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A little under four months ago, my partner of almost 7 years, who I honestly considered my soul mate practically since the day I met him, ended our relationship. I had to say goodbye to the dog we shared, leave our home we had lived in for 5 years, and literally start my life over in the matter of a week. I was shocked, devastated and confused and he was inexplicably cruel during the break up. He would never give me a clear reason as to why, just that he didn't love me anymore.

How is that possible? How do you love someone fiercely for years, only to just stop? He claimed he had been feeling this way for about "6 weeks" but didn't feel like talking to me about it. We have seen each other through some really terrible and tough times in our years together, and I was floored that this is what it came to. We had been having some disagreements and rough spots over the last year or so (finances, careers, family situations, etc), but nothing in my wildest dreams I would have ever considered relationship ending. 

About a month after I moved out, he texted me an apology for how he treated me during the breakup. Damage was done, but the apology seemed sincere enough. He offered for me to come pick up our dog so that I could spend time with her, and I obliged. That is how I found out that not only is he in a new relationship with a cute little waitress about 10 years younger than me, but she has already moved into our house. They even bought a puppy together. 

I feel like someone has cracked open my chest and carved out my heart. I can barely breathe and it has been a couple of months, yet I'm still not coping. I'm going to work, hanging with friends, and visiting family, but I cry myself to sleep every night and periodically during the day. I cannot, cannot, understand how he could just discard me- a loyal, supportive, and loving partner- like a piece of trash after so many years together. Even more impossible to understand is how he could possibly have moved so quickly into a new relationship?? He swears he wasn't cheating, but I don't see how that is possible. I have been through tough breakups (let's face it... they all are hard), and I've gone through the typical grief process but bounced back within a month or so. However, this is a whole different level of pain. I feel so betrayed and lost. I miss him so much I can hardly bear it and my love for him has not faded an ounce, even after how terribly he has broken my heart. I have never been more sure about anything in my life than I was about him and our relationship. Now I feel like I'm just aimlessly floating through space, not knowing where to go from here or how to recover from this. How do you get past the love of your life deciding you aren't good enough anymore?

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Honey, he was cheating.  You don't switch relationships that fast w/o it.  That you have been so horribly dealt with is a mind-blower!  I've been there.  I am just so sorry you are going through this.  This man allowed himself to contemplate being with someone else (the fantasy) and then moved on it, all at your expense.  I'm glad you found out before you married him, although living together that many years is pretty much as far into the relationship you can get, but at least you don't have the trouble/expense of a divorce.  One of my greatest concerns is that this can damage your trust of men and keep you from entering a relationship in the future.  I strongly encourage you to seek therapy to help you heal your wounded self and move into a wholesome place.  OMG I've been there, done that!   

You ask how you get past it...the one thing I want you to tell yourself, chant it like a mantra as needed, is IT IS HIM, NOT ME!  Because it really is.  You put your heart and soul into the relationship, he apparently was not as vested as you.  I don't know his background (parents) but perhaps that played into it, or maybe it's a character flaw you hadn't seen before.  These are good things to go into with a therapist, because you want to make sure in the future to see red flags for what they are and not miss them...sometimes they can be pretty subtle and hard to spot, but we can learn a lot from what we go through.

Right now I encourage you to not only make an appointment with a therapist, but to spend time with family and friends, now is a good time to take a class, join a gym, keep busy, spend time with people.  My last break up, I got the house VERY clean!  I also spent a week visiting my sister (she can keep one very busy!).  By now you've probably cried a ton of tears.  I'm sorry you lost the dog.  

Keep coming here, post and read, it helps to get it out and express yourself, we're here, listening.

And if it's any consolation, she did not get a prize.  If he can cheat FOR her, he will also cheat ON her and she has to keep that in the back of her mind, not a pretty place to be.  She has nothing on you.  And if he has any substance at all, which is doubtful, he will live to regret this...let him have his regrets.  You, my friend, will move past this into a better place and eventually, in time with a better more deserving person.  Give yourself the gift of time, understanding, patience, be your own best friend.

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I'm so sorry this happened to you, and I hope for your sake rather than "aimlessly floating through space," you will focus on healing yourself and getting on with your own valuable life. Kay has given you some very wise advice, and it comes from her own hard-won personal experience.

