Ended an Unhealthy Relationship and Having a Hard Time Letting Go

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  • lechuga
    February 18, 2024 at 3:30 am #1128201

    I was in a 3 year relationship and for the majority there was always unhealthy heated unnecessary fights between each other that resulted in us hurting each other in many ways. We would break up and make up hoping that things would get better, we would go from having a good week to going back to feeling down, everything we both ever wanted was just to feel happy but it seemed impossible. the last fight we had was very unnecessary. it was full of misunderstanding and insecurity. it resulted in crying, punching, things being broken, things being thrown, parents getting involved and he finally decided it was time to move away from the situation which is understandable. I messaged him after the fact wanting to work things out the right way with a different approach he declined.

    I know that its practically a given to say just leave the relationship because its not serving the either of us any good but previous to this fight we had been taking the steps to get better and we were happy until issues within our family happened that made us take it out on each other. I had recently got into a physical altercation with my mom and had a hard time dealing with it so I would take out my anger by creating stupid fights which is the underlying issue on why I am the way I am toward him, I want to change.

    He recently had been told that he needs to move out from the place he’s living in unexpectedly so he was already going through his own life problems on top of the fights. I know we wanted to be happy and loved each other even though we would hurt each other which is why I have the empathy and motivation to keep trying for us even though he’s kept declining. He tells me that he just can’t be together right now and whenever I ask him if there would be a future between us he avoids the question. He tells everyone else that this is the end of our chapter and he won’t look back but doesnt tell me that personally. he tells me that it’s just not our time.

    I gave him his space. Then we ended up seeing each other for the wrong reasons and not to get back together. He told me that if I was seeing anyone he didn’t want to be friends or be in contact even though he’s the one that broke up with me. He has me under the impression that we wouldn’t be getting back together at all but also confuses me with the opposite. When we would hook up we wouldn’t just do it, we would spend time together watching a show or going out to eat in a whole different city. It made me believe that he thinks that breaking up was the most viable option but deep down he wants to be back together but knows it may be the wrong decision to make considering how brutal and toxic things were with us. after some time I let him know I didn’t want to hang out anymore because it was a cycle I didn’t want for myself in order to move on.

    I wanted to be with him so I gave him space again. I find myself texting him over and over whenever some time has passed to fix things. he says he doesnt want to work anything out right now but gives me the impression that it is just hard for him to want to work anything out or be back together because of how unhealthy things were. I try to let him know it won’t happen anymore if we both accept that we want to be each others peace but he doesnt believe it. he just wishes to be alone.

    I know I should let it be and let go but I don’t know if I should give my heart into potentialy saving it. I know I’m in fault for why we broke up because of me creating the arguments that led to be physical at times so the guilt I have makes me want to keep trying and the love I have for him does to. I don’t know if I should give up or keep trying even though it’s already been a month. I feel dumb but I tell myself it will be worth it at the end. Im clueless and I know I should take this time to focus on myself which I have been as well but I feel so lost without him. I don’t know if that just because I’ve reminisced the idea of what we could be or if it’s my subconscious telling me to keep trying out of pure love and kindness. I don’t know if I just haunt came to the acceptance of reality or if my heart is just too big to let go of something I truly care and love for.

    I know the obvious answer is to get up and walk away and focus on myself but I know that with the motivation I have to work things out we will be able to if he opened his heart to the chance. It’s been hard putting sending all these genuine heartfelt messages that take me almost the whole day to even think about sending because I find myself questioning if I’m saying enough or everything that I need to considering that may the last time I message him. On valentines day I decided to make him a letter along with some artwork I made and left it on his car window for him to get after work expressing the love I have for him and how I respect his decision but knew that if we tried again it would work with the tie we’ve spent apart. He never sent me a message about it. I didn’t expect one because I did this gesture just of of love but it made me realize that this really is the end.

    I then started spiraling and started typing out everything I was feeling in. my notes app unknowing if I would send him it for my own closure. Within the notes, I talked about every way I messed up, how I have been working towards being a better person and seeking therapy for my own mental health, every way we could amend each others pain, how we could work thinks out potentially, everything I could think of to tell him because I didn’t want to keep contacting him about getting back together anymore because at this point it seems desperate. I then starting making a video of all the good memories we did have. It made me recognize that this relationship wasn’t just about toxicity but we also made each other as happy as we could with out own internal issues going on, that’s not an excuse for the wrong behavior we gave towards each other but its a reasoning.

