Grief After a Breakup: Three Things You Should Know

Types of Grief and Loss / Types of Grief and Loss : Eleanor Haley


Breaking up is really hard to do. Most of us know what it’s like to suffer a broken heart. Many of us know how complicated it is to separate two lives intricately intertwined. Being that we’ve all probably experienced some form of breakup grief, we know stressful, ongoing, and overwhelming this experience of loss can be.

Yet, for many reasons, people grieving a breakup aren’t always comfortable saying, “This is an earth-shattering loss that I need time and space to grieve.”  So here we are today, ready to affirm your losses and share with you some of the factors that might impact a person’s grief after a breakup. Specifically, we want to share three things you should know about breakup grief.

Of note, we realize we’re casting a broad net by addressing breakups in general, as relationships come in all shapes and sizes. We will likely get more specific in the future, for example, an article specific to divorce grief or supporting children impacted by parental separation. If you have thoughts or perspectives you think might be helpful as we get more specific about related topics, please leave them in the comment section below. 


Three Things You Should Know About Breakup Grief

1. Yes, it’s possible to grieve a relationship

A common misconception is that grief is experienced only in response to the death of a loved one. In reality, there are many experiences besides the death of a loved one that can cause life-changing grief, and the loss of an intimate relationship is undoubtedly one of them.

When people grieve someone who is still alive, it is called ambiguous grief. As we stated in our article, 7 Types of Grief You Should Know Right Now

“Ambiguous loss happens when something or someone profoundly changes or disappears. A person feels torn between hope things will return to normal and the looming sense that life as they knew it is fading away like a Polaroid developing in reverse.”

In the case of a breakup, the relationship ends while the people who were a part of it keep living. Except now they are different, at least towards each other. Things that previously underscored their interactions, like love, loyalty, intimacy, attention, caring, obligation, may no longer exist.  

In many instances, these characteristics had been fading from the relationship for a long time. So the breakup marks the end of a long tail of prolonged hurt and confusion, but also the start of grieving things you perhaps anticipated losing with great fear and trepidation. 

Regardless of the circumstances, people within the relationship have to renegotiate boundaries and figure out new ways to relate. And though that new way may be better or much (much) worse, you can still grieve the relationship that came before. It doesn’t even have to have been a good relationship in hindsight – if there was something about it at one point you felt you needed, wanted, liked, or loved – there’s probably something to grieve.

This may be made even more difficult by the fact that you live with the possibility of seeing your ex at any moment. You try so hard to cope with your losses, only to have a run-in at the grocery store or a glance at their Instagram feed throw you completely off balance.

Also, if you share kids with your ex or are going through prolonged divorce proceedings, you have no choice but to see them on a regular basis. And for a while, this may make you feel like your distressing grief emotions are chronic and never-ending.


2. People may make you feel like you don’t have the right to grieve your breakup

When you consider all the songs, sonnets, and stories written about lost love since, well, forever, it’s a wonder this type of loss ever gets minimized. Perhaps it’s the very universality of a broken heart that causes people to say – it happens to everyone, you’ll get through it. But the fact that it happens to everyone doesn’t make it any less devastating.  

As we mentioned, the misconception that grief happens only in response to a death is perhaps the main reason why breakup grief is often mislabeled and misunderstood. 

People also make a lot of judgments about whose experience is worthy of sympathy and compassion. Categorically speaking, there’s often the idea that only divorce can turn a person’s world upside down. And, of course, it can and does! But much of what people grieve relative to a relationship ending has to do with love and attachment and not just legalities.

Additionally, people often think that blame, responsibility, and choice negate grief after a breakup. The person who initiated or is “to blame” for the breakup is often moved out of the domain of empathy.

In these instances, others might say to them (or they might say to themselves), “Why are you upset? This is what you wanted!” But, you can know something wasn’t healthy or right for you and still grieve the loss of it.

Though the person who is deemed the injured party may receive more sympathy, they may also feel pressure to quickly get over their breakup grief. People might say, “Don’t be upset – she was a jerk – you’re better off – think of all the fish in the sea!” Any or all of these things may be true, but the person still needs to grieve all the loss their breakup has caused them.

I think it’s important to close this section by pointing out that it’s not only other people who can make you feel like your grief and loss aren’t worthy. Since childhood, we’ve all internalized messages about love and relationships.

We’ve also developed very specific ideas about how we “should” be in our relationships and our ability to cope with loss. So it’s entirely possible that someone may minimize or stigmatize their own experience.

breakup grief

3. One major loss leads to many little losses

When there is a primary loss as disruptive as the end of a relationship, there is often a domino effect of subsequent losses. In the grief world, we call these losses “secondary loss.” 

Secondary loss can be tangible and concrete, like the loss of a home or finances. They can also be abstract, like a changing worldview, the loss of a dream for the future, or an altered sense of self.  Some common secondary losses include, but are in no way limited to, the following examples.

Many people don’t realize how loss can impact their sense of identity and self-esteem. Changes in the roles a person fills and their interpersonal interactions on a day-to-day basis force them to redefine who they are. 

Going through a breakup can specifically impact your sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Feelings of betrayal, abandonment, guilt, responsibility, or uncertainty about how things ended may change how people see themselves, at least temporarily. 

  • Changes in how you see others

Depending on the breakup circumstances, a person might experience thoughts and feelings related to betrayal, shock, embarrassment, shame, anger, bitterness, or resentment towards one’s partner. And these thoughts and feelings sometimes get generalized to broader groups of people. 

For example, someone who feels like they had the rug pulled out from under them by their partner may all of a sudden feel like they can’t trust anyone. They may say they never want to date again or that all other couples are totally doomed.  

  • The loss of friends and family members

Regardless of the type of loss, an extremely common experience is the redefining of relationships. From a positive perspective, many people say that going through hardship taught them who their friends are and helped them value things that really matter in their relationships.

On the other hand, people often find that those they thought would be there for them aren’t. With a breakup, you have the added hurt of people taking sides or just disappearing because they were closer with your ex. Additionally, you may have “couple friends” who seem unable or uninterested in redefining the relationship now that you’re single.

When you break up with someone, your hopes for a shared future end as well. Though you may still maintain a relationship with them, it’s not exactly what you had envisioned. Whether you envisioned growing old with this person or having kids together, you now have to grieve the loss of what might have been.

You may also grieve the loss of the time you spent together. Though you may ultimately say it was time well spent, you may also think about other dreams you could have accomplished. For example, maybe you wanted to get married, have kids, or find true love. Or maybe you just wish you were having more fun on your own – whatever it is, you may now worry it’s too late.


This is just a fraction of this conversation, but this article has now achieved “way too long” status. As we mentioned, please leave your thoughts and perspectives in the comments because we will continue to discuss topics related to breakups and divorce in the future.

We wrote a book!

After writing online articles for What’s Your Grief
for over a decade, we finally wrote a tangible,
real-life book!

After writing online articles for What’s Your Grief for over a decade, we finally wrote a tangible, real-life book!

What’s Your Grief? Lists to Help you Through Any Loss is for people experiencing any type of loss. This book discusses some of the most common grief experiences and breaks down psychological concepts to help you understand your thoughts and emotions. It also shares useful coping tools, and helps the reader reflect on their unique relationship with grief and loss.

What’s Your Grief? Lists to Help you Through Any Loss goes on sale September 27, 2022, but you can preorder at the following retailers:

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54 Comments on "Grief After a Breakup: Three Things You Should Know"

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  1. Denise A  July 2, 2022 at 1:23 pm Reply

