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Alicia_MSW, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 794
Experience:  Specializing in mental health counseling
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Thank you for offering your help! I'm 31yrs old and my ex is

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Thank you for offering your help!
I'm 31yrs old and my ex is 30, we were together for 8 years until she told me 2 years ago that she wanted to see other people and move on to "greener pastures". Still to this day I have a visceral reaction to hearing that, it hurt so bad to hear that and hit me like a freight train that night. I found out a week later she was seeing one of her clients (she's a hairstylist) We were married 3 years and the divorce just finalized last month. I love her so much and sent her letters expressing my love/how I forgive her and not to feel guilty as she has said to me. I just don't understand her on how she contacts me and wants me to help her on something like her car and we spend some quality time together then she doesn't call for like a month or 2. I just don't get why she plays these games with me and it feels like shes ignoring me and punishing me. She is on and off with that same guy she left me for and I hear from her friends that they fight like crazy!
Hello, I'm Alicia. Thanks for your question. I'm happy to help you today.
I can empathize with what you've been going through and I do understand how painful and difficult this situation has been for you, especially if her saying that she wanted to move on to "greener pastures" came from out of the blue. Saying something like that is especially hurtful because it implies that there's something "wrong" with you or that she's looking for something "better" - and it's never easy to hear something like that from someone you love. And then learning that she was seeing someone else is an additional blow that just made matters worse.
I give you credit for trying self-help techniques and different types of therapy, but nothing is going to really help if you're not ready to let go of this relationship. I know this probably isn't what you want to hear, but it sounds like you idealize her and feel like perhaps she's the only person who can make you happy (i.e. you're not complete without her, etc). But in reality, you have to be able to make yourself happy before you can be with someone else. And honestly, it sounds like she is using you when she needs to, such as with helping her with her car, and then when her needs are met, she leaves and you don't hear from her for several weeks. It's not fair to you and there's no justifiable explanation for it except that she seems to have moved on (whether she's with that same guy on and off, or not) yet she knows that you're still hooked on her. Unfortunately, the heart wants what the heart wants, and there's not much you can do to change her mind or yours, especially if you keep having this sporadic contact with her. Seeing her every few weeks or months is just enough to re-ignite your feelings for her and make you miss her and keep you hooked, but it doesn't sound like she is able to give you what you want right now. The most important thing is to try to let go. If things are meant to work out with her at some point in the future, they will, organically, not by you begging her or apologizing. Pleading with her is not going to earn her respect and by doing so, you might actually be pushing her away. Hanging on isn't getting you anywhere, as you can see. You know, if what you've done so far to get her back hasn't worked, it's not going to work. So if you are determined to get her back or not, trying the opposite approach is the only option. It's the harder option, but right now it sounds like you're banging your head against the wall hoping it will move.
So why not try something different? It's about acting "as if" - even if you don't feel like it right now. You have to put some distance between the two of you - give her a chance to miss you, let her wonder about you. I'm not saying you should play games with her, but I am saying that if there's any chance at all that she would be interested in you again, the only way that will happen is by giving her the opportunity to miss you and to realize what it was that she liked about you in the first place.
I don't advise hanging on to hope or putting your life on hold for her, of course. You should try to focus on yourself and try to build your life back up with or without her. Despite how much you love her, you can't live your life for someone who doesn't want to be with you right now, as hard as that can be to hear. But I think part of the reason why you might be so hooked is because it's the idea of wanting what you can't have right now. She appears more appealing to you because she's playing hot and cold with you, and because she's with someone else. So it's more a matter of time, patience and active effort to act differently than you have been so far.
I don't know if your goal is to win her back or to get over her, but it sounds to me like you have to take the same approach in either case, namely, getting your focus off her, and doing things differently than you have been. That may take some work, such as not allowing yourself to think or obsess about her. Daydreaming about her is only going to build up the fantasy of her in your head, and it's not giving you an accurate picture of reality. So try to avoid doing this as much as possible.
You might want to give therapy another shot, even though you say it didn't work, just to give you some extra support through this process, because it's certainly not easy to handle on your own. Sometimes, it takes several tries before you can find a therapist who's the right match.
I hope this helps, and I wish you luck. Please let me know if you need additional assistance.
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