How to forget her... when I see her every day.
August 1, 2016 5:02 PM   Subscribe

How can I forget the powerful romance that I had with someone who has left me... when I see her daily? It was the most passionate relationship in my life and lasted only five months. It was more powerful than my ten plus year marriage. How do I get over this?

This woman, let's call her Bug, was the most powerful romance I have had. I loved her more than I think anyone in my life. We were romantic for only five months but they were an amazing five months. I left my wife for her. We moved in together, the sex was beyond amazing. I'm haunted by her because I see her daily. It's worse than that though. I'll be driving and will be reminded of her secret evil smile during sex. I can't breathe without thinking of her.

How do I move on? How can I let her go? What can I do to get closure? It hurts when I breathe. This was no ordinary loss.

How have you dealt with this in the past?
posted by Draccy to Human Relations (26 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
You haven't explained the situation for why you see her daily. Do you work in the same office? Live in the same house? Understanding the context and extent of this may be helpful for answers.
posted by nightrecordings at 5:14 PM on August 1, 2016 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: We work in the same office, but different departments. So I catch glimpses of her all day. I make good money there and can't leave the job. She texts me at work through our messaging system, just enough to keep me on the hook. I told her that my therapist wants me to tell her that she doesn't deserve me and I don't deserve her treatment, and somehow I end up with my head over heels anyway.

It hurts to breathe
posted by Draccy at 5:27 PM on August 1, 2016

How long ago was this? It sounds very fresh. As cliched as it sounds, time can help a lot. In the meantime, is there a way to block her on the messaging system?
posted by ELind at 5:34 PM on August 1, 2016

Response by poster: It's been a full year since she left. I'm haunted by her beauty and grace. Unfortunately they don't have a blocking feature at work. I wish they did. It would solve so much.
posted by Draccy at 5:37 PM on August 1, 2016

Best answer: I had this. IMO, nothing works but time and distance. The two things it seems like you cannot control.

Two years now and I'm finally, eventually, getting past it. Ended up on medication for anxiety and sleeplessness. It does get better. It does. I was lucky; was able to change jobs. God, I feel for you. It's a special kind of hell.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 5:39 PM on August 1, 2016 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I think it's time to go no contact. Explain to her that it's better for you if you don't communicate through the messenger or any other medium. Ask her to respect that. That way, you'll be able to start healing.
posted by delight at 5:40 PM on August 1, 2016 [9 favorites]

Best answer: Get into something else that is heady that is not icky. Some potential avenues:

Volunteer work that is intense, such as emergency services or at a hospice where you are comforting the dying.

Keep a journal to express your feelings.

Religion works for some people.

Artistic expression of some sort: write songs, write poetry, paint, sing your heart out.

It might help to journal about how she is toying with you. It sounds like a nasty thing to do and if you really write about that, it might make you mad instead of infatuated.

Embrace the big feels, but do something constructive with them. Letting her toy with you is not constructive.
posted by Michele in California at 6:01 PM on August 1, 2016 [5 favorites]

Best answer: So she managed to get you to leave your wife, then she left you but still likes to keep you on the hook, just to prove she can, even a year later. Sounds like it's a huge power kick for her. Time to nip it in the bud by taking it back. Try something like this. "You're the one who left so I don't understand why you keep contacting me. It's over and I've moved on. It's clear that you haven't. I'm sad for you that you can't get past me but you need to stop messaging me. I'm not interested."

She's getting off on your interest in you (she doesn't actually want you, she just likes knowing she could. Make it clear you find this behaviour sad and she will go from feeling like an object of desire to one of pity. In other words, shrivel her ego. It doesn't matter whether or not this is actually true, you need her to leave you alone. She's not healthy for you.
posted by Jubey at 6:03 PM on August 1, 2016 [40 favorites]

Best answer: Don't look at any of the work texts she sends you, and find ways of working around the office to avoid where she is. If need be, see if you can move your location in your office (if you have a large enough office space). Work from home more often. Find some things to do.

Also, use some techniques that (of all people) I learned from Tony Robbins. Think about what is taking over your mind, and then remove the color from that image. Then make it shrink away from you. Change the sound quality so it's tinny and annoying. Do this regularly, so that anytime you're obsessing over this person, you're controlling the image, instead of the image controlling you.

