Grieving - End of a relationship (long & mundane)

My name is Michael. I am 39 years old. I am miserable right now. I am not living my life; I am mourning the end of my last relationship. It was 6 weeks ago this past Friday that my girlfriend and I broke-up. We had been together for 2+ years. I loved so much about her, from her beauty to her laugh, her voice and her smile, to her work ethic and values. We were compatible and a great couple together in so many ways but I was unhappy with one major problem.

As time passed in the relationship, I was frustrated and unhappy that she never seemed to open up emotionally to me. She had affection for me, I was important to her, but she always kept the walls up when it came to letting herself love me. We would talk about it sometimes, usually when it became so difficult for me and things would boil to a head. When we did talk about it, she never indicated that there were “big issues” she struggled within that might be at the root of her feelings. She would reassure me that she wanted to be with me, that I was very important to her, and that she would try harder to show me that she felt that way. Things would go great for a very long time, but then revert back. I should be clear here; this was not a monthly thing. I think we went through two cycles of this over the course of the 2+ years. Anyway, I would keep trying to… well, this is going to make me sound even worse but… find a way bring down her walls and have her love me. You see, I had fallen in love with her.

I had tried to fight it in myself. So many things about her were so attractive to me, but this issue was a big warning sign. Yet my heart fell for her hard. Instead of telling her that, instead of being in a relationship of mutual love and the pleasure that brings, I kept it inside out of fear and ignorance. It frightened me; logically I saw the problem in our relationship that I was in love with her without reciprocation. It frightened me that without understanding why she held back if I told her I loved her it would drive her away completely. It was a calculated decision I made and in hindsight a mistake.

Trying to keep that all together inside was too much over the last 6 months. Although we rarely fought, and spent even more time together than we had at any point in our relationship including a few weekend get-aways - I was the walking-wounded. I loved her and enjoyed all the time we spent together, but I still hurt inside and longed for her to return the love I felt and showed. She could tell as well, that in this area I was not happy. I’ll spare the details of how it ended, it was more-or-less mutual. I instigated it and for the first time I told her that I loved her and it is hurting me to much to keep going like this. We officially broke-up that night.

For the next couple weeks, we exchanged some emails that were emotional. Not anger, not accusations, just emotional. A lot of things were never said when we were together, and I think much of that came out. She did finally open up about why she held back - she was afraid of becoming emotionally and financially dependent upon someone as a result of how badly her parent’s divorce impacted her mother. Through email we talked about that. She said she was not sure if she held back because the relationship wasn’t the “right” one for her, that if it was “right” wouldn’t you just know? Or she wondered if it was because of the issues she has over her parent’s divorce she never let herself just go, that they kept her from doing so and realizing it was indeed “right”. Either way, she said she knows she had to work through her feelings and she wouldn’t be able to do so in a relationship - she did not want to end up hurting me further if in a few months we were still in the same place. She also told me she was afraid, afraid that she’ll work this stuff out for herself and it will be too late but she knows it would be unfair to ask me to wait around for her to figure things out. I encouraged her to talk to someone professionally about it and she agreed to do so. I also told her how I regret she never told me about how her parent’s divorce affected her when we were together. Maybe it would have changed how things worked out or maybe not. At least I would have had some understanding instead of being in the dark. For really, that was the worst part for me. I was in the dark, wondering if she just didn’t find me attractive, or a dozen other insecurities that began to grow in my mind over time. With some insight into what was going on, I may have not grown so frustrated.

So that is the short version of our relationship and why it ended. There are many more details, from the emails we exchanged after we broke up and from the relationship, which I have analyzed to death over the last 6 weeks. I know this has been long but I’m trying to keep it as brief as possible so I’m leaving some things out.

Now, I’m sure you fair readers are thinking “That sucks Michael but it is for the best, you deserve to be happy” or other similar thoughts. I know logically this was the right decision. I remember clearly the nights I would go to sleep beside her with my heart aching. Yet here I am, miserable. I do not feel good about this, I am not happy.

I miss her more than I can express. I cannot get respite from the hurt I feel over not having her in my life anymore. All day, every day, she is there in my thoughts. I’ve tried to keep busy but she is there. I’ve tried to distract myself with exercise, but she is there. I’ve screamed out loud to “Fucking stop thinking about her!!” but she comes back to my mind. Even in sleep, my dreams most nights involve her. It is a 24x7 constant in my life right now… the grief, the loss. The longing for our phone calls, our dinners together, our bike rides, her arm in mine while we would walk, the physical intimacy.

