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22 hours ago, Rae1991 said:

Always remember that even when you feel like you have no one, you still have yourself. You're the longest relationship you'll ever have. Don't teach yourself you're invaluable just because others fail to see it.

Amen to that!  I've had to learn to value myself.  I am my own best company!  Did I plan to be alone?  No!  But it is okay that I am.

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22 hours ago, kayc said:

Amen to that!  I've had to learn to value myself.  I am my own best company!  Did I plan to be alone?  No!  But it is okay that I am.

Absolutely! And I can tell the strength of your character because of it. So many people in your position I find to be the most generous, giving and loving people! 

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On 10/28/2018 at 4:12 AM, Vanush said:

Yes that's so true! 

I have essentially been by myself the past 3 years, and I have built so much resilience in this time. Ironically in this time I have changed careers and moved states, confronting some of my most feared challenges.

I can also see the wise lessons it has taught both you and kayc. I am wondering, what were your takeaway messages from Alain de botton's speech? Mine were: 1. We shouldn't look for perfection in a partner 

2. We need to communicate and work on our flaws constantly so we don't fall into pathological patterns.

 

On 10/28/2018 at 6:56 AM, Vanush said:

Ergh, don’t you just hate the waves of emotion that come over you when you least expect it! It’s strange how I can forget so easily the feeling of it just not being right, that is distant in the memory, but I won’t forget all her positives.  it still burns really intensely! I am left to grieve over whether something could have been done to change my feelings at that time. Maybe had I worked on myself a little more I would have been in the right place, maybe had I stuck at it longer...

My takeaways from Alain's talk were both of yours plus 3. Love is a skill we need to develop over time, not just as children, but adults too. 4. That everyone is a varying degree of difficult to deal and live with LOL. But that doesn't make us unworthy of love, it makes us human 5. That it's okay to desire human connection, but we're all so bad at it because of our poor communication and other habits that society tells us are good and normal. But its hard to unlearn all those bad habits, though it is possible. 6. Don't be afraid to say "I need you" and tell your partner what you want/need from them.

Hindsight is 20/20 when you wish to go back and change something with the knowledge you know now. Wallowing in that state of mind will eat you alive. But, you can't change the fact that even though she was good on paper for you, your mind/gut/feelings told you otherwise. Listen to them. I will reiterate that being attracted to someone does not make them good/right for you and vice versa. Maybe that's all it was meant to be. As I said in previous posts, communication was lacking from both ends, you said the "spark" fizzled after a few weeks in (that should be your first indication. Real chemistry doesn't die so quickly and, its something you both need to work at maintaining, especially in an LTR or after the honeymoon ends) and it seemed you both just assumed things would fall into place naturally....Unfortunately life and relationships don't work that way.

Look at it this way: If that relationship was meant to last longer than three months, it wouldn't have died so swiftly during what most would argue is the easiest, most fun and happiest part of a relationship (the honeymoon phase). Ironically I believe why they call it that is because you're still riding off the endorphins of meeting and discovering someone new. Kind of like the high some get at their weddings and then when that and the honeymoon are over... reality sets in and for a lot of people unfortunately married and LTR life isn't what they envisioned and it takes more work than expected (see Relationship/Marriage Fantasy Goggles).

 

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On 10/28/2018 at 8:58 AM, kayc said:

Amen to that!  I've had to learn to value myself.  I am my own best company!  Did I plan to be alone?  No!  But it is okay that I am.

I didn't plan of it either. But I am okay with it now. Not just okay, actually happy with it. Now I know that regardless of what happened between Tim and I, we would've broken up at some point anyway because of his Emotional Unavailability. As far as Joe and I, I hadn't planned on ever being apart from him. But now I realize that if we had gotten married when I was 22, we'd be miserable and divorcing right now. In a way, him cheating on me was the best thing he could've ever done for me.

I just heard something that rings true, especially in situations like ours when the worst of people is revealed....

"I don't think crisis makes heroes, I think crisis reveals who you were before it happened." - Dr. Phil

--Rae :)

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On 10/29/2018 at 11:18 PM, Rae1991 said:

 

My takeaways from Alain's talk were both of yours plus 3. Love is a skill we need to develop over time, not just as children, but adults too. 4. That everyone is a varying degree of difficult to deal and live with LOL. But that doesn't make us unworthy of love, it makes us human 5. That it's okay to desire human connection, but we're all so bad at it because of our poor communication and other habits that society tells us are good and normal. But its hard to unlearn all those bad habits, though it is possible. 6. Don't be afraid to say "I need you" and tell your partner what you want/need from them.

Hindsight is 20/20 when you wish to go back and change something with the knowledge you know now. Wallowing in that state of mind will eat you alive. But, you can't change the fact that even though she was good on paper for you, your mind/gut/feelings told you otherwise. Listen to them. I will reiterate that being attracted to someone does not make them good/right for you and vice versa. Maybe that's all it was meant to be. As I said in previous posts, communication was lacking from both ends, you said the "spark" fizzled after a few weeks in (that should be your first indication. Real chemistry doesn't die so quickly and, its something you both need to work at maintaining, especially in an LTR or after the honeymoon ends) and it seemed you both just assumed things would fall into place naturally....Unfortunately life and relationships don't work that way.

