Difficulty Building Life After Bad Times

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

I have had a very rocky path since finishing university 3 years ago. I have been unable to settle down in one place geographically or professionally, largely due to my desire to keep a relationship with my now ex boyfriend together. I met him in university and we were together for 3,5 years. We broke up 3 weeks ago and, though I am very sad that he is no longer a part of my life, I am looking forward to the future and the opportunities it has in store.

The problem is that in the aftermath of the relationship I have realized that I placed far too little emphasis on my life as an individual. I made some bad decisions, like following my boyfriend around where he found a job in order for us to be together. We come from different countries so I focused on keeping the relationship rather than working on my own career after uni. I think that I was suffering from mild depression, which was exacerbated by my inability to find a job in the place I moved to with my partner. I was feeling low and unable to do much and expected my boyfriend to be an emotional rock, which he really tried to be for me. I realize now that this was unfair and wrong. After a time of unsuccessful job hunting I decided that I would go back to my home country to pursue further education. Another series of unlucky events followed and now I find myself back home, with an unsatisfactory social life, in a job I do not want and newly single.

I would like to use this time in my life to turn things around and consciously build the kind of future that I want. My biggest problem is that I feel unable to open up to and share my feelings with anyone but my ex and we are no longer in touch. I also find it difficult to define what I want career wise and organize myself well enough to achieve any future goals. I am rather lost and think that my lack of success is due to my own errors in judgment. I would like to avoid making the same mistakes again. I am dealing well enough with the grief of losing my partner, but being fulfilled by my social and professional life seems far off at the moment. I would appreciate any practical advice as well as an external perspective on the situation.

A: It sounds like you have learned a lot from this loss. You understand where you lost yourself and what decisions placed you and the relationship in a precarious position.

Moving forward toward realizing your dreams and goals sounds like the right idea. It’s unclear from the letter if you are attending advanced studies while you are living at home. If you are, then I would highly recommend you talk to counselors at university who specialize in this transition time for young adults. Focusing on yourself is the right idea and finding a supportive professional who can listen and help sort it all through this and next right step.

If you’re not in university now I would recommend recieving some counseling so you have a better understanding of your options and needs.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 May 2014

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2014). Difficulty Building Life After Bad Times. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/05/30/difficulty-building-life-after-bad-times/