Unable to get over girlfriend, everything seems hopeless now
April 29, 2013 2:48 PM   Subscribe

It has been a week and a couple of days since we broke up, well more like she broke up with me after about a year and a half relationship.. I contacted her during the first few days and spoke to her as I normally would, until about the middle of last week I decided I didn't want to be used anymore as her sidelined friend so I stopped contacting her altogether. We are both young adults.

I feel completely dead inside. I thought things were starting to improve, that maybe things were getting better, but then I slip back into the deep depression that she has moved on and cut me out of her life, that she is talking and flirting with other guys. That I'm the stupid guy waiting forever for her to come back when she won't.

I was already very depressed around the time of the breakup, she knew this but she decided to break up with me anyway. It made my depression about 100 times worse. It is nearly debilitating at this point, keeping up the happy "everything's fine" facade is the most difficult thing to do. The reasons for our breakup are relatively unimportant, she felt that I made her "feel bad" for going out with friends so much (this was simply not true, I never purposefully made her feel guilty about this I just said I liked to hangout/speak with her as much as possible). She also decided to take LSD, even though last time she dropped acid she felt depressed etc. I told her I didn't think it would be the best idea to do it again, but she went ahead and did it anyway, breaking up with me the next day after. Part of me thinks the LSD fucked her brain up and made her opinion change of me, but I have no idea. This break up was completely out of the blue. She had never brought up these issues seriously before, and many times I had reassured her that I was fine with her going out and that if she wanted to in fact do LSD I'd never stop her. She also said that I was obsessed with her and that I needed to be more independent and that she didn't want to speak to me "every fucking day". Along with this she told me that she didn't want the responsibility of being my girlfriend.

She was extremely cold and unforgiving about it. I was utterly blindsided and there had been very little warning signs. She said things weren't fun anymore, that we always fought, but some of these "reasons" are made up, I don't think we fought very much. I offered again and again to try and fix things, to resolve the issues with our relationship but she refused.

After all of this heartbreak, she has the god damn audacity to claim she still loves me. She even said something like "I still want to be with you in the end". And that she just needs a "break", maybe for a long while. I sort of believed her at first, and it gave me a small amount of hope, but it didn't make things hurt less. Now I am wondering if she just said all of that to make herself feel better, to lessen the guilt on her end. I'm not sure if she has any intention of getting back together with me, but I refuse to hold onto this hope like a jackass for the rest of my life. She claimed she wasn't leaving me for anyone else but that she also didn't want a relationship.

About a day after the breakup, I started speaking to her like I normally would, and everything was just about the same for a couple of days (besides her ignoring me every other day which was very painful) except we didn't say I love you when we stopped talking. I knew this was wrong, I knew this was a terrible thing to do, I knew it would only hurt me more. I stopped talking to her after that and we haven't spoken in about 4 days now, but its been brutal for me. In the meantime, I've started hanging out with my own friends a lot more (though I don't have many), I've started biking almost everyday, trying to appreciate the small things. I've tried to take her off the pedestal in my mind, but its been tough and I keep reverting back to my old ways. This has done very little to keep my depression at bay, so I decided to make an appointment with my doctor to arrange for an SSRI prescription or something of the like (I also have very bad anxiety).

This has been one of the most painful experiences of my life. I almost never cried before this event, but now I feel that I am permanently scarred. I cry often alone, in the shower, punching the tile on my wall wishing it was all a dream and that everything will go back to normal. I have started drinking and doing drugs as a way to blunt the pain but I know this is wrong, suicide often passes through my mind but never seriously. I have lost ALL of my sex drive. I used to masturbate fairly regularly but I don't touch myself or think of sex at all anymore, since when I used to have sexual thoughts before it would always be about her. I enjoy just about nothing anymore, whether that be TV, music (which we had a lot of shared artists), whatever it is.

She has moved on, she probably barely thinks about me. I need to move on too. It was so hard for me to write this, I'm sorry it was so long. I don't know what to do anymore.
posted by YoungConfusedMan to Human Relations (16 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
First, I am so very sorry for you. Breakups suck for everyone.

Second, what is your question? What should you do now? If it were me, I would cut off any and all contact with her and resist resist resist any attempts to ever talk to or see her again, if only so that you can heal.

If it helps, it takes me about two years to truly get over someone, so I generally handle breakups one day at a time with the knowledge that each day that passes is one day close to the two year point when I will finally be over it.
posted by Shouraku at 2:55 PM on April 29, 2013 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: "what is your question? What should you do now?"

