What to do when someone leaves a big, messy, painful hole in your life
February 8, 2013 1:00 PM   Subscribe

She was somewhere between best friend and lover to me...but this person is like someone I've never met before. I loved her more than anyone I've ever loved in my life and she's done this ugly 180 on me. I need to know how to get past it. My heart is seriously shot. What should I do? How am I suppose to feel? I just feel so disoriented....what do I do?

She was somewhere between best friend and lover to me...we had dated before but because of past hurts, she couldn't comfortably be in a relationship with me and broke things off. However she wanted to remain friends. That was difficult for me...like really difficult. It took awhile before I could be her friend without feeling I would rip my hair out in frustration. I had decided that whether we remain friends or become lovers, I'm glad to have her in my life either way.

Well recently she decided not to be a part of my life anymore. I won't recount all the details here, but she misunderstood something I posted on Twitter and what followed was a 24 hour long argument that ended with lots of insults and hurt feelings. I never realized she was verbally abusive until she said some of the things she said (That I'm an attention seeking idiot, I'm desperate, dating me would be a downgrade from her ex...). It would have been less shocking if she came at me with an ice pick. Just two days before we were planning to meet up for sushi and then go to a concert on Valentine's day. (though she refused to acknowledge the holiday, it was just a coincidence that the concert is on the 14th). She said she'd bought a bottle of wine we could share after. Fast forward and she is verbally ripping me to shreds. I'd trusted almost every detail of my life to her and she used it all against me.

I tried contacting her again the next day, but more hurt feelings and harsh words came out of it. I said some harsh things myself (I usually don't, but I was just so damn hurt), then blocked her on facebook, twitter and skype, then deleted her number from my cell. I have never been so hurt in my life. There's much more to her than this. This person is like someone I've never met before. I loved her more than anyone I've ever loved in my life and she's done this ugly 180 on me. I need to know how to get past it. My heart is seriously shot. What should I do? How am I suppose to feel? I just feel so disoriented....what do I do?
posted by Cybria to Human Relations (15 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I think we need more details. You seem to be leaving out a lot of information that would help us answer your question. What are the "past hurts" that caused your break up? Were they personal things from her past, or something having to do with your relationship to one another?
posted by SkylitDrawl at 1:07 PM on February 8, 2013

It's probably going to suck for a little while. She made her choice, for whatever good or bad reason it may be, and you won't be the one to change her mind. The more you push in this situation the worse it will get. Perhaps something is going on in her life, or perhaps she's just not the person you thought she was.

But I think the best thing to do in these situations is to put yourself first. Think about all of the sort of fun physical things that you can do for yourself, by yourself. Go rock climbing, take dance lessons, pump iron, run a few miles every day. Keeping physically active helps you spend less time mulling and moping. Treat yourself to some yummy foods (but not enough to make yourself sick), and warm cozy brainless things (curled up in a blanket on the couch watching stupid TV).

Don't try to figure out why she did what she did. Just move on with your life, and find the value in your life that isn't dependent on anyone else.
posted by that girl at 1:10 PM on February 8, 2013 [4 favorites]

She had a bad relationship with her ex. She came to the U.S from west Africa to be with her and go to school, but her ex ended up being a leech. Not only was my friend going to school full time but she also had to pay for everything (she and her ex lived together). She was also verbally abusive at times. She nearly sabotaged my friend out of her education. She was living with her ex out of necessity when we were dating, and she only recently moved out and got her own apartment. They weren't romantically involved at the time.
posted by Cybria at 1:13 PM on February 8, 2013

she couldn't comfortably be in a relationship with me and broke things off. However she wanted to remain friends. That was difficult for me...

For now all you can do is take care of yourself and be kind to yourself. In the future, you need to listen to yourself.
-You wanted a relationship and she didn't, so in spite of your preferences you settled for what she wanted.
-You wanted a clean break but she wanted you to still remain friends, so in spite of your preferences you gave her what she wanted.
-She didn't want you in her life anymore, so in spite of your preferences, it's over.
There's a common theme there. Nobody else is going to put your needs first, ever. Not the best, most loving, most non-fucked-up friend. You need to. You deserve it, and you won't ever feel secure and equal in a relationship otherwise.

blocked her on facebook, twitter and skype, then deleted her number from my cell.

