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On 11/27/2018 at 2:34 AM, Rae1991 said:

You will move on and with the time will come the clarity. As I've said before it took me nearly a year to fully move on from Joe: to stop hating him, stop being angry and stop letting his behavior and our past relationship occupy so much head space. I cried for months after we broke up, I annoyed my close friends with the constant need for reassurance that everything was going to be okay and that I would move on and find someone deserving of my affection. Fast forward 5, almost 6 years and now, he's nothing more than a guy I consider an acquaintance even though at one point I'd have followed him to the end of the Earth had he wanted me to. I didn't realize it at the time, but not long after that first year came and went, I didn't even realize it until a friend pointed out that I seemed better and like I had fully began moving forward.

I also cried for months, both times Tim and I broke up. The pain, regret and rehashing conversations in my head seemed endless, but after about 5 months, I stopped crying and started taking stock of all the things that had happened and everything I had done since. By about 12 months post-breakup, I didn't even see him as this great, wonderful person I believed he was that I missed out on being with. I saw him for the cold, cruel, emotionally unavailable person he truly was. The events that transpired after we broke up with me suddenly getting a new job and moving away definitely helped, the distance from the city we both lived in, his family and our mutual friends helped as I didn't drive by the place where we first met or frequently went on dates, or where he lived. I now had a job with some disposable income and no longer had to neglect paying one bill to pay another, and moving away definitely helped me learn to fill the existential void I had always felt inside without needing a significant other to do so.

It was weird at first and I was afraid so much happiness was not going to last, so I tried to search for negativity, bad things or things that could go wrong for a while and when I came up empty handed, I realized that I had spent so much time comfortable being hurt, abandoned, sad and traumatized that I was actually afraid of things going right and didn't know how to react when I no longer had reasons to be sad or felt hurt.

At some point, YOU WILL have the moment of clarity you seek. But part of the reason why the clarity hasn't come to you is because you're chasing it and trying to will it to come. Just like with chasing a person and you "willing" yourself to love them, you cannot will yourself to have that moment of clarity. It will come randomly, but that does not mean you can give up working on moving forward with the rest of your life.

--Rae :)

Ah yes, I can't wait for that day. It sounds like Tim and you weren't quite right for one another. The cold, cruel and emotionally unavailable person was one that I associate with, that is my ex-girlfriend really. I'm so glad and admiring of the fact that you moved on after such a tough time, it provides a good example for myself to remind myself of, and model upon. The existential void you describe resonates with me as well, it is clearly not a nice headspace to be in. Did you find that as long as you were busy, those feelings didn't catch up with you? 

I, like you, am 5 months or so after saying goodbye to Sarah, and it's definitely not easy. Only just today, I drove past the places we had countless dates and spent countless times together, however, unlike Tim or Joe, I can't say she was emotionally unavailable or horrible or nasty. She was lovely. Just not quite the right person for me, or the version of me currently. The reminders really sting I find, and tend to eat away at the insides. That is not to say that I'm drastically unhappy or doing poorly in my life, I'm still moving forward, but I actively avoid reminders of her, and I dislike going to weddings currently as I am reminded of what could have been. I try to stay away from social media where you are seeing people in happy fulfilling relationships reminding you of what you don't currently have. Difficult isn't it. 

It's not to say that it's the be all or end-all of life, but it adds a nice homely touch to this existence, a fulfilling relationship. It seems like you have been quite strong in moving on and steeling yourself. Do you think you were able to heal without becoming jaded about relationships/love etc? That is the ultimate goal here. But I know it is not quite that easy when I feel like she could have been the one to make me truly happy. The one you want to show off to everyone, to be at their side around people. But strangely, lacking that really close intimate connection and understanding of one another's minds. 

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I remember after Jim broke up with me, it was a trigger to go to the park or the A & W because we used to go there.  Now it doesn't bother me at all though, but that first year after it was hard.  Now his XW lives with him, glad we aren't married!  Oh and I found out he didn't pay his property taxes the last four years, that's crazy!  Of course had we been married, I never would have let that happen.  But I don't need someone to take care of.  He's a good guy but I wouldn't need that in a partner.  He's a mess.

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On 11/28/2018 at 8:50 PM, Vanush said:

Ah yes, I can't wait for that day. It sounds like Tim and you weren't quite right for one another. The cold, cruel and emotionally unavailable person was one that I associate with, that is my ex-girlfriend really. I'm so glad and admiring of the fact that you moved on after such a tough time, it provides a good example for myself to remind myself of, and model upon. The existential void you describe resonates with me as well, it is clearly not a nice headspace to be in. Did you find that as long as you were busy, those feelings didn't catch up with you? 

I, like you, am 5 months or so after saying goodbye to Sarah, and it's definitely not easy. Only just today, I drove past the places we had countless dates and spent countless times together, however, unlike Tim or Joe, I can't say she was emotionally unavailable or horrible or nasty. She was lovely. Just not quite the right person for me, or the version of me currently. The reminders really sting I find, and tend to eat away at the insides. That is not to say that I'm drastically unhappy or doing poorly in my life, I'm still moving forward, but I actively avoid reminders of her, and I dislike going to weddings currently as I am reminded of what could have been. I try to stay away from social media where you are seeing people in happy fulfilling relationships reminding you of what you don't currently have. Difficult isn't it. 

It's not to say that it's the be all or end-all of life, but it adds a nice homely touch to this existence, a fulfilling relationship. It seems like you have been quite strong in moving on and steeling yourself. Do you think you were able to heal without becoming jaded about relationships/love etc? That is the ultimate goal here. But I know it is not quite that easy when I feel like she could have been the one to make me truly happy. The one you want to show off to everyone, to be at their side around people. But strangely, lacking that really close intimate connection and understanding of one another's minds. 

I definitely know how it feels to have that sting of jealousy when you see others in happy, fulfilling relationships on social media. But I was reminded of this and still remind myself that Social Media posts/bragging/Facebook posts about relationships aren't always truthful and are a lot of times heavily embellished to make it appear perfect for affirmation and 'likes' from others. There are also studies that show the people who constantly embellish or brag about their relationship on social media are heavily insecure, both of themselves and the relationship. I know that from personal experience and because many times people forget that others know them in real life, and know they are lying about their lives/happiness on social media.

