Your Body During a Breakup: The Science of a Broken Heart

Breakups are emotional roller coasters. Actually that’s not true. If a breakup was anything like a roller coaster the end would be visible from the start, you could say ‘no thanks’ to the ride and at the end of it, for a hefty sum the memory could be savoured forever with a flimsy cardboard-framed photo.

Breakups are are more like being under a roller coaster. 

Before we knew the science we knew the feeling, and used words associated with physical pain – hurt, pain, ache – are used describe the pain of a relationship breakup. Now we know why. The emotional pain of a breakup and physical pain have something in common – they both activate the same part of the brain

Brain scans of people recently out of a relationship have revealed that social pain (the emotional pain from a breakup or rejection) and physical pain share the same neural pathways.

In one study, 40 people who had recently been through an unwanted breakup had their brains scanned while they looked at pictures of their exes and thought about the breakup. As they stared at the photos, the part of the brain associated with physical pain lit up.

[irp posts=”1144″ name=”Dear Broken Hearted One … When You’re In The Thick of a Break-Up.”]

As explained by researcher Ethan Kross, ‘We found that powerfully inducing feelings of social rejection activate regions of the brain that are involved in physical pain sensation, which are rarely activated in neuroimaging studies of emotion.’

He continues, ‘These findings are consistent with the idea that the experience of social rejection, or social loss more generally, may represent a distinct emotional experience that is uniquely associated with physical pain.’

In further support of the overlap between physical and social pain, Tylenol (an over the counter medication for physical pain) has been shown to reduce emotional hurt.

Research has found that people who took Tylenol (an over-the-counter medication for physical pain) for three weeks reported less hurt feelings and social pain on a daily basis than those who took a placebo.

The effect was also evident in brain scans. When feelings of rejection were induced, the part of the brain associated with physical pain lit up in participants who didn’t take Tylenol. Those who took Tylenol showed significantly less activity in that part of the brain.

Nobody is suggesting that the broken hearted turn to pain medication to reduce their lean towards Kleenex, Baskin-Robbins and repeated viewings of Love Actually. Long term use will cane the liver. Somebody else is waiting to fall in love with you, but you and your liver have to stay friends forever.

The Physical Side of a Broken Heart

The human brain loves love. Being in love takes the lid off the happy hormones, dopamine and oxytocin, and the brain bathes in the bliss. But when the one you love leaves, the supply of feel good hormones takes a dive and the brain releases stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine.

[irp posts=”1042″ name=”Letting Go: How to Master the Art”]

In small doses, stress hormones are heroic, ensuring we respond quickly and effectively to threat. However in times of long-term distress such as a broken heart, the stress hormones accumulate and cause trouble. Here’s what’s behind the physical symptoms of a breakup:

  • Too much cortisol in the brain sends blood to the major muscle groups. They tense up ready to respond to the threat (fight or flight). However, without real need for a physical response the muscles have no opportunity to expend the energy.

    Muscles swell, giving rise to headaches, a stiff neck and that awful feeling of your chest being squeezed.

  • To ensure the muscles have an adequate blood supply, cortisol diverts blood away from the digestive system.

    This can cause tummy trouble such as cramps, diarrhea or appetite loss. 

  • When stress hormones run rampant, the immune system can struggle, increasing vulnerability to bugs and illnesses.

    Hence the common ‘break-up cold’.

  • There is a steady release of cortisol.

    This might cause sleep problems and interfere with the capacity to make sound judgements 

  • Breakups activate the area of your brain that processes craving and addiction.

    Losing a relationship can throw you into a type of withdrawal, which is why it’s hard to function – you ache for your ex, sometimes literally, and can’t get him/her out of your head. Like any addiction, this will pass.

In a relationship, your mind, your body and the core of you adjust to being intimately connected someone. When that someone leaves, the brain has to readjust. The pain can be relentless but eventually the body chemistry will change back to normal and the hurt will diminish.

Getting through a breakup is as much a physical process as an emotional one. Remember that, and know that it will get easier. Keep going. You’ll get there.

440 Comments

shanny

I am a 22 year old female, I just got out of a one year relationship. The things I am experiencing are little different. I left him one month ago, even though he didn’t wanted to end it.
We met each other one year ago,when I was doing some research on a project. I think the things that brought close was that we both were suffering from depression. I was self-destructing myself and so was he. The reasons were different for both of us, some guy broke my heart for the first time. For reason, he thought he could heal me. I confirmed that true never really existed in this world after my first broken relationship and an everlasting example of my parents disastrous marriage. I met him at the very dark point of my life, he also never believed in love as he never fell in love with anyone. He told me I never loved my ex-, I just surrendered because I was very desperate to find love in my life, as I have never seen true love. We got close everyday, as he fulfilled my weirdest wishes. We both are very bad expressing emotions. He lacked self-love and as each day passed by he grew scared that I would leave him someday. I told him I would never do that to reassure him every fourth day, until one month ago when I left him for good. I had to leave the town as my project was over, though we continued our relationship on phone.
He got very busy with his work, three months ago.He tried very hard to keep it together. Giving each other time was getting very difficult task to keep. He started cutting back on sleep and food just to give me enough time. His health started dropping, he used to get irritated over no reason,often mood swings. So, I thought to leave him myself because If I would have have told him to end it. He won’t give up, he would say let’s try this hard. SO, I found a way by insulting him, I told him that I would want a more successful and a very rich person in order to get married. I told him he can’t satisfy my needs right now. He lost his mind and was devastated. I let him endure it for few days, after that I thought he’ll start living his life without me. He won’t suffer anymore because of me. At first, I felt horrible and devastated, my panic attacks came back ..as I had them before I met him. But from a few days I feeling like really happy, like he is with me. I think of him every moment, I see him eating with me.. sleeping in his arms.. I don’t know If I am going insane..but I am happy… Am I really losing it?…

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Sam

I’m 18 and my ex bf just broke up with me 3 days before our 1 year but we have been best friends for a year and a half before we even dated. He broke up with me because he says he needs to put all his focus on himself make something of himself because he has always felt like he was never good enough for anything in his life and he wanted to change that but told me he still loves me and wants to be with me still but just can’t because he has to focus on his career. He said maybe down the road or within the two years he said we might get back together but it hurts so much because I always been a supportive gf always was going to stand by his side but for him to just leave me cut me off completely maybe never ever get to hug and hold him again it breaks my heart. He didn’t treat me that well during the relationship but I know he didn’t mean to treat me bad he would constantly bring up a really bad time in my past life but if hurt him as well and he always blamed me for it so he’s also leaving because he said he can’t be with someone when he feels like I broke his heart a long time ago. The whole situation is a lot and idk why but I really feel like I’m going to marry this man one day he’s my best friend the love of my life I could never imagine my life without him so him leaving me 4 days ago had destroyed me I feel dead and I’m scared to heal and move on just for him to turn around and ask for me back I want him back but at the same time i know that wouldn’t be good unless he matures and grows up and stop blaming me for something I didn’t do. I just don’t know what to do should I heal and move on or what do I do because if I don’t move on then what if he does and he doesn’t come back in two years and I just wasted my time. I just wish I knew exactly what’s going to happen but I don’t l, I’m also scared he’s going to want me back and I’ll be in a relationship with someone else or if I did a hook up or something that he won’t want me anymore. I just don’t know what to do. And if I should heal how do you do that