I don't mean to continually to respond to this, but yea thats my question, probably should have included that in the main question.
posted by YoungConfusedMan at 2:57 PM on April 29, 2013

I went through a breakup in the middle of a bout of depression. If you really want to move on and feel better, you should seriously consider therapy and medication, especially since you were already dealing with depression before the breakup happened.

Depression won't get better on it's own, and the chances of having a major depressive episode increase with each one.

The thing is this is not about her. Not anymore. This is about you. You can't blame yourself for feeling whatever it is you're feeling. You can't feel guilty about the breakup itself or anything that led to it. You also won't help yourself by blaming her. Just leave her out of the equation.

It's okay to feel the way you do right now. But if you want to feel better, I believe you should seek professional help. I wish I had when this happened to me. I entered a spiral that took me several years to escape from.
posted by ronofthedead at 3:02 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

It sounds like you're doing the right things -- hanging out with friends, getting exercise, making a doctor's appointment. I'd also recommend some variety of talk therapy -- not just because of these, but because you have serious depression and you need help with that.

Don't lose sight of the fact that it's just been a few days -- we're not talking like 3 years down the line and you still feel it so fresh, you feel it fresh because it IS fresh. And it's hard. But with work and time you'll be OK.
posted by brainmouse at 3:03 PM on April 29, 2013

"I still care about you" and that kind of thing is shit pretty much everybody says when they're breaking up with someone. It may or may not be true but it's irrelevant: She doesn't want to be in a relationship with you anymore. It's sad, but it happens. Any contact she wants now is to comfort herself that she hasn't done that bad a thing. You aren't obligated to comfort her anymore, so keep your distance, and good on you for recognizing that it wasn't healthy for you to engage.

Sometimes it takes not just a week but, seriously, months to really get back to being yourself, after a breakup, but it still happens. Take your time, take care of yourself. Get enough sleep, eat well, do things you find fun. Accept that a lot of totally stupid things will make you crazy sad for awhile. (OH MY GOD THAT TOOTHBRUSH LOOKS JUST LIKE HERS.) It will happen less and less as time goes on.
posted by Sequence at 3:04 PM on April 29, 2013 [6 favorites]

It sounds like you're in a really bad place right now; I'm sorry.

This has done very little to keep my depression at bay, so I decided to make an appointment with my doctor to arrange for an SSRI prescription or something of the like (I also have very bad anxiety).

This sounds like a really good idea, and you should definitely do this. You could also ask your doctor about talking to a therapist, which could be really helpful both with the overall depression/anxiety and with your questions about your relationship with your ex-girlfriend specifically.

I was utterly blindsided and there had been very little warning signs.

From your description, it kind of sounds like your ex-girlfriend may have had a different communication style than you, and she may have been trying to tell you she wasn't happy in ways that weren't easy for you to see, especially given your depression. It's OK if you can't see that now. The thing is, she doesn't need a "good enough" reason to break up with you, so worrying about whether her reasons were good enough isn't going to help you right now. Work on getting you better, not on post-gaming the end of the relationship. You're what's important right now.
posted by pie ninja at 3:08 PM on April 29, 2013 [4 favorites]

A week and a half is not enough time to get over someone you were with for a year and a half. It's going to hurt for a while. You're making all the right moves and pursuing all the right help, but you're still going to have to go through the stages of grief.

You are describing a fairly common young-adult breakup. She just kind of put a bunch of crap in a hat and said "here's your hat full of crap that I'm using as the grounds to break up with you when really it's just not working out for me but I don't know how to own that so...hat full of crap. Ciao."

Take care of you and leave her to herself. Change sucks, and change we don't choose sucks worse. It will get better. You will find better.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:20 PM on April 29, 2013 [14 favorites]

Look, I feel sorry for you. Breakups can be earth shattering, heart breaking, depression inducing. You need to worry about taking care of yourself and being gentle with your emotions. That probably means cutting her out of your life because even the thought of her is painful for you right now.

BUT. It seems like there is anger toward your ex, and some of of it reads like red flags to me. She knew you were depressed and broke up with you anyway? That's her prerogative, because taking care of your mental health is your concern, not hers. She shouldn't have to stay in a relationship where she is miserable simply because her partner is depressed. It also possibly took a toll on her mental/emotional health.

Maybe I'm the only one getting this vibe, but it disturbed me... I think you should really talk to a therapist, not your ex (or even your friends), about these confusing emotions. They are trained to help in this exact situation, and will know how to guide you out of your bad time. It will get better, I promise.
posted by fireandthud at 3:36 PM on April 29, 2013 [25 favorites]

"I just need a break" is an ill-conceived but very common way of trying to soften the blow by making it seem like the relationship will continue later. I should know, at one point I said that to my very recently ex-girlfriend of a year, with whom I've also been broken up for a week. I didn't mean I needed a break. I meant I was done. That's what she means too. I am sorry about that. Reverse the roles and a few of the details, and your post could be accurately framed as my recent life. I do not disagree with Lyn Never's hat of crap analogy, except that I think the feces in question is all of the qualifying "maybe later tho" shit. That sucks, and it sucks to hear someone say they love you but don't want to be with you, which is why it's good you're not in contact anymore so you don't have to hear it. She's out; that's all that really matters; her reasons are not your problem and somehow understanding them won't ease the pain.