    I am curious what the opinions and advice I might get from telling my own story of loss. I will start with the worst fact of all, after one session with each of us, my husband of 15 yrs never came home. He stayed and moved in with her.
    He left me alone with his stuff everywhere, a greenhouse that is only half done, a jet tub that is not hooked up, a 14 yr old son who is devastated. My husband left on May 18, and our sons 14th birthday was May 20th. He promised he would be here he never misses anything of our sons, but he pulled a no-call no-show.
    He also missed my sons awards ceremony at school. He is not been a very involved parent, and my sons is always trying to make him happy and proud. My son did not know he would get 4 different awards that night, he said it was no big deal and he didnt want to go without his dad.. More than one time I heard from others that he was coming home that day or evening.
    My mistake would be telling my son and we would get so happy only for time to blow us off again.
    Fathers day came roling around and we both were sure he would come home for that. He didnt. My son did not hear from his dad for 48 days. These were the worst 48 days of our lives. While we are at home unable to do much, he is giong no trips with his crisis therapist, thats what he calls her. This will offend some, it offended me, but she likes to send me texts about their sexual exploits. She told me that the one time I was talking to her on the phone he was “eating at the Y” and she said I was on speaker during that call. I was so offended and taken aback that she has so disdain for me that she would even tell me that.
    If it was a lie it takes a different kind of person to think that one up, and if it was true they are both evil.
    I have done everything that he has told me I need to do. He actually said to figure it out. He said I needed a few days to be alone and do what is right by him.
    I got into therapy immediately and went to the dr. I have learned so many things in therapy that I am still going. The mistakes I was making that hurt him I admitted to my family and friends and sent him a copy of it, and still that was not enough.
    I have begged, pleaded, barganied, all by text to get him to come home. Then I find out he does not use his phone, he lets her control it because she said it was best for his fragile mental state.
    She is a meth addict and shoots up several times a day. He is not a meth addict but he might be now, he is smoking it. They are both heavy drinkers and pot smokers too.
    One of the best parts is that they knew each other years ago, ran around with the same group. She told our son that he needed to accept that he would only be seeing his dad on weekends unless they are busy, because they have known each other longer than he and his dad had.
    This is only the tip of the iceberg of the things they have done to hurt us and make us suffer.
    She even posted a profile pic of her kissing my husband and claiming they are married. She even put her married name as ours. She texted me and told me that they had a commitment ceremony and he is no longer my husband and he will never come home.
    The worst part of all of this is his refusal to use his phone. She has put him in a bubble and not allowed anyone to see him and she tells him no one in his life is good for him. He can only trust her and if he leaves he will regret it forever. This so called therapists family tried to have an intervention on May 11. She chose meth over her own kids. Another twist in this truly ugly story is my husband was friends with hers and he died 6 months ago, my husband took our son to the funeral.
    Thats where she got his number. I find out later that they were having late night/early morning talks about her vibrator, how she grudge fucks her ex boyfriend, (she has had 3 boyfriends since her husband died), how much meth she uses, all kinds of things were learned by my son. When the intervention failed she had a plan. She called my husband and said she needed help with some things around her house. He of course said no problem and 3 days later dropped by her house to look at what all she wanted done and to give her an estimate. It took 4 hours and the job was changing the locks and putting in a doggie door. Red flag to me. The very next day he went back over there to do those jobs. After he was gone for 10 hours without a word I tried to call but no answer. I went to her house several hours later at the crack of dawn. I went around the whole house knocking on all of the windows and doors and it was 25 minutes before he came to the door. He was all happy, I could only say get your ass in the car. He told me on the way home he had gotten sick and passed out.
    I think I should write a book. My son talked to our lawyer who told him he has a great personal injury case and this evil woman just got a huge amount of life insurance. My husband now drives dead husbands pickup, wears his clothes, and screws his wife. Isnt that just great?
    I go from angry to very sad, to feeling hopeless and lost.

  2. Daz  May 18, 2022 at 1:21 pm Reply

    I’ve not really any idea why I’m writing this, or even why I found it. I guess I’ve just been feeling so much grief that I realised I’d rather my partner had died than left me…at least I’d still have the dreams, the love to hold on to. The purity of a life never imagined but cut short by tragedy. At least I’d still have the dog to look after, to talk to and tell her how much I missed her mother. At least I’d have something…but instead I find myself with nothing.

    Nothing but a hollow emptiness where they used to live. Nothing but shattered plans and broken dreams. Nothing but confusion and pain, anger…and yet longing, longing for what we had, could have had, and could still have would she only see 😔

    There were no problems. No warnings. No signs, no conversations. We were engaged, absolute sweethearts, best of friends, a great team…I loved her more than I’ve ever loved, committed to the end, loyal, caring, and I felt the same from her. And then one day it ended.

    It started with an outburst. I was having some difficulties myself, but nothing to do with her…health, career, finances…I was stressed and and then one day, it just came out. She wouldn’t really speak to me all week. Then when we did, she suddenly came out with all these major doubts and a huge personal attack on everything that I was, which completely took me off guard. She wanted space, I gave her it. She wanted to talk, we talked. We resolved. We made love. She told me everything was great again and we had been missing a connection…I felt it was physical. You see, we had gone through an abortion recently, and physical intimacy had been difficult since, for both of us…but that was cool, I could wait. No pressure.

    I continued to give her space as I felt it was the correct thing, and stayed with a friend for the week. She asked me on a date, and we went. And then she did a total 180, went all distant. Even though I was helping her with a big project she was irritable with me all week. She wanted me to move out, but we have a housing crisis here and there is nowhere to live. I told her she was being unreasonable and putting me in an awkward position, and then she ended it. My heart broke into a million pieces and I cannot pick them up.

    It’s been four months now. I have been homeless. Diagnosed with major depression and doped out my mind, I can no longer work. I’ve managed to move into a caravan now at least, but half my belongings are still in our home. She won’t talk to me. She acts like she hates me. I’ve made some mistakes, and maybe said some shitty things throughout it all, but I feel like I deserve better than this. Yet I cannot hate her, as I always held her on a pedestal up high. I thought she’d come back. She led me to believe she might. But she won’t, I see that now, and my heart bleeds. I can’t go out anywhere for fear of seeing her and being triggered. I can’t see the dog. The wedding is off. My career is down the pan. It has completely destroyed my trust in people, and shattered my confidence and self-esteem. I’m battling this on top of the depression and I’m scared it’s too much. I think of ending it all often 😔

    I think that she blames me for the abortion. She’s acting very out of character. She says she just hadn’t loved me for six months, but how could I not see? Why did she not say sooner? So many unanswered questions that plague my mind relentlessly and will not leave me alone. I have lost all hope for a future of any sort…I don’t want to go through life alone, but how can I open up ever again after this? She was always so good to me and yet she still ended up letting me down. I would like a home, but here it is impossible on your own…this caravan is the best I can manage, and that really sucks. I’m 40 next year, and I am dreading it…instead of being happily married to my perfect woman in our lovely home with our perfect dog and a job I love, I’ll be spending it on my own, living in a caravan and on benefits.

    I just don’t understand how and why this has happened, and that’s the worst thing of all. That, and hearing she is happy…out all the time socialising…suddenly having time off and money, two things which we never got together. Continuing to live in our home that I got for her and made nice for us, whilst I am left with nothing. Did she just take me for a ride? A six year ride? Was anything ever real? Sorry, I just needed to vent x

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    • Litsa  May 18, 2022 at 2:10 pm Reply

      Daz, I am so sorry for the immense pain. It is easy for us let the end of relationships redefine them, but how things end do not undo what came before. And often what we hear and see about how another person is doing after a breakup is just the very surface of things – often there is so much more to that. Please know that there is always help and, as hopeless as things can feel, you can get support in coping with all of these difficult thoughts and feelings. You can always reach someone that the suicide helpline – in the US the number is 1-800-273-8255 and in the UK the number is 116 123 or you can text SHOUT to 85258. Though this article may on the surface not seem relevant, as it is on the end of a friendship, I think you might also find some pieces of it relevant https://whatsyourgrief.com/what-happened-to-best-friends-forever-grieving-the-loss-of-a-living-friend/

    • Amanda  June 14, 2022 at 12:09 pm Reply

      Daz,
      I am so so sorry to hear you are going through so much pain. It is good to vent good to share. I do think abortion can really effect some woman. They can’t cope that well after they have done it sometimes even if if it was there decision. I have known of women that have felt this after and it has affected them for years or even forever. It’s terrible to be older and having to start over I do feel for you. My marriage broke up September last year. I have only just started to face unpacking and sorting boxes. I actually can’t believe the grief I am still feeling. I left because he was mistreating my adult son at times verbally and emotionally but I was still in love with him so it’s still been very painful even if it was for good reasons. I dont knoe how long your grief or my grief will take. But i am sure we will both slowly heal and see the good in life when our grief is finally somewhat processed. I feel very sorry you did not see it coming either. I think it makes it very hard. You are left with so many questions. Please don’t take your life there us some sweet lady out there meeting love as much as you do when you are ready. Take care. Kindest regards Amanda

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    • AV  July 13, 2022 at 6:02 pm Reply

      Daz – I’m so sorry for your incredible loss and all that it’s lead up to. Your loss seems greater in magnitude than mine, but in some ways I can relate. Especially to the idea that I will never be able to trust anyone again. I turned 39 when my ex left me after 11 years. A month before, she’d written me a lovely Christmas card… I love you. Thank you for sticking with me, etc. I can’t imagine how she could say such things. How she could lie to herself and to me that way. But it happened. As surreal and horrific as it felt, it happened. And there I was. 39 years old and alone at the beginning of a global pandemic. Feeling like I’d wasted so much of my potential on this person. I can’t believe I still love her. And yet, I feel that a big part of me has died. The part that thought I knew her. Understood her. Could trust her. The part that believed in love and always working through things. I feel such bitterness now. And yes – I think about ending my life. I’ve had to rely heavily on therapy and medication. It’s hard. And awful to think that we’re alone when in fact there are so many heartbroken people out there. It seems we don’t talk about the devastation of heartbreak enough. In any case – I send you love… the kind that hopes you will feel better one day. That you’ll have the strength to keep fighting. That you’ll be able to see magic in life again. I hope that someday it will feel ok. True love… I don’t believe in it anymore. But I do believe in goodness and kindness, and I guess in a way that is a purer kind of love. So, much love to you.

