T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 28780
posted 03-01-2009 09:56 PM
I need some help sorting this out.
My ex-fiance and I broke up over a year ago. We've dated people since then, and have lived together until very recently. Everything has been fine until....he just met a girl a couple months that he believes he's going to marry and for some reason I'm freaking out. Seriously, it doesn't make sense to met AT ALL. I KNOW I don't want to be with this person, I'm not comfortable being sexual with men, and I have a new girfriend that I'm happy with. But when I try to hang out with my ex and his girlfriend, or even my ex just on his own, I end up feeling really really down. When we broke off our engagement, one of the biggest reasons was that I was seriously questioning my capabilities to be sexually attracted to him, and he knew that I was struggling with that. He was more than understanding, and never hated me or resented me for coming out. I still gave myself a helluva lot of guilt for it though. I think I was (am) punishing myself for being gay. I feel like a failure, but I don't know to whom I'd be viewed as a failure and I don't know why I'm thinking like that. I know there's nothing wrong with being gay. I'm a lot more comfortable now that I'm out. But I have this weird self-loathing thing going on. Like I was given my chance to marry a person I really care about and just couldn't do it, and therefore am punishing myself. I'm also finding it hard to find my own identity, STILL, after all this time. I started dating this guy when I was 17. SO much of my life was tied up in him, I learned a lot from our relationship, and I feel like I completely lost my personality in it because it was so dysfunctional. All of my long term plans were invested in him. We were going to have a family, we were going to have a home, etc. etc. And now I just feel totally lost. How do I move on in this world as an independent human being? How do I quit blaming myself for ending our relationship because I was questioning my sexuality? How do I get rid of this terrible guilt? And most importantly, how do I get to a point where I can be genuinely happy for my ex and his girlfriend? I hope this doesn't sound petty. I'm really trying to get through this and be a better person. I'm in a relationship now that I want to progress and move forward in. I don't want to be tied up in all this age-old muck anymore.
Member # 25425
posted 03-02-2009 02:59 AM
First of all, I want to say that it sounds like you're not giving yourself enough credit. You say you feel like you haven't moved on and haven't found an identity independently of him, but in so many ways, you HAVE! I remember talking to you when you were considering ending that relationship, and you've come such a long way since then. You've started to pay more attention to your own wants and needs, you've moved away from your ex, you've come out, you're in a new relationship. There's so much you've already done and achieved. It's not easy getting out of a relationship that lasted for so long, and was so serious, especially when you entered it so young. Long-term relationships, dysfunctional or not, shape our identities and it IS hard to disentangle yourself from that, to start to see your future independently of a partner, to essentially build a NEW future. It's also often very scary, and so there is nothing unusual about you still feeling a little lost at this point.
Can I ask why you are still in touch with your ex? Do you both want to maintain a friendship? What do you both get out of it? I ask because, while I am a big fan of building friendships with exes, it sometimes takes a while after the break-up before you can go there. Sometimes you just need to take a break from each other and not be in touch and get on separately for a while before you come back to each other. And it sounds like you'd really benefit from taking a break from him, and not being exposed to his new relationship and his wedding plans. I also, for the record, don't think that you 'failed' at anything. Relationships aren't contests of skill, and thus you can't be 'good' or 'bad' at relationships. There are many skills that come in handy for making a relationship work (communication, honesty, etc), but even with all of that in place, relationships can end. You didn't do anything wrong in deciding not to marry your ex, or in discovering your sexuality. Quite the opposite: you did what was RIGHT for you. And things have turned out okay, haven't they? You're in a good new relationship, and so is your ex. Basically, my advice is: You're already doing a great job of moving forward, so just keep doing what you have been. The one thing I think you might change is being in contact with your ex. I think you'd benefit from not hanging out with him for a while, and truly being separate and independent of him.
