Advice on Making Up or Breaking Up

we should be making up

Are you feeling instead of breaking up we should be making up? Don't fall into the same trap this reader did! Learn some insight from our dating coach.

Instead of Breaking Up We Should Be Making Up

Reader Question

My 45 year old girlfriend dumped me over the phone after three years while she was away on a work assignment. We had a good friendship, sex life and many shared interests. She came home and for a month and we had many deep talks. I think due to a bad childhood and no contact with her mother for 20 years, she would not agree to go with me to a therapist. She then left town without saying goodbye. Turns out she is dating a married man who is 55 with several kids and a very angry wife, who has since moved out. He has thrown her in the wife's face several times and not taken two trips with her and a teenage child. I have been deeply hurt and cannot seem to move past the idea she is being used badly as his rebound tool. In pointing this out rather gently to her, I was met with great anger and threatened with restraining orders, and she will not take a call or read an email. This seems so wrong and dysfunctional that it seems she must one day wake up, maybe after getting dumped, and see the loving person she left behind and hurt so badly.-- Contributed by: Koa

Expert Reply

Dear Koa,

Having worked with adults and couples for many years, I can tell you that the person doing the breaking-up doesn't end his or her relationship without having thought about it for a very long time. A common mistake made by many "dumpees" is believing that there were no signs or indications that the ending was coming. Instead, these "dumpees" focus on how they were wronged. Yet when pressed to review what changes were taking place in their partner, the "dumpee" soon realizes that his or her partner had been giving warning signs that things in the relationship were not going well long before the break-up took place. Unfortunately, these realizations often come too late, as in your case.

While it may seem that the two of you had a good thing, the fact that she turned to someone else says that you were missing the signs she was no longer happy in the relationship. More importantly, you still are not listening to the message that she does not want to work on a relationship with you. Instead of taking responsibility for your parts of the break-up, you are spending your time psychoanalyzing your ex's motives, decisions and reasons (her miserable childhood) for breaking up with you. No wonder she didn't want to go to therapy with you; you don't want to listen. This seems to be the case after the break-up as well. Instead of accepting the ending, you are telling your ex that her choice in a new partner is dysfunctional and that she is being used. Instead of grieving the loss and letting go, you continue to find ways and reasons for talking with her. Could these be the reasons why your ex-girlfriend is threatening a restraining order against you?

Maybe the new guy is not a good choice for her, but that is not your decision to make, it is hers. Likewise, it is not your place to tell her how or what to think regarding whom she dates. She can think for herself and make her own choices. The fact that you are having trouble getting over your ex is not her problem it is yours. There is nothing she needs to do to ease your pain.

It is important to realize that the grieving process is yours to confront and deal with. If you find that you are having difficulty addressing your own issues, then you might find it helpful to work with a professional. I would suggest you interview a few professional clergy or counselors before choosing the one you feel understands what you're going through. Having an objective person to work with can help you explore why it so hard for you to accept the break up. Once you gain this insight, finding ways to manage the pain will surely be easier.


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Advice on Making Up or Breaking Up