12/2 Check in and Questions

Green Check Markmovie director dogI am going to be doing some Questions Post videos this week so feel free to use the check in to ask questions. Just please put QUESTIONS FOR THE QUESTIONS POST in the beginning or end of your check in. THANKS!

You don’t HAVE TO use the Check in Thread for Questions…you can just check in (a former member used to call it the chicken thread…so feel free to chicken… 🙂 )

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85 Responses to 12/2 Check in and Questions

  1. topf says:

    Quick intro cuz I’m new and my long intro probably just came too late to the November post: I’m not going through a regular breakup. My ex and I broke up in 2015. We remained close and things were good. I thought we were like family. We both got new relationships and things kept going well. But 2 months ago he started flipping out on me. Saying very harsh things. I had to distance myself. I tried to talk to him. It didnt work. I gave up this week. I am doing NC now and trying to process the pain of feeling betrayed by someone I thought would always have my back.

    I read some past posts. My case feels similar to that of Susan when she lived with this really nice dude for 4 years and then he changed and said harsh things when he started to go to group therapy (?). I am in disbelief how someone stable and nice can change to suddenly start saying crazy things.

    My distraction plan right now: I’m gone for the weekend to visit some museums. I am staying at a nice hotel, just had dinner with a nice book. It’s been nice =). I felt I would go crazy at home during the weekend. I am not rich. One night somewhere else is affordable. I am giving the gifts back that were to go to the ex for xmas. Instead of him, I now bought some gifts for refugees. Gonna bring them to the shelter on Monday. I’m trying to find people to talk to, people to listen to. I isolated myself too much and now I am noticing.

    QUESTION: How is this deal of nice, stable, reliable and lovely people you have known for years flipping a switch and attacking you, blaming you, just generally being nasty? Without a chance of them calming down, or realizing what they’re doing, even despite you trying to reach them? Indefinitely. It’s not a one-time thing. It’s their new reality. I don’t understand this at all.

  2. livealittle says:

    Hey everyone!

    My ex and I split almost 10 months ago. I must say that I’m really glad (though very surprised) at how well I’ve been doing. He abruptly broke up with me while I was unemployed, broke and depressed, then quickly told me to move out of our apartment ASAP. I wanted nothing more to do with him after that and maintained NC as much as possible. (He definitely didn’t make it easy and his subsequent behaviour helped me realize that I wasn’t entirely responsible for being “crazy one” in our relationship.) I went about the process of re-building my life, and as arduous and painstaking as this climb has been, I’m pretty pleased with how everything is going.


    This is the first time in nearly a decade that I’m on my own for the holidays. It’s strange because I am not a fan of the holiday season. But all the parties and get-togethers find me thinking about my ex much more frequently (and more intensely) than in the past few months. How did you all deal with this? I revamped my affirmations a bit, and have made exercise more of a priority but I find myself much more distracted — even during meditation. Thoughts?

    • Coppergirl says:

      The first holidays after the breakup of my marriage and after finding out about Narcboys cheating were tough. Although I am now in a quasi relationship, I have been dealing with the holidays by not dealing with them. I give to community and charity year round so I don’t feel obligated to do anything special at this time. Following my conscience, folks dear to me got donations to help the protest at the Dakota access pipeline in their names. Shopping made easy. In my rural mountain community, attending holiday functions means you see the same people so I’m not expanding my social horizons by attending. The sugary foods and excess drink don’t agree and I’m better off getting chores done on my farm and going out on the trail, getting serious exercise. Just say no!

      • livealittle says:

        Thanks for your message, Coppergirl. Glad you are supporting the water protectors. I am not really into the holidays because of the commercialism involved. I’m looking forward to spending time with (some) of my family though not entirely.

  3. Hopeful28 says:

    It’s been 5 months since the break-up. I think I’m doing much better; no more uncontrollable sobbing but I still tear up now and then. I have not gone completely NC but the best thing I did was to remove myself from social media altogether (except for this blog and other support sites) from the very beginning. Part of the reason was that my ex was absolutely obsessed about posting – up to 20 times a day. Near the end of the relationship, he was taking selfies of himself (while I was right next to him) and posting as if he was this happy single guy living the life. How absurd. He was always selfish, but never quite as self-absorbed and hungry for external validation. Anyway, glad I don’t have to be exposed to that anymore. The other reason is that, as Susan says, don’t compare your insides to others’ outsides. My ex and I posted really cute happy pics of ourselves right up to the day before the break-up – go figure. We had not been happy for a long time. I realize now that the relationship must have been really painful for me -as all I felt when the break-up happened was just absolute relief. Sure, I was hurt, sad, angry, scared of being alone, etc – but also relieved. Anyway, I’m glad I got out of most social media when I did.

    QUESTION:Now that I am actually interacting with people in the real world, I find myself easily disappointed by people – strangers, family and friends. Why is that? I feel mad or disappointed that they don’t make me feel as happy, as special, as comforted or as loved as my ex once did. Does that make any sense? Overall, he actually did not treat me with the love and respect that I deserved and it was a gift that he walked away. I’m just trying not to lash out at anyone, so I often just sit with these feelings by myself and they do eventually pass.

    • topf says:

      After my worst breakup, a couple of years ago, I had trouble dealing with people too. It was not like with you. I didn’t want them to make me happy. I just felt that communication and interaction were difficult. People put up so many walls. It all felt superficial and unnecessary. It bothered me. I felt isolated. I felt like nobody tried to reach out to other people.

      I think it’s normal to feel stuff like this. Breakups bring you down and this general mood just impacts the way you see people in general, or the way you feel around them. Remind yourself that it’s not permanent. When your mood improves, you will remember how to let yourself feel happy again about the people who surround you. And if something permanent comes out of it, it’s because you had the chance to observe people and your interactions with them under a different light. That’s valuable. Some permanent conclusions might come out of that and it might improve the way you see people.

      • justsomeguy618 says:

        Our exes seemed to exhibit very similar, narcissistic traits. Mine had a very large social media following and is always mindful of the way she presents herself, and I found it can be very different than the person she is internally. She kept an eye on her “follower count” and also hungered for external validation, even though I’ve always been encouraging right next to her from the very start. She’d snap us holding hands, doing couply things, but in the end she said she wasn’t that type of person and didn’t really enjoy being affectionate. That bothered me for a long time. It still does. Who did I date all those years? Did I really know that person? I guess in a way, ironically I found out who she was in the end. I get the sense that you discovered the same about yours.

        I get how you feel about other people now, post-breakup. Right now the colors of our lives are still faded and we can’t find a way or a person to make them rich again. And it frustrates us because we understand that our past relationship wasn’t meant to work, so why do we still feel like this? I think it’s partly because subconsciously we are still connected to the emotion of being “with” our exes, still comparing experiences and feelings to the strong feelings we once felt for them. Once we experience people without the subconscious measuring stick, I think our interactions will be more fulfilling. We just need to allow ourselves more time to heal. Like topf says, it’s not permanent, this feeling. This is something I have to remind myself every day. In fact, I’m writing it on a stickynote after this post.

        It’s not permanent.

        • Hopeful28 says:

          Thank you for your responses. “It’s not permanent” sounds like a good mantra to have, especially through the holidays.

    • jazzcanary says:

      I guess I needed to read here today, Hopeful, because I’m having a somewhat similar experience. I’m not upset about how I feel with people, but I’ve felt some real anger and disappointment. I was really triggered in that while getting to know a guy I’ve been working with. He reminds me a lot of my ex, especially the way he holds on to resentment. We’ve talked about relationships a few times, and one day he was saying how bad he felt for being verbally abusive to his ex, but from my POV it was clear he was feeling sorry for himself for acting that way. He didn’t express remorse for hurting her feelings or any healthy shame for being offensive. It gave me real insight to what was really going on all those times my ex would have tears in his eyes and apologize for treating me so badly. I could never figure it out, but now I know.

      I think I’m starting to see the men I meet more clearly, rather than making excuses for things I don’t like about them. A lot of my relationships were based on what I could do for a partner, and I am now in a place where I have absolutely no interest in that kind of interaction. At the same time, though, I feel sadness, disappointment, and anger. I look at these guys and wonder why they don’t change, but then, why even bother wondering? I’m starting to really get that people really just are who they are and they either can or cannot have a healthy relationship.

