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Rae1991

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About Rae1991

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    2010,2011
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    Chicago

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  1. Hey Ralph, You sound like you're aware of how you are feeling and your next course of action regarding how to go forward. As Kayc said, grief is complicated. It does odd things to people. My ex ghosted me twice after his dad died suddenly 3.5 years ago, we had been dating almost 2 years by then. I was your age at the time, I am 27 now. At first he said he didn't want to break up, then went silent on me for 3 months before trying to reconcile. It was confusing, heartbreaking and hurtful. You are going about this appropriately, with being on a "break," now is the time to focus on yourself and try to move forward with your life regardless of her presence (not move on, just forward). It is really hard at first, but will settle with time and you will gain clarity as time goes on. Read the post by Vandal, he is/was in the same head space as you as far as being aware of his feelings and what he needs to do after his ex broke up with him. --Rae
  2. In regards to dealing with your mother and sister, you need to learn to set boundaries within your relationships with them. You cannot allow yourself to continue tolerating their disrespect and picking at your self-esteem for the sake of them being family and your unresolved fears of abandonment that stem from their abuse of you. That's not healthy or fair to you, and you should seriously consider talking to a therapist because its obvious these are deep seated issues from your childhood that you need to work on if you ever want to get better. I know how it feels, my sister used to pick on me relentlessly growing up (we think its purely jealousy). She would steal my clothes, my belongings, would use my photos to catfish men on the internet, "sell" me to her "friends" in exchange for things, and even tried to date one of my ex boyfriends. In my teens and early 20s I didn't understand why she acted this way and because shes my sister and I wanted her approval, I gave her things, but all she ever did was take from me and then flip out when I said no. She'd borrow money and when I said no, she'd attempt to steal it. She constantly spent all her money on alcohol, was chronically unemployed and to this day is a willfully un-medicated bipolar who we think is also a sociopath. After a particularly crappy fight one afternoon and her trying to take my debit card, I just blocked her number after sending my parents the screenshots of what she said so they could finally understand that she has been gas-lighting, stealing from and torturing her siblings for years. To this day, my dad still refuses to believe she acts this way. Back then my dad was the one who always said "well she's your sister, at least try getting along." And for years I listened to that, even though he'd flat out deny her behavior. I don't anymore and now our relationship is on my terms. I didn't realize this needed to stop until one day it occurred to me that I was being gaslit by my own dad regarding how she behaved. I cut contact with her for 3 years. I just went dark on her because I was tired of her nonsense and it was making my life miserable. DO NOT ever allow yourself to tolerate disrespect and cruelty from someone just because you are related. That does not give them the right to mistreat you. You wouldn't let your children, spouse, friends or boss treat you that way, your family doesn't get a pass either. Toxic people aren't just lovers, sometimes they're parents, siblings and children too. You've referenced your sister and mothers cruelty towards you multiple times in this thread, and its obvious it has had seriously negative effects on your life and mental health. Now I am not saying never contact them again. What I am saying is: Stop seeking their approval, every time you tolerate their cruelty and react to what they do in a positive way, it reinforces their belief that they're allowed to treat you that way and that what they say about you is true. It isn't true. I understand that they're the only family you have left and that you don't want to lose that relationship, totally get it, been there. But what you do need to do is learn to stop reacting to what they say to you and believing it. Don't respond to their nasty texts, and when they call you and start berating you, hang up the phone. When you're around them and they start berating you, leave. Tell them you won't tolerate it anymore and establish boundaries. They keep crossing these boundaries because you've allowed them to get comfortable disrespecting you. Go to therapy, talk to your friends, but do seek help and dig into why you feel this way. As I said before, these issues are monsters to deal with because these relationships are ones you've had since the day you were born, and its hard and stigmatized to disconnect from toxic family members, and its easier to just tolerate it than deal with it. But over time, ignoring these things will just erode you and your mental health into nothing and you will become a void of self-hatred. These days, now that we don't live in the same city it's gotten easier. She isn't allowed in my apartment, we are not connected on any social media and most of our contact is mediated to our get together's at our mothers house with her child in tow. We text from time to time, but if she starts in on her nonsense, I just say "okay, do you" and mute the conversation then delete the messages. It takes time and work to get to the point I am at, but it's healthier for me and that's all I care about. I can love her from afar, but not want her in my house (mental space), because the last time I gave her a key, she (metaphorically) attempted to burn it down. I cannot make her seek therapy, take medication or treat her family with respect, but I can control our interaction, and I do. You can too. -- Rae