And maybe get a dog. Dogs are a lot of work and they are good for taking your mind off of people, because they're way better than people.
posted by xingcat at 6:15 PM on August 1, 2016 [7 favorites]

I've had a look at your past questions and I can't believe you are still romanticising this relationship after the impact it's had on your life. From what I can gather, you met this woman at work, fell in love, started a relationship, left your wife for her (though in one question you called it a rebound and in this question you admitted she was the cause of your breakup) your wife has moved on to someone else who presumably doesn't cheat on her and is happy.

Meanwhile, you've been hospitalised, had your finances decimated and live alone in a crappy apartment, regretting your poor choices and you're still thinking she was the greatest love of your life? I mean, I understand you made a choice to leave your wife and it's not all on her, but I would not be looking at this situation with the rose coloured glasses you have on. You should be running a mile from this, not reminiscing about the hot sex. I would keep up with your therapist, take my earlier advice about telling her not to contact you and start looking for a new job as it seems like your career is one of the things you have left and you don't want to lose that too.
posted by Jubey at 6:28 PM on August 1, 2016 [29 favorites]

I've had a look at your past questions and I can't believe you are still romanticising this relationship after the impact it's had on your life

Sunk cost fallacy plus the psychological thing where paying an incredibly high price for something convinces us it must be the most valuable thing ever.

It might help to read some social psychology books. Largely because I have studied it, that stuff no longer works on me, and it has helped me have healthier relationships.
posted by Michele in California at 6:58 PM on August 1, 2016 [15 favorites]

Dear, I was in a similar situation. Powerful emotions. He was married. Wanted to leave his wife for me but I felt it was wrong. Thankfully, we haven't slept together but pretending to have a full fledge relationship never seemed right, no matter how much we wanted it to be. You made a mistake. That's awfully fast to not even think about your actions and that chick you're fawning over? Not worth it. She didn't have enough respect for you to take it slow. You've been bamboozled and I'm not going to sugar coat it for you, she's not the one and she's never been the one. I'm sorry for the emotional roller coaster you're going through. Only time and a look at how you're treating yourself will help you understand and deal with your emotions.
posted by InterestedInKnowing at 7:38 PM on August 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

Was this the same woman you referred to as "controlling" in a previous ask? Because if it is, it sounds like that hasn't changed much.

As for advice on what to do, do not reply to her messages unless they are specifically related to work, and even then, only give as much information as is required to address the work-related issues. If she keeps trying to make it personal, document document document and you may have a credible sexual harassment complaint for HR (this has been going on a year? Not acceptable!)

You also mentioned in a previous ask having OCD. If you're struggling with not replying to her messages, maybe treat this like a ritual, i.e. something that requires you to engage in active response prevention? It's something to bring up with your therapist at least.
posted by Ndwright at 8:58 PM on August 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

This "most powerful relationship I've ever had"? It wasn't. The passion was all in your head. She wasn't feeling it, she was just playing with you. You are pining away for an imaginary relationship. The sooner you forget about her, the sooner you can find a real relationship.
posted by MexicanYenta at 9:02 PM on August 1, 2016 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Also join a gym and channel your energy into that. Find an artistic endeavour if you don't have one already, and channel your passion into that. You're 40 so even if you already go to the gym, going to it even more is going to be even better. Eventually you'll be too exhausted to even notice her.
posted by turbid dahlia at 9:38 PM on August 1, 2016 [4 favorites]

Sunk cost fallacy plus the psychological thing where paying an incredibly high price for something convinces us it must be the most valuable thing ever.

Nailed. It.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 4:16 AM on August 2, 2016

In a previous question you mentioned struggling to make friends. Has that improved at all? If not, I would revisit the answers to that question and try to make that a priority. If the last person you had an emotional connection with was this woman, and you have not had the emotional connection of any friendships since then, it makes complete sense that you would have difficulty letting her go.
posted by dysh at 4:21 AM on August 2, 2016 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. I appreciate the assistance, the kindness and some positive suggestions. I'm struggling with Sunk Cost Fallacy, and how to beat it. I'll try, because a year is an awfully long time. This isn't the controlling woman, that was my (ex)wife.