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  3. Erica  May 12, 2022 at 9:37 am Reply

    I never comment on things but I feel so compelled to say something because I am hurting so much. My bf of 2 years broke up with me 3 weeks ago because we hadn’t been seeing eye to eye for about 5 months.. I was suffering from a deep depression and he had his own internal turmoil and in the end we weren’t seeking ways to help ourselves to help the relationship. I had to have an abortion because he did not want our second child and I was afraid to put the baby through a situation like that. He was also the father figure to my other children and they are now also heartbroken and grieving the loss of the baby and who they called their dad. I got on meds for my depression and I’m seeing so much clearer now and I see how things could work. But he is not interested in a relationship. He just wants to co parent. But I want him and our family. We are young (30) and I knew we would have issues and things to grow through so I wanted to stand by him the entire way. He said I use to be so inspirational and that’s what he loved but his negligence of my emotional needs and him not stepping up as a man in our household slowly are away at me and made mr unhappy. I thought if we just seek counseling it would help but we never made it there. Now he’s gone and I can’t eat or sleep. I just lay here with the worst ache I have ever felt in my life. I try to to fight because of the kids but I’m broken. Our baby together is 11 months and I cry for him everyday because we planned to have him and not expose him to a broken household. We were planning to marry. We had plans and my whole life changed in a matter of days. How do you give up on the person you felt like was your person? I am having the hardest time processing what is happening and I don’t want to give up. My hope is that he comes back to me.. to us. But I’m afraid our bad times tainted his view. What do you do with a hurt this deep? I feel so empty and alone when I’m typically the strongest person everyone knows. I prayed for him..I helped him during his lowest points.. I gave him a son… I loved with all my soul. And now he gets to move on freely and I live in the constant reminder of what was. I don’t know what to do.. I don’t know how to move on. I want to fight but I guess I can’t fight in a ring alone. I just ask for prayers to help me find my worth again.. help me dream again. Because I feel all was loss

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    • Litsa  May 12, 2022 at 5:07 pm Reply

      I am so sorry for all that you are feeling – it sounds like it has been an incredibly difficult time. If you haven’t connected with a therapist, now might be a good time. Though medication can be very helpful, research shows that the most helpful thing is a combination of therapy and medication. Therapy might help with giving you a space to both acknowledge and process the loss, while figuring out how to take care of yourself and rebuild as you move forward.

    • Ali  May 14, 2022 at 12:07 pm Reply

      Erica,
      I am so so sorry to hear what you’re going through. I cannot imagine the pain, questions, and devastation you are feeling. You are such a strong, loving, devoted mother to your children and I hope you know how incredibly blessed they are to have you. I know those feelings of deep internal heartache and inability to move or get up. You are not alone and like Litsa said, I hope you are able to connect with a therapist who can really support you through this. You are loved and worthy and wonderful! <3

  4. Ali  May 9, 2022 at 10:11 pm Reply

    Hi everyone. I’ve never commented on an article like this before, but I felt so validated reading everyone’s stories I wanted to share mine.

    I am grieving the loss of my first love. I’m 22 and about to graduate college. I know I’m “still young” and can still find someone else, but I truly saw my future with this man and still feel utterly broken.

    We met in college and started dating last year. It was my first relationship, he was my first kiss, first person I ever even held hands with. He was so committed, honest, loyal, and loving from the beginning. We opened up to one another about the real struggles in our lives early on. We share values, faith, hobbies, and more. We just loved being together. He had a great deal of baggage from his past, but I saw so much good in him I believed it was worthwhile to stick by his side as he worked through some severe struggles toward finding healing.

    After dating for only 5 months, he moved across the world to work for a nonprofit for the year. We dove right into long distance and made it work for a long time. I hoped I’d be able to visit, but unfortunately since I was in school and COVID stuff, it didn’t work out. About 9 months into the relationship, we were talking about the future, our lives together, making plans to move to the same city this next year, finally be together in person, and ultimately get married soon.

    Long story short, some of his issues began to become really concerning. He struggled with a addiction, and the things he did really emotionally wounded me. After a while, this struggle was not improving, no matter how hard he was trying to work on it, it turned into real life betrayal. He cheated on me emotionally, mentally, and even had a plan to do so physically, although he did not go through with it. The things he did, the ways he betrayed my loyalty and trust shattered me. We took a break for one month, after which he was not in a better place, had betrayed me even more by rekindling flirtatious conversations with an old flame. At this point, he had hurt me time and time again, with no sign of changed behavior. I broke up with him at that point, over 2 months ago. We left things off open-ended, which was complicated. He was extremely crushed, remorseful, and promised that he would be working hard on himself in order to get to a healthier place, with the ultimate goal of winning me back one day and mending our relationship in due time.

    The past few months were brutal. I had never experienced grief, loss, heartbreak before. I lost 16 pounds because I simply had no appetite and could not eat, with the constant nauseating pit in my stomach. I have not been able to let go of the hope that he WILL be able to change and we WILL be able to have the beautiful relationship and life together that we’d dreamed of, one full of trust, loyalty, love, and respect. I know the potential is there! It’s nearly impossible for me to relinquish that hope. After grieving for the past 2 months, my friends and family are telling me to “get over it” and “move on” and “let go” or my hope for the future. My dad literally has been getting angry with me when I cry on FaceTime and tells me to “stop moping and look at the positives in life”! I know they want to see me free and happy again, but it is not that easy! I am still struggling, still heartbroken, and still holding out hope that he’ll be able to change radically and finally be able to treat me right. I know I deserve to be treated with respect, faithfulness, honor, loyalty. I shouldn’t have to question myself or forgive him for his repeated mistakes and betrayals over and over again.

    Anyway. That is where I’m at.

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    • Litsa  May 10, 2022 at 5:38 am Reply

      Ali, I am so sorry for what you are going through. Gratitude for the things you have and the positives in life doesn’t take away from the pain of a breakup or any grief. They are two things we can hold at the same time. One of the things that it sounds like you know, but is helpful to remember, is that we can’t control anyone else’s addiction or recovery. We also can’t change people just based on how much we want it or love them. If only we could . . . it would make life so much easier. Living your life focusing on taking care of yourself and moving forward doesn’t mean you have to give up that hope. It does mean you can’t let that hope control you or guide your decisions. I know that sounds a bit abstract, but what I mean is that sometimes we think that moving forward for us means giving up on someone or giving up hope and that can feel very hard to do when it is someone you have loved and cared for. But you can decide that, though you are still grieving and hurt, though you still hold out some hope, that these are not the feelings you will allow to guide your day to day life and what you do in the world. Instead, you can still acknowledge and create space for those feelings, while deciding to let other values guide your day to day decisions – things like your self-respect and self-worth, other friendships and meaningful relationships, connecting with hobbies you love, volunteer work that is meaningful to you, and anything else that fills up your life. I know it sounds kinds of out there, but saying to yourself ‘yes, I’m still grieving and even holding out some hope and struggling, and that’s okay, but what would I do today if I weren’t in that place – who would I text, where would I go, what would I do?’. Then make the decision to still do those things, even though it will be harder than usual to push yourself to do them. There is real research that this can help. Please take care of yourself. And also consider telling your Dad what you need from him instead of him telling you to look at the positives! Imagine before you facetime him what you are looking for from him and then ask for that – so, something like “hey dad, I want to tell you about my hard day. I don’t want you to try to fix it for me or to help me look on the bright side. I just need someone to listen right now. Do you think you can do that?’. They you help him to know what might help you. Also, dads are often good at accountability if that helps you 🙂 So something like, “Dad, it really bothers me when you just tell me to look at the positives. But I could use help making sure I follow through on some of the self-care things I am doing for myself this week. I’m planning to do X, Y, Z that I know will be good for me. Can you check in with me on Sunday to make sure I actually did all of those things?”.

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  5. Carol  April 4, 2022 at 2:51 am Reply

    Thank you for this post and also for everyone’s comments. They helped me a lot.

    My boyfriend (25) of 3 years, broke up with me (27) a week ago today. His reasoning was because he felt suffocated and thought I wasn’t happy so although he loved me and wanted it to work- in his words, he had to cut a limb off to save his body.

    I’m going through all 5 stages, what feels like every hour on the hour, every day. I haven’t eaten enough and I feel empty and lost. I understood why he might of felt under the thumb and on top of each other but I’m sad that he’s decided not to work through it and instead give up fighting for me.

    He had asked me to move into his parents house (where he had always live) 2 years ago due to me potentially having to move cities due to the pandemic. Prior to that I had my own sleek apartment in the business district and was an extremely social butterfly with tons of different networks. I was doing well for myself and was happy. He’s a banker who has shot from nothing to almost hedge fund manager all before 30 – BUT HE STILL LIVES AT HOME, rent free.

    As he came from a really difficult background, he still feels loyalty to his friends stuck in that lifestyle. Which I hate as they aren’t loyal to their girlfriends and I can see they just use him (for his new found success). So I’ve made rude remarks about his friends which he didn’t like and defended to death.

    He has also betrayed me 3 times. The first was him just drunkenly getting a girls number while out with said group of friends. I was devastated but listened to him when he said it was a mistake and as it was emotionally cheating (not physically) I decided it was a mistake I could move on from. But I couldn’t. Everytime he did anything with that group of friends I was panicking, paranoid, upset and worried he do it again.

    He’d come home from nights out and I’d ask him ‘what he had been up to, where and with who?’ I’d never harass him while he’d be out, but I would expect him to drop a message to say he was safe etc (not a full on conversation) – but he never would. He wouldn’t tell me without him feeling like he was under investigation and it would only feed my insecurities.

    I went in his phone a few months later after a said incident of not opening up and being forthcoming over trivial things. And I saw he had a new female contact on his social media. And was muting messages and deleting them from another female. I had asked who they were and he said one was a random add. And the other was just his friend. I challenged him as his profile isn’t his real name so it would be difficult for anyone to find it and add it, and if the other girl was just a friend why would you hide messages and delete any evidence of contact. He lied through his teeth just like the first drunken night out fling. And because he was lying it hurt even more.

