How do I feel better after all this?
December 23, 2012 1:53 PM   Subscribe

How long is too long to still be upset about a break up? It's been 3 weeks for me as of today and while I'm approving a little bit, something is holding me back...

I'm not even sure why I'm posting here again. Maybe I just need my ass kicked to get started. I'm still sad over my break up. Him and I decided it would be best if we don't talk anymore for at least 3 months. I told him if I didn't feel better by three months then I still wouldn't contact him. Hopefully I won't even feel the need to contact him after three months. He's never been mean to me or told me I was wrong. He would always tell me I will be fine without him and that he is so sorry to put me through all this bullshit because I was an awesome girlfriend. At one point I had wanted to dump him because his depression was bringing me down. One weekend though, he was back to the person he used to be. That weekend was the best weekend we have had together in awhile. I had hope and lots of it, but it all came crashing down.

He dumped me. He was emotional about it for a short period of time. He even told me he missed me so much and was thinking of me all day. After that he grew more distant. It wasn't a break up where we told each other we hated each other and never wanted to talk again. He told me he gets over things quickly. That makes me feel like I meant nothing to him.

I want to get better. I'm not suppose to let him get me down but it still does.Sometimes I wish we had a messy break up, that he would tell me he didn't love me or that he couldn't stand me anymore. I wish he would have gotten his shit together while with me and we could just be happy. He admits it's his fault for leaving his job like that. It seems so hard to get over him because he wasn't a jerk to me. In the past, I have dated some real assholes. It was so easy to get over them and start to date someone else. But I've decided I need to do this right and be single for awhile. At least 2-3 months. The thought of going out on a date with anyone makes me queasy.

At two weeks after the break up I was yelled at for not getting out and doing things. I felt like extreme shit when I went outside. There's so many things out there that remind me of him, it's like I'm not suppose to forget. Of course, this has happened with ex's and I still see things that remind me of them, but I feel better that they were out of my life, then in. I think about my ex and wish so much that we could have worked things out. I'm TRYING to look forward. I want to go out. I want to get in more shape. I want to eat healthy. I want to cut my hair. I want to make new friends. Maybe I'm just not ready though. It's been 3 weeks since we broke up. I finally put all the shit that reminds me of him away in a box.

I don't know what the acceptable amount of time is for losing someone you care about and the whole grieving process. I fight the urge every day to contact him. I want to text him or call him. To make sure he is okay. I feel like a part of me is missing. I just want this to go away. People say I should go out on dates anyway. I don't feel like I'm ready for that. If I did, it would truly be a big rebound and that's not fair to the other person. Like I said with ex's who were jerks, I didn't have a problem getting over them and dating someone else. Now it is a different story.

So how long should I wait? Not to date someone, but just to go outside and not feel so crappy? Say it was 2 months from now, and I went out and still feel like crap, should I get therapy? I've done therapy in the past for other reasons, but haven't been to one in years...I would always feel like it was useless because the therapist always got me pumped up to be a better person and make it through something, but then I would realize I still feel the same way, so there was no getting past what I was having a problem with. And there's the whole money issue with that...Pay someone a lot of money to have them tell you what you already know.

This is dumb. I am ranting now. I need some ass kicking.
posted by Autumn89 to Human Relations (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You should feel sad as long as you need to. Sometimes if you let yourself feel the sadness totally, without trying to reprimand yourself or talk yourself out of it, it passes faster.
posted by spunweb at 1:57 PM on December 23, 2012

How long were you together? How old are you? But in general, three weeks is normal.
posted by salvia at 2:44 PM on December 23, 2012

Oh girl, I know how you feel. I've been there; in fact I'm still there. My relationship of three years ended almost eight months ago, and it STILL hurts, although nothing like it did in the beginning.

