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My Dog Died Then My Boyfriend Left... :(


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Hi there,

I hope you're all doing well and that you're all receiving the support you need for your situations.

I'm also hoping you may be able to offer some positive encouragement or suggestions for my situation. Within the last two months, my dog (that i had for twelve years) died and then my boyfriend (who I thought we were getting engaged) called it off and left 11 days later. I've done what I can to work through the intensity of the grief and have had a lot of support from family, professionals, and mentors. Unfortunately, I live overseas and most of the support I receive is from a distance and not in person.

I work from home also so I spend most of the day isolated and alone. And the few "friends" I have locally have not been here for me - in spite of my expressing that I'm struggling. I also used to have a best friend for many years, but she moved away back in February (and we've really grown apart). So I'm spending a lot of time alone and am feeling pretty lost at the moment. I've started to actually have 'good days' here and there again but they alternate and don't seem to stay for long.

I'm also 37 years old and in the community I live in (a religious family-centered community) being single is considered somewhat of a stigma. So I'm not only grieving for my dog, my ex, and not having my best friend anymore... the thought of having to get back 'out there' and start dating again or being part of a community that primarily values married people with families over 'singles' is very painful. And I have minimal energy or even direction to consider changing my situation at the moment. I feel stuck.

Like I said, it's not all bad. Some days, I find the strength to think positive, keep moving forward, and force myself to believe that life will feel 'good' again. I do have a lot of faith that everything happens for a reason, although there are times when I still blame myself for him leaving. Maybe if I'd have handled my dog's death better, he'd have stayed. Then again, I know that's ridiculous and that he really showed his true colors by abandoning me when I needed him. And that also makes it hard to think how I misjudged him so much.

What concerns me most though, is that I don't know the line between 'grieving' and 'wallowing' right now. Because while some days are getting a little better, there are other days, where I lie on the couch, watching hours of television, and cry and cry and cry. And the more time I have 'alone', the harder it is. And yet, I can't seem to find people that I feel comfortable with or enjoy to spend time with right now that are local. So I'm not reaching out much anymore at this point - and have resigned myself to day after day with limited human interaction. And it's hard to build new and close friendships under these circumstances. Because, I've basically lost my three best friends in less then six months. How do I start over and keep going from such a low point?

I'm trying to do what I can to make it better and I know things happen to people that are a lot worse then this. I have my health and a great job. And I'm planning on starting to workout with a personal trainer this week. Maybe that'll help. And I may go back to the States to visit my family soon. So there are things to be grateful for. But the bottom line is, I still feel very very sad right now. Also, having my dog, was a great motivator for me to get up, get dressed, and be out of the house by 8:30 am. Now, without her... since I work from home... I'm barely out of my pajamas by noon unless I have a 'reason' to be. And the house is so unbearably empty without her. I loved her so much and miss her deeply.

I know this is all normal and passes with time. I've gotten through break-up's and death's before. But in the past, I always had my dog and my best friend there to support me through it. Having to mourn all of these losses at once it's just a lot for me to bear.

Any emotional support or practical suggestions are greatly appreciated right now.

Wishing you all many blessings and much comfort and joy in your lives.

Rachel

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Hi Rachel,

Glad you are able to tell your story. I'm two years into grief and I remember how raw I felt in those first weeks. It'll get better for you. You mention loneliness. I hardly notice being alone now when I stay busy. But sometimes I get emotionally upset. And lonely. Then I try to distract myself with eating, sleeping, or time out-of-doors. And when that doesn't work I have small break-downs. My mind goes into over-drive trying to figure things out. Some of the thinking is productive. Other times the mental chatter isn't doing me any good. Particularly when I have resentments, going over that stuff in my mind just stirs up more anger. Sadness can also derail me, leaving me with despairing thoughts. I don't think there is an easy passage through stormy emotions. We can do small things to calm or distract ourselves. But eventually we have to confront the things that are upsetting us. That's part of how we heal and how we grow. Gradually your thinking and feeling will evolve towards solutions; be patient. Grief can impair normal functionality, so be forgiving of yourself, keep expectations low, and try to roll with the mood swings.

About reintegrating your social life, can't that wait? You are still sorting out a lot of stuff. Eventually your emotions will settle and your thinking will gain clarity. Grief is a kind of time out from normal life. Give yourself the time you need to recover.

Sorry for such dense advice! I hope some of it makes sense.

Ron B.

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Rachel,

I went through something similar about three years ago. My dog was 14 and had to be put down due to a lot of problems...my husband was not only there for me but disappeared altogether...I had to file a missing person's report to find out what happened...turns out he had a GF for a couple of months and chose that time to go live with her in our new motor home, sticking me with all of his bills (he even quit his job and went into hiding). So now I was grieving my dog, my husband and marriage, and everything I knew was turned upside down on me.

In my situation it helped to keep busy, with the holidays approaching and dealing with the million details of divorce, that wasn't hard to do. The pain inside felt unbearable, but I got through it. And after a few months I got another dog, and that was the best thing I ever could have done, he was perfect for me, happy, upbeat, fun, a joy to be around.

You are not responsible for your BF's choices, please don't own that, he needs to. The timing was atrocious, for him to leave you when you were most vulnerable. I'm so sorry, it will get better. Try to reach out even to old friends. Maybe it's a good time to try to reconnect?

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