Picking up the pieces after the breakup

  • tallorder

    Posts: 4

    Jun 29, 2012 1:13 AM GMT
    I'm stagnating. One month after a breakup with my boyfriend of 10 1/2 months, I'm treading water in what feels like a sea of loneliness and sadness.

    Synopsis: I'm 37 and met my 28yo now ex-bf while on an extended work assignment on a summer resort island. He was good-looking, modest, and thoughtful. Despite disparities in education and occupation (I'm graduate-educated/ professional; he didn't finish high school and is self-employed), we were well-matched intellectually and seemed to share values with regard to partnership, family, and future. A casual (romantically interested) acquaintance from Europe had already planned to visit me in the US. But, on the input of the new bf, a strong conscience, and wanting to give our new relationship a fair chance, I bought the European out of his ticket for $900. It was a small price to pay to demonstrate my commitment.

    After 3 months, things began to deteriorate when he forbade me to attend a weekly dinner party attended by his local gay friends, encouraging me to flesh out my own social circle instead (easier said than done in a seasonal locale). He even discouraged me from befriending his straight friends. I looked to my faraway friends for support. Soon after, he began to receive flirtatious text and Facebook messages from ex-boyfriends. To his credit, he informed me of some of these; others I would read when they appeared on his iPhone. No, I never snooped; we frequently left our phones out when we cooked dinner, went to the beach, or were just hanging out. More worrisome than the texts was the fact that he never mentioned to the exs that he was in a serious relationship. I told him this made me insecure but assured myself that he was committed and I was in no position to dictate his behavior. I graciously declined similar advances from prior flings and exs, explaining to them my loyalty to the new man.

    Believing that things would improve and that he was worth it, I accepted a permanent job on the island (thereby taking a $50,000 pay-cut) and gave up my big city life. With the tourists all gone, the fall and winter were desolate. But I had my career and we "played house", except for the one night weekly that I sat alone until he returned from dinner with the gays. I continued to pour on more sacrifice, sending his parents on a tropical vacation they couldn't give themselves and flying the two of us business class to SE Asia for 3 weeks in the rainforest. Despite this, the text messages persisted and I became increasingly frustrated. We began to argue daily about his failure to deflect the attention he was receiving. Twice I attempted to end the relationship but was always lured to stay by his tears, the assurance that these were "just friends", and the possibility that I was over-reacting. Against better judgement, I hung in there even after he lied and ultimately disclosed that he had been obsessively perusing the profiles of Facebook "friends", old and new, on a nearly daily basis.

    July would have been one year. He broke up with me last month and is now building a relationship with, not surprisingly, one of the Facebook friends he had assured me "[wasn't] even attractive". The last thing he said was that he didn't want me in his future, we were not the right match, and that I was in a better position to make the sacrifices I did--all of which is true, I guess. I should mention that this was the first "serious" relationship after my break-up with my partner of 12 years. I'm realizing that, having missed the dating experiences I might have had in my 20's and early 30's, I don't know how to assess a man's seriousness about a committed partnership and naively believe it when I hear "I love you more than anyone before", "you're the best boyfriend I've ever had" and "I want to marry you". Perhaps I'm still on the same trajectory I was when it ended with my long-term partner. I don't know. At any rate, I find myself with no friends here, abundant heartache, a deeply shaken confidence in my judgement and the intent of others, and an all but absent hope that I'll eventually find the love I think I want and deserve. The crying fits, emptiness, and loneliness haven't ended yet. I'd give anything for this experience to be over--to wake up and find it was all just a very bad dream. I'm (very) slowly learning to be alone--not lonely--and working on an exit strategy from this rock that I've made my home.

    I guess I don't have a question. I just needed to share. I'm open to feedback and insight.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 29, 2012 2:30 AM GMT
    Your main problem, even before the breakup, is that you feel like you don't deserve any better than what you were presented with: which is an obviously wretched person.

    I'd recommend really examining yourself and finding out why you felt like it was ok to demean yourself - and continue to do so through heartbreak - for someone who treated you with such contempt.
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    Jun 29, 2012 3:09 AM GMT



    I am sorry you're dragging yourself over the broken glass like this. There comes a time when you slap the makeup on the corpse, tuck it into it's little casket and drop it in the ground.. metaphorically speaking of course.

    You know, it's a pity - please do not let this make you hesitant to take a chance on the next guy, but as it's been said a million times before "Never make someone a priority in your life when you remain an option in theirs." The minute that clown got all defensive about who you could and could not be friends with, it would have been his stuff in garbage bags on the porch. That's just me.

    First thing is first. Get out your "Come fuck me suite" and get thee to the nearest haunt. Strike up conversations with those friends of his, fuck him and the horse he road in on. Repeat after me "Your not the boss of me!" Say that till you remember it. Then I would pick out one of his "boys" and spoil the crap out of him - just because.

    You need to forgive yourself for being a real human, and put him where he belongs, the X files. He already got his pound of flesh I'd be damned if I would spend a hot second wallowing. The sooner you make some casual contacts the better, not going to be easy if your busy loading sad songs and beating yourself up.