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Monika

Hello,

I read lots of articles like this one, but still cannot find peace for myself. Me and my ex (still crying called him ex) were together for almost two years, we moved together and lived for almost 1,5 year. At firs I lived in his flat, but later we find our flat, we rented it but still it was OURS. During these years we went through lots of difficulties, but we were so happy just being together. He always called me the most important person in the world for him, many times said to “as long as we are together we can overcome all difficulties” and many other things. And I really felt it, I felt he is saying the truth. I really loved him and still do. But just one night he came home and told me that his feelings just went away and he do not want to be together any longer. I tried to talk to him, I said him how much I love him and I feel that he is my only one, I cried and beg him. He said there no other girl, just he doesn’t want to be with me anymore. How is that possible? We had no argue or anything else. Just one day I was “the most important person in the world for him” and the next day his feeling are gone? We are broke up now for almost two moths and I feel like I’m dead. I’m working and going to the gym for 3 hours every day, but I lost my ability to study (I’m studying in master degree), I can’t sleep and eat and drive. I have so many dark thoughts about life and I feel like I’m tired of being alive. I have my family support and I found another flat for myself, but all I can do is just crying all the time and can’t stop asking God and fate what did I so wrong that I deserve tis pain. Please, explain me if you can because I’m just going crazy.

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

It sounds like one of the hardest things about this breakup is that it was so unexpected. This is an awful shock for you. Know that this doesn’t mean it was anything about you, but about the combination of you. For whatever reason, it sounds as though he felt he was on a different path. At some point, there will come an acceptance of this for you, where you will stop trying to make it make sense. Sometimes these things don’t. Let yourself grieve, and heal and when you are ready, open up to the possibilities that this ending has brought to you – because those possibilities will be there.

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Hilana

Hi I have been in a relationship for more than nine years he made the world so beautiful at the beginning and than he started taking me away from everybody and he started cheating on me with talking to other women on Facebook that’s cheating I think.every time I catch him he apologizes and started showing me how horrible he feels he kept on doing it over and over again until his excuses for what his doing because he caught me looking at I other man until one day I saw on other women in his house he said she’s only the cleaning lady I couldn’t handle seeing on other women in his house and since than I can’t see his face I’m so mad and hurt and I want to recover from him

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Bob

My girefried of 3 years broke up with me a month and a half ago. Her reason at first was she wasn’t sure she would want to marry me anymore but that she still loved me and was still attracted to me. Well I begged for her back for this past month and it went from her wanting to talk still to needing space and from her saying she wants it to work between us to it will never work. She threatened to block me even though she doesnt want to. I gave her space for a week and stupidly begged again and now im just going to leave her alone. She said recently that she still thinks about me all the time and is sad about the future we were suppose to have together. Her reasoning just before we stoped talking is now she wants to focus on school (just transferd to a very extensive program) and focus on herself. She said she’s realized through my begging she doesn’t want to be togeter. She says there is no one else but she made a lot of new friends at her school and is really close to this guy and he always seems to be around when she goes out. I never want to keep her from doing things and have always supported what she’s wanted to do. I want to spend my life with this woman and I would do anything for her. It breaks my heart I want my bestfriend back. All my friends say find someone new but I can’t even look at another woman without thinking of her and feeling like im cheating. I am beyond faithful and I don’t want to be with anyone else I feel 100% of me belongs to her and to us as a couple and im scared she truly means it will never work out. Im really close to her family and they all want me around and tell me she made a mistake leaving me and that doesn’t help either. I just want her to miss me.

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Julie

I’m sorry you are going through this . EspeciAlly this time of year when all around us we are reminded about Love, Family, togetherness. It was exactly one year ago I first posted on this thread . My fiancé of almost 4 years left me and I did all the same things you did . It didn’t help . I was devastated , couldn’t eat , sleep , the jury was physically and mentally unbearable . I couldn’t imagine the next hour , the next day , let alone a year I. The future . Well here I am . I decided to stop begging pursuing . I focused on my friends , my kids , getting rid of anything that reminded me of us as hard as it was. You don’t have to throw away just put away in a box and out of site. Stop talking to her family . Focus on what you do have and spend time healing your heart with things you loved besides her . I just wanted to know he missed me or thought of us . Well here it is a year later and two weeks ago I hit a text from him . Of course the woman he left me for , he denied still but I knew it was her , they broke up . He tells me leaving me was the hardest thing he ever did and hearing my begging at the time did nothing as he had already moved on , but he always thought of me . Through the this past year I thought of him , it got easier, some days is cry and wish for him back . Now hearing his voice I do feel comfort and excitement but I never want to feel that way again and surprisingly I’m not the same woman he left , I’m stronger , although I feel a bit vindicated I’m not naive he could walk out just as quick that’s why I’m keeping a big distance . You will feel better Bob , it takes time , and patience . When they leVe and run to another they don’t work on themselves , you work on you and eventually you’ll hear from her Again but trust me you won’t be the same , you’ll be stronger and if your lucky hVe someone new to love who wont make you beg . You got this ! Happy Thanksgiving

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Bob

Thanks for the reply. It’s really hard and I can’t find it in my heart to put the stuff away and to not talk to her. All of my really close friends moved away right before she broke up with me and I feel trapped with nothing to do. I know if it’s meant to be it will be and she will come back but im afraid of her being with someone in between. The nights are the worst when I feel the most alone. I just don’t know how to let go I’ve made it a week without talking to her and I slipped today and we talked it was the first holiday in 3 years we didnt spend together. Im afraid she will forget me and im afraid we will become just memores to each other and it hurts. Im in my final year of school and the stress of all that plus this is just too much im scared to let her go because I know what it will do to me and I cant afford to shut down right now.

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Shana

Last Friday, my boyfriend of four years broke my trust… once again. We have had a rollercoaster ride of a relationship, with both of us making mistakes, owning up to them and forgiving each other. Still wanting to make it work, for the love that we share. We both have children, he has a son who is seven and my daughter is 12. We do not live together and live about an hour away from each other. So weekends are usually when we are together, unless the other person has work or other engagements. What caused the breakup is that he went over to his sons mothers house around 1130pm on Friday night, to get custody papers signed. His sons mother abandoned him when he was 3 years old. I’ve grown to love him and become attached over the years. The purpose of the custody paper was to avoid court and this will allow him to file taxes with his son as his dependent. Long story short, he promised to call me once he left and had the paper signed. 3 hours went by and I heard nothing from him. At 3:30am he texted me this: “Baby I’m here I’m not doing nothing wrong. I love u” So I called him back immediately a few times, he didn’t pick up and no further texts were received. At 10:30am I get a phone call, him telling me he is just waking up, and getting defensive to my questions of where he was all night. At this point you may be thinking I’m a paranoid person? But with reason.. he cheated on me with her in the first year of our relationship. I just don’t understand why he can’t answer calls or texts when he is with this woman. I don’t deserve him to get up and step outside for one second, answer a call and put my mind at ease? There’s been doubts about whether he is the “right” guy for me but I DON’T doubt that I love this man. I get butterflies thinking of him, especially now that I ended the relationship. Its only been a week and Im questioning whether I’m walking away from something good, that will grow into something even better. Love is there. Communication is something we’ve been working on and getting better at. But trust, not so much.

