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Shadowcat

High Functioning but Stuck

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It's been two years since my relationship of two and a half years ended, and almost two years since he cut me out of his life completely. I'm not stuck in the traditional sense, as I found a great job and am doing well, am making good progress on personal habit management, have supportive friends and don't avoid being social or being alone either, but I can't get over him. I can't stop loving him, and I hurt every day. I'm so tired of feeling this much pain. I can probably write a self help book on how to get over an ex, how to move on, what's healthy and what isn't, how to find closure even if you can't talk to the person in question, but none of it helps me. I'm very very tired. Any stories to share, comments or insights?

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When I was young, my fiance broke up with me...no explanation, no discussion, no loose ends tied up, nothing.  (I'd been told by his best friend that he had commitment phobia but I hadn't seen it until then).  I had been head over heels over him and I had a very hard time getting over him.  Looking back, I was so starry eyed and compared to my ex anyone seemed good.  We ran into each other years later after my husband died and resumed friendship.  This went on for years until my dog was diagnosed with cancer.  He started telling me what I should do, raising his voice (my dog was inoperable, liver shutting down, also had lymphoma, vet said there was nothing could be done for him, so I had him on hospice).  We'd had this discussion, he'd insisted I drive my dog two hours away every week for a vitamin shot.  This had not been proven effective and the person who came up with it was a Pulitzer prize winner but was in dementia when he came up with this idea.  My "friend" raised his voice at me, demanding I answer to him and I was much to fragile to deal with his arrogance at the time.  I told him "We're not having this discussion." and hung up.  He later told my BIL/sister that "all he did was ask about Arlie."  No, he didn't ask, he demanded I answer to him and was yelling at me.  He said he'd never have anything to do with me again.  Fine.  I realized then that I had put up with his arrogance way longer than I should have and his communication was horrible, everyone else was always to blame for everything, etc.  It was like a breath of fresh air.

I'm not saying your person is like that.  Maybe your relationship was perfect, but not likely if it ended.  The point I'm trying to make in a roundabout way is sometimes we're emotionally in so deep we can't see clearly.  Sometimes it takes a long time for clarification.  It helps to focus on other things besides them or our loss.  You are grieving not only the loss of a relationship but the loss of dreams as well.  But the thing to keep in mind is those dreams were just that.  Perhaps they never would have come about...as obviously they didn't.  It's time to face reality.  If you were meant to be together, you'd be together.  He apparently doesn't feel the same way as you do.  You might want to look into professional help so you can get direction moving forward.

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Hi there.

 

Thanks for sharing your story. I'm very sorry you had to go through that, and I'm glad you're happier now that he isn't in your life. Is your dog still with you?

 

I'm not sure if I believe in the whole "meant to be" thing, as I think random unfortunate events occur all the time that weren't meant to be that way, and good things happen at random too. Sometimes it's timing, or any number of other factors.

 

In my case, I can identify some causes. I didn't have a job at the time, and had an unhealthy lifestyle and was suffering from pretty bad depression, turning me into a not very easy person to be around. Also, certain family members of my ex (his brother who was living with us at the time included) were turning him against me behind my back. Some things were my fault, some were his, and some were outside factors.

 

Our relationship was certainly not perfect. It was good at times, and bad at others. That's the thing though. I don't want a perfect relationship. What proper relationship is ever really perfect? I just love him with all his flaws, and I don't want anyone "better". I suppose that part of the problem here is that he didn't accept me with my flaws.

 

I did start seeing a therapist towards the beginning of this year. Some things helped. For example, she said that perhaps I'm not letting go of the pain because it's the last thing I think I have left of him, and I'll lose him completely if I let go of that. She told me that I still have the memories of the good times, and that's something I can never lose. Also, letting go of the pain isn't going to make it any less likely that we ever get back together. Not that it is particularly likely, but the point is that letting go of mourning won't make it less likely. Becoming well adjusted might even make it more likely.

 

There were other things she said that made sense too, but with lockdown and everything in my country at the moment, I haven't been able to continue seeing her, for now.

 

I understand all this, and as I said, I feel like I could write a book on how to deal with my own situation. However, I'm always left with the question: so what do I do then? What do I do to not feel like this every day? Nothing I've done or thought so far has helped. Nobody that I've met has made me feel enough to want to be with someone else and start building all over again.

 

I do focus on other things as much as I can, and I do enjoy certain things. I'm not just curled up in a ball crying about him all the time. But he's always there at the back of my mind.

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Hi Marty.

 

Thank you. I, well, not exactly enjoyed reading that, but found it helpful.

 

Yes, I am mourning the loss of a dream of what I thought my future would be. I'm also mourning the loss of a home. The home Mark (my ex) and I built was the first place I really felt was home since my father passed away when I was 8 and I lost my family home due to complications with his will. Long story for another day.

 

We had a cat that we adopted together. I still see him now and then. I live in the same apartment complex as my ex, though nowhere near his apartment. The cat had stayed with him, but now sometimes visits me. I keep cat food especially for that purpose. I also miss him very much. I don't have children, so I guess he was the closest I've experienced.