      I worry, too, that I won’t find someone who is healthy and emotionally available. I also worry I won’t recognize someone who is unhealthy for me. It takes time to get to know someone, and there’s the risk of being disappointed. I’ve always struggled with disappointment, and it’s something for me to work on.

      • Luna says:


        This sounds very healthy. Good for you!!! It’s great to hear from you. I think you are on a path where you are recognizing healthy. Try not to worry too much. Believe in yourself!

        • jazzcanary says:

          Thanks so much, Luna. I can feel I’ve made some progress. I still am struggling with low self-worth, so I engage in a fair amount of “fake it ’til you make it”. I allowed my ex’s resentment and negativity to define who I was and I’m reclaiming who I am. I did not realize how lost I had become. I just want to be stronger in all respects, and that includes not being around unsupportive negative people.

          • Luna says:

            I can relate to alot of what you wrote here. We are slowly doing the work, Jazz. I can read the difference in you. Congrats on the progress you have made.

  4. LivingLife says:

    I am new to this site as well so I am going to try to summarize my relationship and breakup as quickly as possible.

    When I met my ex, he had been divorced for 2 years and had 2 children (5 and 7). I have never been married and have never had children. My ex and I got close very quickly and after a few months I met his children. His children and I developed a loving bond very quickly as well. He had 50/50 custody so the weekends he had his kids the four of us would usually spend the weekends together.

    Our relationship lasted about a year. For the most part our relationship was great. Except for the 1-2 times throughout our relationship where he would have a freak out moment and end things because he was scared of how serious our relationship was and he felt that it was headed toward a forever marriage situation that he wasn’t ready for (I never pushed the marriage card or talked marriage, it was all him). Those freak outs would typically last 1-2 weeks. During that time, we had limited communication but he would always come crawling back and say the right things. That he was ready for our relationship, he was sorry, I was best thing for him and his children, blah, blah, blah! I of course believed him each time and took him back. The last time he had a freak out was the end of July. We parted ways but I felt that I couldn’t just disappear from his children’s life. His children got very attached to me, especially his daughter. There were other issues that his kids were going through (their mom moving them further from their dad, she moved them out of their family home and in with her new boyfriend, they having to start a new school, etc). I didn’t want to contribute any more hurt to the kids so I agreed to still see the kids. I figured in time the relationship with his kids would organically fade away. I felt that was better than me just disappearing. So, the weekends he had the kids we would still spend time together. A few of those times him and I ended up sleeping together (not planned of course and not smart, I KNOW). The understanding was that neither of us were seeing anybody else. He just needed some time to work on himself and continue his therapy. He felt he couldn’t do that while being in a serious relationship. I honestly agreed. He had some issues from his past that he needed to work on. Those issues were toxic and I didn’t want a serious relationship with him either until he worked on himself.

    The last time we saw each other was the beginning of October. During that encounter, something just didn’t feel right. He was different. We were still under the agreement that neither of us were seeing anybody, but I just had a bad feeling. He ended sleeping over at my house that night. When he fell asleep I read his text messages. I had his passwords to everything and he had mine. We didn’t hide anything from each other, so I thought anyways. When I read his text messages I found out he had started a relationship with his 30 year old co-worker (he is 41) the beginning of September. I was/am devastated. I trusted him and he broke that trust along with so many other things. Once I confronted him about it he was angry and left. He didn’t seem to care about our relationship only the relationship he had sparked up only 4 weeks with his 30 year old co worker.

    I am having a very hard time with the fact that my ex just discard everything we had and the relationship I had with him, his children, his family for some 30 year old that he only knew for 4 weeks. He is now in a relationship with her even though he told me he didn’t want a relationship. It is just so hard to deal with.

    Why is it getting harder to deal with vs. getting easier over time? Why was it easier the first 1-2 months but now seems to only be getting harder? How can a man ruin everything and say he doesn’t want a relationship all the while continuing a relationship with his co-worker has only known for 4 weeks?

    That was a long post, sorry….I really tried to shorten as much as possible.

    • topf says:

      Have you ever read “He’s just not that into you”? I am critical of a lot of things in that book but there were a couple of useful nuggets I kept. This whole “I am not ready for marriage/a relationship/commitment” is often a “I am not ready for those things with you”. That’s painful, and it sucks but it’s often the truth. And working with truth is more productive than softer and more comfortable veils of lies.

      Susan has similar thoughts around here somewhere, about the love not being real if it was not felt by both people. So even if you felt this was real, your ex didn’t and that is enough for it to not be real.

      He did a lot of deceiving indeed, and you deserve better. But seeing that he keeps wanting you back, to then leave you, isn’t there some comfort in the knowledge that you now know for sure and can get ready to go on with your life, to look for someone who can see a future with you? Because even if this dude hadn’t lied and hadn’t left with someone new, he was treating you badly, in a way that made it difficult for you to make a decision. Now there’s clarity and even thought your pain is real and worth validating, there’s something very positive in this and I think you could try to focus on that.

  5. LostAndFound says:

    Hi. I just need to come here and share how I’m feeling, otherwise I feel like I’m going to break down right here at work. I’ve a coworker that is friends with my ex, today he came over to ask me if I already knew the news, then he told me my ex was leaving his job to go work for another company. When we were still together he mentioned this possibility to me, and he almost changed jobs a couple of times, but at the last moment he would step back because he was too afraid of changes. The news left me feeling shaky, I wish he hadn’t told me anything. I instantly felt the anxiety washing over me, then I went to check social media and saw he is going places with his wife and daughter, which probably means he went back to her, I am shaking so hard…. I am so indignant at life, how can this happen? How can someone come into your life, lie about who they are, lie about their marital status, make you promises, then leave you and go back to the very thing they complained about as if nothing had happened (how can his wife accept him back?)… get a nice job and have everything working right for them? It’s just not fair, like life is rewarding him for all the shit and hurt he caused. I feel like I want to die. Really. Anything but feel this pain. Why does he is still affecting me so much when I know he is no good to me? He never was. One of the things that bothered me the most about all that happened was always the fact he never had to deal with the pain by himself. He always had were to run to, he always had a source of love and comfort, while I’m all alone. Suddenly my entire life seems wrong, without purpose, like I have nothing to hold on to. Why can’t this be over at once and for all? It seems it doesn’t matter if I’m trying to recover, journaling, doing affirmations, going to therapy, trying to be good to myself, the past seems to always catch up with me… and why such a small event can seem to destroy everything I’ve building in the past months? Seem bigger than all that I’ve learned? I am feeling desperate I will never really get over this.

    • jazzcanary says:

      I hear your pain, LostAndFound, and I’m so sorry. If you keep feeling like you want to die, please, please, please call someone. This event will not destroy all your hard work. You said so much I can relate to. I’m finding I am the one who must provide the comfort and love for myself, and who must create the meaning in my life.

      You are so well rid of this “man”. As Susan has said, it’s not as if his wife has a prize on her hands. She has someone who lies, cheats, and avoids responsibility. You deserve so much better than that, and what he did is no reflection on your worth. Big hugs to you, and please keep sharing here!

      • LostAndFound says:

        Thank you jazz. At my last therapy session my therapist helped me to remember that my ex gave me many signs he wasn’t honest with me or committed to our relationship, so what’s happening now rather than unfair, is what is expected. The truth is that during all this time my ex never stopped his life, I did. So maybe is just natural that his life is.. well.. moving, while I’m still here stuck hurting. My therapist also suggested me to think about seeing a psychiatrist, and it broke me even more… I don’t want to be this weak… I know it’s not what it is, but that’s how I see it when I am not even able to recover from this by myself. I want to be stronger than this, you know? I don’t want to become bitter, sour, full of ressentment. I really wish I could just break free of all of this pain.

        • jazzcanary says:

          I think that’s a good point to consider about your ex. It’s like you were in an entirely different relationship than he was in the relationship you had together. I believe it can be really hard to see because we don’t see that person when he’s away from us.

          I’m sorry to hear your therapist’s suggestion upset you so much and knocked you low. I truly believe you will not become bitter, etc.and you will break free because that is what you want. If your leg was broken, you wouldn’t criticize yourself about getting a referral to an orthopedist, so why do so when you get a referral because your heart is broken? It takes a lot of courage to ask for help and even more to accept help. Please be kind to yourself. Big hugs to you.