The first three months for me were miserable. I had lost my mom 6 months before we broke up, so I was dealing with a lot already, but I still think I would have been just as upset regardless. It took me 6 months to even begin to feel the dark cloud lift. Every time I drove somewhere, every song I heard, every commercial I saw, I thought of him. This whole city seemed to be haunted with the memory of who we were and when that ended and I felt like I wanted to die, or at least move 1,000 away, or lock myself in my bedroom and never come out. I tried to go out on the town a few times and wound up in tears, overwhelmed at the thought of who I used to be when I was with him, compared to the sorry sad state of who I was without him. I tried to will myself, force myself to get over it; and when that failed I hated myself even more for feeling so down, like I was no one without him, because I'm not the kind of girl who needs a man, you know? But I loved him, and when he said he no longer wanted to be with me it took such a toll on my self-esteem and well being. It pulled the rug from underneath me, and for a long time I felt as though I were a child learning to walk again.

I cut off all contact. This is essential. It feels cruel, but it is absolutely necessary. Unfriend him on Facebook. Delete his number, take his email address out of your contacts, hide your photos and the jewelry and clothes he gave you. Sanitize your space. Take different routes. To this day, I still don't drive by his house. There are certain songs I can't listen to, and it's been eight months and maybe that makes me over-sensitive but it's what's best for my sanity. Do all of the things you mentioned you want to do, but don't feel like you need to take on the world. Just be. I wrote a lot. I analyzed, I ran the breakup in my head a million times and tried to figure out where I went wrong and secretly hoped he'd call and tell me he was sorry. I hated him for awhile. I cried big, ugly tears, face down in my pillow, feeling like I was some unwanted, hideous creature no one would ever want again. I couldn't bear the thought that he was happier without me.

Then after awhile I got used to not eating dinner with him. I spent more time with my friends and made new friends, people who didn't know me as part of a couple. I took up running. I stopped trying to pretend I knew how he felt and decided it didn't matter. I swore off dating for a year, even though lots of people encouraged me to date and get under someone new to get over someone else, etc. But I was not ready, and I'm still not ready, and you know what, the thought of being in love and meeting the family and doing the boyfriend thing kind of disgusts me right now, and THAT'S OKAY. Because it is not a sign of failure to be single. It is okay to focus on yourself, it is okay to feel like absolute total garbage. Just about everyone goes through heartbreak. I realized that when I discovered how many amazing songs were created out of visceral pain.

I'm still not dating, and I did start taking antidepressants after about 7 months which have helped tremendously. I am becoming a better Christian. I make it a point to be kinder to people. I go for a run even when I don't want to, because my new friend and I are doing a 10k, something that never would have happened had I still been dating him. I'm finally realizing that there are other attractive, intelligent funny men in existence but I am content on my own, because now I live life on my terms. When I am ready, there will be someone else, and there will be someone else for you, too.

Three weeks is nothing. Three months is probably nothing. The process of breaking up is biologically similar to quitting cocaine cold turkey. The pain is real; don't underestimate it. You should feel whatever way you feel, and if people don't understand that, my therapist has a saying: "Never let anyone 'should' all over you."
posted by thank you silence at 2:46 PM on December 23, 2012 [9 favorites]

8 months, not the longest, but he was the best boyfriend I've ever had, the others were real crappy towards me. 23.
posted by Autumn89 at 2:46 PM on December 23, 2012

It varies. I'm 34 and it seems to take me 6 months to a year to fully process my breakups. Then again, I'm super selective about exclusive relationships (I've only been in three) so that may explain it. Take your time and get over him at your own pace. You don't need to force it.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 2:58 PM on December 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Three weeks isn't too long. But I think one thing that may be making your recovery slower is that you still think he is, in some form, in your future -- I am making an assumption here, but if I had a three month moratorium on contact with someone I loved deeply, it wouldn't be about reconstituting my future. I would be about getting through those three months on some wishy-washy timeline about where I would be then and I mean, times get desperate, when this person might be back in my life. I don't know how much you think about three months but I would think about it a lot. AND I wouldn't be able to eliminate the possibility from my mind that we might get back together, because he cares enough to want continued contact, etc --- in short, three months would have a significance that it shouldn't when you are trying to break cleanly up.