    I had bluffed and said I had messaged the random add girl and she had replied to say he added her. He later (weeks) admitted to seeing her after a day at work and fancying her so asked for her details. The other girl new a friend of mine and told her she wasn’t speaking to my boyfriend like that as she thought he was creepy but he had called her the other day which she found weird. I later found out the night he called her was the same night he told me he didn’t want to be with me the first time round.

    I took him back but my trust was shattered. I asked him to be more open with me about things. But he would just get angry at every conversation. Fast forward, he went out last Saturday and didn’t come home until 11am Sunday morning. I hadn’t heard from him for 6 hours and he strolled in with no explanation and thought a hug and his chode would fix my worries and anxiety. I was insulted. He didn’t like my reaction and said I didn’t like his lifestyle and it wasn’t fair I was making him feel like he couldn’t breathe. Now he has decided he doesn’t want me.

    And I’m angry because he will only find a girl who will put up with all that bullshit. Because it’s normal to him. He still lives at home. Where his parents sleep in separate rooms, they don’t converse about anything other than their daughters school. No affection. No “hey hunny how was your day.” Or “how are you”. Nothing. The don’t eat dinner together. The two years I lived there they never did one thing together (eg gardening, going for dinner, a walk) come to think of it they never left the house together. neither had a friend come round to visit them, the mum never went to visit anyone. She had no friends outside work colleagues – is heavily depressed and unhappy but won’t leave because the dad pays everything. She would never question where the dad went or when he’d be back. She would just make sure the dads dinner was cooked and ironing had been done.

    My partner never saw what a healthy relationship looked like and his parents don’t help him process a good one.

    I love him so much and can see his potential but I know I deserve more I just don’t know if I’ll ever get it and don’t understand why he couldn’t decide I was enough for him to change and work. Just as I was willing.

    Anyway I’m having to move out and rent which is scary for me all over again and I’m mourning the loss of what could’ve been. I miss him and just want to beg for him back. I don’t want him to find someone else. I want him to miss me.

    He wants to be civil but how can I be civil with all this emotions. I know he needs to grow up but I wanted to be there to grow with him. Man it hurts so much.

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    • Ali  May 9, 2022 at 10:15 pm Reply

      Hey Carol,
      Thanks for sharing your story. I really feel for you and empathize with you. I relate to the cycle of being betrayed, having trust broken, but then forgiving and wanted to work toward mending things. It’s so hard when you love someone and want things to be different. We deserve loyalty. We shouldn’t have to be hurt time and time again. But I relate to you when you said “I wanted to be there to grow with him”. I feel the same way. I was willing to stand by my ex’s side and support him through his healing and growth. I did so for a long time. But at a certain point the betrayals become too much.

      I’m thinking of you and praying for your healing!!!

  6. LaDema  March 27, 2022 at 2:39 am Reply

    I was in a relationship for 15 years. Alot of ups and downs. At the end I decided to go my own way. After 10 months he convinced me to return only for me to discover that he had been making plans to live with another woman. When I confronted him about this he treated me like the enemy. Like I was no longer trusted. This was devastating to me as I had always thought that if we had broken up we at least would remain friends on some level. He became very non communicative with me and even had his family do the same. This didnt set well with me. We had made a compact many years prior that if we ever broke up he would pay me 1000 dollars for every year we were together as I hadn’t worked but in the home the entire time we were together. That way I could get on without any financial hardship. As it was without my knowledge he had acquired great wealth behind my back and it wouldnt have been an issue and he offered to pay my rent anywhere I wanted to live for a year. I chose our home as I was tired and had just moved from my own apartment of 10 months after the breakup. I had left him 1 year earlier and had been the owner of my own company for 2 years at the time when I found out about his other life. Well it was a bad break up at that point for me. He married the other woman, I moved to another state. My issue is I have dreams that we are still together in the same home around the same people and when I wake up I feel real sad the next day when normally it isnt an issue since it’s been 20 years. Will these dreams and feelings ever stop? We did live our most significant and liveliest time in our lives together but he did me so wrong. He is now so in debt that he will never be free from it like I am when then he was so rich and free to buy anything and I am so poor and free from debt. He is married like I said and I’m a widow but the dreams haunt me of him because they are always of him doing something wrong towards us.

  7. Gabriela  March 17, 2022 at 7:27 pm Reply

    Hello, about 2 years ago me and my ex separated. About a couple weeks after we separated i found out i was 2 mo pregnant. Well its about to be 3 years in August that we separated and since we co parent i see him all the time. Well recently i saw him and he had hickies on his neck, and it felt like a knife was stabbed right through my heart lol i know 2 yrs is a long time but it hurts. I feel like im going through the whole break up grief again and it sucks. Im just wondering how many times im gonna have to go through the break up grief 🙁

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  8. Smudge  February 25, 2022 at 6:49 am Reply

    I need some help everyone, what can I do?

    I was seeing a lady that I love so very much for about 3 years (but found it hard at times to show her this, I have some trust issues from the past).

    I was deeply happy and content and did believe she loved me very much also.

    Late last year I had some mental health issues that I did not manage well at the time (I struggled to do anything or even get out of bed some days and this made me angry and I snapped at her at times).

    There was never anything physical and I would never hurt her in that way but it caused a rift between us and she moved out, we tried to stay friends but it was a bit difficult with how I was.

    I finally got the help I needed from counselling and my head is in a far better place now and certainly beyond the mental illness / stress I had at the time.

    I did the stupid thing that lots of people do and bombarded her with emails and texts asking for forgiveness and to give me a chance now ok and to see me again, which I know was the wrong thing to do and she blocked me on text and that.

    I know deep down she is still very much in love with me and certainly doesn’t want to be on her own, she just doesn’t want to be hurt again.

    I kept emailing her and she just said leave me alone and I never want to see or hear from you ever again and that resulted in two police visits now asking me to stop contacting her.

    What do I do?

    I’m very much in love with her and I know deep down she still loves me. I don’t want miss this one chance in a lifetime to be with someone I love so very much and I know we could have a fantastic life together.

    But I’m told if the police come back again for a 3rd time, I will get charged this time.

    What can I do?

    • Litsa  February 28, 2022 at 4:29 pm Reply

      I know this feels incrediby hard, but when you can do is respect what she has told you she wants and needs, which is for you to leave her alone. She knows how you feel and if, with time and space, she wants to reach out to you she can and will. If you continue ignoring her requests and insisting that you know how she really feels but you refuse to listen to what she is actually saying and asking of your, it will likely only reinforce her concerns about having contact with you.

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      • TS  March 1, 2022 at 5:55 pm

        This article validates how I’m feeling. My girlfriend just broke up with me 3 days ago because her own grief over the one year anniversary of her late partner’s death overwhelmed her to the point where she felt she could not be in a relationship right now. I felt her pulling away a few weeks before and of course gave her the space she requested… and then she dropped the bomb on me.

        Everything is shattered. I am now overwhelmed. I can’t eat or sleep or think straight and I’m constantly getting hit with waves of crying. This is not like me, as I am normally a rock for others and pretty hard to be moved. I have never gotten so close to someone and felt that everything so naturally resonated before, and I’ve been around the block a while. I am trying to cope and I have left the door open, but I don’t know if that’s going to assuage me or do more damage if I never hear from her again.

        For the first time in my life, I feel completely lost.

  9. Virginia Thomas  January 29, 2022 at 10:26 pm Reply

    See any comment on any platform goes unanswered or unposted while I scream for friends to answer why can’t you here me. I’m alive what did I do why won’t you talk to me. Never got a confirmation email.

  10. Virginia Thomas  January 29, 2022 at 9:51 pm Reply

    Well I don’t know if I’m dead or alive. I have been making videos on my phone for 4 years. Any time who wants to watch them can like I am a rat in cage live stream me without taking me and lie about it to my face. I had a youtube channel for a while but when I realized you could watch what I do on my phone without uploading to youtube I decided it’s best not to. I got tired of the child porn links and no response from the law or any friends or family in regards to said events. You suggest I am dead in prison and on and on. Blocked emails and calls preventing me from making money or having not one healthy relationship. I stopped believing in His be sure of it. If this is gods plan I want nothing to do with God. I was labeled a pedophile in background reports and false rumors ran rampent while everyone laughed and I am not. I could never get anyone to tell me the truth and everyone became my enemy. I have tried to committ suicide countless times in the past 4 years many times live on youtube always filming while you watch on for fun. I have not qualified for any state aid and was left homeless. I am accused of being a thief although I’m not. The cycle ends and begins everytime I try and be part of the world and it never moved past this point. I have committed no crime but am being punished as though I have. I don’t have or see a future for myself. I am not the devil and I am not your sacrifice. So breaking up happens for me everyday and it is with all of humanity. I am divorced only married once. I am a slave I don’t have freedom to choose.

