Holding on or letting go...

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    Apr 11, 2008 4:47 PM GMT
    Last month, after a many weeks of seperation, my partner and I decided to break things off. After 9 years together, we realized that our relationship had become codependant and toxic. we still love each other deeply. However, the ways we displayed that love and took care of ourselves and each other began to fall apart. Much of our problems were due to the strong forces and emotional deeply engrained coping mechanisms that came from a broken family, addictive behavoirs and the effect of living in an alcoholic family.

    In many ways, a love that started out pure and full entered into an arena where it struggled to remain healthy and positive. As we both go through our own journies, our goal is to grow and heal from the damage we have endurred as individuals and as a couple. In the begining, the seperation and split seems impossible, but time and distance put an end to the hysteria. Now, as smoke is clearing, we see eah other in a different light. We realize how sad our situation is and regognize how much we are designed for each other.

    the catcher is that we have much more growth and healing to do. and it can not be done together. we still need to get past each other and move beyond that relationship dynamic in prder to find peace in our true selves. We both know that it is important and vital to have the other in our life. But we are unable to do it right now.It may take months, or years before that can happen.

    So, do I move on blindly and completely on my journey, with faith that I will be a stronger, healthier person and without regard or over concern for where my ex is. Or do I hold that hope in my heart that that growth will ea to us returning to a new refreshed life together. I want to move on, but don't want to turn back and see that I have made the biggest mistake of my life. How do you hold someone in your heart and take them out of your heart at the same time.
  • Laurence

    Posts: 942

    Apr 11, 2008 4:51 PM GMT
    Life is a gamble, so who can tell if you're making a mistake by letting go completely or not.

    But they say 'never look back', and I think in your case that you can only go on and improve by not clinging on and keep looking back.

    You have had a good time with your ex and should cherish those memories, but it's now time to make new memories.

    Good Luck.

    Lozx
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    Apr 11, 2008 4:58 PM GMT
    I am very sorry you broke up, but in the long-term it is probably the right decision. I also came from a family that had many issues, alcoholism being one of them, and it does take a long time to mend the wounds.

    I did not get into a LTR until I was 37 and in the first few years I had trouble adjusting to having a partner.

    I have seen couples that are toxic to one another who do not break up. As they came close to the end of their lives I could sense their sadness, and wondering "what might have been if I had not stayed with this person." It is not pleasant to be witness to a couple like that.
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    Apr 11, 2008 5:25 PM GMT
    Time is the Healer but you can hold someone in your Heart forever in that little space somewhere that's if you have a Big Heart?

    l have people still in my heart they were all special in some way?
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    Apr 11, 2008 6:24 PM GMT
    You've given this a great deal of thought and have proceeded carefully in deciding what direction to take.. You've also given this relationship nine years - certainly a good, long time. So your question is, "How do hold someone in your heart and take them out of your heart at the same time?"

    I have been in your position and I was given advice from a brilliant priest. His advice was to love the person enough to "let them go". I moved on with my life - but held fond memories of the good times - and in my heart I wished him well as we each went our separate ways. I'm left with a warm glow when I think of him. Hopefully you will find this same kind of peace - no matter which direction you go.
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    Apr 11, 2008 7:04 PM GMT
    Why should you have to take him out of your heart. if you do that it would make your relationship meaningless. Take whatyou can from it and begin to build a new life...just without your ex-partner.

    Moving on is a good thing and although it might seem hard at first you'll feel better eventually. You reallyare just gonna have to suck it up and move on. Sounds easy when said but it really isn't. You'llbe fine. As long as you guys can remain friends and have an open respect for one another then I think you will progress with minimal problems.
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    Apr 11, 2008 7:45 PM GMT
    A number of years ago, I had to let go of a relationship that had become too damaged to preserve. For a long time, I tried to tell myself that letting go of the relationship meant letting go of how I felt about him since I still loved him a great deal when the end finally came.

    What I found in the weeks and months after the break is that love...authentic love...is not something over which you have any willful control. Love is a gift given by the heart, which has a will of its own. I could no more deny how I felt about him than I could stop my next heartbeat or breath.

    In the fullness of time, I learned that I could cherish the goodness that we once had and honor the love that continued to live on in my heart while still accepting that we were done and in all likelihood would never be together again.

    I did find that for my own healing to begin in earnest, I had to put some distance between us. In fact, and especially after he got serious with someone new, I had to go for about a year without any contact with him. That gave me the necessary space to re-establish my own sense of self apart from him again.
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    Apr 11, 2008 7:45 PM GMT
    DJHow do you hold someone in your heart and take them out of your heart at the same time.