    • Luna says:

      Lost and found,

      This is so hard. Life is unfair. But what can you do about? All you can control is YOU. You don’t get a vote in other people’s lives. These questions don’t really matter. What matters is YOU. You have the tools to deal with this. Allow the grieve to run its course. But, keep the focus on YOU. And remember these feelings won’t last. Tomorrow is a new day. I believe karma will find these BH’s eventually. Keep doing the work. Chin up! Day by day. Hugs.

  6. justsomeguy618 says:

    Checking in here. My first check-in was back in October, and I explained the details of my breakup with my ex that cheated on me with my cousin.

    There are (were) moments where I feel like I’m doing very well for myself, but with the holidays creeping up and the inevitability of a face-to-face encounter with my disloyal cousin, I’m feeling the blues again. I skipped Thanksgiving and while I was relieved that I didn’t see his face, I couldn’t help the sadness that things just weren’t the same, and my family missed seeing me and I missed seeing them, of course.

    It was my choice not to go, because I didn’t want anything ugly coming to the surface when I saw him. I harbor some really angry feelings towards him still, three months after I found out. I don’t know when they will subside. I’m afraid of the notion that they won’t. I’ve never felt this amount of anger towards an individual before.

    I suffered a little bit of a breakdown last week, when my ex’s mother texted me to inform me that my ex suffered a collapsed lung and fainted at work. I felt really badly because for two months I had tried to convince myself that she deserves whatever happens to her, but I never thought she’d suffer a serious health issue. I felt really confused about my feelings, confused that I still cared so much for her well-being. She recovered and was able to go back home after two days in ICU.

    Anyway back to my cousin – everything he has said to his side of the family shows me that he is in full-on self-preservation mode, hurling things back at me and trying to place blame on me for my ex’s weakness. And it seems as though he’s trying to convince everyone that he did me a favor. I should thank him because he’s such a hero. And he pushes the fact that he left me a very apologetic and sincere voicemail. What he doesn’t know is that I discovered a series of texts between he and my ex the day after that voicemail that was disgusting, deceitful, and completely shattered my trust in both of them for good. He is very manipulative, and maybe this whole situation has gotten me paranoid, but I feel as though he’s implored her to reach back out to my family, three months later (last night) to try and do some damage control between our families. She’s not the type to reach out and really had no reason to text my Dad, but she did.

    She texted my Dad explaining “her side”, where she claimed her fling with him started out strictly innocently, and his feelings were never reciprocated back (which is a lie, he said she was the moon to his sun (HAH)). She also explained many things about how my relationship with her was failing and she wanted to break it off even before I had moved in from out-of-state for her. She never gave me any outward indication of this at any point leading up to the incident, in fact she was encouraging and excited to have me nearby. We were looking for houses together and she said she was excited (!!!). My Dad responded by calling up her dad and making him aware of the reasons for the breakup and that she was being cowardly and untruthful to this day. She made a good attempt at shifting any blame for the demise of our relationship from my cousin and herself, pointing out that I was unstable and my anxiety was taking me to a dark place. I was only unstable and anxious because my world had gotten turned upside down by them.

    I’m struggling now because I feel like the band-aid that I’m trying to keep over the wound keeps getting ripped off, and all the memories keep getting re-hashed. It would have been much easier on me if my cousin wasn’t involved in this, but the fact that I have to see him makes it difficult. And the fact that the blame for this is trying to be shifted on me, makes me angry. I don’t deserve this. I just wanted to love someone honestly. And I just want to have peace in myself again. I don’t know how, but that’s what I’m trying to work towards.

    My question is: how do I shield myself from these painful memories? I cannot avoid seeing my family forever, and I don’t want to, but seeing him will bring everything, all that anger, pain and sadness, back to the surface.

    • Luna says:


      Your story is a difficult one. You seem to be doing all the right things. It’s still very fresh. You need to avoid the drama. Why is the ex’s mother even calling you? Why is she calling your dad? Some solid boundaries need to be put in place. It’s not the same situation at all. Not that similar. But I will tell you the BH that lead me to finding this blog was my bestfriends brother. It was a secretive relationship. I still hear about him. She’ll call and I can hear him or his children in the background. She’ll send pics occasionally that he’s in. For me, as I healed it just got easier. Acceptance slowly crept in as I did my work.
      I got to a point, where I saw his purpose in my life and truly felt relieved he is now someone else’s big prize. I’m grateful for where his weak ass lead me. I know this feels miles away. Keep doing the work. Focus on YOU. Ignore the drama. Ask your parents step out of the game. Tell people you aren’t interested in the updates. I hope this is helpful. The scabs will always eventually heal! And it avoiding family right now is what you need to do, that’s ok!!! Its about you. Big hugs.

      • jae says:

        Hi Justsomeguy,
        I totally understand where u are coming from. My ex cheated and we broke up. At first his parents were very supportive. Then suddenly 6 weeks after the break up, they sent me a very cruel and nasty email designed to inflict more pain and blaming me for his affair. His biological son sided with me and then my ex’s parents turned on him too. Turns out that he had been telling a very different history of our relationship where I was impossible to live with and cold and ungrateful and took him for granted. I was ‘re-wounded’ and devastated. Then I read something in an article that helped. I hope it will help you, keeping in mind that you have actually been betrayed by two people who you had reason to trust. What has helped me is learning about the psychology of the guilt cheaters feel. In order to justify their actions and feel less guilty they do a series of things; 1. demonize the innocent party. 2. rewrite the history of the relationship so as to present themselves as victims. 3. punish the mate by inflicting more harm. 4. seek approval from others who they feel should now be happy for them because they are happy after such misery. When I viewed a variety of confusing behaviors of my ex and his family through this lens, it helped me understand that many behaviors were in fact an attempt to relieve his guilt. In your case, you have two people who have betrayed you and are feeling guilty and a broader family who are left stunned, divided and confused. Its amazing how much damage affairs can cause. This is totally not your fault. NOTHING you did or didn’t do was enough to deserve this. You are innocent. She CHOSE to do this. People know this and you’d be surprised how many people have been where you are. Hope this helps a little.

        • Susan J. Elliott says:

          Excellent excellent response!!! Thank you for sharing. Sage advice and wonderfully helpful!

  7. Tina says:

    Hello I am new to this blog, I was dumped over a month ago and I have had no contact for 30 days, I don’t want to talk to him but I keep checking my phone and wonder why he hasn’t tried to contact me , doesn’t that sound nuts ? When will I reach the point where I just do not care anymore? I know that he wasn’t right for me and this is for the best but I think my ego is bruised because I was dumped, any advice is welcome

    • topf says:

      30 days is not a lot. And people need different amounts of time for things to feel better. I once had a pretty bad breakup. I felt terrible all the time. Crying completely involuntarily and suddenly, having to go back home from uni because I couldn’t stop. I started to feel normal again around the second month. That 2 month mark is the amount of time I need to accept difficult stuff. Other people might have other amounts of time they need. It also depends on the relationship and how valuable it was to you (or how dependent you were on the person). You might start feeling magically different in a week from now. There’s just no fixed amount of time for this. Try to shed the “I want my life to feel normal already” attitude, and accept what you’re going through right now for what it is. Sometimes the pain of a breakup helps us become better. Use that. Be there consciously. Susan has an article about this pain being a gift. That could be useful.

      I don’t think it’s nuts that you check your phone. This person was a very important part of your life not too long ago. Those obsessive looking behaviors are normal signs of you being in a state of in-between, no longer in the life you used to have and not yet in the new life, where your ex is not important or necessary. Allow yourself the weird behaviors of the transition, as long as you don’t actively do anything that hampers your progress (like contacting the ex).

      Also, try not to think too much about the ex, what they do, and what they don’t. It’s not helping you. People always somehow miss each other (no matter how ambivalent they were in the relationship). That doesn’t change the fact that you broke up. The ex is doing you a favor. They are letting you heal. I honestly wish my ex could do that and just leave me alone.

  8. topf says:

    I have another QUESTION: I realized recently that I get cognitive problems when breakups happen. After my most painful one, my memory suffered. I used to have an excellent memory. After I worked through the pain of that breakup, I became forgetful. I never really got that ability back. I am now known as a forgetful person. And now with this breakup, I feel like my concentration abilities are not as good. I can concentrate on tasks but from time to time I find myself needing a few seconds to know where I am and what I am doing. It’s difficult to describe. I don’t know if this is permanent like with the forgetfulness. Susan, do you know anything about this? Long and short term cognitive impairments of grief or something along those lines?