 

Anyway, I've written Mark letters that I never sent. Right at the end of 2018 I wrote him one which I did send. It was minus most things I wrote in my drafts. I just acknowledged the things I felt I had done to hurt him in the relationship, told him that I still thought he was a wonderful person, and said that the door was open if he ever wanted to become friends again.

 

I suppose what also makes me struggle to find closure is how it ended eventually. The day he broke up with me, I was the one comforting him as he cried. Then three months later after we tried to remain friends, he sent me a text saying he didn't want to see me or talk to me, and that I had destroyed his self-esteem.

 

The day we broke up, I asked him to reconsider for the sake of all we have. He said, aside from the pet names we call each other, what do we really have? I was so shocked at the time that I couldn't think of anything. However, I do remember the good things. The bad too, but it hurts more than anything that I just became the cause of all his troubles in his mind. I needed to be cut from his life, because the main thing he remembers about me is that I destroyed his self-esteem. That hurts more than anything, because I couldn't even tell him I disliked a type of wine he would buy me when we were in a relationship, because he was so proud of how pretty the bottle was, that he also enjoyed it and that we could drink it together, and because he thought I liked it. I didn't want to disappoint him.

 

Even now, I will sometimes voluntarily not go to a social event that I'm invited to by friends, just so he can go. I know if I go, he won't. He left once when my friends convinced me to turn up one time. My point is that the thought of him being even mildly disappointed hurts me more than anything, so I can't stand that he doesn't remember the times I comforted him, the times we laughed and had fun together, or anything but the negative parts.

 

Anyway, I'm rambling on now. My point is, I wrote a letter and he never responded. I'm not even sure he read it, but it helped at the time. It just doesn't help anymore.

 

I've been trying to do "future self" work, where I write letters to who I want to be in a few years and I write back, as me in a few years. That's also been helping to some extent. I suppose I'm just having a hard time staying positive now, cooped up somewhere for lockdown with no independence or freedom, no cigarettes left and hardly any wine (haha), and the inability to even check up on the mental health of the person I love most in the world. He has bad generalised anxiety and gets panic attacks, so I'm worried about him.

 

In times of emergency, I guess one just wants to tell the people you care about most that you love them. With him I can't.

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20 hours ago, Shadowcat said:

I'm not sure if I believe in the whole "meant to be" thing, as I think random unfortunate events occur all the time that weren't meant to be that way, and good things happen at random too. Sometimes it's timing, or any number of other factors.

I don't mean like fate, but if you two were going to get past this, you would have found the way through it, instead he chose not to and we can't control what others do, we have to accept it for what it is.

No, Arlie passed in August.

It sounds like he felt you weren't good for him, in which case you need to respect his wishes.  I think you should go to things you want to go to and let him make his decisions for himself.  You don't have to protect him.  Part of his learning and developing his esteem will be growing strong enough to deal with things himself.  At any rate, those are choices for him to make, just as where you go are choice you get to make for yourself.

I wish you the best going forward, I know this is hard.  It can take a long time but you can get over him and the pain of the breakup.  Reminds me of an Everly Brothers song, "So Sad."

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I'm very sorry to hear that Arlie passed! It's always devistating to lose a pet. I lost a cat when I was 21 that I got when I was 8, shortly before my father passed. He was an enormous white cat called Angel, and he just disappeared one day. Sounds strange to say, but I honestly hope he passed away peacefully somewhere of old age, and that he wasn't taken, because I know he wouldn't have been happy somewhere else after living in one place for so long, and I really hope nobody hurt him.

 

I have a service dog called Teska. She turned 8 on 1 April.

 

Yes, I do respect Mark's wishes. I haven't contacted him since his last message, aside from the one email at the end of 2018. I don't plan on contacting him any time soon, if ever. I don't want to cause him any anxiety.

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Arlie was my everything, the hardest thing I've gone through since I lost my husband nearly 15 years ago.  It's still hard eight months later.  

I had a cat that went off to die when she was 14, never found her body but she aged before her time and was arthritic.  She was an outdoor cat (her choice) and I think that aged her.  I hope   with you that Angel died peacefully.

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I'm very sorry you lost Arlie. Animals can become very very important to us. As I mentioned, I consider Riddle to be my baby, even now I have to timeshare him with a man who isn't speaking to me. I'm a bit worried about what will happen if either of us decide to move. I won't be able to be around him until he passes one day.

 

Angel was old, but not in any way unhealthy. You could only tell he was getting older because he couldn't jump as high anymore and he spent more time indoors. I was away at university when he disappeared. I just tell myself that even if it didn't show, he probably just died of old age.

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Kitty wasn't feeling well but I thought it was because I got a puppy that she was cantankerous.  She didn't show any symptoms until Christmas, I had her put to sleep Jan. 6, her kidneys and liver had shut down.  She went from 9 lbs to 4 1/2.  

It's the hardest thing in the world to adjust to.  I still have Arlie's coat hanging on my chair and I hold it often.  I still have my husband's bathrobe and hold it, it's been almost 15 years he's been gone.  We do whatever we can to comfort ourselves.

