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Been reading these forums for some time now, it's been fantastic to read peoples' stories and the excellent advice. I'd like to share my story in the hope that people might be able to help or advise me further, or that it might even help someone else.

Here goes... sorry it's a bit long, believe it or not this is heavily edited for brevity, i could write so much more!

In July 2008 my girlfriend of 7 years and I broke up. We had been living together for 2 years but the relationship had not been good for at least 12 months of that - she had gone off sex totally, and she no longer said 'I love you'. My feelings hadn't changed, i still fancied and loved her deeply, and was frustrated we weren't intimate anymore and saddened by the gap i felt opening up between us. I always wanted to hug or kiss and more, but she always pushed me away, physically or emotionally. It made me very sad and i got depressed and began to withdraw from the relationship myself - playing computer games too much, hanging out with friends, being irritable - basically not doing anything positive to help the situation, something that i regret profoundly.

But i stuck with the relationship because i loved her so much. I was so committed and faithful despite everything, i hoped it was just a bad patch that things would improve.

Mind you, having said all that i have to be honest and say i wasn't 100% sure about the relationship either - there were some long-standing background issues too - the nagging doubt that we weren't right for each other, the lack of things in common, the frustration that she couldn't or wouldn't talk to me and discuss her feelings (she would never discuss her feelings, ever!). And I think we both knew we would never be together to get married or have kids, there was always that uncertainty. But it was almost perfect, i think that kept us together, and kept me hanging in there.

Anyway, eventually we decided to not live together anymore. Naively I thought it was a chance to 'rekindle' the relationship, y'know shake it up a bit. I tried to do so by seeing her for drinks and dates etc but I soon realised she moved out so she could break up with me. She told me that her feelings had changed over a long period of time, that she still loved me but it 'just wasn't enough' and that she was happier being on her own.

I was in denial for the first few months, missed my ex so much and kept in touch with her 'as friends' but really i was hoping i could change her mind and we'd get back together. Until one day when she told me she had been on a date with a guy she knew. This hit me like a ton of bricks and immediately i began some awful paranoid rumination about how serious it was - had she slept with him, were they seeing each other etc. It was an awful time and i couldn't bear the sexual jealousy that burned in me, it pained me deeply. For a couple of weeks I drove myself crazy needing to know what happened. She wouldn't talk about it, I never did find out, and it scared me to death.

That was one of the lowest times of my life, but I was determined to make this a watershed moment and i cut contact and did begin to move on. In november I met someone myself, went out with an absolutely lovely girl for a few weeks but it was sadly short-lived and we didn't make it to sleeping together (i've gotta be on the longest dry spell of anyone ever... or am i just feeling sorry for myself!). Hence i had a miserable christmas but I thought i was on the road to recovery, hadn't thought about my ex so much, at least it had been a nice distraction.

However new year's eve came and i saw my ex at a party looking gorgeous and happy and all the fears and sadness and emotion came flooding back. I had a total breakdown! She spoke to me briefly while i was crying but it was clear she was happier and moving on and she couldn't understand why i was still so unhappy. I've been in a pretty dark place since that night. I emailed her after that, hoping we could talk - not about reconciliation, just to sort my head out and move on. She didn't even reply, it's clear she's in a very different place from me and doesn't want to talk about it, which hurts as she's been my best friend and the one person i could always talk to.

But it's been six months since we moved apart, it's been 3 months since that 'watershed' moment, and it's driving me crazy that i'm still thinking about her. I'm fed up with it! I've come full circle and i'm back thinking the same things all over again, as if we broke up last week. The logical part of my brain knows it's the right thing that we're apart - i can write long lists of the reasons why and the things i want in a partner that she didn't have. So why am i still so bothered? Why do i wake up at 5am every morning and lie awake, heart pounding with anxiety? Why do i think about her so much and ruminate about what might have been, if only i'd done it differently? Could we have been happy if only we'd made the effort? Why does it upset me and fill me with such awful jealousy to imagine her with another man? I suppose after hoping and waiting for such a long time for her to want to have sex with me - only to be dumped, i guess there is a certain anger about 'why not me? what was wrong with me? how can you be with someone else so soon?' etc etc. I still have so much love for her, so much attachment to her and the security and fidelity of our relationship, that i still see her as 'my girl'. I feel completely emasculated and a real loss of self-confidence at the moment. Why can i not just let go?

I know i'm making myself ill thinking and ruminating about stuff, but I am beginning to control it - catching myself thinking and saying 'STOP' and doing something else, working on mindfulness techniques to live more in the present. I know what i need to be doing, but i just can't separate the reality from my runaway emotions.

I want to be moving on now, i've had enough! I know there's just no point thinking about it - it's not gonna change anything! I just don't know where to begin...

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