During our relationship he was the most amazing person I have ever been with. He is everything I could ever dream of, but I was silently struggling to connect mentally in our relationship. I have suffered from depression and anxiety a majority of my life, and two months before our breakup I started seeing a therapist. I wanted help determining where my doubts were coming from. Was it depression, anxiety, my past abusive relationships, or my boyfriend just not being the one for me? I did not tell my boyfriend I was in therapy because I was ashamed, and most times I felt bad that I was not giving him the relationship I felt he deserved, but I did tell him about my therapy when we broke up.
We were equally in communication for the first month of our breakup and I let him know my desire to work things out. He was not sure he wanted to at that time, but he left the door open. After that first month I did not contact him for the following forty days in an attempt to give him and myself space. After that time I reached out to him, asking to meet up, and he asked if everything was ok, to which I replied yes. He never responded after that and the next day he blocked me on any outlets to communicate with him any further, which I understand is defined as “ghosting.” I was surprised by this action as this behavior was not consistent with the kind-hearted person I know. I have not attempted to contact him again since then.
In the six months since our initial breakup I have made a lot of progress in therapy and have started Lexapro, which is really helping me with my anxiety and depression. I have tried extremely hard to move on, but I cannot deny how much I love and miss my ex. There is not a single day that goes by that I don’t think of him. My feelings for him are clear now and the irony is not lost on me. I’m not above making a fool out of myself. I would move mountains to be with him and go to the end of the earth if I thought it would help, but I feel that blocking me speaks volumes.
How was he able to cut me out of his life so easily if he loved me? How do you turn love off so quickly? Is all hope lost? If no, what is your advice? If yes, how can I move on? — Willing to Move Mountains
In my forty years of life, which have included marriage and babies and change and death and heartache like you describe, one big lesson I’ve learned is that it’s often harder to accept the loss of what we imagine we could have had over the loss of what we actually did have. What you had with your ex-boyfriend was a one-year relationship in which you constantly struggled to mentally connect to him and he felt frustrated, and probably very hurt, by what he saw as your inability to accept his love and to be vulnerable. In short: You did not have a great relationship. Was there potential for one? Sure, maybe. I mean, clearly you think so now. But the truth is, that great relationship never existed, and it probably never will exist. You are grieving and mourning something that you never had.
What you did have and what did exist was your boyfriend’s love for you. While you failed to be vulnerable with him, it sounds like he was vulnerable with you. And the pain and loss and grief he’s feeling is not for what could have been but is instead for what was for him very real — YOU. He has been mourning the loss of you. Not your relationship. Not the relationship he hoped you could have. He’s been mourning YOU. Because he loved you and because, when we lose something we love deeply, it shakes us to the core. And one of the ways many of us cope with that loss is to put it in a box in our mind and shelve it so that it doesn’t bleed into every other part of our lives. We shelve it so we have psychic space to think about other things, and with some distance, maybe we take the box of loss off the shelf now and then and open it up and look at it and maybe even rifle through it a little bit — the memories, the photos, the recalling the funny way you laughed. And then we put the box back on the shelf because we’ve felt enough pain to remind us that we’re still alive, that we’re still healing, that we still need time.
Your ex hasn’t cut you out of is life because he didn’t love you. He’s cut you out because he loved you so much. He hasn’t “turned off” the love, so much as he’s stuffed it in a box, relabeled it “loss,” and put the box in some far corner that he doesn’t have to pass.
Is all hope lost for you? I hope not. I hope you continue with therapy and treatment for anxiety and depression. I hope you move on. I hope you take the lessons you learned from this relationship and losing what you imagined you could have had and let yourself accept love and be more vulnerable the next time you have the opportunity to do so. I hope you let your ex continue healing in his own time and his own way so that, when it’s his turn to accept love again and to be vulnerable, he will be able to do so with an open heart, bruised as it might be. Because while you may be willing to “make a fool of yourself” to get what you want, it isn’t fair to do so at the risk of someone else’s healing and whatever life he’s created since losing you.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.