Getting Over A Craptastic Relationship
May 25, 2013 2:31 PM   Subscribe

So, I was together with someone for 16 months and things were 'okay' for most of that time. We moved in together and things rapidly unraveled as I came to some sharp realizations about the way things were going and asserted my needs--she immediately got squirrelly, the relationship ended soon after. I feel like a heartbroken idiot and don't know how to move beyond my pain. The entire saga is inside.

So, I was friends with a woman for about 9ish months or so. Most of that time she was in a relationship, she also staunchly identified identified as a lesbian, so I didn't consider her a romantic prospect.

She asked me to help her with a web project and while working closely with her I became infatuated with her, even though I knew she was dating several people. So I made my move, sent her this epic 7 page text message declaration of romantic intent. She dumps the other three people, we get together.

Before I actually got close to her I saw her as being strong, aloof, and independent.. over the course of the relationship I realized she was really insecure and has very low self-esteem. I tried to be supportive of her; Giving her validation and reassurance.

She would get snappish and angry when she didn't get attention from me as often as she wanted or the kind of attention she wanted. I'm the sort of person who periodically gets very immersed in things and forgets to come up for air. She reached out to me in a way that was framed as though I was doing something TO her, rather than in a way that was about me. (e.g. 'Hey, I thought you might need some air.) And in terms of the kind of attention: She on a few occassions got weirdly angry at me for not asking her about her friends or her home country. Even though we talked about those things and I always listened and asked questions. I guess it wasn't enough for her or something.

Now, the entire time we were together she was in school and my nose was mostly on the grindstone, increasing my skills to end a period of underemployment, and after that working for clients as often as possible. So both of our social circles contracted a bit. (It's normal for my social life to contract when I'm really involved in something though.)

We tried to work together for a while, but whenever we had work sessions she would get frustrated and emotional and go from coworker to needy girlfriend in no time flat, ending the session.. so I called it off because I realized we were never going to be successful together.

Anyway, I really liked her, despite her flaws, and things were mostly okay. Spending time with her was a great way to unwind from work, I felt safe when I with her most of the time, and she was a very important part of my life.

Then last fall she starts making noises about moving in together. I liked her and wanted to see more of her, but also she asserted that she wanted a domestic relationship and that if I wasn't going to do that we may as well break up.

So, we create a plan, first I move into her place for a month, while I do some work on my house to accomodate her presence, then she moves into my place.

A week or two before the plan was enacted we had a big fight. She called me up one night, after it was already pretty late, and I'd been working heavily, trying to finish projects before the big life change, I'd also been doing a lot of family stuff around the holidays.. I was just completely drained. She wanted me to come see her (she never offered to come to me) and I told her I just couldn't do it. Then she started pushing, and I asked her to stop pushing, and told her that I really just needed some alone time to recharge so I'd be able to get through the things I had ahead of me. Even after I asked her to stop pushing, she kept pushing, and I told her that the pushing was making me nervous about moving in together, that I was afraid that she would disrupt my ability to recover from the effort of meeting my obligations. She took this to mean that I didn't want to move in with her and that I was backing out and got really upset, even as I told her that I wasn't backing out, but this was an important boundary. Then she said she had to get off the phone with me.

I meet her at her place the next night and she lays into me. She tells me that I'm unreliable, that I never do what I say I'm going to do, that my career as a freelance web developer is a stupid dream that will never come to fruition, and that I won't amount to anything and that I'm ruining her life by backing out and now she has no place to go. I tell her again that I'm not backing out and that I don't know what she's doing but I didn't come here to break up with her. Then I throw some reassurance and validation at her and we end up reconciling.

When I moved into her place.. things changed. I realized that her emotional stability was a lot less than I thought it was: She was crying alot and needing a lot more attention, validation, and reassurance than she had before. I figured she was just stressed out from school and nervous about moving or whatever.

So, she moves in with me and the first couple of days were great. Then shit got real. She started crying every time she came home. Asking me when I was going to do house things but never offering to help. Accusing me of trying to turn her into a nagging girlfriend. I call her on placing demands on me without offering to help me with anything and she apologizes for it later.

