How to deal with a breakup when your girlfriend leaves you?
January 14, 2014 9:27 PM   Subscribe

How to deal with a break up when your girlfriend breaks up after 9 months?

So me and my girlfriend dated for 9 months. We had ton of fun, and had great time. Unfortunately, my poor communication skills with her made the relationship come to an end (see my previous questions). I told her that Im willing to go see a therapist to help me understand people better. But she broke up with me. Now that she's gone, I realize how much I loved her. I want to know what can I do to improve my self and make sure not to make the same mistakes in my next relationship. To better understand where Im coming from, you can refer to my last few questions. They pertain to the same girl. I didn't know this was coming so it is a shock to me. I obviously still love her and want to get back with her if I can.

We haven't talked for couple of days but she said "We gotta talk" the last time we talked. She also said we're done. Since this is my first break up, I get very emotional. Even when we were dating and I hurt her feeling, and it made me cry when I realized what I did.

Anyways, what can I do to make sure this break up goes smoothly as possible? And what can I do to focus on to improve my communication with other people in general.
posted by Parh6512 to Human Relations (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You were willing to go to therapy for the sake of your relationship; are you willing to go for the sake of you?

Don't put the weight of getting her back on this process; if you've got skills that need improving or other qualities to work on, do that for yourself and your future relationships.

I'm sorry you're so sad. Breakups are awful, but the really painful parts will pass.
posted by rtha at 9:36 PM on January 14, 2014 [5 favorites]

rtha's answer was spot on, you have no control over her, focus on yourself. Identify some goals ("to improve my communication with other people in general") with the help of a therapist if necessary, and work to achieve them.
posted by HuronBob at 9:42 PM on January 14, 2014

Anyways, what can I do to make sure this break up goes smoothly as possible?

Leave her alone and develop fulfilling habits that make you happier in general.

And what can I do to focus on to improve my communication with other people in general

Read How to Win Friends and Influence People and in particular take to heart its advice to avoid criticizing and understand where others are coming from instead of arguing your own position too hard.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 9:43 PM on January 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

The best thing to do is leave her alone and start working on improving yourself and keep busy.
posted by empath at 10:06 PM on January 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

Im willing to go to therapy for the sake of my self and future relationship. Any advice whether I should go to a psychologist or a actual therapist? I searched and both of them offer therapy services? How do I tell them that I have this problem?
posted by Parh6512 at 11:25 PM on January 14, 2014

To be honest, I'm not 100% sure you need therapy as much as some self-reflection and maturity. There's nothing in your questions that reads to me like anything but immaturity combined with some cultural misunderstandings. You're smart enough to figure out what went wrong here. Just spend some time on your own and try not to make the same mistakes in your next relationship. You'll probably make different ones the next time. That's just the way that life is. You make mistakes and you learn.

But if you really want to go into therapy, it's kind of a personal preference thing -- read up on your options.
posted by empath at 11:42 PM on January 14, 2014 [10 favorites]

Yeah, few people handle their first serious relationships well, but it's not necessarily a crisis or something you won't figure out on your own.

If you do feel you're in crisis or know that you have patterns of behavior to overcome, consulting a professional may be very important. But if you're able to go about your daily routines without becoming despondent and you're mainly just wondering what went wrong in this relationship, perhaps you could start from the observation that many, many relationships end naturally when the initial 'crush' fades--usually no more than six months to two years. Nine months is right on target. And there's not necessarily anything you can do about that. Wonderful people get dumped sometimes when their partner just isn't feeling something anymore.

But you're not wrong to ask for basic tips on how to be more resilient, diplomatic, etc. Those kinds of life skills actually are pretty important to igniting a lifelong relationship during the six months to two years when a couple is just gaga for each other. The good news is they're conceptually simple skills and mostly amount to making yourself a source of positive reinforcement for yourself and your partner, not making yourself a source of negative reinforcement for yourself or your partner, and being open to how your partner evaluates what's good and what's bad.