I just want it to stop; I want her to be gone from my thoughts. I want to feel like myself again. As I said, I’m staying busy getting together with friends, but even then I know I am not myself. My friends see that as well, they know I’m still having a hard time and they understand. There is this detachment that is permeating everything I do with other people. There is that sense of loss too, wishing she was there with me and with us.

It is even impacting where I go and what I do. I’m afraid of running into her so I’m avoiding certain areas of town that I would normally go to. I’m avoiding certain activities I’d like to go and participate in. I’m afraid of seeing her at the grocery store, at a restaurant, at a coffee shop. When I do find myself, out of necessity, in an area I know she also goes to I cannot stop myself from looking everywhere out of fear I’m going to see her. On Friday I was going to go to a technology networking event until I saw her name on the RSVP list. I just couldn’t go there and see her; it would be too hard on me. I can barely stop thinking about her when I haven’t seen her or talked to her in 6 weeks - I’m afraid seeing her would just make me miss her even more. I’m also afraid I’d embarrass myself or her by not containing my emotions. Even when I actively try to minimize the possibility of bumping into each other, I still never relax. It is amazing how when you miss someone, you notice far more of the exact same make and model of vehicle everywhere you look.

The worst part, I want to contact her so badly. I want to send her an email or text message to tell her I miss her. It is pathetic and the wrong thing to do but sometimes I feel a desperate hope that maybe she is missing me too and I’m not the only one hurting over the end of our relationship. If I contact her maybe, just maybe…

I’ve been heartbroken before and I know I tend to take these things hard and can be a bit inconsolable. I also know, in time, this will pass. I’m doing what I think I need to do, staying busy until this grieving period passes. It is so fucking hard though, I felt like I needed to type this all out and put it out there.

I know this has been long, dramatic in prose, and maybe even a bit whiny. For that I apologize but thank you for reading and maybe identifying with something so many of us have felt.

a.k.a - MeanJoe

If it’s any consolation, many of us have gone through a similar thing. The only advice I can offer to you is to stay busy and use aerobic exercise to help you sleep and heal.

There’s no shortening the process. All the emotions you are feeling are normal and necessary for healing.

It hurts and it hurts and it hurts, day and night. It will consume your thoughts and feelings until it’s almost overwhelming, and you won’t see any end to the pain. Darkness absolute.

Then one day, it will hurt just a little bit less. And then a little bit less after that. Then you will realise that you have laughed again. That you have hoped again. Then it will be that you think and dream of other things more and more, and of her less and less. And then one day, you will realise that you haven’t thought of her in… you won’t know how long.

But it will be time that is the healer.

Then you will move on from laughing again, hoping again–to loving again.

If it’s any consolation, you write beautifully.

As you know, there’s no easy way through the grieving process. You already know what you have to do. Keep on doing your usual routine, don’t contact her, grieve but don’t wallow in self pity, etc etc.

Time alone heals alls wounds, but there may be scars. Fortunately it sounds like you have enough self-love, confidence, and wisdom to avoid the scars, to fully heal from this and be back to your old, cheerful self in no time. It even sounds like you’ve learned a thing or three about relationships in the process.

All in all, it’s painful as hell, but you’re doing great! Never feel bad about posting stuff like this here. We’re a community and we’re here for each other. That’s what we do!

Thank you, I do know this is a process that must be endured. Good to hear that although what I wrote it personal and not always putting me in the best light, that the feelings of loss, etc., are normal.


Savannah - Very well said. I’m not there yet, although I wish I was. I suppose I am a little mad at myself for not being further along. Or to be more accurate, upset at myself for not being… um… well like I see others sometimes who are able to just move on seemingly effortlessly.

Thank you for the reminder of better days ahead!


Autolycus - Thank you for the comment on my writting and the words of encouragment, that is very kind of you.

I have re-learned some relationship lessons, more as a result of the stupid mistakes I made. I am disappointed in myself for not being honest and communicating how I felt instead of holding things in. I’m mad at myself that for a period of time I was willing to tolerate the unhappiness I felt for the hope of something improving when all the signs were there that they would not. I know I’m smarter than that, yet I did them.

Right now, I think I am slipping to often into a bit of self-pity. I need to be vigilant there.


I don’t see a whole lot of reason for you to be kicking yourself here. You fell in love with a woman who for whatever reason wasn’t capable of loving you back, you gave it an honest try, and you ended it when it looked like you were getting nowhere. From where I sit, it sounds like you gave it due diligence.

One question, though - are you having a hard time getting past it because it really isn’t resolved? It sounds like you two have left some question marks about her getting her head straight and then maybe trying it for real.

