Dealing with the Relationship Ice

Today we’re answering a question from a 20-something reader on the age-old issue of trying to make sense of an unexplained break-up. Shedding some perspective on dealing with the “WHY?” we have two women and one man from my 40+ panel. Breaking up without breaking up is ever easier in the age of text. I also included relationship expert Esther Perel’s Relationship Accountability Spectrum chart and blog post with her call to action to bring breaking up respectfully back.

Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 7.49.23 AMI dated a guy for 4 months (long distance). We talked, texted or FaceTimed every day and he flew me to see him a few times. Two weeks after my last trip down there he became distant. I knew he was having issues with the long distance. He eventually told me in a text message that it would be “easier for both of us if we stopped talking”.

I feel so heart broken and discarded. Rejection feels fucking terrible. You think a 30-year-old man would be mature or kind enough to get on the phone to have the conversation, but he wouldn’t. This is the same man who told me he loved me. Was it bullshit? Now I’m struggling to be happy and I miss him all the time.  I know that I will overcome this, but what do I make of his actions?  

I just want to be happy again. I finally have the job I want in the location I want and I’m not happy. It’s pathetic that so many things can be going right in my life and I’m letting the one “bad” thing tear me down.


Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 7.49.13 AMUnfortunately, all men are not mature. It sounds like you dated someone who wanted to be in love with you — and maybe even believed he was — but then either met someone else or decided he wasn’t in love when distance kept you apart. It’s terrible to miss someone but frankly after only 4 months of long-distance dating you must admit to yourself that you really didn’t know him as well as you thought. The most important thing now is for you to get closure (either by hashing it out with him or dealing with it on your own). What you should NOT do is keep wondering why or questioning “what’s wrong with me?”. He wasn’t the one, but there IS a right guy out there. – wife, mom, ad exec, NYC
Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 7.49.13 AMRejection feels terrible because it’s terrible. Someone who is clearly not honest with you doesn’t deserve you, but I don’t think the fact that he’s not worth your time makes it hurt less. It does mean that you can be grateful his true colors showed now, as opposed to five years from now — think of the time you have saved! Let yourself be angry and upset for a while, and don’t beat yourself up for not being so resilient that you’re unaffected by the hurtful actions of people you trusted. It’s completely normal to feel sad, outraged, and confused when someone who’s led you to believe that he values your emotional well-being does something damaging — it would be really weird if you didn’t feel like crying or screaming at the unfairness of the situation. You don’t need to bounce right back with a smile and a sunny attitude. The best insight I can offer from the other side of 40 is that when painful things happen — and they’ll keep happening throughout your life — I know from experience that I’ll come out on the other side eventually. I might not know when or how, but I’ve learned that no matter how hurtful the breakup, lost promotion, family crisis, or any other event, I’ll get through it, and go on to feel happy again. The sadness still feels just as real, but alongside it is the recognition that there were times before when I felt so sad that I couldn’t see my way past it, and somehow I moved on. And honestly, I wouldn’t want to be friends with someone who has never experienced any kind of emotional setback and lived to rebuild his or her life. People like that tend not to be very thoughtful or empathetic.  – married, mom, education
Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 7.49.13 AMWell first of al, it’s very likely all over. The more you hurt and show him this, the more you will continue hurting. You need to take the plunge and accept its over. Absolutely stop communicating with him and get something else going in your life. It is the holidays and festive…get involved in it. The longer you leave this in the forefront of your thoughts, he longer it will be for the pain to begin to recede. Let’s face it….it was 4 months long. Sorry to say, more a crush than having time to develop into a love affair! There will be many more in your life. – male, divorced, dad, exec, NYC

Ester Perel on Relationship Accountability

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