The key indications that the right stuff isn't happening usually stand out pretty well: arguments, criticisms, defensiveness, anger, crying, etc. I see a couple of those things in your past questions, and when that stuff happens, you should start thinking, "Hey, maybe I've screwed up here. Certainly I'm party to a crappy memory. Too much of this can burn out a relationship and make people not want to be around each other at all. Knowing my partner and what they're trying to say, what is the fastest way to turn this around into something warm, loving, and deeply accepting?" Because if you can get a situation into that state, you and your partner both will have much better positions from which to articulate your most important needs and either get them met or else have serious but mutually respectful conversations about "why not."

I don't see anything in your questions that suggests that's not a habit you can acquire. It's just not something you can go back and try when a relationship is over--the relationship being over is a very big reason "why not."

Anyway, maybe I'm reading too much of what's typical into your situation, but it doesn't seem out of the ordinary at all. Just painful, for which you have my sympathies.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 1:21 AM on January 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

My friend, this relationship is over. You're going to start the process of improving yourself and identifying your mistakes to avoid repetition if you accept this and move on.

She broke up with you in November and you asked us what it meant. We told you it meant that she broke up with you. You guys have obviously still been talking or on good terms, or maybe you got back together, but it sounds like she's drawn another line by saying, "We're done."

The number one, most important thing you can do to have an effective relationship with anyone -- a girlfriend, your mailman, your boss, your garbage man -- is to hear and respect what they are saying. Even -- maybe especially -- when you disagree.

She said you're done, so you're done. It's your first relationship and you're young. You seriously need to let this go, and bravo to you for seeking ways to improve your communication skills for future relationships.

Anyway, to make this breakup go as smoothly as possible, I would recommend ceasing communication with her. This will give you the time and space to mourn the relationship and engage in self-reflection. And I don't mean, "try not talking to her for a week," I mean, end communication, period, indefinitely. Take her number out of your phone, take her off your online contact lists. Collect the detritus of the relationship (gifts, notes, pictures), put them in a box and put it in a closet or under your bed.

Start journaling. Writing helps me as much or more than talk therapy. Write about what happened, where you think it went wrong, how the relationship would have looked if it had been ideal. This is also a tool you can use to improve your communication. If you find yourself writing, "If she only understood," focus on what you wish she'd have understood and think of ways to communicate that more clearly to a different person.

Most of relationship experience comes necessarily from, well, experience. You can't meditate on how to have your ideal relationship, then go out and find it. You have to date many, many people so you can discover both what you want out of another person *and* refine what you have to offer. Once you've recovered from this breakup, slowly put yourself out there for casual dating, keep writing and enjoy this time of your life where you can get to know so many interesting people.
posted by mibo at 4:12 AM on January 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

People always pine after the ones they've lost. And always in hindsight, you think they were the one, and you loved them, and you'll never find anyone else like them.


It's natural to feel the way you are. I wouldn't say 'immature.' I would say 'inexperienced.' With more breakups, more understanding comes. And yes, it'll happen again. And you'll be hard pressed to keep yourself from reacting in mostly the same way.

Just don't be that guy that stalks and writes letters and poems and sends mixed tapes. (ok, I'm dating myself here.)

If you want to learn more about you, plenty of good suggestions up there. Don't take others advice on 'therapy.' If you feel it'd help you to talk it out with a relationship coach - do that.
posted by rich at 5:11 AM on January 15, 2014

Here is a link to the Matt Ufford Post-Break-Up Guide. It seems pretty reasonable and common-sense based, and sometimes it is nice to have things laid out as a plan.
posted by joelhunt at 6:41 AM on January 15, 2014

Oh, hi.

I'm in a similar situation right now in many ways: I'm a first-generation Indian in his mid-twenties, relatively inexperienced with relationships, just got out of a 7-month relationship with a non-Indian. I had the same weirdness talking to my parents about it. It was also a tricky relationship in some ways, but probably for different reasons.

I'm posting mainly to agree with the wisdom in the thread. After a breakup, I tell myself: In one year, you can look back at this and see it as a time of sorrow or as a time of growth. It's up to you.
posted by your hair smells like cheese! at 8:29 AM on January 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

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