Healing after a breakup


Healing after a breakup


your avatar   Dom, 29-year-old woman

I turn thirty in a little less than a month. I've been married and divorced once, and while it was a trying time, it's nothing compared to how I'm feeling now.

I fell in love with my best friend. Well, if truth be told, the first time I saw her, I felt strongly that she was the person who was meant to be in my life. I've known her for years, but I was married, and I'm nothing if not loyal. So we became friends - inseparable, in fact.

Fast forward a few months and I'm getting divorced (my wife cheated on me multiple times while I was deployed). My best friend and I had some physical things between us (against my better judgment) and a few months after that, I ended up telling her the truth about how I feel about her. The thing that got me was that she claimed to have always liked me in that way too. It was to the point where we were making future plans (marriage, kids etc.), and I was really excited about it; she's the only person I can see spending my life with, if I'm honest. And she's the only person that I've ever felt this strongly about.

She told me she was in love with me. A few days later she disappeared: stopped responding to me, blocked me on all social media, just fell off the face of my earth. No explanation. I came to find out that she went to Texas to be with the woman who has been cheating on her repeatedly and unashamedly for almost two years.

It's been almost two months, and I still find myself crying in a heap uncontrollably. I cry myself to sleep and wake up in tears. I lost not only the woman I would've spent the rest of my life with, but my best friend, the only person I really ever trusted.

How do I get rid of these feelings of despair and loneliness, of not feeling good enough, that I would be better off not being here, that I will never be happy again? Is it only because I'm turning 30? How do I heal my heart, my soul? Because the pain I'm experiencing, while entirely mental and emotional, is physically hurting my heart. And I don't know how much longer I can survive this. Please help me. I have no one.


    Bob Rich, Ph.D.

Dom my dear,

Turning 30 has nothing to do with it. You had all your hopes and plans invested in living the rest of your life with one person - and those hopes have been dashed. This was the one person you trusted - and she let you down. It is perfectly understandable that you are grieving. I don't know anyone who wouldn't be. It is grief of the same strength as if someone close to you had died.

This happened two months ago. That's a very short time for major grief. Twelve months is a typical figure before the grief is "resolved." That means that life goes on with its ups and downs, and most of the time you're fine. You can think of the person you've lost, the good and the bad, laugh about funny memories, and not go to pieces. One or two special days a year, like a birthday, the tears may come.

You can achieve this. One helpful thing to do is to buy a wonderful book by Elizabeth Harper Neeld: "Seven Choices: Finding daylight after loss shatters your world."

The second tool is to "schedule" your grief. Set aside a time each day for giving yourself permission to dwell on it. At first, this can be 2 hours a day. During this "appointment," you're allowed to feel exactly like you have been for the past two months. For the rest of the day, any time you think of this person, say to yourself, "Go away. I'll talk to you at five o'clock (or whatever)."

And the third thing is, misery thrives in a vacuum. Fill those other 22 hours with the activities of normal life, and do them "mindfully." This means, when you are eating, you focus on the food: the taste, feel, the movements of your hands as you eat, the scent... focus all your attention on the activity of eating. When you talk with someone, have 100% of your attention on that person, as if he or she was the most important person in the world. When you drive a car, concentrate as much as a kid being tested for driving skills.

Finally, we need to look at trust. You trusted this person, and she let you down. This says NOTHING about the trustworthiness of other people. You can get a benefit from this sad experience by realizing that no one can be trusted 100%, we are all faulty humans, but most people can be trusted most of the time. You can learn to trust, within reason. And realize that your happiness and contentment doesn't depend on other people, ever. It depends on you, regardless of your circumstances.

Have a good life (you can),


This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.For more information visit: http://anxietyanddepression-help.com


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Rainer Maria Rilke
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