Posted by fxckfeelings on May 10, 2012Share This Post
Sometimes it hurts as much to win at love as it does to lose, and hurting always makes people wonder what they did wrong. In truth, hurt is a sign of growth, which is a good thing that just happens to feel bad; it’s worth it if it means finding a good partner in the end, and it can be a sign that you’ve made a tough choice or that you’re learning from a sad mistake. Do what’s necessary to learn and/or build a strong partnership, and if it hurts, just remember you’re doing something right.
I know my current boyfriend understands me much better than my old boyfriend did, and I value that tremendously. We have a great relationship and we’ll probably get married. What bothers me is that my old boyfriend was a terrific person, my family loved him, and we got along very well for 2 years, and then I broke his heart. I loved him; it just bothered me that he couldn’t quite understand me. And now, the happier I am with my new relationship, the guiltier I feel for my old boyfriend’s unhappiness and the more I wonder whether I had the right to dump such a nice person.
Feeling someone really understands you is a powerful force for sustaining friendship and partnership. That’s why some people, in order to justify dating someone too young or dumb, often convince themselves such connections exist.
You may be more attracted to someone from a different background who seems exotic and interesting, or someone with whom you constantly, passionately spar. In the end, feeling understood is part of what make you feel at home which, if you’re thinking of starting a home together, is a big deal.
There’s no escaping the fact that decisions like this, that require breaking the heart of a good person whom you love, are bound to cause pain. The question isn’t whether this pain is balanced by your pleasure; it’s whether you believe the new partnership will be more stable and nurturing in the long run, for you and your children. If so, then you have good reason to do radical emotional surgery and stand by your decision.
As it is, you have partial confirmation that you’re right. You continue to feel that your new partnership has a better chemistry. It seems increasingly unlikely that you were running away from commitment or distracted by looks, sexuality, or a need for novelty. You have reason to respect your decision.
It’s good that your first choice of partners wasn’t bad, but that’s what has made this decision more painful. Don’t try to punish yourself by hesitating or withholding your love from your new partner.
The better your new relationship works, the more it confirms that you made a good decision, just at a tough cost.
“I feel like I’ve betrayed a good person whom I loved, but my commitment was not to marry him, but to try hard to decide whether we were right for one another, and that’s what I did. Now my job is to do the same with my new relationship and see if it’s right for marriage.”
I knew my girlfriend was probably a jerk, but I was really attracted to her and felt I needed a little attention after too long a time without. Well, she turned out to be a piece of shit, and I wasn’t surprised. What bothers me is that, even though I went in with my eyes open, I wasn’t able to protect my heart and stay unattached. I’ve never been good at random hook-ups, and should have known this would happen. My heartache is going on for much longer than it should, and longer than she deserves. Why am I acting like such a girl, when I should just have screwed her and forgotten her?
One thing people often leave out of their romantic decisions is a knowledge of their own heart. That’s the premise of most romantic comedies, that someone falls in love with whomever they firmly believe is the last person on earth they would let themselves fall in love with.
You may push beyond your limits because you’re foolish, proud, needy, lonely, or just plain good at fooling yourself. In any case, you now have a learning opportunity.
Don’t give yourself a hard time for hurting; you don’t deserve it, you’re not causing the hurt and you can’t change the past. So don’t try to control it or blame yourself for not being able to cut it short.
Your goal isn’t to stop the pain, because you can’t; it’s to take good care of yourself, keep busy, and provide yourself with lots of pleasant distractions until the pain goes away. It’s worth it if you learn to improve your ability to protect yourself.
Next time you meet an attractive monster, cross the road to the other side. You may find some friends with benefits, but stay away from nutjobs with detriments. You know you know better.
“When I’m hurting from self-inflicted love-sickness, it’s hard not to feel like a fool, but I’ve learned a valuable lesson, I’m paying my dues, and instead of letting my pain tear me down, I’ll use it to remind myself that I need and deserve proper protection.”
More advice from Dr. Lastname