    • justsomeguy618 says:

      I too am going through these problems with memory and concentration. I suffer a complete loss of focus even if mentally beforehand I felt determined to perform a certain task. It’s frustrating, really. The best way I can describe the feeling is fogginess. What was I going to do? Why am I here in this room, was it to do something? I can’t remember the name of the doctor I’ve been seeing for the past few months, or when my next appointment was supposed to be. I would hope these issues go away in time. It affects my day-to-day life, especially with work.

    • Luna says:

      These times are completely overwhelming. I think what you both are experiencing is normal. I had the same issues. And still do to a certain extent. We are exhausted, not sleeping well, not eating well, under huge amounts of different types of stresses and let’s not forget simply distracted. In my early months, i suffered from extreme anxiety attacks and part of this lack of concentration/focus is probably anxiety too. I took anxiety medication for many months. It helped. All these things should and will improve. I don’t know how old you are but as my years increase, I feel other things are decreasing. Take care of yourself and monitor it. But it does sound completely typical at this point.

      • topf says:

        Thank you Luna. I am 31. I am not sure… I am eating and sleeping well. I think I am not feeling the pain openly. It shows in other ways. I have back and hip pain from stressed muscles. My anger and frustration seem to be going there. Yesterday I had a horrible headache the whole day due to stressed out neck muscles. It was so bad that I can’t concentrate today at all. The first weeks after this all started, I had headaches every day. It seems like my emotions are not showing as emotions but as physical pain. I am confused about what this means and what I can do about it. It is starting to worry me.

        • Luna says:

          Are you exercising? Try doing some stretching. I get alot of sore muscles from the tension I carry. For me, it’s all in my shoulders and neck. Massage therapy, if you can afford it, would do you wonders too. Besides the relaxing of the muscles, the touch will bring some healing too. It’s a long process. The grief and stress affect everyone differently. This is all hard stuff but it does get easier with doing the work and taking care of yourself.

          • topf says:

            Thank you, Luna. Yes, I am. I do 2 martial arts. I’m doing soft, stretching forms of yoga at home to help with my back, hip and neck pain. It’s helping. Today I called in sick to work and took a huge nap. I feel way better. I guess I am also so determined to not let the ex ruin the things that are going on in my life (so many good things) that I am doing too much, and I am not letting myself rest. You know how we all are. We don’t consider inner work, emotional work, to be real work. And so we think we are lazy when we’re just grieving. In trying to be brave and dignified in the face of this I have certainly forgotten that the soft parts of me need time and rest. I’m gonna try to take it easier on myself and get more naps and try to do only what’s necessary as long as I am grieving.

            • Luna says:

              Excellent! You mentioned you are sleeping well so I didn’t talk about that. There are days I am completely drained and I have no physical reason to be. It’s from emotional drain. Dealing with feelings and carrying the weight of problems and unhappiness around is extremely taxing. Self work is the hardest stuff I have ever done. Congrats on listening to what you need and doing it.

              • topf says:

                I am sleeping well. It just turns out it’s not enough =D

                You have been so kind but I don’t know your story at all. Do you have a link to your intro or would you like to tell me about it here?

                • Luna says:

                  I think the intro to my link is long gone! I found this blog July 2015. The reasons I stumbled upon Susan’s work and the reasons I am still around are very different. I am open to sharing my story but I don’t know if this is the right place to go through it all again. I am open to emailing it to you. My email is zruby1029ATgmail.com Say Hi and I will reply to you. Hope this is ok.

  9. junegemini says:

    struggling with no contact here because we have a 2year old son who he has not seen ever since the breakup 7months ago.he lives 3hours from me but always tells me to bring the child to him he sees as if our son is some object.we were living together but he was verbally &physically abusive and still is.he cheated and by the time he wlked out on me he was in his third relationship in just this year alone.i fear being a single mother so young.im 23he is 30.and i really long for my son to have a daddy thats why i keep on breaking nc.my son doesnt recognise him coz he is never there.im so tired just want all this to go away.will i ever be loved with a child?and yes my self esteem is so low i hate mirrors.

    • jazzcanary says:

      I was a single mom at 23 and the father had no interest in either me or my son. In my experience, the time I spent trying to persuade him to be part of my son’s life was completely wasted. If I could do it over again, I would have focused all my energy in doing whatever else was best for me and my son. I did finally go to a lawyer and get child support. There was no visitation agreement, because the father didn’t want it. If you have not already gotten child support and visitation agreements in place, do it now. See what free legal help is available. If he’s not coming for his visitation, that is his loss. No matter what, get that child support. It is for your son.

      Take care of YOU. Make sure you have or you are working on whatever is needed to take care of you and your son financially. I finished my degree after I had my son, and it was the smartest move I could have made.

      I felt so rejected after my son’s father abandoned us. I put a lot of energy over the years into other relationships as a way to “fix” the situation. In retrospect, both my son and I would have been better off if I hadn’t gotten in any relationships, at least until I was in a very good place with self-esteem. I sacrificed my child support when my first husband adopted my son. A few years later he left us and never paid a dime of support. Do NOT make that same mistake. Do not come from a place where you feel unworthy of love, otherwise you’ll end up with another guy just like this one.

      I know the feeling of just wanting it all to go away. Here’s the truth: no one is going to rescue you but YOU. You have to be the heroine of your story. Be a strong proud woman. Be a loving caring mom. Don’t waste time on anyone who doesn’t give you emotional support. Find a counselor and go. You son will be fine. My son turned out great, and we are close. Work on you for now. Someone will love you, perhaps many someones. At age 50, I can definitely say the most important person you need to love you is yourself. There is no better or more secure feeling in this world to know you love yourself and you’ll take good care of yourself.

      • junegemini says:

        thanks alot jazzcanary.very helpful.
        very encouraging to know you have been there and made it through.i was not sure if ill ever be okay.
        i understand this guy was not good for me.very abusive still is.i was codependent on him thats why dealing with this breakup is difficult.he always threw me out incase of arguments saying the house and everything in it was his but i held on.
        his last cheating hurts the most.it was with a coworker.told her we were separated yet we were not.then one day came with her clothes home.they are still seeing each other and he always put me down with his nasty words.i graduated last year with a degree.have a job though not well paying.he has a good job but child support is a struggle.
        i tried going to court for the support but he threatened me and i dropped the case.

        • junegemini says:

          and its funny how the moment he walked out of us all the in laws became indifferent.very hostile.

          my question is.how did you manage to heal at that time.
          what did you do that can be helpful to me?
          we were together 7 years and im embarassed to say this.im so bitter.angry and i feel so wasted.i really pity my son for having a father like that.

        • junegemini says:

          what did you do to heal completely?
          2.i really sympathize with my child especially because i know his dad doesnt love him.how can i be there for him and for me too.
          3.i know its a long road ahead but it sounds stupid but i just dont know how..how do i start loving me.working on me.just doing all things me.any suggestions.
          im sorry but i am embarassed to admit this.we were together 7years and i feel bitter,angry and used.

          • jazzcanary says:

            I hear you saying you’re embarrassed, but I wonder if what you’re feeling is shame, and unneccessary shame at that. I’ve been with some verbally and emotionally abusive partners, and making threats, saying nasty things, and throwing you out are all ways abusive people maintain control. Along with that comes this feeling of shame we get, as if we are defective, part of which is tied to some belief we have that someone wouldn’t treat us so bad if we were okay and lovable. It’s the other way around: someone who is okay and capable of love doesn’t treat others badly, i.e. using nasty words, threatening, controlling! He lied and disrespected you. He’s being irresponsible. Avoid him at all costs for now. Work with a lawyer and DO NOT talk to this man. DO NOT. Your son is a very young child right now, and he’ll be okay as long as you’re okay. You heal one day at a time, first and foremost, by staying completely away from toxic people. This man will NEVER do something healing for you. I had in-laws that also became distant, but it makes sense, because their son was an a#$hole, and they raised him.

            I still struggle with accepting reality when I start to see another person is not healthy and not good for me. It started in childhood when I was surrounded by unhealthy adults. Hard as it is, though, I have learned not only to recognize someone else is bad for me, but to BELIEVE it. Listen, if this was a decent caring human being you were dealing with, he would have ended the relationship with a measure of respect and responsibility. He would have taken responsibility as a parent. He’s not a decent caring human being. I like the biblical idea of looking at the fruit of a tree to see if the tree is good. This guy’s fruit is rotten to the core.