    I hope you not only snap out of this funk, but feed him a chunk of bitter regret pie before you exit the island. See the beauty of situations like this and people like that is this, while they spend all their time skulking around an air of distrust follows them everywhere, and eventually undoes what they killed themselves to do. Relationships built on a lie almost always suffer an ugly finish.

    .

  • tallorder

    Posts: 4

    Jun 29, 2012 3:13 AM GMT
    Your raise a good point. I've already started to examine why I would tolerate behavior opposite my values and willingness to invest. I continue to identify my want for redemption and guilt after not succeeding in a long-term, mostly healthy relationship. I can also see where I acted charitably instead of generously--a distinction that was hard to make in the throws of it all. At any rate, I'm trying to stop deconstructing who he his/was and shifting my focus to understanding myself and what I want. My biggest challenge seems to be ignoring that nagging, negative voice that continually asks "was I not good enough?"
  • tallorder

    Posts: 4

    Jun 29, 2012 3:36 AM GMT
    For the last few months of our relationship that quote was constantly on my mind..."never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option". Somehow I continued to delude myself and believed my expectations were unreasonable--that I wanted too much. My instincts were right. But I didn't want to abandon him and fail him as a partner.

    Kind of shocking to read my own words just now. I was so preoccupied with damage control that I couldn't clearly see my own issue.
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    Jun 29, 2012 3:40 AM GMT
    NoNoNoYes said


    I am sorry you're dragging yourself over the broken glass like this. There comes a time when you slap the makeup on the corpse, tuck it into it's little casket and drop it in the ground.. metaphorically speaking of course.

    You know, it's a pity - please do not let this make you hesitant to take a chance on the next guy, but as it's been said a million times before "Never make someone a priority in your life when you remain an option in theirs." The minute that clown got all defensive about who you could and could not be friends with, it would have been his stuff in garbage bags on the porch. That's just me.

    First thing is first. Get out your "Come fuck me suite" and get thee to the nearest haunt. Strike up conversations with those friends of his, fuck him and the horse he road in on. Repeat after me "Your not the boss of me!" Say that till you remember it. Then I would pick out one of his "boys" and spoil the crap out of him - just because.

    You need to forgive yourself for being a real human, and put him where he belongs, the X files. He already got his pound of flesh I'd be damned if I would spend a hot second wallowing. The sooner you make some casual contacts the better, not going to be easy if your busy loading sad songs and beating yourself up.

    I hope you not only snap out of this funk, but feed him a chunk of bitter regret pie before you exit the island. See the beauty of situations like this and people like that is this, while they spend all their time skulking around an air of distrust follows them everywhere, and eventually undoes what they killed themselves to do. Relationships built on a lie almost always suffer an ugly finish.



    Nicely said!!

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    Jun 29, 2012 6:35 PM GMT

    tallorder saidYour raise a good point. I've already started to examine why I would tolerate behavior opposite my values and willingness to invest. I continue to identify my want for redemption and guilt after not succeeding in a long-term, mostly healthy relationship. I can also see where I acted charitably instead of generously--a distinction that was hard to make in the throws of it all. At any rate, I'm trying to stop deconstructing who he his/was and shifting my focus to understanding myself and what I want. My biggest challenge seems to be ignoring that nagging, negative voice that continually asks "was I not good enough?"


    Stop examining. You need to quit transferring blame, accept that in the case of your LTR it ended because it ended, which is to say that staring at the picture isn't going to change what is in it. If your determined to comb the past for a deeper meaning, your going to find it not only fruitless and pointless - but at some point it has eaten your future. Don't look back, your not going there.

    Take all this energy you're currently impaling on wasted effort and put it to positive use, take up kick boxing, hire a trainer and push yourself to a new level, hell there are a million ways to regain focus AND add something positive to your life. Most importantly, stop relying on other people for your happiness and accept that here and now is all you get, you can't change the past - you can't guaranty the future, it is what YOU do now that counts.

    I'm not saying quit believing in "Happily ever after". But you need to recognise that if your going to measure your life against a fairy tale you are going to be crippled forever. "Happily ever after" is what you make it, even if that means 10 or hell 50 great love affairs as opposed to one.

    Just my perspective, I know it doesn't fit the popular notion - but it's more than just my opinion - it's fact. With somewhere between 41 and 50 percent of MARRIAGES ending in divorce. So you have to ask yourself, in what logical universe does a story book "lifetime" commitment fit the equation? How crazy is it to beat yourself up over human nature exposed to an ever expanding social network and ability to "Shop" for Mr. Next?

    How ever you get past this, I hope you go on to write your story your way.

