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Relationship Health Message Board


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[QUOTE=steakie46]Hi VM,

How long after you broke up with your ex did you start dating again?

Also, why exactly did you two break up?

I really need to make some friends and have ppl to hang out with, but I am so bad at it. Any tips?[/QUOTE]

Hi Stacy! :)

Please don't ever hesitate to ask me anything that crosses your mind...I've shared just about everything here, and I certainly would never hold back anything that might help someone else! As I've said, prior to meeting the ex who broke my heart toward the end of college, I'd dated quite a lot of different guys and had several other relationships during which I was genuinely in love, so I'd had a pretty unusual amount of experience with guys by the time I started dating my ex, though I'd never been dumped or had my heart broken before.

We moved in together right away and from the start faced numerous outside pressures, such as our respective roommates plotting together and lying to us in an effort to manipulate us into not getting involved with each other. They tried really hard to avert this as his roommate was literally going through a prolonged mental breakdown, during which time he had to be institutionalized by the police and his parents three different times because my roommate, who wasn't at all popular with men, was so enthralled by having her first ever boyfriend, mentally ill or not, that she helped him break out of the mental hospital each time. When he finally moved out of state to be near his family, she went back on her fruitless crusade to dissuade my ex from being with me and to try and steal him away, which it turns she'd also done behind my back several times with past boyfriends.

Soon after, we moved to spend the summer with his family in NYC, which was also a difficult and stressful period for us, because I was never really comfortable there, and his psycho grandmother waged a war to try and come between us, as she liked having complete control over my ex. The rest of his family and I got along okay, but they disliked the idea of him being close with anyone near our college, because it might keep him from coming back home on vacations and after he graduated, so it seemed like our relationship was under siege from that angle just like it had been since we first met at college. Then finally we got out of there and moved into our own place, which is always stressful, and as soon as we started our senior year of college, I had my wisdom teeth removed and ever since then, I’ve suffered from horrible chronic pain that shoots up one side of my face. I’ve seen about a dozen doctors and been on and off tons of different medications since then, and the terrible pain along with the side effects and anxiety that came along with the pain and various treatment efforts would have put a huge strain on any relationship.

Through all of this, my ex was wonderfully loving, sweet and supportive—he has never been anything but kind, patient, and caring to me, and he is truly a great person. I guess the timing and cir***stances were just against us, because for the next few years, we stayed strong and united, but tended to isolate ourselves from the rest of the world because our love was so intense that we were happier alone and because we are both introverted homebodies at heart. In retrospect I think that wasn’t a healthy move, but it’s a mistake many young couples make, and we did the best we could, but his family continued to pressure and manipulate him into going home to NYC from the moment we graduated. We were both struggling with uncertainty following graduation anyway regarding jobs, graduate school, and our future plans in general, though we had vowed to stay close and united no matter what. Then one Christmas things got unbearably tense, and I basically couldn’t stand his family anymore and broke down…while we made up and held on for several more months, that was definitely the beginning of the end, and his evil grandmother came to visit and was so horrible to me that I had a car accident, after which I couldn’t stop crying, full of hatred, rage, and frustration with his family, and my ex found it difficult to comfort me without feeling like he was taking sides against his family.

They always made it so it was me against them and put my poor ex in an impossible position trying to please everyone, which he always did because he was so kind-hearted and sweet that he couldn’t stand to let anyone he loved down. After the weekend with his grandmother and my breakdown after it, he left, saying he needed a break, and while we reconciled briefly, ultimately he bowed down to the pressure his parents and other family members, who were greatly inspired to continue coming between us once they saw they’d driven us into needing a break. We really thought nothing would come between us, but ultimately he wasn’t strong enough to resist the external pressures on him, and I think that between my chronic pain and his family, we were just under way too much strain from all possible sides. It’s really sad, because we never had anything but immense love and were nothing but kind and sweet to each other throughout everything we went through, but in the end, I know we just weren’t meant to be, because otherwise we’d still be together.

And quite frankly, in some ways it’s a relief not to have to worry about his miserable family and his uncertainty and unhappiness with everything, though it’s incredibly difficult dealing with my health problems without the unconditional love and support he provided, though my family has helped immeasurably since we split. I was absolutely crushed for months after he left, though I did start dating again within a few months, even though I wasn’t ready to get seriously involved with anyone else. I realized that I loved being single and not having to answer to anyone or be tied down—it was absolutely great being able to date a ton of different guys, because I love men, lots of different men, but I’d been stuck in serious, long term relationships for much of the time since I started dating. I’m kind of like the stereotypical guy when it comes to wanting to experience as many different guys as I find attractive, both in terms of dating and in terms of sex in certain cases, and I loved being free to do whatever I wanted.
[QUOTE=Nina000]Stacy, I can see my future ahead!! My Bf is the same type of soft person who wants to please everyone (To me, this is passive and undetermined personality). Their control over him has recently started to cause me panick attacks. They are trying to create and protect a re-union between him and his ex, and despite all the suggestions that he proposed (from seeing his son without anyone being involved, to seeing him outside their house), they were nothing but deaf to anything that can be a fair solution. I feel the the pressure is getting too intense now that I have to accept that he will be seeing his ex and their son at his dad's birthday while I was not even invited. Besides that, on Thursday, I have been offered a very challenging (but well-paid) job. I am more in need of settlement than ever, with my full-time phD and now permanent decent state job.