            What helped me heal? Counseling. Support groups. Doing loving things for myself, however small and paying attention to my needs and learning how to meet them myself. I even have a stuffed animal I will hug when I’m feeling sad and alone. It helps. Reach out and get support for working through your feelings of anger and bitterness and sadness. The more you surround yourself with supportive people, the more you will realize you are deserving of love and connection.

            I regret I let the chaos of my relationships overshadow the joy of having a child all too often. Learn from my mistake, and don’t miss out on these years by focusing on this ex. Don’t feel sorry for your son or yourself. You will both be okay, and it’s better to have no father than a toxic father, as I too well know. The way I look at it now is, my son’s biological father was no more than a sperm donor, and that was by his choice.

            Susan’s book is very helpful, especially through explaining what is happening after a break-up and giving really good concrete things to do to feel better. I also loved Pia Mellody’s book “Facing Codependence” and Robin Norwood’s “Women Who Love Too Much”. I’m still healing and growing. I still struggle. But I am no longer afraid of being on my own, I will not put up with abuse, and I know I can take care of myself. Hugs to you.

  10. junegemini says:

    and just to add
    the moment my in laws heard he walked out they became very hostile to me with some of his siblings threatening that i should never step into their home(african ancestral home very important in a relationship or marriage sense of identity).he never stood up for me at all.his father an elder in church said this words “her husband has rejected her why should he come here so that i marry her.” words even my own parents cannot tell anyone and before all this i was his favourite daughter in law.my ex is a lastborn and during our relationship all his 7siblings were involved in it.decision making and any request to him that a relationship is for 2people would bring an argument.i had my fair share of bad behaviour when we started living together.but i realised this and apologised to him and the siblings n parents.1year later he tells me he cant forgive me for that mistake and walks out only to realise he has been sleeping with a coworker he met a month earlier telling her we are separated yet we were not.im so broken.sad and with a toddler who i cant take care of as i earn lowly compared to him and getting child support from him is a struggle.his abuse to me is who would want to marry a woman with a child.afterall that baby will look for me when he grows up.im so sic and tired.sad,,depressed.i know he was bad for me but i really wish he would be there for my son.

    • jazzcanary says:

      I get it: you’ve been treated unfairly and very badly by your ex and his family. It’s a fact. It wasn’t okay. You deserve better. It seems to be part of our human nature to want those who hurt us to also heal us, but hear me: this is NOT going to happen. His family isn’t going to help, at least for now, and neither is he. I was also a favored daughter-in-law, but I noticed how his family acted when his sister divorced, so I was somewhat prepared how they would act when we parted.

      In my case, two men wanted to marry a woman with a child. I’ve met many many women who had children from other relationships who went on to get remarried. Write down all these statements he’s made and ask yourself, “Is this really true? Totally true?” I doubt even one of them is a fact, so stop treating them as facts. This is your opportunity to define yourself and define who you are and set goals for growth.

      Get the child support. I’m not sure why it’s difficult, but go through the process. This is for your child! He deserves to be taken care of! The ex will probably step up his abuse as you try, but ignore it. Document everything he says to you or texts or writes you. Do not deal with him directly if at all possible, as it will be used against you. Contact a domestic violence organization for support. They can help you and assure you.

      I believe the best chance you have of this guy coming around for his son and treating you with more respect is for you to love and respect yourself. The relationship is over, so no more talking to him about it, no more putting up with his nonsense. This is about your son and you. My son, 27, has never wanted to find his father, even though I’ve told him I can tell him how to get in contact. He doesn’t see the logic in looking up someone who never took the time for him. Listen: if you project to your son that somehow he will not be okay without his father, that is what’s going to happen. He won’t be okay. If you project he is going to be okay and you are there for him, he’ll be okay.

      I know you feel terrible. I’ve been there, more than a few times. You are NOT broken. You are hurting, but you will heal if you allow it. If you have any kind of spiritual practice, look to it for strength. There are times I would just tell myself, “God don’t make junk.” Have you gotten Susan’s book? Start working through it. It will help.

      • junegemini says:

        thanks a lot Jazz,
        i had something with my internet connection so i did think some posts had not been sent&repost again only to realize later they had been sent.
        Anyway venting was good.
        You have been more then helpful&based on your response..ill make it through.

        i still dont have Suzans book but will definately get it soon.been relying on this blog,the you tube videos &your response.
        i do go through your responses often.
        thanks a lot.

  11. MB25 says:

    Hi everyone, hope you all are well… It’s now been 4 months post breakup for me and I think that mostly, I am pretty much over my ex. I still think about him, but it’s usually bad thoughts and only when I’m reminded of him in some way. For instance, Dec. 5 was our anniversary of meeting and I was a little nostalgic on that day and have been for the past couple days but nothing too serious. What made matters even worse was that he posted a video on youtube and it was my first time seeing him and hearing his voice in months! It was hard and it made me unfollow him immediately.

    Anyway, what’s weird is that he emailed me earlier today asking how I was doing. It’s been about 10 hours since that email and I have yet to respond. It’s crazy because I’ve literally waited for this day to come ever since we first broke up and I was so sure what I was going to do when it came, but now I just don’t know what to do. Because I think he’s just being “nice” and checking up on me, a part of me sees no harm in responding but I also know the repercussions this can cause so I want to be very cautious and make sure I do the right thing. Also, because I am mostly over him I am now more logical and can think with my mind instead of with my emotions so I know that I will NEVER get back with him, so can it hurt to just reply with a casual update? What should I do? Any suggestions? Thank you!

    • topf says:

      I think that the answer depends. 1) It’s possible that talking again will set you back in your progress. Do you want to risk that? 2) Do you guys have things that tie you in a way you can’t avoid (children, property, legal stuff like marriage/divorce, etc)? If not, why would you like to talk to him? The reason can only be an emotional one. Which one is it? Is it a good one? Or is it something that, if it doesn’t go well, would set you back in your progress? 3) Is it a good idea to respond to his very first contact after the breakup? What are you telling him if you do that? Maybe that you were just waiting for them to contact you?

      A lot of the times, NC is the answer (some people here even say always). Because the reasons for answering or reestablishing contact are very often not only not good enough but also bullshit we tell ourselves to give in to an unhealthy need. Because contrary to what we tell ourselves, we are not out of the woods yet. And even then, when we’re out of the woods, do we really have good reasons to talk to this person?

    • Luna says:

      Great response topf!


      If you are truly over him, what’s the point? For me, there is ALWAYS a pay off somewhere when I entertain these thoughts.

      • MB25 says:

        Thank you both for your responses, I will definitely take this into much consideration. I appreciate it

        • jazzcanary says:

          Augh, why do they always have to send the “wonder how you are” email? I would either ignore it or give a very very minimal response, i.e. “I’m doing really well, thanks. Best wishes to you.” I’d leave it at that, because you might find yourself realizing too late that you had some expectations of the exchange and you’re going to feel disappointed. I think this kind of thing can really set us back.

  12. junegemini says:

    hi there.
    first time posting.struggling with Nc since we hava a 2year old and i fear being a single mother.

    • jazzcanary says:

      I replied to your earlier post. Hope it’s helpful.

    • tracysue78 says:

      Hi junegemini, I’m new to this site too but as a separated mum of 4 kids under 8, I just wanted to say hi. My relationship was not similar to yours and I am so very sorry you have endured abuse and infidelity, it takes a strong person to pick yourself up and dust yourself off and keep going so good on you.