Yes absolutely, staying busy helped me avoid getting back into the head space of rehashing the conversations and stopping myself from moving on. Once I moved I joined a new gym, went to IKEA and bought some nice furniture, started exploring the city and the parks/green spaces, hiking, joined some sports fan clubs of the teams I like and started finding ways to relieve myself of the stress and tears and stay active instead of sitting around in my house letting my mind get lost in sorrow. Of course I still had bad days where I'd watch an episode of a show or hear/see something that reminded me of Tim, but I didn't let that one single trigger ruin my entire week like I did when I was still living in our hometown.

I was able to move forward without becoming jaded, but for a while especially during the first few months I was absolutely jaded, but that's mostly because I was trying to actively stop myself from loving him by reminding myself of all the crappy things he did. It didn't really work, but it stopped me from contacting him. Some 3 years later, no I am not jaded at all. I am however more cautious and observant of who I go on dates with, who I talk to and I don't hesitate to walk away or stop talking to someone if my gut says its not right or if I know they don't mean me well, are just looking for hook-ups or someone to take care of them. I also don't focus all my time on dating or searching for a partner anymore, I invest more time in friendships and my life, hobbies and happiness instead. It works for me. I am not saying you have to stop looking for a partner or relationship, just maybe look at it from a different perspective than needing to fill a void with a relationship like I once did, and that dating is an extra-curricular activity that you do when you have your priorities straight and can pay your bills, and not every relationship is meant to last or turn into a marriage. I go about it more practically these days as I used to just throw myself into situation/relationships without thought, they'd end poorly and I'd let it pick at my self-worth, but not learn and just repeat the cycle, it was not healthy and it was absolutely embarrassing.

On 11/29/2018 at 6:53 AM, kayc said:

I remember after Jim broke up with me, it was a trigger to go to the park or the A & W because we used to go there.  Now it doesn't bother me at all though, but that first year after it was hard.  Now his XW lives with him, glad we aren't married!  Oh and I found out he didn't pay his property taxes the last four years, that's crazy!  Of course had we been married, I never would have let that happen.  But I don't need someone to take care of.  He's a good guy but I wouldn't need that in a partner.  He's a mess.

Oh good lord! He didn't pay his taxes?! You would have walked into a hail of financial ruin and possible tax audits. You absolutely do NOT need to be taking care of a grown person who can't even be responsible enough to do normal adult things, that is just unhealthy. You absolutely dodged a bullet.

--Rae :)

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Property taxes, not income taxes.  I knew he was bad with $, that's why I told him I'd handle the $ if we were married.  Why would anyone jeopardize their home like that?  He has two roommates, they should all pay 1/3 each month into an account (since they're not paying rent) and not touch that account until it's time to pay property taxes.  If you can't have that much discipline, well there's not much hope for you, is there!

29 minutes ago, Rae1991 said:

I don't hesitate to walk away or stop talking to someone if my gut says its not right or if I know they don't mean me well, are just looking for hook-ups or someone to take care of them.

For sure!  Both partners need to be healthy going into a relationship, so you don't end up in a codependent relationship!  

29 minutes ago, Rae1991 said:

I was reminded of this and still remind myself that Social Media posts/bragging/Facebook posts about relationships aren't always truthful and are a lot of times heavily embellished to make it appear perfect for affirmation and 'likes' from others.

If a person can't handle FB, maybe they should take a break from it.  All walls are not equal, it really depends on your particular selection of friends as to what is showing up.  Tonight/tomorrow they're predicting 10-20" snow at my elevation...this morning I saw a post from some friends in Mexico living it up, gorgeous weather.  I laughed out loud!  We can't take any of it too seriously.

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1 hour ago, kayc said:

Property taxes, not income taxes.  I knew he was bad with $, that's why I told him I'd handle the $ if we were married.  Why would anyone jeopardize their home like that?  He has two roommates, they should all pay 1/3 each month into an account (since they're not paying rent) and not touch that account until it's time to pay property taxes.  If you can't have that much discipline, well there's not much hope for you, is there!

For sure!  Both partners need to be healthy going into a relationship, so you don't end up in a codependent relationship!  

If a person can't handle FB, maybe they should take a break from it.  All walls are not equal, it really depends on your particular selection of friends as to what is showing up.  Tonight/tomorrow they're predicting 10-20" snow at my elevation...this morning I saw a post from some friends in Mexico living it up, gorgeous weather.  I laughed out loud!  We can't take any of it too seriously.

Yeah, there really isn't much hope for these kinds of people that can't even manage their own lives, but still go out searching for a mate/spouse. I (briefly) was hanging out with a guy who was 30 years old back in 2012 right after my fiance and I split up. He expressed interest in possibly dating so we went on a couple dates, only problem was he had 4 roommates and still "couldn't afford" his rent payments. Turns out he had a serious drinking problem and spent his income partying, he's 36 now and from what I understand not much has changed. Another guy I dumped after only a month of dating had his college expenses paid for by his parents, so he left school with no debt. He's 31 now, working part time and his parents still pay his rent. Yuck.

I take social media breaks from time to time and don't post much of anything about my personal life anymore because there needs to be some privacy and separation between real life and social media. It's also not healthy to constantly be on the platforms. I also began removing people who do nothing but air their dirty laundry, argue and complain on Facebook all the time. It gets annoying, its childish and depressing to look at constantly. I also removed a few people who's lives absolutely revolved around their relationships, like, every single day they were posting about the "love of their life," talking about their private relations and tagging their SO in everything, to me that's just too much over exposure and insecurity that I do not want to know about nor do I want to be exposed to it myself. People unfortunately do take it seriously and it has consequences.