We sort of get on for the next few weeks, but she's not putting anything into the homefront or into the relationship, she's just crying and taking my support, also crying on the phone to her parents and getting them to help her with her schoolwork. I know she's busy with school, but I'm feeling completely drained at this point--so I tell her, I tell her that I appreciate that her school is taxing but if this is going to work she has to put into the relationship, she can't just take.

So, her spring break is coming up, and I'm viewing this as an opprotunity to spend some time together and work on some things. But she makes and cements a plan to go to her home country for her entire spring break--right after she moved into my house! I stew about this for a few days and then before she leaves I decide to talk to her about it, basically a rehash of the previous discussion. I call her on being a non-contributing partner in the relationship, on not including me in her decisions that affect me, or taking my feelings into account at all. She admits to this behaviour and promises to improve when she returns, she just needs a vacation, we reconcile. She leaves for her spring break--Hey, at least we'll have her summer vacation, right?

She calls me from her home country and asks me to marry her and move there. Lots more tears. At this point I'm like 'WTF?' Anyway, we keep talking and she tells me she's having some kind of emotional breakdown, but she loves me and wants to stay together or whatever.

So, she comes home. I stay up waiting for her but she doesn't get in until late and I go to sleep. I wake up and find her sleeping on the couch, I wake her up and take her to bed. In the morning we have some pretty good sex and then she tells me she's decided that she's going to quit school after the semester ends and move back to her home country. Another decision she didn't include me in, lays this on me with no warning. She says that I could come with her or we could do a long distance thing or something? I guess that was the consolation prize or something.

Now, I'm really upset, I feel as though I've been completely jerked around, so I tell her how I'm feeling and what I think of what she's doing and what she's done. She basically just listens mutely, we have a few of these conversations.

I hit a point where I just don't feel emotionally safe living with her (I caught myself hiding in the bathroom after bathing, because I didn't want to face her.) and I ask her to move out as soon as possible. Things are up and down until she goes. I keep being supportive of her and pouring energy into her and not getting anything back, but old habits die hard.

A few weeks later she moves out. (We lived together for about three months total.) I go to visit her once at her new place the day after I helped her move.. it's totally weird. She spontaneously rubbed my shoulders, something that she has never done, and tells me she did it because a male friend of hers noticed she was sore and spotaneously rubbed her shoulders, so then she realized I must be sore and decided to rub mine. Why she told me this? I don't know. (Over the course of things she did tell me things that seemed to have no point but to inspire jealousy, for example: Telling me about a male friend who was hitting on her when they were out drinking, asking me if I was okay with her marrying someone else for immigration purposes and they'd pay her 10K, stuff like that.) She initiates sex and it leaves me feeling really.. empty. I ask her for something small when we're parting, to walk to the store with me, it's silly but I just wanted to ask her for something and for her to say yes.

I call her up and tell her that I want to stay with her but she has to give, she's not been giving, she's only been taking and I'm feeling completely empty, I'm also really upset and that's showing as anger. We meet up for drinks a week later or so and she gets mad at me and tells me that I'm telling her bad things about herself and she doesn't like it and if I want to stay with her I can't say things like that and we should just break up. We agree to take a week to think about things. When I get home I text her and tell her that I still love her and I don't know WTF happened or WTF is going on but I want my girlfriend back, she tells me I'm really sweet and thanks me for all the flowery crap I always say about her.

Then the next day she calls me up and breaks up with me by way of forcing me to break up with her, saying she can't stand to see me making myself vulnerable to her and that I deserve better or whatever.

So, as I process this glorious clusterfuck that has just unfolded, we communicate by email and on the phone sometimes.. realizations about her behavior and the way she treated me bubble up and I share them with her. It's not a great time.

Shit levels off, we agree to go on a final date together after her semester ends, I begin seeing my therapist again. We do the final date thing, spend the whole night into the next day together showering each other in affection and love and validation. I lie to her a lot, when she asks me too. She needs to believe she's not a taker and a bad person and I know that she needs to believe this, so when she says she's not, I agree with her. I bid her goodbye, then I close her account. Bam, done.

So, I'm feeling like I found the good ending, however, she left some things at my house. She comes back exactly a week later, carrying a six pack of cider and a bag of chips (she says she was planning to watch a movie later and that's what that was about), she's wearing a short dress and some high high boots, and she's displaying need all over the place. Not two minutes inside the door the crying starts, she tells me how she misses me and she still loves me, and I respond to it. Fuck me, I respond to it, I still miss her.. she was never supposed to try to come back like this. I start giving her validation, reassurance, and love.. she asks me to lie to her some more and I do, we start touching each other, we have sex, very clear in that it means we're not getting back together. She also leaves without collecting her stuff.