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K

I just broke up with my boyfriend of six years. We were supposed to get married and always be high school sweethearts. About a year ago he started drifting away. It became more and more difficult to be intimate with him or talk to him or even laugh with him. It always felt like something was wrong. Then, like three months ago he came home and randomly broke up with me. At first he said it was because he didnt love me anymore. Then he told me it was because he thought i was holding hands with his friend. So he took me to my parents house. The next day he told me he had cheated on my several times that year and then proceeded to say he only told me so i would tell him if i cheated. I have never cheated on anyone in my life. Later that week he came back and said he was sorry and that he only broke up with me to make me change. Basically to manipulate me. A week and a half later I had made my decision. I knew I would never make him happy and he could never make me happy so I broke up with him. For real. He became violent and insane making threats and scaring me. Fast forward three months and hes texting me and saying it was all my fault he cheated and became distant and I was a horrible person for leaving him. It hurts everyday and I just want everybody to be happy. I need to know if its my fault, because I dont know what I did. It hurts soo bad.

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Shana

He made a mistake and now he regrets it. If you love him and truly think he’s the one for you forgive him. From the sounds of it he is still immature when it comes to relationships. It’s never your fault if a guy cheats on you its entirely on them. Be strong and ask for clarity and guidance. The answer will come hopefully through intuition or a sign. Goodluck.

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cami

I’ve been in a stressful relationship with my “high school” sweetheart for about 7 years now. We dated officially from high school until about 2 years after we graduated, and we broke up because he was not faithful..and I was immature. Long story short I had trust and attachment issues that drove us apart and he claims in his head he ended things a while before I discovered he was seeing another women. The break up was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to go through. I felt mental and physical pain. I had trouble sleeping, and I lost a lot of weight. But I was also at a four year university at the time and had things to distract me…eventually the pain subsided.

My only issue now is that I CAN NOT seem to stop talking to him. We have never stopped talking…and are still physical at times. Since the first day I met him 7 years ago we have never really stopped communicating…even though we’ve both hurt each other. He got engaged to the women that he left me for, and he STILL sought out an emotional and physical relationship with me. He is able to make me compromise my Morales and put myself in positions that I never imagined I’d be in (such as having a relationship with an engaged man).

Recently he has claimed that the engagement is off and that I am part of the reason (he claims to still love me). I don’t want to be a typical naïve women who only thinks with her heart. And I’m not sure that I really believe that he is no longer with the women he left me for…or that he’ll ever truly commit to me again. But regardless I can not bring myself to stop talking to him because he has been a big part of my life.
He has been with me through changes, and life transitions from childhood to adulthood. Even at our worst moments he has NEVER stopped supporting me and pushing me to always be the best I can be. Although he has REALLY hurt me in the past and made me compromise my Morales, the odd thing is that he has also helped elevated me to be the person I am today. He challenges me in a way that I have not been able to find in any other man I’ve dated (and I’ve tried and failed to date since we broke up). My family and friends do not understand my attachment because they can only see the bad and the pain that he has caused me. They do not understand how much he has also HELPED me.

However, I do realize that any relationship with him rather platonic or more is holding me back from moving on and being completely happy. While he claims to be single now and want to be with me, he’s in school and going after goals and he claims that he doesn’t have time for a relationship right now. Even typing this all out I realize how ridiculous it sounds. If he wanted to be with me, he would just be with me. End of Story. But when I try to think rationally and imagine myself cutting him off completely I have a panic attack, or I literally get sick to my stomach.

I don’t know what to do. It would be easier if he was 100% a jerk, but I can not honestly ignore all of the ways in which he has really helped me. I feel as if I’m going to be stuck in a never ending story…

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Mary

My ex and I were about to get married one month before he broke off our engagement. I have taken this break up very hard and felt like my whole world was being taken from me. See we have been living together since the first month of our relationship. We had three pets and now he has our dog (which has been a whole different heart ache for me). He was my family and I depended a lot on his support. But we did fight a lot about everything big and small. I was stressed because I felt like he never met my needs because I took care of the house, making sure bills were paid on time, and planning the wedding as well as full time job and school. I reacted horribly to the break up the first month. Well the first two weeks were the worst and I finally got to a point were a felt better (not perfect but better). I mean even now at six weeks its still hard for me to eat and sleep. But I did quit begging after the first three weeks. It was hard for me to accept that he moved on and I was just to deal with this on my own. So, this thing happen on week 5. I got really drunk with a friend and lost my keys at a bar. I called him for help and he was drunk as well so he could not help. But we showed up at his house because I did not have a way into my apartment. Big Mistake!!! I slept with him twice and it was fine when I was around him, but now its like I have get my dignity back. By the way, he has asked for more than one favor since we broke up and I have always helped. Which the only reason I asked him for help and I do not really know anyone else in my city. Is it normal for me to still be so heartbroken after six weeks? I mean he is completely over me and I am still crying at times. I just do not know what is normal anymore.

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Ruben

I am still heartbroken after 16months….. Don’t think there is something wrong with you

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Tara

My boyfriend of 7 years came home from being away for a weekend and told me that we need to break up 2 weeks ago. We are both in our late 20s and this has been both of our first serious relationship. Our first 5 years together were long distance. His only explanation was that he needs to be alone.
Over the past few months I could feel him becoming more distant. He looked at his phone more than me. When I would ask him to go somewhere with me he would say that we don’t need to be together all the time and aren’t connected at the hip. He has also started drinking again after not for over 4 years. But when myself or his family confronts him on it he becomes defensive.
A few days ago I was out in the community with my work and saw him drive by with another woman in his car. We still live together until we each find else where to go and things were going ok until I saw this. I commented on how quickly he moved on and he said that he just wanted someone to hang out with and smoke with (he hasn’t smoked in several years either). He said he has no romantic feelings towards her. However I am finding this hard to believe because I’ve never met this girl in the 7 years we’ve been together.
Last night I asked him if he was coming home after work and he said that he was. However he came home over 2 hours after he got off work.
It hurts me so bad that I’m not allowed to ask where he is or to even care about what he is doing anymore. I just need to understand this. After a long bout of crying and punching the wall a couple of times I told him that I can’t do this anymore and one of us needs to go. However he says that he doesn’t have anywhere to go. I do have somewhere to go but I also have 2 pets who it would cause a lot of stress to move them (I am moving into a house and he an apt so that’s why I get the pets). Also most of household furniture and stuff I had before we moved in together so it would be much easier for him to leave. We still have a few weeks before either of us can get into out new homes.
I just need help understanding this and an opinion from an unbiased person.

Thank you

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Lauren

My boyfriend of 7 months broke up with me because he has “mixed feelings” we’ve had this issue before and we agreed that if it didn’t work this time we would be done for good. However, the time has come and I can’t seem to let him go. I feel as if I can’t keep going he’s all I think about. Is there anything I can say to him or should I stop begging him?

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

Lauren, let him go. There is nothing for you in a relationship with a man who has mixed feelings. There will be someone come along who loves you completely – that is the one worth waiting for. First though, let go of the one that is getting in his way.