There is a wealth of information out there to help you find your way through this pain, and I invite you to begin here: Mourning The Death of a Love Relationship: Suggested Resources ♥️

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Thank you both so much. Just being able to write that all down helped, and the advice and consolation is so very much appreciated. ❤️ 

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12 hours ago, kayc said:

Honey, he was cheating.  You don't switch relationships that fast w/o it.  That you have been so horribly dealt with is a mind-blower!  I've been there.  I am just so sorry you are going through this.  This man allowed himself to contemplate being with someone else (the fantasy) and then moved on it, all at your expense.  I'm glad you found out before you married him, although living together that many years is pretty much as far into the relationship you can get, but at least you don't have the trouble/expense of a divorce.  One of my greatest concerns is that this can damage your trust of men and keep you from entering a relationship in the future.  I strongly encourage you to seek therapy to help you heal your wounded self and move into a wholesome place.  OMG I've been there, done that!   

You ask how you get past it...the one thing I want you to tell yourself, chant it like a mantra as needed, is IT IS HIM, NOT ME!  Because it really is.  You put your heart and soul into the relationship, he apparently was not as vested as you.  I don't know his background (parents) but perhaps that played into it, or maybe it's a character flaw you hadn't seen before.  These are good things to go into with a therapist, because you want to make sure in the future to see red flags for what they are and not miss them...sometimes they can be pretty subtle and hard to spot, but we can learn a lot from what we go through.

Right now I encourage you to not only make an appointment with a therapist, but to spend time with family and friends, now is a good time to take a class, join a gym, keep busy, spend time with people.  My last break up, I got the house VERY clean!  I also spent a week visiting my sister (she can keep one very busy!).  By now you've probably cried a ton of tears.  I'm sorry you lost the dog.  

Keep coming here, post and read, it helps to get it out and express yourself, we're here, listening.

And if it's any consolation, she did not get a prize.  If he can cheat FOR her, he will also cheat ON her and she has to keep that in the back of her mind, not a pretty place to be.  She has nothing on you.  And if he has any substance at all, which is doubtful, he will live to regret this...let him have his regrets.  You, my friend, will move past this into a better place and eventually, in time with a better more deserving person.  Give yourself the gift of time, understanding, patience, be your own best friend.

I can't add much else to this. Perfectly stated as always.

From personal experience, everything KayC said is absolutely true. Long story short: This is exactly what happened to my 7-year relationship/engagement almost 6 years ago (I was 21, he was 23). We were a few months into our lease, engaged, had animals and I thought we'd be together forever. Then he started growing distant, stopped telling me he loved me, spent more time with his friends and made a habit of "working late." After a few weeks of this, I asked Joe what was going on with him. He said "Nothing," and continued his distance. I grew suspicious after being told he was going to a party at his friend's house one night. I drove over there, there was no party, Joe and his friend weren't home, and his friend's GF Ashley looked surprised to see me.

Joe had told them we broke up months ago, and Ashley filled me in that he'd been going on dates and chasing after a few of the girls that he managed at his job, many of whom were under 18. When I confronted Joe, he denied that he was doing anything. About a month later he tells me he wants to break-up because "he doesn't love me anymore, we've drifted apart, and he's confused," not a week later he announced he was in a relationship with a 16-year-old girl who he worked with. My whole life fell apart before my eyes, my soul was crushed, my self-esteem was gone and the future I envisioned, that we so fondly spoke of together, vanished before I could even shed a tear over it.

It took me a year, and therapy to be right again, but rest assured, looking back on it now, I wouldn't change it for a thing. I wish I could go back in time and tell my 21-year-old self: "Everything is going to be fine, the life you deserve isn't going to be had with that silly, immature boy. He isn't going to change, he doesn't love you, and you are going to live a life beyond your wildest imagination, but it isn't with him. This will be the greatest gift he will ever give you. You're free now. Finish your degree. You will be okay."

It sounds to me like your ex is "playing house," with this girl and may have a pattern of it in his past. A lot of men (and some women) do this, they build a metaphorical (or literal) house with one woman, go through all the struggles with unabashed loyalty, the growth, the "coming of age" life phase if you will, and then once they're all good, healed and financially, physically or emotionally straight; they dump the woman who held them and built them up for a person they believe is "on their new level." They now associate the woman helped them with "the old life, the struggle, a stepping stone to prepare him for another woman;" and believe she has served her purpose, and is no longer worthy of the 'new man' he's become. Basically, a replacement mother. It's utter bull****, but it's a common practice, my own father did it to my mother. Don't let this phase you, you did nothing to deserve the treatment. You were just more invested, and he tricked you into believing he was too. Focus on healing, seek a therapist. But beware of men who are so quick to jump between relationships like this, "building houses without foundations," I call it. My ex did it, my own dad, and KayC's exes may have too. 