--Rae

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Some parents enable their kids so they don't learn to stand on their own and that may have played in some to why he's in this situation.  He's lived in this house since he got out of the service, his mom owned it, she left it to him eight years ago, along with her home and some tobacco fields and money.  He sold her house, the tobacco fields and went through all the money with nothing to show for it, like there's no tomorrow.  He only gets $377/mo. social security so has his XW and roommate to split expenses but not charging them rent.  I bet they don't even know he's about to get foreclosed on.  He could be on disability through the VA but hasn't filed.  What's he waiting for?

I care about him as a person but don't need someone to adopt, I have my hands full taking care of myself and my place.  It's like his head isn't grounded in reality.  Makes me wonder if part of it's the Asperger's.

I hear ya on the social media.  I'm lucky with my FB "friends" they're grown up and mature, I wouldn't cotton to the drama.  I don't think everything needs documented on social media like Edtv.

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23 hours ago, kayc said:

Some parents enable their kids so they don't learn to stand on their own and that may have played in some to why he's in this situation.  He's lived in this house since he got out of the service, his mom owned it, she left it to him eight years ago, along with her home and some tobacco fields and money.  He sold her house, the tobacco fields and went through all the money with nothing to show for it, like there's no tomorrow.  He only gets $377/mo. social security so has his XW and roommate to split expenses but not charging them rent.  I bet they don't even know he's about to get foreclosed on.  He could be on disability through the VA but hasn't filed.  What's he waiting for?

I care about him as a person but don't need someone to adopt, I have my hands full taking care of myself and my place.  It's like his head isn't grounded in reality.  Makes me wonder if part of it's the Asperger's.

I hear ya on the social media.  I'm lucky with my FB "friends" they're grown up and mature, I wouldn't cotton to the drama.  I don't think everything needs documented on social media like Edtv.

Wow. That is a mountain of problems. He blew through all the money? Good lord! I could see his Asperger's being part of the problem, but also the way he was raised does factor in too. I went to college with some kids on the spectrum and they needed some accommodations and extra help, but they got through it like any normal student and are working too. Their parents raised them normally, but still gave them the extra support and guidance they needed, but didn't coddle them.

For instance, the guy who works PT that had his expenses paid for and has always been privileged is arrogant, had no idea how to cook so the whole month we dated I cooked or we ate out or his mom would drive 3 hours with a weeks worth of meals she made for him, he played video games 24/7 when not in class, he had (and sounds like still has) terrible work ethic and barely ever went to class. He only ever received positive reinforcement growing up, so any kind of constructive criticism sends him spinning, but he has no problem criticizing others. His parents are clearly enabling his behavior. His head isn't in reality either, but that's his upbringing and his unwillingness to do better.

Another guy I dated again for about 2 months was in a similar situation. He told me that he was living with his sick dad to take care of him. I dumped him because I found out he and his soon to be ex-wife (that he lied about ever having, and was not divorced from) had also been living there the entire duration of their marriage, his dad was not sick and his dad was paying all of the bills, including the ones his wife would run up. Mind you, his dad is a disabled veteran on SSI and Disability, and both he and his ex wife worked FT jobs. He was also brought up relatively spoiled being an only child, had never lived without one of his parents, didn't know how to read or pay even basic bills, and did not know how to survive on his own. He is now 33 and still living with his dad. I keep in contact with his dad only because he is a lovely guy, but is now in ailing health. His parents however, absolutely enable his behavior too.

I do agree that things like mental/physical disorders, addictions and things of that nature can absolutely factor into the way people behave and cause them to not live in reality, but as you said, it's also their upbringing too. 

--Rae :)

 

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Yes so many good points, thankyou both for sharing your stories, it helps. It’s only hard when pictures come up, and I have to hold back the tears, I wish we didn’t have mutual friends, and I try to distance myself. When I look at her I just wonder, what sort of individual could not love her

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1 hour ago, Vanush said:

Yes so many good points, thankyou both for sharing your stories, it helps. It’s only hard when pictures come up, and I have to hold back the tears, I wish we didn’t have mutual friends, and I try to distance myself. When I look at her I just wonder, what sort of individual could not love her

I absolutely understand this. It is so, SO hard to deal with feeling okay and then see them tagged in a photo with mutual friends and the feelings of despair come back. I am going to suggest something that I had to do with both Joe and Tim. After Joe and I broke up I thought I was okay with having some of our mutual friends on Facebook or seeing them at the bar when I would go out, I was wrong. I either removed them from Facebook completely, or I removed their updates from my News Feed and stopped going to the places I knew they frequented.

After Tim and I broke up, it was a little harder as his older brother Mark, his girlfriend and their small kids were all good friends of mine, Mark and I worked together and we saw one another regularly. Mark understood when I explained that I needed to create some distance from him until I felt better. He knew how Tim had behaved towards me, lied to me and played with me and used their dads death as an excuse, so he understood that it was really hard to deal with. Mark was angry with Tim for a while because he used their dads death as an excuse to treat me like I didn't matter and as if no one else felt grief towards the death.

So, maybe take a break from Social Media or remove the mutual friends from your Facebook, even if just for a while. Your feelings, needs and healing should absolutely come before a connection on Facebook. If they're your good friends and want whats best for you, they'll understand. If not. then they're not great friends.

--Rae :)

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I have to agree, do what you need to do to protect yourself and allow yourself ample time to get over her.  

Rae, I used to be codependent and it got me into a lot of the situations I was in.  The last time I was tested they told me I wasn't any more, and I know I've worked really hard to become aware and realize what I was doing, getting into, choosing.  I used to have this thing where I would step into a situation where I felt needed, thinking somehow they'd appreciate me (ha, it doesn't work like that).  I also somehow felt valued by being someone's wife.  I had to learn to value myself and put myself first.  Some people think that is selfish and as Christians we're taught to be selfless, but they aren't understanding that there's a time and place for both.  It IS important to love yourself, value yourself and not let yourself be walked on.  Entirely a different matter than giving, even then we need to be careful we don't enable someone, it's important to know when to give and when to let the person have their own learning experiences.

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1 hour ago, kayc said:

I have to agree, do what you need to do to protect yourself and allow yourself ample time to get over her.  

