Ask E. Jean - Tormented? Driven Witless? Whipsawed by confusion?

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For the past two years I have been in an on-again-off-again relationship with loads of drama and I will admit that I was merely holding on for the last few months because of the "sunk cost fallacy." Despite all the stupid shit that went down that honestly, none of you would have tolerated, I find myself missing what my brain considers to be "the real him," the one where he's nice and calm and not either clinging to me or yelling at me.

Don't worry, I got all my stuff out of his house and back into mine, gave him back his keys, and haven't talked to him since Saturday (when I did all this). I'm not sure how to feel because we didn't explicitly say that we were breaking up but I know that there's really no coming back and there's not been any progress on our issues over the past 2 years (which seems too short a time to have had the misery we've had). I know it was my weakness in not wanting to let go of the relationship that dragged it out to this ugly conclusion and I'm doing my best not to text him (considering his birthday is tomorrow and I'm seriously tempted to, I feel like this is progress).

In lieu of the bad, there was a lot of good in our relationship too. I know it's not worth holding onto anymore but this is one of those instances where I really can't imagine my life without him in it. I'm not exactly a crying mess, I'm more numb than anything else, which also doesn't feel fantastic. I feel like I'm too fat and bitter to find anyone who isn't bitter and angry themselves and the cycle will just continue.

I know that's defeatist thinking. I'll be back to my sarcastic self here in a minute or two.

Anyway, I've never been with anyone this long so this pain is old AND fresh, and it's coming right before my 30th birthday. Someone help cheer me up, please? Lol.

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    One thing that I've admired about you was your willingness to be honest with yourself. It's a rare ability. People are awfully good at deceiving themselves which can lead to all sorts of problems that they in turn deny that they caused. But that's not you. You have the strength to look inside and out and see things as they are, not what you want them to be. This takes a lot of emotional strength, so you are already ahead of the game.

    I was in a somewhat similar situation when I turned thirty. My partner had embroiled us into the middle of an FBI investigation by helping out a friend who ended up running off and leaving us with a minefield of crises to solve. (He did this on purpose so we'd be too busy and distracted to figure out where he went.) And with an angry man who declared that since we knew the culprit we must also be culpable of the crimes committed against him and thus must die. During this crisis, I discovered that Paul had a spine with the consistency of wet tissue paper which meant I had to deal with everything - including booby-trapping our place and checking for bombs in my truck each day. After a couple of months of this, Paul left and even though I knew I was much better off without him, I mourned the loss of this relationship in a big way.

    A tactic that helped me quite a lot during the process of getting over him was writing letters to him. I never sent any of them, but they gave me a good look into where my head was at the time and allowed me to provide a sort of closure to the relationship. The early ones were about how much I missed him. The later ones were more along the the vein of, "How dare you?!" I hand-wrote them, which I think helped this process; crafting the letters and words by hand gave them more weight.

    Also, I seem to recall you mentioning that you are an INTP. This means your kryptonite is extreme emotions. I'm an INTJ so am in the same boat. I've learned to just wait them out and try to not do anything too embarrassing when overwhelmed by them. Also, doing something concrete that will help you move forward, like writing the above-mentioned letters, will help quite a lot as well. xNTx's tend to need to DO something to get them past an undesired emotional state.

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    I'm sorry you are going through this. The first that came to my mind is that maybe this is like being fired - when you took a risk and it didn't work out. You feel terrible at the time, but years into the future, you really are glad you did it. Like truly glad.

    Just from what you wrote, I'm sure you did the right thing and you will not regret it in the long term. You learned something and eventually the sun will come out.

    Far better to do it at 30 and after 2 years than at 40.. You are still super young.

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    Lagertha, I've seen recent photos of you, and I *know* you're intelligent, quick-witted and funny. Which means that I personally guarantee that there are at least three men in your life right now that are thinking they'd be interested in dating you if it transpires that you're single again...

    And plenty more who maybe haven't met you yet, but will be interested in you once they do. Just remember to hang back, and be choosy ... you can afford to be that way!

    So -- let him have a happy birthday! And YOU have a happy re-birthday, as today is the first day of your new, improved life...