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Amy Miss

My husband of 20 years told me 2 weeks ago that it’s over. No explanation at all, except that he still loves me but doesn’t see a future and that he’s been unhappy for years. We have 2 teenagers and I haven’t told them yet because I wanted to be strong for them to help them through it. I thought I’d get my emotions in check first but to be honest I’m still not coping almost 3 weeks later. I can’t breathe, I have anxiety attacks, constant pain in my chest and I haven’t eaten in over 2 weeks. Their dad usually works away from home so they dont’ realise. But next week he’s due home and we have to explain to them the situation. How do I get myself right so I can be strong for them? I have also decided to go home to the UK (we live abroad) because I have no friends or family here, it was his decision to come here. But my kids are settled and this is their home. So not only am I having to tell them their father is leaving, but that they are having to move country and start over again. I’m so stressed about all this it’s too much to handle on my own.

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Veronica

I’ve just broken up with my short term boyfriend of 12 months and I know it’s probably for the best but I still love him. I left my husband of 28years to be with him and he left his long term partner. In the last eight months I’ve relocated to be with him, rented a house for twelve months and have been doing all the running. In the early months of our relationship he wrote me letters, told me constantly that he loved me but something changed a couple of months ago, he changed. We started arguing, he was quite selfish and more importantly he’s paid for absolutely nothing other than a couple of meals. I’ve paid for weekends away, holidays even the rent on the house we were staying in. I asked him to leave the house for a second time and this time I know it’s for good. Even though his names on the rental agreement he hasn’t even mentioned that’s he responsible also so I don’t think he’ll be paying any of the remainder of the rent either. I’m now now in a City where the only person I know is him. Please someone bring me to my senses and tell me I’ve done the right thing and make my hurt go away.

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

Veronica it sounds as though in your heart, you know you have done the right thing. Letting go of relationships is always difficult, even if the relationship isn’t a good one. It’s completely understandable that you feel sad and confused and lonely. You gave up a lot to be with him. Some relationships don’t show their true colours until there are bills, the normal issues that come with living together, and the routines of everyday life. You have seen the man he is when he is in a relationship with you. This isn’t the person you want for a long term partner. The man you fell in love with sounds as though he is someone who only existed in those easy, euphoric, early days of the relationship. Give yourself time. There is amazing strength in you and you will heal from this with a new strength and wisdom.

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Allie

I was with my ex for 5 years on and off! His reason is I’m too much for him (meaning he is very to himself and I love to hang out with him) granted a lot of our relationship lately was long distance. Every bit of it was amazing and yes I still love him but I am mentally a bit broken. It didn’t seem like he trusted me so I started doubting myself and felt the need to disclose everything! I keep having replaying thoughts of my past (stupid things that make me feel guilty whether it was a lie or more) and they will not stop. I had horrible anxiety during it and right before because I feel like my brain is distracting me from the pain but idk what to do…. I am so sorry for my poor family dealing with me now because I feel so guilty about stupid things from the past. Ugh I just want my brain to shut up lol. Any advice??

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

Take some space to figure out what you really need and whether this relationship is loving, nurturing and makes you feel good more than it makes you feel bad. Be kind to yourself and let yourself be strong again. Take the time. Don’t run back into the chase with this relationship – that may be acting on habit and not necessarily the right thing for you. Spend time with people who care about you, find things you love doing and that make you feel good. Let this time be for you to strengthen and heal.

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Allie

Thank you!! I know it is not good for me mentally and have been able to not talk to him really. I just want him to be happy and is an amazing guy honestly!! And for me to be treated the way I should be. It’s all mental and my brain is distracting me by causing anxiety over stupid things. Thank you I appreciate Your help, this is the strongest I’ve felt in a while and just have to find myself again:)

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Lareen

Hello, here is the thing me and my husband have been together for 6 years we dated 3 years and we’ve been married 3 years now. I moved from my country to his and left my family thinking it would be okay I am 21 years old now and for the past 3 years of marriage. I came here to UK and I started from scratch studies, part time job and everything. And lately my body has been so tired first year was okay second year was hell. And third year is in between. So he is 27 but he is so immature at first we had a lot in common but now we don’t have any he likes to go out a lot and he is always either at work or with his friends, we never go out together alone if we go out alone is for a walk. He is obsessed with gym and has been bugging me about my body and that I need to work on it. The problem is am either at work or studying, am always stressed out financially as my family has left and I have no income except for my part time job and am still at college to get a serious one which is full time. so 3 weeks ago his friend came to stay over and he told me about it after he has told his friend it was okay!! Which was kinda annoying. I knew that he has got friends and they are always at our place even on weekends and he knows that it is our only time to actually have days off together. The sex has been not good lately too. I mean I have my own flaws too I don’t do house work or pay rent or cook and stuff but it’s all because at the end of the day am too tired to do this but lately I’ve been thinking if he has been treating me good would I been different ? Or always stressed and emotionally down. Especially that I don’t have a shoulder to lean on. I’ve been thinking for the future cause am not sure if this relationship will last. But am so so so afraid of breaking up, what if I discovered I still
Love him and I was wrong, what if I’ll feel lonely am not sociable and my family members are not here to stick with me and I can’t go back to my country cause I have a refugee statues in England so I can’t settle anywhere my family is. Afraid of being lonely and not getting along with anyone and am not the type that goes out and stuff parties and etc.. Because I hate crowded places and always feel insecure about my body and stuff and always tired from work I am afraid of hurting him and breaking him down if we break up too. what if I actually was the bad one in this relationship and no one will love me or I won’t find someone who will.
I need help an advice maybe.

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cat

firstly…love and believe in yourself. you are so young to get hung up on what he, others think of you or how they love you. you are smart, inquisitive and want to grow…so go for it. you do not need another to help you get there. i too and am going through a painful breakup transition. I have my strong days and my weak, vulnerable days – it’s needed as a human being and acceptable for processing. i know in my mind and heart he is not the one for me, he is not what i need and want. we have been together for 12 years…many magic moments, but they no longer need to be the connection. it’s like an addiction, you want it so bad, but its bad for you. let’s work together to move beyond and embrace a new chapter in life where we are fulfilled and happy and healthy…the new model of the modern woman – we put ourselves in safe, inspiring, happy situations to excel from…flow.

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Sundi

My boyfriend just broke up with me last week on his birthday. We’ve been dating for 2.5 years and everyone thought we were a great couple. His reason of breaking up with me was that he’s getting fustrated of dating me because we could see each other only once a week and have very limited time. He said his feelings for me are gone for the past year. And he says he wants to focus on his Bachelor degree and have no interest in new relationships. However, his friend told me that he started talking to a new girl. He has told everyone that he no longer have feelings for me but for the 2.5 years that we dated i never felt like he’s faking it. I would always get his morning calls and good night texts and sweet messages. Same goes to me, i’ve gave him 110% of me for everything he wants to do. I supported him through thick and thin and now he broke up with me out of no where and i’m really hurt and having a hard time to get over it.

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Amy

Well I just got out of a seven year relationship more then 2 and half months ago. I still have feelings for him and he has moved on already. I feel like I am getting my heart rip out over and over again. I still live with him and his dad because I don’t want to move back in with my family because I don’t want to be in a different stressful situation. I have depression and anxiety so this feels a lot worse and it’s more pain the I can handle.