Rae, I used to be codependent and it got me into a lot of the situations I was in.  The last time I was tested they told me I wasn't any more, and I know I've worked really hard to become aware and realize what I was doing, getting into, choosing.  I used to have this thing where I would step into a situation where I felt needed, thinking somehow they'd appreciate me (ha, it doesn't work like that).  I also somehow felt valued by being someone's wife.  I had to learn to value myself and put myself first.  Some people think that is selfish and as Christians we're taught to be selfless, but they aren't understanding that there's a time and place for both.  It IS important to love yourself, value yourself and not let yourself be walked on.  Entirely a different matter than giving, even then we need to be careful we don't enable someone, it's important to know when to give and when to let the person have their own learning experiences.

I was absolutely codependent too. I also wanted to feel needed, and at first it worked and I felt good and validated, and so did these guys. Then a few weeks would go by and the reality would hit that these men were essentially children and I was playing the role of their absent mother, enabler and/or wife and it stopped feeling good almost instantly, hence the short "situationships."

The codependency came from the absentee-ism from both parents. While it wasn't always intentional as they both worked hard and struggled, the insular behavior of our church and lack of friends, socialization or connection I felt growing up created a void that I started trying to fill by doing whatever I could to get attention, first from my parents, then as I aged from friends and the opposite sex. I played hockey, danced in ballet, got good grades, took up playing viola and still couldn't get my parents to come to my games, recitals or orchestra concerts, so I began to feel like they were just ignoring me and didn't love me. I just started to fester in the isolation and would spend all my spare time reading books. By the time I got to high school, we were no longer involved with the church, so now I was thrust into a world I knew very little of except from the books I had read, and I went kind of rogue with all my new found freedoms, but the void just kept getting bigger.

It is absolutely essential to love, value and cherish yourself. Something I didn't learn how to do until well into college and adulthood. You are correct that there is a fine line between giving and enabling, and many times we walk that line out of love for another, but at some point you absolutely need to love you more and let that person off on their own to learn from their mistakes.

We are taught, especially women, from a young age to receive our validation from being girlfriends/wives/mothers and that our end goal in life should be to be someone's wife and mother. While that's fine to have these goals, there is usually no nuanced views, boundaries, self-love or self-respect being taught with them and that in itself can be a huge issue. We are expected to be selfless, unconditional givers to men, our husbands and our children without the expectation of any reciprocity, and that is damaging.

Self-love and awareness is essential, without it we will never grow or learn from our mistakes.

--Rae :)

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On 12/4/2018 at 7:20 AM, Rae1991 said:

I played hockey, danced in ballet, got good grades, took up playing viola and still couldn't get my parents to come to my games, recitals or orchestra concerts, so I began to feel like they were just ignoring me and didn't love me.

Ha, I went through the same thing, always good good grades, was a good child, tried to please them, in gymnastics, etc. until my sister's car accident (I was 14 almost 15), from then on I had to come straight home from school and take care of everyone until bedtime, then start homework.  My parents didn't go to PTA, parent/teacher conferences, nor did they attend church when I sang solos (in front of 500 congregants).  They refused to allow me a piano in the home even though I had a teacher willing to teach me for free.  It's not surprising to me that we grew up with issues...my mom was mentally ill and abusive, my dad alcoholic.  It's really taken me most of my life to learn but that I have and well!  I'm proud of you, you've learned much younger than I did.

On 12/4/2018 at 7:20 AM, Rae1991 said:

We are taught, especially women, from a young age to receive our validation from being girlfriends/wives/mothers and that our end goal in life should be to be someone's wife and mother. While that's fine to have these goals, there is usually no nuanced views, boundaries, self-love or self-respect being taught with them and that in itself can be a huge issue. We are expected to be selfless, unconditional givers to men, our husbands and our children without the expectation of any reciprocity, and that is damaging.

Self-love and awareness is essential, without it we will never grow or learn from our mistakes.

I couldn't agree more!

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3 hours ago, kayc said:

Ha, I went through the same thing, always good good grades, was a good child, tried to please them, in gymnastics, etc. until my sister's car accident (I was 14 almost 15), from then on I had to come straight home from school and take care of everyone until bedtime, then start homework.  My parents didn't go to PTA, parent/teacher conferences, nor did they attend church when I sang solos (in front of 500 congregants).  They refused to allow me a piano in the home even though I had a teacher willing to teach me for free.  It's not surprising to me that we grew up with issues...my mom was mentally ill and abusive, my dad alcoholic.  It's really taken me most of my life to learn but that I have and well!  I'm proud of you, you've learned much younger than I did.

I couldn't agree more!

I think the only reason why I learned this is because I was given an ultimatum by my fiance and forced into therapy at 20 years old after multiple losses and years of grief, abuse and self-hatred that spiraled my life and mental health out of control.

It's funny, something I've realized in recent years that I was never aware of growing up: We perceive our parents to be perfect, well-rounded and infallible beings because they are the first people to show us affection and teach us how to behave and who we are. Without realizing it, I put my parents on a pedestal and expected things of them that I couldn't do myself, neglecting the fact that they are human, life is hard, mistakes happen, and they can suffer in the same ways that I was. I never took into account that my grandfather was an alcoholic monster who robbed my mom and her siblings of a childhood, only to sober up before his grandchildren came around and dote on us with love, so we saw him differently than she did, or that her mother was an emotionally abusive enabler and how that affected her world view and self image as she aged. Or my fathers parents, who were both abusive alcoholics that beat and subsequently abandoned him and his siblings.

Not saying these things excuse abuse or neglect, but it partially does explain their behavior as parents and adults. They were once just kids themselves who were forced to make decisions and behave like adults before ever experiencing life as young adult without the responsibilities of parenthood and marriage. I used to believe my parents behaved the way they did because they didn't love us, one another and were behaving the way they did intentionally. But most of the time, it was unintentional and they didn't even know they were behaving poorly because it was familiar and normal to them. Again, they were humans existing and behaving in ways they were never told were abnormal. Just like I did as a teenager and young adult before it was brought to my attention via loved ones and therapists that my thoughts and behavior were abnormal.

As far as the age difference goes, better late than never. And better you learned at all when you're still able to live and enjoy life, rather than having this wisdom to spare only on your deathbed.

