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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I Broke His Heart

Today's answer comes from Linda.

A Problem:

I was with someone for nearly a decade. I don't doubt that I was deeply in love with him, though the last few years were more like living in stasis as flatmates. I left him recently, and it broke his heart.
I am having two problems.
firstly, I'm finding it hard to deal with the guilt of it all. I did love him, I tried to do all the right things, but I still left him in the lurch. I can't understand quite why, even now. There are just so many things that were just fine. But I still ran off.

Secondly, even though I was in love with my partner, I spent an awful lot of the time with huge crushes on other men. I don't just mean "ooh he's tasty", I mean serious crying at night, and desperately throwing myself at other men. Luckily, none of them ever threw back, until right at the end. These crushes lasted for months on end, and in one case, about two and a half years, a situation that was only relieved when the crushee left the country.
Is this normal? Will I keep doing it? It scares me. Was it a sign that things were wrong all along?
I'm now with someone I (again) love very much but I'm terrified of this happening again.
sorry for rambling, I hope you can help, or at least offer your wordly wisdom.


An Answer:

Your dilemma has really touched me, because I think you're being awfully hard on yourself. You're very critical and expressing guilt, yet you've maintained a ten year relationship (not easy) during which you tried your best to make things work. You then had the courage to walk away, which is very hard when you still love someone, and know it will hurt you both. But isn't that braver and fairer in the long term?

I'm wondering if your 'crushes' on other people in the later years were indeed (as you have suggested) a sign that there were problems in the relationship.  Sometimes we hope things will resolve themselves wihout us having to act, and sometimes we
try to sabotage them indirectly.  Were you perhaps doing that?

We humans are allowed to make mistakes, but it seems you are reflecting rather harshly on yours. As to whether this will happen again, there's no 'Mystic Meg' method of divining this. Thank God, because it means we can be agents of our own destinies. I can only suggest that you try to accept what you feel are your past mistakes, show yourself more kindness and let the past go.  Where's the evidence that this will happen again? It's a completely different relationship, and will have a different dynamic. 

If you are unhappy with recurring patterns in your behaviour, you might want to seek counselling. But sometimes 'repetition is the staple of life'. That is we sometimes repeat mistakes as if to practice, before changing. We learn something new each time, whilst developing and growing.

Finally, beware self-fulfilling prophecies. Worry about a relationship going wrong can lead to anxiety, and then behaviour which causes just that to happen. Have some faith in yourself and your partner, keep the relationship in the 'here and now' and enjoy the wonderful experience as it's happening.

Good luck.


By Linda.

[There may be more answers to this problem here]


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