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Hasina

I just broke up with my boyfriend of 1 year today. It is the absolute worst feeling. We were dating long distance and he did all the traveling (12 hours) here to see me. He was and still is amazing. He would take care of my kids, support me in whatever I needed and was so loving. In April he had some huge financial losses, I got sick and was on some medication with terrible side effects of mood swings and rage, he got sick. Long story short, we weren’t able to reconnect. We tried to call each other daily and connect and it was always good when we did. But I began to feel him distancing himself and being more and more unavailable (due to work, hanging out with friends, etc..) I threatened to leave him. Then I found out that he was on multiple dating and hookup apps. We tried to talk about it and I threatened to leave multiple times but I always end up calling him back. He never apologized, just kept saying that I was trying to leave him so he needed to find somebody else. This week he was able to stabilize himself financially and told me that: “I’m here now.” Then I found out that he has an estranged wife of 9 years in a foreign country that he never bothered to divorce. 8 YEARS this woman has been waiting for him to send the divorce documents. I connected with her and told him that I did and he went ballistic. Said that I went too far and we were finally done. The pain is so bad. But more so is the feeling that he gave up on us without even trying to be honest, up front and work through the problems that we have. I am sympathetic to the distance and that sooooo much happened in the past 4 months but I feel betrayed because he literally became my best friend and I want to work on it. I’m even moving closer to him within the next few months but he says it’s over and I’m just hurting right now.

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Chris

Me and my ex has been dating almost a year he is going to Afghanistan for 12 months we broke up because he said he is just not in the state of mind right now he has had already to failed long distance relationships so I fear he is doubting me but after the break up everything still felt normal we did everything just the same I still knew we were broken up but a couple days ago he told me he couldn’t do this and he thought that we were back in a relationship….. I’m confused because of someone tell you that this isn’t what they want how could they think their in a relationship???? I feel that he wants to be with me but he is scared of the separation he also said that wen he was confused he didn’t feel bad? So what do that even mean? What do I do?

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Danielle

My ex and I were together for about 5 months. It was a short relationship but it meant everything to me . We practically lived together and even decided to sign up to lease an apartment. We argued about minor issues but seemed to get over them. Eventually the arguing continued and just worsen. Towards the end of the relationship I could tell we were drifting apart but I still wanted us to work. She broke up with me through text telling me she wasn’t happy. We decided to talk the next day in person about the break up and decided that we were too young for the intensity and hopefully down the line we will get back together . We began hanging out again and even hooking up but I started to see a different side of her . We were all teammates and had the same circle of friends. I started to notice that she was flirting with another teammate of ours and eventually found out they were a thing. We broke up in April and I found out they were dating in June. I don’t know why I can’t get over this? Why my mind is constantly on the two? I’m extremely nervous and fearing going back to college and seeing them, we live in the same apartment complex and I am dreading the fact of moving in and could face legal issues because of it . I am afraid I would go back into a deep depression, where I am not eating, hardly sleeping and constantly crying . Any thoughts? I feel hopeless.

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

Danielle it sounds as though this breakup is still fairly new. It doesn’t matter how long you were together – when you really care about someone breakups are painful regardless. It’s always difficult to imagine someone you want to be with, being with someone else. It sounds like that is a big part of your struggle. This is why it’s hard to stay friends with someone straight after a breakup – you really need that distance between you to readjust to them having a different place in your life. You will be okay but you need to be really deliberate about what you do. You have to force yourself to go at at least once a day, exercise (because it balances out the chemicals in your brain that can contribute to depression), sleep, find things to do that you love, spend time with people who care about you. You probably won’t feel like doing any of these things for a while, which is why you’ll have to force yourself. This will keep your physical and mental health in check and will help you heal quicker. If you see them together, stand tall and act as though you’re okay. Fall apart when you get back to your room if you need to, but act okay and eventually you’re body and your brain will believe it. I know it hurts, but you will be okay. Love and healing to you.

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Mary

I recently ended things with my long term boyfriend. We had known each other for 7 years, and dated for nearly 6.5 years. During the first year of our relationship I had this gut feeling that I needed to check his phone, and I never ever went through his phone. I caved and found texts and sexually provocative pictures of his ex. I told him I needed a break, and not even a few days later took him back. I felt so deeply in love that I couldn’t imagine myself without him. I had hoped time would heal my pain, and the hurt I felt from that betrayal. It never went away, I was jealous with every interaction he had with any female. I was weary of him using his phone etc. We had an amazing relationship, he treated me well, he loved me for me, and we did get along well. We had been through some financial difficulties for awhile, and some of his financial choices eroded some of my feelings for him. He would buy cigarettes and weed before buying groceries, and one time we didn’t have food for our cats, but he had his needs met. We started to drift apart, and I know that shouldn’t end a relationship, and it didn’t. I found some cam models on his snap chat, that he had been receiving messages from. That was it, that was the line. I knew I could no longer trust him, and if I didn’t trust him what was the point? When would I get tired? Now or five years from now? I ended the relationship, we talked a week later and I was able to see how much he cared and loved me. That was the man I fell for, so I said we could talk more about our relationship. I was aware that after the breakup he went on a movie date with a girl, but after we had that conversation which I leaned towards getting back together, I saw he was liking her pictures on Instagram. AFTER our talk. I realized that even though I loved him with every bit of me, it wasn’t right. I’m so so heart broken, I am in such emotional pain and turmoil. I can’t concentrate, I can’t hold conversations, I’m so depressed. I love him, but I know I can’t have him. This is the worst… I just want to stop feeling this way.

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

Mary I’m sorry you’re going through this. The pain does end, I promise. In the meantime, be kind to yourself – sleep, exercise and spend time with people who care about you. Love and healing to you.