--Rae :)

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Rae, could you go to Behaviors section, there is someone with a loss of love relationship (his mom died so he broke up with his GF), would appreciate your input.  Thank you!

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19 hours ago, Rae1991 said:

I used to believe my parents behaved the way they did because they didn't love us, one another and were behaving the way they did intentionally. But most of the time, it was unintentional and they didn't even know they were behaving poorly because it was familiar and normal to them.

For sure!  My parents had very poor coping skills, practically non-existent.  They didn't "fight fair", they didn't have goals in raising their children, they didn't plan anything, they pretty much just reacted, reacted, reacted, and most of it was not good!

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You guys are fantastic thankyou. My brain continues to tell me and question me, maybe she was really an amazing one who got away. I don’t want to believe it but I’m starting to. I know what I’d tell myself- it didn’t work, the connection wasn’t quite there, it wasn’t good for you and it wouldn’t have worked. But something about the way I felt at the time had such a dramatic effect on me.

I don’t know if I’m crazy, but I don’t desire a relationship in the conventional way. I like being busy, and when I sleep at night I prefer sleeping alone. I like things the way I do them. I find it more efficient and easy to be single. I don’t feel the need to have someone to show off. I worry that this is due strongly to the rights of my career and the constant pressure? I wonder if that can make u feel sort of numb, as I’ve felt before.

But I do desire the feeling that is so strong in you that it is like a drug, and it makes you want to change all your ways and commit to inefficiency because you’re in love. I am not looking for a warm body, an empathetic ear or a trophy date. I am looking for the feeling, and the feeling alone. I’ve had it once before, and it made me thoroughly analyse and reassess the direction of my own life. Something that powerful I can only hope comes along twice in a lifetime. 

I have pondered these things over the past few weeks. Why am I addicted to the memory of Sarah and I? Is it impossible to find that feeling again,? And does my busy life dictate and make me less able to feel love

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Vanush, Give yourself time to have clarity, sometimes it can take months or years.  I still care very much about Jim and we're good friends, but oh my goodness I'm glad I'm not in the middle of that!  He doesn't have good life skills, neither does his XW, nor his daughter...he has one daughter who does and I feel for her having to deal with their problems, it's a lot.  People who can't pay their bills on time, etc. and constantly have issues because of it!  I don't understand people not being able to budget or make good choices, but there seems to be a lot of them in this country!
When a relationship doesn't work for any reason, try to be thankful you found out before you did something permanent, that only worsens the problems.

They say that the first six months you fall "in love" which is the infatuation period, you DO get a high on it, it releases endorphins in your brain, that makes it all the harder to keep a good perspective and one reason people often get into the relationship too fast.  Date and develop friendships, build on it slowly but surely and pay heed to red flags.  It'll happen for you, all in good time, so long as you don't settle for the wrong one hastily.  Hold out for that good and lasting relationship!  I had it with George and even though he died, I still draw from the lessons I learned from him, the comfort and positives from our relationship.  He loved me enough to last me a lifetime!...and I him.

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16 hours ago, kayc said:

Vanush, Give yourself time to have clarity, sometimes it can take months or years.  I still care very much about Jim and we're good friends, but oh my goodness I'm glad I'm not in the middle of that!  He doesn't have good life skills, neither does his XW, nor his daughter...he has one daughter who does and I feel for her having to deal with their problems, it's a lot.  People who can't pay their bills on time, etc. and constantly have issues because of it!  I don't understand people not being able to budget or make good choices, but there seems to be a lot of them in this country!
When a relationship doesn't work for any reason, try to be thankful you found out before you did something permanent, that only worsens the problems.

They say that the first six months you fall "in love" which is the infatuation period, you DO get a high on it, it releases endorphins in your brain, that makes it all the harder to keep a good perspective and one reason people often get into the relationship too fast.  Date and develop friendships, build on it slowly but surely and pay heed to red flags.  It'll happen for you, all in good time, so long as you don't settle for the wrong one hastily.  Hold out for that good and lasting relationship!  I had it with George and even though he died, I still draw from the lessons I learned from him, the comfort and positives from our relationship.  He loved me enough to last me a lifetime!...and I him.

Thanks kayc, I do need to give it time. With Sarah, once the initial few dates went on, we got comfortable and weren’t spending time doing exciting things on dates, we would just cook dinner and spend time together. I also never met her friends or family. This was a product of how busy I was and the pressure and stress of the career, as welll as her being busy. Do you think this could have been a reason our spark died away? If it is this devastates me, but I realise I couldn’t have given any more to her then, and if I had, would not have achieved so many goals professionally this year

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On 12/19/2018 at 10:01 AM, kayc said:

Vanush, Give yourself time to have clarity, sometimes it can take months or years.  I still care very much about Jim and we're good friends, but oh my goodness I'm glad I'm not in the middle of that!  He doesn't have good life skills, neither does his XW, nor his daughter...he has one daughter who does and I feel for her having to deal with their problems, it's a lot.  People who can't pay their bills on time, etc. and constantly have issues because of it!  I don't understand people not being able to budget or make good choices, but there seems to be a lot of them in this country!
When a relationship doesn't work for any reason, try to be thankful you found out before you did something permanent, that only worsens the problems.

They say that the first six months you fall "in love" which is the infatuation period, you DO get a high on it, it releases endorphins in your brain, that makes it all the harder to keep a good perspective and one reason people often get into the relationship too fast.  Date and develop friendships, build on it slowly but surely and pay heed to red flags.  It'll happen for you, all in good time, so long as you don't settle for the wrong one hastily.  Hold out for that good and lasting relationship!  I had it with George and even though he died, I still draw from the lessons I learned from him, the comfort and positives from our relationship.  He loved me enough to last me a lifetime!...and I him.

I couldn't have stated this better. This was everything I would've said. To add to this, I'm going to paste a post from a thread in this section by a woman named Miri in 2011, these words are from a respondant, Ron B. While not all of the words apply to you, the advice he gives is transferable to your situation. 

................

