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Dr. L
Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1166
Experience:  Psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapist
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I am about 3.5 months into a sudden and unexpected break with

Resolved Question:

I am about 3.5 months into a sudden and unexpected break with my GF. I am taking anti-depressants but still anxious....am I going badly wrong or does it take longer time?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. L replied 2 years ago.

Dr. Levang :

Hello,

Dr. Levang :

I would like to help you with your question.

Dr. Levang :

An end to a relationship is a death of sorts. It is impossible to be in a relationship one day and have feelings for that person..and then the next day there is nothingness. You wrote that the breakup was sudden and unexpected...likely you felt some amount of shock in the beginning that left you rather numb. As time has gone on that numbness has worn off and you are now feeling more of the effects of that loss. You are grieving! And grief is a process that, unfortunately, takes time.

Dr. Levang :

You don

Dr. Levang :

't say how long you were in this relationship. That will also be a factor. What reasons the relationship ended could also have an impact on your grief.

Dr. Levang :

Depending on when you started the anti-depressants and what anti-depressant it is...they may or may not have started to work. If it has been more than 2 months, I would encourage you to see the physician or psychiatrist that prescribed them to have a re-check.

Dr. Levang :

I understand your reluctance to depend on medication. However, as you are still feeling in pain you may want to wait just a bit longer until you feel stabilized enough to slowly stop using them.

Dr. Levang :

Yes...getting over a relationship can be a slow and painful process. Grief can be that way.

Dr. Levang :

I see you are in chat. I will wait to see your posting and then we can chat.

Customer:

I was in the relationship for 3.5 years. It was good. She is German and hid her feelings and ended it immediately with one conversation. I haven't seen her or spoken to her since. But we have exchanged very basic emails. She wasn't mad but I was quite a bit older and I think she just found a better guy.

Customer:

I am taking Clonaxepam as needed (I seem to need it a lot)

Customer:

and Citalopram one a day. This really effected me. I thought I was getting better at about 3 months and weaned myself off these but I seem to be taking some steps back lately and back into an emotional and anxiety state.

Dr. Levang :

I am sorry this has been so difficult on you. I can only imagine how shocked you were when she ended the relationship in that phone call...wow.

Dr. Levang :

You write tha tyou feel you have taken some steps backward lately...

Dr. Levang :

Tell me more about that...what are you thinking....

Customer:

Oh sorry. She did it in person and was really nice but didn't give me much to go on. She said the new guy "communicated on a different level". It was very pat-Internet safe break up

Customer:

She tried to be nice but no closure.

Dr. Levang :

Oh, I see. So...that means she had been dating or interacting with this other person for some time.

Customer:

she wouldn't answer any questions on email afterwards. She loves me and feels bad but can't say sorry and offer any closure to me. So I have tried to handle it with dignity and not contact her unless she reaches out to me

Dr. Levang :

Did you feel betrayed? Did you wonder what you had missed in not knowing she was also seeing someone else?

Customer:

she said she was interested in him and interacted but no sex because it wasn't respectful of me

Customer:

all of the classic feelings

Dr. Levang :

You are being a gentleman! Good for you...but still there is the need for closure...that is human nature.

Customer:

Lonely, betrayed, confused,

Customer:

sad

Customer:

miss her

Customer:

lots of memorires

Dr. Levang :

Yes...I can understand how you would miss her...3.5 years in a relationship is a very long time!

Customer:

there are other things but I am not relying on them

Customer:

she changed her mind and I think still wanted kids

Customer:

she was 42

Customer:

she told me she didn't

Customer:

but then she asked me to reverse my vasectomy

Dr. Levang :

Yes...you are grieving...that is what we must do to move on...we need to feel all the feelings, accept the reality of the loss, and then, over time when our heart has healed, to move on.

Customer:

I trying

Customer:

I am doing everything

Customer:

journals

Customer:

drugs

Customer:

firend

Customer:

friends

Customer:

I guess I need to know if I am losing it mentally

Customer:

I am a very successful together exec

Dr. Levang :

How about a support group...a men's group...is there one that you can join?

Customer:

but never

Customer:

reacted like this

Dr. Levang :

No....you are not losing it...you are grieving...

Customer:

for this long?

Customer:

isn't this too long?

Customer:

my friends wonder why I haven't moved on

Dr. Levang :

All the symptoms you have described are about grief...about what we experience when we love someone and that love is lost.

Customer:

ok

Customer:

maybe a support group is a good

Customer:

idea

Customer:

also friends are saying a life coach

Customer:

look forward

Dr. Levang :

You invested 3.5 years into the relationship....is it really possible that in 3 months you wouldn't be thinking about her? or about the relationship?

Dr. Levang :

A life-coach could be a possibility...but I would say that a few sessions with a grief therapist might be a better route.

Customer:

No, I think I'm justified. But I worry about my friends reaction in thinking I am over-reacting

Customer:

It helps to hear that I am normal

Dr. Levang :

No. You are not over-reacting.

Customer:

thank you. this has been great. I guess just more tough slogging for the next number of months

Customer:

I am just a sensitive guy

Dr. Levang :

Let's put it this way.... we cannot be in a relationship one day and have no feelings for that person the next day.