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FluidASBO

I was with my ex for about four years. I took a placement 6 /7 hours travel away from her and it really put a strain on the relationship. Although I didnt pay much attention to it at the time, the financial crisis hit at this point, and the atmosphere at work became terrible (lots of redundencies). During this time, I really noticed that I noticed attention from women. I felt so terribly as a norm that the slightest attention made me feel amazing. Long story short, I was unfaithful. I was honest about the whole thing from the very start and so asked for a break. Amazingly she took me back. Then of course I did it again! Even weirder was that she didnt break up with me! I was so ashamed that I again asked for a break, I felt like I needed to earn my way back and I thought that learning to be faithful, alone, yet asking nothing back from her, would do it. So we took a break . But during the break circumstance got in the way and there was no opportunity to see her. At this point, my entire social network broke down and we drifted even further apart (not out of choice). People moved away, family and friends were busy and unavailable. From the stress and the break up I began suffering from severe insomnia, anxiety and depression. I wished so much to speak with her but communication between us faded. I got into a situation where if I call her, it’d push her away, so I waited. And waited. Basical enough time passed for me to realize that she had moved on. That and I found out that she was with someone. I can only describe the feeling of loss and grief I experienced following our break up as similar to the feeling that one might experience from a loved one dying. Yet it was somehow worse. For a long time I was quite unable to get any closure. Even now its difficult to bear, nearly 9 years later. She’s married, and Im in a happily committed relationship, yet I still think about her everyday. On occasions, I noticethat I still feel a profound sense of loss, as though a part of me is (still) missing. Tonight I can’t sleep for the general ache I feel in my chest. I think that some people we just don’t get over. Perhaps it is useful for others in here, but during the years of insomnia, anxiety and depression, the thing I learnt gave me most comfort was believing that she was happy where ever she was. The ability to unconditional love someone has certainly been a blessing that has helped me process loss overy the years, and nother jus the loss of my ex. I suspect that the main reason I feel so terrible this evening is because I recently had the opportunity to speak with my ex (she pointed out that it was about the fourth time we’ve spoken in 8 years), and she indicated that she wasn’t that happy, and that she’d missed me/was interested in me. I was overwhelmed with both happiness and a profound sense of agony at learning this. I think that neither of us have really had closure. The breakdown of communication has really left things (feelings) up in the air. It’s my intention to really talk things out and get that closure. I want to open up a proper dialogue with her, see her more often, and diffuse these underlying tensions now that there seems to be an opportunity to do it. I just don’t know whether that would be the same type of unfaithful as before, or if I’d damage my ex’s relationship somehow. Neither of which I particularly want. That said, I love her, and it’s clear that she loves me, is it wrong to want to tell her that? As a rule, I believe it is never wrong to tell someone something so positive, especially when it’s unconditional. I also would think that if my partner, or her partner, could truly understand how I felt, and the history behind it, and what it means to me, they’d entirely understand. My fear is that I go back to the insomnia, anxiety and depression, I just can’t figure out what will make that more likely – seeing her and speaking with her more or doing so less? Thoughts?

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

All relationships become familiar after a while and the initial passion and excitement fades. It changes into a deeper, more secure love. During this time, it is easy to crave the excitement of an old love, or a new one. This doesn’t mean the relationship you are in is any less, but that you have adapted in such a way that the excitement has worn off. This must have happened previously in your old relationship too, which is perhaps why you craved the excitement of new loves. You sound as though you have a lot of wisdom, and I can hear how your heart aches for what you had. There are so many people who could be hurt here. What I would say is don’t make this a choice between her or your current partner. Your old love will probably win because of the excitement she represents. Remember though, that relationship also had its problems but over time, the bad memories often fade and the good ones strengthen. That doesn’t mean it won’t be a healthy relationship now, but it is something to take into account. Your first decision has to be about your current relationship. Either it’s right for you or it isn’t. If it’s right for you, don’t risk it by chasing what was. It it isn’t the relationship you want for the rest of your life, end it cleanly before considering your next move. At the moment, the comparison you are making is unfair to your current partner. It is difficult for your partner to compete with the excitement of old memories and what could be. Remember, your old relationship also had its problems at the time. Just something to think about. All the best with your decision.

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Aislin

Hello everyone. Here’s my story: we had been dating for a little under a year. Things weren’t perfect, but they were going well. By mid-July, I started noticing a change in his behaviour and how much he was on WhatsApp and not speaking to me. He doesn’t have many friends, so who could be occupying so much of his time? Anyway by late July, I told him that we needed to talk. He then said that he had been thinking for some time that we should transition to a platonic relationship and was adamant that there wasn’t anyone else. Although hurt, I told him that it was fine. He contacted me every day afterwards for a week, and it became too much, so I asked him nicely to give me space to process everything.
During that week, I cried and tried to adjust. I periodically checked WhatsApp to see if anything had changed about his communication and it hadn’t. He was almost always online. I deleted everything about him from my phone and started to feel better. I began making plans and saw my silver lining. Out of the blue, he messaged me last night to say that he didn’t want things to be awkward between us, because apparently he was running, I was driving, he said hello and I ignored him. I was sincerely lost because he normally runs on the beach, so why was he now running on the route that I take to work? I don’t recall seeing him either. I don’t want him back. I want to tell him how I feel, including the fact that I don’t want to be his friend. How can I do this without coming across as jealous or insecure?

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Gemini princezz

I have been with him for 8 years,we have 3 beautiful children together,we always talked about being married,and being together forever. We have been through everything together,homeless,hungry,and broke. I have been there through everything with him,i never left his side,ever. But it seems,im to blame,he says he don’t want to be told what to do,1 week ago he left our home,hes been gone every night since then,he met some girl,and he stayed gone with her all night,he has been doing this since the 16th of this month,im so depressed and hurt and angry and sad,and disappointed,and ashamed,and embarrassed,i feel so worthless. He says I I’d this,he said I broke up with him ,I know all this is just an excuse for him doing what he’s doing,because he wanted to do this anyway. ?????????? I cry as I write this,i cry every day,my heart is hurting so bad,and I don’t know what to do

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Hey Sigmund

Blaming you for this breakup is such an awful thing to do. Relationships never stay the same. They change and they grow. Sometimes they grow and change together, sometimes apart. There is no shame in this. None! The fact that you have both grown in different directions doesn’t mean the relationship wasn’t strong and loving and what you both needed at the time. The way he has handled this sounds very cruel, but use this to push you forward. At the moment, it feels so painful for you, I understand that, but he is showing you a side of himself that is very real. Let him go. Let it be your decision and make that decision in strength. You will move through this. Be gentle with yourself and give yourself time to grieve.

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Laura

Hey guys. I’ve been dating someone for about a year… We recently broke up due to religious differences. He’s Muslim and I’m Christian. I feel so heartbroken. I know he loved me and I know he feels pain too but I can’t understand why he’s suddenly gone so silent on me. We agreed to be friends and I know cutting out communication helps for moving on but I’m just too used to all the good morning and goodnight messages and all the loving and caring texts in between …

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Milani

I’m a Muslim girl who dated a Muslim guy but I was raised in the US and he was raised back home and even though he said he loved me..he married a woman from back home and would bounce from her to me until she finally arrived to the states and now he is moving on with her. A lot of men especially Muslim ones may love you but they love their parents more and they will go with the advice of their family and what makes them happy before making a girl who doesn’t share the same system of beliefs happy. Its so so so hard for you but you deserve better than this guy.
My ex was the same way. Beautiful sweet words but he never did anything about it but made excuses as to why we couldn’t be together. We would agree to no contact and then he would contact me apologize and say he loved me and needed to talk to me and then we ended up meeting for dinner that turned into hanging out until he would panic again and then it just became a pattern. You’re lucky he stopped communication. He’s doing you a huge favor regardless of loving you and being hurt.

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Ben

Hi,

A year ago i saw this post and i commented trying to help someone here, and it is funny to keep receiving notifications about other people stories and their life experiences.
This time i just wanted to share my last experience.
Am a Muslim guy, i met a Christian girl, she studies medicince, i met her in a Volunteering work in England where we both live, but then things started to develop and through texting she asked me to be her lover, i said lets just stay friends first as am not sure you really want this, i felt that she was really sad and upset from waiting for me for not takeing it seriously. Well i did, and it looked that both suit each other, and she was happy with the way i think, she used to care about everything i do, and never go to sleep until i say good night. Here is what happen two days ago, she texted me saying : am really sorry, can we be just friends, as i dont think i want the future you want. I explained that this is wrong and we all know that she has feelings for me, and that she always said she loved the future i want, i tried my best to make her change her mind. But nothing. She want me to not stop texting her and thats it.

