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Hi Erin - I remember your story from when you posted a few months ago. Sorry to hear it's still so hard.

I wish I had great words of wisdom to put a spin on things that would brighten it up just a bit, but I don't. I know it's just hard. But I can offer all the sympathy and support I can. It's just hard, and probably will be for a while yet. You know, we dont' always get to live the life we want, or the life we dreamed of. After my break up 10 years ago, I was floored and devasted as well, but I was pretty sure I'd find someone else, someone better suited for me, or my ex and I would heal ourselves and find our way back together. But neither happened, and at 42 I'm single and childless and living in a little one bedroom apartment. It's hard to try to talk myself into being grateful, like "well, at least I'm not homeless" and know that my ex and his wife live in a lovely nice home with all the niceties with her kids. But all we can do is focus on what we have, what we can make for ourselves, and on the future.

And I would say, you know, if it makes you feel lonely to hold the hand of some guy and wish he was your ex, then maybe you should rethink doing it. most of the time I'm so lonely I could just break down and cry, but I've dated enough to know that being in a relationship with a man who makes me miss my ex would be even more lonely. I still date a lot and am still holding out a little hope that I will find someone right for me, but I know that if I'm with him and I'm missing my ex, then he's not who I belong with, and why waste precious time with someone who's ultimately not a good fit? You assume that doing it all on your own would be worse, but have you tried it? You say you've been broken up for 8 months, and dated, and now seeing this guy for four months, so really, how much time did you spend totally on your own, getting to know yourself and leaning on yourself emotionally? Doesn't sound like much time at all. I'm not saying to dump the guy you're with now, but I think that being with the first nice warm body that comes along is a quick fix, but it's not really a long term solution to a broken heart. You've got to really do some soul searching and find some alone quiet time to think long and hard about how you are going to survive if, God forbid, you do never find anyone else, or you do never get the life you dream of, but a nice life that you can make for yourself. what does that look like? what's your plan B? Your plan C? And if you don't want to live with a stranger, perhaps moving to a less expensive part of town and commuting? The train or the bus? I'm just spitballing, but I think in your case, perhaps you jumped into dating and into this new relationship not as a result of truly moving on, but as a subconscious way of repressing and avoiding dealing with the very painful but necessary stuff you have to deal with when something we really really didn't want to happen, happens.

As for the feeling left behind, boy can I relate to that as well. it's a bugaboo of mine, too. I think everyone thinks they'd be further along than they are in some way at some point. But it's never ever a good idea to judge your happiness, or how much you should be happy, by what other people have. Every time I'm tempted to do so, I remember a line from a great poem, that goes "never compare yourself to others, for you will become vain and bitter, for always, there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself." No matter what you have, there will always be those who have more.

I don't mean shrink you, I don't like it when people try to shrink me, so I hope you don't feel shrunk! But as someone who lost a lot of dreams and am still not living the life I want to be living, but striving to live a life that I can find some joy and reward in, the best advice I can give is to take some time to be still and listen to your heart and spirit, open your mind to whatever positive lessons there were to learn from the relationship and break up, and to get to know yourself as you are outside the context of a relationship.
Hey Erin - do you know any single people like you? Perhaps it would do your mind and spirit good to spend a little more time with other singles. I'm not saying abandon your married friends, but maybe just tone down time with them just a bit for a while.

All we can do is do our best to enjoy th elife we have as much as possible. the hardest thing for me is when you live a life you don't really want, hope, ambition, goals and dreams seem to become very expensive luxuries that I just no longer have the emotional currency for anymore. It's kind of hard to hope for the future, set goals and have passion for ambitions when every ounce of energy is spent gritting your teeth and clenching your fists trying to not go running down the street screaming at the top of your lungs pulling your hair out. That's the different between getting to actually live a life you want to live, and having to endure a life you got stuck with and have to make the best of.

I hear ya, it's hard to keep hope alive sometimes. That's why I really dont' try anymore. It's just too exhausting. I just try to live the life I've been given, make the most of opportunities that do come my way, and find joy in the everyday little things. I know I'll never really be happy without love or a family of my own, but I have to trust that someone up there knows better than I do, and I dont' have those things for a reason, and if I'm supposed to ever have some of those things, I'll have them when the time is right. You can put yourself out there as much as possible, keep a positive attitude, lose weight and stay in shape, buy cute little clothes and study the paper to be up on your clever cocktail chatter, date as many men you can get your hands on, have your friends work on setting you up with every single guy they know, etc. but at the end of the day, meeting the right man is really out of your hands. So you just have to let it go. Hang in there. Do your best to find things to love about the life you have. I actually watch Supernanny whenever I start feeling really bad about not having kids! Whatever gets you through.

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