  3. Everyone has these fears. That they'll always get passed over for others and end up alone. I mean, look at Charlize Theron, she made a statement some time ago about how she's been single for 10 years and that she's tired of being called "intimidating" and that guys need to grow a pair and start asking women like her out. She's right. But it doesn't make dating any easier for her. Tracy's TEDx talk is the one I think most applies to you, she had to learn to sit by her own bed side and hold her own hand. She had to learn to choose and love herself, but she's aware that loving yourself is not synonymous with being alone forever, and that's not what she's encouraging anyone to do. She's telling us to heal our own wounds and love ourselves the way we want others to love us, and the way we want to love them. Having self-esteem and love for one's self is not synonymous with being alone. You can be an individual person, and also be part of a couple. I'd argue that being your own person and choosing to be open to love after hurt and welcoming another person to share life with you is the only way to have a successful relationship. And no, a 'successful' relationship doesn't always mean marriage, children and 30 years together. A successful relationship is two happy people loving one another for who they are, not one person giving up who they are for the other. If it lasts, wonderful, if not, be glad you got to experience that love, learn from it, and move forward. We don't own people, and we can't change people. We simply get to share experiences and life with them. Look at Terry and Steve Irwin, they loved one another to pieces and we're inseparable, but now that Steve has died, people questioned her as to why she hasn't dated since. She said "because I already had my love story. Even though it was cut short far too soon, I'm happy that we got to share a lifetime of experiences, our children and do what we both loved, and I plan to continue it. I know Steve would encourage me to love again, and I him, but I am loved, and I am happy with the way that things are now. I wish he could still be here, but my life didn't stop when his did, it's just different now." Terri could date, she just doesn't need to because she feels her life is what she wants it to be, even without Steve. If she does date again, good for her, if not, oh well. If you continue to operate from the belief you will forever be second to others and "forever alone," you will only continue to entertain men who treat you as such and then abandon you because it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy, and in a way it already has. Instead of relying on others to give you permission to put you first and waiting for them to put you first, do it yourself. That way, if a man comes into your life and makes you a second thought, you won't hesitate to walk away. On the flip side, when you meet a man who not only encourages you to love yourself, but also loves you, himself and makes you a priority in his life, you won't be compelled to search for his approval by making your life about him. You're looking for relationships to heal your wounds, save you and validate your existence because you're terrified of being alone. It's not healthy, and it's something we've all done, and many still do because we're sold the belief that romantic love, relationships and external validation is a cure-all. It isn't. But it is a hard mindset to unlearn. I won't be alone forever, and neither will you. But for now, don't focus on that. Focus on moving forward, not moving on, just forward. Tiny wins are still wins. One step at a time.
  4. I grew up in this same situation. For some reason, my father has favored our older sister our entire lives, we don't know why. Now it's just straight enabling, shes 32, a dropout and has a child, still lives with our dad and never has a job longer than a few months. He gives her money, buys her cars (shes crashed 4 of them already) and never, ever makes her face any consequences for how she behaves. The rest of us are well-adjusted and normal people with jobs and lives, but their relationship is just purely enabling one another's bad habits. She goes through boyfriends and jobs the way my dad goes through cars, a different one every few months or year, and they've done this for years. Then my dad gets married and she competes with this woman for attention and affection from my dad, it is utterly nonsensical and ridiculous. My own mother now recognizes that my dad clearly favors her over the rest of us, and has for decades, and we've never been able to figure out why. He loves her unconditionally (literally), but with the rest of us, we've always felt we had to earn his love. It makes you angry, sad, confused and it breaks your heart all at the same time, and it is a monster to deal with because you