Member # 28780
posted 03-02-2009 08:52 AM
Thank you for the input, joey. I really appreciate it. It's weird. My ex and I split over a year ago, but I think the reason why I'm having such a hard time right now is because we never took that real break from each other to get our own headspace back. We only just stopped living together about two months ago.
And yeah, I want to stay in touch with my ex because I really want to maintain a friendship. We're each other's best friend. But, hearing about his wedding plans and hearing him gush about this girl when I wanted SO badly for that to be me at one point, is just too hard. And I'm tired of feeling sad every time I see him. All I want to get out of being friends with him, is that: just being friends. Having him to talk to, hanging out from time to time, supporting each other, and being happy for each other. Thank you for the kind words of support. I guess I *have* made some progress since we broke up and I really wasn't seeing it that way. I've been blaming myself for all this stuff since we broke up.
Member # 25425
posted 03-02-2009 11:52 AM
You're welcome. Glad I've been able to be of some help.
To be honest, if you were still living with your ex until just two months ago, it's not surprising at all that you feel like you haven't moved on yet. Again, not seeing each other for a while now doesn't mean that you have to never see each other again. I hear that you've got a great friendship and want to keep that, and you can, but it sounds like, right now, what you need is to not hang out with your ex for a while. I hope you two can talk about that, and take that break from each other now.
Member # 28780
posted 03-02-2009 11:12 PM
I think taking a real break, for the first time since we've known each other, would be the best thing right now. It just sucks though because that won't be able to happen until we separate our households all the way. He's moving out reallllllly slowly, which means every few days/weeks I have to deal with him coming over here and watch him physically take our home apart. It kills me. A few days ago he came over to get his desk and I kept it together while he was here but after he left I was crying for about an hour.
I have no idea what we're going to do with the engagement ring we have hidden in the clock in our living room. I hate that thing. I hate it because it reminds me of all the terrible things that happened when we were breaking up. I want to fling it into the ocean or something. I also hate that this is giving me major anxiety about my new relationship. I'm SO f****** frustrated right now because I THOUGHT I was past all this, but when he started telling me about the wedding they're planning I just pretty much lost it. My girlfriend told me she loves me about a week ago, and I had to tell her that I wasn't ready to say it back, and I'm now I'm scared I'll never be ready. I don't want to break her heart, and I don't want to waste her time. I care about her a lot. She is the first person I've ever felt completely physically attracted to and actually enjoyed having sex with. She is funny, and sarcastic, and doesn't take crap from people and is everything I was looking for in a girlfriend. And I thought that I was happy, and I was, but then I started having all these doubts and feeling bad that I'm thinking about my ex so much when I have such a great thing with this new person. I feel so petty and small. Why can't I just be happy with this awesome new relationship and get over my ex who wasn't right for me in SO many many ways. I don't want to talk to him about taking a real break because every time I see him face to face I just want to curl up into a ball and cry. I know we have to talk about it though. It's driving me crazy being around him, but I miss him so much sometimes too, in ways that I don't understand. I guess the question I have, and I'm honestly lost about this, how do I keep this stuff with my ex (dealing with him moving out, taking a real break, etc.) from screwing up my current relationship?
Member # 25425
posted 03-03-2009 03:07 AM
Is there any particular reason WHY it's taking him so long to move out? Maybe I just have more practice moving, but it really shouldn't take over two months to remove ones belongings from an apartment. I absolutely understand why it would be stressful to a) still live with so many of his things and b) have him come into your space all the time. Have you tried telling him that this process is stressful for you? I think it might be a really good idea, at this point, to just call up a few friends, throw a big moving party, and have them help you pack the rest of his things into boxes and bringing them to his new place. It's not fair of him to drag this out for soooo long, and also just not necessary at all.
