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Dr. Norman Brown
Dr. Norman Brown, Marriage Therapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 874
Experience:  Family Therapist & teacher 35+ yrs; PhD research in couples
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Hi, Im going through a breakup which I wanted but I just cannot

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Hi, I'm going through a breakup which I wanted but I just cannot seem to cope.
I've had three other serious relationships. The first was my first love and it went for just over a year. I broke up with him because I didn't think I was in love with him, I cried for three days and then was fine.
The second serious one I fought with a lot. It lasted just under a year. Last straw when I broke up with him was because he slept in the same bed as a girl we had agreed that he wouldn't. I felt so happy and as if a weight had been lifted.
The third partner I was with for 4.5years and we lived together for 1.5. I broke up from him because he withdrew himself with me and never spent any time with me. I asked him to move out and one week later we was gone. I was completely unaffected by it.
Now I have just broke up with my fourth serious partner of two years. It has been two weeks and I am completely devastated. My brain tells me there are several reasons why we broke up: he lies, he has no time for me, he puts me down. I broke up with him and yet every day all day for the last two weeks I have cried.
I have always been someone who when is sad I have to go out and get my mind off things. I am also the type of person that when I'm sad I don't like to talk about it because whats the point and I eat a lot. But with him absolutely everything I do is different, I can't seem to let go even though I know its for the best. I can't eat anything, I'm anti-social, I just want to talk about it with everyone. Its like I haven't convinced myself. I need to get over this, he is moving out tomorrow. I don't want to keep feeling like this, why can't i listen to logic this time? This isn't me at all. I have even written two pages of why I shouldn't be with him, and it only took me 20mins to type up, i read it daily. Please help.
Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 12 months ago.

Dr. Norman Brown :

Here's why it's so difficult: You've never allowed yourself to grieve for losing a love before. It sounds like you're getting close to age 30, and that's a normal transition period between experimental adulthood (20s) and committed-to-a-path serious adulthood; so you may be due for facing issues of what's important enough to commit yourself to that are surprisingly more intense than ever before. I'd guess also that you didn't allow much singlehood time between the BIG one and this one, and you may have prevented yourself from feeling what you NEED to feel and thinking about what you NEED to think about during and after a breakup by distracting yourself with good ol Australian beer, distractions ("get my mind off things"), and perhaps sex and "new love" as soon as possible.

Dr. Norman Brown :

So now that you're pushing 30, you've hit the wall that you've managed to zoom through with barely notcing before, the tidal wave of grief that is what's needed to wash you clean and prepare you for stepping back into life after having dealt seriously with the issues involved in loving and losing.

Customer:

Yes I am 26, but I am not worried that I won't find someone else. I know there are plenty more people out there and I also know I have plenty of time. I also know I deserve better.
I think you are right, I have had a distraction from each partner. All had a rebound guy except my 4.5year relationship where my bf happen to break up with her bf too so we were there for each other drinking every weekend.

Dr. Norman Brown :

This is probably the OPPOSITE of what you wanted to hear, since you've been in the habit of priding yourself in not feeling bad for more than a few days to a week, when after the 4.5yr love you could have been "down" and trying to understand yourself and develop your personality without another lover for at least a year. You're also, at least in your initial self-justifications, blaming the bloke, except in #1 where you stopped loving him; so you might not be taking the time to examine your relationships for long enough to write out how they grew up, what became problems in them, and how they came unraveled. This could be a really good time to give yourself at least 3 months with NO boyfriend and actually write about all 4 relationships very carefully, so you can begin to learn about yourself through examining how you felt and acted in them.

Dr. Norman Brown :

So are you saying that this last one developed out of you and the guy consoling each other after your 4.5yr and his gf too?

Dr. Norman Brown :

I taught psych of relationships to students from 19 to 35 for 21 years, and for 17 of them they got to write about all of their most important relationships, using the course learning to study themselves and try to learn from their experience. I'm saying also, that you can feel VERY sad and cry almost ever day for weeks and still go to work in between, and rebuild a more independent self and diversity your friendships and develop more supportive solo-interests.

Dr. Norman Brown :

I have a 20 page appendix in my Psych of Rels book about recovery from loss of a love that teaches a lot about that, which I could scan, but it doesn't work to attach to on this site, so I'd have to have another way of sending it--and you can't print your email unless you avoid the at sign and disguise it, I also have the instructions I used for the relationship study paper I used to assign, and they were only guidelines to help the writers design their own self memory-research.

Customer:

Although I wasnt ready for marriage with him, he was the man that changed my mind about children. He challenged me with a lot of things that other men didn't.
Yes there was only 3months between the relationships.
I'm finding it a little hard to follow what you are trying to tell me. From every relationship I have kept my identity and felt confident. From this breakup i feel like I lost myself, he is the only man I tried to change myself for. I blame myself sometimes, but then I remind myself that he made me who I am. He lied to me on several occasions and so I became paranoid, jealous and things I'm not normally. When I came back from holidays he told me he had urges for other women while I was gone and then wanted a break, this also made me worry that suddenly he'd do it again WHICH HE DID!
I feel like I know exactly why they all ended. I did pro's and con's for the last relationships before I ended them and a couple I kept daily diaries.