  11. Gina  January 7, 2022 at 8:12 am Reply

    I was married 24 years and this February will mark one year since we have been officially divorced and separated for 3 years. The slow downfall of our connection happened early so much of our life together has felt – sad. When I look back I realize I often felt alone even when laying next to him in bed. Like many, we had a child and the demands of raising her, our jobs, family, friends filled the loneliness – at least on the surface. I was open, often planning opportunities to just connect and spend time together. Come take a walk with me, let’s call some friends and meet up, want to invite your family over for dinner…. he just wanted to work then come home and have a cocktail, sit in front of the tv with his laptop on his lap. I slowly gave up. There would be times I would lay next to him in bed and cry while he just rolled over and snored. I started to look for connection elsewhere through family, friends, exercise, creative outlets and finally accepting advances by men. I continued to try to connect to my husband, but he just became more and more miserable. In his professional life, he was/ is well respected, viewed as a great guy, life of the party. However, he was very different at home. We didn’t really fight until the end of our marriage. After years of asking for his time, attention and partnership I realized it was never going to change. One day I asked him if he wanted to walk the dogs with me and his response was to stop trying to make him exercise I knew we were no longer a married team, rather a housemate. I told him not to worry, I will never ask him to do anything with me and that I was going to start to live my life they way I wanted to. Well, my passive-aggressive threat was the beginning of the end. I was so hurt and angry over the years of our one-sided relationship / marriage that I did as I threatened — I began living my own life, separate of his. It wasn’t long before I met someone. He was a player, a jerk. But I wasn’t looking for love, just connection. My husband followed me one day to his home, busted in and caught us talking. I was actually there to end things, but my husband flipped out. Locked me out of the house, cut me off from our bank accounts, told our only daughter — which has taken years for our relationship to recover from. We tried in-house separation, counseling — but he somehow felt that simply because we were married there were rules I needed to follow. Handing my phone over to him, giving access to everything and anything he deemed important for him to feel secure in out marriage. All while texting me ‘rooms to rent’ links. He asked me to move out because he felt like he was loosing his mind. He said, move out, we can then work on our marriage – go to therapy, date… start over. Let all these bad feelings settle. So I did. I think he was surprised, but I found an apartment I could afford with a second bedroom Incase our daughter wanted to stay with me when she came home from college. He never spoke to me again. Well, I should say the first 18 months I reached out to him every week. He always had an excuse — busy at work, migraine, etc… so I finally gave up and met a man. Even now, divorced almost a year I know I would have worked on my marriage if he would have one time said, what are we doing — let’s work on this marriage. Those words and actions simply never happened. Today, I still struggle emotionally and that’s okay. I realize I was always ‘alone’ in my marriage. I miss my home, my dogs, my married status, — my life. But, I don’t really miss my ex husband. What I mean is that I mourn for the life I always wanted and for a future that will never be. My child is 23 now. She lives with me when in town and stays with her Dad when she needs time with him. Her ‘third’ home is with her boyfriend. So it seems she is a typical young adult… living he life and lucky to have a remote job in graphic design. I still cry, more than I’d like to admit for the demise of my marriage but slowly I realize we were never a solid match. I tried so hard for so long to share how I was feeling and he just couldn’t find a way to meet me half way. I regret cheating on him because that is what ultimately broke our marriage and has left me ‘the heavy’ for the reason we divorced. What I have learned is that the seeds you water truly grow into a garden and if you forget to water the seeds of love, caring, respect — sadly these seeds die and weeds take over’. Life is long… tend to the garden you want grow. I miss my now Ex, we did have a great friendship at one time. I look back and see it never really became love. He ‘let me’ live in his world. Even to this day, he will not interact with me other than a few words via text. Holidays, daughter had COVID — nothing more than a word or two and a stupid emoji are his typical response. He’s killing it now at work, received a large inheritance from an aunt that passed… so maybe he is finally happy? My life is hard financially. After 24 years of marriage I learned that my ex didn’t manage our finances very well and I was left literally with nothing. But I can and do work, live small and take positive steps each day. My bad days are just that – a moment in time that will and does pass. I can say I have found love. We are taking it slow, but talk openly about a committed life together. My daughter met his family this past Christmas and all went wonderfully. I wanted to write because it’s important to remind ourselves that we can overcome heartbreak. Or at least work toward happiness if we remember, much like your article… time helps healing. Give yourself time to let go and dare to imagine a different story for yourself. It is scary, it is hard… during holidays, birthdays, celebrations and milestones I am no longer included in/ with my ex-family. But you know what sometimes you have to say ‘ so the F what’ their loss. Smile and water the seeds you want in your garden.

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    • Nicola  May 14, 2022 at 11:46 am Reply

      I read your story and it could be my own!

      My ex partner and I co-habited together for 21 years or whole should lives (I’m 41 now) and I’ve worn his engagement ring for 10 years, though we never prioritised marriage, even though we also have one daughter together – aged 7 and really should have done!

      He ended it with me on Easter Sunday, which I really wasn’t expecting, though he’s been stonewalling me for weeks and I was begging him to talk to me!

      This stonewalling had finally led me to booking couple’s therapy in order to resolve or communication issues. We were on a waiting list here in the UK.

      It’s the 14th May now and he reaffirmed it was over last night, after he agreed to ‘try’ last Sunday.

      We still have to live together, as the mortgage is fixed for another year and a half, and neither of us can afford to move out and still pay it.

      I will be financially f**ked when we do have to sell my dream house that I’ve worked so hard on to make nice for us.

      We are mortgaged 50:50 but the equity is not great, so once split we’ll have to downgrade to a worse house in a bad neighbourhood. I’ll probably have to rent or move in with my elderly parents. He was the bread winner so he’ll be just about ok.

      I’m devastated, as he co-parents wonderfully, but when our daughter is in bed asleep, it’s like we are strangers! And all my demons rise and I feel even worse and so lonely and beside myself with grief. Our home now feels like a rental I have to endure. I can no longer but anything for it. All my dreams for our life are scuppered! Plans for a holiday abroad after the pandemic…

      He was my best friend once, but he’s been pulling away for a long time and calling me names. I’m so heartbroken and devastated and can barely function.

      I’m on a low salary as a TA in a school, so have an awful lot of work to do to further my career, in order to earn enough to get my own mortgage.

      I’ll have to take on lots of debt to train to be a teacher at my degree isn’t in a core subject.

      It’s just so hard and I am needing every hopeful story I can find, but yours particularly resonated because of the time you were together and just the similar theme of its demise.

      I hope things continue to improve for you! Thanks for sharing! x

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  12. Alice  January 6, 2022 at 9:16 am Reply

    Hi everyone… welcome to 2022, guess I started my new year off with a bang, maybe this is a cry for help?
    Everyone is at a loss with partners of a year at least here— mine was shorter, we were together for 5 months, but it felt like 5 years.
    I’ve been in relationships before but I had never actually loved someone as much as I loved this man. He was the stars in my life, he was everything I ever wanted and then some. He healed my past and I helped to heal his, and he was my best friend.
    He asked me to marry him, and then after a few weeks- asked to slow down our relationship because he isn’t sure of commitment. He needed to get over things…
    We worked through it, he was better, and as soon as our relationship progressed again- he asked to slow down again.
    Again, we slowed down. I stopped talking about the future together, I tried everything I could in my power to make it work. We started to do better and put more effort into it, and then two days ago he tells me he’s been unhappy, and he just can’t commit. He’s scared or hurting me, yet he did exactly what he was scared of the most.
    It broke me each time. I have never felt heartbreak before, I’m 25. I guess my walls were just really thick, but he broke them down and left me with a flood of weird and awful emotions.
    I gave up my religion, my friends, everything for him. That may have been a red flag right from the start— but I had never met anyone that made me feel. I was never angry, I couldn’t be angry him. He helped with more personal growth than I thought possible, and showed me that relationships can be a source of good things.

    I come from a line of abuse in life, and he was the most gentle soul for me, and his family were all such beautiful and kind people. His home was my home, he was my home, he was my safe place. Now I have absolutely nothing.

    I’m so sorry to anyone having to experience this. I don’t know what to do, how to move on. I haven’t stopped crying and my chest physically hurts. You people are so strong and brave.
    I don’t want to give him up- but I think I’m doing the right thing… I just want someone to hold me again. I don’t know where to turn to, and who to go to for help. I’ve been left empty and utterly alone.

    • Brianna  February 5, 2022 at 2:03 pm Reply

      I’m in exactly the same boat as you. I came here to maybe read about some helpful tips. I’m a little younger then you but my relationship was also 5 months, he was the perfect guy and I thought we were going to get married and go through collage together. But he left me for another girl on the same day he broke up with me. Granted this was. A long distance relationship but it still felt like heaven. He helped me with all my pain and was always there for me. But I’m here to give you a bit of advice. Even though he may have been someone perfect for you, it’s his loss that he left. Your an amazing person and you now have so many more opportunities to meet people. Someone even better. there is a difference between the love of your life and the love for your life. The love of your life is going to be the first person to truly give you that experience of love but a love for your life is someone who knows that experience and will use it in the best way possible. You’ve got this and I can tell your going to do great things in your life. <3

    • P  February 8, 2022 at 5:16 pm Reply

      Hi Alice, I’m so sorry you are going through this. I hear you and I understand.

      My partner and I were together for 6 months and it was the longest 6 months of my life, but he taught me so much. He can’t commit either and he’ll take short breaks from us. This time I asked “Are you coming back?” and he said he’s not sure. Everything is way more off this time so I know it’s different and we’re more than over.