You will get through this. I know it feels like a lifetime, it hurts, it's unfair and damaging, but rest assured: IT'S HIM, NOT YOU. Give yourself time to heal, don't be ashamed for having feelings, take care of yourself, and god forbid DO NOT TAKE HIM BACK. You cannot fix your heart by clinging to what broke it. If he did it once, he will do it again. He will eventually come back around when the novelty wears off or she leaves him, they always seem to. Joe did, 5 years later, after his GF "grew out of him" and left him for someone else. Joe apologized to me, explained what happened to him and that "now he understands how badly it hurts," and that he was open to reconciliation, by then I wanted nothing to do with his sob story. He still hasn't grown up. I don't think he's a bad person, but I'm glad we never married, we'd be divorced by now if we had because I too would've "outgrown" him. We're friends on Facebook now, but that's all we'll ever be again.

Take KayC's advice, be kind to yourself. He didn't leave you because there's something wrong with you; he left because there's something broken within him that he feels cheating and a new girlfriend is going to fix. Repeat after me: "YOU (your womb, body, love and finances) ARE NOT a rehabilitation center for broken men." It has little to do with you, and a lot to do with his character, his self-esteem, possibly his upbringing and how he feels about himself. How he treats you is a reflection of HIM, not you. But I get it, It's so hard not to blame yourself for how others behave, especially when you're in love with them, ignored potential red flags and only want what's best.

I would've followed Joe to the ends of the earth had he wanted me, but I'm glad I didn't because I would've drown myself trying. One day, you'll look back and be glad you didn't too.

--Rae 

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Thank you for your response Rae. As painful as it is to accept these things about a person I committed so fully to, you and KayC are right. One of the most painful things I've been grappling with is realizing he may have never loved me the way I thought he did. Especially to end so bluntly and abruptly, and to be so hateful during it (maybe lashing out bc of his own guilt? who knows). My immediate reaction was to hate the girl, but I know that is wrong. She is not my enemy. For all I know, she may not even know that he had been in a relationship with me at the beginning of their relationship. Even if she did, it doesn't matter. Our relationship wasn't her responsibility, it was his, and he is the one that chose to burn it to the ground. I just feel all these years have been a lie and that hurts so badly. And I miss him. I can't help but miss the person I shared every day with and had genuine good, happy times with for years. I hate feeling this way and I wish I could just wipe my memory of him. As hard as I try not to think about him, he is all I think about. I try not to blame myself but I do... I'm on this constant loop of blaming myself, then realizing I'm not to blame, then blaming myself again. I really can't afford therapy (hence the reason I utilize this forum, thank goodness for its existence) but I am seeing that regardless of whether I can afford it or not, I need to seek it and soon. Thank you all again for reaching out. 

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47 minutes ago, slw60 said:

Thank you for your response Rae. As painful as it is to accept these things about a person I committed so fully to, you and KayC are right. One of the most painful things I've been grappling with is realizing he may have never loved me the way I thought he did. Especially to end so bluntly and abruptly, and to be so hateful during it (maybe lashing out bc of his own guilt? who knows). My immediate reaction was to hate the girl, but I know that is wrong. She is not my enemy. For all I know, she may not even know that he had been in a relationship with me at the beginning of their relationship. Even if she did, it doesn't matter. Our relationship wasn't her responsibility, it was his, and he is the one that chose to burn it to the ground. I just feel all these years have been a lie and that hurts so badly. And I miss him. I can't help but miss the person I shared every day with and had genuine good, happy times with for years. I hate feeling this way and I wish I could just wipe my memory of him. As hard as I try not to think about him, he is all I think about. I try not to blame myself but I do... I'm on this constant loop of blaming myself, then realizing I'm not to blame, then blaming myself again. I really can't afford therapy (hence the reason I utilize this forum, thank goodness for its existence) but I am seeing that regardless of whether I can afford it or not, I need to seek it and soon. Thank you all again for reaching out. 

This is quite common actually, and that's the hardest part of accepting that a relationship is over: Finding the balance and eventual peace in that despite how it ended, it wasn't all your fault, you still felt love, were loved and gave love freely to another. In time, you won't see it so harshly. But for now this is where you are and it needs to be taken day to day. There's no cure for heartbreak, only time.

I used to hate Joe, regret ever being with him, loving him, believed that he never loved me, wanted to erase my memory and everything in between. It's been 6 years now, and I don't feel that way anymore. Now, I'm just grateful to have been able to feel love for as long as I did. 