Look at it this way: If that relationship was meant to last longer than three months, it wouldn't have died so swiftly during what most would argue is the easiest, most fun and happiest part of a relationship (the honeymoon phase). Ironically I believe why they call it that is because you're still riding off the endorphins of meeting and discovering someone new. Kind of like the high some get at their weddings and then when that and the honeymoon are over... reality sets in and for a lot of people unfortunately married and LTR life isn't what they envisioned and it takes more work than expected (see Relationship/Marriage Fantasy Goggles).

 

Yes, so very poignant! 

I do wait for the day I can spring out of bed and not think of her. But it still gets me and I am drawn into the illusion and trick of what could have been. 

It would be such interesting science/psychology, to figure out, how I have gotten over relationships that lasted 2 years, in the space of 6 months, yet Sarah and I were never in a relationship, and 4 months later I still find myself in a bind. What a peculiar thing the human mind is. 

The desire and anxiety to find that "one" who will complete you and make you a happy person is at play here I believe, and just as you have both pointed out in your previous posts, it is not a healthy thing to be continually searching for this person to make you happy. It is better to go out with no expectations and make your own fun, your own achievements, and then one day, unexpectedly, you may come across someone who stuns you. 

Until then, it is great to have such a good community of minds!

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2 hours ago, Vanush said:

Yes, so very poignant! 

I do wait for the day I can spring out of bed and not think of her. But it still gets me and I am drawn into the illusion and trick of what could have been. 

It would be such interesting science/psychology, to figure out, how I have gotten over relationships that lasted 2 years, in the space of 6 months, yet Sarah and I were never in a relationship, and 4 months later I still find myself in a bind. What a peculiar thing the human mind is. 

The desire and anxiety to find that "one" who will complete you and make you a happy person is at play here I believe, and just as you have both pointed out in your previous posts, it is not a healthy thing to be continually searching for this person to make you happy. It is better to go out with no expectations and make your own fun, your own achievements, and then one day, unexpectedly, you may come across someone who stuns you. 

Until then, it is great to have such a good community of minds!

You have to make YOU happy. It is not anyone else's responsibility to fix, nor is is their's to make you feel whole. You already are whole, you just need to fix the part of yourself that tells you you aren't. It took me a long time, lots of therapy and bad relationship experiences to realize this. Unfortunately society tells us that love does conquer all, if we're meant to be, to accept people as they are, and that "love meets you in your mess, not your best".... None of which are wholly true and we get swept up in the belief that they are. Yes, you should accept someone for who they are, but if they behave poorly or treat you poorly why would you stay with them? That isn't fair and its terrible relationship advice. For all of those sayings to have any merit, you need to have boundaries, a healthy sense of self and need to communicate. And many do not because again, those ridiculous cliche sayings and how we behave and view relationships teaches us poor decorum, communication and bad habits. (Alain's talk highlights this quite well.).

Read a few books on Biological Psych, Social and Relationship Psychology. Alain De Botten is a great resource, as is Andrew Solomon if you're actually interested in understanding it as well. If you are talking to a therapist, ask if they have any recommendations, too. Some of the articles Marty posts on here may be of help too. I began exploring Bio Psych and Social Psych in college as I felt my studies in BioChem/Anat & Phys were missing the Psychological aspects. As mental health plays a role in overall physical health.

https://youtu.be/RiM5a-vaNkg

This Ted Talk is by Andrew Solomon, he talks about tragedies in people's lives, how they've come to terms with them and what about their lives/feelings/outlook of the world has changed since the experiences occurred.

-- Rae :)

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3 hours ago, Vanush said:

The desire and anxiety to find that "one" who will complete you and make you a happy person is at play here I believe, and just as you have both pointed out in your previous posts, it is not a healthy thing to be continually searching for this person to make you happy. It is better to go out with no expectations and make your own fun, your own achievements, and then one day, unexpectedly, you may come across someone who stuns you. 

That's how it happened for me and my late husband.  This song meant a lot to us because it was while we were just living our lives and happened to meet "The One". 

 

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That is a beautiful song, thanks for sharing. I cannot wait to finish my last professional exam and be able to have time to talk a little more with someone about this. A peculiar experience I had today, when I bumped into an old partner, not Sarah, but the girl I dated before. I saw her with her new partner, and it really brought some strange feelings up for me. I can’t say anger, or sadness, but somewhere in this vicinity. She was perhaps my first true love and she broke my heart by being unfaithful. Perhaps there is still hurt there which I need to explore, have either of you experienced this?

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7 hours ago, Vanush said:

That is a beautiful song, thanks for sharing. I cannot wait to finish my last professional exam and be able to have time to talk a little more with someone about this. A peculiar experience I had today, when I bumped into an old partner, not Sarah, but the girl I dated before. I saw her with her new partner, and it really brought some strange feelings up for me. I can’t say anger, or sadness, but somewhere in this vicinity. She was perhaps my first true love and she broke my heart by being unfaithful. Perhaps there is still hurt there which I need to explore, have either of you experienced this?

Oh most definitely. Joe and I broke up due to his infidelity as well. He then left me for the girl he had been cheating with. The first year was rough, as we lived in a small town and I would see them together periodically at the gym, grocery store or photos of them with the few mutual friends we had on social media. After a few months I switched gyms, grocery stores and removed the mutual friends or their updates from my feeds.

