Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

I "bit the bullet" and broke up with him, but it still hurts.

Home Forums Get Advice, Give Advice I "bit the bullet" and broke up with him, but it still hurts.

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  • #853973 Reply

    I sent him this letter after I broke up with him to explain why.

    I keep re-reading it periodically to remind myself why I had to do it. But I’m lonely and it still hurts. I keep reminding myself that I was just as lonely when we were still together, and that mostly helps.

    He replied to my letter with this.

    My counselor was impressed by it, she didn’t seem to understand that he’s always been very “public-facing” and conscious of the “right” thing to say (whether or not he means it). My sister-in-law was impressed by how “mature” it was. I feel like I’m overly cynical but I don’t believe most of his response. He’s careful enough and smart enough not to say anything that would make him look too bad on paper.

    He’s told the world that we “grew apart,” etc. Somehow it feels bad that no one (aside from my best friends and relatives) knows what happened or why I really broke up with him. But I don’t want to be “that person” who tells everyone that he was a jerk. But I still wish people knew. I feel like it’s kind of not fair that he hurt me and gets to walk away from it.

    It occurred to me the other day that I was probably a great candidate for him because when we met I had some really bad self-esteem issues. It felt like he made things better or made me feel better about myself, but in retrospect a lot of that was him saying “Well hey, you’re a fuckup but I love you anyway!”

    I want to label this emotional abuse but it doesn’t feel “bad enough.”

    I just wish people would read this exchange, I guess, and understand, because so few people who know me or him know what happened.

    If you have any tips about moving past this, that would be great too.

    Thank you. <3

    #853975 Reply

    I don’t understand why it’s so critically important that other people understand and approve of your breakup. To the point where you had to document the reasons for your breakup and show it, and his response, to your therapist, your sister-in-law, and a whole bunch of strangers on the internet.

    Seriously, I don’t get it. Your relationship wasn’t working, you broke up, bye, end of story.

    #853976 Reply

    Good grief. The pics alone gave me nightmares!!! Stay strong. You can and will do better. Or worse case scenario — find living alone is far preferable than being trapped in a lousy relationship.

    #853977 Reply
    avatarReady To Mingle

    I was in a very long relationship with a similar person. Everyone thought he was great and nice. But, he would be so mean when no one was around.
    Never took responsibility for anything. I would just suggest to continue with Therapy. That is what I am doing. I feel like I get triggered by really random things and then I go down the rabbit hole remembering the awful things he said to me. I am sorry you had to deal with someone like this.

    I am sure he told everyone that I did terrible things, and I don’t care. Move on, become a healthier person, and be happy.

    #853978 Reply

    But YES. It is VERY easy for people to say the right thing. Quite another to actually DO it. Don’t be fooled by his letter.

    #853979 Reply

    Is there a backstory here that we should know? I can’t remember.

    Oh nvm, it’s all in the letter.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by avatarKate.
    #853982 Reply

    I’m totally getting deja vu from his crock about shutting down anyone who’s talking shit about you. Feel like I’ve heard exactly that on here before. I don’t believe it. Say whatever you want about him to whoever you want. Don’t stick to the “we grew apart” line if you don’t want to. You can say he wasn’t a good boyfriend to you. You can say you understand he has good qualities and people like him, but he wasn’t good to you. Or don’t say anything. I broke up with a guy who wasn’t as bad as your ex but was bad to me in a lot of ways, and managed to keep his friend group. I don’t talk shit about him but I don’t say he was a good guy either. I just don’t talk about him, and I make sure people know I don’t want to go to the same social events as him. I actually believe he doesn’t talk shit about me, but I’m skeptical about your boyfriend. The fact that he has to say it basically guarantees it isn’t true. Be cautious, but don’t feel like you have to buy into that line.

    #853983 Reply

    You need to focus on healing and moving on, that’s not done by trying to control the narrative of your break up. It’s no one’s business why you broke up and really, people don’t care.

    The letter is the end of your contact. It’s done. You told him what you wanted to say and that’s all you can control. You don’t believe the words in his letter than destroy it and never read it again. Stop giving this man space in your brain.

    #853987 Reply

    When I was cheated on, I also wanted everyone to know why we broke up because I was left hurting while he went on to marry that other woman — it felt so unfair! So I understand the inclination to want other people to know what happened, like it’ll somehow restore the balance of fairness or something. But the thing is, that’s not going to bring you any peace. Nor will continuing to correspond with him. Closure isn’t something another person can give you. Nothing he will ever say to you will make you feel better.

    Keep going to therapy. If you haven’t already, I think it’s pretty critical to address with your therapist why you stayed for so long with someone who wasn’t meeting your needs.