As for what you should do now: some of the things you're doing are great, some not so great. Hanging out with friends, biking, not having any contact with her, that's all fine. Getting drunk and/or high a few times is fine too, although it'd be better to find a couple friends who are willing to babysit you and be a shoulder when you do. Getting drunk and/or high every night or close to it isn't fine, so don't do that. Getting drunk and/or high as a medication against pain is very not fine. You should probably stop punching the wall.

Many depressions are effectively the brain telling the body it is experiencing severe trauma. Dr. Robert Sapolsky, in this video, compares it to being gored by an elephant. If you have been gored by an elephant, you're probably not at that moment going to think about sex, or enjoy your favorite music, or wish that your friends were around more. All of those anhedonic reactions are hallmarks of depression, but they are also fairly common and normal reactions to a painful breakup. Seeing a doctor is a good idea; so is medication treatment if you and your doctor agree on a course of action.

Breakups are a lot like losing a loved one, except that you might have to still hear about their ghost doing annoyingly fun things from time to time. You wouldn't expect to be over losing someone a week and a half later. Give yourself a break, allow it to be ok that this hurts and is terrible and all the rest of it. Distract yourself in positive ways when you can, but give yourself permission to be sad and hurt about a really sad and hurtful thing. Dodging it won't make the pain go away and will make it worse when it becomes unavoidable later. I'm very sorry this is happening to you.
posted by Errant at 3:42 PM on April 29, 2013 [3 favorites]

I'm sorry that you're hurting. Breakups and depression both suck but you will get through this. It's been less than two weeks. Time heals all wounds. It's understandable to feel sad after a breakup and even "dead inside" temporarily. But if you feel dead inside for more than a few weeks, you need to see a doctor.

I don't think it's fair to blame her for your worsening depression. In a healthy relationship, both partners are okay independently and better together. Neither partner is miserable without the other. No one person should be another person's everything. It's not healthy. It's not your girlfriend's job - or any other partner's job - to hold your hand indefinitely when you're depressed. She's not your doctor or your mother. That doesn't mean that she has the right to be cruel but you have to take responsibility for your own health. If you can't be healthy without her, that's not a relationship - that's a hostage situation.

This reads like you think your feelings are more important than hers. You dismiss her reasons for breaking up with you as unimportant and when she said that you made her feel badly for hanging out with her friends, you said that it wasn't true. And if she wants to take drugs, that's her choice. Honestly, it sounds like you do need to be more independent and that she has every right to feel like she doesn't want the responsibility of being your girlfriend.

A relationship is an at-will thing. She doesn't have to give you a warning. When either partner wants to leave, they are free to leave. She doesn't have to justify it to you. Again, this doesn't give her the right to be cruel but putting "reasons" in quotes illustrates that you don't think her feelings are as valid. And they might not be, but they're her feelings and she is as entitled to her feelings as you are to yours.

When my mom died, I felt like the old kat518 and the current kat518 were different people. I felt like nothing was ever going to be the same. In some ways, yeah, things weren't the same but not everything. I pretended everything was okay and asked myself, what would the old kat518 do in this situation? The thing with pretending everything is okay is that it's like re-writing a habit. If you pretend that everything is okay for long enough, eventually it is okay. Old kat518 liked running and doing yoga and volunteering so I started doing those things again. It turned out that the new kat518 liked them too. Maybe I went someplace else for yoga or ran a different route or volunteered someplace new but the things stayed the same - it was just the details that changed.

I don't doubt that this has been painful but please try to learn from it. Crying is okay. Good God, it has been less than two weeks. Don't talk to her. Try not to think about her. Hang out with your friends. See a doctor. Keep riding your bike. A breakup is like a death and you're allowed to mourn the death of a relationship. When I have an uncomfortable feeling, I like to pretend that I'm rational and I tell myself, this is a feeling and feelings are temporary.

You'll get through this. Good luck.
posted by kat518 at 4:01 PM on April 29, 2013 [6 favorites]

One of the best things you can do is have NO CONTACT for at least 6 months. It will hurt, but having a chance to redefine your life without her and will help you to heal up faster. After you're over her, you can reestablish contact if you want.

