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RealSupport, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 3191
Experience:  MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
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My girlfriend wants space to think about her unresolved feelings

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My girlfriend wants 'space' to think about her unresolved feelings for her ex girlfriend who left her for another women 8 months ago. Her ex girlfriend contacted her about 4 weeks ago. My girlfriend hid this from me. She later admitted that her ex contacted her and that she realises that she has unresolved issues to sort out. She says that her ex girlfriend is now single again and regrets leaving her and that her ex thinks that she is the love of her life and wants to try again.
I am truely heartbroken and not sure what to do. I know i can't make someone stay in a relationship of they don't want to, but I also think that if my girlfriend gets back with her ex that she is likely to hurt her all over again and she could have been happy with me. Please help!

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you. (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I am truly sorry to know about this painful situation.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Only you know how frustrating and overwhelming it could feel for you to suddenly find yourself facing a situation like this. Sadly what your girlfriend has told you shows her confusion, conflicts and expectations. No doubt this is very scary for you to witness once you have developed a relationship, where attachment and affection are already involved, but as you said, there is nothing anybody in your shoes should do, to keep another person close if that person does not feel the same.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

This situation seems to show how she did not process what happened in this past relationship, and when that happens, scenarios like this could arise anytime. In her case it's been only 8 months, but people could take years and still have unresolved feelings - attachment to ex-partners, and that would deeply impact the way they shape present relationships and how they evolve.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

In relationships, it is not only about people who to want to be together, but about both feeling the other as the best partner to share at those levels, and when there are doubts about it, there is noway a relationship could evolve and grow as a healthy and fulfilling one.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

This is why I believe you are wise coming to terms with the fact she needs to find out what she feels, wants and to work on what resolving any issues affecting her ability to be truly present and build a relationship with you.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

The best you could do is to continue to show real respect and support, being totally honest and open about what you feel and fear about this situation, but it would be her who would choose what she wants to do and from there afford the consequences. That would part of her own learning process, and even when you and other people could see how dysfunctional and self-sabotaging it could be for her to expose to this same person over again, he best you can do is to respectfully XXXXX XXXXX support and hope she could be open to listen and handle this situation with carefulness.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I can see you have joined the chat, but it seems the chat's technical issues are not allowing you to post. I would change the format from chat to postings in order for you to be able to reply. Thank you for your patience.

Please feel free to reply now. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Did you get my response?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi, thanks for your response. I agree that it is an emotional thing to realise that the person you care for has unresolved feelings for their ex. The hardest thing is working out a way to approach my girlfriend on the issue. I want to cnvince her to stay with me but deep down know that that will not achieve anything. I feel lost

You're very welcome. I support you, this is tough for you to cope with, and the best you can do is to be totally truthful with yourself and honest towards her, for her to better know the risks exposing herself to this other person could present, but at the same time, it would not be a wise idea to try to push her to stay with you while she feels the way she does, that would not help her, you nor your relationship.

For relationships to be truly healthy, they need to have both partners happy to be together, because both feel that's what they want the most. If there is any doubt in even one of you, pushing the relationship would not promote it, but distort it, leading to something unhealthy.

Continue to show that you care, what you think and want, but also being totally respectful and realistic about the issues involved, and the process she needs to work on in order to take better care of herself first, then to find out what she truly wants, and to learn from her own experience about reality, which is something essential she needs to go through in order to mature and heal, even when it could imply further pain and mistakes.

On the other hand you need to work on taking good care of yourself too, in order to effectively cope with this overwhelming situation, tough for sure, but one that you need to face and grow from.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

So you think I should allow her the space she needs to work through this? That involves her moving back to Poland from Australia, which essetially means she will be leaving me indefinatley. I suppose I realise that there is nothing I can or should do to convince her to stay, it is just very painfull to feel rejected. I am upset withmyself that I am letting this situation make me feel so weak. I am usually a very strong person but rejection is a killer. I can't compete with the memory of an ex and I shouldn't have to. But still it is very hard. I am so scared of telling her that it is over because I know she will say yes it is. And then it is really over. But I also know that it is over and the more we 'talk' about it, it is getting us nowhere.

Absolutely, I do not think there is another healthy and assertive option but to respect her will and choices, since it is about feelings and relationships, which again, ca never develop as healthy, strong and truly fulfilling ones unless both partners feel really happy and satisfied with each other. Pushing anything in this area would only lead to codependent dynamics and unhealthy relationships, which sooner r later would present further issues rooted in such deficiencies.

Each of you need to take full responsibility for your own choices and actions, and if that's what sh wants and does, then she will have to afford the consequences from it, and that's fine, that'd be part of her learning process to become a more mature, assertive and healthier individual. You could offer everything you feel you want and can provide, but that's it, everything else depends on her, and if what you are pointing is not the same, it would be helpless to attach to further expectations or feelings, since it would just lead to further and destructive conflict and frustration.

Yes, it is tough but real, and the more you delay facing realty, the more painful and harder it would become for you, and the last thing you want here is to make things more difficult for you. Here your support system needs to play an active role supporting you to better cope and heal from it. Nobody knows what would happen in the future, but you know and need to take care of what depends on you and happens in your present, since from it everything else in your life would evolve.

Please consider individual counseling as an ideal source of support for you to better cope, grief and heal from this overwhelming experience.
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