A few days after that, I'm out and I get to thinking about her and I miss her so I call her with need, she's out with 'a friend'. So I go out, get riproaring drunk, hit on everything with legs, get home and notice she texted me at 5am asking me if I was still up to meet. I thought it was odd because who texts someone at 5am. We make a plan to meet this week to talk about everything.

So, a week from then, now we're at Friday, May 24, 2013.. also known as yesterday. She had cancelled on me for the day before and rescheduled to Friday, but she has limited time because she's going to 'a thing' (she's become very circumspect). So I go to her, and yes.. I have need. I need back some of that validation, reassurance, and love I gave to her.. but I know deep down that she doesn't give she only takes. So, that's exactly what happens. She even starts crying when I approach her that way and accuses me of crossing lines and blurring boundaries.. I guess she's the only one who is allowed to do that.

Anyway, I go home and do some thinking, then I have a realization. The friend she was out with last week and last night, she said she was 'not really' dating someone and that's who she's not really dating. She was friends with this person for a long part of the time we were together. I've never met this man, she never invited me to meet this man, and at the time when she was completely checking out of our relationship--taking from me and giving absolutely nothing--she was spending a lot of time with him. I highly doubt that the attraction suddenly manifested. Then I thought about it and realized that she always keeps a stable of admirers around to shower her with attention and validation. She was setting this shit up while we were together, treating me like shit, taking my energy and spending it with him.

So, now I realize that I need to be completely done with her. I don't want to get back together with her, I don't want to be her friend, I don't want to see her, I don't want to hear any news of her. I told her to come get her shat as soon as possible. Frankly, if she cancels the shit is going to the curb.

I don't know how to get on though. I feel pain, I've got a boatload of unmetneeds, I suck at pretending, and my emotional energy level--in terms of what I have left to share with other people--is at zero.

How do I move on? How do I commit to my work with this eating away at my psyche? I've tried to start dating again, but after she came back, I never called back the one woman I went on a date with and that ship sailed without me.I'm so upset/angry that it's physically hurting me. If I could edit her out of my memories I would do so without hesitation. I'm not an idiot but I let myself get completely taken for a ride.

I feel on edge and I'm worried about self-destructing, about losing everything that I worked so hard to build for myself over the last year, because I invested so heavily in this shit.

I'm sorry this is so long, MetaFilter.. I just know there are a lot of experienced people out here and I need some help. I'm doing the therapy thing but it's not working fast enough, I'm on edge and I need some advice to get through this patch.
posted by yonega to Human Relations (30 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
So... you guys sound like a horrible, horrible fit for each other. It sounds like you lost respect for her somewhere in there, and she's probably going through depression and/or stress issues with the frequent crying and what-not, and you need more alone time than she's able to give, and it sounds like you have a lot of contempt in there too... just, gah. It was a bad fit.

Also, the last time you saw her was... yesterday? Give it time. Lots and lots of time. Your friends/family/whoever will understand if your emotional energy level is at a low for awhile. Give yourself time to grieve, eat ice cream all day, whatever it is you want to do. You don't really have to pretend - yet. Honestly, with this being so recent all you can do right now is feel it. Once a few days have gone by, I'd do lots of whatever generally makes you feel better. Whether that's a lot of alone time, putting all your energy into your hobbies, spending it all with friends, whatever. Just do whatever you can to make off of what happened, don't contact her anymore/accept her calls, try not to get lost in thinking about what happened and what she did/didn't do in the relationship - because that's over.

As for your work - you just have to push through it, feel the pain while you're working and push anyway.
posted by Autumn at 2:45 PM on May 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

You need to stop blaming her for everything, first of all. Sometimes two ppl don't belong together and that's fine. But clean up your side of the street here, man. Everything is not her fault. You sound so contemptuous of her. You call her needy, you act as though everything is being done to you---like she forces you to be angry and fight? Oh come on.

Look, you sound like a really immature guy w/o much experience communicating with women. That's okay. Go read all the breakup threads, recognize your part in being a horrible fit with her, and stop blaming her for everything.

