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Dr-A-Green, Psychologist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 309
Experience:  Clinical and Forensic Psychologist
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I am a 21 year old guy, I went through a bad breakup

Customer Question

Hello I am a 21 year old guy, I went through a bad breakup recently, about a month ago. My now ex girlfriend was at first very aggressive when she told me she no longer wanted to be with me. A few days later we spoke and she was much more calm, but it soon became a fight, she later said she would give me another chance but never picked up the phone when we were supposed to meet. She later texted me calling me a jerk and saying I was not worth it, what a mistake I had been. Just to give some context, I never ever cheated, abused her or was rude, she was always the first thing on my mind. My friends and family all advise me to stay away, and are quite upset after I told them about the mean text messages. I however cannot seem to get upset at all, I feel miserable and not a minute goes by that I don't want to pick up the phone and call her. I am very confused and anxious, I am smoking cigarettes like crazy and I don't know if calling her and telling her how I feel is worth a shot. I want to call her because I am miserable and miss her so much, but the fact that she told me she does not love me the same way, and also that I suspect she is already with someone else stops me. I am confused on whether it is worth it to call her or should I focus on moving on and never speak with her again? Sorry for the long post, I would very much appreciate some advice. Cheers!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr-A-Green replied 1 year ago.

It makes sense to me that you'd be upset - of course! You've just been through a very rough break-up that was emotional and it's natural to be anxious over that - especially a break-up as confusing as this one sounds like it was. It's also normal to still have feelings for her. You were with her for a reason, and to still have some of those feelings and to miss her is something that is completely expected. You've suffered a loss and I'm quite sorry for that. On top of it, it sounds like you suffered a double loss because you were also belittled (for no reason) at the very end.

To be clear, it is for this reason alone that I would recommend picking up and moving on with your life (without your ex). If it had been an amicable break-up with no harsh words exchanged, I would say that calling her to tell her how you feel would be fine. However, when someone hurts you purposely by saying very hurtful things (no matter how upset they are), it's not healthy. So I wouldn't want you to reward that terrible behavior with telling her that you miss her and still have feelings. Quite simply put, you're better than that. And, I very much hope that you find a girl who is worth your affection - because she, quite definitely - is not.

That said, if you still have lingering feelings, why not write them down? The feelings you're having right now, while painful, are a lesson - to you, and potentially to others. A story, a poem, a song - I can barely think of a single (really good) one that wasn't inspired by exactly what you're feeling right now. Perhaps it can serve as a mode of expression for you that brings you positive things in the future. Maybe even a new (and better) girlfriend!

Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.

There are many things to learn about how to get over the loss of a love. Not being able to come down from it gradually is particularly painful. but when the dumper is trying to get away from the situation without dealing humanely with her partner, you have to look elsewhere for your comfort. (If she's an adult child of divorced parents she may be VERY much in need of having power and proving that she can find somebody else right away. There are other young people that can't cope with breakups in a considerate way too.)

Since you are dealing with loss of a love, think about all the other things you've done that you love to do, and start doing them again. Also beautiful places and things make you feel appreciation (& love) if you slow down enough to admire them--or meditate on them. Like Nature, beautiful music, paintings, gardens

Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.

Losing love is always going to be painful; but by going through the grieving with self-reflection we can get more capable of dealing with it. Since our society allows serial love relationships, we might as well learn about everything involved in its cycles. Every big emotional change in our life offers a chance to learn something valuable for use in our life, and what you've been given is one of these times. You don't have HER anymore, but you do have yourself; and you can learn to love yourself more by taking care of yourself in new ways now (as Dr-A-Green has offered a few). I've mentioned doing and appreciating things you love, because the greater reward in love relations is LOVING, not being loved. And you can turn now to other people and things you love--nobody can take those away from you: especially things and people of beauty and excellence. Make a list of those things and people, and then put some on your agenda to cultivate. You have good people around you already. By focusing on things of beauty and excellence you can relearn how to express&experience your love without needing a person to direct yourself towards. This is a habit that much more mature people get better and better at (reading, drawing, walking, exploring, meditating, etc.). Loving hurts a lot when you're suddenly rejected; and this is a path toward regaining your balance. Keep a journal of what you're loving around you as a balance for your feelings during your grieving now. And observe also what's going on inside of you, as a commitment to gaining appreciation for your own inner being and greater capacity to use your own mind and emotions for your own benefit.

Being dumped is a helpless feeling, so it can be helpful to seek understanding of what happened and why--and to learn what you can for the next relationship. I taught a Psych of Relationship class at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for 21 years, and the textbook I wrote has a 15page Appendix that explains a lot about recovering from the breakup with dignity. For over 15 of those years I gave students the option to write about their relationships (after first describing their parents' relationship and each parent's effects on them), about the turning points, the ways they flourished and withered or changed in each chapter of their loves--as a way of learning about themselves and preparing for more reflective and conscientious relationships in the future. YOU can do that now, as a commitment to getting ready for your next relationship and giving yourself a better experience base on which to operate in loving. If you would like to do that, I'll send you the instructions I wrote for those "Relationship Resumes." And if you also want to get extensive comments by a Marriage Therapist of 40+ years (whose second doctoral research dissertation was on the love lives of adult children of divorce in my classes), you can send it to me when you're finished and I'll take the time to comment very carefully.

I'm not suggesting that you Should do this, but just that you Can take advantage of your present suffering to create a significant "learning opportunity" for yourself. I don't expect that you could create such a relationship-history in a week--esp when you're in the early weeks of grief. I'd expect it to take you a month or two. But I'd be glad to help you understand by starting from what you're writing and adding to that from my decades of experience with people in your stage of life.

Expert:  Dr-A-Green replied 1 year ago.

If you found my comments helpful, please be sure to leave a rating for me. Thank you!

Best wishes,

Dr. G.

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