don't understand why your parents, the people who you are conditioned to trust, don't want you. That's why I spent a year and half in therapy and how I began recognizing that a lot of my emotional issues, anger, confusion, low self-esteem etc came from growing up with inconsistent and emotionally unavailable parents. My brothers refuse therapy and they need it badly, they're still both angry at my parents. I have settled my anger because it got so, SO tiring constantly being angry, sad and running after guys who behaved like my dad did. It became a cycle of self-fulfilling prophecies. I would date guys like Joe and Tim, then wonder why they rejected me, behaved terribly or left me for someone else because I wasn't good enough for them. It's not that I wasn't good enough for them, simply that we were fundamentally incompatible and they have their own unresolved issues and we were drawn to the wounds in one another because it was familiar and comfortable. I stopped being attracted to men like Joe and Tim when I decided that instead of just being angry all the time and repeating the same mistakes over and over, I am going to heal my own wounds. It's not that you're not good enough, its that they are drawn to you because you possess things they lack: self-esteem, confidence, happiness, money, freedom etc. And, they're using you as a place-filler to get the things they lack until what they want can be found elsewhere. They need relationships to thrive and make themselves feel worthy and normal. I behaved this way for a while because I was unhappy with my life and convinced a relationship was the one thing that would fix how I felt. My sister behaves this way, many of my friends behave this way and it's tiring constantly consoling them and giving them advice they don't listen to, and my dad STILL behaves this way. While Joe may not have used me as a place-filler for our entire relationship, for the last year he did, until he was sure he had another person to go to. Tim may have loved me, but he used me to get things he lacked: comfort, confidence, love, a feeling of worthiness after being rejected by the women he most desired etc. In your case, your ex may have cared for you, but it was under the pretense of him not leaving you as long as she wasn't available to him, and you remained unavailable to a degree because of your pending divorce. The second what he was lacking was available to him again, he ran back to it. When you go through your life with a sense of lack, you're always going to feel like you're not enough and that others may not be enough to fulfill you because you will always be unfilled and lacking until you learn to fill that space yourself. You will never be enough for an unfulfilled person because they expect you to heal their wounds and fill their voids, and that's not your job. Funny enough, back in 2016 right before I was leaving town for my new job and about 6 months after Tim and I ended, Joe and I went to dinner. Joe apologized to me for how he treated me, and told me that he still had feelings for me (I highly doubt he'd have said this if his girlfriend hadn't left him), and that he couldn't marry me back then because he "had to get 'it' out of his system" but that he was open to trying again. I said No. But that we can be friends on Facebook and chat occasionally, and that's all it is now. He's not a bad person, and he was my best friend for 9 years, but I don't see him that way anymore. Stick to your boundaries. You're worth more than being a man's back-up plan or second choice. Be glad he showed you who he was before you made life-altering decisions later on down the line for the sake of what he wants. ALWAYS CHOOSE YOURSELF. One of the hardest things in life we will ever have to do, is a grieve a person who is still alive. https://youtu.be/P3fIZuW9P_M https://youtu.be/jmUayKnHWWM Watch these TED Talks, they explain in a more condensed way than I can.
  5. My thoughts too, Vandal. I haven't spoken to Tim in 3 years, and I am glad. I wouldn't have had anything to say to him after the first few months went by, and by now I am grateful we broke up. When he ghosted me the first time and came back, I already wasn't sure what to say, after the second time and that very same day, the last time we talked he told me he loved me, yeah, nothing left to say. Done. EXACTLY! Tim needed this escape too. I don't doubt that he loved me either, but it became obvious he had emotional problems later on. He wanted to feel normal too, and being in relationships gave him that. I think it lied in his abusive parents and his weird relationship with them, insecurity from being picked on growing up, and being rejected by his first girlfriend and multiple women after that. He had problems with trust, emotional maturity and women in general because of his abusive mother. And it manifested in all his romantic relationships. This is Tim, only in a female form. You see, Chlor, none of this is unique, a lot of people behave the same way that all our exes did. They thrust their unresolved problems unto others, or ignore them, then when they are forced to face them, retreat, act out or go deeper down their spiral of ignoring their problems, pushing loved ones away and everything around them gets worse because we are now left to deal with the fallout from the wounds they inflicted onto us. Hurt people, hurt people. One of the truest statements I have ever heard. It isn't us, it was them all along.