Also, the whole "she was wearing a short dress," etc is dumb. You guys don't fit, and you need to learn how to relate to women in less contemptuous and dismissive ways in order to have a good relationship with a woman.
posted by discopolo at 2:49 PM on May 25, 2013 [21 favorites]

Also, check yourself before you wreck yourself. Dramatic things like throwing her stuff to the curb is not okay. Pack it up for her, get a friend of yours to drop it off at her place, and wash your hands of all this. Take long deep breaths. And just because you're angry and confused doesn't give you license to be violent or express that anger in unconstructive ways. Be mature, look up anger management and breathing techniques, go play tennis against a wall---do whatever it takes to keep your temper and use all that energy in a non harmful way. It's possible, no one is saying you need to keep it all bottled up, but going ballistic is not the answer.
posted by discopolo at 2:58 PM on May 25, 2013 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Also, the whole "she was wearing a short dress," etc is dumb. You guys don't fit, and you need to learn how to relate to women in less contemptuous and dismissive ways in order to have a good relationship with a woman.

I am contemptuous and dismissive of her, now. I was not contemptuous and dismissive of her when we were together, now I am literally dismissing her from my life.

I put a lot of my time and energy into trying to make things work. I put in a good faith effort and worked constantly at being responsive to her needs. I don't blame her for having needs, in fact, I was willing to try to meet them. I blame her for taking and not giving. My emotional needs were left by the wayside. I didn't notice for most of the relationship I was able to manage the disconnect and I'm not that self-aware, after she moved in though it spiraled out of control in terms of the demands she was placing on my personal resources.

The dress comment may sound dumb.. but she showed up at my house displaying need, carrying my favorite drink, wearing the dress and boots I like best on her and that isn't an agenda? I only mention it because I pointed it out and she said she didn't have an agenda. I'm just trying to cognizant of what is happening and not make excuses or write things off as mysterious coincidences--that's how I get in trouble in the first place.

When you read my story please bare in mind that I loved this person very much and I gave her a lot, it may be hard, but take me at my word when I say this. I am very heartbroken and very upset, because the promises she made me turned out to be empty and I realized only at the end that most of my efforts were completely unreciprocated.
posted by yonega at 3:01 PM on May 25, 2013

Accept that you had a relationship that wasn't right for you. It's not anyone's fault. You each went into it thinking you'd be a couple and it didn't work out.

You have a need to blame her, you'll be so much happier if you just let the whole thing go. Just say, "it's no one's fault, we weren't good together." Just say it, over and over, eventually, the raw hurt will dissipate.

Don't date right now, don't randomly fuck or fuck with people right now. Just lick your wounds. Get involved in things that aren't romance or sex related. Build your business, volunteer, get out of yourself and into other people.

It gets better as time goes on, I promise.

Now, drop her like a hot potato. No phone, no meet-ups, no nothing. If she randomly appears simply say, "We're over, I'm getting over you, and I need to move on. Please leave."

You've got to go no communications right now.

In a month you won't ache. In three months, you might be optimistic. Now, you're a mess and you shouldn't be allowed near the stove or sharp objects.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 3:04 PM on May 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: And, RE: her stuff.

She's welcome to it, I want her to have it. I just need to move on, I don't need reminders or entry points.

If she doesn't take it away, I need to be shod of it and frankly delivering her stuff to someone else is basically doing her a favor and I'm done doing things for her.

I'm not violent or in danger of becoming violent.
posted by yonega at 3:06 PM on May 25, 2013


There were a bunch of red flags from BOTH OF YOU that should've ended this relationship. You kept it going way, way too long, and your bitterness and contempt for her grew. But please do take the above advice into account: you must start taking responsibility for your part in all of this. She isn't magic. She never forced you to continue engaging with her, living with her, having sex with her. You chose to do those things. Now it's time to let her go and focus on taking care of yourself.

Also this:
Then I throw some reassurance and validation at her and we end up reconciling.

I mean was she your girlfriend or your dog? The way you talk about her isn't healthy. Please keep seeing your therapist and work your way through these feelings.
posted by fireandthud at 3:07 PM on May 25, 2013 [21 favorites]

Response by poster: Also this:
Then I throw some reassurance and validation at her and we end up reconciling.