"It's sometimes difficult to offer advice to help people grow through adversity, because people get so completely stuck on a firm set of beliefs. We tend to think about stressful things in habitual ways, and breaking through habitual thinking can be difficult. At one time you thought your former male friend was just great! Now he's looking rather inconsiderate and a bit brutish. His own grief makes it complicated; it's hard to know what he thinks or feels. But at least you are actively trying to think your own way through the difficulty, and that is a real kind of progress.

For any of us to really change, our feelings need to co-evolve with our thinking. When a love-relationhip get severed, there is generally a whole rage of emotions that emerge from one or both individuals in the relationship. Few things in life are so brutal. The grief from all this can be overshelming; I too have had a love-relationship suddenly severed. Twice. It happens to a lot of people, so you are not unique in this. And just like we need to 'rethink' things, we need to rework on our feelings in similar ways. Instead of continually rehashing the same feelings of anger and abandonment, we do a lot better when can gather fresh feelings.

By reworking our thoughts and feelings, we can change and grow. Here are my specific suggestions.

First, the very best solution I know of for people who have been psychological traumatized is to get professional counseling. That will work vastly better than anything I have to say here, but do shop around for the right counselor if you choose this option. After my mother passed away, I waited 4 months before seeking counseling, and that was a mistake. Once I went in for counseling it took about 4 sesssions before my raging thoughts and feelings settled out, and then I was better able to navigate through the difficulty. I had a good counselor.

Other than counseling, the things that helped me most through grief, were physical exercise (!), support of family, and venting in this forum.

OK, here is my specific advice about your man-friend in 3 words: LET HIM GO.

And several hundred words as to why:

Let him go, because your feelings are trampled. Here is where the 'rethinking' comes in. You feel mistreated, because you think he has an obligation to treat you well, or at least kindly. Now I'm suggesting to you something pretty raw. Ditch that expectation that he has any obligation to you at all. I'm not saying it's ok for him to reject or cut off communication with you. I'm just saying it's reality that he has for the time being abandoned you, and you've got to face rejection squarely, as hard as that may be.

Let him go, because he has lost both parents now, and is probably swallowed whole by his own grief. Now he has to establish his own independence without being tethered in any way. He can't handle a relationship now, and it's a mistake to try to engage him if he is not able. The fact that he doesn't write or communicate, except to to write a dear-Jane letter, should clue you in. So, just leave him alone for now. If it helps, think of it like he gets 6 months time to recover from grief, before he comes back into normal circulation again.

Let him go, because he appears to be quite ambivalent about women. You mentioned he had a love-hate relationship with his mother, and now it looks like that scenario is being thrust upon you. Duck out of it! His issues with women are his problem, and not yours. You had mentioned that the guy was a loner before he met you, so that's his longer-term life pattern. The relationship he had with you was a fortunate exception for him. Months down the road he will come around to 'rethinking' what he had with you. So let him have those months to figure it out. If you pester him at all now, he's likely to continue to resent you just like he did his mother.

Let him go, because as an independent woman you will be stronger. If your need for acceptance depends upon him, you will be buried in abandonment issues for many months to come. To cling to a guy that continually rejects you is just too humiliating. If you make an active effort to move on, then you will gradually get unstuck, and grow into an independent woman who can choose her own relationhips. So learn about letting go and moving on in any way that you can. Find support though friends, counselors, and family. You will survive this and you know it. There are many caring and sensitive men in need of a kind and devoted woman like you. Date a few of them if you can; pull yourself out of the abandoned-woman mind-set.

I do have advice about answering his dear-Jane email and retrieving your belongings. I would write back very briefly and say: "Dear [name goes here], It's all ok with me, but I need to pick up my things in your apartment. Can we please arrange a time?" And, if you are able, go to his apartment and be very business-like. I would not engage him in conversation, and would only do so if he initiated it. I would not utter one word about relationship break-up issues at all. Don't try to be cold to him either. For your own dignity, you want to go through the experience with warmth and kindness in your heart if you can. Call it 'silent love' if you like. You may or may not be ready to collect your belongings from him, I don't know. If you can do it, go for it. That is what will bring to you some closure.

Remember, I'm just a ordinary guy posting to this grief forum. I am probably a very different person than you, and my solutions might not fit your problems at all. Take my advice only when it feels right, and ignore the rest. - Ron B."

--Rae 

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Thanks,

These are very wise words. I am trying to let her go currently. I'd be lying if I said I was fine, and family events around Christmas make me oh so miserable. Today my friend was wearing the same shoes she wore when I broke it off.

But the message is clear. Take steps towards moving on, and be patient. I also find, that when these feelings come up, all you want to do is talk to someone about them. But no one truly listens, often I find they sweep your feelings aside with a phrase like you'll be ok. 

What they are truly saying is that they aren't comfortable with your feelings. Unfortunately I have found that over n over, and I turn to forums 

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8 hours ago, Vanush said:

Thanks,

These are very wise words. I am trying to let her go currently. I'd be lying if I said I was fine, and family events around Christmas make me oh so miserable. Today my friend was wearing the same shoes she wore when I broke it off.

But the message is clear. Take steps towards moving on, and be patient. I also find, that when these feelings come up, all you want to do is talk to someone about them. But no one truly listens, often I find they sweep your feelings aside with a phrase like you'll be ok. 

What they are truly saying is that they aren't comfortable with your feelings. Unfortunately I have found that over n over, and I turn to forums 

It's okay to not be fine. It's okay to turn here or to a therapist when you feel alone because your friends don't want to listen to you drone on over and over.

I experienced this with both break-ups too. After so long your friends (and even yourself) DO get tired of you sounding like a broken record for months after the fact, and I understand why (maybe its different for men because of the different social norms/expectations of friendships among men and women) because they think that you're actively stopping yourself from moving forward by continually rehashing the same words/thoughts for months or a year and clinging to someone that has rejected you. To be honest, having that friend when you all go out to a social setting who starts bawling about their ex after two beers can be a serious killjoy and it gets exhausting trying to constantly console them. 