The point is that, it is not that Muslim men are always willing to take what their parents on top of their descisions, me as an example, my parents will have no problem with that, and i was willing to stay with her even when am back to the country where my parents live.
She panicked, it happen to Men as it happen to women.
I wish if i know how that christian girl think about being with a muslim, so i would change her mind, and show her that being with me a muslim, can be so much better than living with another one.

Anyways, its nice sometimes to share stories 🙂 I hope you all doing great. Tomorrow is another day, and out there, there are people waiting for us to get into their lives. Close one door and open another.

Best wishes,

B.B

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Milani

Hi b.b.

Thanks for the comment. I did not mean all Muslim men listen to their parents. I have very liberal Muslim parents who would not stand in my way if I loved someone. But the man I was with was not strong enough or so he claimed his reasons for not being with me would break his mother and fathers heart. I was with him and behind my back he got married and then when she was not here yet he pressured me back into a relationship until I just ended up down a path that would only lead to more pain and heartache for a few more years and just like that when his wife arrived.. Its as if I don’t exist. He told me the entire time he didn’t love her and he loved me but hes with her so he must love her and he must have played me the entire time. I knew from the start it was a bad idea. I didn’t even want him in the beginning but some how he convinced me and I feel that something must have been wrong with my level of confidence or self esteem that I allowed for it to go so far. I just hope others don’t make my mistake because right now it feels like the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through. You’re lucky the girl didn’t cheat on you and she had the respect to tell you beforehand that she didnt want the same things instead of leading you on for a few years.

Hope you feel better
M

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Ben

Ben

Hi Milani,

I understood what you said, and i really feel sorry for what happen with you, i bet you deserve a better man.
It is not your fault that you let him in, if we don’t lock our front doors it doesnt mean people can get in and take all what we have. This is life, wrong place wrong time , painful experience, right place, tight time, right person, best things you can ever have. And thats what we all waiting for.

Thanks for sharing this with us, would be glad to hear good news from you

B.B

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Hannah

I had commented earlier (June 7th) about my boy friend and I of 1.5 years breaking up. I move out today, officially. We have been living together since the breakup and everything has been very cordial still, and we finally had a talk. He said of course he still loves me and that feeling doesn’t just go away. He said right now he really just needs some time to figure himself out and be happy again. He has decided to stop drinking and focus more on his health and feeling like “himself” again. In my heart I believe that this is an internal battle for him, that he’s feeling lost. But friends and others who hear our story seem to think he could be “letting me down easy”. I told him I want to go the month of July with limited to no contact and he seemed upset by this but understands if I need some time apart. He suggested meeting for dinner in August to catch up and see where we are. I want to hold on to hope that we could work things out once he’s figured some things out for himself. And he told me he doesn’t know the future but doesn’t necessarily see this as the end for us. His quote “I could get my life and thoughts together in a month or 2 and realize I made the biggest mistake by breaking up”. He knows I’m not stopping my life to wait for him to change his mind but I have told him I don’t necessarily want to give up on us. Do you think he is just trying to protect my feelings? Should I hold on to some hope? We had talked about marriage and buying a house within the next year or so. Is it possible that became overwhelming for him? Should I take that as a bad sign? Or do some people just need to step back for a minute and analyze where there life is going? Do couples that live together and move out find ways to make it work again? Sorry so many questions..

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a

Continue living ur life as ure waiting for a sign to move on or stay or whatever , mean time have time with friends n family n urself, life day by day will throw good/bad things at u, he may come around after finding himself , he may not.
Do what makes You happy.

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Heartbroken

Im really struggling to understand if i should let go or move on from my 4 year relationship. at the being of this year we got engaged and spoke about having kids together, my ex has 2 kids of her own that i love dearly as if they were my own, i cant process not seeing them anymore as the hurt feels unbearable.

we dated for two years and then broke up for 3 months. when we got back together it was like the most amazing love that i have ever experienced.

unfortunately i was naive not erase past history of flings and flirts from when we were broken up and prior to us getting back together, this then caused a trust issue and for the last 2 years i have been fighting to get my trust back.

i made sure to delete all emails and social media to prevent these skeletons from resurfacing

lone behold some deleted items prior to us dating were found by my ex in a archived folder. that i had overlooked checking and it has caused her to break up with me

she says there are no more chances and its over for good

do i give her some space or persist trying to get her back or just move on from her, knowing that i will not see her kids ever again

im extremely heartbroken

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Hey Sigmund

If you want her back, fight for her then give her the space she needs. By that I mean let her know you love her, and that you are open to giving her what she needs moving forward and then step back and let her know that you will give her the space she has asked for. Make sure that if it gets to the point that you need to let go, you’ll know that you have done everything you can. You sound like a very committed, loyal and loving partner. I hope your partner is able to see past whatever happened when you weren’t together and take notice of what the relationship has been like since you have been together.

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myrainydays

I am really sad and broken right now. I met this Korean Guy online and we really got along very well until he confessed that he’s in love with me. I’m feeling the same way but I told him that if he wants me to become his GF he should go to my country to see me and he did it like really quick. The next week he went here and we spent 3 days together in a hotel and tour him around the city. I told him that I want a serious relationship and he told me also that our relationship is not easy come, easy go. He said it has deep meaning. I told him also about my son he was surprised but I was glad that he accepted it and he said it’s not an issue for him. On the day that he is going back to Korea, he was even crying at the cafe and even at the airport. We were crying while kissing and hugging each other. I really felt his sincerity and love. He was very sweet and kind to me. He even told me about his plans for us and moving in my country to be with me. After that he went back to Korea. Our communication is still constant. We have video calls like every night and during the first week after he’s back in his country he was even crying during our video call saying that he misses me and loves me. During that time also he has a lot of work to do and very busy and I can see that he’s really tired but he still tried his best to stay awake to talk to me. 10 days after he went back to Korea. Sunday morning, the last message was I love you and good morning and I replied good morning and told him that I’m going to watch cartoons with my son and sent him our photos. He was able to see the message and the photo but after that the rest of my messages were unseen. And I’ve never heard anything from him again. I tried and searched him on facebook and added his account and sent him a message but then after 5 mins he blocked me. I used my other facebook account and sent him another message it was just seen but no reply. I tried calling him on skype and other apps but no response from him until now. I don’t know what to do because I was left hanging without no explanation. We never had any fights and I know it happened so fast like for just a month only it happened so fast. I’ve been in a recent breakup as well like I was singled for 1 year before I met him. During that time, I was totally fine and happy until he came into my life and suddenly disappeared. During that time when we were together or even video calling I can really feel that he was serious about me but I don’t know what happened. I don’t have any clue and I’m feeling down. It’s really a mental and emotional torture for me because I keep wondering why and I guess I will never know the reason..like I”ll keep wondering forever.. 🙁

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Francisco

I think he is blocking the communication because in my opinion he is trying to forget you. These long distance situations are very hard for the involved and sometimes for the sake of sanity people try to stop it to dont suffer more. Dont be hard on yourself. All the best

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Liz

You seem like an amazing man who is devoted to his girl. I think you should try and fight harder and tell her that you are willing to do whatever it takes to make the relationship work and Vow to make her happy for as long as you live. Tell her you will go to couples therapy for her because your little family that you’ve created together means so much to you and the thought of losing the children are like losing a limb because you adore them as if they were your own. Hopefully she’ll be able to put the past behind her and realize that she will be missing out on her gem of a soulmate.
Wishing you the best… and if for some reason she isn’t able to get past this, keep your heart open because your kindred spirit awaits you.