As for that ring, why DON'T you fling it into the ocean? Or put it in a box and bury it somewhere? If you still have all of these negative emotions tied up with the memory of your time together, a symbolic act like that might help you to literally let go a little. You know, an ex partner getting married IS stressful. If this ex partner is also still in your life, if this was someone you had a long relationship with, if this wedding planning is something you are exposed to a whole lot - that's very obviously going to be emotionally stressful. So, again, it seems to me that the problem lies in the fact that you're not giving yourself the chance to completely let go of your ex: You've still got him right there in your life. Obviously cutting him out entirely for a while is a difficult thing to do, but I think it's very important for you right now that you do that. The first step would be, like I said, to make sure that he speeds up the moving process. Tell him that you'd like his next visit to pick up some stuff to also be his last. If he can't do that on his own, ask some friends for help. And then let him know that you need some space to get over him, and that you want to not be in touch at all for a while. And I think that all of this is also key in answering your question at the end of the post, how you can get through this without risking your new relationship. Because the thing is, it's totally normal to miss an ex and have a hard time moving on, even if you ARE happy in a new relationship. But it's harder if that ex is still a huge part of your life. None of this means that you don't feel strongly for your girlfriend, or that you'll never get over your last relationship. It just means that you haven't had the chance yet to move on, and concentrate on your girlfriend. So you really need to put your foot down with your ex and make sure that he gives you the space you need and deserve. Don't accept any excuses from him. Ask him to pick up his stuff asap, and then tell him that you two need to take a break from each other. [ 03-03-2009, 03:08 AM: Message edited by: September ]
Member # 28780
posted 03-03-2009 11:26 PM
Grrrrr....I tried to talk to him today. I texted him this morning and said, "Hey I need to talk to you. Could you call me when you have some free time today?" The guy is a framer, so I can't bother him at work without endangering his safety. So...he decided to call me as he was driving around in circles trying to find an address and having road rage. *Sigh*. I tried to tell him that he could call me back when he was in a better mood, but he just yelled at me and said he didn't want this conversation "hanging over his head."
I did my best to explain everything to him, but when I told him that I want him to move his stuff out in a more timely manner he said: "I can't afford a f****** big car to move all my s*** in!!!" So, that was that. And when I told him we needed to take a break from hanging out, he started arguing with me about something else. Ugh. I did my best, I really did. I think he kinda showed his true (selfish) colors in that conversation though...suddenly getting over him isn't feeling so hard. By the way I found a new place I think I'm moving within a week.
Member # 25425
posted 03-04-2009 02:39 AM
Ya know, it sounds like it'll be good of you to have him out of your life, for more than one reason. I understand being attached to someone you have so much history with, but it sounds like he isn't any great shakes at being a friend, either.
It's probably a good idea to take the initiative here and move out of the place yourself, as it doesn't sound at all like he's going to make the effort to get out of your hair quicker. So that's a great decision, and one I'm sure will be very beneficial for you. Good luck with the moving!
Member # 3
posted 03-04-2009 09:08 AM
Fallchild, I just wanted to take a minute to send you my good thoughts and best wishes. You've had a LOT on your plate this year, and I'm so glad you've been able to talk it out, and think it looks to me like you've been doing a great job.
Member # 28780
posted 03-08-2009 04:20 PM
Thanks for talking this out with me, Joey
And thank you Heather for all your encouragement and good thoughts. I can't really explain how much it means to me and has meant to me through this tough year. Thank you thank you thank you This site and all the help from you and the volunteers have saved my life on more than one occasion. I'm starting a life that is completely my own for the first time. I found a new place with some cool roommates and I'm moving at the end of this week. I finally came out and now I'm in the most healthy, functional, communicative, fun, non-abusive/manipulative relationship I have EVER been in....and it's with a WOMAN The other night for the first time I told my girlfriend that I love her, and I really really meant it Thank you again Scarleteen Love you guys.
Member # 25425
posted 03-08-2009 04:25 PM
Congratulations! It's so good to hear that you're getting to start fresh. I hope it all works out for you, and you stay this happy.
And you're very welcome. Glad to have been of help.