I mean was she your girlfriend or your dog? The way you talk about her isn't healthy. Please keep seeing your therapist and work your way through these feelings.

Well, I'm sorry for the way that sounds but I'm just trying to be clear about what I was providing to her, which are also the very things I wasn't really getting back. :/
posted by yonega at 3:10 PM on May 25, 2013

Best answer: I'm gonna go against the grain here and say that if you feel angry and upset you should roll with it. Take up kick-boxing, or any other strenuous exercise really for when you're feeling angry, and do whatever the equivalent of ice-cream on your sofa is for men when you're feeling down.

Make a list of priorities at work - focus on what is urgent or what generates a state of flow, in general, any activity which takes you out of yourself even if only for 20 minutes is good.

In a month or two when you're over the worst and feel more philosophical about things come back to this thread and go through the more thoughtful approaches - this will be necessary at some point. But for now, go punch a boxing sack or something.

In a few months, you'll start re-emerging, and you'll find your emotional resources filtering back, and when you go forward you want to have experienced whatever feelings you have now as well as digested them as suggested by the people above. This way, you are going to emerge on the other side wiser and with more self-knowledge (and less tolerance for people jerking you about, even if unconsciously. I understand your ex's issues, I too have been caught unawares and bruised by home country blues, and I too have been a jerk because of that, so I can imagine how horrible it must have been at both ends. All the best to you).
posted by miorita at 3:16 PM on May 25, 2013

Best answer: She didn't get into a relationship with you to fuck you over. She honestly thought it would be a two-way street. If she's half of what you're describing, she's seriously damaged and not really responsible for her crazy.

Please don't harbor resentment and bad feelings. I doubt she realizes how screwed up she is and she's doing the best she can with the pitiful tool kit she has.

So, be charitable. Chalk it up to "bitches be crazy" and "I'm too young to deal with complicated people". LEARN from this that you can't fix people. Also, people are who they are and they'll tell you over and over all about themselves. Key into that.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 3:17 PM on May 25, 2013 [8 favorites]

Response by poster: "I'm too young to deal with complicated people"

Thanks, this made me laugh. (I'm 30 and thought I was supposed to know everything by now, but.. yeah, I do have a lot of growing to do.)
posted by yonega at 3:20 PM on May 25, 2013

Mod note: Heya, yonega, it's fine if you need to add the rare clarifying comment here if something's specifically missing or misconveyed in the original question but you need to not use AskMe as a sort of chatroom or back-and-forth conversation where you're responding frequently. Let folks answer based on the substantial stuff you've already written.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:25 PM on May 25, 2013 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: [Sorry, I'll go readonly.]
posted by yonega at 3:28 PM on May 25, 2013

Best answer: A side note: lots of people have break-up sex, which is what you describe with the boots/chips/cider situation. You may not have thought of it as break-up sex, but it's pretty normal, things are charged, you're still partly attached to someone, etc.

Honestly, this all sounds pretty average for a youthful relationship between two awkward/nerdy people. She sounds like precisely the kind of girl that someone who sounds like you would fall for - she's charismatic and you're drawn to that because it makes you feel special, she dumps the three other people (really? that's a lot except for someone with serious poly skillz or a set of FWB relationships; it would set off warning bells for me - it suggests someone who wants lots of love and attention without being ready to provide them in return.) for you, which probably makes you feel like it's special and you're special.) and then it all gets messy. It sounds like you don't yet have the emotional skills to distinguish "strong" from "fucked up and unavailable" - that's okay! That can be confusing!

Honestly, this all sounds like a perfectly normal "I have not figured people out yet" relationship - I think a lot of people have one of those, maybe a little younger than you're having it, but still.

The fact that you wrote about a million words suggests to me that you feel a huge need to be heard (possibly a need to be right, which is not so great) and you might want to take that to your therapist - write the story down, tell it until you're sick of it.

I'm going to go against mefi wisdom here, though, and say that while you should acknowledge your own role in this and should not set her up in your head as a cartoon villain, it's okay to be angry. There will be a time in a year or two when you're dating someone more mature when you'll look back and you won't feel angry - you'll just wonder how she's doing and mostly wish her well. Recognize that fact - recognize that anger is just a feeling, it's not a truth.