For a time, the love was real. But after so long, we did grow apart, we did grow up, we stopped fighting for it, got complacent, and we began to explore adulthood and want different things because we never truly figured out what we needed from the world, or one another to thrive. Ignorance can be bliss, when you're so green and in love, you think you have it all figured out and that love conquers all. Until reality checks in.....

It took me a long time to accept my contributions to the demise of our relationship, and to understand that his infidelity was a symptom of a deeper problem, both within him and our relationship. I didn't make him cheat, he chose to, and he has to live with being forever branded as such. However, I don't hate him anymore. I realized after so long that hating him was doing me far more harm than good, and that if I ever wanted to truly move on, I needed to let go of every feeling I felt towards him. My love for him didn't stop, it just evolved into hatred and anger that I still clung to because it was all I had left of us, and I didn't want to let go.

Eventually, the constant tears will stop, the days won't seem so long, sorrowful and empty, your mind will begin to clear, the memories will fade and hearing his name won't make you burst into tears anymore. At some point you will say to yourself "Enough is enough, I'm done with this, done crying, done missing him. I deserve better and he doesn't deserve my tears anymore." But until then, let yourself feel, cry and grieve. It's healthy, it's normal and it's cathartic.

I still care about Joe, and I will always love him, but these days, only as I would a casual acquaintance I haven't seen in years or a familiar stranger that I hope is doing well.

It will take time for you to move on, don't rush yourself, but do acknowledge when you're stopping yourself from progressing (a therapist, or this forum can help with this). Also, there are some insurances and social programs or support groups that offer reduced cost or free counseling services. I'm not sure where you live, but it's worth Google-ing. I promise, you won't feel this way forever. One day, you'll be grateful you gave love a chance, but you also learned a lesson from it, too.

A great quote to keep in mind: "You can tell more about the character of a person by how they end a relationship, not by how they start one. Who he is at the beginning is the best he'll ever be."

-- Rae

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13 hours ago, Rae1991 said:

god forbid DO NOT TAKE HIM BACK

Exactly.  The poet Maya Angelou once wrote, "When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time."  He's shown his true colors with his actions and words.  You can never unsee those colors, but now they are a signal, warning you to stay clear.

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14 hours ago, Rae1991 said:

You cannot fix your heart by clinging to what broke it.

Remember this!

14 hours ago, Rae1991 said:

"YOU (your womb, body, love and finances) ARE NOT a rehabilitation center for broken men."

And this too!

10 hours ago, slw60 said:

I just feel all these years have been a lie and that hurts so badly.

How else can you feel?  But it's not all for naught, you're learning a great deal through this experience.  And if you choose to learn it well enough, there won't be a repeat with another scoundrel!

Rae:  An aside, Jim is finally going for therapy!  I am so glad for him!  It's a shame it's so late in life, but I think he realizes his life cannot continue as it has.  He has even quit enabling his daughter and told her no for the first time (she's in her 40s).  It seems everyone in his family had been co-dependent excepting his other daughter, she learned and broke the chain.  

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10 hours ago, Rae1991 said:

"Enough is enough, I'm done with this, done crying, done missing him. I deserve better and he doesn't deserve my tears anymore."

I went through that too.  It's good when you reach the point you no longer feel "in love" with them and the anger abates, then you're free to move on with your life, lessons intact.  It's a process.  You can know all this good stuff with your head but it's a process to move it all to your heart.  

Counseling is often covered by insurance, and there are some counselors that will charge based on your income.  You can do sessions once a week or once every two weeks based on what you can afford.  Sometimes there are churches that have counselors too and some do not charge or very little.  All worth checking out!

Regardless, keep coming here.  Rae and I have been through it, we've been through so much, and we've learned through it, we want you to know there's hope.  Every time you hurt, keep up the mantra,  IT IS HIM, NOT ME!   Also, continue practicing being kind to yourself, put yourself first, take care of yourself, be understanding and patient with yourself.  Surround yourself with people who are positive, you don't need any negativity!

At the end of my long 23 marriage to my kids' dad, that last couple of years was hell, stress-filled, and one of the things I did to help myself through it was to get up, look in the mirror every morning and tell myself, "It won't be like this forever."  And it wasn't.  My daughter is going through her own hard place right now and she was astounded when I told her that, she said that's what she does!  It's a survival technique and it helps.  Also, I put a sign up in front of my desk that I could look at that said, "Your value does not depend on what other people think of you."  (That helped as I live in a small town in the country and voices were a buzzing!)

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