Over the last few days, I have had frequent panick attacks out of the blue. I have been a bit excessive in drinking (having 3 bottles of wine a over three nights of the week!!!!). I couldn't even answer one of my closest my friend's calls and had loads of missing calls. I just don't have the energy to see anyone. I am full of anger towards his softness and his family that I have asked him to forget this marriage issue completely at the time being.

Sorry about this diversion from the original thread but I couldn't help feeling related to your story with our ex...I feel like I am on the edge of breaking up with him![/QUOTE]

Hi there Nina :),

I'm really sorry to hear that you are having a rough time and especially that you are struggling with anxiety--I can certainly understand why! It's incredibly tough and stressful to try and protect a relationship when you're under siege, and when the would be sabateurs are his family members, and he's not the kind of guy who can ever stand up to anyone or risk displeasing someone he cares about, it's nearly impossible to cope and maintain the status quo. You poor girl! I am really sad and worried for you, Nina, and unfortunately, I know how you feel, and I've been concerned about your partner's family for awhile now. I don't think you're at all wrong in thinking that his family is conniving and manipulating him in an effort to get him to reconcile with his ex. This is probably because they want more control over their grandchild, but nonetheless, it's extremely mean and selfish, in my opinion anyway, for a family to sabotage a relative's relationship and compromise his happiness just to get more power over his life and to advance their self-absorbed goals. I really wish I had some great advice to help alleviate this situation and make everything okay for you again, but unfortunately, I'm not sure that fighting a boyfriend's family is a battle you can ever win in the end, because they always have a connection to him that chances are, he'll never risk severing. I'm just so sorry that neither of our guys were strong and tough enough to stand up to their families and insist that they stop meddling in and trying to sabotage their relationships, but I'm worried for your sake that your BF won't be any more successful in this regard than my ex was. In the end, I think you might be better off without your ex, anyway--you are a very courageous and resourceful woman, and you probably belong with a stronger man who makes a more capable, braver partner and suits you better. Your BF might just not have what it takes to be by your side in the long run.

And Nina, congratulations on the job offer! You must really be an exceptionally skillful and talented student to have received such an offer already--I hope you are giving it some serious thought if the job appeals to you. At this point, I'd caution you against turning anything down on account of your BF, as I fear that you're stuck in a battle with his family that you didn't want, but unfortunately also one that you may not be able--or want--to win. Ultimately I just want you to be happy and to be with whoever is the best partner for you, and I truly hope that everything works out great for you and that romantically, you end up with whoever makes you most content. In my opinion, you have already put up with a ton of nonsense for your BF’s sake, from his fiscal irresponsibility to his drinking too much to his psycho stalker ex to his family’s constant attempts to undermine your relationship and his consistent wimpiness when it comes to taking a stand and defending you and him as a unified pair. I don’t think you’ve done anything to cause that, or that he’d be any stronger if he was with any other woman, but you’ve certainly been plenty patient, put up with a lot more than many people would have been willing to tolerate, and given him every chance to prove himself worthy of your love and loyalty.

Do you really still want to be involved with this relationship? It sounds like it is causing you many more negative than positive emotions lately, and I remember all too well what it’s like to be besieged by anxiety when the pressure heats up with a manipulative family’s efforts to sabotage your relationship. I consider myself to be pretty strong, even-keeled, and well-adjusted, like you, but when things really got bad with my ex’s family and all the other obstacles we were trying to overcome, I was a nervous wreck. I can definitely identify with your feeling panicked, avoiding calls, drinking a lot, and basically just trying to cope and calm your completely frazzled nerves in any way possible. You are such an amazing woman who deserves a partner who enriches her life and brings out the best possible side of her, not someone who has such a negative influence on you, at least that’s what I think, though the ultimate decision about how to proceed is of course one that only you can make and only you know what is best for you. I just hate to see such a sweet, caring person go through such stress and turmoil, as I know firsthand how distressing, exhausting, and devastating that kind of prolonged strain that you just feel powerless to fight against (it’s not as if you can openly express your rage and resentment against a guy’s mom!) can be, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

Unfortunately, though it may be in your best interest long term, it sounds like his parents’ siege against your relationship and all the problems its caused, especially with his meddling ex involved and him not taking a stand against her sabotage efforts just like he hasn’t resisted his parents’, may be reaching a breaking point. I personally think your instinct to end this soon and thus save yourself as much additional stress as you possibly can is probably a wise one, based on my own experience, but again, only you know what is best for you. For me though, while it was very difficult and painful for me to start moving on following my split with my ex once his loser family finally got what they wanted, made both of us miserable, and got him back home under their complete, uncontested control, it was still an immense relief once I resolved once and for all that we were permanently over. The stress and uncertainty I experienced watching things dissolve was much more difficult and unpleasant for me than knowing for sure where I was headed in the future. I hope you end up happy, relaxed, and not at all upset or distressed, and however you think you can make that happen, I wish you all the best of luck and will support you 100%. Please keep us posted, as I’m very worried about you and will be hoping to hear soon that you are OK. Take care, sweetie!





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