    I waited and thought if I should send him the notes and video for about 2 days after I made them. I didn’t know whether I should do it or not but I did telling myself that sending it wouldn’t ruin a real connection. He messaged me the morning after saying he received the gift I made him and that he appreciated it but he still wants to be alone because its hard for him to want to work things out or be together because he wants to “get himself going.” I honestly didn’t expect him to respond to what I had sent because I had unadded him from the app we were texting on. I told myself that night I would finally move on and thought I had closed any type of communication I would even be capable of having with him since he had blocked me on everything else but his message surprised me.

    I gave in and I then sent him a paragraph responding to what he said. Within the paragraph I told him how I want to grow individually and be at peace/happy just as much as he wanted and that our fights and arguments are what backtracked us from that happening, I told him that even though we were hurting each other at times we were still each other support system as he would help me with my small business, school, and becoming more as I helped him through college and when he was searching for better opportunities for himself. I told him that if he didn’t see the new chance as a new beginning considering the time apart for growth then we would never be able to work out without any hope. With the time we have spent away from each other, we would have had a healthier approach in making things better for each others relationship.

    Anyway, I sent that message earlier today and I don’t expect him to respond because I know that even if he does he’s going to say the same as he has been.. I feel stupid and like I’m begging for him to be in a relationship with me but all I want is for him to see my perspective on the love we have for each other to change and do better. A part of me has accepted that this is probably the end of us but the other part of me doesnt want to. I honestly haven’t been able to focus on school, Ive been lying in bed for the past month completely wanting to isolate and be alone, I barely eat and when I do go out to distract myself all I could think about is him.

    I guess the point of all this being said is what is your opinion on my situation and how would you handle it? Why is it hard for me to let go even though he’s been clearly telling me he doesnt want anything to do with me? How can I let go and find a sense of peace while in the process? How can I push myself to get out of bed and move on with my life? I have no motivation to do anything at all while he’s out making it seem so easy. I know that men move on in a different way than women but I don’t know how to get myself out of this funk. I want to feel semi normal again and do something in my days instead of rotting in my bed from the crack of dawn to when the moon is out. I feel like I’m letting myself go and have no motive to even keep going. Every quote I see, advice I get, articles I read to learn how to let go just make me want to stay in bed alone even more. I can’t even mention his name without spiraling with emotions.

    I don’t know if he just completely stopped loving and caring for me to the point where he doesn’t even feel this way during our break up or if he’s hiding the fact that he’s hurting and avoiding the emotions which is why he’s coming off so heartless. I would like to think he’ll text me back wanting to f finally work things out because he understands my perspective now but I know the odds of that happening are little to none. I just need some moral support right now and I can’t look towards my family and friends for it about the matter because I don’t want them to look at him in a bad perspective and as if I’m just begging him to be with me. I also can’t get therapy because Im a broke college student. I just need support more than ever right now and some advice on the matter. If anyone has been in a long term relationship that’s ended or thats been through rough times but pushed through to be healthy with each other please give me your advice, it’s very much needed.

    February 18, 2024 at 6:49 am #1128202

    I was in an 8 year on and off relationship, after a failed 7-year marriage in my 20s, and I’ve been moderating this site and reading letters like yours for over 10 years, so I have some subject matter expertise.

    No, there is not a possibility of you two being in a peaceful, healthy, loving relationship. When you have a big blowup and break up, that’s when you feel like omg I feel such intense feelings for this person, and I think we could make it work if we somehow managed to come at it the right way.

    But of course what happens is every time you they again it gets worse. You get addicted to the highs you feel sometimes based on that fake sense of potential, and how good it feels temporarily when you decide to try to make it work. You convince yourself you have this very special bond, because that must be true if you keep finding your way back to each other, right?

    No. It’s just an unhealthy pattern you get stuck in and have to break free. I have to say, you sound obsessed and in a bad place mentally. This guy has asked you repeatedly to leave him alone. The right thing to do is leave him alone. It’s not loving or kind to continually bombard him with messages about trying again. You’re not doing this because you have a big heart and so much love. You’re doing it because you feel depressed, obsessed, desperate, and out of control, and you just want to feel better.

    The only way out IS through. I will say, I was always the one doing the breaking up, and eventually I’d reach a tipping point where I’d be like, wow, no more, I can’t stand this guy. You haven’t reached that point and I don’t know what it would take. But I strongly recommend getting some help for your depression. From the school clinic? Your doctor? Stop contacting this guy. Block him everywhere. Focus on your classes. Hang out with friends. Find another guy to get obsessed with if that snaps you out of it. But I promise you there’s no chance here. Do you want to find that out after wasting a few more years? Fine, keep doing what you’re doing. Or do you want to get healthy?

    February 18, 2024 at 9:11 am #1128205

    You need to find some kind of therapist or counselor and work through this with a professional. You are a college student, your school should have resources available to you. If they don’t, you need to tell your parents that you’re having a hard time and need help. If you are paying thousands for a college education, the school is supposed to have help for you.

