I have been avoiding a break up for the past ten years. Basically I never got over my very first love, who I split with by the time I was only 22. Since then I have had several long-term relationships, but I always kept my partners at arm’s length. I had a five year relationship with a man I never called my boyfriend, who never wanted to commit, and I had two on-again off-again relationships with people who were more like very close male friends.
In this way, I was able to avoid putting my heart out there and connecting with someone on a deep level. I needed to do this because I was so hurt after loss number one. When I was 22 I had few emotional reserves to deal with my grief – so I shelved it. I put the grief aside; I shoved it under the rug, held it under my pillow and disguised the pain inside me. I pretended that I wasn’t in pain and I almost convinced myself.
It’s only now after going through my first ‘real’ breakup that I have truly been able to grieve for the loss of this first relationship. I realized that I had been carrying a lot of pain inside for a very long time, and for no good reason. But now, I am having immense trouble moving on from my last relationship. It’s only been two months, but I still feel so distraught every day, I feel like I need to work out how to get over this break up once and for all.
If I can’t get over a break up, is this because I still love my ex?
Well the good news is: maybe no. I feel like I am pining for someone but one of the best resources I could find on this topic was from a site called Getting Past Your Breakup. I think I need to read more of this site. Here’s what they say: Know that grieving someone and missing them does not necessarily mean you want them. It means you hurt because you’ve had a loss. Perhaps that loss is the best thing but it’s still a loss. Don’t mistake grief for love.
Got that? Don’t mistake grief for love.
I am grieving, hardcore. I am an emotional wreck and still very fragile and confused. But this doesn’t actually mean I need my ex back at all. In fact, I really don’t think I want that. I really just want this pain to let go of me.
More from GPYB: ‘It’s normal and natural to grieve any loss…even if the relationship was the worst in the world. Don’t let your grief cause you to second guess your feelings. Part of the grief process is “review and relinquishment” where it is necessary to process through the relationship. Unfortunately this review comes in the form of having the ex on your mind constantly. It’s a “working through” and it doesn’t mean you’re not going to get over it, or that you still love the ex. It means your mind is doing the work it needs to do to process through it and get over it’.
Make a Top 5 Break Up list
Another interesting idea I thought might work is to make a list of the top 5 reasons I broke up with my ex and to place it somewhere where I can see it every day. It’s in this post-breakup-period that I am romanticizing the past and seeing things through rose coloured glasses. I need to remember that there were very good reasons why we split.
Lindsay Colip wrote a nice heartfelt piece on The Prysm: ‘We broke up with our partners because deep down we knew it wasn’t right for us. At some point along the way our heart and soul screamed out to us to move on and we actually listened. We are enlightened miles ahead of others who stay in relationships because they’re comfortable, or easy, or convenient’.
I could have stayed. He could have stayed. But it was not right and things had to change. I am grateful for the opportunity to move forward, even though the pain is so intense. I know this is doing me good.
The pain of destructive, abusive relationships
My ex was a rotten guy. Forgive me that statement while I grieve, because it helps me to move on. In truth, he is a very wonderful person, but the relationship was destructive, not just to both of us, but to everyone around us. My ex was fond of starting emotional fires and then running for the hills, taking the only extinguisher, but fanning the flames from his hilltop.
I found a post on splitting the good and bad traits of your partners. The good parts of my ex were so wonderfully good, but the bad elements of his personality made him impossible to be around. I have written several posts on this, including 7 Signs You Are Dating an Asshole, which has been one of my most popular posts (lots of people search that sentence, apparently!).
See things as they are, not as you would like them to be
I constantly justified my ex’s abusive behaviour towards me and others (I have seen him yell at everyone from his father to his real estate agent) and I told myself it was just a phase. I constantly ignored what was, for what I would like it to be.
Susan J. Elliott wrote a post on this too: ‘In your mind you hold onto what you HAD while ignoring what you HAVE. You tell yourself this is not the real person, the one you fell in love with is. But the person you fell in love with has not been around in a long time and the person who fell in love with you and treated you so well (as loving partners are supposed to do) is GONE. And gone for good. Even if he or she appears for a time, that’s not okay for the way they are treating you now is unacceptable. So stop holding out hope. The present person you are seeing is an ass and that is not okay’.
And now a nod to my ex
Wherever you are. He did say many lovely things to me, and here’s one which rings true:
Let’s turn this bitter harvest into something grand.
I am paraphrasing him there – and he didn’t mean together. A time of pain and growth can be an enormously fruitful time, even though it hurts. I have written a lot, I’m sure my ex is writing a lot of music, and I’m sure we have both grown and continue to grow.