treat you. Not in an Oprah-ish way (not that there's anything wrong with that). But because ultimately, you are all you can count on. Relationships don't always last, and even if two people live happily ever after, one usually dies before the other. So even though our culture encourages us to believe that romance is the way to true fulfillment--because, hey, someone has to buy all of those movie tickets!--assuming that the goal of life is to find someone who will always be at your side is a bit unrealistic.

That sounds really bleak, I know. But it can also, perversely, be somewhat freeing. Once you realize that you are the only constant in your life, the desire to please others, to ensure that they stay, dissipates a bit. So does the feeling that you must have someone in order to be happy. Don't get me wrong: I still want a life partner and hope to find one someday. But I've also realized that I need to see my life as my own, and to find joy in it, rather than to perceive it as a holding pattern that I am in until Potential Life Partner comes along to give it significance.

So treat yourself kindly, whatever that means--time with friends, a new outfit or two, hitting the gym are all good things. And when you're ready, perhaps journal a bit about who you will be when you're recovered from this breakup and who you want to be as you move forward.

Oh, and if you haven't read *When Things Fall Apart,* by Pema Chodron, I highly recommend it for situations like this.
posted by chicainthecity at 9:39 AM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

The way things were left was both of us in tears, and there had been yelling (on my end, I was so angry), and some more calm talking right before he left. Is this how my last memory of him has to be? I hate that.
posted by dt2010 at 10:55 AM on May 24, 2012

Is this how my last memory of him has to be?

Sadly, yes.

I'm sorry to say this, but you're no longer in a relationship with him, which means that everything that has to do with him is out of your immediate control. :(

However, what I learned when I was in your shoes is that you can view this in two different ways:

1.) Ugh. It's out of your control. You are sad and upset and angry and not good. :(


2.) It's out of your control! This means that you don't need to worry about it anymore! You can focus your full attention on what you CAN control, and that's your emotions and how you're digesting all of this.

...I know it hurts and sucks and feels like the world is coming to an end and omgggghowcouldhedothistomeearrgghhh. I know. I've been there. My ex dropped me like a hot potato out of NOWHERE after 8 months when every signal, word, everything he did told me that he was head over heels in love with me. The last memory I have of "us" are my two kitchen stools - me sitting in one, slumped over a mug of tea, and his empty as he put on his coat when he left my house.

The next several months were brutally rough. I instantly deleted his number from my phone when he left so I couldn't contact him (and deleted "sent" text messages and deleted messages so I couldn't dig it out). I was rough, I was raw, and I remember apologizing profusely to people that I was in horrific shape and couldn't attend XYZ with them. On good days I did, but on bad days I barely wanted to leave the house. After several months of wallowing though, I got used to it, then got over it and somehow ended up meeting my now-boyfriend who is like, Superman. If it wasn't for that devastating break-up, I wouldn't be as strong as I am now and wouldn't be dating and in love with the most amazing human being on the planet.

You know what I also realized during that rough time? If you're open and honest about everything and how you're feeling with yourself and other people, it's amazing how quickly things will turn around for you. On one particular really bad day I remember dragging my ass down the street to the supermarket to pick up a carton of ice cream and a bottle of wine in a stained t-shirt, uncombed hair, sweatpants and flip flops and when I got a horrified look from the cashier just mumbled that I was going through a horrible break-up. She paused, looked at me, shook her head in a good way, told me that she had totally been there and was suddenly kind and wished me luck. Now I say hi to her everytime I'm in the grocery and if my BF is in tow, she gives me a little wink.

Empathy is a powerful thing in times like this. You're feeling awful but powerful emotions that all of us have felt at one time or another. Don't be afraid to be vocal about it to friends, family and strangers - but most importantly, yourself. See? You're much too busy to worry about your last memory of him. :)
posted by floweredfish at 11:49 AM on May 24, 2012 [5 favorites]

Maybe not your very last memory. Maybe, after quite a bit of time, you could have an acqaintance/friendship. Maybe. But for now and for the forseeable future, it would be best if it were, hon. Really.

You absolutely, positively do not want to subject yourself to the slimmest possibility of you in a weak moment begging him tearfully to tell you what did wrong, that you're sorry, that you can be who he wants you to be, to please come back and give you, give us another chance, this love is too strong to just throw away and...

See? I've been on both sides of this. Do not go there.
posted by likeso at 11:49 AM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

I have been in your situation OP. I think many of us have. We were also together for a year. When he dumped me, there was a lot of yelling on my part and none on his. Save for a couple of awkward run-ins in the months following, we never spoke again. He did attempt to be friends but I forced myself to stay cold and distant. It was hard, but it worked.