    Sounds like you're doing it already. You both sound like thoughtful, sensitive individuals. Things will only feel clearer the more distance you get from the "hysteria." Be proud of yourself for for making a brave choice, not reverting to blame and being willing to learn from the situation.
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    Apr 11, 2008 7:52 PM GMT
    I found it was allowing myself to experience and understand the nuance between loving someone and being in love with someone. We can still love all our exes, should we want/be able to, the trick is recognizing that it's a different love than what we shared with them.
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    Apr 11, 2008 7:58 PM GMT
    I went through a 3 year relationship that sounds very similar. When I broke it off, his sister, who is a grief counsellor, advised me to get as far away emotionally as possible---that the distancing was necessary to heal. Well, we decided to continue to talk on a daily basis and to morph our relationship into that of being best friends. And while we were ultimately successful, I think that doing it that way prolonged the pain of breaking up. It would have been better to have walked away for a year and given ourselves time to heal. Then the friendship transformation could have happened after the forgiveness and healing had occurred.
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    Apr 11, 2008 8:09 PM GMT
    Wow! some really compassionate and caring words from everyone. I appreciate all of you sharing your experiences. Right now, the distance is the hard thing to establish. Its so difficult to not pick up the phone when you see something or need something.

    Its amazing how difficult independence can be and how liberating it is, as well. This journey is a real opportunity for both of us to learn more about ourselves and get to that place inside of us that has been hiding in the background of things. Its also difficult to love someone so dearly and still know that a split is the best course of action.
  • dhinkansas

    Posts: 764

    Apr 11, 2008 8:40 PM GMT
    I hope you are doing ok and everyone I'm sure is thinking good thoughts for you. It's ok to hold someone or a part of someone in your heart. The 9 years is a part of your life, and through the good and bad of it, contributed to whom you are today and also towards what you want to become. I think it's important to take the good times with you in your heart. Moving on from anything can be one of the toughest things in life. It will make you stronger.

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    Apr 11, 2008 8:47 PM GMT
    I'd agree with the separation part. After my ex moved to Florida, I asked for two months where we didn't communicate at all. I know it was kind of tough for him, but it was a good thing. Granted, being 1500 miles away made it easier.

    I'd agree with Svengali that you can transform a relationship into friendship, but you both have to want it, and it's a big reframing of the terms of the relationship.

    DJBens, just because you've decided that you're not in an intimate relationship anymore doesn't mean that you don't love him and think of him fondly. It just might mean that the role he needs to have in your life is different from a permanent partner.

    Take time for yourself so that your in a better place. If it's meant to be, you encounter him in a different place down the road, and maybe it will be right then, but you'll both be different men than you are now. If you've been trying so hard and it's not working, sounds like you'd be better off working on yourselves for a while.

    As a teacher once said to me "What would be the loving thing for me right now?" Hope you can answer that question.
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    Apr 11, 2008 9:29 PM GMT
    She was staring out the window of that SUV
    Complaning, saying "I can't wait to turn 18"
    She said "I'll make my own money, and I'll make my own rules"
    Mamma put the car in park out there in front of the school
    Then she kissed her head and said "I was just like you"

    You're gonna miss this
    You're gonna want this back
    You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast
    These are some good times
    So take a good look around
    You may not know it now
    * * *
    But you're gonna miss this

    Before she knows it she's a brand new bride
    In a one-bedroom apartment, and her daddy stops by
    He tells her "It's a nice place"
    She says "It'll do for now"
    Starts talking about babies and buying a house
    Daddy shakes his head and says "Baby, just slow down"

    Cause you're gonna miss this
    You're gonna want this back
    You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast
    These are some good times
    So take a good look around
    You may not know it now
    [these lyrics are found on http://www.songlyrics.com]
    But you're gonna miss this

    Five years later there's a plumber workin' on the water heater
    Dog's barkin', phone's ringin'
    One kid's cryin', one kid's screamin'
    She keeps apologizin'
    He says "They don't bother me.
    I've got 2 babies of my own.
    One's 36, one's 23.
    Huh, it's hard to believe, but ...

    You're gonna miss this
    You're gonna want this back
    You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast
    These are some good times
    So take a good look around
    You may not know it now
    But you're gonna miss this"

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 11, 2008 9:35 PM GMT
    I dated a woman for three years. I truely loved her, and do to this day, but the sex was awful! I just didn't, and couldn't do it for her. God knows, I tried.

    Eventually we broke up. She is now happily married in Idaho and I am still single and miserable! At least she made it.
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    Apr 11, 2008 9:42 PM GMT
    DJ - Three years ago I had to leave someone who'd been the most important person in my life, bar none, for the better part of a decade. It was the hardest and most painful thing I'd ever done, and I almost changed my mind every five minutes or so for the first couple weeks nonstop, even though I knew the separation was for the best.

    In time, the trauma of it passed, and we've since re-established a wholly different kind of relationship, and, looking back, we both are completely happy that we moved forward in our own directions. Not that there aren't the occasional awkward Tiffany "Could've Been" moments...but by and large recognizing that it was healthier to grow independently rather than stagnate together proved to be monumentally important.

    However things work out for you, good luck. From what I've read of your posts, it sounds like you've got a good head on your shoulders, so I'm sure you'll turn out just fine. icon_smile.gif
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    Apr 11, 2008 11:57 PM GMT
    DJBens77 saidLast month, after a many weeks of seperation, my partner and I decided to break things off. After 9 years together, we realized that our relationship had become codependant and toxic....