Agree with so much that has been posted. I'm just not sure how to take the first steps. I still have no friends, still am enamored, even though I know there is no value to be so. I appreciate you all and will do my best to try to apply the practical suggestions above. Will leave this open for a day or two in case anyone else wants to elaborate or contribute.

posted by Draccy at 9:09 AM on August 2, 2016

Best answer: My theory, having reviewed your divorce question: to put this affair aside mentally would mean really dealing with your feelings about your ex wife. That is much more complicated than your feelings about this person who has turned out to be a transition person, even a transitional fling, even if it didn't seem that way at the time. It's easier to fixate on the less complex thing. On the other hand, exploring what happened with your marriage may lead to valuable insights and going round and round about this is getting you nowhere.
posted by BibiRose at 9:32 AM on August 2, 2016 [7 favorites]

Best answer: So she managed to get you to leave your wife, then she left you but still likes to keep you on the hook, just to prove she can, even a year later. Sounds like it's a huge power kick for her.

Oh man, so much this. It's an especially pernicious set of circumstances and very hard to work through. The absolute best thing for it is 100% complete break, but if you can't do it, yes, you need to somehow establish control of your end of the situation, likely by telling her once and for all that you do not want to speak with her, and ignoring absolutely every last one of her messages until she tires of sending them.

My sympathies--it took me nearly 6 years to fully break off contact, and I honestly probably couldn't have done it without the help of the dude involved (not his conscious help, just a convenient drop off in his contact attempts). With almost a decade of distance now I can see the relationship for what it was: the catalyst I needed to get out of a bad marriage, and nothing more. All of the mythos I built up around it was my brain trying to make "getting a divorce" a decision my conscience could live with. I would bet good money that you will one day look at this situation in the same way.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 9:59 AM on August 2, 2016 [2 favorites]

Best answer: What BibiRose said. That fits with all the research I have ever read about affairs that end marriages.

In fact, the research indicates the affair was most likely chosen by you in order to escape the marriage. So, on some level, you were probably using her to leave a situation you did not know how to leave and you may still be using her as an emotional shield from harder topics. Journaling about it may be the means to not only take back your power from her but also put to rest skeletons in your closet that likely go back to childhood which helped create the dysfunctional marriage to begin with.
posted by Michele in California at 10:13 AM on August 2, 2016 [2 favorites]

Tough situation but mostly a power trip for her perhaps? Cut all contact with her. You could ask your wife for pointers since she might have had to cope with hubby leaving for another woman so suddenly. Other than that your therapist should help with tips. Just block her from any contact and don't answer her emails/texts.
posted by metajim at 3:19 PM on August 2, 2016

Best answer: She sounds like a horrible human being. You left your wife for her, which implies to me that that was at a MINIMUM an emotional affair/cheating happening while you were still married. That's loathsome enough, and I can't imagine the agony your wife must still be feeling, especially if she knows you got together with this chick right after or during the divorce. That kind of betrayal and heartbreak is seriously traumatizing and can take years to fully recover from. So, maybe think about the enormously shitty thing you and the new chick did, and the life you ruined, instead of thinking about how great the sex with a hotter woman was. (And it doesn't matter if you think your wife is better off now -- she probably is, but -- her heart must still be broken).

Now that you're broken up this chick still trying to keep you "on the hook"? Gross. She sounds self-absorbed and devoid of empathy. I doubt she actually cares about you, I doubt she cares about how she helped you destroy your own marriage, and I highly doubt she EVER had any intention of committing to a serious relationship with you. I guarantee she was (and is) using you.
posted by a strong female character at 8:58 AM on August 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: And, yeah, this is why 99% of relationships that start with affairs quickly fail. Because the nature of a cheating relationship is such that one or both people are delusional about the new person's ability to give them everything they need. You can't have a honest love with someone when your entire relationship is based on secrecy and lies.
posted by a strong female character at 9:11 AM on August 3, 2016 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Marking resolved, but I still feel meh about it. I've cut off contact and am using the Tony Robbins technique with the memories. I think it's going to take time to heal. Feel free to mefi mail me, or draccy gmail if you have other tips and solutions. I appreciate that you all contributed. Some of it hurt raw, but there's truth in all answers.
posted by Draccy at 5:13 PM on August 3, 2016 [2 favorites]

There's a book called Love and Limerence that you might find helpful.
posted by metaseeker at 9:23 PM on August 6, 2016

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