My Breakup Story
Though most of us have experienced at least one painful break-up in our lives, how we choose to recover, and how long it takes varies from person to person.
The length of the relationship doesn’t necessarily correlate to the recovery process.
Regardless of whether the relationship lasted ten weeks, months or years, being rejected hurts.
What follows are some notes from my most painful break-up. Though this site was launched due to THREE breakups, this is the middle one.
I tried to break it down into phases, but it should be noted that I, personally, fluctuated between the recovery stages. Plus, it’s not uncommon to feel many of the stages concurrently.
Goodbye to “The One”
Though I’ve had several relationships in my life, I think I have only ever really been “in love” one time.
As cliched as it may sound, I truly believed this man to be a “soul mate”,…Right up until the day he dumped me with that one, quick, international phone call (on my dime, no less).
For years, he treated me like a princess – never giving me reason to doubt him or his love. But with that call, he obliterated our relationship – leaving me to feel shell-shocked and abandoned.
Phase 1: My Reaction
When I got the call, I cried non-stop for the first four or five days (and off and on for the next month!)
As we spoke, I kept repeating things like “I can’t believe this is happening to me” and asking It just didn’t seem real, and I wondered when I would wake up from this horrible nightmare.“are you sure?”
I didn’t eat or sleep for the first two days. By the third day, my friend Jenn, who’s a nurse, came around and forced soup down my throat (at the time I wasn’t a soupy type of person).
She sat with me sympathetically for hours those first few days – not having a clue what to do or say.
By the fourth day, I was back on solid food, but even then, my appetite remained “off” for several weeks.
It was shocking how someone who supposedly loved me – like no other – could simply cast me aside like a piece of old garbage.
It surprised EVERY ONE of the many people who knew us as a couple.
Next: Mental Turmoil
After the phone call, for the weeks that followed, the range of emotions I felt was often overwhelming. I was angry that he could seemingly ruin my life with that one, simple phone call. I was angry at myself for him having that power over me.
The pain engulfed me, and at times it seemed never-ending. I felt like I was literally buried, eye-ball-deep in sadness.
I felt robbed of the beautiful future that I thought we would have together. We had just moved into the type of home that you start a family in.
I was so hurt that he could just transfer his affections to someone else, literally over night, and seemingly without batting an eyelash. I was amazed at how hard this hit me.
I ached to the very core of my being. It was worse than anything I had ever experienced in my life, yet at the same time as this wide array of emotions – I also felt numb.
Tormenting Questions: Why Why Why?
How could I be so foolish, stupid, and oblivious? I was so embarrassed that I never saw it coming. I was totally blind-sided. I felt confused because we seemed so happy. I thought we loved each other. I thought we cared for each other. Many friends, seemingly, envied us. Our sex life was great and frequent (well, in my opinion anyway). Our friendship strong and I’d describe our communication as open and respectful. Simply put, we were good together, we gelled – or so I thought.
How was the last to know? How could I have been the only one in this relationship that was blissfully happy? How could I be so stupid?
I felt so humiliated that I could not have known him like I thought I did. I began to wonder if we ever REALLY know someone. I began to question absolutely EVERYTHING that we said and did over the past several years together. Was it all just a big lie? Was it all just an illusion?
There was the feeling of being soul-destroyed. Everything I had ever grown to believe in was shattered in an instant. All my hope vanished and for the weeks to come, I could not see a light at the end of the tunnel. The one question I kept asking myself was “what have I done to deserve this?”
I was jealous because he had a new and exciting relationship. He had someone to take to the beach, to snuggle up to, and to kiss passionately whenever he wanted. I tormented myself with visions of them in my head. The mind can be a very cruel thing. I pictured them in the bed we’d bought together; going to the places we used to go; watching TV in the house we had just bought; lounging in our new garden; and driving the car that I had picked out. Yes, he appeared to have everything. I, on the other hand, felt like I had nothing. No one to kiss, no place to live, no car to drive, no job and worst of all – no love. I felt life was VERY unfair.
On to Those Worries…
Fears of being on my own gripped me – because I had never been on my own. I was afraid I could not support myself. What if I wasn’t strong enough to make it on my own? What if no one would ever fancy me or love me again? What if never would have sex again? How would I learn to trust again? How would I regain my will to live again? I feared that I might do something “foolish”. I wondered if I might be manic-depressive or bi-polar. What if I never stopped crying?
Ultimately, I worried that I would always feel this lost and scared and alone.
What next? Get a job? Find as nice place to live? Move to London? Move back to California? Stay in Scotland? Date? Movies? Write? Work?
Cue: “The Mad Crazies”
I plotted revenge in the most gruesome of fashions. All my empathetic (and yes devious) friends gave me the most creative ideas of how to get back at him/them. They suggested watercress in the carpet, cutting up clothes, hair removal crème in the shampoo, fish in the floorboards or wall cavities – you name it, I heard I!