I hated his guts for a long time. Fifteen years later, I realize he was a sweet guy who had treated me well and the only problem I had with him was that he no longer wanted to be with me. These days I'd almost be tempted to thank him for not stringing me along or cheating and being a decent human being about the whole thing. I have done a hell of a lot of living since then and fallen in love all over again. You will too. For now, it sucks badly. Feel free to scream, cry, or otherwise freak the fuck out. Because you will be okay.
posted by futureisunwritten at 2:46 PM on May 24, 2012 [4 favorites]

I'm so sorry. Out-of-the-blue breakups like that hurt like hell. It will get better in time, and there is a bright shiny happy future ahead of you, but the only way out of the pain is through it.

maybe he is scared of getting close to another woman only to lose her

Maybe he is. People do that kind of thing sometimes, certainly, and in my experience people who pull the real out-of-nowhere style breakup usually have some mixed-up stuff going on inside their heads. But really there's no way you can know why he did this, like there's no way anyone here can know either. He sounds pretty confused about it himself, to be honest, and if he doesn't even know then you've got no chance.

I don't at all blame you for wanting to know why. It's only natural and human, especially when something's really shattered you like this, to feel like you have to figure it out right now because suddenly you're doubting all your experiences and perceptions about the past relationship, and you don't know what you can trust, and it feels like you're never going to find peace here unless you know what the hell happened. But this is a place where you're going to have to forge your own peace. And that's okay. That's better, in fact. The way to get past this and go on with your life is to focus on yourself and what you need, to get you back to a place where you're able to trust yourself and move on to the rest of your life. Trying to puzzle him out is only going to sap your time and energy away from doing that.

So for now, focus on yourself. Keep yourself healthy, try to get some fresh air, make sure you eat something. Rearrange the furniture or redecorate your place when you feel up to doing that; it'll help things look different and new. Find something that'll keep you entertained for a long time without requiring much concentration or effort, like a box-set of a lengthy TV show, or some brain-candy detective novels. When you feel up to it, set yourself some goals that'll get you focused on something else while also bolstering your sense of confidence in yourself - a 'photo a day for a hundred days' blog, training to run a half-marathon, learning a new language. Don't push yourself to be Over It Tomorrow, and let yourself feel the hurt as long as you need to, but don't let the hurt block out the knowledge that you'll get through this and be happy like so, so many people have done before you.
posted by Catseye at 3:17 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

First, Everyone who has indicated that time will heal you is correct, but I want to share two tricks that can help you immediately:

1) Give up on the secret feeling that you just lost "The One". "The One" doesn't exist, as we like to say on Mefi. There are many people who will make you happy and will be a good partner for you. If you can't make yourself give up on the concept, change the parameters. See The One as a relationship instead of a person. The one true relationship that you stay in for life (Hint: it won't be with someone who breaks up with you, but someone who loves you so much that the thought of leaving you is horrifying).

2) Assign all the pain you feel right now a value of %100. Then catagorize it based on its factors. Example:

%20: Fear that you lost The One.
%10: How much you hate being alone.
%20: Worry that you will never find someone else.
%10: Activities that you will have to give up because doing them without him/her would be horrible for you.
%30: Earth shattering pain of being rejected and associated wondering "what is wrong with me that made him/her leave me?"

And Finally, %10: That you will miss hangiing out and having access to him/her.

The point of this is to see that the majority of your pain has little to do with your partner specifically, and more to do with the feelings inside of you that the rejection has created. %90 of the pain in the example was a result of personal fears, not the loss of the actual person. You can control that %90, they are issues that are about you, not your ex.

Good luck to you!
posted by Shouraku at 4:53 PM on May 24, 2012 [14 favorites]

I've been the guy in a similar situation. I hadn't found someone else. It wasn't anything that she had done or not done. I was inexperienced, so I had thought I loved her, but I didn't know what that sort of love was supposed to feel like. Because I cared for her, I only suggested that the relationship was over when I was absolutely 100% sure it could not be fixed: to do otherwise would have been to muck her around. Breaking up was horrible because I didn't want to hurt her, but it had to happen.

She described the break-up as unexpected although from my perspective there were many signs that the relationship had already died. We'd each interpreted the situation in totally opposite ways, and assumed the other's perspective was similar to ours.

If you want an explanation for what's happened: human beings, especially inexperienced ones, can't predict or control what feelings they're going to have. That doesn't mean anyone did anything wrong.