    So, do I move on blindly and completely on my journey, with faith that I will be a stronger, healthier person and without regard or over concern for where my ex is. Or do I hold that hope in my heart that that growth will ea to us returning to a new refreshed life together. I want to move on, but don't want to turn back and see that I have made the biggest mistake of my life. How do you hold someone in your heart and take them out of your heart at the same time.


    You don't provide much information here, but the thing you may need to clear up is whether your question (in the second graf above) is an expression of love or of the "codependency" you describe in the first graf.

    Codependency is a pop-psychology word that describes "addiction" to another person. As in any addiction, the harm ends up exceeding the pleasure but, because the relationship has the quality of addiction, it's hard to let go. Pain and love often become literally conflated.

    If you think that is really an accurate description of your relationship, then you'd do well to suspend contact for a few months, as someone else suggested, so you can "withdraw." What lots of people do is continue to find excuses to contact one another, and you get a "fix" that makes you feel better but perpetuates the dynamic from which you're trying to extricate yourself.

    When I went through this years ago, I didn't see my ex for two months, didn't talk to him on the phone, didn't email. When we finally got together for dinner, all my projections were withdrawn and I literally could not make contact with anything I'd ever found attractive about him. I'm not saying that would be your case -- it depends on "how codependent" the relationship is -- but any addictive process involves the making of illusions.

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    Apr 12, 2008 12:02 AM GMT
    Wow, two months is such a brief time for such a different perspective. You're like a turbo-charger self-healer.
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    Apr 12, 2008 12:15 AM GMT
    innerathlete saidWow, two months is such a brief time for such a different perspective. You're like a turbo-charger self-healer.


    He's trained. Don't try this at home, kids.

    K
  • dfrourke

    Posts: 1062

    Apr 12, 2008 12:53 AM GMT

    I agree with Obscenewish...I recommend finding some time to "reset the playing field"...in many respects love can be an addiction of it's own...there's a great deal of craving for it when it's seemingly not available...

    ...I like to give myself some time to re-establish some friendly parameters with my ex and then go from there...

    ...much luck to you...

    - David
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    Apr 12, 2008 1:06 AM GMT
    Well, I had my first serious relationship with someone older than me at 15 years of age. He was together for his age & VERY GOOD LOOKING. Jet black hair & blue eyes with that of a bodybuilder physique. DAMN! I am getting heated just thinking of it. Now, onto the serious matter at hand, Me & my first STILL have the hots for each other but there are 2 things in the way of it, one that has more priority because they always come first: our kids & his daddy lusting after me especially when he knows I've been with his son. We have both learned to let go together and still remain the best of friends because of the kids. We still make the 2 best dads that 2 boys could ever have & their friends are so jealous, along with their parents...LOL We may have our arguments but we still team up to tackle anything that involves our kids, i.e., me taking part in the assistant coaching of the little leagues soccer team or even the junior self-defense leagues & sometimes even looking alongside with the soccer moms...LOL
    So, have me & my ex learned to let go together? Yes & do we still have the hots for one another? Yes. But at times in life, you learn to leave amiably, when its still in good standing, that way, the both of you can learn to get along without ringing each other's necks or even have ex father-in-law coveting you & focus on better priorities, especially if they are for your children. To me, holding on when there's nothing there just simply asks for drama.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Apr 12, 2008 2:02 AM GMT
    I'm certainly sorry to hear that you have had such emotional turmoil of late with your partner of 9 years.
    I can imagine it has been a very difficult process in which to come to a reasoned conclusion.

    I'm impressed that you can articulate your feelings as well as you have.. many cannot do so in the way you did above. It sounds like you have taken the mature path with regard to your partner and your feelings toward him. I hope you can always be friends.

    I believe the next couple of years will be a time of major growth, self discovery and a time you won't forget. I hope you will share with us some of the things you have and will learn.
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    Apr 18, 2008 4:39 PM GMT
    moved back into my condo last night. my ex has been there for a few months, so now it is my turn to be in the home we built by myself. It will be a good way to move on. For now, having my dog sleep with her head on my chest all night was all the confort I needed. We shall see how that changes.
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    Apr 18, 2008 5:33 PM GMT
    *hug*
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    Apr 18, 2008 5:46 PM GMT
    Well there is no way to remove someone from your heart ever I fell. Sometimes we just have to live with knowing they will forever be there which is pretty cool to me.
    Also why is codependancy so bad? I love knowing that my life is better because of my other half yet at the same time I know that I am ok on my own, he just makes it much more valuable to me. The thing is I think so many times things are psychoanylized so often that situations become mere statistic. We all can place the blame on our lifes events such as broken homes and such but in the end it is ourselves that are responsible. I always feel it is better to go with what you really want in life no matter how you feel the outcome will be. Happiness is happiness, no matter if it is for 6 months or 6 years. I have never understood the logic of two people in love yet they allow themselves not to do so.