How do you get past her? You get past her. You work on other stuff. You distract yourself. You do fun stuff and eat some treats and watch your favorite lightweight kind of movie.

One thing I found helpful was to visualize my imaginary next partner - not in a "they are perfect and really hot as well" way, but in a "what would we do for fun?" "what would happen if we argued?" "how would we interact with my parents?" "what kind of job and social life would they have" "what would we have in common?" way. This was really clarifying for me.

I'd also break out the old mefi chestnut - don't let yourself get so infatuated that the only possible outcome is a seven page text message. By the time that happens, you've cathected so strongly to that person that no matter what the outcome, it will almost certainly end up a mess. Ask someone out early, so that you can see what they are like before you're already preparing to walk fifty miles in the snow to bring them strawberries or whatever.
posted by Frowner at 3:29 PM on May 25, 2013 [29 favorites]

Best answer: frankly delivering her stuff to someone else is basically doing her a favor and I'm done doing things for her.

Keeping her stuff is an invitation to drama and further contact with her. If you keep it, eventually she's going to come around again, looking all cute, she'll cry, you'll have sex, she'll leave without her stuff. Again.

Throwing her stuff away is also an invitation to drama. She's going to come by and ask for it, looking all cute. You'll say you throw it away. She'll start to cry. You'll tell her how angry and hurt you were by her behavior. Etc etc. Then you have sex. Then you're back in the next day with your heart freshly broken. Then there will be new reasons for her to contact you - she'll want you to buy her new stuff or pay her for the stuff you threw out. More dropping by, more getting together to discuss things, more pain and heartache.

Takeaway: Putting her stuff in boxes and getting it to her is NOT something you do for her. It is something you do for you.
posted by bunderful at 3:33 PM on May 25, 2013 [12 favorites]

Response by poster: Clarification: We had formal breakup sex one week before the boots/chips/cider situation, we explicitly said that was going to be the last time we were going to love each other that way, then she came back for seconds.
posted by yonega at 3:33 PM on May 25, 2013

You need to chill out. You're in control of your emotions and no one can make you feel anything. You say you need immediate help, but unless you're suicidal, which you don't sound and that's a good thing, there's not much to help with a breakup rather than time and having good times with friends to take your mind off it.

Just let go of the bitterness, resentment and anger. You'll feel better and be healthier and happier.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 3:41 PM on May 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

Sweet jeebus.... this was NOT a good relationship for either of you, and you should count your lucky stars it's over. You need to stop the breakup sex and makeup sex and goodbye/hello/whatever sex; just stop, the relationship is OVER, and at this point you're just using each other.

Do you have any friends in common? Ask one of them to pick up her stuff and take it to her; or you can drop the stuff off with such a mutual friend yourself and she can later pick it up. If there's no one who can act as a middleman for you, then at a mutually-agreed time you can drop it all off on the sidewalk in front of her place, and it's her job to cart it inside --- but if you do this, DO NOT talk to her or go into her place or do **anything** but unload it all from your car. But whatever you do, make it clear that if no other plan is made, you will simply leave it all at her door (with a single email to tell her time & date).

With that single exception, her stuff, you need to go fully NO CONTACT from now on: no emails, no phone calls or texts or anything else. If you're facebook friends, don't just block her, de-friend her entirely and lock your fb page to just your friends. Break up, and MEAN it: don't keep up this breakup/makeup/breakup/makeup cycle, that's just gonna drive you nuts.

(oh yeah: if you haven't already, change all your door locks immediately!)
posted by easily confused at 4:36 PM on May 25, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I am not going to comment on any details of what happened; there may be lessons to be learned from all of it, but right now is not the time for working that out. And there is no question about what has to happen from here on out: it's over, full stop. No more contact.

So your question boils down to: how do I cope with the pain until enough time has passed for the wounds to heal? I would discourage you from turning to the lethal combination of George Jones and whisky. That sounds like a joke, and perhaps in some small way, I do mean it to maybe make you smile. But it's also serious. In the wake of the worst heartbreak I ever had, I fell into the habit of sad songs and scotch. That's OK for a while, say, during the most acutely painful stretch. But, do that any longer than a week or two, it will only prolong the agony.