    To me, it doesn’t sound at all like you love or respect him. He’s asked you to leave him alone, and you leave him a letter and artwork on his car at work, on Valentines Day? It’s too much, it’s borderline creepy. You have convinced yourself you can’t go in without him, but you’re going to have to. There’s no going back when you both have hurt eachother so much. You should look into codependency issues. He doesn’t want to be with you. He wants to be alone. Respect his wishes and leave him alone.

    Do you have friends? You need to make some. You need to forget this guy and focus on your present. College, making friends, doing well in school and working on your own personal confidence and happiness.

    February 18, 2024 at 9:26 am #1128206

    You have to take this one day at a time – like an addict. Because that’s what you are right now. One more drink, one more roll of the dice, one more chance at this relationship and this time it will all work out. It won’t. You two have proven that over and over and over. A healthy relationship isn’t that hard. You work through the hard times together, you don’t cause one another the hard times.

    You may love this person, but you aren’t acting like it. He set some pretty clear boundaries and you keep crossing them.

    Time apart is not going to change this situation. You need to learn how to be ok being alone. You as an individual need to learn how to communicate better and manage your emotions instead of getting into physical altercations then lashing out at the people who are trying to support you.

    It will get better over time, but you have to start living your life without this person.

    February 18, 2024 at 10:06 am #1128207

    Quite honestly, he’s been too nice. If an ex left me something on my car, at work, on Valentine’s Day after asking them to leave me alone, I would probably be contacting the police and filing for a restraining order. I’m not saying he is going to, but he could. He has evidence of you not abiding his wishes and bothering him. It doesn’t seem like he’s angry at you, but if you keep this up you could find yourself in more trouble. Listen to what he’s said, and do indeed leave him alone.

    This is not love, this is obsession. You need to tell your parents that you are struggling and that you need help. If you can’t talk to them, ask a friend to help you. This is serious. This can affect you for a long time if you don’t seek help. I wish you the best, truly. Get better, but leave him alone. I know it hurts.

    February 18, 2024 at 10:13 am #1128208

    Tell your friends and family the truth. You need help and those are the people who love you and can and will help you. Nothing you’ve said about him makes him seem bad so I don’t know how telling them that you are struggling would make him look badly (which does not matter.)

    The one thing that does concern me is the mentioning numerous times of violence. Did he get violent with you, did you throw things? When you and your mother had an altercation, who did what?

    Therapy is awesome. My therapist saved my life, no joke. I wish I could go back to my days in college and take advantage of the “free services” my expensive education afforded me. You are paying for their services, you should take advantage of them.

    February 18, 2024 at 10:49 am #1128210

    Yeah, it is like addiction. If you can’t get help, at least read up on addiction, obsession, toxic relationship cycles, etc.

    I’m in a happy marriage now, btw, but before I met my husband I did cut off contact with my ex and have a solid year of taking care of myself, having fun, being ok being single, and letting go of limiting beliefs about myself.

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    February 18, 2024 at 4:34 pm #1128211

    Oh man. Yeah, you need to speak to a therapist. Even if you had friends you felt comfortable confiding in about this (your reasoning for not talking to them is kinda suspect, btw), you sound like you need professional support. Everyone is correct that universities offer counseling and psychological services and I’m sure they’ve seen plenty of younger people struggling to navigate their first big breakup (which is what I am assuming this is). You have what seem like pretty serious issues with your mom/family and codependency(?) going on with your ex. You need to get mentally healthy and a trained mental health professional can help.

    I have not had a breakup that I think is similar to this, but after my worst breakup, I felt like I was going insane. I caught my now-ex cheating, he told a hundred lies, things ended, he did not go gently into the night despite him being in a new relationship with the other woman, and on the rare occasion that I’d voice my hurt he’d pretty much tell me I was overreacting. I couldn’t sleep, I barely ate. Pretty much all of my energy went into getting me through work everyday. It was bad, but I definitely made some mistakes, notably allowing him any amount of access to me. It took me several months to block him and I only did that after things kinda came to a head. When I did, things started improving. He took up head space still, and did for awhile, but less and less as time passed. I started building a new routine: walks after work, cooking at home, volunteering. During this time, I applied for a job in one of my dream cities and got it, so I moved and had the freshest of fresh starts. I got into therapy here (GAME CHANGER). I took up running and am now a marathoner. I made new friends. I tried every hobby that interested me. I still volunteer. I eventually met my current partner.

