I’ve been reading Autostraddle for years on years now and always see people’s questions but have never quite had the courage to ask one myself.
My ex broke up with me very suddenly last June, we had been up and down for some time, but had resolved that we were going to work on it together because we had the vision and the want for our future.
I can still picture every element of the night she ended things; her crying on our bed (incredibly unusual as she never showed her emotions, only anger) the pitch of my voice asking her ‘what are you saying’ when she couldn’t get the words out of her mouth, the way the air smelled when I walked out of the house to try and process… It still haunts me when I spend enough time thinking of it.
Over the last almost year, we have had on and off communication, we’ve had coffee, we play the same sport, and have seen each other multiple times a week at said sport. I’ve cut her off, asked for space, and then allowed her back in, but it seems that in the last week she has made the decision to cut me off.
I still ask mutual friends about her, I hear stories of what she’s been doing from Tinder matches (we live in a small city, the queer community is incestuous and everyone screws everyone, except me it would seem) I can’t seem to move past it no matter how much healing and work on myself I focus on. I STILL LOVE HER.
I don’t see myself ever wanting to be with her again, we were so incompatible for each other’s needs but I think I’ve been keeping her around for the comfort of having the friend I’d had for more than 3 years.
How do I get over this once and for all? I want to move on with my life and not have days where I’m plagued by missing her and the life we had.
One thing that jumped out at me that I think will be crucial in you letting go of your ex (forgive me for just jumping in but I wanted to get right to it) is that you have to stop asking people about her. Especially if she has cut you off. I think your friends also need to exercise better boundaries on this, but you absolutely have to not do this anymore. I can understand off-handedly hearing something about her from a Tinder match, as you say, but even then, ask yourself if you are hungrily receiving every bit of new knowledge about her or if you’re setting a barrier between you and her.
I’m coming on so strongly about this point because by asking people about her, by allowing people to talk about her around you, you’re staying in her orbit. If you want to get over her and not miss her, you have to get out of that orbit for a while. It is cool to wish her well from afar, but asking people what she’s up to, how she’s doing, etc, is a big big no. It’s a no for the reason I said but also because she has clearly set a boundary with you in cutting you off. She wants space, and by bringing her up to other people that know her, you aren’t honoring that ask for space that she has initiated.
Another thing you said that concerns me is this idea of “keeping her around for the comfort.” Again, I want you to ask yourself, why are you doing this? Is it really that comforting if you feel like you’re pining for this person who wants nothing to do with you at the moment? Also, you are again reinforcing this idea of keeping her in your orbit even if she doesn’t want to be there. I’m not trying to be mean, but can you see how that might be uncomfortable for both you and her, and to be honest, even a little bit selfish? You were able to cut her off yourself once and eventually invited her back in. Why did you cut her off? Was it her anger? The lack of compatibility? It will help to remind yourself of all the reasons this relationship didn’t work and why you initiated the initial cutting off in order to get over the ending of the relationship.
Three years is a long time. I can understand the hurt over the loss of someone you considered a friend. But if you’re ever going to stop missing her, you need to let go of this desire to know what she’s doing. It would be different if you both expressed a desire to be friends and work things out. But you both, at some point, decided that being in a relationship of whatever kind with one another just wasn’t working. This isn’t to say you’ll never be friends again with her, but that right now, what you need is space to figure out what you want and what you need.
It’s totally understandable to still be in love with her but just because you are in love with her doesn’t mean you are entitled to knowledge about her. I hate to keep coming back to this point but you really have to let that notion go. Have a talk with your friends and tell them not to report things back to you. Tell them YOU want space too, and that if you slip up and ask how she is, that they are to reinforce that boundary. I’ve been in this situation with a friend who wanted information on an ex, and I just flat out told them I wasn’t willing to report back to them about what their ex was doing. If you find yourself wanting to ask, or even visiting her social media to check up on her, redirect that energy into something for you. Write down the impulse and keep writing until you get to the root of why you are so focused on what she’s doing.
Other people may disagree with me, but I think to get over someone you love but don’t want to be with for whatever reason you have to really have that solidified space between the two of you for a few months after the breakup. If she keeps popping up in conversation you’re not going to let go of her. You’ll just keep cycling through these feelings of missing her when what it sounds like you want is to move on.
I hope this helps. I know I come off very strongly but… I’ve been here before and it doesn’t feel good. I want to spare you those feelings.
You can chime in with your advice in the comments and submit your own questions any time.