  6. I was blindsided as well, by both Joe and Tim. Joe and I had been together 7 years and were engaged and planning a wedding with no date set, too. Were there red flags I shouldn't have ignored or been able to see? Of course. But he railroaded me with the cheating, lying and seemingly overnight revelation that he wasn't in love with me anymore, had felt differently for months and "loved me, but liked her.." I was also blinded by love, and only being 21 at the time I hadn't ever been in a relationship prior so I didn't know what to look for. I am just thankful we didn't actually get married or have children because it became glaringly obvious we were not right for each other anymore. I was a sophomore in college with hopes, dreams and career aspirations, and he is an unmotivated, arrogant and lazy person who does little more than bare minimum, who didn't even want me going to school after we planned to have kids. He is still the same now as he was then, and I am so thankful things ended because my life would have been over. His bare minimum love and standards were not good enough for me as an adult. It'd have been like marrying an adult child. I like to believe I did make Tim happy, because he told me I did, but who knows. We were together 14 months before his dad died and he told me the exact same thing that KayC was told, that if his dad hadn't died, we'd still be together. I don't think that's true, because he had a pattern of this behavior in previous relationships. If I hadn't made the choice to walk away, he'd have done the same eventually. But I am glad things didn't work out with Tim either because leaving the town we both lived in for a job was the best thing I could've done for myself, and I know we would've broken up then anyways because he would not have moved with me. Looking back I realized that he may have been jealous of my career, travel and goal plans because he would talk down to me when I mentioned them or scoff as though they were unrealistic, he also tried to 'one up' me with his stories and his job, as though it was a competition. Like Joe, he was in real life unmotivated to do anything but be a workaholic at a job he was given for free by a family member. He wouldn't travel anywhere with me that was more than a couple hours by car away, but didn't want me going anywhere alone. Ugh. I didn't realize at the time these were definite signs of incompatibility (and his being deeply insecure and emotionally unavailable) because we seemed compatible on many other levels, but those were mostly just hobbies and common interests. Surface level compatibility, really. People change like the weather, and there's nothing we can do about that because we're only human. People aren't going to tell you they're just using you, or be honest about their real intentions or tell you that they're going to leave you when their parent dies or blame you when they get laid off, these are not things we can predict, and we can't blame ourselves for taking a chance at love. After all, you can't find love or a job, or anything if you don't take chances. The only thing we can do is be diligent about our standards and looking for cautionary things (orange flags), red flags that are deal breakers and be firm that we will not tolerate them. But even then, they may still fool us. Tim fooled me, he was well-behaved, mannered, looked great on paper and our relationship progressed naturally, but it still ended like it did and orange/red flags came up that I didn't see or ignored. But I am only human, we're allowed to make mistakes. You can't say you've lived and never taken a chance at something, staying comfortable in your routine, simply surviving and never going beyond your comfort zone is a surefire way to end up with a lifetime of misery and regret on your deathbed. I don't want to live like that and call it a 'life.' Maybe they did love us and we made them happy for a time, but these instances made them rethink their lives and relationships, it happens to everyone at some point in their lives and it isn't unique to grief or a certain person. --Rae
  7. What Kayc says here, is absolutely correct. Both times, with Tim and Joe, I expected them and felt they had an obligation to treat me with civility, respect, honesty and give me the closure I deserved, neither offered it. Joe and I were engaged, living together and made plans for our future. The last year of our relationship was nothing but lies, deceit and arguments. While I was stubborn at times and didn't always do healthy things, I didn't cheat on him. He lied to me and was running after girls (he was 23, they were 18 or younger) at his job, and used his working hours as an excuse to date them. He lied for months, showed little affection, but still told me he loved me, planned our wedding with me and talked about normal couple things. Until one day he just decided he was leaving me for his 16 year old coworker. He gave all sorts of excuses, told me that he hasn't felt the same, he's too young to get married, if I had been a better girlfriend he wouldn't be leaving me, blah blah blah... Had he just been honest with me when his feelings changed and broken up with me a year prior, maybe things would've gone better for both of us. He didn't give me any closure, he just said, "I love you, but I like her...." and left. Years later he said he regrets what he did (because this girl did to him exactly what he did to me), and that he wanted to make it up to me and start over, that he still loved me, and that if he'd met me as an adult now, he wouldn't have cheated and been able to commit, etc. I was having none of it and no longer cared about his half-ass apology or regrets, he can live with those regrets, I have none. By then Tim and I had just ended and I was still in love with Tim, and didn't care to hear Joe's plea to have back what he willingly threw away for a quick, cheap thrill. But he was right, we were too young and I'm glad it didn't last because I was already outgrowing him, and would've divorced or left him by then anyway. In both scenarios neither person offered me any explanation for their behavior. And I'm better off for it. It made me realize that their inability to show respect or take responsibility for what they do is not my fault. And, that they had no obligation to me, and I certainly don't to them. I treated them with respect because it's just who I am, who they are is nothing I can change. My only job was to love them, and I did.