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I guess we do. I have a little rubber wine glass marker I use to remind me of Riddle when he's not around.

 

Also my ex and I won shirts at a cosplay competition that had a guy going into a porthole on one and coming out of it on another. We used to wear them to feel closer to each other when apart. I used to avoid wearing mine for ages after the breakup because it hurt too much. Now I sometimes wear it or hold it to feel close to him. Don't know if it's healthy or not, but I don't really care. It helps sometimes.

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19 hours ago, Shadowcat said:

I sometimes wear it or hold it to feel close to him.

It shows you're hanging onto a relationship that doesn't exist anymore, it can prolong your healing.  You said yourself you don't care so it's all up to you if you want to prolong the agony or not.  May not be what you want to hear, but I tell the truth.  Believe me, I DO know the pain.  But you're not in week one either.

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It's hard breaking up with people, even when one has a thought in the back one's head that it's for the best, long term.  I think, in many cases, we know the end is near, but never pin point, intellectually, why.  But in our gut we just know. 

I think, in many cases, it's not personal. There's a deal-breaker in there, and it may be a while before we see it for what it is. Painting with a broad brush, I suspect many women see potential in *every man they date* even when the deal-breaking items have come to life, and are waving red flags in the distance.

So, you were dealing with depression? It's not fun. I have depression, and I'm an acquired taste on a good day. But - darling - his self esteem is just that: his SELF esteem hasn't anything to do with you. Once you get old enough to date seriously, you shouldn't even be blaming that stuff on your Mom/ dad / high school drama coach / kid that bullied you in fifth grade. If one's self esteem is that fragile, start working on that before you get involved in a romantic relationship. He was not playing fair with you on that one..

I saw a video by Nora McInerny about losing her husband to cancer, and finding a new love later. She has something like this to say about love and loss; the life and love of her first husband, and the love she has for her current husband, are not competing forces. They're strands of the same thread.

I wouldn't diminish anyone's loss to a death by comparing it to the end of a relationship, but the concept is still true: That relationship you had changed you. It's part of who you are. No matter where you go, who you end up with, you learned things about life, about yourself, in those two years. And it sounds like he was an okay fellow, he's just on a different path. 

I remember the first guy I really fell for. the timing just stunk. We were both too young. Then I moved, and had another boyfriend. Then he had a girlfriend. After the initial fireworks, we just never seemed to connect as real adults.

I lost track of how many wives he had. Very attractive, very charismatic, but in any relationship he had,  just never "drove the tent stakes in very far."  Just got married again last Christmas.

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Thanks for this. Yes, it's true that you can love more than one person for a long time.

I wouldn't say that I thought each person I've been with would be the one, but when they were serious relationships, I suppose I did. I still love my other exes, but in a different way.

One of them is basically my best friend, and I love him very much, just not romantically. We've been friends for much longer than we were together. There's another person I was in a serious three-year relationship with, and it took me a while to get over him, but I am. I now just love him for the memories, and for the time we had. We have very little contact, but he was still an important part of my life.

I suppose the difference with this last one is that, even though I still love people in my past, it's in a different way and if I had the chance to get back together with them, I wouldn't. Perhaps it's the way that this one ended that's making it so difficult to get over.

It does help though to take into consideration that it had as much to do with him and where he is as it did with me and my behaviour. You're right, adults should get to a point where they take responsibility for their own behaviour. Some just grow up quicker than others. I don't exclude myself from this. I had a lot to learn and I still do. Just not in the same areas as Mark.

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"Some just grow up quicker than others. I don't exclude myself from this. I had a lot to learn and I still do."

It comes with time and experience. My first marriage ended with my husband's death, but coincidentally, I was making plans to leave him at the time. I still loved him a lot, but living with an alcoholic is hard, and not good for one's mental health. I've met someone else. We live together. There are disagreements and frustrations. There are times when I think, "When will he learn not to slam the door / pick up his clothes / insert annoying habit here?"

And then I remind myself that he has cancer - the kind doctors were careful to describe as one that could be 'managed,' not cured or controlled. "Managed" is what they said. And I realize now what never would have occurred to me at your age: There will come a day when I will wish he was here to leave clothes heaped on the blanket chest or slam a door. 

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I've recently been reminding myself of that fact when I get annoyed with people who are close to me recently. That when they're gone, the small annoying habits will be gone too, but so will someone really important to me. I should accept those who are close to me with all their facets, as I hope they will do for me. I've learned to be kinder.

 

I'm sorry you have had to go through so much loss. The loss of your husband (although I can understand that living with an alcoholic must be incredibly challenging and also damaging to a relationship) and the illness of your current partner. I'm sending kind thoughts your way, for what it's worth.

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I don't remember my late husband having any annoying habits, honestly.  But I do remember going through that though with my kids' dad, I was married to him for 23 years and he had a habit of leaving his chair out at the end of the table, which blocked the path to the hallway.  Can't count the times I pushed his chair in.  Then one day when he was on a long hunting trip (day 9) I remember MISSING his chair being out!  Weird how that happens.  I've lived alone for years now, I wish such things were a problem I had!

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