That hurt ran deep. The sting you get when you see them with their new partner treating them the way they should have treated you, it hurts. It is definitely something you do need to explore, perhaps bring this up to your counselor and describe the feelings you felt upon first glance. Especially if it's been longer than 6-12 months since the break-up. I repressed my feelings in the same way it seems you are and it took me over a year to fully move on from him because I was ashamed to admit I was still hurting. I say that because about 8 months after our break-up, I was talking about it to a close friend who knew us both and through our relationship. We'd had conversations about this topic multiple times before.....She stopped me after about 10 minutes and was like, "Rae, you need to stop talking about this like it happened yesterday. I understand you loved him and may still be reeling from the experience. But, the way you still talk makes it seem like you're stopping yourself from moving forward on purpose. You are obsessing and it is unhealthy. Are you still in contact with him? Do you believe that you deserved what he did? You sound like you're still in love with him and are holding on to the hope that you may get back together one day. It's okay to still not be completely out of love with him, but you need to face the reality that you are not getting back together. Ever. Why would you want him back anyway? He put a ring on your finger, then cheated on you, lied, blamed you for his behavior, and will probably propose to this girl, and do the exact same thing to her. You're only 22, you can't waste your life on people like this. He doesn't deserve it and neither do you. You have a degree to finish and a career to look forward to. You can't let this derail your entire life, and that's what you're doing."

I started seeing a therapist again a few weeks later, and it helped a lot. Some 4.5 years later in 2017 he tried reconciling and apologizing for how he behaved (turns out she had left him for another guy after he had tried to propose), and I wanted no part of his pity party. The way I see it now, him cheating on me was probably the best thing he could've ever done for me.

About 7 months after we had broken up and I had moved away in 2016, I was scrolling social media, a profile popped up on my "people you may know" list. The picture was of my ex-bf Tim and what I assumed was his girlfriend. Again the sting of hurt took over. This time around however, I just removed the profile from my list and got off social media for a few days. I then removed the couple of mutual profiles we had in common. I was already seeing a therapist at the time, so I brought it up and she asked how I felt. TBH, yeah it hurt a little bit as it seemed like he had moved on unscathed by how he treated me or what he did, but then the counselor told me to remind myself of all the hurt he had caused me, and look at what I have done with my life since then that I wouldn't have been able to do if we'd stayed together (left a crappy job, got my own apartment, started traveling again, moved alone to a new city, etc) and as I started to repeatedly remind myself of all that I've accomplished and will continue to, suddenly, the hurt started to fade and I stopped thinking about him as this great person I missed out on. Instead, he's just a guy I dated that used me to fill a void in his life because I had what he was lacking. He was a guy I didn't have a future with anyway because he didn't support my goals and only loved the idea of me, not me.

Being honest and truthful about the reality of the situations I had been in did wonders for helping me to heal, move on and accept that I don't need and shouldn't want people in my life that only like the idea of me, not me as a person, who don't mean me well and don't support my goals.

You will get to this point too, Vanush. But it does take work. And you are already doing the work by coming here and going to therapy. You want to heal, and you will.

--Rae :)

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2 hours ago, Vanush said:

have either of you experienced this?

OMG, yes!  My first husband cheated on me throughout our six year marriage...not only cheated but beat on me continually.  I feel no jealousy for the wives he's had since (I think he's now on #8), only sorrow.  My second husband (kids' dad) we were married 23 years and he lied to me throughout, lied and pretended, he was a hypocrite, I know, harsh words, but he couldn't be "real" with me or others.  I cared about him very much and understand him but it was very hard to live with.  He would never come clean with me if someone put a gun to his head.  My George was my third husband and he never would have cheated.  A friend's wife was in love with him but alas guys are the last to know, he seemed quite naive about it.  I only know he never would have acted inappropriately and would spout off if anyone came on to him (and did).  He seemed quite naive about women, but it felt good to have implicit trust in him for we were completely and madly in love with each other.  My fourth husband turned out to be anything but a husband, he was a con who preyed on me, not intending to ever live with me and be in a real marriage, but married me for my credit, which he used to the tune of $57,000 and then quit his job and went into hiding...with a girlfriend...his second one he lived with during our marriage...he never did live with me.  Technically the "marriage" lasted two years, in reality it never was one at all...more like I was a victim to a con artist when I was most vulnerable, a grieving widow who didn't know where to turn.

I had two fiances beside, the first one also cheated on me one time that I know of...we had a date and I fixed a picnic lunch, fried chicken, pie, and potato salad, a lot of work...he never showed up.  I later learned he'd gone to play tennis with his ex girlfriend who wanted him back!  Fast forward 42 years and he's still trying to get me back, he never did marry.  Ha!  I'm not that stupid!  I have not forgotten how he broke my heart all those years ago, nor should I.  The other fiance didn't cheat on me but he broke up with me, by Fed Ex no less, when his mom was dying.  Something I've discovered is fairly common in grief, but not something I'd want in a partner.

After a while I asked myself, why have I settled for so little in partners?  I deserve no less than what George gave me!  And I will not settle again.  It has to be all or nothing for me!  Not that I think anyone is perfect any more than I am, but they do have to love me, treat me with respect, and even open up to me and want to spend time with me.  Why marry anyone otherwise?  And there has to be love and caring...I'd want someone who was my best friend.  I get that much out of my dog!