    I also found it helpful to find an activity that helped me rebuild my self-esteem. For me, it was running. I felt so strong and capable every time I ran farther or faster than I ever had before. For you, it may be something totally different — like volunteering for a cause you care about.

    Anyway, give it time and keep moving forward.

    #853988 Reply

    I feel like I remember a falconpaw.

    Regardless, what is the point of putting your letter and his on the internet? No one needs to know what happened in your relationship. The people who need to know about that do. It’s time to move on.

    Stop expending energy trying to understand or gain additional closure. It was shitty, and a waste of your time. Stop wasting more time and emotional energy on someone who was not good for you. Redirect yourself to something else.

    #854005 Reply
    avatarPart-time Lurker


    After reading the letter, I think you’re right. Wasn’t there one in early/ late spring from a girl who was looking to move out after 5 years? I think she and her boyfriend were both working on a masters or PHD……basically I think everyone advised her to get a moving truck and bail post haste.

    #854009 Reply

    You know who he is and that is all that matters. He may have said all of the nice things in the letter as a lead up to his request that you not say anything about what actually happened to anyone who knows him. Basically he may have said all the right things so that you will be touched enough in a positive way that you won’t make any comments about your relationship.

    You are free to say what you want. I would keep in mind that if you do confide in someone that you be able to discuss him in confidence because he could be the type to go out and smear you. If you will have colleagues in common tread carefully. At the same time if that is his worry he may be doing just that and be afraid you will do the same.

    The thing is that the people you work with know you and they will know whether you are an honest person or not. You have spent time in your area and with your colleagues. They know you, the real you, so if you confide in someone they will believe you. If he tells them things that seem out of character for you they won’t believe him.

    It doesn’t matter if he tells people you grew apart. You definitely did. They won’t know the reason why you grew apart but it is a fact that you did. You can say I realized the relationship wasn’t going to work for me long term. You can say I wanted to get married but he refused to discuss it. You can say that you asked about commitment and he refused to discuss it. All of those are honest things and yet they aren’t mean things. They just say we wanted different things so it wasn’t going to work. You don’t need the people who know you to validate your choice to break up. I realize it would feel good to know that everyone knew he wasn’t nice. They probably already know in a general way that he sometimes did unkind things. A mean person can’t hide it all of the time and it slips out from time to time.

    It takes time to get over a bad relationship. It takes time to let go of all of the hopes and dreams you had for the future. It isn’t just the loss of the relationship, it is the loss of the wanted future. It’s the loss of your dreams. For me it was also realizing I would have to start all over again with dating to find someone else.

    For now you need to get over the relationship. In my own sort of similar experience it took 18 months. It’s okay to take some time getting over it. It is okay to be angry. It is okay to feel hurt. It is okay to have feelings. I found it helped tremendously to write down what I was thinking and feeling. I would find myself running through some issue in my mind, some way that he had mistreated me and it would just go around and around in my mind but if I wrote it all out that seemed to take care of it and that specific issue no longer bothered me. See if you can find a way to deal with your issues. Maybe writing them out will work for you. Maybe something else will work. Writing it out seemed to finalize each thing that bothered me. For a while I sat and wrote about a different issue each day. Once one issue was packaged up I would move on to the next one and it monopolized my thoughts and so the next day I would write about that issue. After about a week or two I didn’t tackle an issue a day. I had run through most of them.

    I think it would also probably help if you had a distraction. Find something pleasant and enjoyable that will require your focus. Find a something else. Whenever you are caught up thinking about him try to stop thinking about him and think about the something else. Say you are studying chemistry you could research a famous chemist and jump into looking up information about that person instead of perseverating on the loser ex or play a word game on an app with a friend or write your own recipe for something and make it and then tweak it until it is perfect. If you liked baking you could study what each ingredient does and then try to come up with all types of recipes that you made up. Find something that will distract you. There are so many ways this could go. Learn to draw or paint or take up karate. Learn to play an instrument or write music or write lyrics. Find something that requires focus so that you have none to give to your ex.

    I would not contact him again. I would block him in every way. It won’t help you get over him if you try to get him to acknowledge the harm he did. He won’t do that. You get closure by dealing with the hurt and moving beyond it. You get closure by no longer caring. I had closure when he was no longer monopolizing my thoughts. You could even write out your thoughts as letters to him but if you do don’t send them. Don’t text with him. Don’t email. Don’t message in any way. He doesn’t deserve your time. He would probably love to think that you can’t get over him. You can get over him. It just takes time.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by SkyblossomSkyblossom.
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