Should be over it by now.

So, I’ve never posted here before. I’m not sure what I’m looking for, but it might help just to type out what I’m feeling, and maybe I’ll get some sense of release, and if anybody has any advice for me I’d certainly be happy to hear it.

I had a bad relationship end about a year ago. It wasn’t even a long one, it lasted about a year, start to finish. We connected deeply on a few levels, some physical, some emotional. Looking back, I think our individual dysfunctions just happened to coincide with each other – to vibrate at the same frequency, so to speak. Whatever the case, it made for an intense relationship, in which there were definitely some good times, but for the most part it was an opera of pain.

So, when it was over I was heartbroken and relieved at the same time. I knew I’d have to go through the mourning process, and deal with my sense of loss. But I also knew it was necessary for it to end. We were killing each other emotionally, and there was no way to save it.

Six months went by, wherein we had no contact at all. I used that time to heal, to the best of my ability. It still hurt when I thought about it, I wasn’t 100% healed. But I made a LOT of progress letting go of the pain, anger, resentment, all the negative feelings associated with the relationship.

Then she happened to be in my town to visit some friends, one of whom was my roommate, and she was about to go on a long trip. Maybe it was a mistake, but I reached out to her. I guess the plan was for us to avoid each other while she was in town, but I got to thinking how sad it was that after all this time we couldn’t just end the hostility and be friendly with one another. And I was happy for her for the adventure she was about to go on, so I inboxed her on Facebook. Two sentences, just saying hi, I hope you have an amazing time, take care of yourself… the most inoffensive, sincere, magnanimous gesture I could possibly have made.

She responded with some really poisonous, angry stuff. And I was stunned. Seriously stunned, and absolutely devastated. She blames me, and only me, for everything. She said I made her ashamed of who she was, that I made her feel like she had to change who she was to please me… I didn’t do any of that. She brought her own shame into the relationship, as I did. We both made mistakes, and she is EXACTLY as responsible for how things turned out as I am.

Maybe I shouldn’t have engaged, but I wrote her back this LOOOOONG email, like ten thousand words, basically saying EVERYTHING that was left in my heart. I apologized again for each individual mistake I made, even though I had made the same apologies dozens of times while we were together (apologies that always fell on deaf ears, as she is apparently not the forgiving type). But then I challenged her to take responsibility herself, and acknowledge the mistakes she made as well. As I said, I had made a lot of progress toward forgiving her in recent months, and I freely extended that forgiveness, even though she didn’t ask for it.

Well, we went back and forth one more time, with me trying to make peace and her injecting her poison directly into my veins. It was like she put me right back to where I started when we broke up. Then she blocked me on Facebook. Weirdly, she unblocked me a few weeks later, but I have no idea what that means. We’re not Facebook friends anymore, but I’m no longer on her blocked list apparently because her name comes up in posts and photos she’s tagged in.

So, that was six months ago. Again, we have had no contact during that time, and the only news I hear about her life is what I get from a mutual friend (I never ask, it just comes up naturally in conversation and I usually end up changing the subject, so I know almost nothing about her life, which is probably as it should be). I should be completely over this by now. But almost every day, my thoughts still run away with me, and I have the same argument again in my head. It just feels so unjust, and unfair. I don’t want her back, not as a girlfriend anyway. I want her forgiveness, and I want her to acknowledge that she hurt me too, and that I hurt EXACTLY as much as she did.

Maybe it’s because I don’t have that much going on right now, and my brain craves stimulation, and that’s the freshest, rawest (is that a word? “Most raw”?) wound it can poke at. Even though they’re bad feelings, they’re feelings, and when I’m bored/lonely maybe my heart just wants to feel something rather than nothing.

It’s all in my head. This is never, ever going to be resolved. She’s NEVER going to own up to her part in this, and I’m not going to get the resolution I crave. But I think some part of me still believes it’s possible. Otherwise, why can’t I let it go? It has been a YEAR!!! The whole relationship only lasted a year! What do I have to do to let this go and leave it in the past once and for all?

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8 thoughts on “Should be over it by now.