So I would get rid of the three months thing. Your future is stretched out before you for the rest of your life and there are many, many wonderful men along the way. I would do as recommend above -- delete from phone, delete from facebook, remove from contacts. This is initially very scary and lonely, but soon it will feel good, cleansing, self-affirming.
posted by half life at 3:21 PM on December 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

The three month thing was in case I wanted to talk again. I'm sure he has no problem never ever talking to me again. Like I said he gets over things quickly. I already told him personally that I am not going to get back with him and even though I was lying, I'm sure he believes me. He never said to me "in 3 months we will get back together." Nah, it's not like that. I just know that in 3 months if I feel like we can be friends, we will try. I have a few ex's I am friends with but it took awhile. But those were the ones who treated me like crap. It's of course nothing like the relationship we had before. We see each other in public, wave, make small talk and that's that. But this ex lives over an hour away, so there is no way we can just run into each other out of no where.

It's more like a "do not contact me for any reason" in the next 3 months so I can heal. Not a whole thing where we can get back together. Maybe we could talk, but I don't think I would be okay with going down and visiting him.
posted by Autumn89 at 3:31 PM on December 23, 2012

All I can tell you is that I had some boyfriends when I was around your age who were just unbelievable losers and I still was sad when we broke up. In retrospect it is ridiculous and sad to me that I wasted any time or emotion at all on those toadstools, but that is the way some people are wired, including you and me apparently. You will be fine, it'll just take some time.

(Btw - mine were also basically nice enough guys with depression issues. They weren't bad people, just bad for me, like your guy was bad for you. Time will help you see this.)
posted by fingersandtoes at 4:33 PM on December 23, 2012 [2 favorites]

First, you WILL get better. It just takes time.

I posted on the green about heartbreak couple years ago, and somebody replied that it was a form of existential panic. In way we are defined by our relationships, and one day you wake up and realize that part of your identity is gone. It's a very disconcerting and painful feeling.

There's always a reason why relationships don't work. Be patient, distract yourself by staying busy, and then one day you'll wake up and realize it has been weeks since you last had a thought about your ex.
posted by pakoothefakoo at 5:25 PM on December 23, 2012 [3 favorites]

"There's always a reason why relationships don't work."

Could not disagree more.
posted by america4 at 6:28 PM on December 23, 2012

It sounds like you're a normal human! I once dated a guy for a month, and didn't really get over it for probably 6 months or something. So you're doing better than me :) I would imagine that it's rare for someone to break up with someone and be Totally Over It after 3 weeks.

just take as long as you need. and maybe get a haircut.
posted by oranger at 7:44 PM on December 23, 2012

My rule of thumb has always been a minimum of the same length of time as the relationship was. You might be sad for longer than that, which might be fine or might be a sign that you need a new strategy for figuring things out, but up until that point I just chalk it up to "these things take time".
posted by anaelith at 3:21 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think anaelith has it. It usually takes as long as the relationship itself lasted.
posted by elizeh at 12:01 PM on December 24, 2012

They say the easiest way to get over someone is to get under someone else. BULL! I say: The easiest way to get over someone is to make changes to the parts of your life you shared with someone.

Did he live in your apartment? Rearrange the furniture! Paint the walls! Turn your home into a place that doesn't look like the place you shared with him. When you wake up in the morning, you'll see change instead of seeing the same old place minus your ex.

Did you share hobbies? Discover something new or rediscover hobbies from before you met him.

How about some new clothes? Ooh! A new pair of glasses! Or a new jacket. How about a new hairstyle? Find ways to change what you see when you look in the mirror.

Create positive newness in your world. Many people get stuck after a breakup because they still exist as they did when they were with someone else, so the lack of that someone else in their world leaves them with emptiness. You're now single. Find things to enjoy about being single and make the most of them. Create newness.

The answer is positive change. When in doubt, fake it till you make it :)
posted by 2oh1 at 1:25 PM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

No, he did not live with me, he did however come over a few times. But since we were sort of long distance, I would stay at his place during the weekends. Thank the lord he probably has to deal with more memories of me then I do of him.

Thank you people for your responses.
posted by Autumn89 at 12:12 PM on December 25, 2012

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