When I've had to get over breakups, I've cried and I've gone running. I'm not a runner, but it helped me to go out and burn off all of that sadness. Get out and do stuff with friends and try not to rely on drugs/booze. Writing angry or sad letters (and never sending them) also helped me to get things out of my system. It doesn't seem like it now, but you will get to a place where you've healed completely, your libido will be back, and you won't feel any more sadness about this.
posted by quince at 5:46 PM on April 29, 2013

1. If you possibly can, get 8 hours of sleep every night and eat three meals a day that have more than one food group (each).
2. Keep riding your bike or going for a walk or getting out of your house every day and cling to it as a ritual because it really is going to make you feel better.
3. Keep spending time with your friends even if you are a bummer to be around.
4. Try to stop contacting your girlfriend on a one-day-at-a-time basis. You don't have to never talk to her again, but try to not talk to her for the rest of today. Then try again tomorrow.
5. Know that it's going to be really painful and try to stay open to the pain or at least let yourself experience how much it hurts. It's easy to run away into a video game or a seventeen hour Netflix marathon or alcohol or whatever your vice is, and it's just really not fun to come back out into the light from that after you engage in some intensive escapism to get away from something devastating.
6. This might be one to just keep in the back of your mind, but the really painful stuff in life can be what ends up making you grow and pushes you forward as a human being.

This is tried and true advice. I've had some bad breakups. It's going to really suck. You'll make it to the end of the tunnel and there will be light.
posted by mermily at 6:34 PM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

What you should do now is be alone or with friends, as you need, be kind to yourself, don't do anything rash, don't drink much, have no contact with her, cry when you have to, and wait.

For months. It will pass. Very gradually.
posted by ead at 7:38 PM on April 29, 2013

Everything ead says, plus, as your strength returns, continue on with doing what you love and putting together your awesome future and self. Someone else will eventually discover you and love what they find.
posted by lathrop at 7:49 PM on April 29, 2013

I was already very depressed around the time of the breakup, she knew this but she decided to break up with me anyway. It made my depression about 100 times worse.

I will be frank: her job was not to babysit you in your depression; her job was to be in a relationship with you. If you want help with your depression, start seeing a therapist, and accept that she hasn't "made" your depression worse...you're just now feeling the full force of the depression that was already there, now that she's not around to distract you from it and bear some of the burden of it.

Go see a therapist and start working on your depression. It's time.

Oh, and:

After all of this heartbreak, she has the god damn audacity to claim she still loves me. She even said something like "I still want to be with you in the end". And that she just needs a "break", maybe for a long while.

YOu know what? It might be true. It might not be true. It doesn't actually matter, because what she's basically telling you is that your depression is preventing you from having this relationship. Instead of getting angry at her, or at yourself, start working on your depression. When you've made progress with that, everything else will be better. Everything. And until you do, nothing will be.
posted by davejay at 8:12 PM on April 29, 2013 [5 favorites]

I dated my first girlfriend for two years. One year out of college I moved cross country to LA, unemployed and directionless about my future. A few months in, BAM, my girlfriend blindsides me and says she wants to breakup over the phone. The girl I thought I would spend the rest of my life with. She already knew I was going through a rough time but that didn't stop her. The first few days I played video games and watched TV until I passed out. I wanted to make sure I didn't have the opportunity to even think about her because it made me so depressed.

A month later I make the stupid decision of visiting her for a final goodbye in person, and even hoped that maybe we could patch things up and try again. When I get there she holds my hand, leans on me, and kisses me as if we were still dating. But nothing changed and she had no intention of getting back together. So this goes on all the way until I finally go to the airport. As I'm leaving the car the last thing she says to me is "are you gonna be okay?" I don't respond and just walk away. For a long time I held a lot of anger and resentment towards her. It took me a good 6 months before finally moving on enough where thinking about her didn't give me a knee jerk angry emotion.

In the end, time really does heal all wounds. Cry, exercise, read, play video games, hang out with friends, do random hobbies, cry some more and then repeat the process all over again. Eventually you'll learn to move on and gain perspective. Many of us have been there so take comfort in the fact that millions of people have gone through this exact same pain. I really, really know what you're feeling and just thinking about your sorrow makes me feel for you.

Fast forward 5 years and I'm dating a new girl that I plan to marry. I love her and am infinitely more happier with her than I was with my ex. I've learned to forgive my ex and appreciate that although painful, I grew wiser. The pain will pass my friend. Keep on movin...
posted by Wanderer7 at 1:08 AM on May 2, 2013

« Older Geriatric mental health professionals in Balt/Wash...   |   Where can I purchase a non-oem version of Windows... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.