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End of a Relationship


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Guest Monopolizer

My boyfriend recently broke up with me, but if he hadn't beaten me to the punch, I would have eventually broken it off with him, for a variety of reasons. Despite all that, since it was my first real relationship, it was a pretty special one, and since I've never had this kind of relationship with a man, the emotions and feelings are pretty strong.

 

Was wondering how the group has handled break-ups. How do you deal with the loneliness, grief, heartbreak, and very sudden evaporation of a loved one? I'm not totally devastated; there were some signs that in retrospect seem very clear, but he gave me the impression he wanted to work on our relationship, so all of a sudden, being dumped is kind-of confusing. Should I try to talk to him about what went wrong? I might want to be friends, but am not sure I can handle it especially if he finds somebody else, although, if I was involved again, it might not be that bad. Arggghhh.

 

I know many of you that post here are super-insightful, caring and intelligent. Any words from the wise would be very much appreciated.

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As we say in what's euphemistically called "the recovery community," all I can offer is my experience, strength, and hope. In matters of the heart I do not give advice.

 

What you describe sounds so familiar that without much trouble I could easily spin a tale that would accommodate not only you but me. The loss of a relationship is just that, a loss, and I have found that it's a good idea to treat it as such. The last time I went through it, I, too, realized in retrospect that the handwriting was on the wall. But the handwriting was also on the wall when my mother was dying from cancer. Being forewarned was not being forearmed in that case, and it never has been in any other matter where genuine love is at stake. When my last relationship died, a huge part of me died as well. It was a very, very "big" relationship for me; and it has taken years for me to begin to breathe freely again.

 

Because I am blessed among men to have some close, wise, and loving friends, I took advantage of the opportunity to share my feelings with them. They let me talk on and on; they did not encourage me to look on the "bright side" or any of that bull. On the contrary, they encouraged me to express my anger and disappointment and fear and loneliness. And all of that helped.

 

I learned that breaking up is to experience the death of that person. The more I loved the person, the longer will be the process of grieving. I cannot lengthen it or shorten it by my own efforts -- grief, healthily experienced, has a life of its own. Furthermore, I learned that I did not want to diminish my grief, because to do so would have meant diminishing the value of that relationship and the love that each of us had poured into it. By trying to incorporate my grief into my life -- welcoming rather than rejecting it -- I normalized it and actually grew as a result.

 

It also made it possible for recovery to begin very early on. In other words, I wasn't "Devastated" and then "Fine." Some days I was up, some days down; sometimes it was for a few hours of one or the other.

 

I also sought professional help from a clinical psychologist who then sent me to a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist prescribed and monitored antidepressant medication, but insisted that I go into therapy as well. It was the best thing I ever did, particularly as my therapist is gay and I don't have to "translate" anything.

 

Finally, I learned to treat myself with the same kindness and gentleness that I would treat anyone else in the same situation. The kindest thing I did for myself was to set aside the notion that I could be "friends" with Michael. I could not, not and retain my grasp on reality. In my case, eight years have passed since I have seen him. I do not want to see him again, because I am not at all certain that I wouldn't fall right back into the black pit that it has taken so long to crawl out of. It just isn't worth it. I don't wish him any harm, but I don't wish myself any harm, either.

 

I hope this has been of some comfort. I'll be thinking about you, and hope that you'll let us know how you're doing.

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I’ve noted that in order to healthily get through any loss (death, divorce, burglary, car accident in your Masserati) you need to go through all of the five steps: 1) Denial (she/he doesn’t really mean it) 2) Anger (you bitch/bastard, after all I’ve given to you) 3) Bargaining (what about if we go to therapy, or if I’m willing to become your doormat again) 4) Depression (many too many quarts of Jack Daniels, pints of Ben and Jerry’s, hours of bad TV, days of laying in bed) and finally 5) Acceptance (We had a lot of fun together and I enjoyed the time we spent. You’re a good person and I’m a good person, but we found ourselves going in different directions in life and the time to be together had passed. Love didn’t mean that we would never part, just that I had hoped that we wouldn’t have to.)

I have observed that skipping any of the stages doesn't help, and if you went straight to number four you might try going back and treating yourself to all of the feelings. It will help you get to number five sooner.

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As a post-script to the above message I would also cite the advice from Judith Martin (Miss Manners) in your dealings with your ex the impression that you are hoping to leave them with is "Maybe I was wrong, he/she seems to be getting along pretty well without me" rather than "whew, I'm glad I got away from him/her when I did."

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>As we say in what's euphemistically

>called "the recovery community," all

>I can offer is my

>experience, strength, and hope.

>In matters of the heart

>I do not give advice.

 

Since I'm sometimes an insensitive lout who according to my boyfriend needs to be beat over the head to see what's in front of my nose, I have no compunction about offering advice. I do not mean in any way to detract from Will's considered, heartfelt, and made-with-considerable-effort (I can't remember the word for that) response; however there are some things that might also be said:

 

1.) No two relationships are alike.

2.) Try not to have any preconceptions about what the future will bring.

3.) Don't rush into any course of action.

 

It may be possible that you could rekindle some portion of the friendship aspects of your relationship, but it's not something that you alone can make happen. Over the course of time, some insights about the relationship may reveal themselves to you that weren't evident earlier. Such perspectives may help you manage (without denying them) feelings that come up.

 

So what techniques did I use to get through the process?

 

A quick, incomplete and randomly ordered list includes (since I have to run off to a meeting right now at work) giving myself permission to be a slut again and not criticizing myself for doing so; at night, when alone. visualizing having an identical twin who was cuddling me; and talking a lot to my other friends.

 

Not to be flippant, but after giving it more thought I may amend this later . . .

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Guest Monopolizer

Thanks to everyone for their sage advice. I appreciate it. I am doing ok; plan on having some fun as soon as possible.

 

Will, I hope you received my email response to your wonderful post. Thanks very much.

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The end of any relationship can be hard to deal with, I'm not really the best person to respond to this(so why am I?)

I ended a four year relationship about two years ago, it was hard, and in many ways, I'm still hurting. My best advice is to move on, how do you do this? Well for me it took a long time to realize that speaking to that person on a regular basis, wasn't helping matters. I needed to eliminate him from my life, and in many ways, I think that has helped to aleviate some of the pain, and hopefully we can become friends in the future.

Pat answer...'time heals all wounds' sounds trite, but it's true.

You will probably always have feelings for this man, but it will get better....promise.

matt(hurts too)

http://go.to/mattsplace

[email protected]

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