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I've posted here often, though off and on, and knew I'd be back for support. I could use that now. I just found out today that my ex, P, is engaged. I knew the day would come and it has. It's mostly sad emotions coming on the tails of the news, as expected. I'm just in a bit of low point right now and could use some encouragement and advice.

P and I broke up 2.5 years ago. Yes, it has been a long time, but as many of you know, it is often not that easy to be fully broken free from someone and old feelings even after a few years. We had a very happy, drama-free relationship for two years, starting when I was 25 and he was 31. We spent time with each others' families, took vacations, and generally enjoyed each other. I thought for sure he was the one for me. I had never been happier in my life. He began to pull away just a little bit after our second year anniversary and then suddenly broke up with me. He said he didn't know what he wanted and didn't think we'd move forward any more. It was terrible. I was so caught off guard and upset. It was honestly the worst thing I have ever gone through. I picked up my things from his house two days after the breakup and we spoke then. I told him communication was up to him, I would not be in touch. He protested but understand any contact would be initiated by him. He said he would be in touch to check in after a week or so. He never was in contact. I struggled but eventually moved along, dating a few guys and then settling in to a relationship with a new guy, J. During this time, through mutual friends, I found out that P had stayed single in the two years following our breakup and had declared that marriage was not for him. It was a bit of a bandaid for me -- it gave more reason for the sudden breakup. Made me feel better in some way.

Just around this time last year, P broke his silence and emailed me, asking to meet for drinks to catch up. We were both attending a mutual friend's event and he didn't want things to be awkward. It's the only reason he was in touch. I declined over email, wished him the best. At the event, I avoided him and left early before he could come over to speak to me. It was better that way, I couldn't handle contact, even so long after the breakup.Even though I was with my boyfriend J, I still had residual feelings for P all along. A few months after that event, I found out from mutual friends that P had a girlfriend, the first girl he had dated since me, two years prior. They had mutual friends and had gone to the same college. I've seen photos and she is gorgeous, has her MBA, seems fun and outgoing. Even though I was with a new guy, J, I was still jealous of this girl, that she got P when I lost him. I tried to keep moving along and focused more on J. He and I started having problems and eventually broke up over the summer after about 1.5 years. It is for the best, though was also hard. Since then, I took some time alone and have been dating a bit. It's been mostly discouraging...either not hitting it off with guys or things not progressing with the few men I have been interested in. Two months ago I spent my first birthday -- the big 30 -- without a boyfriend for the first time in 7 years. Depressing! But I try to keep hope that I will find the right person one day. I have had ups and downs but have been working on being more positive, a hard thing for me.

Now that I find out P is engaged, I am mourning him all over again. I have been for the last 2.5 years, but obviously when finding out your ex is engaged and having your own last relationship fail -- one where marriage had also been discussed -- and not finding a good fit in the dating world...well, it's just a perfect storm of insecurity. I'm in therapy and have been trying to exorcise P from my thoughts. It just hasn't really worked much. It only really was abated down to a low level when I was with J. When J and I had problems, I thought of P and how great things were with him. When I have a bad date or am tired of trying or just want someone to wake up next to, I think of P. He is still in my dreams, still pops to mind when I see shows, hear songs, walk by restaurants. He is tied to a great many memory. I know I have been in part living part of the past, wishing things were the way they used to be. We met through mutual friends whose friendship has faded since the breakup. They're busy with children and work, it's harder to see each other. We've drifted. I've been sick of being the one trying to make plans so I've stopped reaching out. It's been a year since I've seen them. That is sad too, losing the friends, the family in the breakup also. Oftentimes, especially when in a funk or having a bad day, I wonder if the best isn't yet to come.. that maybe it has already come for me and is now in the past.

Intellectually I can comprehend that P didn't feel the same way about me, that he decided not to stay and he moved on. Even though he stated marriage was not for him, all it takes is one person to change your perspective. He met her and he's marrying her. It's been less than a year since they met, so has all happened fast. In very, very small measure right now (very small) I can be glad that he has found that person who is right for him. I desperately wish it had been me. But even though it is not, I can be glad that he found what made him happy when I ceased to do so. What it doesn't help do is make it easier on me or for me. The dating situation is just not great. I am lonely, Discouraged. Beaten down. And sick of thinking and feeling like this each day. I have a lot going for me, but I can't compare to the girl P is with. I'm jealous of her because she seems so great and because she has the heart of the person I loved the best.
Thanks so much for your replies. I really appreciate it. Getting input and perspective really helps a lot. When P and I first broke up 2.5 years ago I did set out to make changes, to better myself. It was self preservation and staying busy. For a good six months I had to be busy all of the time or I would just ruminate, stress and be sad. Even when I was cognizant I was only making plans and doing things to pass the time, I worked to pass that time. I did everything you're supposed to do: I started therapy for the first time, moved into my own apartment, changed jobs for a better position, bought a new car, joined a book club, entered road races, took small vacations, learned to play golf. I spent time alone, with friends and eventually started dating. A year after I was in a good relationship with someone I really cared about and the thoughts of P faded a little. But as I mentioned, each time my then boyfriend and I would have a problem, I'd think back to P and how idyllic everything had been with him. When J and I ended things, I was sad, but knew I would never, could never be as broken and hurt as I was when P left me. It just is not physically or emotionally possible to go through something as difficult as it was for me to deal with. So while I mourned J and the end of the relationship I also was mourning P all over again. Two guys that didn't work out, two I had thought I'd have futures with, who told me they loved me, wanted to be with me, and then things changed. I can think of a million things that were wrong about me and J; we were so different. I can't think of really anything, any reason why P and I wouldn't work other than he wished simply not to be with me.

I am very much a detailed, proof first, by the book type of person. I can never fully grasp the things-will-happen-when-they-happen outlook. I wish I could be the girl who is filled with joy and contentment without a guy in her life. I envy that in others. But I'm not like that. I am content with my life in nearly every regard -- I have a great job, I have a graduate degree in my field (though not an MBA), I have good friends, nice things. But I feel 75% complete, 75% happy. I am independent and have decent self esteem, but I draw a lot of it from a relationship. And I don't feel whole without someone to love who loves me.
The main point is that I have spent too much time wishing I was living in the past. I am so afraid of being alone forever that I just focus on the past, on that time when I was happiest, with P. I do hope to have more love in my future, but what if I don't? I worry that six months or a year from now I'll be in the same place...lonely, waking up by myself each day, making plans, dating duds. It is so depressing to me to imagine that existence. Of course I compare myself to P's fiance. She is a great catch. And maybe I am too, but I know not in the same way she is. I am just so jealous that she gets him. And his family. And our friends. She's in the place I had, at his side at BBQs and dinner parties, doing the couple things. Our mutual friendships have faded, they're all 5-6 years older than me, married, with kids. When P and I were together I went to four sets of bridal showers, bachelorettes, weddings and baby showers. Seriously. We were the only unmarried couple in the group. And then it was over. I saw them every now and again, a few times for dinner, an email here or there. They got busy with their babies and families, maybe they felt more loyalty to P. I faded back. And I got sick of being the one always trying to make plans, to see them. It's been a year since I've seen them. They're not my friends anymore really. But she is in place now, he is part of a couple again, and she gets all of it -- my friends and him.

I know if I had someone in my life this would be an easier pill to swallow. I guess the issue is that I am doing everything you're supposed to do -- the counseling, the activities, the dating, all of it. I have been for 2.5 years. And the feelings are just still so raw and I still am not sure how to really move on from this. It's not a way to live but I really feel at a loss.

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