I'm not sure if I was consoling him? I don't feel like he was for me. He was single for a year before me, he had been in a relationship for 5 years and was married for one of them (which the divorce was finalised 5months into our relationship.

But I don't want to cry every day. I'm usually a logical person. I want to stop. I know this is the right thing, but because I cry constantly I'm having doubts.

XXXXX@XXXXXX.XXX

Customer:

oops I was meant to say that my bestfriend, she broke up with her bf at the same time so we went out drinking all the time.

Customer:

Also I have another question to help me move on. In all my other relationships I have remained friends with my exes. Now I'm not too sure with this ex. I feel so much better when I talk to him, like I'm a bit in denial, but it's more like a slower transition from constantly seeing each other and talking, to catching up once every 6months. I feel like I'd be lost without him, so I still stay friends with him? He wanted to still live with me in the spare room but I know I'd just want him so he's moving out tomorrow

Dr. Norman Brown :

You asked "what's the point?" about grieving: The point is to absorb the meaning of each relationship into your own personality, rather than distracting yourself and then making the same mistakes over again; it's growing in conscious awareness of how you think and act, and what your feelings lead you to do, in spite of thinking that you're a logical person. It's part of what psychology is all about--Knowing Yourself, and you're never more spontaneously yourself than in your love relationships, because the pleasure of love intensifies the pain of love , and imagining that you're acting rationally just makes you unaware of the emotional reactions that are determining which directions your rational justifications are leading you in. By the way, I wrote that you can't type your email address with an at sign in it, but you must disguise it instead. All I see is ex's and the at sign, so just put the 5 letter word and then the six letter word with three other words in between and don't bother with com unless it's net instead. ;But I also need to know if you really want to read about recovery from a breakup and/or if you want to write about your love relationships in order to study yoursel before I go to the trouble of scanning the 20p document (including a few cartoons), which I really need to get combined into a single document. The "relationship resume" instructions are already in a single Word file, so I could enhance it and attach it fairly easily, possibly even from this website. I was writing while you were writing, so it looks like some of this is not useful.

Dr. Norman Brown :

But I do have a section about staying friends in my 20 chapter, and yes, it is very conducive to denial, and the temporary uplift of being together is likely to prolong the depressive effect of having to undo the denial again. Most times when you see an exlover there's a surface interaction, and as that sinks in, typically afterwards, the emotions that were shaken awake come bubbling up, and then you go thru revisiting memories, getting confused and upset and then coming to some new awarenesses, as you've already learned to do by writing in diaries (which I did too, from age 18 until today (age 70)--though I had all but one between 18 and 45 eaten by cockroaches in a shed out back of my Florida house.

Customer:

I know what you are saying, that everyone must grieve, however I'm hesitant because I have never grieved. I know you and everyone says its normal, however I don't think my grieving is crying. My Father died when I was 7, I understood but never cried. I miss him but I cannot change anything. My Nana died two years ago and I was unaffected. My relationships failed and apart from my first love I just thought "it hasn't worked, move on." I know I distract myself and you are saying its unhealthy, I've been to counselling for anxiety where I was being taught not to distract but to find methods of dealing with the things that make me anxious.

Perhaps I'm being ignorant but this is the only relationship I've made mistakes. I've reflected on the others and I feel I know what went wrong and why it couldn't work. Perhaps that is me grieving for him, because I am reflecting and realising all the mistakes?

Dr. Norman Brown :

Catching up every 6 months is more normal. You've already isolated some of the different values in this last guy--who also seems to be older and therefore more capable of intimacy (way beyond sex) than the others. And deciding why you broke up is only some of the most important knowledge to get from studying your relationships. Since you have written in diaries, you will have a lot more good data to work from for learning about yourself.

Customer:

I would still very much like your document, I will pay u for your effort. diejam at hotmail did that work?

Customer:

one other question. when he moves out tomorrow shall i be a friend and be around? or should i stop talking to him and stay in my room (he wont come in) or not be at home?

Dr. Norman Brown :

Yep. I have to go to bed now (2:13am EastCoast Time) but I will see if I can get a computer store to package my breaking up chapter into a single file like I could when I was at my college for 23 yrs. And the writing document will be easy, as I indicated.

Dr. Norman Brown :

What you do tomorrow could be helpful if you get a little time to hug and say some things of value to each other; but if you pretend to be all business and just help carry stuff, your defenses might just tie you more in knots inside.

Dr. Norman Brown :

By the way, my wife's beloved father died when she was 11, and her mother was part mother and part malignant narcissist-scapegoat-her, second part predominating. The family avoided grief, so She had to learn to cry in Jungian analysis at 25, she's still barely able to cry and always dodges grief, but she (doesn't cry) will talk about killing herself when she contemplates our only daughter's (now 25) incurable congenital pain disorder. So I know (and sometimes suffer from) what happens when early grief is suppressed. And it's not so simple that you can just turn an imaginary inner faucet on and everything will get better.

Dr. Norman Brown :

I'm finishing up in my kitchen, so I'll check once more before turning the computer off.

Customer:

I'm sorry to hear. Thank you for all your help. I don't feel any better like I hoped but appreciate the effort and look forward to your email.

Dr. Norman Brown, Marriage Therapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 874
Experience: Family Therapist & teacher 35+ yrs; PhD research in couples
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