  8. As far as your divorce goes, as Kayc said, if the marriage is over and you want out, leave it. But do not get a divorce thinking that this man will come back or that a divorce is the answer to making him act right. A divorce does not change a man. Get a divorce for YOURSELF. Because it's what's best for YOU. My mother stayed with my dad thinking she could help him, fix him and because she loved him, had kids and built a life with him. For 16 years, she tried, but it wasn't good enough and she was left miserable, unsatisfied, "married but single" and wondering if she'd failed as a wife because the life she imagined for them never happened. I'm glad my parents are divorced now. They're better off. That misery was palpable and noticeable. My mom has the degrees and life she couldn't get in her 20s and 30s, and my dad is still stuck in his ways yearning for the past. *shrugs* My mom said: At first, you wonder how you'll survive without, and that's why you stay. But eventually things get so bad you just say "f**k it, I'll figure it out, I can't deal with this anymore." And you survive, you find a way, and it's not as scary as you thought.
  9. I would start by if not fully removing him from your social media, at least removing his posts from your feed. Change his name in your phone to something like "Went back to ex" or something like that as a reminder of how he behaved, delete the number or block it all together. It's hard to do at first, but it's necessary. As far as him "talking to you," if he contacts you and YOU feel like talking, let him talk, but do not let him excuse his behavior with "I was just confused, and I didn't know what to do, I still wanna stay friends/in contact/get back together" etc. That's how he keeps you on the hook, and excuses himself from blame for what he's done. You already are aware that based on how he's lied about his ex being around, he's not gonna stay in contact with you only to be friends. It's okay to still love him, have feelings for him, and miss your relationship. But what's important is to not let those feelings or his empty words of endearment draw you back and keep you on the hook. I made that mistake, and no good came of it. Until he shows that he's done the necessary work on himself to deal with his problems (which may be never), he doesn't deserve you. "Want to do XYZ" don't mean sh*t, until he actively deals with his problems, he will not change. He betrayed you and your relationship by running back to his ex, and also leaving you after his son died. For that, there needs to be consequences, like him not having access or contact of you. He's cut off. If he contacts you, Just calmly tell him that you don't think it's a good idea for YOU (not him) to be in this relationship, and that you've been betrayed. And that you don't think it's healthy for YOU to be friends or stay in contact with him at this point in time. Maybe in a few months or a year when your feelings have settled off and you've moved on, you can be acquaintences/friends, but until then you need to do what's best for YOU. If you don't reconnect, that's okay too. You'll be better off regardless if you take back your power. He's already doing that for himself, don't give up your self-worth and esteem in favor of what he wants. You have the power now. Again, until he actually does something, "want to do" don't mean sh*t. Remember: Don't trust his words, trust his actions AND patterns of behavior. He's done this before, he'll do it again. If he wanted to be with you, he would be, and he's made it clear he doesn't. You deserve better. --Rae
  10. I second everything said here. I have not dated or been in a relationship in 3 years since Tim and I ended, and I have done more purposeful things alone than I ever did in any of my relationships. Romantic relationships are not the end all be all to life.