The revenge fantasies worked for a while but eventually I got bored and opted for a more positive form of revenge.
Besides, “what comes around goes around” and I didn’t really want the bad karma!
During this phase one does something totally out of character. For some it might be drinking heavily, drugs, heading off around the world, drastic makeovers, or having flings.
After a month or so, the shock had subsided slightly and the fears were less haunting. I opted to have a fling (or two) which is very out of character for me. It did however allay my fears that no one would ever find me attractive (or sexy again). It worked. It was brief – but it did the trick and I have no regrets.
For reasons I can’t really explain, it was at this point that I began to be a bit more forgiving of both my EX and HER. He wasn’t a bad person – he was just lousy at endings.
In true “change your hair change your man” style, I lightened my hair, bought some sexy new clothes and underwear, got a bit of a tan and worked out a lot!
I started to feel a bit better. My confidence came trickling back. . .
Acceptance & Looking Forward
Eventually, approximately six weeks after the break-up, a new feeling emerged: RELIEF. I was so glad we never got married and that we never had kids. If we had done, I would be forced to see this man for the rest of my life. Besides, if he could do that to me (and the girl before me) – he’ll probably do it to her…eventually! So what? Who cares…he’s out of my life. Good riddance.
I began to feel liberated and excited about the possibilities that now lay before me. I was excited by the challenge of becoming truly independent! I started to view the break-up in a totally new light – by vowing to see it as an “OPPORTUNITY” and not the end of the world.
I was determined that I never wanted to feel this bad again. I was determined to not only make it on my own – but to prosper. Yes, this break-up was a blessing in disguise. It is in times of great adversity that we grow and learn the most about ourselves.
In the early stages, I had practically wished he’d get killed in a car crash. Then, the vindictive side wished he would get dumped to see how it felt. The vengeful side wanted to make him pay for what he had done to me. The naïve side wished he’d come back begging. The insecure side wanted him to come back and take care of me. Then, the independent side took over and I didn’t really care what happened to him (or her). Whether they were blissfully happy or fighting all the time – it made no difference to me.
As I began to put the pieces of my life back together, I came to the conclusion that he (they) didn’t matter in the great scheme of things. It was OVER. The best thing for me to do would be to focus on myself – and no one else.
Once I was paid off (from the house), I moved into a place of my own. I bought a 4×4 for myself. I got a good paying job. I started to settle down and feel good about myself again. After having the rug pulled out from underneath me, it was no small feat, I can tell you! If I can do it, you can do it too.
How I Coped
I ran up huge phone bills – calling all my wonderful family and friends around the globe. They were amazingly supportive – knowing just when to be harsh, and when to simply give me gentle pep talks. The ones I didn’t call were emailing me daily and still just as supportive. I am very blessed with supportive friends. If it weren’t for them, I might not be here now…
I filled journal after journal describing every possible emotion experienced. (They are totally enlightening to read now).
I also bought St. John’s Wort in hopes that it would help me sleep better. (It didn’t).
I watched some of my fave TV shows – again and again….
Consumed countless self-help books to try and understand why this happened.
I can recommend two quite good ones:
1) Coming Apart Why Relationships End and How to Live Through the Ending of Yours [That’s the Kindle Edition on Amazon US – or see Coming Apart on Amazon UK].
Another one worth reading is Getting the Love you Want (20th Edition)
Learn from the breakup
I decided to learn as much as I could from the break-up. I learned where I went wrong and what I do/don’t want in my life now.
Next time, I will attract a person who is actually loyal and faithful on top of everything else.
I made manic compilation tapes – expressing the anger, confusion and bitterness that I was feeling – internally. (They worked a treat and are even great to listen to now!).
Speaking of music – check out Amazon Prime Playlists. They are totally amazing and can match to any mood you’re in – the happy, sad, empowered, angry – etc.
At the end of the day, I learned a lot about myself and am all the better for it. Now I can honestly say, being dumped was one of the best things that has ever happened to me (you can quote me on that). I forgive him. I forgive her. I forgive myself.
I decided to make lemonade out of the lemons that life had chucked at me and I suggest you do the same. I launched soyouvebeendumped.com on Independence Day 2000. Four years on and this site has become the greatest achievement in my life so far. Success is the greatest form of revenge, so if you’re feeling like you want to get back at your ex, why don’t you try to be happy, healthy and whole and find yourself a more complementary relationship.
If you are still at the early stages of a break-up and feeling horrible – wondering if it will be that way forever, I am here to tell you IT WON’T. You will get through this. If I can, you can!
‘Peace, hope and healthy relationships to you all. Now it’s your turn to make lemonade.
Where Do You Want to Go Next?
Please tell your story of how your relationship ended now.
If you have something to say to your ex, say it here.