I don’t know how to answer that. In the email exchanges in the first couple weeks there seemed to be things she was saying that would give me hope it may not be over exactly. Comments that she was lucky to have me as a boyfriend. I was the perfect boyfriend. She has lost her best friend. Telling me she missed me, and missed specific things (like enjoying a glass of wine at the end of the day together, or bike rides, or talking, or the pancakes I would make her every Sunday morning…) Obviously I missed those things too and I said so. As I said, it was an emotional email exchange for awhile.

She also said what I listed above, finally giving me some insight into why she would pull back when things started going so well. That she has to work that stuff out if she was going to be in a relationship, and she couldn’t do that while still with me. She said it hurt her so much to know she was breaking my heart by not being able to get past these things right now and she did not want to “try again” right now in the fear we’d be right back where we are now in a few months time if she couldn’t get past the issues or if it turned out it wasn’t the issues but that this simply wasn’t the “right” relationship for her. She didn’t want to do that to me, or herself, again. She said she did not mean for those things she had said to give me “false hope”. She said they were not platitudes meant to cushion the blow for me, they were sincere, but she felt this was the right thing - again because she needed to work these things out for herself.

So I guess there was a lot of contradictory or confusing things said. I tried to take into consideration that:

1.) it is an emotional time for both of us and
2.) I am also vulnerable to reading to much into a comment, grasping for straws so to speak.
3.) therefore I should not put much weight into anything being said.

Unfortunately, many times when you know something mentally it does not always equate to feeling something in your heart. I have, to a small degree, probably held onto some hope there. Mentally I know it is foolish - she is not going to call me today, or this week, or next month, and want to get together. Things don’t work that way. I sincerely hope she is going to talk to a counselor and work on her issues but I know, in real life, it will benefit her in her next relationship and that won’t be with me. Life is not an 80’s romantic comedy starring Molly Ringwald.

Yet still I want to contact her as I mentioned above. I still have a moment of trepidation when I hear the ring-tone that I’ve gotten a text or email - a moment of wondering if it is from her.

So I guess in a way, I am holding onto some hope even though I know it is most likely false. I could point to this comment, or that comment, to try and prop up that hope. Instead I am trying (and probably failing on some level) to put that aside, to face the reality which is that 6 weeks ago we broke up. We have not really communicated in over a month.

So I guess that is my answer… even if I don’t understand it right now.


You know, it’s okay. You haven’t done anything wrong, and you’re dealing with it in a healthy manner. Cut yourself a little slack.

I’m sorry it didn’t work out. It doesn’t sound like it was your fault. It does sound like you did everything you could, and you’ve made healthy decisions the whole way through.

It will get better. The pain will lessen. The panic will decrease. I can’t promise that you’ll meet someone else, but you will recover and be happy again.

And if you do meet someone new, she will be a very lucky woman.

That’s why I’m getting a mixed vibe from you; you’re pretty confused yourself. :slight_smile: I think part of your difficulty in getting past this is because you didn’t have a clear break-up; there wasn’t one particular incident or problem that made one or both of you say, “That’s IT! I’ve had it with this loser!” I think you’ve both made the right decision, but it is a lot greyer than break-up decisions usually are. I also think your next step in getting over her is to get it really clear in your own head that it is over, and there isn’t going to be another go at this.

6 weeks is a really short time, even if it seems like an eternity. As everyone else has said, you are grieving for something that was a really important part of your life. Grieving takes time, along with keeping busy and staying healthy. A part of you that you treasured is gone.
Be kind to yourself, surround yourself with supportive friends and family, read, listen to music, exercise, travel, try a new hobby. Holding onto hope - don’t beat yourself up over that, but try to be realistic. You sound like a really great guy, even if you don’t feel so great right now.
I am facing a the possibility of a similar fate - 12 year relationship - and it aches so much I can hardly function.

So I understand where you are coming from, and I offer you great gobs of empathy. It might sound trite to say “one day at a time”, but in this case it could also be the best advice.


Thank you, I tend to self-analyze a lot. Combined with being my hardest critic, it can be difficult to cut myself some slack.

Oh, and damn right she will be a very lucky woman. I’m a great catch (even if I don’t quite feel like it at the moment). :smiley:



I’ve read a lot of your posts before and you seem to provide good insights and advice. I really appreciate your comments here.