This is a good start. We all have picked at least one bad apple, she was yours. Good riddance to her.
posted by headnsouth at 1:15 PM on February 8, 2013 [18 favorites]

headnsouth, that's a very good observation. My mother mentioned the other day that I tend to "settle." i think this is what she meant. I do have to learn to put my needs first. Thanks.
posted by Cybria at 1:46 PM on February 8, 2013

I'll tell you what I was told by a good friend of mine, "You get what you settle for."

Love and relationships are too important to compromise on.

I was 39 when I was married, and I don't regret waiting for Husbunny at all. Well worth it. We'll celebrate our 11th anniversary this year.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:53 PM on February 8, 2013 [9 favorites]

I dunno, it sounds like she abuses people verbally and blames them for it. I think you're way better off without her.
posted by carolinaherrera at 2:18 PM on February 8, 2013 [3 favorites]

I think you have dodged the proverbial bullet, here. 180s are never a good thing.
posted by sundrop at 2:30 PM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

I had someone very much like that in my life (as a friend, not an ex). This person, let's call her "Sally," seized upon some slight on my part (and I can't even remember what it was) and went from being my supposed good, supportive friend to being my bitter enemy and trash-talking me to all and sundry. I later learned that I was not the first person she did that to, and I'm sure I am not the last. I cut her out entirely after she turned on me, and good riddance.

Be glad this person is out of your life. And try to surround yourself with good, kind, non-toxic people as much as you can. If you have all your emotional eggs in one or two baskets, it's tempting to put up with bad treatment because you don't want to be left friendless.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 2:47 PM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

This person is like someone I've never met before.
That has two sides to it. Eccentric relationships can be both seductive and destructive. People can be intoxicating. The woman you were in love with? That's her. The one that just broke your heart? That's her too. It's a common thread in fiction, that we want the bright half without the dark half. But people are who they are, and the same things that you may love about her, when expressed differently – against you – is more than you care to endure, or so it appears.

I loved her more than anyone I've ever loved in my life and she's done this ugly 180 on me.
See above. She may have done a 180, but it's not on you. This is who she is. You are seeing who she really is, and a new aspect to your relationship.

I need to know how to get past it.
Take care of yourself, and in time it will pass.

My heart is seriously shot.
You're probably in shock.

What should I do?
Take space and be kind to yourself. What some movies that connect with you. Go for a walk. Call old friends. Journal. Just give yourself space to accept what is going on. She is no longer a part of this. Whilst you think that hurts now, in the end, it will be the right decision. Don't fight the emotions. And remember, grieving often is a social process.

How am I suppose to feel?
Like a significant relationship just ended. Lost, angry, sad, hurt, regretful, accusatory, frustrated, alone, restless. All are standard emotions. It's a Big Deal with relationships end. In every way. Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually. Socially. All of these things are being modified and changed at this very moment. And it's not always pleasant to experience. But it's happening. And it's not bad.

I just feel so disoriented....what do I do?
You are still a person with a life. And friends. And loved ones. And feelings. And dreams. And stuff. And a past. And a future. You are still you. Some of what you do on a daily basis may change, but you are still the same person as you were before. The sooner that you can accept that this is disorienting, then you accept that this is okay.

That doesn't have to be this moment, or today, or tomorrow. But the important thing here to remember is that beyond all the love and togetherness, beneath all of that, was two people. One of them was you, and that person is the same now as you were the other day.

And I agree wholeheartedly with the post about you giving her so much and doing your best to work with her on this. You did your absolute best. You couldn't have done any better. You guys weren't a great match. And now you have your whole life to care about. Your whole big, beautiful life. That has gone on, and will go on.

Good luck my friend.
posted by nickrussell at 3:05 PM on February 8, 2013 [5 favorites]

So, something you said on Twitter flipped her switch. You didn't say something that would be extremely offensive to a reasonable person, and you didn't passive-aggressively emit a dog-whistle that was offensive in ways understandable only to her. It was: you said, she misunderstood. Also, from what you say, she was reacting to a single incident and not a pattern of behaviour.