  1. EricaSwagger says:

    [The first part of your last paragraph is totally true, but you really don’t believe it. Once you truly accept that something is over, that’s when you start to move on. Right now, you’re holding on and unable to move forward because you’re still hoping there is a way to get that apology and validation you crave.

    There’s not. Some people just suck. They hurt us and they refuse to take any responsibility. The hardest things to let go are the things we can’t make sense of. We all want the answer or the “closure” and when that never comes, it can really screw up the healing process.

    You just have to make more of an effort. Tell yourself it’s over, there’s nothing more to think about or talk about. Convince yourself; really believe it. The trick is to really KNOW that it’s done. Any hope you hold on to will totally get in the way.

    When I’m having a hard time not letting my mind go back somewhere it shouldn’t, I distract myself. Bombard your brain with stimuli so that you can’t possibly think about anything else. Get lost reading Buzzfeed, and listening to music. Find a new hobby, make plans with friends, go shopping, go to the gym. Start a new series on Netflix and binge on it, while simultaneously texting with friends and playing candy crush. Whatever works for you. You just have to try.

  2. Leeway Harris says:

    [Thank you, EricaSwagger. You’re right that I don’t really believe it. Even as I was typing it, I didn’t really believe it. That’s why I went back on it in the very next sentence.

    But the undeniable truth is that I may or may not get the satisfaction I’m looking for. My ex-roommate, who is a friend to both me and the ex-gf, really holds out hope that we will one day be friends again. I’m not so sure. But the answer is that it might happen, or it might not. What I want is not to beat it into my head that “It’ll never, ever happen!!!” What I really want, and your post helped me realize this, is to fully accept either possibility. Maybe I’ll never get it, and maybe a little of that hurt will remain forever. And I want to be okay with that, breathe into it, not to deny it or bury it under layers of distractions.

    So, what I’ve tried to do, when my mind starts going those places it shouldn’t, is to kind of peacefully detach. Similar to what you said about filling my field of vision up with literally anything other than thoughts of that relationship, except more of a “letting go” than a “fighting these thoughts until they die”.

    And “Some people just suck” isn’t where I’m at right now. If she sucks, so do I. And so does everybody, for that matter. I’m not looking to eject anybody from my heart – I believe the heart is infinitely spacious, so it’s not like I’m going to run out of room in there. Of course I don’t want to allow her to inflict more punishment on me. But at this point, she’s not the one doing it! It’s all me right now! I just want to stop ruminating over the situation. That’s what the “peacefully detaching” thing is about. I guess it will come with time, and the right kind of effort.

    Thank you again for your response, reading it really did help me and made me feel like someone is listening.

  3. Dennis Hong says:

    [While reading your blurb, my first question was, “So what exactly did she do? What’s the role that you say she played in this mess?”

    My second question when I finished reading your blurb was, “Who cares?”

    It’s over. To be blunt, I think you need to stop waxing so much poetry over this (“I believe the heart is infinitely spacious, so it’s not like I’m going to run out of room in there”… come on, really?) and, like you said, just move on. You sound like you like to write. Well, guess what? I do, too. I used to write pages and pages in my personal journal whenever I felt heartbreak — or what I thought was heartbreak. So, I feel you. I totally do.

    At the same time, because I do feel you, my solution for you now? Don’t write about it. Not another word. Not especially after your 10,000-word fiasco. Writing about it is obviously holding you back, it’s making you ruminate, and I think you just need to get out into the real world and carry on with your life.

    Trust me on this one. As a guy who has written such emails before, it’s not going to help you in the long run.

    As for the relationship, if you’re meant to be friends again one day, you will. If not, you won’t. Just accept that. It’s not up to you to try to anticipate — or affect — that outcome at this point. Move on, move on, move on.

  4. Leeway Harris says:

    [Reply to Dennis Hong:

    —“”While reading your blurb, my first question was, “So what exactly did she do? What’s the role that you say she played in this mess?” My second question when I finished reading your blurb was, “Who cares?””