    Right now you’re drinking the poison but wondering why you’re sick and not getting better. You need to stop drinking the poison. You will never heal where you are now. You let go of an ex the way you tackle every other big task — a little bit at a time. It’s hard and it’s sad — pretty much everyone goes through it at some point — but you need to get out of your own way. You’re already blocked everywhere, so it’s time to block him on any last avenues you might be tempted to reach out. Stop paying attention to what he’s doing. Stop speculating about his healing — focus on your own. I remember thinking my ex moved on seamlessly without a second thought about me, but about two years out from our breakup it became evident that he was still creeping my FB even though I’d never unblocked him… which means he was seeking me out either on a fake account or using someone else’s account or by searching for me logged out. By that point he’d married and procreated with the woman he’d been cheating on me with. He and his wife were a very odd presence in my social media world for like six or seven years. Do I know what he was thinking or feeling or looking for online? No. Not my problem. Your ex is going to go through whatever emotions he’s going to go through, and it’s not your business or concern. Your focus needs to be on you. Start setting small daily goals for yourself. It can be as simple as getting out of bed and making it every morning to give yourself a good start. Cry if you need to, cry as much as you need to… but don’t reach out. Join a new club, meet some new people, lean into the ones who already know and love you. Whatever you choose to do, though, make sure the steps you are taking are leading you forward, even if it’s only in inches.

    ETA: I also remember thinking I’d never get over my first serious boyfriend. I did. To the point that when a mutual acquaintance mentioned, yeaaars later, that she’d heard he’d gotten married, my reaction was: “Who the heck would marry that guy? Ew.” You’d be surprised how clearly you eventually see people when you lose your emotional attachment to them.

    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by Avatar photoCopa.
    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by Avatar photoCopa.
    February 18, 2024 at 10:28 pm #1128214

    You have to let your brain take the wheel here, and not your heart, who just wants this to magically change. I know it’s easier said than done, and believe me, I have taken breakups badly in the past and overreacted in dramatic and emotional way.

    Be logical. You know it’s over. So every time you feel tempted to think about it, or him, or reminisce about all the lovely times throwing stuff at walls (I’m sorry for the joke about violence especially, but the relationship was NOT GOOD) and getting into fights, you need to use your self control and redirect your thoughts to something beneficial to your situation. If you have anger, therapy is a good place for that, too. I still don’t know if you were the violent one or if it’s your mom and ex. Pardon me if you have no issues with anger.

    Get focused on school. After a breakup, I always loved dressing awesome everyday and faking it. A guy once said the best revenge is always looking good and happy, and it does feel good to stomp around campus looking boss and getting As.

    I really hope you do reach out to someone in your life for help, and try some self care and distraction. Delete his number.

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    February 19, 2024 at 10:01 am #1128221

    This read like LW is the violent one in the relationship, but it was a wall of text and not always clear. I do think therapy should be non-negotiable here. This strikes me as someone who has emotional issues (possibly stemming from what sounds like a chaotic family of origin) and became unhealthily attached to her boyfriend, which, coupled with being young/inexperienced, means she feels like she can’t let him go now that it’s ending.

    The reason I brought up my ex was because he was not someone I planned or wanted to get over. I instigated the breakup but was not ready for it. This was the only breakup I’ve been through where I felt like the rug was entirely swept out from underneath me. Detaching when you’re not ready and don’t want to is really hard and sad. I had to get very angry to block and commit myself to moving forward, and like I said, it took me a few months to get there. I’m not sure what the equivalent is here. If the roles were reversed and a violent man was doing these things to a woman, she’d be documenting every interaction in case she needed to file for a restraining order.

    Also? I was annoyed that my ex would do whatever weird shit he was doing to check my social media after I’d blocked him. Like bro, you’ve done enough damage – go away. I’d be outraged and creeped out if I blocked an ex and found they left me stuff they wanted me to see on my car.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 4 weeks ago by Avatar photoCopa.
    February 19, 2024 at 11:24 am #1128223

    This is definitely boundary stomping. LW is trying to justify it but there really is no justification. If someone says “please leave me alone, stop contacting me” that’s it. No means no right? It’s not “No means no unless I can convince you otherwise” That’s coercion.

    February 19, 2024 at 5:19 pm #1128231

    You mention a LOT of violence between you and your boyfriend and ALSO violence with your mom. I suspect your family of origin is totally messed up on how they deal with conflict and that there is abuse in the picture. When you have been modeled this behavior all your life, you will find it EXTREMELY difficult to have a truly healthy relationship until you address this professionally. GET A THERAPIST.

    What you are doing now is borderline if not outright stalking. You are addicted to the drama, the highs and lows, and your fantasies of what this relationship magically COULD have been. You need to accept the relationship is OVER and do some serious therapy so that you can have a wonderful bright future. You are young. You have plenty of time.

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Ended an Unhealthy Relationship and Having a Hard Time Letting Go

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