  • hunghuag

    Posts: 3

    Jun 30, 2012 3:16 PM GMT
    There comes a time when you slap the makeup on the corpse, tuck it into it's little casket and drop it in the ground.
    kv.gif
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    Jun 30, 2012 3:33 PM GMT
    Sorry for your troubles but as I always tell every friend I know.A big age difference is a huge red light esp when the older one is wealthy.I mean you dont have to be Oprah to figure that out.Never move in with anyone unless you have been successfully dating for one year.Keep the age difference to 5 years or less when looking for a partner.It can be hard esp if you like hot young ass but it will be better for you in the end.Pardon the pun!lol Ryan Now go out there and work it girl.
  • toybrian

    Posts: 395

    Jun 30, 2012 3:56 PM GMT
    TallOrder, I read the first half of your story and thought he must be a jerk to ask you to give up so much and sounds like he gave up little in the relationship. Sorry for the break up but I think you will be alright alone than with him.. Relationships are at 60-40 and hope you do not have to give up your whole life You gave up a good job, friends that mean a lot to you and started a whole new life and that is hard enough to start over.
    Good luck to you there and hope your tomorrow turns up with a GOOD knight in shining armor. We are out here but hard to find and we still believe in 50/50 to make it work. Good luck there to you...
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 30, 2012 3:58 PM GMT
    Hello mate!

    It really is sad to see that he treated you this way. I agree with the comments above, and want to say that it is time you spent some time on yourself. I am 34 and single, and I will spontaneously just pick up and go to the Bahamas, for example for a long weekend. Point is, start treating yourself well and making yourself happy. Happiness comes from within you, and there's nothing more attractive than seeing someone whom is happy from the inside, and walks with confidence. I recommend joining a gym, working out, even something like a local group, class (cooking), etc. Now it is time to discover yourself.

    In regards to him, don't sweat it. Yes he has hurt you, but it seems as though he is one to get off on having people cry over and after him. Don't give him that power. In the dating world, you meet all kinds of weirdos, flakes and people out there for themselves. These types just make me shake my head and laugh at their insecure behaviours. I don't let it get me down. Just know that you have to kiss a lot of frogs to get to your prince! I hope this helps.

    Cheers,

    Sean
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    Jun 30, 2012 4:17 PM GMT
    I really feel your pain, buddy. Mostly because I just escaped a 6-month relationship that became a train wreck; and because a lot of what you have to say echoes my experience. You were the better half of this, remember that. I got a couple of free counseling sessions from my employer so that I could bounce the facts to a pro (because your friends will always tell you what you want to hear.) What I discovered was that I had hooked up with someone known as a "Classic emotional manipulator," who knew how to really work it.
    Check this out:

    http://www.cassiopaea.com/cassiopaea/emotional_manipulation.htm

    Do you recognize any of this? If so, just take it as part of the learning curve in life and keep movin' on. Denial and co-dependency are strong things.

    Be kind to yourself. Stay positive and focused and you will get through this.
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    Jun 30, 2012 4:53 PM GMT
    We are programmed on fictional romance . It sells books, movies etc but it is not real. Never let your happiness be dependent on another person. It's not healthy for you and it's not fair that you burdened another with it, even in the best of circumstances.

    You bought a ticket for a ride at Disneyland . The ride is over you had lots of fun so leave it at that and attach no more significance to it. Mediate on
    Your blessings , be grateful for the moment. Live only in the now.



  • Suetonius

    Posts: 1842

    Jun 30, 2012 6:04 PM GMT
    Does this post qualify for the novice trolling award?
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    Jun 30, 2012 6:38 PM GMT
    Well, it sounds like you learned some of the valuable lessons I have from a recent experience as well.

    Here is the first rule - love may come and go, but your resume is forever. Never - ever - make a career decision on the basis of a relationship that hasn't lasted a couple years. I cannot tell you how much I regret my stupidity in this regard.

    Second, you sound like the sort of generally nice guy who takes people at their word and invests heavily very early on. I was the same way.

    You must change this - put in place process that you follow ensuring you proceed at a reasonable and cautious pace. Your limbic system is a bag of evolutionary tricks designed specifically to make you stop thinking rationally. So treat yourself as if you do not trust yourself, because you shouldn't.

    Set in place guidelines - appropriate age, career/income level, the way he treats others, unacceptable behavior/control issues, etc. Evaluate these things seriously, and make sure that you do not become so attached in a short period of time that you cannot walk away. Friends are also a great resource. If they uniformly think someone is a jackass, he likely is. Make sure your friends know that you aren't the reactive/defensive type that will lash out at them for sharing honest feedback.

    And finally, get back on the horse. Go on more than one date, and do not allow yourself to wallow in self-pity. And do not be such a eunuch that you don't dare visit gay clubs where he might go.
  • tallorder

    Posts: 4

    Jun 30, 2012 7:20 PM GMT
    I really appreciate the feedback. It closely echoes that of my friends. Somshow it's actually more believable coming from total strangers, especially those with like experiences. I don't consider myself a naive person. In fact, my occupation requires me to analyze data and exercise sound judgement--and I consider myself successful in that domain. When it comes to love, it's harder to be so deliberate in my thinking. Admittedly, I felt an undercurrent of reservation about him and cold feet about relocating. But he seemed excited about my moving and I was happy to make him happy. It's contrary to the notion of "romance" to put one's needs ahead of his partner's wants but sometimes it's clearly in order. I'm not so jaded that I'll never try again. Just reeling in the consequences of poor decision-making and being too idealistic.