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Sometimes we all just need space to talk to someone who will listen without giving advice, or problem solving, or lecturing. Someone who will let us talk, and who can handle our experiences and words and feelings without having to smooth out the wrinkles or tidy the frayed edges. 

Our kids need this too, but as their important adults, it can be hard to hush without needing to fix things, or gather up their experience and bundle it into a learning that will grow them. We do this because we love them, but it can also mean that they choose not to let us in for the wrong reasons. 

We can’t help them if we don’t know what’s happening in their world, and entry will be on their terms - even more as they get older. As they grow, they won’t trust us with the big things if we don’t give them the opportunity to learn that we can handle the little things (which might feel seismic to them). They won’t let us in to their world unless we make it safe for them to.

When my own kids were small, we had a rule that when I picked them up from school they could tell me anything, and when we drove into the driveway, the conversation would be finished if they wanted it to be. They only put this rule into play a few times, but it was enough for them to learn that it was safe to talk about anything, and for me to hear what was happening in that part of their world that happened without me. My gosh though, there were times that the end of the conversation would be jarring and breathtaking and so unfinished for me, but every time they would come back when they were ready and we would finish the chat. As it turned out, I had to trust them as much as I wanted them to trust me. But that’s how parenting is really isn’t it.

Of course there will always be lessons in their experiences we will want to hear straight up, but we also need them to learn that we are safe to come to.  We need them to know that there isn’t anything about them or their life we can’t handle, and when the world feels hard or uncertain, it’s safe here. By building safety, we build our connection and influence. It’s just how it seems to work.♥️
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#parenting #parenthood #mindfulparenting
Words can be hard sometimes. The right words can be orbital and unconquerable and hard to grab hold of. Feelings though - they’ll always make themselves known, with or without the ‘why’. 

Kids and teens are no different to the rest of us. Their feelings can feel bigger than words - unfathomable and messy and too much to be lassoed into language. If we tap into our own experience, we can sometimes (not all the time) get an idea of what they might need. 

It’s completely understandable that new things or hard things (such as going back to school) might drive thoughts of falls and fails and missteps. When this happens, it’s not so much the hard thing or the new thing that drives avoidance, but thoughts of failing or not being good enough. The more meaningful the ‘thing’ is, the more this is likely to happen. If you can look behind the words, and through to the intention - to avoid failure more than the new or difficult experience, it can be easier to give them what they need. 

Often, ‘I can’t’ means, ‘What if I can’t?’ or, ‘Do you think I can?’, or, ‘Will you still think I’m brave, strong, and capable of I fail?’ They need to know that the outcome won’t make any difference at all to how much you adore them, and how capable and exceptional you think they are. By focusing on process, (the courage to give it a go), we clear the runway so they can feel safer to crawl, then walk, then run, then fly. 

It takes time to reach full flight in anything, but in the meantime the stumbling can make even the strongest of hearts feel vulnerable. The more we focus on process over outcome (their courage to try over the result), and who they are over what they do (their courage, tenacity, curiosity over the outcome), the safer they will feel to try new things or hard things. We know they can do hard things, and the beauty and expansion comes first in the willingness to try. 
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#parenting #mindfulparenting #positiveparenting #mindfulparent
Never in the history of forever has there been such a  lavish opportunity for a year to be better than the last. Not to be grabby, but you know what I’d love this year? Less opportunities that come in the name of ‘resilience’. I’m ready for joy, or adventure, or connection, or gratitude, or courage - anything else but resilience really. Opportunities for resilience have a place, but 2020 has been relentless with its servings, and it’s time for an out breath. Here’s hoping 2021 will be a year that wraps its loving arms around us. I’m ready for that. x
The holidays are a wonderland of everything that can lead to hyped up, exhausted, cranky, excited, happy kids (and adults). Sometimes they’ll cycle through all of these within ten minutes. Sugar will constantly pry their little mouths wide open and jump inside, routines will laugh at you from a distance, there will be gatherings and parties, and everything will feel a little bit different to usual. And a bit like magic. 

Know that whatever happens, it’s all part of what the holidays are meant to look like. They aren’t meant to be pristine and orderly and exactly as planned. They were never meant to be that. Christmas is about people, your favourite ones, not tasks. If focusing on the people means some of the tasks fall down, let that be okay, because that’s what Christmas is. It’s about you and your people. It’s not about proving your parenting stamina, or that you’ve raised perfectly well-behaved humans, or that your family can polish up like the catalog ones any day of the week, or that you can create restaurant quality meals and decorate the table like you were born doing it. Christmas is messy and ridiculous and exhausting and there will be plenty of frayed edges. And plenty of magic. The magic will happen the way it always happens. Not with the decorations or the trimmings or the food or the polish, but by being with the ones you love, and the ones who love you right back.

When it all starts to feel too important, too necessary and too ‘un-let-go-able’, be guided by the bigger truth, which is that more than anything, you will all remember how you all felt – as in how happy they felt, how loved they felt were, how noticed they felt. They won’t care about the instagram-worthy meals on the table, the cleanliness of the floors, how many relatives they visited, or how impressed other grown-ups were with their clean faces and darling smiles. It’s easy to forget sometimes, that what matters most at Christmas isn’t the tasks, but the people – the ones who would give up pretty much anything just to have the day with you.
Some days are great days. We want to squeeze every delicious moment out of them and keep them forever somewhere safe and reachable where our loved days and precious things are kept. Then there are days that are truly awful - the days we want to fold in half, and then in half again and again and again until those days are too small to hurt us any more. But days are like that aren’t they. For better or worse they will come and they will go. Sometimes the effects of them will stay – the glow, the growth, the joy, the bruises – long after those days have gone. And despite what I know to be true - that these are the days that will make us braver, stronger, kinder and wiser, sometimes I don’t feel any of that for a while. I just see the stretch marks. But that’s the way life is, isn’t it. It can be hard and beautiful all in sequence and all at once.
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One of the tough things about being human is that to live wholeheartedly means to open ourselves to both - the parts that are plump with happiness, and the parts that hurt. We don’t have to choose which one can stay. They can exist together. Not always in equal measure, and not always enough of the beautiful to make the awful feel tolerable, or to give it permission to be, but they can exist together - love through loss, hope through heartache. The big memory-making times that fatten life to full enough, and the ones that come with breakage or loss. The loss matters and the joy matters. The existence of either doesn't make the other matter any less. 
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What I also know to be true is that eventually, the space taken up by loss or heartache changes space for enough of the beautiful to exist with it. This is when we can start to move with. Sadness still, perhaps, but with hope, with courage, with strength and softness, with openness to what comes next. Because living bravely and wholeheartedly doesn't mean getting over loss or denying the feelings that take our breath away sometimes. It means honouring both, and in time, moving with.♥️

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