      Cry and let yourself feel everything. I know I am, haha! I’ll cry randomly in the middle of something so unrelated but I’ll be reminded of him or our relationship and the tears won’t stop. I hope you are doing better and if not, don’t worry, you will get there. We are all going to get there together. <3

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  13. Danny  November 6, 2021 at 6:16 am Reply

    Hello! I’m on a very difficult grief journey. Mourning the loss of my parents from years ago. My entire family has passed on.

    I met this girl online about a year ago and she was also grieving the loss of her mother. It was a long distance relationship (5 hours apart) but we were bound and determined to make it work, and we did until this evening. I’m literally gutted by this.

    Basically we are at different stages of healing. I’m not at a level that she thinks I should be at. I’m currently seeing a therapist and following their directions. The loss of the future near and far… the idea that I’d be able to spend a holiday with a family for the first time in 9 years… gone in a flash.

    I’m lost and at a loss about what to do. Job-wise I’m a graphic designer that has had to become a police dispatcher in the time of COVID. It is not something that comes easily but it keeps the lights on in the home that my parents left me as a thank you for being their caretaker in their dying years.

    We always spoke about our respective healing journeys. I would say the world isn’t so big and angry and cold when you have someone that has your back to talk to. I never tried to fix her, just be there to listen, be a should to cry on and help however I could.

    “What happened” feels like to most savage question that I can’t stop asking myself.

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  14. Tabea  November 3, 2021 at 6:21 pm Reply

    I am about to call it quits on a relationship that has been going on amd off for the last 6 years, the last year was the longest „on“ stretch, we saw each other regularly, grew very close again. But he has another girlfriend. I was always aware of that and we had an undeniable loving connection that was so good and pure that I was willing to staying in this relationship, for the few moments of happiness when we spent time together. But the last few weeks I have realized that I want more. I want a reltionship with a future, a reltionship where we can grow together instead of just having these fleeting moments of happiness and then he leaves me and goes back to his actual life with the other girldfriend.
    So my unconsciousness has made its mind up, it‘s time to let him go. My head and my heart are not ready. I have had one long going panic attack since I made the decision to end it. I am terrified of losing him and the connection we had. He‘s my best friend, he‘s my person. If he weren‘t stuck in this other relationship (his words), we would fit together so well and bring out the best in each other. But i have to lose this in order to grow, to find something stable and to work on my mental health, my crippling anxiety and selfworth. I am so terrified of falling in a very dark hole once I break this off.

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    • Willow  January 9, 2022 at 2:14 pm Reply

      Similarly, I spent 5yrs with my person. He also had a girlfriend of many years that he wouldn’t leave although our connection/chemistry was magical, almost otherworldly. I’ve been without him 7yrs now. I’ve been married to someone else for 5yrs and I still grieve the loss of my person. I still think of him and miss him and wish it was him every single day. I know it had to end, I knew he wouldn’t be my forever yet none of that prepared me for a life without him. You’re doing the right thing though, you deserve exclusivity despite what grief may yell at you. Make sure you seek support and take time to heal before starting a new relationship or the new guy may have to live under the ex’s shadow.

    • Doppleganger  January 19, 2022 at 3:54 pm Reply

      Hey, I don’t know how you’ve dealt with the situation. It seems to me that this man is keeping you in his back pocket…just in case things don’t work out with the current girlfriend.

      Someone who actually value’s you would let you go so that you can also figure out what you want, instead of keeping you around for an ego boost. An ex once told me, if it’s meant to be then they’ll come back around.

      At this point, he is energetically feeding off of your hopes ( which is manipulation…a big red flag) and dream’s.

      Be strong enough for yourself, your dignity and self-respect to let something that isn’t serving you go.

      I fought for a whole year despite being unwanted…he didn’t want to hurt my feelings..or come off as the bad guy for breaking up with me. The emotional abuse I endured (in order to make the situation untenable so that I could “leave” of my own accord), thinking that it could somehow work….gut wrenching stuff now that I look back on it.

      Your gut instinct has probably told you the truth…but like with any loss we go through “stages of grief” (Google it…it helped me a lot).

      All the best dear.

  15. K.m.burgess@outlook.com  October 20, 2021 at 1:03 pm Reply

    Im struggling at the moment, I started seeing a guy I’ve known 20 years in March 2020. It was very physical and he said he had fallen for me and then showered me with love, devotion etc. I’ve never had that before, he knew I found it hard to trust as my ex of 8 years cheated and told me he used me until the right girl came along which I’ve never recovered from.
    He completely poured love into me and said he wanted us to be together forever, he loved me and we went on walks, together, nights away in his van with campfires which I loved and I finally fell for him. Then covid ended ish I March and he suddenly announced he couldn’t commit to me because he was still attached to his wife who he told me had separated basically. So I said I’m not rushing into marriage etc but just carry on as we are. So we have and back to normal, then in September this year we went away for 2 nights hiking, had an amazing night and the day after I asked “will we ever be a real couple” and he replied after we had an intimate night “probably not, I’ve got to much built up with my ex wife to lose” meaning his house. So I said “but you wanted to move and buy a home together” and he said “well must be something still between me and her” meaning his ex because they got drunk and slept together which i forgave as he said it was a horrible crazy drunken mistake and he wanted to be with me. So i asked why did you take ne away then tell me we won’t ever be a couple and he just said he loves being with me so basically now he wants to stay with her in their home and have commitment but see me for the fun because I’m wilder than her and more adventurous whereas she just likes drinking in pubs. I’ve never felt so low ever, and don’t know how to handle this. I know I need to walk away and I’m.trying to but before he came into my life i had nobody,no friends because people always mean and use me, so i only have my parents and my brother. Why would somebody who gave me so much love just change and tell me I only want you for sex basically. Im.compleyely lost, he was like my best friend and all we ever did was laugh when together and have great times. When he’s discussed her he always bad mood and says he wants her to leave because he doesn’t love her but then next day says he doesn’t know what he wants out of life. He was adamant for nearly 2 years he wanted me and told me every day and now I feel like I’m.just nothing

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  16. Jonathan Sorrell  September 27, 2021 at 9:53 am Reply

    Was with my partner and the love of my life for almost 12 years. Shared everything with her, built my life around trying to be who she wanted me to be. I think she realized I was never going to be what she wanted.

    We were a blended family. She had 3 of her own, I had one, and together we made a beautiful baby girl.

    She was a widow before we met, her husband having died in a car accident.

    We could just never get on the same page as parents and a lot of our problems stemmed from there and branched out. While I was able to accept that just because we didn’t agree all the time when it came to the kids that I still loved her more than anything and we could still be us. She doesn’t feel that way unfortunately.

    I moved out, got my own place with my son, and my daughter visits every week.

    At 1st my ex was still speaking to me and I thought we were going to be able to salvage what we had left and make it work, but now she won’t even speak to me and tells me that I should have seen this coming.

    A few days prior she told me I was her soul mate and that she would love me forever, now she won’t even return a text message.

    I am lost, I miss her, I miss her kids.

    I miss our imperfect family.

    Every time she texts about our daughter, or I even catch a glimpse of her, I lose it. I am an inconsolable ball of tears. I spend most nights crying myself to sleep, begging her to come back, and trying to fight off thoughts of suicide.

    I am drinking heavily, although I want to stop because I know it’s not helping, and my insides are torn apart, I’m guessing from stress.

    Part of me wants to let go but I just can’t and don’t know how.

    I don’t want to move on, I don’t want anyone else, I just want to work out our issues but you can’t when only one side is willing to try.

    I never knew it was possible to miss someone this much.

    I appreciate everyone leaving their stories, they are helping.

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  17. Sonya  September 19, 2021 at 8:30 am Reply

    My partner of 22 years has just left me. I was with him since the age of 17 and we have three children together 12, 16, 20. We weren’t that close near the end but I kept asking him to take me out so I didn’t just feel we were mom and dad. He said he would make a change after lockdown but it never happened. He wanted sex but I just couldn’t as I needed the connection. Or I’d do it to keep the peace. I love my ex still but I craved some time for the two of us My ex works away and my middle son has been really rude to me. My ex always says he will speak to him but then twists my son’s behaviour on something I’m doing wrong. Infact the week he left it wasn’t over me it was over an argument he had, had with our son. Then all of a sudden he wants to have the kids at the weekend and saying we weren’t working. Obviously my feelings are everywhere at the moment.

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  18. David  August 31, 2021 at 9:05 pm Reply

    I am 61 and was in an intense seven year relationship with a woman I loved more than life itself. One day in July, she just ended it, in a drunken rage. I was utterly blindsided. She owned the house, we were planning to marry and share everything. I had to move out in a few days from a house I called home for years. One week later she moved in a man she had dated 40 years earlier and they bought another home 2 weeks after that. I can say, that this has destroyed me in every way possible. She is now someone I don’t know. He had sold his house in another state and move to her house. It had to be all planned. Needless to say I am very bitter and hurt. I will never trust again. If anyone has to go through this, I feel for you. This was the ultimate betrayal. It has affected my health, I have lost 35 lbs in 35 days, I don’t sleep. I never dreamed someone could be so cruel.