19 minutes ago, Rae1991 said:

The sting you get when you see them with their new partner treating them the way they should have treated you, it hurts.

I get that from my kids' dad.  I have caring feelings for him, we were a family for 23 years, how could I not!  But I'm not and never have been "in love" with him, he never opened up to me.  You ask why I married him...he put on quite an act before we were married, I guess I got swept up in what he presented, we had similar backgrounds and goals, we partnered well together and communicated well on a superficial level, but never did on an intimate level.  Now he treats his 4th wife like a queen, even though life with her has to be disappointing.  She does not host his family, his kids do not feel welcome over there, she is given to fits and rages and has contributed very little to their marriage, but he does not want to feel a failure for the fourth time, so he strains to please her.  Ha!  He cared little if he pleased me!  I who was kicked out of his bed the last 15 years!  (And it was MY bed!)  

So I guess it's fair to say I have some feelings leftover for how I was treated.  I've tried to deal with it, who wants leftover baggage to carry around with them?!  I've gotten counseling.  I've reached the point where I wish only well for them.  But it was weird for me to see how well he treats her and how he cared so little for me.  Maybe she's his dream woman, I don't know.  And for the 4th husband, John, he gives more regard to Cindy, his current partner, because "she was there for him when he had cancer".  ??!!  I would have too had he stuck around!  

The only thing I can say about them is it's to their chagrin that they didn't see the diamond they had...and threw away.  I deserve better...and I got it in George.  We valued each other above any other person, we were soul mates and best friends.  That is what to hold out for.

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28 minutes ago, Rae1991 said:

Being honest and truthful about the reality of the situations I had been in did wonders for helping me to heal, move on and accept that I don't need and shouldn't want people in my life that only like the idea of me, not me as a person, who don't mean me well and don't support my goals.

This is so true!  It is what aided me in my getting over Jim (fiance that broke up with me by Fed Ex)...except I do think he cares about me, just didn't want to marry me (why did he propose then?)...we are friends to this day, close friends, but I've been glad that things ended up as they did.  He now has his XW living with him, he has a lot of issues, I'm glad they're not mine to deal with!  He's not "coupled" with his ex, just took her in when she was homeless.  But what a mess that could have been!

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43 minutes ago, kayc said:

This is so true!  It is what aided me in my getting over Jim (fiance that broke up with me by Fed Ex)...except I do think he cares about me, just didn't want to marry me (why did he propose then?)...we are friends to this day, close friends, but I've been glad that things ended up as they did.  He now has his XW living with him, he has a lot of issues, I'm glad they're not mine to deal with!  He's not "coupled" with his ex, just took her in when she was homeless.  But what a mess that could have been!

Yeah, that is a whole mess of issues that would've been thrust unto you and your marriage. No one should ever want to carry around that much baggage, nor should they expect their SO to be okay with being burdened by issues that are not theirs. Glad you ducked out of that, you're better off.

49 minutes ago, kayc said:

OMG, yes!  My first husband cheated on me throughout our six year marriage...not only cheated but beat on me continually.  I feel no jealousy for the wives he's had since (I think he's now on #8), only sorrow.  My second husband (kids' dad) we were married 23 years and he lied to me throughout, lied and pretended, he was a hypocrite, I know, harsh words, but he couldn't be "real" with me or others.  I cared about him very much and understand him but it was very hard to live with.  He would never come clean with me if someone put a gun to his head.  My George was my third husband and he never would have cheated.  A friend's wife was in love with him but alas guys are the last to know, he seemed quite naive about it.  I only know he never would have acted inappropriately and would spout off if anyone came on to him (and did).  He seemed quite naive about women, but it felt good to have implicit trust in him for we were completely and madly in love with each other.  My fourth husband turned out to be anything but a husband, he was a con who preyed on me, not intending to ever live with me and be in a real marriage, but married me for my credit, which he used to the tune of $57,000 and then quit his job and went into hiding...with a girlfriend...his second one he lived with during our marriage...he never did live with me.  Technically the "marriage" lasted two years, in reality it never was one at all...more like I was a victim to a con artist when I was most vulnerable, a grieving widow who didn't know where to turn.

I had two fiances beside, the first one also cheated on me one time that I know of...we had a date and I fixed a picnic lunch, fried chicken, pie, and potato salad, a lot of work...he never showed up.  I later learned he'd gone to play tennis with his ex girlfriend who wanted him back!  Fast forward 42 years and he's still trying to get me back, he never did marry.  Ha!  I'm not that stupid!  I have not forgotten how he broke my heart all those years ago, nor should I.  The other fiance didn't cheat on me but he broke up with me, by Fed Ex no less, when his mom was dying.  Something I've discovered is fairly common in grief, but not something I'd want in a partner.

After a while I asked myself, why have I settled for so little in partners?  I deserve no less than what George gave me!  And I will not settle again.  It has to be all or nothing for me!  Not that I think anyone is perfect any more than I am, but they do have to love me, treat me with respect, and even open up to me and want to spend time with me.  Why marry anyone otherwise?  And there has to be love and caring...I'd want someone who was my best friend.  I get that much out of my dog!