    I purposely didn’t include many details of who did what in the relationship because that’s not what matters now. I could have posted the 10,000 word email, with the whole play-by-play of the relationship contained in it, but I didn’t think that would be productive at all. I wasn’t looking for a judgement on who was right or wrong. I probably just wanted to let it out and see if I could get some support from strangers.

    —“It’s over. To be blunt, I think you need to stop waxing so much poetry over this (“I believe the heart is infinitely spacious, so it’s not like I’m going to run out of room in there”… come on, really?)”

    Well… yes, really. I’m not sure what you object to about that statement, unless you’re ascribing some meaning to it that I didn’t intend. Or you feel it’s too sentimental for a website based on love advice. Whatever the case, there’s a tendency to tell people in my situation to deny their feelings, to pretend it never happened, to cover over their pain with righteous anger and self-congratulation for being above it all. I suspect that won’t work for me, and will lead me to make the same mistakes again.

    So I’m trying a different way, breathing through it and accepting what is as what is. That means, among other things, accepting that I’ll probably always care about her, whether we ever have any contact again or not. That’s not a choice I’m making, it’s just how it is. The only choice I’ve made is the choice not to deny it. And as long as I don’t allow thoughts of this to consume me, it doesn’t cost anything to be conscious of caring about someone.

    —“You sound like you like to write. Well, guess what? I do, too. I used to write pages and pages in my personal journal whenever I felt heartbreak — or what I thought was heartbreak. So, I feel you. I totally do. At the same time, because I do feel you, my solution for you now? Don’t write about it. Not another word. Not especially after your 10,000-word fiasco. Writing about it is obviously holding you back, it’s making you ruminate, and I think you just need to get out into the real world and carry on with your life.”

    I don’t write, and I don’t have a personal journal. I actually hadn’t written a word about this for six months, until I posted this blurb. I appreciate your insight, but I think you may be making a judgement of your own experience rather than mine.

    My problem isn’t writing about it, or talking about it. It’s an addiction to the thoughts that come unbidden in times of boredom or loneliness. I accept that it’s my responsibility to remain present at those times, and not start sinking into the quicksand of the past. It’s just that my mind craves that emotional “juice” that drips out when I start poking at old wounds, and it plays tricks on me to get me to open them up. It kind of reminds me of what people say about quitting smoking, or something similar.

    —“As for the relationship, if you’re meant to be friends again one day, you will. If not, you won’t. Just accept that. It’s not up to you to try to anticipate — or affect — that outcome at this point. Move on, move on, move on.”

    This is definitely true, and I accept that I have no power over the outcome of this, other than what I’ve already exercised. The way I see it, I’ve done my part. She knows I’m here if she wants to talk to me, whether she does or not is completely out of my control. Thanks for your input, Dennis Hong, you’ve reminded me of some important things. And I hope you are healing/have healed from your difficult experiences as well.

    • Liastim says:

      [Time. Time is whatís going to help you move on.

      The bad news is, part of the reason that youíre finding it so hard to move on is just who you are as a person. Wanting and needing a clean resolution. Wanting her to admit to her part in it all. Youíve probably rehearsed what youíd say to her and what she should say to you 100x in your head to the point that itís engraved now. It also doesnít help you move on. A harsh truth is that sheís not thinking about you anywhere near as much as you are about her. Sheís moving on with her life. Iím sure youíre more than aware of this and it hurts. Nevertheless, you need to start taking steps to do the same.

      Youíve admitted that part of the problem is that youíve had a lot of time to rehash things lately. If free time is an issue for whatever reason, are there things you can fill your day with? Free time is a killer when your mind is on overdrive.

      Youíre very articulate about your feelings and thoughts. And in both your original blog and your responses here youíve essentially already pointed out all thatís holding you back right now. Youíve recognised that at this point itís you. Youíre holding onto something about which you may never ever get the closure you hope for. I know that those are just empty words when youíre feeling the way you are. But since you at least intellectually recognise that youíre going around in circles now, trying a different tact is probably more helpful than doing the same. Itís been a year, and you say you want to come to a place of peace without needing to Ďdistractí yourself with actions. Iíve felt exactly this before, some strange notion about the right way to move on, as if itís fake somehow if we do it any other way or some weird emotional cheat. But again, itís been a year and all thatís been achieved is a lot of hurt by the sounds of it. And an epic, epic email. Considering that your current way isnít working, maybe the suggestion to distract yourself isnít so bad. Youíre not going to magically stop thinking about her and the situation. But keeping busy stops you from dwelling on it all the time.