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    • Claire  September 11, 2021 at 6:38 am Reply

      Oh David, I hope you’re doing better now. 4 years ago my ex left after a silly argument and never came back. I was destroyed and like you I couldn’t eat or sleep, non-stop anxiety and I felt almost manic all the time. I was desperate and did things I wouldn’t normally do and acted like the ex from hell for a long time. I was almost sectioned (psychiatric hold) but my mum persuaded them that she could look after me better at home. She hid all my medication and gave me strong sleeping tablets and benzos to get me through the first week.
      I didn’t believe it at the time but it’s true what they say…time is the greatest healer. It really is. 4 years on and I can look back without crying, even talk about him. I feel reasonably content by myself and have fallen into my own routine that doesn’t feel alien and ‘wrong’ as doing things without him used to.
      I hope you believe me that with time you will sleep and eat again, you will laugh and have enjoyable times. You will come to terms with what has happened to you. Just take each day at a time, each hour or minute if needs be, and the time will pass.
      I’m so so sorry this happened to you, and to me and to everyone else. People don’t know the damage they do, do they? Take care xx

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    • MAX SALSBURY  November 16, 2021 at 10:00 am Reply

      You have been dealt a very cruel and bitter blow. What I can’t understand is just how hurtfully break-ups have to delivered? I’ts almost like your wife has suddenly taken leave of her senses and sense of fairness and respect. I do hope you can at some point in time regain some balance and find a happy place to be.

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  19. D  August 30, 2021 at 1:39 pm Reply

    At 66, I am grieving the loss of a 20 year affair with a married man. I am married too and we both were extremely careful to protect our partners who have very low expectations for their own life and relationship. His health and then his wife’s serious health issues, and raising my daughter who has now left home, kept us from taking action to be together but we talked seriously about a future together which we hoped could happen as things started to resolve. Recently he concluded that he is unwilling to upend everything this late in life (68) and still deals with serious health concerns. I actually understand it and can see his perspective. He is willing to stay connected with me, and to keep the relationship we have built as it has been all these years, but I am experiencing intense grief over the loss of those future plans and dreams, as well as fear for myself facing what could be years remaining in a friendly, committed marriage but without any intimacy or physical affection. My husband is older and is also experiencing health issues so I am committed to making sure he is well cared for at the end of his life. I would have taken the leap if my lover was willing and still helped make sure my husband was taken care of so our daughter wouldn’t have to do it. The grief comes in waves and is getting in the way of trying to preserve the friendship and intimacy we have had all these years. I have the chance to keep this relationship as the joy it has been for me but seem stuck in the grief about what will not be. I don’t know how to move forward in a more grateful and joyful way.

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  20. Jan  August 12, 2021 at 6:25 pm Reply

    Reading these comments makes me feel less alone. I am still grieving the end of a 2- 1/2 year relationship with the love of my life, a man I completely trusted and was sure I’d grow old with. I was 63 when we met. Every day he told me he loved me, and he’d say it was a miracle that we’d found each other, I was perfect for him, he completely trusted me, etc. We’d seriously discussed marriage and he’d partly moved into my house. We trusted each other so much we were each other’s Power of Attorney (that’s the person who can pull the plug if you’re in a coma.)
    He suddenly walked out one day with almost no warning (we’d rarely argued).
    He’d just told me how much he loved me the morning of the day he left. When he walked out, he said he didn’t believe I loved and respected him, which wasn’t true. We’d argued about how he manages money. He gave almost everything to his adult daughters, who treated him like an ATM. I had my own money, but I was afraid I’d have to support him when he was old. That’s the only thing we argued about. When he left, he said I was demeaning to him – I was merely scared about being old and broke.
    He left his stuff at my house and never even came back for it. I thought he’d maybe had a heart attack or a car crash, so I looked for him on Facebook – and I saw he was very much alive. I made dozens of attempts to talk to him – email, text, phone – and he refused to talk to me. I was the love of his life, he often said – but he completely broke off contact with me. For a long time I hoped he’d come back, I emailed him that if we’d agreed to keep our money separate, it could solve the problem. I watched him on Facebook and it was obvious he didn’t have a new girlfriend – he was constantly on FB on the weekend. Then I realized he wasn’t coming back, but I was still hoping for some closure. Still, he ignored my attempts to have a conversation, tho I kept trying.
    The only closure I ever had was what I could piece together in therapy. I have a good therapist and she’s the reason I didn’t take my own life.
    I’m trying to date, but haven’t found any man I’m interested in. I’ve just turned 69 years old which doesn’t help.
    The “secondary loss” is that my confidence in my ability to judge men’s character is destroyed. I’ve re-read everything I wrote in my journal during our relationship, and I’ve been in therapy – and I still don’t see much that would have predicted he would have turned out to be the kind of man he was, to completely turn his back on me with almost no warning. Some friends say “You’re better off without him,” and maybe that’s true – but how was I not seeing any warnings in our 2-1/2 years together? He wasn’t perfect, but if we reject everyone who isn’t perfect, there will be no one left.
    Making it worse is the idiotic comments from most of my friends. People say I’ll find someone else. Most of my friends are 15 years younger so they don’t know what it’s like. I’m 69 now.
    I’ve also learned that most people I know, have never been deeply in love – many women I know see men as basically interchangeable. Many are in what sound like arranged marriages; more than one married friend has told me she’s never been in love. Many of my married friends live separate lives. One friend said “Men are like busses, there’s always another one coming.” Two of my single friends are only looking for sex, one will actually only date married men because they won’t expect anything from her except sex.
    Some people I know have had such bad relationships that if they find a “nice” man they think that’s enough. One friend was constantly beaten up by her ex, so she thinks if a new boyfriend doesn’t push her down the stairs, he’s a keeper.
    People don’t understand how much I’ve lost. Not only have I lost the man I love, but I’ve also lost confidence in my ability to discern a man’s character.
    Thanks for listening to my rant.

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    • Nancy  January 19, 2022 at 9:28 am Reply

      I’m trying to figure out of I’m you or your ex in this story. My 3 year relationship seems to be ending at least for me because the man I’m with doesn’t want to make a commitment to my security in my latter years should he pass. I’m mourning the loss of a future that I thought we would have. Since he has more money and his children want to protect their inheritance they have made it clear that our relationship will never include any commitments to each other.

      AmI feeling like your ex unable to square the differences between our financial security? If you argued over him giving money to his kids then i wonder if he felt you weren’t committed to sharing equally the burdens of life?

      I don’t say this to be critical of you. I’m trying to understand my own grief. For three years I have given all to this relationship. But I’m over 65 now, 9 years his jr. Am I not valued as his partner? Am I not worth the same as a wife? (Marriage is off the table they say.)

      It’s not even about money because I have some money. It’s about worth. I’m humiliated because I expected in time that I would be seen and treated as family. But it appears I will only ever be seen as a pet. I’m a person he loves, and that his family appreciates is spending time with him, but when he’s gone I’m expected to get out of his house and provide for myself.

      This realization has led me to mourn what I thought my future was going to be. I’m not even sure that I can see him the same way. I can’t convince myself that he loves me. Love without commitment is a very empty thing. I do hope that you are feeling better and will be able to accept another person into your life. Perhaps this time you will be on equal ground and better able to navigate life’s burdens.

      1
  21. Elizabeth  May 27, 2021 at 1:27 pm Reply

    I just got out of a 3-year relationship that I was told I can’t grieve. Everyone in my family is pressuring me to get over it. And want a timeline on now much time I need. In reality I am not sure. Some days.are easier than others. Plus with this man we were planning a little few together. Which is making it so much more harder. At some point I want to go back to him. But there are so many problems which means I can’t. I miss him and randomly things remind me of him. I keep being told just forget him. That is definitely not possible when I am in love with him still.

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  22. Nicky  May 9, 2021 at 12:33 pm Reply

    Thanks for this article. I feel the most terrible grief for someone (jason) I had in my life for just 6 months. He came along after a previous 10 year relationship ended where that partner had left me after supporting him through years of serious, life changing illness. Jason then came into my life and for the first time in years I had fun, I could be myself & I didn’t have to look after him.. for once someone looked after me. Jason was amazing, my partner & soul mate and I wanted to be with him all the time…I’d never felt so connected to anyone before, and I could just be me. Each day he would tell me he loved me, send me hand written love letters, we talked every day for hours when we were apart. Physically together I had never had such a bond with someone… and I’m 54 years old! Unfortunately I realised after some time he is a narcissist and at times the side he tried to hide, would emerge and it was horrible. However, despite that, I adored him completely. After 6 months, the day after him saying ours was a love story worthy of a film, 2 months ago he left without a word. He then ghosted me for weeks. I was devastated. Especially after my previous relationship had ended the same way. I have seen him twice since then, the last time was today. And still I am completely devastated that he no longer wants to be with me and has no feelings whatsoever for me. I miss him terribly and the pain in my stomach and heart is like a massive hole. He’s left a huge gap and I’m struggling to deal with the loss. I find myself following his social media and I feel ashamed as I know its unhealthy. Friends and people around me think he’s an idiot and I should just move on, what’s the issue.. it was only 6 months they say…so I’m scared to confess how I actually feel which is completely shattered and I keep this to myself. I myself, can’t believe how down, depressed and utterly sad and hopeless I feel. I feel totally hopeless in my life without him in it. Writing here is the only place I have said this. I’ve started seeing a therapist but 3 sessions in and I still feel distraught. I hear the comments that things improve and I will feel better but for now and in the present, I just feel overwhelmingly sad.