I get that from my kids' dad.  I have caring feelings for him, we were a family for 23 years, how could I not!  But I'm not and never have been "in love" with him, he never opened up to me.  You ask why I married him...he put on quite an act before we were married, I guess I got swept up in what he presented, we had similar backgrounds and goals, we partnered well together and communicated well on a superficial level, but never did on an intimate level.  Now he treats his 4th wife like a queen, even though life with her has to be disappointing.  She does not host his family, his kids do not feel welcome over there, she is given to fits and rages and has contributed very little to their marriage, but he does not want to feel a failure for the fourth time, so he strains to please her.  Ha!  He cared little if he pleased me!  I who was kicked out of his bed the last 15 years!  (And it was MY bed!)  

So I guess it's fair to say I have some feelings leftover for how I was treated.  I've tried to deal with it, who wants leftover baggage to carry around with them?!  I've gotten counseling.  I've reached the point where I wish only well for them.  But it was weird for me to see how well he treats her and how he cared so little for me.  Maybe she's his dream woman, I don't know.  And for the 4th husband, John, he gives more regard to Cindy, his current partner, because "she was there for him when he had cancer".  ??!!  I would have too had he stuck around!  

The only thing I can say about them is it's to their chagrin that they didn't see the diamond they had...and threw away.  I deserve better...and I got it in George.  We valued each other above any other person, we were soul mates and best friends.  That is what to hold out for.

 I asked myself why I settled for so little too, many many times. I just thought it was part of the human experience of young adulthood, I was only partially correct. As 95% was my own doing by way of low self esteem, self-sabotage, anger, the desperate want to be loved in ways I didn't know how to love myself, and the hard headed belief in those ridiculous cliche sayings about love conquering all.

But I have also taken cues from my parents' relationships as well and realized that they made the poor relationship decisions they did because they were just like me. My dad doted on his 3rd wife like you wouldn't imagine and my mom asked why she wasn't deserving of that same love during their 16 years and 4 children. She understood my dad, but 16 years of cold, non-intimate connection, infidelity and disrespect was more than enough. My dad put on an act as well prior to marrying my mom, he even joined her family's church so my grandmother would approve of their dating. But once they got married, and my sister was on the way, the curtain fell and all my dad's trauma, bad habits and poor mental health began to manifest in his behavior.

I've done my best to unload my baggage, not only does it become too heavy the more you heap onto it, but it also makes you vulnerable to con artists, abusers and users. And after reflection and reality checks, those were the only kinds of people I noticed were coming around because they could smell and see my desperation.

1 hour ago, kayc said:

bout them is it's to their chagrin that they didn't see the diamond they had...and threw away.  I deserve better...and I got it in George.  We valued each other above any other person, we were soul mates and best friends.  That is what to hold out for.

Amen to that! I've learned to hold out for someone who treats me with the same respect, love and affection as I do them. My ex-fiance finally figured out what he gave up and that how he behaved hurts people.. only took him 5 years and a girl treating him the same way for him to care, and I deserve better. As far as Tim goes, I don't hold my breath hoping that he'll ever grow up and apologize or learn from his behavior, nor do I want an apology anymore, because it doesn't seem he was ever made accountable for anything in his life and if he hasn't learned by 30, he never will. I wish them well, but I closed and dead-bolted both doors long ago.

--Rae :)

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Oh gosh I’m so sorry to hear u had that experience kayc, 

19 hours ago, Rae1991 said:

Oh most definitely. Joe and I broke up due to his infidelity as well. He then left me for the girl he had been cheating with. The first year was rough, as we lived in a small town and I would see them together periodically at the gym, grocery store or photos of them with the few mutual friends we had on social media. After a few months I switched gyms, grocery stores and removed the mutual friends or their updates from my feeds.

That hurt ran deep. The sting you get when you see them with their new partner treating them the way they should have treated you, it hurts. It is definitely something you do need to explore, perhaps bring this up to your counselor and describe the feelings you felt upon first glance. Especially if it's been longer than 6-12 months since the break-up. I repressed my feelings in the same way it seems you are and it took me over a year to fully move on from him because I was ashamed to admit I was still hurting. I say that because about 8 months after our break-up, I was talking about it to a close friend who knew us both and through our relationship. We'd had conversations about this topic multiple times before.....She stopped me after about 10 minutes and was like, "Rae, you need to stop talking about this like it happened yesterday. I understand you loved him and may still be reeling from the experience. But, the way you still talk makes it seem like you're stopping yourself from moving forward on purpose. You are obsessing and it is unhealthy. Are you still in contact with him? Do you believe that you deserved what he did? You sound like you're still in love with him and are holding on to the hope that you may get back together one day. It's okay to still not be completely out of love with him, but you need to face the reality that you are not getting back together. Ever. Why would you want him back anyway? He put a ring on your finger, then cheated on you, lied, blamed you for his behavior, and will probably propose to this girl, and do the exact same thing to her. You're only 22, you can't waste your life on people like this. He doesn't deserve it and neither do you. You have a degree to finish and a career to look forward to. You can't let this derail your entire life, and that's what you're doing."

I started seeing a therapist again a few weeks later, and it helped a lot. Some 4.5 years later in 2017 he tried reconciling and apologizing for how he behaved (turns out she had left him for another guy after he had tried to propose), and I wanted no part of his pity party. The way I see it now, him cheating on me was probably the best thing he could've ever done for me.