      All I can think of saying to you is that you are your kid’s best role model, especially as a single parent, so teaching your son to walk away from those hurting you and being ok in your own skin are two of the best lessons to start with. Even if you have to do alittle “fake it til you make it” at first. I do remember feeling terrified at the thought of becoming a single mum, I would hold it all together til the kids were in bed and then collapse in a heap and cry my eyes out. Journalling at night helped get out all the negative which help me discover some of the positives the next day so I could absorb the time spent with the kids without rehashing all the crappy stuff in my head while I was with them during the day.
      I totally get the thoughts of “who’s going to want a single mum of 4?”, but I hope you have some friends or family or support around, I know mine helped me out with realising I’m a pretty ok person and to see myself as not just a mum sometimes. You do have to do some inner work yourself, there’s great online resources out there to help with it boosting your self worth.
      Going NC with kids involved is tough cos you just want the best for your child’s future and for most that should include an opportunity to get to know his father but I found I had to sort myself out first before I even had a hope of trying to have a civil relationship with my ex. I went 6 weeks of full NC where I used my dad’s or sister’s to drop off and pick up the kids so I didn’t have to face him and blocked his calls so we could only text (even then only if it was urgent/emergency). Sometimes you have to cut them out of your life, not their child, just yours, until you’re strong enough to determine whether they are still emotional controlling/manipulating you. Then you can comfortably stand your ground and let them step up and create a relationship with their child. Give him back his responsibility of being a father, that’s his job to step up. It’s quite freeing to let go of trying to control his choices, just be the best mother you can be, that way you can tell your son when he’s older you did your best. You can’t conttol anyone else’s actions, you only control you and your reactions. Xx best of luck

  13. junegemini says:

    thanks a lot
    jazcannary.im printing your comment highligting it and pasting it in my room and at work.

    my self esteem is so low.i was already sad no one replied to my comment.thats how bad it is.
    i graduated last year university degree and i did not attend my graduation due to the hurtful things he said.i had my son in the middle of a semester so managing school and baby was difficult.so i did not have the highest scores.he said why should i attend graduation of failures.

    i managed to get a job.not well paying but im positive its just the beginning.ill get a good job with time and experience garnered in my first job.he pays child support which flactuates but he has to be reminded and pushed.i went to the courts but he threatened me saying ill be suprised to realise he pays so much so i thought ill loose the case and dropped it.i dont intend to push through with it i leave God and karma to deal with it.
    i knew him since i was 17 and i was so dependent on him so thats why it hurts a lot.
    i tried reaching out to my in laws because we were kinda married thinking they will intervene.the biggest mistake of my life.they were so mean some even threw me out of their ancestral home.(african ancestral home very important.sense of identity/belonging)
    his father who is a church elder said this exact words “her husband has rejected her why should she come to our home so that i marry her.”

    his brother threw me out and my son and he never for once stood up for us.he is the lastborn in a family of 8.there family made decisions for him until the last day of our relationships.we were in a relationship with all the 8siblings and any request to him to stand up for us would lead to a quarell.

    the last relationship he had before he finally moved out hurts the most.he would go to work seminars and sleep with his coworker.he forgot one day and came with her clothes home.

    he was bad for me.i knew it and i knew eventually he would leave due to the abuses.both physical and verbal.my son looks exactly like him so i miss him but he has made it very clear that even if im the only lady in the world he will never love me.
    to make matters worse sometimes my mother when angry tells me to go find my husband yet he know what he put me through.

    on the bright side i have been applying jobs and im saving to go back to school for my 2nd degree.
    huh.long post but i feel better now.

    • jazzcanary says:

      Keep writing! It helps, and we all have written many long posts here.

      It sounds like this guy was controlling you by putting you down all the time. I work with adult college students, and almost all of them have bad semesters. If you did well enough to graduate, that is ALL that matters. You have something very valuable, and I’m glad you want to keep going. You proved you are strong and resourceful by getting that degree.

      The people in our lives should lift us up. His family sounds pretty dysfunctional. It’s natural you’re grieving the loss of the relationship. It will get better. Try not to ruminate over the hurtful things said to you; it will just make you continue to feel bad.

  14. junegemini says:

    jazcannary thanks alot.very helpful.
    he is the lastborn in a family of 8 so when he finally cheated and left all the 8siblings were ver mean to my son&i.they said very hurting words that myself cannot tell anyone.even his father who is a church elder said over the phone “your husband has rejected you why should you come to our home so that i marry you?”(ancestral home.african ancestral home important creates identity)
    to them he is innocent and im the bad guy.
    he made it clear he dont want anything to do with me.but im hurting a lot.
    he is a lier,abusive and a cheater.
    i know i should move on too.he already did and lives with his co worker the one he cheated with.i just dont know how especially when my son reminds me of him.

    child support is a struggle.he has to be pushed.i dropped my court case after he threatened me that ill be suprised to find ou he gives more so i panicked but for my own peace im going to re pursue it.
    how can someone not feel anything to his own son.

    he was not good for me.never was.he put me through the worst.but moving on seems miles away.thanks all for reading through.be blessed

  15. Tina says:

    I totally understand what you are saying about waiting for this day but I’m afraid if you communicate with him it will bring up old issues I think you should ignore him MB25

  16. junegemini says:

    thanks alot tracysue
    i told him he was free to see his son but he says if he comes to see his child ill think that i want him.

    he has never reached out for the child.always me pushing.requesting so i have given up.
    just want to heal the hurting and as you adviced be there for my son because i dont see him accepting his responsbility as a father any time soon based on his behaviours.our child was admitted in hospital he didnt show up .but hes okay now.

    i just need ideas to help with the realisation my son will always have me as the dad is not intrested.to heal the hurt and find my own peace.


  17. topf says:

    I need to vent a little. This story is long… I initiated the “breakup” (not a real breakup. We broke up in 2015 but remained close. I thought everything was fine. We both got into new relationships. Things remained fine. But recently he started being harsh to me and comparing me to his new gf. I tried talking to him because the connection to him was valuable to me. No dice. I decided to end things. I’m doing LC now). I told him in my “breakup” mail that I want a clean cut and that I want as little communication as possible, only about the stuff we still need to settle (apartment and stuff like that). Well, only a week went by after that mail in which he left me alone. Since last weekend, he has been contacting me in very weird ways. In one, he used the name we had for each other, said he was sick and had nobody to turn to, and if I could please go to the drugstore and the supermarket for him and drop things by the door. WTF?! I was so pissed. I said I wasn’t in town and couldn’t help him. Then yesterday he writes me asking me how we wanna do the xmas gift exchange, if I could mail the gifts to him because he needs the stuff he wanted me to give him as a gift. I answered gifts are not a part of low contact, and restated again that I am trying to put distance between us and to please let me do that. I was so mad. I am not good enough to be treated with respect, not even when I request low contact to be able to heal but I’m good enough to give him gifts and go grocery shopping for him? This is so enraging, and I can’t believe he is being such an idiot with this. He even told me that a clean cut was the right decision. I don’t even know what to think of this. I am so mad. He used to be a rational and balanced person. How is this right for him in his mind?

    • Tina says:

      Do you still have stuff to resolve with him? Is there anyway you could do no contact? You have every right to be pissed but don’t let him ruin all of the progress that you have made, he sounds like an ass and you deserve so much better.

      • topf says:

        Yes, we still have stuff to resolve, and sadly it’s nothing we could just get over with (a lot of complex stuff I don’t wanna get into here). We made a deal on how to do it, and I am trying my best to always keep it short and sweet and be polite. I am hoping that if I stay firm, he will eventually get it and just stick to the plan. But of course, sometimes you only get to know certain aspects of people when breakups happen. I have a backup plan if he goes nuts on me to still go NC but I hope that won’t be necessary. Thank you for your words. He has tried his best to make me feel bad and like his breadcrumbs are part of him being gracious and generous. I am doing this because I know I deserve better. It’s still so good to hear it from someone else =)

  18. canvas3 says:


    My 1 year marriage ended about a month ago. It was incredibly devastating but I saw the breakup coming and was grieving my relationship within the marriage itself. Long story short – My partner had emotional issues/baggage from his past that was being triggered in our marriage and he was in denial, unwilling to seek help, whereas I had prof. support to figure out what’s going on. It’s been hard not to personalize the loss.

    I think I’m doing ok 1 month past breakup. Im journaling almost every day, have my tearful sessions, starting the affirmations, etc. I was just wondering what the benchmark is to start the relationship inventory. I kind of started it 2 weeks after the breakup and got a lot done in it, but I realized it was too early. There was just too much stuff. And still is a lot of stuff to process through.


    • topf says:

      Would you like to tell us more about the issues triggered during your marriage, and why you think he was in denial?