  11. It became noticeable as I got older, that anytime he was home, he was in the garage, watching TV or finding another thing to fix. He spent time with us, but it always seemed to come with conditions, especially as we got older. Our grandparents filled the gaps, my grandma ran a daycare, and we'd spend the Summer going to Cubs games with our grandpa so our parents had some time off from us. After my parents divorce my dad ran off for a few years and came back married. By then we had lost our house because my dad refused to help my mom with the mortgage or child support. He came back and expected my mom to share custody (to dodge CS), and they spent all the rest of my teenage years in and out of court arguing. I still didn't fully understand what was going on, but the resentment and emotional damage had already been done. I didn't really start connecting the dots until my grandpa died in 2010. In therapy I figured out that a lot of my emotional problems came from the unstable attachment patterns I had learned as a kid from my parents' absence. My siblings and I were always in sports, got good grades or went out of our way to please our parents, but it never seemed enough for them. They were always working, so without our grandma we were basically latchkey kids. It was an odd way to grow up, but I am glad I figured this out in my 20s instead of repeating their same patterns into my 40s and 50s. I don't see marriage as a bad thing, but I am aware of how to NOT do relationships now at almost 28 years old LOL. Both from watching my parents, and from my own bad experiences. Romantic relationships and marriage aren't the keys to happiness, and it's unhealthy that society says they are. It sounds to me like you being married wasn't so much the issue because you were transparent about it and he willingly accepted that condition but knew you were getting a divorce. If he didn't want to deal with that part of your relationship, he shouldn't have engaged you in a romantic way. His inability to let go of his past and cut ties with his exes sounds like the bigger problem. Emotionally Unavailable people tend to behave like this, they surround themselves with people that love them, and they feed off those people because its easier to be an emotional tourist than it is to confront your own problems. He sounds like a person that just wants to fill his life with stories and float in and out of women's lives/relationships because it's easy for him to do and requires no emotional expense. Now that his son has died, he has to face that grief, he doesn't have a choice, and he is reacting to it in the same way that I did--He is trying as hard as he can to mitigate and ignore the grief by latching onto whoever he can, and in this case, it's his ex. He more than likely kept in contact with her over that 8 year span, and possibly even led her on or continued to "breadcrumb" her with romantic attention and sweet nothings through the years. Why else would she be so openly loving and accepting to a man she hasn't been involved with in almost a decade? Sure, he needs and deserves a partner at his side without controversy, but so do you. As I said, he willingly engaged in a romantic relationship with you knowing full well you were in the throws of a divorce. While the death of a loved one and a divorce are two completely different life scenarios, it doesn't excuse his behavior toward you. Divorces take time, and they are emotionally taxing on everyone involved. I don't think your divorce not being final is the problem here. He still had strings attached to his ex, obviously, and he was just waiting for the right moment to go back to her. That is quite clear. Yes he may be grieving and confused, but again, why would he suddenly out the blue, and seemingly out of character run back to a woman he hasn't been involved with in almost a decade? Because she's always been waiting in the wings for him. You seem to be accepting blame that doesn't belong to you. You answered your own question in the last sentence here: Once I became fully available, he might have left me for his ex anyway... And that, right there, is a pillar of emotional unavailability. He dates unavailable women for a reason, because it requires little if any real emotional effort/expense. But once you were fully available, he'd probably have left anyway because he had no intention of making himself available to you. Why was he pining after her for so long? Because in some way, she was unavailable to him and he got to chase her. The thrill of the chase is another pillar of EU types. He probably won't treat her any better, he's just using her to fill a void too. Don't let him string you along the way he did her. My ex Tim did that to me, because he's EU too. I don't doubt that he loved me, but I do doubt that what he said about the future he wanted to have with me was nothing but lies. EU people can love, they're just really really terrible at following through on anything they say in regards to romantic relationships.
  12. I don't mean to sound judgmental, but your ex sounds like my father in how he handles relationships. My parents divorced 19 years ago now, and to this day he still claims to love my mom and not been able to get over her, that he "would've done anything to fix their marriage and that it wasn't fair of her to just divorce him without trying first..." except, she did try and he had 16 years and 10 thousand chances to fix their marriage, and he squandered all of them because he assumed she wouldn't leave him. He's now been married and divorced 3 times, engaged 6 times, he's 52. He claims to have loved every single woman, and I'm sure he did, but his emotional unavailability, emotional problems/trauma and his unwillingness to fix himself became his own destruction. Every time he got divorced or broke off an engagement, he'd make a joke about getting back together with my mom. *eyeroll* It sounds like your ex is trying to fill his emotional voids/wounds with relationships in a similar way as my dad. He wants my mom because she's familiar to him, and she put up with his nonsense the longest, and because of their kids, has been the only constant female presence in his life, despite my mother wanting nothing from him except to be a good dad. Maybe he ran back to her because she was familiar to him, and as you said, he kept her in his back pocket because he knew she'd always be available to him, and he may still love her. He sounds emotionally unavailable, too. Don't listen to your friends in that he has no culpability for his behavior. He absolutely does. Grief may blind us temporarily, but after so long, the behavior becomes a conscious, deliberate decision. He is absolutely culpable for going back to his ex, unless she held a gun to his head and forced him, or