About 7 months after we had broken up and I had moved away in 2016, I was scrolling social media, a profile popped up on my "people you may know" list. The picture was of my ex-bf Tim and what I assumed was his girlfriend. Again the sting of hurt took over. This time around however, I just removed the profile from my list and got off social media for a few days. I then removed the couple of mutual profiles we had in common. I was already seeing a therapist at the time, so I brought it up and she asked how I felt. TBH, yeah it hurt a little bit as it seemed like he had moved on unscathed by how he treated me or what he did, but then the counselor told me to remind myself of all the hurt he had caused me, and look at what I have done with my life since then that I wouldn't have been able to do if we'd stayed together (left a crappy job, got my own apartment, started traveling again, moved alone to a new city, etc) and as I started to repeatedly remind myself of all that I've accomplished and will continue to, suddenly, the hurt started to fade and I stopped thinking about him as this great person I missed out on. Instead, he's just a guy I dated that used me to fill a void in his life because I had what he was lacking. He was a guy I didn't have a future with anyway because he didn't support my goals and only loved the idea of me, not me.

Being honest and truthful about the reality of the situations I had been in did wonders for helping me to heal, move on and accept that I don't need and shouldn't want people in my life that only like the idea of me, not me as a person, who don't mean me well and don't support my goals.

You will get to this point too, Vanush. But it does take work. And you are already doing the work by coming here and going to therapy. You want to heal, and you will.

--Rae :)

Thankyou Rae, I certainly hope so. I’m actually glad I could have had that experience now, as I’ve realised that I would not want this partner in my life as I reflected upon the way I was treated. You have learnt a lot from these struggles and carved meaning definitely from your situations. I’m sure that mine will aid me to find meaning somehow just like you have done. It saddens me that people treat one another in this way. Interesting that you stopped talking about him in that way and it helped, something I may put into practice for myself.

i just feeel like relationships are repeating in patterns now, and I find someone I’m not quite keen on, or vice versa. At this demanding point in my career too, there is less room and emotional availability to support a partner as I’d like. 

These relationships and these people come across path and shape us, similar to natural selection I believe, hopefully enabling us to carve a better path each time. Some of us take longer however, and at 30 I definitely feel I’m ready to give myself wholly to someone. 

What happened with Sarah still leaves me pining for her, as a concept rather than an individual. On paper, and in my head it is so appealing. I wonder if it has to do with her physical attractiveness, her kindness or her good family. I often find myself fantasising about being with her and messaging her and everything working out, and yet I had that, and didn’t feel it was right. I scald myself for being superficial but good looks, a nice family and kindness are all things that seem to draw me in, and not let me move on. 

I feel like the answer to all of this is on the tip of my tongue and all it would take is for someone just to point it out to me and I could move on from her, but it just won’t let me yet. I theorise that I would have felt different if I was more settled in my career, in my hometown and our communication was better. Sarah and I never seemed like a possibility as e weren’t able to communicate properly regarding future plans or be open enough with one another. Because of this, I felt like my feelings were that it was a dead end. At least this is what I am hoping is the explanation for clarity’s sake. Had we met at a different time where I was more available and practicalities could have worked out maybe we would have clicked. This seems to be the only rational explanation for why it didn’t develop further than the initial spark for me, despite it appearing perfect.

You are obviously in quite a good place now, am I right? I am so sorry to hear everything that happened to you but it is amazing the wisdom it has given you

 

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19 hours ago, kayc said:

You ask why I married him...he put on quite an act before we were married, I guess I got swept up in what he presented, we had similar backgrounds and goals, we partnered well together and communicated well on a superficial level, but never did on an intimate level. 

Kayc this really resonated with me, the superficial level, this is perhaps where I was at with Sarah. It looks good, it feels good for a while but after a while you realise you don’t connect right? You wake up and feel so/so about seeing the person, you are not enthused to be with them. On the outside though people say (as was said to me) “ but she is gorgeous, you guys look great together”. But then you realise it is nothing about looks, it is about how u feel. That perhaps is the most devastating thing when u care for someone so much that you want to love them 

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I had always been told (and even in our premarital counseling) that you WILL to love someone.  Well that's true, that takes you through the commitment part when during the marriage someone doesn't SEEM very lovable.  BUT!  You also have to be in love with that person.  We never were and Lord knows I did my best over 23 long years.  It also takes BOTH people working at the marriage and I can't honestly say that he did.  It was always ME praying, ME reading books on marriage, ME trying to reach him.  He filed for divorce and had it over with start to finish in one month.  

All of the books on marriage instruct you to "get back to the love you once had for each other"...well what do you do when you never had that?

If someone doesn't move beyond the superficial level, you can see if counseling can help them open up (tried that too but he quit going after just a month) but I'd caution someone entering marriage with such a person if they don't move beyond surface level with you.

With George and I, we just clicked.  Communication was great.  We naturally wanted to be together and it wasn't like pulling teeth to get there!  What a difference!

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20 hours ago, Rae1991 said:

As 95% was my own doing by way of low self esteem, self-sabotage, anger, the desperate want to be loved in ways I didn't know how to love myself

I recognize that!  I didn't have the anger but I recognize the rest!  I may not have a partner now but I'm way ahead of where I was and it feels good knowing my own worth, even if it is just me recognizing it!

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1 hour ago, Vanush said:

Kayc this really resonated with me, the superficial level, this is perhaps where I was at with Sarah. It looks good, it feels good for a while but after a while you realise you don’t connect right?