The way you describe her reaction also kinda sounds like it was a single incident: "I didn't know she was verbally abusive" - and I was about to say that verbal abuse within a relationship is a pattern of behaviour, rarely a single incident. But then you say this continued over 24 hours. So you do have a pattern - it's just coming out all at once.

Like, I don't know what to say, it sounds like she flipped the black/white switch on you and you are now split black.


Some people just do that. They're lousy partners, lousy friends, lousy bosses, you name it they're lousy at it. Unfortunately you don't see it coming until it's too late.

I'm sorry I just don't see this getting better from here. Especially if she comes back. The least bad outcome is that you stay broken up, ideally with no contact.

Ouch, my friend, ultimate ouch. Sorry, it sucks.
posted by tel3path at 4:02 PM on February 8, 2013 [3 favorites]

She doesn't like you, she doesn't want you, and chances are she's not as great as you've convinced yourself she is.

Also, what you feel isn't love. It's addiction. Not good.

She sounds really messed up and she's a jerk. You can only clean up your side of the street, though. It's time you stop treating her like your favorite drug. As good as it feels, it's bad for you. Do you want to end up like her, cruel to people who care about you? Do you think it's okay to be that kind of person? (The right answer is that it's not okay to be verbally and emotionally abusive to anybody ever. People who do that kind of thing are sick and messed up people who never grew up and never hold themselves accountable for the pain they cause.)

Drop contact with her, detox, and get control of your life so you don't ever get trapped into this kind of emotional dependence. It's time to grow up and stop relying on this woman for emotional fulfillment. Be strong, man. Don't sacrifice yourself for someone who is abusive to you.
posted by discopolo at 5:09 PM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

I had one of those similar rips some years ago. Perfectly tuned sensibilities, shared adventure on a grand scale. Bang. Done. Nope, retry, bang done, repeat. Fill gaps with ugly scenes and bitter discoveries.

I imploded. For a long time.

What I found out through, hindsight, was that I should have save my energy on the retries, and moved on. The retries were like jerking scabs just to watch the blood flow. Still, when you make that sort of visceral connection with someone, you have to try to make it okay.

All the good cliches apply: Reclaim your life. Return to work, return to your friends. Well, first you get through the night. One night at a time. None of that is easy. But it's do-able.

After all these years, when I think of her (and now and then I do) I think of the amazing parts more than the painful ones.
posted by mule98J at 9:35 AM on February 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

I am actually laughing at the posters who have judged your (ex?) girlfriend as a jerk or messed-up person. We are so clearly receiving a biased and hypocritical account in this post, designed to get us to side with you, that we cannot possibly understand what's really going on here. I'd love to hear her side of things and see what you are leaving out, and what her motivations and feelings are. I think it's interesting that you give us details of the hurtful things she said, so we can ooh and ahh over how bad they are, while just vaguely referring to your own hurtful words, and excusing them by saying you were hurt. But her, she gets no excuses--she's just a Bad Person who "did a 180" on you for no particular reason.

Own up to your part in this. Either excuse BOTH of you for hurtful words, or NEITHER of you. Then spend at least a little time, while you are feeling sorry for yourself, in exploring how she feels. She has reasons and motivations for this behavior--maybe they are messed-up reasons, maybe not, but she's not an inexplicable force of nature like a volcano, which you currently seem to be regarding her as.
posted by parrot_person at 2:22 AM on February 10, 2013 [2 favorites]

@parrot_person that is fair enough. I didn't include my part initially. I was still rather emotional from what happened. During our argument I would ask her a question, and instead of answering she would dodge it or answer it with another question. I told her that she was being difficult, and that I didn't understand why she was so complicated. I said she was a "typical" Ghanaian because she couldn't answer a question without asking five more. I admit that the last one was kind of harsh. But still I don't feel that what I said warranted the response that I got. In hindsight I'm pretty sure she was trying to bait me so that she'd have an excuse to go off on me.
posted by Cybria at 4:29 AM on February 10, 2013

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