kidnapped him, he knew exactly what he was doing. Don't ever let someone try to legitimize bad behavior, as if you were deserving of it, because that's what they're saying to you. "Let it slide because he's sad, he'll come back after he licks his wounds and has had his fill of her, it's not his fault." NO. That's just emotional manipulation. Even if he didn't go back to his ex, what he's doing isn't fair to you. There's no magic formula to make them come back. I did the same with Tim, gave him time and space, even though he never actually broke up with me, he did the opposite by saying he wasn't breaking up, and then disappeared. It sounds like that's what your lover is doing, and even if he hasn't gone back to her, he may not return, or he may be someone you no longer want to be with/not who you thought he was. He may also string you along, as kayc and I have both experienced because he's confused, so he takes it out on you. Don't let someone else's confusion become yours. Misery loves company, but so does confusion. Part of the reason it was so hard for me to let go of Tim was because after his father died, who he really is came out, and I didn't want to believe he could be so cold and cruel. I'd see flickers of the man I fell in love with, and that's why I got back together with him, I was confused and in denial because I loved him, but it was short lived and I was left heartbroken by the same person twice. Don't ever let someone tell you they don't want you twice. Holding onto the belief he may come back will keep you stuck. You deserve happiness too, and it's okay if it's not with him. Ditch the belief that there will be closure, or an outcome with him, because he may never give it to you, and expecting him to treat you better and that you deserve closure will only hurt you in the long run. You need to create that closure for yourself. Learn to answer your own questions, as Kayc and I had to because our exes were never going to give us the answers. Maybe the idea of someone else giving us closure is a myth, but who knows. Joe finally answered my question, 5 years after the fact. By then I was having none of it and no longer cared, because I had forgiven him for my own sanity, not his. You mentioned not wanting to walk around wounded. There's no quick fix to this. The same way there's no quick fix to losing weight or physical wounds. Wounds take time to heal, and sure, you could fill them temporarily with dating, food, exercise, whatever else, but void filling will only make the wound deeper, and eventually infected, as this inability to face your grief and let your wounds heal will cause that sadness to bleed onto everything else in your life. Speaking from personal experience, this route will only make everything worse. Waiting 4 months to seek counseling after Dave killed himself was a mistake that nearly ruined my relationship and life. Let yourself sit with the grief, cry, feel, seek therapy, find new hobbies, join a club, gym or activities group. These things will help keep your mind off constantly licking the wound (like a cone on a dog/cat after surgery), while also letting it heal properly. Don't feel bad or ashamed for feeling bad, you're hurt and only human, you're allowed to have feelings about his behavior, as well as your own grief from his son's death and losing your relationship. It will take time. Took me about 4 months to stop crying regularly after Tim ghosted me the second time. I'd have to drive by his apartment, where we went on our first date, etc and for the first few months it was like reopening the wound each time. But eventually, I said to myself that I wasn't going to cry over him anymore because he didn't deserve it, and neither did I. In hindsight, we would've ended anyways. But it took me well over a year and moving to a new state for a job and reflection of my life now compared to then to come to this realization and conclusion. Read the thread "Why would someone end a good relationship while grieving?" from Miri in 2011. Scroll onto page 3 of the thread, read Ron B.'s two posts in response to what Miri said. He gives some amazing advice. It won't be this way forever. But you can't rush it. As much as you may want to, you need to feel the heartbreak in order for it to start healing. --Rae
  13. Don't feel bad about this, my mother did the same thing with my mostly absent father. When he wasn't working, he was out gallivanting with women, his friends, working on home improvement projects, buying "project cars" and anything else he could do to avoid being present. They were married for 16 years and had 4 kids. After so long living the "married single life" and raising 4 kids and her adult husband, my mom just said "enough" and divorced him. I acted very similarly towards my boyfriend after my best friend killed himself 8 years ago, I had just turned 20. I was all over the place emotionally, neglected him physically and abandoned our relationship. We did not break up, and were living together. But after 4 months of me being depressed, angry and neglecting myself and him, he was right to want to break up if I did not seek therapy. We worked things out once I started taking therapy seriously, but it did damage our relationship. We ended things a few years later for unrelated reasons. My ex-boyfriend Tim behaved this way after his dad died 3.5 years ago. At first, he told me he didn't want to break up, but then disappeared for three months after. He then tried to reconcile, and he treated similarly as your lover is doing to you. He would be hot n cold, burst out at me in anger, treat me less than loving, and wouldn't answer my texts for days. I finally decided to walk away after he stood me up at dinner one night and didn't reply to my texts. That same day he told me he loved me before we both left for work. I beat myself up over this for a long time after with the "what if's," please don't do that to yourself. It won't be this way forever, but it's hard to see this when you're in the thick of loss and grief. I wish I could answer your question of "How does it happen..." but I can't. All I can say is that his behavior is not your fault, or a result of anything that you did. His inability to to see your worth does not mean you don't have any. He is clearly having some issues dealing with his current situation, but his leaving you for someone else (even if it's a knee-jerk reaction to his son's death) should be a massive red flag. Some months from now, his feeling may be settled and he will have to sit with what he's done to you. Until then, he may not be able to give you any answers or explanations, and he may never give you any at all. Don't wait for them. It will only keep you stuck. You can go on. It just takes time for the tears to stop and the mental agony to subside.