With my kids' dad, it wasn't until after we were married.  He reminded me of my father in so many ways, I naturally thought he'd be loving like him too...but no, he didn't have that part at all.  He was a Viet Nam vet that should have gotten help from the VA but never did, I don't know if it was his pride or denial or what.  I would imagine he has the same superficiality with his current marriage as he always did.  Even when he did something nice it seemed perfunctory rather than heart-driven.  We just drove in the driveway from our honeymoon when his act ended.  And I kept on "willing" to love him.

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22 hours ago, kayc said:

With my kids' dad, it wasn't until after we were married.  He reminded me of my father in so many ways, I naturally thought he'd be loving like him too...but no, he didn't have that part at all.  He was a Viet Nam vet that should have gotten help from the VA but never did, I don't know if it was his pride or denial or what.  I would imagine he has the same superficiality with his current marriage as he always did.  Even when he did something nice it seemed perfunctory rather than heart-driven.  We just drove in the driveway from our honeymoon when his act ended.  And I kept on "willing" to love him.

Ahh yes, very interesting. That connection you had with George, I know what that feels like. I had it once, and I was so so lucky to. It doesn’t need forcing or work in the beginning, it just worked. Later on I had the things and the compromises but I wanted to do this, it was out of my own will. 

With Sarah, I didn’t have it. I just felt stuck, and pressured to make a decision. 

At the core of this is a very tough decision, and one that I doubt regularly. I couldn’t choose a partner here (or so I thought) because I needed to be close to my family. They need me, and I can’t help but think I owe them a debt to be near them. That is not to say they have verbalised that, but I know it to be true. For this reason, I don’t think I was in the right mindset to fully give myself to Sarah and start a relationship. Even when I brought it up, telling her that that was where my life was headed, she did not say anything, I think our communication was poor. To see it as a viable relationship I needed her to tell me it was possible, but that didn’t happen. I think that is part of why we never got past the initial spark, because there wasn’t a viable future in my head. 

Please excuse my ramblings, but I am seemingly getting more and more clarity

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23 hours ago, kayc said:

had always been told (and even in our premarital counseling) that you WILL to love someone.  Well that's true, that takes you through the commitment part when during the marriage someone doesn't SEEM very lovable.  BUT!  You also have to be in love with that person. 

Yes, being in love with someone, seems to take more than just the right circumstances (which are not happening for me right now). It seems to be a deep connection, falling in love and a willing from both parties 

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On 11/18/2018 at 5:40 AM, Vanush said:

Oh gosh I’m so sorry to hear u had that experience kayc, 

Thankyou Rae, I certainly hope so. I’m actually glad I could have had that experience now, as I’ve realised that I would not want this partner in my life as I reflected upon the way I was treated. You have learnt a lot from these struggles and carved meaning definitely from your situations. I’m sure that mine will aid me to find meaning somehow just like you have done. It saddens me that people treat one another in this way. Interesting that you stopped talking about him in that way and it helped, something I may put into practice for myself.

i just feeel like relationships are repeating in patterns now, and I find someone I’m not quite keen on, or vice versa. At this demanding point in my career too, there is less room and emotional availability to support a partner as I’d like. 

These relationships and these people come across path and shape us, similar to natural selection I believe, hopefully enabling us to carve a better path each time. Some of us take longer however, and at 30 I definitely feel I’m ready to give myself wholly to someone. 

What happened with Sarah still leaves me pining for her, as a concept rather than an individual. On paper, and in my head it is so appealing. I wonder if it has to do with her physical attractiveness, her kindness or her good family. I often find myself fantasising about being with her and messaging her and everything working out, and yet I had that, and didn’t feel it was right. I scald myself for being superficial but good looks, a nice family and kindness are all things that seem to draw me in, and not let me move on. 

I feel like the answer to all of this is on the tip of my tongue and all it would take is for someone just to point it out to me and I could move on from her, but it just won’t let me yet. I theorise that I would have felt different if I was more settled in my career, in my hometown and our communication was better. Sarah and I never seemed like a possibility as e weren’t able to communicate properly regarding future plans or be open enough with one another. Because of this, I felt like my feelings were that it was a dead end. At least this is what I am hoping is the explanation for clarity’s sake. Had we met at a different time where I was more available and practicalities could have worked out maybe we would have clicked. This seems to be the only rational explanation for why it didn’t develop further than the initial spark for me, despite it appearing perfect.

You are obviously in quite a good place now, am I right? I am so sorry to hear everything that happened to you but it is amazing the wisdom it has given you

 

Thanks, Vanush. It certainly took me a lot of time and therapy to get to the point I am at now, but it was definitely worth it. Even if the heartbreak didn't feel as such at the time. It very well could be that you felt such pressure because you weren't where you wanted to be in your life/career and didn't feel you could give yourself to her the way that she wanted, that's a common reason people cite for breaking up with a person, actually. While some times it is used as an excuse (for instance, my ex-fiance and his behavior), many times it is valid and a good reason to break up. But again as you've stated, the communication was poor, you didn't feel on the same page about anything and and your feelings came to a dead end. Don't scald yourself for being human, it happens.