  19. kshugo3 says:

    Are any of you addicted to blaming yourself? I cannot for the life of me stop looking for fault and pathologizing myself? I was married to someone who was deeply depressed for 10-15 YEARS and left raising the kids to me. He was shut down emotionally and I tried for many years to get him help. I finally called it quits because he was so distant and admitted he had no idea why he treated me the way he did and that I didn’t deserve it. NOW. . . he has started dating a girl just like me, even with kids (he wouldn’t even go trick or treating with his own 3). He is all happy and acting engaged and like the guy I first knew. So. . . now I am obsessing that I ruined him and I am actually somehow evil and caused his intractable depression? But my brain can also see that he now only has to “date” not be part of a complex, messy family life of daily grind and responsibilities—which I think he despised and which I resented having to do all the time. . .Anyhow, had to vent. WHY DO I JUST ALWAYS want to focus on blaming myself that I wasn’t nice enough, or patient enough, or. . .?! I can’t seem to reject the rejector!

    • jazzcanary says:

      kshugo3, you are spot on that your ex seems happy and carefree right now because he’s not dealing with the reality of a committed relationship.

      I’ve had a pattern of taking all the blame, and I believe that has given me some odd sense of control, when in reality, I have no control over another. It’s been painful to accept, but my exes just weren’t happy with me and/or no longer wanted to be in a relationship with me. Interestingly, there’s not a one of them I would want back!

      We all deserve someone who is happy, ecstatic even, to be with us. You got tired of being with someone who was unhappy and who wasn’t doing anything about it, and even he said you deserve better, and you do.

    • topf says:

      I have several thoughts on this.
      I think it happens because we think that if it’s our fault, it’s also in our control to change things in a direction we want. If it’s your fault that your ex does the things he does, it’s also within your reach to turn things around. It’s our inability to let go of things and people we can’t control. It’s our difficulty to accept we chose someone unable or unwilling to do their 50%. It’s the part of us that doesn’t want to accept that we choose the wrong people, and that we give too much. And it’s the part of us that prefers to see the problems in a certain place because that place seems easier or less painful than the real place we should be looking at: the place where we need to be alone because we want to wait for someone who can and will do their 50%; the place where we learn to accept ourselves as valuable and good, even if flawed and a work in progress. Or maybe it’s some other less obvious place. Making ourselves seem mature and proactive makes it seem like we’re doing the necessary work, and it keeps us from looking at the really hidden, dark, deep places.

      Also, I think we do it because deep down we don’t love ourselves. And we think that if we choose someone flawed and immature, by them being “less”, they should be thankful we “waste” our time on them, because we’re oh so mature and self-aware and hence „better“ than them. It’s like a test we set up for ourselves. Because we think we can fix people who are “less” than us. And by achieving that we can tell ourselves we’re better, and worth loving. But the test ends up proving what we were fearing and avoiding: we achieve nothing with the other person other than proving to ourselves how unworthy we are because even this “lesser than” person won’t love us and won’t change for us.

      What would be the solution to all of this? Loving yourself despite your flaws and inadequacy, and loving yourself despite living in an endlessly broken world that keeps telling you you are too small and incapable to even try to love yourself. So loving yourself turns into an impossible solution. There’s no clear step-by-step guide for that. It takes patience and faith in yourself. It takes letting go of many things, factors and people and just BEING, without thinking you’re in control. And we don’t wanna do that. We want clear-cut plans we can follow. We don’t want to do the impossible thing of having to love ourselves enough right now to allow ourselves a chance at loving ourselves better in the future. We don’t want to sit in that dark and lonely place, accepting our fucked-up-ness, and doing for ourselves what we couldn‘t convince other people to do.

      It’s difficult. And it sucks for many reasons. The work you do that is not this pseudo-work of self-diagnosing yourself is invisible. If there’s something I am learning right now… my ex used to idolize me. For him I was the most beautiful, intelligent, worthy person on earth. Now he doesn’t seem to think so anymore. Because a couple of years ago I chose the path of doing things that give me invisible worth. I chose a path that teaches me things you cannot put into words, things you can’t display for the world to see and admire (this sounds like religion but I am talking about martial arts. But it doesn’t have to be martial arts. There are many things you can do that teach you things only you can value and see). So I don’t seem as intelligent and cool as before when all I have to show for is “my intuition says so, I can’t explain it. This is the right path for me “, and it’s a long path full of seemingly useless work on seemingly useless things. No one cares when the work you do doesn’t turn into money, the body of a model, or other people whose lives are „better“ because of you. We want stuff we can display. We want stuff everyone can admire us for. We want visible achievement. No one cares if the work you do simply allows you to sit a bit longer in your dark and lonely place. In my case, the martial arts don’t allow me to defend myself, or to hit someone. It takes many many many years for you to be good enough to have the tiniest effect on someone else’s body. So you don’t go there for that power. You discover other things in going to train several times a week for years. And it’s these invisible stuff. It’s the personality it shapes in you to hold on and carry on despite all disbelief.

      And that is the type of work you need right now. It’s impossible and invisible. It makes you feel even more alone because you are the only one who can appreciate it. And sure, people are gonna tell you it’s gonna allow you to have access to good things and good people later. But don’t fool yourself. This isn’t about that access or power or validation. It’s about you loving yourself in that dark and lonely place. It’s about accepting that unconditionally, without the carrot in front of you of a future with all the things you wish you had. And walking this path takes a whole lot of letting go, of accepting, of having faith, of loving someone you don’t consider worthy (yourself).

      It’s a jump without a safety net. Clinging to your ex and to the prospect of fixing him, or of having been powerful enough to ruin him, has been your safety net. It has convinced you you are not this tiny thing looking down the cliff, seeing nothing soft to fall back on. But you are. And you have the impossible task of accepting yourself as this tiny, defenseless, and vulnerable thing, while ALSO being fearless enough to jump, fearless enough to know you can survive and thrive without the safety net.

  20. jshuman6675 says:

    Thank you for your amazing book and this blog. I recently experienced a very very bad break-up where my fiance ended our relationship suddenly without any warning. We had moved to a new town and I had quit my dream job and sold my house in order to make our life together the best I thought it could be (I know that was not a good idea after reading your book). Thank you for the support your book provides and the framework it gives for myself and those like me to build a happier and healthier future. I look forward to finding my true partner in life and I know your book will help me in that process.

  21. Jimmy says:

    Hi Susan,

    New member after reading your book. Little background, 12 months ago my partner was having some serious mental troubles with work and her career (she couldnt do it anymore). I am normally a positive person, however during her dark period i left like just became a dumping ground for her. I was being as supportive as i could, even when i started to feel the affects of all the negativity. Our intimate times became less than frequent and she would shut me out regularly. To the point where i asked if she was even still attracted to me. This caused her to get upset and apologise that she was having a hard time. Things got a little better as she started to study for a new career, but as time went on her hatred for the old career grew and again i was getting shut out.

    During that time, i broke my moral code and sort the affection from a friend whom over the years there was sexual tension. The guilt inside me was tearing me apart about what i had done. However before i could come clean, her brother had told her what i had done.
    After finding out she asked for space and time, which i gave her. We both wanted to work through it. I know i am not that type of person and i was surrounded by people whom were a bad influence. Ive since made some great progress into become a better person, something which i am very proud of and still want to grow.
    Things were going ok, she would have a set back occasionally but we were getting through it. Then all of a sudden, after 6 months of trying to build a solid foundation again, she had a complete mental break down. She has a new career, is seeing a therapist. We would talk occasionally, her therapist said she had to set boundaries, which i respected, but within the last week she has had more breakdowns and from a distance it seem to coinicide with our time of contact.

    I have begun moving on because deep down i know that there is probably no chance i recovery. I was in a dark hole for quite a while a struggling just as much as she was. After reading your book, ive since learned that my issue was a LOT of unresolved issues from past break-ups (due to the solution to getting over it, was getting hammered every weekend and hooking up with as many girls as i could). Since discovering my cause of my anguish ive started to feel better about myself and rediscovering myself and my personnal time.

    I was doing well with NC, trying to give her the space she needed. Unfortunately i caved yesterday, and just inquired how she was doing. I got a response some 10 hours later. I replied with a very broad response as to not give anything away. No reply. She says she wants to work on it, yet she shows no indication that she is actually trying. I know i need to accept that its over, and deep down i think i am, but apart of me just wont let go.

    I care for her so much, and dont want her to suffer or feel like she is going through this tough time alone. but i cant be kept at arms length anymore.

    Sorry, i dont really no what kind of question to ask. Just looking for some clarity.

    Thank you for everything.