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    Jill wrote: One thing that I've admired about you was your willingness to be honest with yourself. It's a rare ability. People are awfully good at deceiving themselves which can lead to all sorts of problems that they in turn deny that they caused. But that's not you. You have the strength to look inside and out and see things as they are, not what you want them to be. This takes a lot of emotional strength, so you are already ahead of the game. I was in a somewhat similar situation when I turned thirty. My partner had embroiled us into the middle of an FBI investigation by helping out a friend who ended up running off and leaving us with a minefield of crises to solve. (He did this on purpose so we'd be too busy and distracted to figure out where he went.) And with an angry man who declared that since we knew the culprit we must also be culpable of the crimes committed against him and thus must die. During this crisis, I discovered that Paul had a spine with the consistency of wet tissue paper which meant I had to deal with everything - including booby-trapping our place and checking for bombs in my truck each day. After a couple of months of this, Paul left and even though I knew I was much better off without him, I mourned the loss of this relationship in a big way. A tactic that helped me quite a lot during the process of getting over him was writing letters to him. I never sent any of them, but they gave me a good look into where my head was at the time and allowed me to provide a sort of closure to the relationship. The early ones were about how much I missed him. The later ones were more along the the vein of, "How dare you?!" I hand-wrote them, which I think helped this process; crafting the letters and words by hand gave them more weight. Also, I seem to recall you mentioning that you are an INTP. This means your kryptonite is extreme emotions. I'm an INTJ so am in the same boat. I've learned to just wait them out and try to not do anything too embarrassing when overwhelmed by them. Also, doing something concrete that will help you move forward, like writing the above-mentioned letters, will help quite a lot as well. xNTx's tend to need to DO something to get them past an undesired emotional state.

    Girl, to even know that there's anyone out there who would admire me is a big help. Thank you for sharing such a personal story as well. It's nice to know that 30 really is just an arbitrary number and that we've all gotta get over the habit of clinging to things that no longer serve us. Life's a bitch, innit?

    Today he texted me a "?" and I told him happy birthday and that was it. I'm not exactly gonna drag him through the mud on his birthday but I have no desire to engage in any other way if he continues to text. Which he likely will. I'm sure he's getting drunk as we speak. Then again, I'm having a glass of champagne so who's the sinner here?!

    Writing him letters sounds like a good idea, and yes, you're quite right, I'm an INTP with an artistic streak so even *I* can't keep up with the yelling and double standards and gaslighting. To occupy my time so far I've been writing more and trying to learn German with much more gusto than I've put into learning anything in a long time. I figure I've got the time now, I may as well put it to good use.

    Thanks again, Jill.

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    Em wrote: I'm sorry you are going through this. The first that came to my mind is that maybe this is like being fired - when you took a risk and it didn't work out. You feel terrible at the time, but years into the future, you really are glad you did it. Like truly glad. Just from what you wrote, I'm sure you did the right thing and you will not regret it in the long term. You learned something and eventually the sun will come out. Far better to do it at 30 and after 2 years than at 40.. You are still super young.

    Likening this to being fired is surprisingly accurate because it really had started to feel like a business arrangement with fantastic snuggles. If you went into work and never knew if your boss was going to lie to your face to promote peace or yell in your face for uncommunicated errors on your part, you'd quit that job, wouldn't you?

    Ah, so wise.

    You're right, at least I've got what remains of my youth, no kids, and a strengthening grasp of the German language, a job that I like, and (apparently) enough sense to pull myself out of the mud. I s'pose that ain't too shabby for 30.

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    Kal wrote: Lagertha, I've seen recent photos of you, and I *know* you're intelligent, quick-witted and funny. Which means that I personally guarantee that there are at least three men in your life right now that are thinking they'd be interested in dating you if it transpires that you're single again... And plenty more who maybe haven't met you yet, but will be interested in you once they do. Just remember to hang back, and be choosy ... you can afford to be that way! So -- let him have a happy birthday! And YOU have a happy re-birthday, as today is the first day of your new, improved life...

    You have no idea how much I needed to hear that. Thanks, prof. I hope you and Mama B have the best time together! <3 <3 to you both

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