I did the exact same thing when Tim and I first broke up. I got stuck believing and fantasizing about superficial things like him looking so great on paper and IRL, him being kind and seemingly everything I could ever want in a partner. When the reality of the situation shattered my fantasy, I felt so stupid for acting as I did and regretting my own behavior because he made me feel as though I caused him to behave the way he did.

To answer your statement: Yes. I am in a much better place than I was 3 years ago. Mentally, emotionally and physically, I've never felt better. I de-cluttered everything and instead of going towards drama, hanging around people who mean me no good, or actively seeking it out of boredom and loneliness; I notice it in others, take a step back and remove myself. I have accomplished many things that would've otherwise been put on hold. I started traveling again (15 countries in just over 2 years), finally found a job that I can use my degree for and left my small town. I also practice better mental health by going to therapy, talking about my feelings and learned to enjoy being alone instead of being afraid.

1 hour ago, Vanush said:

Ahh yes, very interesting. That connection you had with George, I know what that feels like. I had t once, and I was so so lucky to. It doesn’t need forcing or work in the beginning, it just worked. Later on I had the things and the compromises but I wanted to do this, it was out of my own will. 

With Sarah, I didn’t have it. I just felt stuck, and pressured to make a decision. 

At the core of this is a very tough decision, and one that I doubt regularly. I couldn’t choose a partner here (or so I thought) because I needed to be close to my family. They need me, and I can’t help but think I owe them a debt to be near them. That is not to say they have verbalised that, but I know it to be true. For this reason, I don’t think I was in the right mindset to fully give myself to Sarah and start a relationship. Even when I brought it up, telling her that that was where my life was headed, she did not say anything, I think our communication was poor. To see it as a viable relationship I needed her to tell me it was possible, but that didn’t happen. I think that is part of why we never got past the initial spark, because there wasn’t a viable future in my head. 

Please excuse my ramblings, but I am seemingly getting more and more clarity

The mentality of owing a debt to your family will come back to bite you in the long run. I used to think this way too and screwed myself out of opportunity due to fear, distance and the possibility of what could go wrong. Had I made better decisions, I would've chosen to leave for college instead of stay. This needing to be near and in contact with my family caused me more heartache than it was worth. Part of this was because I was afraid for my mom and younger brother due to my stepdads abuse. I left when I was 17, but I stayed around because my brother was only 13 and didn't have that choice. My oldest sister is a narcissist and does nothing but scorch earth every time she doesn't get her way. When I was in my teens and early 20s I didn't understand why she'd act like my best friend for a while, then steal from me, do/say horrible things and then get upset when my family confronted her. She still acts this way and she's 32, and now has a child and is imprinting this behavior and using her child to get her way. My dad enables her to no end for reasons I will never understand.

Since moving away, I have removed myself from her access and taken back control over how she is allowed to engage with me. My grandmother is extremely religious and always used to tell me how college was a lie and I should be in church instead of school and a myriad of other hurtful things, again since creating physical distance from her, she doesn't get a reaction from me anymore and I just ignore it now. I am 100% in control of my feelings and who I allow to interact and be around me, I also created healthier boundaries and no longer discuss dating or my relationships with my family. Sometimes, distance can do you a favor and be good for you. Don't screw yourself out of opportunity just because it may be a few hours drive/plane ride back to your parents. I don't think they'd want you to put your life on hold for them either.

--Rae 

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I agree.  While I would love to have my son nearby in my old age, I want even more for him to live his life, what is best for HIM.  He needed to choose a place that the jobs he was seeking were located, and that's not here.  He wanted marriage, family, kids, a home of his own, and all of that pointed elsewhere, a decision they needed to make that was best for them.  I've seen people held back, hanging around their hometown, being there for their aging parents, and not having a family of their own, held back career wise because of the lack of local opportunities, and honestly, I wouldn't want that for my son.  I had him nearby for a time and thoroughly enjoyed it, but he's doing now what he needed to do and we both realize that.

And I want to add, if I ever reach the point where I can't take care of myself and my place, then it's up to me to move near him so it's easier for him to look out for me, not the other way around.  His wife and children and job need to come first, that's the order of things.

 

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And as for communication, that can be learned, but it takes both parties being willing.

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Ahh yes, probably true. I perhaps regret that mindset now, but what is done, is done. The only issue is, I keep looking at photos of her if I'm sad or having a bad day, wondering if it could have worked. It is like a drug addiction I think, i can't seem to stop. And yet what I think whilst looking at her (she quite possibly was the most attractive female I've seen) is so different from what I felt around her. This inconsistency between feelings and impressions seems to plague me, and I don't understand it.

But I'm very sure and firm in the belief that it is done now. The clarity may never come, but I have to try to move on. A cruel emotion I've never had before..intense regret

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It can take a while to get over them, even when you know deep inside it wasn't right, our emotions take a while to catch up.

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On 11/25/2018 at 12:47 AM, Vanush said:

Ahh yes, probably true. I perhaps regret that mindset now, but what is done, is done. The only issue is, I keep looking at photos of her if I'm sad or having a bad day, wondering if it could have worked. It is like a drug addiction I think, i can't seem to stop. And yet what I think whilst looking at her (she quite possibly was the most attractive female I've seen) is so different from what I felt around her. This inconsistency between feelings and impressions seems to plague me, and I don't understand it.

But I'm very sure and firm in the belief that it is done now. The clarity may never come, but I have to try to move on. A cruel emotion I've never had before..intense regret

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 :)

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