    • Susan J. Elliott says:

      It sounds so much like two not ready people trying to have a relationship. It sounds like you are really really not in a place to help her as she needs to help herself. Her issues belong to her. While it’s great to have a partner to listen, you were also being shut out when she was working through things. You are responsible for the straying, not her, but the fact that you did it says you’re not ready. I had an exboyfriend who told me he once uncharacteristically cheated on a woman. The woman was older and really a lovely girlfriend but she had her claws deep into him and he had mother issues and was discovering them in therapy. The only way he knew out of the relationship was to cheat (not the only way but he was a very passive non-confrontational guy – this led to issues in OUR relationship) and he knew his girlfriend was self-conscious about their age difference (he was early 30s, she was almost 50) so he cheated with an 18 year old. Even HE thought it was disgusting behavior but he described it as “A bomb thrown that couldn’t be unthrown….” knowing it would end his relationship. And it should have. As it should have ended yours. You need to stop acting in response to guilt and realize this partnering doesn’t work. Not for you and not for her. Take care of you, let her take care of her and let it be over. You can do this!

  22. livealittle says:

    I’m having a rough time and needed some place to unload so here I am. I’ve mentioned that I have a difficult time around the holiday season. My mom died when I was a teenager and she loved Christmas so I tend to get down around this time. I’ve been working hard to take extra care of myself at this time. Keep schedule around exercise and school work/grad apps, see friends, set goals. But let’s just say, I’ve spent three nights this past week at support group meetings.

    Anyway, I received an email from my ex last night. (I’ve blocked all his email addresses but it doesn’t seem to matter. I even filter them through another email account.) It would have been better if I hadn’t opened it but I did. I thought that he had finally moved on since I hadn’t heard anything from him in three months. (I set a very clear boundary reconfirming NC and then the craziness started: he sent me a gift which I sent back. He emailed, texted and called me for a few days. I changed my number and set up a new email address.)

    He wanted to meet and discuss getting back together. I thought my boundary and actions were quite clear but it was the first time in a long time that I wanted to respond and say “WILL YOU LEAVE ME ALONE ALREADY?” I spent most of last night reading that section of GPYB which details a similar scenario about a three month lapse in NC and a random text message. I didn’t contact him and don’t intend to. But the recycling this time is really hard, especially at this time of year. I journaled for a long while last night. I guess it’s the doubling of grief — missing my mom and the first Christmas that my ex and I are celebrating it apart. I even started having grief spasms again during meditation. I forced myself to drink a smoothie and my sleep is disrupted again.

    I know that this will pass but I guess I just wanted to tell people about what I’m going through who will understand. Support groups are on holiday until next week, my friends are at work or heading over to see their families. I see mine tomorrow but we don’t exactly get along. I’m sitting at a library and trying to figure out what I want to do with myself that doesn’t seem to require too much mental exertion.

    Anyway, thanks for reading. I do hope that some of you are able to enjoy a wonderful holiday season.

  23. Tina says:

    I am so sorry that you are going through this. I was upset because I did not hear from my ex even though I do not want anything to do with him. I am just super depressed right now.

    • livealittle says:

      Hey Tina,

      I hope you’re feeling better. I tend to feel worse when I hear from my ex. Sorry that you’re super depressed.

      If it’s any consolation, it passes. I’m slowly coming out of my funk but it’s taking time. After a ton of journalling, reading and working out, I realized that I felt terrible because I thought I should’ve been over him (and the breakup) by now. But I’m not. It wasn’t that I was doing anything wrong. It’s just a part of the process. I have to keep reminding myself of this but it’s hard. Besides, I’ve always disliked the holidays. Christmas was especially rough for me and my family this year.

      Anyway, I hope that things are looking up for you. Jan 2. There’s always a Jan 2.

      • Susan J. Elliott says:

        It’s Jan 3rd! Thank you for a great response. I’ve been away and I appreciate the help the bloggers have given each other here. Thank you!

  24. jae says:

    Hello, I am new to this site and to blogging in general. I hope I am checking in at the right place. I read the book and found it very helpful.I have also read a couple of others on infidelity. 3 months ago I found out that my husband of 14 years had been cheating for about 5 months with a woman who came to our house as a guest of another married man she was having an affair with at the time. She hit on my husband the next day via Facebook and dumped the other guy. I, of course, was unaware but had noticed a marked change in his behavior and moods around that time. He had typically been a very kind, affectionate, and thoughtful man, very emotionally connected, romantic, and always wanting intimacy. He became grumpy, critical, negative, and selfish and unable to perform in the bedroom. I thought he was having a mid life crisis due to a number of significant mid-life stressors we were facing. I was devastated when I found out. He moved out two days later and is still with her. She is 15 years younger than me with 3 little kids while our kids are in college. He just left. It’s as if he went crazy. He left everything we built together, all our dreams, our home, friends etc etc for this skanky redneck girl. My pain is thus two-fold. I am trying to come to terms with the grief of losing my best friend and I am struggling with the infidelity, lies, deceit and all the other unknowns that have come with knowing he was cheating all that time behind my back. He has offered no answers, no remorse, and no compassion. He even took me and my kids off his health insurance plan without telling me. He suddenly seems to hate me and have no concern for the family he has left. We were a blended family and my step son has sided with me. Meanwhile he is forcing his biological daughter and son and his parents to accept this new family he has suddenly acquired. He has completely turned his back on my biological children whom he parented for 14 years. As I write this, I realize just how crazy it all is. My moods are crazy. I cry for some portion of every day. I am a strong person and I have been a single parent before but I am shocked at how debilitating this process has been. I really thought I’d grow old with him. He has hurt me so deeply. Worse than any pain I’ve felt before. The problem is, I don’t feel like I am making much progress. I am obsessed with thoughts of him and our relationship. I have been NC since December 9th (when I found out he’d cancelled my health insurance two months earlier) and before that for 3 weeks. I have been doing all the right things to try to move forward but I still feel awful every day all day. I’m looking for advice I guess and some kind of idea with regards to how long this process is likely to take. Thanks.

    • junegemini says:

      hi there…i feel for you for i know what is like to be cheated on by someone you trusted and have built so much with.
      i dont know how long it takes to heal but i know the pain easens as long as you do your work.journalling and affirmations.

      We are here for you.cant offer much advice for i am on the road to recovery too.but going through this blog has been of help to me.

      hugs and hung in here.its a safe place.

    • Susan J. Elliott says:

      It’s a mess. My goodness….you have so much going on here. It was a long term relationship and it’s not going to be over emotionally immediately. It takes some time. Your moods are NORMAL. There is so much here. You can and will survive. Keep on sharing and letting us know how you are. You will be okay. Honest, you will. YOU CAN DO THIS.

    • jazzcanary says:


      I don’t have time to write much, but I wanted to urge you to check out the issue of him taking you off his insurance. If you haven’t already, find a good lawyer. I was reading in another post how people who cheat will work hard to get extended family, etc. on their side and just generally act shameless because they refuse to deal with their guilt. I doubt he hates you, but I have almost no doubt he hates himself, as he should. He’s not going to do anything in your best interests right now, but you can and should. My dad left my mom for a horrendous woman with two young kids and my mom and I were left destitute. She was too depressed to really fight for us, and I understand it, but I believe standing up for ourselves and getting what we should is empowering and an act of self-love. Hugs to you!

  25. jae says:

    Thanks for the support everyone. Reading some other stories on this blog has helped me to put some things in perspective. I am certainly realizing from other stories that this is a really painful and common experience. I have been journaling and I have done the relationship inventory which was difficult but has helped me to see our relationship more clearly. I review it every few days. I have made myself a little ‘mantra acronym’ thing that I use whenever I begin to feel down or overwhelmed. It is helping these last few days. I was told by my sister who went through infidelity and subsequent divorce some years back, that I am pushing myself too hard for a speedy recovery and putting too much pressure on myself. I keep feeling like I should be done with this process after 3 months but I just keep cycling around. It’s frustrating. My son, aged 20, has also started talking to me about his process in dealing with the abandonment and ‘replacement’ of our family. Children cannot tell you much, but a 20 year old can. He speaks of the same things – little reminders or triggers that make him sad, changing daily routines, thinking about the situation a lot during the day, anger, loss, disbelief, worry about me, and feeling like he cannot go to a person he used to trust for help anymore. Grief. I thought I would share this in case anyone out there has children who cannot really say what they are experiencing.

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