Breakups happen to everyone and some are worse than others, but at some point, we have to say "Enough is enough, they don't deserve my tears or thoughts anymore and I deserve better" and just stop giving away our control, letting this person occupy so much of our time and head space. At some point one needs to ask themselves: Do I think my ex is behaving/feeling the same way? Am I behaving in a way that is healthy? Have I begun alienating friends because I keep bringing up this subject every time we talk? Chances are if its been months or years and you still haven't progressed, it probably isn't healthy, your ex has moved on and your friends are tired of it. They love you and want what's best for you, but even they have their limits because only you have control over your behavior. They could tell you to take steps to move on or give you ideas about how to focus on yourself until they're blue in the face, but you won't truly begin to move forward until you choose to do so.

I am actually grateful a friend of mine sat me down after about 8 months of me pining and talking about Joe and our breakup and finally said, "Rae, shut the f*** up. You deserve better than him and this. It has been months and I love you, but I am tired of consoling you and this subject dominating your life and our friendship. You need to either go back to therapy or find hobbies to occupy your free time. You are now making a choice not to move on and its really unhealthy. You and Joe are not getting back together, it's over, and you need to accept that. You love him, but no love is worth this. You are embarrassing yourself by clinging to him for superficial reasons. You are an adult now and you need to confront this."

Yes, it takes time and patience to fully move on, its painful, uncomfortable and seems like it takes forever, but after so long, you have to accept responsibility for your own feelings. While it is absolutely your friends job to support you in your time of need, it is not their job to make you move on or constantly listen to the same story you've told them 1000x over about your feelings and break-up when you never take the advice they give or appreciate that they're still listening. At some point, your friends will either tell you to shut up or they'll just stop engaging you because they feel like the mutual friendship is being dominated by you and your feelings. I understand break-up feelings can make a person self-centered, but again, after so long, behavior like this can become a deliberate choice. I have been on both sides of this spectrum multiple times, as have many people I'm sure, so I know how it feels.

I have actually told a few friends they needed to stop their obsessive nonsense and shook them at times, but they were in different situations than you involving guys that did nothing but use/abuse them so they behaved erratically and did some very unhealthy things. A friend from college thought it'd be a good idea to exact revenge on her ex (NEVER EVER do this, it only makes you look unstable and could get you in legal trouble, too). I just about smacked her because it seemed that was the only way to knock any sense into her. LOL.

--Rae :)

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I went through that too, Rae, years ago with my first husband.  He was beating on me, cheating on me, I didn't know what to do.  I was afraid if I left him he'd shoot me.  The law didn't protect me.  I felt trapped.  I complained and complained to my best friend.  She finally told me to put up or shut up.  I was mad at her for a couple of weeks and then I realized she was right.  No one could change my situation but me.  I left.  He put a gun to my neighbor's head to tell him where I was.  He beat the door down and drug me back.  I got a lawyer and some advice...next time I left, I made sure he didn't know where I was, I didn't tell anyone but my lawyer.  I became a strong person and I won't take guff off of anyone.  Yes I went through other relationships and heartbreak, I had a lot to learn yet, but over the years I finally learned...lots of therapy later.  Today I'm strong, independent, and at peace.  I've chosen not to look for another relationship, not because I don't have a lot to offer, but because I've been through so much and enough is enough.  When I met George, I met my soul mate, the person who got me, we adored each other and it was a beautiful relationship...but then he died.  If another "right person" happened along, I'm sure I wouldn't miss it but so far that hasn't happened.  Not a lot of pickings in this town! :D

 

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On 12/30/2018 at 12:57 AM, Rae1991 said:

It's okay to not be fine. It's okay to turn here or to a therapist when you feel alone because your friends don't want to listen to you drone on over and over.

I experienced this with both break-ups too. After so long your friends (and even yourself) DO get tired of you sounding like a broken record for months after the fact, and I understand why (maybe its different for men because of the different social norms/expectations of friendships among men and women) because they think that you're actively stopping yourself from moving forward by continually rehashing the same words/thoughts for months or a year and clinging to someone that has rejected you. To be honest, having that friend when you all go out to a social setting who starts bawling about their ex after two beers can be a serious killjoy and it gets exhausting trying to constantly console them. 

Breakups happen to everyone and some are worse than others, but at some point, we have to say "Enough is enough, they don't deserve my tears or thoughts anymore and I deserve better" and just stop giving away our control, letting this person occupy so much of our time and head space. At some point one needs to ask themselves: Do I think my ex is behaving/feeling the same way? Am I behaving in a way that is healthy? Have I begun alienating friends because I keep bringing up this subject every time we talk? Chances are if its been months or years and you still haven't progressed, it probably isn't healthy, your ex has moved on and your friends are tired of it. They love you and want what's best for you, but even they have their limits because only you have control over your behavior. They could tell you to take steps to move on or give you ideas about how to focus on yourself until they're blue in the face, but you won't truly begin to move forward until you choose to do so.

I am actually grateful a friend of mine sat me down after about 8 months of me pining and talking about Joe and our breakup and finally said, "Rae, shut the f*** up. You deserve better than him and this. It has been months and I love you, but I am tired of consoling you and this subject dominating your life and our friendship. You need to either go back to therapy or find hobbies to occupy your free time. You are now making a choice not to move on and its really unhealthy. You and Joe are not getting back together, it's over, and you need to accept that. You love him, but no love is worth this. You are embarrassing yourself by clinging to him for superficial reasons. You are an adult now and you need to confront this."

Yes, it takes time and patience to fully move on, its painful, uncomfortable and seems like it takes forever, but after so long, you have to accept responsibility for your own feelings. While it is absolutely your friends job to support you in your time of need, it is not their job to make you move on or constantly listen to the same story you've told them 1000x over about your feelings and break-up when you never take the advice they give or appreciate that they're still listening. At some point, your friends will either tell you to shut up or they'll just stop engaging you because they feel like the mutual friendship is being dominated by you and your feelings. I understand break-up feelings can make a person self-centered, but again, after so long, behavior like this can become a deliberate choice. I have been on both sides of this spectrum multiple times, as have many people I'm sure, so I know how it feels.