Even if you succeed in avoiding things that you know will trigger certain memories, other unexpected things will crop up unbidden and remind you. And you will feel the pain again. You can't control that. And you do not need to push those feelings away, or squash them down; that will also only prolong the agony. So let yourself feel the sadness, or the emptiness, or the anger, or whatever else it is you may be feeling. Acknowledge it, accept it, but do not wallow in it. Just breathe. Just keep breathing. And it will pass.

Aside from that, take what little energy you feel you may have, and use it for building up the life you want for yourself. Even if you can take only the smallest of steps, do what you can, as long as it feels in your heart and your gut like it's a step in the right direction. How will you know what the right direction is? You won't, really, not in any rational way. But on a deep level, deeper than just fleeting emotions, you will know what feels right. This is what you might call 'having a little faith in yourself.'

And last of all: reach out to your trusted friends and loved ones. It's OK to want to be alone and lick your wounds. But try not to be alone for too long -- that way lies the path of loss of perspective and quiet desperation.

It will get better. It will not feel that way. In the meantime, just breathe.
posted by fikri at 5:14 PM on May 25, 2013 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Sounds like a typical breakup of a young, messy relationship. She needs to get hold of herself, you need to have your ass handed to you a few more times, but I promise You'll be okay. Your belly's gonna ache for a spell, though. For that I prescribe a healthy dose of late night ice cream and sad movies.
posted by Annika Cicada at 5:14 PM on May 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

you might want to check out co-dependents anonymous. i think it would help you.
posted by wildflower at 5:45 PM on May 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

You make it sound like she made you move in together, she made you put aside your needs for hers, she made you have sex by looking sexy.

You chose to move in with her after she hurled insults at you, she didn't make you. You prioritized her needs over yours--she may have been more vocal but your words and actions were your own. You decided to have sex with her after you broke up. You didn't say "here take your stuff" when she left.

I told her to come get her shat as soon as possible. Frankly, if she cancels the shit is going to the curb.

Do you want to be done with her, or do you want another opportunity to see her? Both of those options invite more drama. Just box her stuff up and leave it on the porch or arrange to meet her or have a friend do it. You're not doing her a favor, you're reclaiming your space.
posted by headnsouth at 6:55 PM on May 25, 2013 [11 favorites]

By understanding your written timeline, you're asking how to get over a long relationship when you last saw her yesterday????

Contact her once to tell her when she can drop off keys and get her things, don't be home and go no-contact.

Based on your very angry and blaming wall of text, you're clearly in a bit of an upset after this incredibly long relationship containing two people who did not function well as a couple.

So let her get her stuff, resolve to go no contact, and stick to it. Also stop thinking you know everything at 30, cut this woman some slack and move on.

Please get away from her, find some things to keep yourself busy and then at some point, please read this post and see how angry you are at her but also, how you take absolutely NO responsibility for this unfortunate relationship. I hope you really can learn from this.
posted by kinetic at 7:46 PM on May 25, 2013

Clarification: We had formal breakup sex one week before the boots/chips/cider situation, we explicitly said that was going to be the last time we were going to love each other that way, then she came back for seconds.

Good gods man, you don't SCHEDULE breakup sex.

Breakup sex is breakup sex exactly because it's messy and you're probably both still confused and still have feelings and desire for each other even though you cognitively know it's not gonna work out. That's like, the dictionary definition.

And she didn't force you. She may have been trying to see if you still had feelings, yes absolutely, but that doesn't force you to have feelings or act on them; you did that.
posted by celtalitha at 9:28 PM on May 25, 2013 [5 favorites]

Text her and tell her her stuff is going to be out on your porch in on Xday at X o'clock. Put it on the porch. If it is still there on trash day, text her again and stick it out on the curb.

Don't see her again. After texting her about the stuff, block her number. Block her email (set up a filter if you have gmail to go straight to trash). Don't call her, no matter what. Enlist some friends for support on this.

But, no matter what - you need time and distance. Don't see her again.
posted by arnicae at 10:53 PM on May 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Well, I dropped all her stuff off with her roommates today, while she's out of town this weekend and unfriended her on the Facebook, blocked her on Google talk, and routed her number straight to voice mail on my phone.

I lied to her and I lied to myself a lot about her. I wanted to believe things that weren't true and I tried to make them true even though they weren't my things to control and that's my fault.