Dr. Levang :

You spent 3.5 years with her...is it reasonable that it might take 3-6 months to grieve? Might it take longer?

Dr. Levang :

Here's what I believe...we all have the right to grieve for as long and as hard as we need ot...

Dr. Levang :

*to

Dr. Levang :

Your friends are well-meaning. They want you to happy. They want you out of this "slump"...that's great! But...their wants and your heart are 2 different things.

Dr. Levang :

You need to say good-bye to this relationship in your own time.

Dr. Levang :

Grief is an active not a passive process. Meaning...that the more energy you put in to processing your feelings the better you will be. So...instead of ignoring the sadness, anger, betrayal, hurt...look at it squarely in the face and say....this is how it feels when someone you love is not in your life any longer...Then process those feelings by: talking about them with an empathetic friend who is a good listener, getting out and exercising - there is "motion" in "emotion" - so get out and walk, bike, jog, hit a baseball...move your body!!!

Dr. Levang :

If you have worn out your friends by talking and you need an objective ear...get a therapist or join a support group.

Customer:

thank you. this is very helpful. and I have worn out my friends....so I don't talk to them anymore

Customer:

im not falling apoart is good to no

Customer:

know

Dr. Levang :

It sounds like your gf make a decision that was in her best interest...perhaps she does want children and that became her major motivator. So..her choice isn't really about you...but about her....about her dreams and aspirations...how she wants to fulfill her own life. That you got hurt...is certainly sad and unfortunate. But...when you think that we have one and only one life to lead...perhaps her choice is more understandable.

Customer:

She did. I don't blame her at all

Dr. Levang :

You are being a kind and considerate man.

Customer:

I knew we were not long. But I wish she would have been more compassionate about the break. She said I was the perfect boyfriend....

Dr. Levang :

You have a healthy perspective on this...

Dr. Levang :

And..while that feels good perhaps...it still hurts terribly.

Customer:

that she would have given me more closure and a time to tell her somethings on my mind and observations about our relationship

Customer:

she said she wanted to "be friends" and maybe far in the future

Customer:

but I can't do friends

Customer:

I need to make a hard break and get over this

Dr. Levang :

I agree...doing friends is an entirely different scenario...and right now it hurts to much to even consider such a move...

Customer:

I think the friends was as much trying to relieve guilt

Customer:

yes

Dr. Levang :

Yes...exactly...a hard break...

Dr. Levang :

As you wrote earlier...this has been a text-book breakup and that would have been part of it...extending an offer to friendship...

Customer:

friends want me to get mad and send her a f you letter but I can't. I am not a mad mean person, she means well, but I can't burn bridges with her

Dr. Levang :

Certainly she has feelings to and this could not have been easy...

Customer:

yep

Customer:

I think she read an article online and followed it to the letter

Dr. Levang :

You have loyal friends!!!

Customer:

which hurts me a lot

Customer:

my friends are amazing

Customer:

but I am hurting still

Dr. Levang :

That is rather disgusting to think that she resorted to a formulaic recipe..

Dr. Levang :

It does sound like you have wonderful friends. Here's a thought that often works in these situations...

Dr. Levang :

You could write a letter and pour out your heart's feelings...it does not have to be a mean letter...but one that expresses all you would like to say. Maybe you write it over a series of days. Then...with your friends..you have big bonfire and burn the letter...

Dr. Levang :

Then your friends can see that you are doing your best to accept this and to move on. They can have a role in your healing by helping to build the fire....they can offer words of encouragement...and so forth.

Dr. Levang :

Does this sound like something you would want to do?

Customer:

LOL sounds like a good plan. I have a few specific friends to try this on. Why not? I'm trying everything else.

Dr. Levang :

If they want...they can write the f... you letter...and they can stick that in the fire too.

Dr. Levang :

That way they can get empty out some of the pain they are carrying for you.

Customer:

good ideas thanks

Customer:

this has been very productive.

Dr. Levang :

Maybe you have a champagne toast at the end!

Customer:

I need to save this to read over and over

Dr. Levang :

I am glad you are feeling this is helpful!

Dr. Levang :

This chat is saved in your account and you can download or print.

Customer:

Sorry I accidentally ended this. I meant to thank you

Dr. Levang :

So you can read it over any time.

Dr. Levang :

You are very welcome! It has been my pleasure to have helped you today.

Customer:

Ill use you again

Dr. Levang :

If you would ever need my services again...just ask for me by name.

Dr. Levang :

Thanks!

Customer:

thank you

Dr. Levang :

There is one last thing I wanted to tell you.

Dr. Levang :

William Worden has devised a list of "Tasks of Grieving"

Dr. Levang :

He lists 4 things we experience as we grieve.

Dr. Levang :

If you do a quick google search..you will find the list.

Dr. Levang :

I encourage you to read this. It will give you a game plan of sorts...showing you what the major steps are in healing.

Dr. Levang :

My best to you!

Dr. Levang :

Take care!

Customer:

great idea I will

Dr. Levang :

Hello,

Dr. Levang :

I got a message that indicated you wanted to chat.

Dr. Levang :

I would certainly be happy to do that.

Dr. Levang :

Let me know...

Dr. Levang :

Thanks.

Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1166
Experience: Psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapist
Dr. L and 4 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

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