By Baila Sebrow
I broke up with a girl I was dating for a long time. She did not want the breakup, and she begged me to go to a therapist to work things out. We had some problems in the relationship. When things were good, it was amazing, like with nobody else. But when things were bad, it was terrible. We broke up a few times before that for a short period, like a few days or a week or two. But we always managed to get back together. Our connection has always been very strong, and we couldn’t stay away from each other.
The last time we broke up was because she complained to my close friend about something I did. I was embarrassed, and my friend explained to me what type of person she really is and convinced me that she is a bad person and not for me, and that I could meet someone much better. I think she did this to me because I complained about her to people close to her when I was angry at her. Anyway, I know that she still has feelings for me and would want to get back together, but my friend says that I need to cut ties with her in order to get over her.
I am looking to date again, and I have gone out a few times, but I’m not meeting anyone with whom I connect the way I did with her. I really want to meet somebody fast so I can get over her. What can you recommend? This whole situation is driving me crazy.
It sounds like this woman exposed you for who you really represent in a relationship. You needed to prove that you are the innocent party, and that was one of the reasons you broke up with her. That is not uncommon. Sadly, it happens in marriages, too. Things can get to the point where the husband or wife complains to someone the spouse respects, and out of sheer embarrassment or to demonstrate that he or she is really in the right, that spouse will be the one to file for divorce. The tragedy is that a divorce under those circumstances is usually unwarranted. Rather, it called for heavy therapeutic intervention. In your case, two circumstances caused the breakup: the shame you felt, and your friend’s negative intervention.
Unfortunately, there are people in this world with too much time on their hands or who have misery in their own lives and seek to take responsibility in destroying the lives of others. Where is your friend now? Why is this individual not setting you up with compatible women since it was that person’s opinion that you break ties with a woman you admit to having connected with like nobody else? To me it sounds like your friend is not your friend after all. This person is masquerading as having your best intentions at heart, but I believe there is jealousy here. You do not indicate if this is a male or female friend of yours. Either way, this person’s true intentions and wishes for your happiness leave room for speculation. Clearly, your friend does not want to lose your companionship and felt threatened by your relationship with the woman.
The woman you dated humbled herself to the extent that she reached out to someone for help. Do you understand that making this move to contact a stranger to intercede was her cry for help? I am sure the fact that you communicated and complained about her to people significant in her life gave her some courage. My question is why you did that in the first place. Was it your intention to shame her? Nevertheless, she was likely hoping that confiding in your friend would improve matters. Instead, your friend used her complaints as ammunition to finish off this relationship.
If this friend had honorable intentions, he or she would have urged you to find a couple’s therapist, or, better yet, would have helped you find that therapist! You clearly needed a professional to accurately determine what’s souring the relationship at times. From what you are telling me, it sounds like there was always a trigger for when things went badly. That should have been pinpointed. From there on, if you both still have feelings for each other, it might be a matter of initiating therapy for you, the woman you were dating, or both of you. I have seen cases where rocky courtships have blossomed into the smoothest and most beautiful relationships when intervention was accessed.
Some people view relationships as shoes that need fixing: why bother? It is so much easier to toss them in the garbage and find a new pair that fits. However, if your feet have specific needs for size, comfort, and appearance, finding something that will feel as good as the old pair is sometimes even more difficult that searching for a needle in a haystack. Savvy consumers will take that old pair of shoes to an experienced shoe-repair person and go about fixing the problem. If, after examining the shoes, the repairperson says it makes no sense or it does not pay to fix them, then go ahead and throw those shoes away and never look back.
My concern is that you might end up living with regret. Imagine that someone is diagnosed with a terminal illness, R’l, and the family does whatever it takes to find the best specialist or therapy to save the person’s life. Even if the person does not survive, the family, despite grieving, will feel confident that they did their best. Contrast that with the family who accepts the diagnosis and does nothing on behalf of their loved one. Please keep that analogy in mind as you read my response.
Where do you go from here? I do not think you have healthy closure. It does not sound like this long relationship ended in a way that gives you both peace of mind. You made a huge mistake in not following through and meeting with a therapist. What would have happened is that after hearing both of you communicate with one another, and discussing your feelings and hopes for the future, a determination would have been made whether to stay together or break up. People are under the false impression that therapy is always to save a relationship. On the contrary, may couples retain a therapist because one party wants to break up. I have a feeling you dismissed the idea because you were afraid that if you met with a therapist your feelings for this woman would have compelled you to want to work things out. You would then have had to explain all that to your friend who wants this woman out of your life. In essence, I believe you refused the offer for therapy because you were worried about backlash from your friend!
It’s time for you to reconsider who your true friends are. A true friend will do whatever it takes to avoid compromising the happiness of his or her friend. That’s why I asked you earlier about what your friend is doing for you now. Why is this friend of yours not trying to find you another woman that is compatible? This should be his or her highest priority.
For your own good, you need to start compartmentalizing in life. Not everyone you associate with needs to know your personal business, specifically about your love life. That includes friends and family members too. Not every person in this world has your best interests at heart. Many people offer advice that would work for their own situation in life, or because they have an ulterior motive. The problem is that one can never be sure what anyone is really all about, and whether the person can be trusted. That is why I always advise people to keep their relationships confidential. Unless a couple is ready to announce their engagement, there is nothing to talk about. I shudder when I see people parading their significant other around social events or other gatherings. There is so much jealousy out there, even among those you hold in high regard.
Surely, that includes asking for advice. No one other than a trained professional is qualified to offer relationship advice, especially when telling you to break up with someone with whom you were in a serious relationship. Friends have no clue about the moving parts of someone’s relationship. I am sure that there were things that took place in your relationship, and conversations you had with the woman you were dating, that you did not share with your friend.
Sitting around and doing nothing will not help you to get over her. Dating other women to replace her will not help you get over her either. You will always compare anyone else you meet to her. That is what happens. She will be doing the same. You will each have that invisible pink elephant in the room in any potential relationship. Rebound relationships rarely last because they are not based on compatibility. They are about getting your mind off the person you were with most recently.
My advice is to contact this woman and communicate to her that your aim is to meet with her and talk things out so you each have a chance to speak from the heart. However, you want to do the right thing, and if she is still amenable, invite a mutually agreed-upon therapist to this meeting. You will each have the opportunity to express your feelings and pour out whatever is in your hearts. Whatever the outcome may be, it needs to be reached in a healthy manner. Do not be afraid of the results. Most importantly, don’t share anything about it with your friend—or anyone else.
Baila Sebrow is president of Neshoma Advocates, communications and recruitment liaison for Sovri-Beth Israel, executive director of Teach Our Children, and a shadchanis and shidduch consultant. She can be reached at Bsebrow@aol.com. Baila also hosts The Definitive Rap podcast for vinnews.com, Israel News Talk Radio, WVIP 93.5 FM HD2, and talklinenetwork.com. Questions and comments for the Dating Forum can be submitted to email@example.com. Read more of Baila Sebrow’s articles at 5TJT.com.