1. How long ago was it?
Two years ago.
2. Do you feel that you are over it now?
I don’t think anyone ever gets completely over something like that, just like one never completely recovers from the death of a loved one. As far as what you’re actually asking with this question though, the answer is yes.
3. If you are over it, how long did it take for you to get over it?
Took about a year or so. It’s hard to say because it’s not a black and white thing and the last few months of that year were varying degrees of “mostly over it.”
4. If you are over it, did you do anything proactive to help or accelerate your recovery?
Counselling, prayer and other spiritual work. Even though I didn’t really feel much like it, spending time with other people and making other changes in my life helped a lot too.
5. If you have had subsequent relationship/s break down, how did your worst ever heartbreak differ?
Really, the only difference seems to be the intensity of the emotions, the severity of the impact on my life, and the duration.
6. Would you say, in the long run, that the heartbreak was a positive experience?
In this case, it’s a really difficult question to answer. In almost any other circumstance, I would say these sorts of things are ultimately positive experience but this one has some complications. On the one side, I do think I gained a lot of perspective on myself, my place in the world, relationships and all that. I also learned a lot of valuable lessons. On the other hand, as part of the ending and break up of the relationship I got severely burned out which set back my PhD and ultimately my career by a couple years because I didn’t have the energy or motivation to do school for the last part of the relationship or in the year recovering and even now it’s hard to regain the motivation I had had before.
So, take that lost time along with the pain, emotional investment, and all that that went along, it’s still hard to judge whether the net effect was positive or negative. I think that it ultimately will be positive, as I catch up on the lost time in school and can apply the lessons I learned from the relationship to future ones, but for now… hard to say.
7. What have you learned from it?
I entered the relationship knowing it was going to end disasterously; in fact, I had even stated to my best friend, soon after I met her, that I expected it would end badly and was even right about how long it would last. I also ignored lots of red flags as they came up like her sense of entitlement, inability to compromise, abusive behavior, because it seemed like at each step I was in just deep enough that it was one more thing that I supposed I could deal with.
Ultimately, I guess the lesson comes down to learning to trust my instincts and that sometimes loving someone isn’t enough of a reason to be with them in the relationship is negatively affecting my life. Also, yes, opposites do attract and it makes for a lot of excitement, but that also leads to unstable relationships; ultimately, compatability is far more important .
8. If you want to, feel free to give the details, as anonymized as you wish, of what happened.
It’s a bit complicated, but basically, we really weren’t the least bit compatible. We had amazing physical chemistry, and I do believe that she cared for me as much as I did for her, but I think she had a lot of ideas about what she wanted life to be like, many of which contradicted my desires, and any deviation from those ideals was unacceptable.
As an example, I prefer the small-town or country sort of life and she wanted to live in the most prestigious part of the city. This was so important to her that she lived there beyond her means and commuted 90 minutes each way OUT of the city to work each day and when I proposed that, when her rent was up and she had to move, that she consider moving closer to me and work (her job was about 10-15 minutes away from me), it was absolutely beyond the question and even insulting to her that I would want her to give up her dream of living in the city.
This led to a lot of concessions on my part to where I probably would have been happy had we met somewhere in the middle, but since I was now so far from what really made me happy, the relationship started to be a drain and combined with burnout from work and school, it just got worse and worse. It was sort of like the running scene in Forrest Gump where each concession wasn’t really that much compared to what I’d already given up so “I’ve gone this far, might as well go a little farther.” In the last couple months of the relationship, I was actually pretty seriously depressed as a result of all of that and she simply did not understand what that meant, why I couldn’t just not be depressed, and was both unable and unwilling to help me through it.
I think she ultimately got scared about what that meant because the last conversation I had with her before we broke up was me trying desperately to explain how I was feeling and how I really needed her help to which she ultimately agreed she would try. The next day she called up every member of my family, told them we had broken up with explanations about how I had been neglecting her, emotionally abusive, and all manner of other things like that, which I suppose could have legitimately been her perspective if she thought my depression was somehow voluntary and she took the engagement ring and FedExed it to me without even a note.
I wouldn’t have even found out that she had broken up with me until I’d got the ring had my mom not called me at work a couple days later to see how I was dealing with the break up. The conversation went something like this: “So how you doing?” “I’m doing okay.” “Really, after what happened with you and her?” “What do you mean?” “You and her broke up.” “We did?”
Needless to say, that is probably about the worst way to break that kind of news that I could imagine and my mom was NOT pleased that she was used like that. If she was too afraid to tell me, the least she could have done was send me an e-mail or whatever, not tell my whole family as if it had been done and wait for me to find out when I get the ring, sans any explanation of why it was sent to me.
She tried to get back with me about 3 months later, but based on some absolutely ludicrous conditions like she would “consider” getting back with me, but part of that would be a promise that I would buy her a bigger diamond. Besides the obvious superficiality and stupidity of that, the ring was completely custom based on our specifications, it was NOT cheap, and part of that decision process was the exactly sizes and cuts of the diamonds and that we actually didn’t get a bigger center stone because it was too big for her. It really brought home to me that it really never was about what things meant, that a bigger diamond is more impressive and that’s what mattered most to her.
9. Finally the clincher question: if you met the cause of your heartbreak now, how would this make you feel?
Now, I’d really just do what I could to bring an end to it. I was very upset and angry with her for a long time and it took a long time and a lot of effort to get over it. I just want to keep that in my past. So if we did meet, I would swallow whatever emotions I was feeling at the time, perhaps do some sort of typical small talk like “Hi, hope life is treating you well.” and move on. In all honesty, I do wish her the best, but I hope that she does learn those lessons so she can be happy some day.