Still Hurting Long After Breakup

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

In January 2009 my ex boyfriend of nine months broke up with me when i didn’t expect it. we had an interesting relationship, it started out mostly physical then developed into something more but he was always difficult to open up, which he blamed on his depression. I fell very hard for him and he fell only a little. We started having problems when he began pulling away and not contributing much to the relationship and i addressed it. At first he said he was afraid to get close because he was leaving for Italy for six months, which i accepted and decided to work on..but later that month i confessed my love for him and he said ‘he didnt know” which means he didn’t love me, and i knew that. but he did not want to break up so i didnt ask him to, because i didnt want to be without him. We stopped having sex and being physical all together, and when we did do physical things he was never really into it, which really bothered me. I felt ignored and hurt and cried all the time, but when we were together I was happy and content and forgot about all of this. When I was with him we had very good times but also very bad times, times when I was very upset and i got nothing from him. Also, the entire relationship I was worried about his ex girlfriend he had right before me, he lost his virginity to her and broke up with her about three days before kissing me..but I was always worried he wouldn’t get over her. Despite all these issues I stayed with him through the holidays, and he finally broke up with me on new years eve. We had planned to break up before he left (which put strain on our relationship too) but he wanted to stay ‘more than friends.’ It ended up that I couldn’t do that, so I ended it. We talked while he was in Italy and said goodbye before he left. After a while I realized I was not getting over him so I stopped talking to him and he stopped talking to me too. I had sent him an email right before i stopped talking to him that had some questions about a letter i wrote him that he did not respond to. I cut off all contact and was decided on getting over him, but then I saw that he had been talking to his ex girlfriend that i was worried about. To sum it up, they are together now and although its not official, the things he says to her are so sweet and caring i can’t believe it. i feel very hurt and although i am in a great relationship and am in love again, i keep snooping to see if they’re still together and wondering why she’s so great, why he loved her and not me, why he never was honest with his feelings about her and let me fall so hard for him. Now we are friends, as we have all the same friends and his best friend and my best friend are dating. I really wish sometimes he would have loved me, and i know you can’t force that but I find myself wishing i was her and he could have found me and loved me. I need advice on how to let go of all of this, because it haunts me in my dreams and is on my mind constantly. I don’t even know if I want to let go, but I must be persuaded somehow. I can’t stop snooping to see what he’s saying and what they’re doing, even though it hurts so much. I love my new boyfriend and he treats me amazing, so i just want to feel that and not be concerned with the past. I feel worthless because i was not worth it to my ex and he didnt mind breaking up with me but missed her right away. I feel like she’s perfect and i’m not. I even have dreams about her. I just this to go away somehow. Thanks for your help and sorry that this was so long!

A. You say you’ve moved on from your last relationship and now you’re dating someone else. That may be true in some respects but you’re still focusing on the old relationship and this may be harmful to your new one.

You’ve become obsessed with the fact that he essentially chose his ex over you. You’re taking it to mean that there is something wrong with you and that his ex was much better than you. The feelings you have about his ex and their relationship may be intertwined with feelings of jealousy and inferiority. As you said his choice makes you feel worthless.

Try not to overreact. I know that it is difficult not to, because you’re feeling hurt. It may be that the two of you were not a good match. It does not mean there’s something wrong with you. In fact, it likely has little to do with you. It’s better to think of it more realistically, that sometimes people simply match better with others.

Looking back at the relationship, can you say that it was fulfilling and loving? It began as a sexual relationship and never seemed to develop into anything more meaningful. If you set your emotions aside you may come to the realization that the relationship wasn’t healthy for you. A better relationship would have been one in which an emotional connection would have developed rather than just a physical one. Women generally want a relationship that is more than physical. They want to connect at an emotional level. They usually want love, not just sex.

In time your strong emotions about your ex will likely subside. I recommend that you shift your focus to your current relationship. Perhaps if you shift your energy into developing your current relationship, something meaningful will flourish and you’ll soon forget about your ex.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 2 Aug 2009

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2009). Still Hurting Long After Breakup. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 18, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/08/02/still-hurting-long-after-break-up/