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    • Anne  May 23, 2021 at 4:10 pm Reply

      Your feelings are valid! in my opinion, putting your grief into words- yes, anywhere!- is a healthy thing to do. The things you are able to articulate in such a relatable way are helpful & validating to at least one of us today. This is intense and temporary… i repeat this to myself.

      This is the first I have written this part: i think i haven’t reconnected with anyone in my life due to shame and feeling they do not know me unless i tell them i have somehow gotten lost in judging myself for all of my “unrequired” grieving. It feels like I’m choosing emotional solitary confinement, which I would argue against for anyone. Need to hold a hand but only able to see my own right now.

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    • Doppleganger  January 19, 2022 at 4:06 pm Reply

      How are you now Nicky?

      Could it have been that you were lonely, seeking and possibly yearning way before the 10yr relationship ended?

  23. Mary  April 11, 2021 at 5:27 am Reply

    Thank you . It’s lovely to read your letters. It’s true anyone that’s has come out of a long marriage does grieve. It’s the hardest decision you would have made. For me it was so very hard I think I was just not the same person in the end . I lost sight of what been married was. I started a journey with a man and it was a hard one I loved him but I feel I didn’t get the love back. I waited for change but knew it would never change untill I did something about it. No one wants to end there marriage we go into something with joy, hope, plans of growing older but when it’s filled with sadness more than happy times then I guess u know. I think I gave up I think my heart gave up . 6 yrs on and I’ve tried my hardest to move forward there are days are brillant and then there are days are not so. He has met someone new now and I feel myself slipping not as strong as I use to be and the grieving starts all over. He still blames me for leaving as marriage is for life so true it is but only with respect and kindness .i still hope and believes that one day my soul mate will be there holding my hand . To those of u that has lost loved ones that grief is totally the hardest maybe we should write letters to those people we have lost and make our peace . Maybe even do something they would of like of done with us but now can’t. Like maybe planting a flower it’s a new beginning. For me I found running helped but now I think I’ll plant that flower so it will help me move forward and be a better person for my self and kids. I will always feel guilty for leaving but in my heart it wasn’t what I really wanted but I had no choice. Take care . I’m glad I read your stories. PS I’ll see u later!

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  24. Leilah  March 12, 2021 at 8:35 pm Reply

    Hey Jill,

    I’m so sorry you had to go through that. I really hope your able to find some peace in grieve on your timeline. I do want to share though from the other side, I’m the partner of someone who is grieving the loss of two siblings in a tragic accident and i feel selfish when I say this but it’s been so hard for me too because my partner has changed so much, and is extremely closed off now and it just makes me feel like I’m grieving the partner i had before and i don’t know when he’s coming back. But at the same time i know my partner is dealing with a much more profound loss so i can’t express how alone i feel now to him because it pales in comparison to his grief. Everything does. So idk i just wanted to say it’s very complicated from the other side too. I don’t expect my partner to “get over it” but it feels like he’ss just gone, i can’t confide in him, joke around with him, talk to him without carefully thinking about what to say, and i worry always about saying the wrong thing. I feel pushed to a breaking point and just stuck. I want to be there because I know my partner needs support but it’s really stressful to support someone who grieves by pushing others away because if i don’t remember that grief is the reason for his behavior then it just feels like I’m in a super unhealthy one-sided relationship. At the same time though when i think about if i should end it, i wonder too if he’d just think i wanted him to just “get over it” because that’s definitely not how I feel and it makes me sad to even think about him feeling like that because I’ve tried so hard to be supportive. Anyway just sharing this other side in case it helps, and i really hope you get the support from others that you need.

    2
  25. Lorraine  March 7, 2021 at 9:18 pm Reply

    You’re absolutely right people don’t seem to understand or maybe they just haven’t experienced losing someone through death I just lost the love of my life on 1=20=21 suddenly he was here one day and in a blink of an eye he was gone no goodbye no last kiss or hugs I’m truly heartbroken my so call friends think I should go back to as things were normal and can’t understand why I feel like I do I have my family but they have their own lives and sometimes the pain is almost unbearable and I pray to God to please help me I’m totally lost

    2
  26. Tara  February 9, 2021 at 5:39 am Reply

    Hi Luisa, I just wanted to say that I’m really sorry for the pain you are going through, and that I understand first hand what you are feeling, the complexity of losing someone who lost their way and the judgement that follows from that with family and friends, and the utter heartache in having to let go of someone when you love them more than anyone can understand who has not been in your shoes.
    i myself have experienced the very same thing, as my partner literally lost his way and it’s a devastating situation that i went through, for him and me. i am trying to move through this part of my life as best as i can although it feels very isolating and overwhelming.
    I just wanted reach out for what it’s worth and let you know if it is of any comfort whatsoever, that you are not alone in your pain in this particular way, and I’m sending out thoughts of healing to you. And may peace of mind come in time…

  27. Renee  February 4, 2021 at 1:37 pm Reply

    Thank you. I lost my husband in divorce and later death. I can’t understand the grief I feel daily. I lost much more, also, as in friends, family and identity of who I am as you say in the article. Definitely a double whammy. Also, a very humbling experience.

  28. Alyssa K  January 8, 2021 at 8:16 pm Reply

    Thank you so much for this article! I am going through a recent breakup and it has been difficult for others to understand the grief that I am experiencing.

    I am wondering if you could explore in future articles how grief if complicated from a break up if there was a betrayal. Like if your breakout was due to an affair or another type of major betrayal.

    • Cris  March 22, 2021 at 4:21 pm Reply

      My husband left me recently after 6 years together. I feel hopeless and lost. I don’t know how to go on all by myself. In December I attempted suicide because I thought he was going to leave me, when I left the hospital he actually left me. I was in shock for the past months.

  29. Jill Brown  January 8, 2021 at 11:11 am Reply

    There is another layer to breakup grief that many do not think about because it is attached to an already unspeakable grief; a breakup caused by the trauma of the death of a child. I lost my oldest son at the age of 19 seven years ago next week. I have been divorced from his father for 14 years, but was in a relationship with who I thought was a strong, competent and caring man. My continued grief over the loss of my child became our undoing; it wasn’t his child (both of his are still alive) and I wasn’t “getting over it” fast enough to suit him. After many, many attempts to help him understand my grief, I finally realized he was incapable of getting it. He could be sympathetic at times, but he does not have the capacity for empathy which I desperately needed from him. I recently admitted to myself that I would have to walk away from this relationship because he is never going to understand and I can’t process my loss on his timetable. In addition to losing my son, I lost my job, my home, most of my friends, some of my family and my significant other. And due to the pandemic, the majority of my support people due to overwhelming strain placed on their lives. It is devastating.

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    • Eleanor Haley  January 8, 2021 at 12:29 pm Reply

      Jill,

      My heart breaks for all the loss you’ve experienced. I think many people will be able to relate to what you share about how the death of a loved one can impact a relationship. This is definitely a topic that we want to cover more in the future, so thank you so much for sharing your valuable perspective.

      Eleanor

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      • Nancy  January 19, 2022 at 9:52 am

        My 3 year relationship seems to be ending at least for me because the man I’m with doesn’t want to make a commitment to my security in my latter years should he pass. I’m mourning the loss of a future that I thought we would have. Since he has more money and his children want to protect their inheritance they have made it clear that our relationship will never include any commitments to each other.

        I’m over 65 now, 9 years his jr. Should i be devoting all my healthy retirement years to a relationship where I’m not valued as his partner? I’m feeling humiliated because I expected in time that I would be seen as family. But it appears I will only ever be seen as a pet. I’m a person he loves, and that his family appreciates is spending time with him, but when he’s gone I’m expected to get out of his house and provide for myself.

        I have a small amount of money which will be more by that time most likely. So I’m not worried that I’ll be destitute. But I will be less prepared to live on after he passes than I would be if i was in a committed relationship. There will be nothing in our lives to bind us. If i want to do one thing and he another well will do what he wants. I’ll have no power and no say. I suppose people might find this hard to sympathize with. He says he loves me but i am finding it hard to commit to loving him. So I’m sad and grieving what never was.

    • Luisa H  January 9, 2021 at 11:13 am Reply

      There is a part of me that will never let go of the 20 years we had together. I love this man and will love him forever even if he will no longer be part of my life. Somewhere along the way he lost his way and I couldn’t get him back. I have good friends but I dislike when they say things will be better or you will be happier or better off. Just good advice for friends who have friends that are grieving, these are a few things that you shouldn’t say: “Things will get better, – everyone has gone to a breakup you will get over it- your life will be better without him, – he didn’t deserve you,- in the long run it’s the best thing for you.” These are not things we want to hear in our moments of grief. We just want someone who is there to listen without judgment. Just be a good friend and be there for that person. Great article!!!

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    • Helena  January 12, 2021 at 7:19 am Reply

      I am very sorry for what you have been through (and still are).
      I think this kind of pain needs to be witnessed and, most of all, respected by others.
      I can’t say a lot, just please…. don’ t give up…
      I wish you can find healing and walk a new path where there will be peace and meaning.

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