  14. Yep, been there. It's good that you're speaking to a professional, and that you're aware of how you feel. It's a start. It sounds like you've talked to her about how you feel? If not, you may want to and you can mutually decide what's best for you both, or how to end your relationship together. My grandfather and I were best friends, he and my grandmother basically raised us because my parents worked multiple jobs and weren't home much. He died in 2010 of liver failure and cancer. It affected me in an odd way because I was 19 and had never lost anyone before, so I didn't really understand what was happening. My boyfriend was supportive, and while I behaved kind of strangely for a while and was really sad, I didn't break up with him. Part of it was also that I was expecting his death, as his liver was failing and he was in hospice for a few months. 9 months later, my best friend killed himself and it sent me spiraling. I dropped out of school and stopped going to work, for weeks. I laid in bed for days at a time replaying our last conversations and wondering if I wasn't a good friend to him. Time just stopped, reality stopped and I didn't want to go back into the world. I was not right in the head for months. My boyfriend Joe understood, for a while, but my behavior went on for months. I was cruel to him and emotionally abandoned him and our relationship. I stopped caring about everything. Joe should've left me, but he didn't. He gave me an ultimatum after about 4 months of my constant crying, laying in bed, angry outbursts and neglecting myself. He told me he was going to leave if I didn't seek professional help. At the time, I resented him for it because I was so obsessed with my own feelings that I didn't care about how my behavior made him feel. I was angry with him for being unable to understand how I felt, but my anger was misdirected because deep down I was just angry at myself, confused and inexplicably sad. He was right to leave, but I agreed to see a counselor. We eventually worked it out once I started taking therapy seriously, but it damaged our relationship. We ended things two years later for unrelated reasons, but I do feel that this situation played a part in how we ended. While I wasn't fully aware of how I was behaving at times, Joe made it clear that my behavior was hurting him, and that he hated seeing me like that. Part of me wanted to care and be better, I just couldn't help the loneliness, carelessness and emptiness I felt. If you feel that being alone is what's best for you, you need to tell her. Don't leave her waiting in the wings, giving her hope or confusing her with sweet nothings. My ex-boyfriend Tim did that to me after his dad died in 2015, and it was devastating. He told me he just needed some time to sit with his loss, and that he didn't want to break up. A few days turned into months of radio silence from him, and him begging me to reconcile once I had finally started to accept that our relationship was over and move forward. He is emotionally unavailable but used it as an excuse to treat me poorly; You seem to be emotionally unavailable as well, but you aren't trying to hurt her and are aware of it, which is a great thing. The difference here is that you didn't wait to seek therapy, and you're aware of how you feel and how it's affecting her and your relationship. Instead of being cruel and just dumping her, you're actually trying to spare her pain and keep the relationship. But if it's at the expense of yourself, you need to have a discussion with her about it. Remember, you need to do what you feel is best for you. But, I'd caution against making rash, emotionally-fueled decisions. Do talk to her and your therapist before deciding what to do. It doesn't make you a bad person for breaking up with her, it just means you need time to figure things out and that time is best spent alone because you're going through a major, life-altering transition. Life isn't linear and things change at the drop of a hat, and sometimes, so do people. Things get better. The grief will just change, it won't go away. Think of it like an over-stuffed suitcase. At first, it's unmanageable, cumbersome and you're struggling to carry it. Eventually, it becomes a regular suitcase as you get used to the weight. Then it becomes a more manageable "carry-on" suitcase, then a backpack, and eventually a card you carry in your back pocket. You know it'll always be there, and sometimes you feel it more than others, but it doesn't weigh you down like it once did. -- Rae
  15. It did. And yep, it appears we are.
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