I let myself get hurt and then I went back for more, instead of caring for myself--That's something I'm more mad at myself for than I am mad at at her over. I don't believe she's a bad person but she was bad to/for me and I'm terribly wounded by everything that has happened.

I wanted to be a happy idiot more so than a lonely clever person, I guess, and I'm going to have to deal with my own codependent tendencies.

I posted this question because my shit is not particularly together, I've come a long way (through therapy and other self-help) to get past my abusive childhood and some of the very damaging relationships I've had in the past and I guess I just feel like it's all happening again, after I've worked so hard to get a better life for myself. In the past when stuff like this has happened in my life, it has completely debilitated me and sent me into spirals of depression lasting months to years, in which I lost everything and had to start over.. I was just afraid of that happening again. I'm not suicidal, but I'm afraid of self-destruction, I'm afraid that one day I'll have nothing in my life but bad memories.

Thank you all for your advice, especially those of you who told me things I didn't want to hear.
posted by yonega at 11:01 PM on May 25, 2013 [4 favorites]

You have been through a lot, yonega. Keep your resolve to stay away from this woman who is not a good match for you. I hope you meet someone wonderful. Good luck.
posted by Cranberry at 11:06 PM on May 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm glad you have taken these steps, yonega.

Something else that stood out to me is your attempts to get her to provide what you didn't get from her in the relationship. But it doesn't really work that way. There's no "IOU comfort and reassurance" chit to cash in. Cut your losses, let go of what you feel you are owed. If she really did "owe" you it would simply be another roadblock to letting go and recovery, because you would still be talking to her.

But letting go of what you are owed seems really painful, probably, because it's an acknowledgement that this really is over. That's ok. Pain is part of the process, we all struggle with it, and you can handle it.

Good luck.
posted by bunderful at 6:27 AM on May 26, 2013 [5 favorites]

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters
By Portia Nelson

Chapter One
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost .... I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter Two
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend that I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in this same place.
But, it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter Three
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in ... it's a habit ... but, my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter Four
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter Five
I walk down another street.
posted by Jacen at 3:29 PM on May 26, 2013 [28 favorites]

Best answer: I am sorry that you are going through this, and that some responses here appear so harsh given that you broke up recently and seem to be so raw. I guess we all reflect some (or a lot?) of our own experiences in our answers... Certainly not an easy thing to hear right away after the breakup but in a few months/years time maybe you can appreciate the comments and make changes where they can really be controlled - within yourself.

It is clear from your post that you were heavily invested in this relationship, and when you love hard, you fall hard. Based on this post your ex does seem to be a fairly manipulative person. Asking you to move to her home country is probably the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard from a foreigner and I can tell you that this one thing clearly tells how out of touch with reality she really is- or how much power she thinks she has over you. There are clearly things that you could have done differently yourself to avoid the drama and pain and falling back again and again into the same cycle and that's the part that you process over time when the raw feelings fade a little. It is much easier to lay the blame all on the other person but you want to decide whether you want to grow bitter or better from this experience. I recommend reading How to be an adult in a relationship by David Riccho and to paraphrase an excellent statement from the book- you can let a bird fly over your head but its up to you to let it build a nest in your hair. Glad to know you are in therapy!

I hope you know that what you are going through is grief. It can't really be willed away and it will surprise you till its run its course, and then some. Wisdom doesn't always come with age- it has more to do with what you do with the experiences you have had, and if you even try to correct your own attitudes and behaviour for the better. I wouldn't worry about your age or how long it takes you to get through this phase- it may be helpful to ignore advice to the contrary. There are some excellent threads on how to get through a rough breakup and some really good comments therein. Exercise, sleep and diet are three things you can control that will really affect your overall well being. And, to that add a goal that you can accomplish (or step up in levels) in a month or two, and more. Just one thing that you pour your heart and soul into, that isn't directly beneficial to you. Also do what you need to, to keep your sanity. Sometimes we sabotage ourselves in much subtler ways than using alcohol or substances. It is important to be aware of the difference between when it is really helping in moderation and when you cross over the line into dangerous territory. While having patient friends is great (and its good to be in therapy when those fail you) you really have to be your own friend, parent and caretaker.

The only way is through: one day at a time, one hour at a time.
posted by xm at 3:47 PM on May 28, 2013

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