      I know Iím just echoing whatís been said before, and thereís probably a good reason for that. You need to start taking active steps to move on, then time will do the rest. Iím sorry if that sounds glib, itís not meant to be.

      Good luck

    • Leeway Harris says:

      [Reply to Liastim:

      —“Time. Time is whatís going to help you move on.”

      I believe that’s true. Even if nothing else works, all these emotions will fade with time. I’ll think about it less and less, days and then weeks will go by without it entering my mind, and then it will truly be in the past. I can see that happening already. It seems like it has been a long time, but maybe this is just how long it takes for me.

      —“The bad news is, part of the reason that youíre finding it so hard to move on is just who you are as a person. Wanting and needing a clean resolution. Wanting her to admit to her part in it all. Youíve probably rehearsed what youíd say to her and what she should say to you 100x in your head to the point that itís engraved now. It also doesnít help you move on.”

      Also probably true. It’s a bad habit, for sure. I make progress in quitting, then I backslide. For a few days, or a week, I muster all my discipline and actively detach from the thoughts when they come, just letting them float away, refusing to allow them to take me over. Then I think “I’ve been good all week, what harm could a few thoughts do?” And before I know it I’m right back at that poison well taking a long, deep drink. But I’m learning my lesson, a little at a time.

      —“A harsh truth is that sheís not thinking about you anywhere near as much as you are about her. Sheís moving on with her life. Iím sure youíre more than aware of this and it hurts.”

      Well, yes and no. I have no way of knowing how much she’s thinking about me, but anybody who chooses to carry around that much anger has not “moved on with her life” in any meaningful way. Like I said, I reached out to her in the spirit of peace and forgiveness. I wished her a safe, pleasant journey. She could have said “Thanks, take care,” or even “I’m not ready to let you back into my life, things are still pretty raw for me, but thanks for the good wishes.”

      I would have been happy with either of those responses or anything in between. But what I got back instead was so crazy, I think it set my own healing process back six months. And I was doing so well, that’s what’s so frustrating. It was like I had to start all over again from the beginning, from the night we had our final conversation. I know it shouldn’t be any of my business, but I feel like her failure to move on prevented me from moving on myself.

      —“Youíve admitted that part of the problem is that youíve had a lot of time to rehash things lately. If free time is an issue for whatever reason, are there things you can fill your day with? Free time is a killer when your mind is on overdrive.”

      Yeah, that’s kind of a problem. I have a very, very dull job. I pretty much have to drive around in circles all night long. Don’t worry, I concentrate on the road as well. I’m not so distracted that I’ll drive off a cliff or run somebody over or anything, but the long, boring nights leave me vulnerable to those intrusive thoughts about the past. I guess another thing I should work on is getting a more interesting, fulfilling occupation, but that’s for another thread, haha!

      —“Itís been a year, and you say you want to come to a place of peace without needing to Ďdistractí yourself with actions. Iíve felt exactly this before, some strange notion about the right way to move on, as if itís fake somehow if we do it any other way or some weird emotional cheat. But again, itís been a year and all thatís been achieved is a lot of hurt by the sounds of it. And an epic, epic email. Considering that your current way isnít working, maybe the suggestion to distract yourself isnít so bad.”

      You could very well be right about that. Maybe there isn’t a “right” way, maybe the right way is just any way that gets you there. I do have other things in my life, and they do help keep my mind in the present and out of the past. I exercise, have an active yoga practice, I cook, I volunteer at a local food pantry, and ski season is coming soon. So even if I don’t “use” these things to distract myself, they’re going to distract me anyway, which I guess is a good thing.

      Thank you, Liastim, your response was very insightful and gave me a lot to consider.

    • Liastim says:

      [well, if nothing else this experience might be a motivator to change your job…a small silver lining ūüôā

      all the best

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