For the foreseeable future (but not forever), contact with him will be hurtful and not beneficial. In effect, he's a toxic influence (for the forseeable future, not forever) that you are better off without. There is a lot of good advice in this thread. It's understandable to be angry, even though what's happened is nobody's fault: let the anger have its day. Above all, be kind to yourself. Best wishes,
posted by infobomb at 9:13 AM on May 25, 2012

From el_yucateco above:
He probably knew there was something just "not right", but tried very hard to make it right / wait to see if it became right but after a certain point you reach a conclusion that its not, and you have to hurt the person you're closest to for both of you to move on. Being in a close committed relationship such as yours, I'd bet it was very hard for him to hurt you, but it had to be done.

Exactly my experience, for what it's worth.
posted by infobomb at 9:18 AM on May 25, 2012

How do I cope with the sting of me being unlovable to him, and not enough to him, when I thought I was.
posted by dt2010 at 10:16 AM on May 25, 2012

Well, hon, you don't really. Not yet. This is what we've been talking about. You have to give it time, give yourself time to grieve and feel betrayed and feel angry and feel depressed and feel that you will never find true love and all that great stuff. I'm sorry, hon.

All the things folks have been describing *are* coping mechanisms - to help buy you the time you need to let the raw edges wear off a bit. They aren't coping mechanisms in the sense that they'll solve or wholly salve the pain. There's just no way out but through, and it's going to hurt for a while. This is very like a bereavement, and there is a bit of a process. Sadly, you can't really skip over any of the emotions.

The only, only thing you have to keep remembering is that you do not want to be with someone who, for whatever reason, however loveable you actually are, doesn't want to be with you. This is the truth. And your pain *will* pass. You have to give it time. {HUG}
posted by likeso at 2:23 PM on May 25, 2012

Is this how my last memory of him has to be? I hate that.

It doesn't matter what your "last" memory of him is -- it's just one, and it happened to come last. It doesn't matter what you said or how you reacted; that part is over, and there will never be a better resolution, not from him. Even if you were to talk again and be rational about things he said before, there would be new things to fumble over and get angry about. Do not dig yourself deeper. Allow this to be the end. Make your own decision about that, and own it -- Tell yourself that you have decided that this is the end, as much as you don't want it to be, and you will get through it against your best efforts to the contrary.

Do not talk to him. Do not hit the reset button on your own progress. "But but but! ..." No. Done. Wash your hands.

It will take effort and sometimes it will feel unnatural, and there will be hiccups, but you will discover things about yourself that you hadn't known before, and it will have been worth something good. It has to have been worth something -- You now know what it means to love and be in real emotional pain, and maybe you take that knowledge and use it to be a better friend, daughter, sister, teacher, and lover. It has been worth something even if it was not what you thought it would be.
posted by ariela at 5:05 PM on May 26, 2012

Um,'s been almost a week and I am doing a lot better. BECAUSE I am now seeing all the reasons why it is best for us both. Wow. Basically it seems like we THOUGHT we were perfect for each other so both tried to make it work, but it couldn't be forced even though it all looked perfect "on paper" so to speak (and we met online). I also realize the things I need to work on that I relied on him too heavily for. I want to be strong and okay on my own. I am still sad because I miss my friend who was so kind to me and who I had fun with (in many ways), but I see things more clearly now and I am actually having moments of feeling very happy (not always though). I also realized part of the reason why I clung to him was because the LAST boyfriend was such a crazy nightmare and a bad choice (as well as a rebound) when I found a kind, loving gentlemen I thought I had to keep that because it's the first relationship I've felt safe and respected in and I clung to it like it was the last chance on earth. At the same time I felt I had to stay with him, I also started having panic attacks and resulting depression (which may or may not be due to staying in a relationship I wasn't sure about, because my mom had the same issues). And a lot of the anxiety was relationship-related. This caused me to be very needy for quite some time and sometimes I felt like he was taking care of me too much, rather than being more equals, and he may have felt he had to help me then even though he was not sure of how he felt towards me yet. Maybe he was just in my life to help me through that difficult time. Someday I want to thank him for having the courage to do what was best for us both, and I admire him for what he did. And I now know I CAN choose who I am with. I choose if I get with a messed up asshole, or a kind person in the FIRST place...THEN see if it naturally progresses. I don't have to be afraid. I think (hah), if I use my brains again but this time listen to and FOLLOW my intuition as well, I will not experience regret...and I do not regret the time I was with him.
posted by dt2010 at 12:42 PM on May 29, 2012 [3 favorites]

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