Emotionally things are definitely in jumbles at the moment and that does lend itself to “mixed vibes”. In our emails, there were mixed signals but in the end it was that it was over. There was that bit of hope created by some of her comments (or maybe just me reading to much into it). I don’t know how to explain it - just a “maybe someday…” kind of vibe. I think we both have a lot of regrets and sadness that things worked out the way that they did. Not regrets that we said things we shouldn’t have, or that the actual break-up was mean-spirited or ugly. Or maybe I’m just projecting my own feelings to how I think she felt about it. Who knows, she could be very happy about it now…

As you point out though, I know on one level it is over. I’ve described that as knowing it “mentally” or “logically”. I’ve also tried to be honest here in my posts, there is a part of me that has"hope" for a different outcome even though I know it is not based upon anything solid or factual and only hope. How much of that feeling is normal as a part of grieving (denial, negotiation, sense of loss and unfamiliarity with being single, etc.) before acceptance and how much of that is me really “holding onto hope” I cannot say clearly. I am trying, very hard, to push all of that aside when it comes up but it is there and find acceptance that it is indeed really over.

Thank you again for your comments and giving me more to think about. :slight_smile:


Thanks Beckwall - I am trying to incorporte as many of the things you mentioned to help get through a difficult time and really get back to feeling good and being myself again. It is good to hear it though, re-affirming in a way, so I appreciate you taking the time to respond and your empathy.

You certainly have that in return concerning your situation and I can relate to it aching so much you feel like you can hardly function. Feel free to send a PM or email if you need to vent or an ear to bend.


I’m sorry you’re going through this! But it sounds like you are handling it in a positive manner (exercise is one of the best ways to vent, I’ve found) and hopefully time will ease you into normalcy again. But don’t be afraid to let it all out if you need to do so.

I just broke up with my long term boyfriend about six weeks ago too, and I know what you mean about avoiding certain parts of town. I live in fear that I’ll see him on the street as he lives on my route to work, so there is a lot of dashing into stores I don’t really want to go in and anxiety that I’ll have to see him and talk without making a scene. But I’m starting to really miss my usual hang-outs and rationally I know it is silly, so I’m trying to get over it.

Hopefully soon you’ll be able to visit your places again and feel comfortable there. It’s awful how just the chance of someone’s presence can ruin your environment’s familiarity - you’ll be able to reclaim them and make them yours again! Or find even better ones. Promise. Good luck!

Time Stranger,

Also about six weeks ago too, huh? To a degree we are compatriots then! Haha.

Thanks for sharing that you are going through some of the same things, I was beginning to think I was being really crazy/paranoid due to the anxiety of possible bumping into her. I think the fear of talking without making a scene is a big one - wanting to maintain my own dignity. The other part is… well, because of the nature of the break-up I think it would really just hurt me more to see her right now.


Mean Joe, I think you are moving along nicely. One thing I did after my divorce that really helped - as depressed and sad as I was, when my family reached out to me, I grabbed their collective hands as hard as I could. They’d invite me to pizza and football game on TV, my parents would take me to out to dinner on Friday nights, one sister in law invited me over for “a glass” of wine and we finished off the whole bottle. And not Word One was uttered about my ex or my divorce. If someone wants to help you, let them. They wouldn’t offer if they didn’t care.

There is so much more I could say that I don’t have the time for right now, but I will say one thing: Do NOT contact her!!! Just don’t!

There is so much wisdom here. I hope you take it all to heart.

I’ve mentioned before on here a technique I used after an ex-bf of two and a half years dumped me, but I was farther along in my healing than you are, but keep it in the back of your mind. You will have to be brutally honest with yourself. Start a list of qualities she had that you weren’t wild about, things she would do that annoyed the snot out of you, things about your relationship that you just knew didn’t sit right in your heart. Within a half hour of starting this list, I had 14 things. It kept me from romanticizing a relationship that was obviously deeply flawed. I should mention, my list included everything from my having no clue about what his financial condition was (he recently declared bankruptcy), to the fact that he chewed cinnamon gum, which turned my stomach. Include anything and everything.

First and foremost, take care of yourSELF. And keep us posted.

Just try to keep in mind it was just your most recent relationship. Not your last. If I remember some of your recent posts you needed to man up. And it sounds like you did. My hat off to you, hard road, that. Being a man is not an easy road, certainly not one any woman can understand. Giving in to your most base instincts is the easy way. The way that leads to hardships in life that only your imagination can tell you about. You’ll know when it’s the one, and judging by you’re present state, she wasn’t the one. Hang tough, my brother. I’d like to be able to tell you the next one will be “the one”, but only you will know for sure.

If there’s one thing I do know, it’s easy to choose the path of least resistance. To choose what is comfortable, over what is right.

You know, come to think of it, you don’t sound so mean. Just like us all, hard on the outside. Easy, that path. You do well to be yourself, my brother.

Peace be with you, OM.

Do you know if she is getting the counselling she needs? How much money of her own in her own savings account would have made her feel secure? Every woman should have money of her own.

I’m sorry that you are hurting. I know that this kind of pain can feel so bad that it feels almost physical. You must not let it scar you the way her parents’ divorce scarred her.