I have actually told a few friends they needed to stop their obsessive nonsense and shook them at times, but they were in different situations than you involving guys that did nothing but use/abuse them so they behaved erratically and did some very unhealthy things. A friend from college thought it'd be a good idea to exact revenge on her ex (NEVER EVER do this, it only makes you look unstable and could get you in legal trouble, too). I just about smacked her because it seemed that was the only way to knock any sense into her. LOL.

--Rae :)

So true Rae, I’m probably at a point now where I wish I could be shaken sense into.

One thing I’ve been pondering more recently has been about how a “right” relationship feels, and thought you or Kayc May share your thoughts.

I have had 2 relationships I think to compare here: the first, I was taken with her, love at first sight, crazy love story which turned into an insane romance, and then incredible heartbreak. There was never a question in my mind of whether I wanted to be around this person, it was automatic, I felt like I did nice things for her and was around her out of an instinct of love. Although ironically I was taken advantage of and stuck in a toxic cycle eventually.

The second, Sarah, a similar “wow” feeling at the beginning, but then some question marks, the feeling of not wanting to put the effort in, and eventually without that effort the feelings waned. The confounding factor here was a much busier year in my life comparatively to the time period of the first relationship, and I believe I was a significantly different person after the first brutal heartbreak. 

None of these relationships worked out, but the first evoked an innate desire within me to love and care and spend time with the girl, despite her eventually not being right. Whereas with the second the desire eventually was simply not there despite my wanting it to be (although confounding factors exist). 

I guess the question simplifies to this, in the right relationship, should you feel that innate desire to spend time with that person a lot, or does it fade and require effort? (As it did with Sarah in the first 4-6 months).

i know I must stop the destructive cycle of looking at photos too, that never helps, it is just still so hard to accept it’s over as I find myself thinking over and over- what if I had one more chance. I think the reality is though, I tried and tried, and it made us both sadder

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The experts say there isn't such a thing as love at first sight, that you grow it...I think a little of both is true.   When I met George, we felt an instant connection, we could relate to each other, we could have talked for hours and really understood each other.  Chemistry/attraction can be part of it, but that's just infatuation, for me the attraction grew the more I got to know him and it was largely there due to how he treated me.  We respond to good treatment.  He always made me feel protected, cared about.  He often said he appreciated how I'd always be honest with him  Sometimes the truth hurts but he knew that no matter what I said to him, it was coming from a good place because I always had his best interests at heart.  We trusted each other, had faith in each other, this was core in our relationship.  He said he appreciated how I allowed him freedom...it never occurred to me to be any way different!  We naturally wanted to be with each other, and we held hands and cuddled.  it wasn't like that in my previous relationships. When we were apart, we missed each other.  Once a year I'd go to my sisters' reunions and he'd go fishing with the guys, but other than that, we spent our weekends together.  We WANTED to be together!  Neither of us felt smothered, if I wanted to do something with the ladies or he wanted to do something with the guys, that was fine, but most of the time we spent our free time together.  We were each other's best friend.  We listened to each other, cared about each other, it was just good and we both felt loved.  He was respectful and there for my children, who were teenagers by the time we met.  When we got married my daughter was on her own and my son had a year left of high school.  Him and George got along great, considered each other friends.  George was a wonderful stepfather.

This is what looked like a good relationship to me. I know how to recognize love because now I have a barometer by which to gauge it.  But people can fool you.  They can parrot what they know you want without really meaning it.  It's important to pay attention to red flags, not excuse them because they "must be having a bad day".  If something doesn't feel right...it probably isn't.  Consistency is key.  

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4 minutes ago, kayc said:

The experts say there isn't such a thing as love at first sight, that you grow it...I think a little of both is true.   When I met George, we felt an instant connection, we could relate to each other, we could have talked for hours and really understood each other.  Chemistry/attraction can be part of it, but that's just infatuation, for me the attraction grew the more I got to know him and it was largely there due to how he treated me.  We respond to good treatment.  He always made me feel protected, cared about.  He often said he appreciated how I'd always be honest with him  Sometimes the truth hurts but he knew that no matter what I said to him, it was coming from a good place because I always had his best interests at heart.  We trusted each other, had faith in each other, this was core in our relationship.  He said he appreciated how I allowed him freedom...it never occurred to me to be any way different!  We naturally wanted to be with each other, and we held hands and cuddled.  it wasn't like that in my previous relationships. When we were apart, we missed each other.  Once a year I'd go to my sisters' reunions and he'd go fishing with the guys, but other than that, we spent our weekends together.  We WANTED to be together!  Neither of us felt smothered, if I wanted to do something with the ladies or he wanted to do something with the guys, that was fine, but most of the time we spent our free time together.  We were each other's best friend.  We listened to each other, cared about each other, it was just good and we both felt loved.  He was respectful and there for my children, who were teenagers by the time we met.  When we got married my daughter was on her own and my son had a year left of high school.  Him and George got along great, considered each other friends.  George was a wonderful stepfather.

This is what looked like a good relationship to me. I know how to recognize love because now I have a barometer by which to gauge it.  But people can fool you.  They can parrot what they know you want without really meaning it.  It's important to pay attention to red flags, not excuse them because they "must be having a bad day".  If something doesn't feel right...it probably isn't.  Consistency is key.  

Ah yes, if it doesn’t feel right! That Is a poignant point. My difficulty is in trusting my gut, I worry as I age I become more set in my ways and less prepared to spend my time with anyone, and that I’m so fussy. I have dated many beautiful people, but each time my gut ends up telling me this is not quite it. I suppose you must trust how u feel because it is just that. And it would be better to be single than to live in contrary to your desire.

I also am amazed that you always “wanted to be together”. I have had this with only one person, and reflecting on this it wasn’t the case with Sarah. The difficulty truly comes when it is not a continuous feeling, but intermittent. Having said that, with my first relationship there was not a day that would go by where I didn’t want to be her boyfriend.

It sounds like it was such a wonderful relationship and I’m so happy for you. Perhaps I have had this feeling once, and it feels like everything in life is just a little better. I pray, for you and me, that this can come along more than once in a lifetime.

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