First post here, I've been a reader of AoM for awhile, and it's helped my life exponentially. Due to the depth and truth I find all over this site, I immediately hold the men who follow and contribute to Art of Manliness in high regard. I was hoping some of you folks could share some advice for the heart-break process, and feel free to share similar experiences, to know I'm not alone.
I was in the most perfect relationship for 3 years, we took each others V-cards and became each others' best friends, confidants and lovers. We became so close that our families had a relationship too, where my family treated her like family, and vice versa. It was awesome, I couldn't believe the young, beautiful lady I loved, loved ME! I could write pages on the good times we shared, but that's not why I'm writing this.
Basically, it ended when she moved away to college. Fair enough, right? we were far apart, and everyone is so eager to experience the "college life" that society swears is worth it. She went through a complete transformation from the shy, tender and loving girl to the drunk, care-free, college artist. She fucked some random jock, TOLD me about it, and thought it was okay. She even encouraged me to do the same so "we know what it's like to be with other people, and were sure were good for each other." or some shit like that. I didn't buy it, so I broke up with her. We talked and talked and finally ended communication. It's been around 12 weeks and I think about her every single day. Sometimes with a smile, sometimes with a few, private tears.
I play music, and I was writing a song for her for a very long time. I finally finished it, and I was going to send it to her, along with a sincere letter thanking her for the good times we spent, for all the support she gave me, and asking for forgiveness for all the past wrongs I did her. Basically, an end-all-be-all letter of summary, saying goodbye and thank you, and leaving her with a piece of music that I poured my heart and soul into. I would express everything honorably, and I feel it'd give me closure.
Solutions: I've been making lots of life changes because of how intense the experience of losing her was to me. I wake up at 5:30am daily and swim/lift everyday before work or class. I read, and I've taken up Art of Manliness' 31-day journal challenge. I started lots of small habits of good hygiene, random acts of kindness, dropping old habits and addictions, and doing a life makeover. All of it helps, I feel like I'm slowly growing in to a man of integrity and discipline, but I'm still haunted by thoughts of her, and regrets and doubts of the relationship.
Question: So men, my questions are: Should I send that song/letter? I don't know where she is at emotionally or mentally, so would it even impact her? Is that selfish of me? I miss (the old) her so bad, what the fuck do I do? What makes the heart-break go away? I feel the need to 1UP her, financially and success-wise, why? From what I can tell she's doing better with out me, does she even miss me? How do I get over her?
I know I sound like a whiny little bitch about this, but I'd rather dump this on the internet than further bug my friends and family. People seem to belittle it, saying I'm young, inexperienced and naive. True, but this was real, everything I've stated is my truth. Even if I don't get a single reply, It's helped a lot to be able to vent it.
Thanks so much for taking time to read and reply, any responses or advice will be greatly appreciated.
Actually, I had a very similar experience with a relationship that started in high school. I even wrote a song when we broke up, though mine was NOT tender and reminiscent. Consider that I performed it with my old Ska/Punk band, "Assault And Flattery", and you may get the vibe. It's been three years since we broke up, and it took me a long time to get over it. My advice, as a fellow young man: Forget her. Don't send the letter, as it will come with mixed signals attached. I understand the fond memories, the respect, the connection lost. But life is long, strange, and full of new opportunities. She is obviously lacking in maturity; no condemnation, you are both young and cannot expect to develop maturity without experience. Take life as it comes, the bitter and the sweet. Keep your chin up, your steps light, and your heart open. Things will work themselves out.
I don't usually reply to my own posts, but further reflection upon my own experiences and the parallels with yours led me to some new advice that I had previously forgotten.
You mention wanting to "One-Up" her; depending on how you channel this impulse, it could be to your advantage. The best revenge is success.
That may sound vindictive, but hear me out- when a long-term relationship ends, there is a grieving process, much as there is when a loved one dies. Anger is one step in that process, and it is actually healthy. In my case, it was more blinding rage than anything else, but since I found out about her indiscretions when she gave me TWO STD's, that may be reasonable. Use that impulse, and channel it into improving yourself as a man and as a person- learn a new skill, devote yourself more fully to your studies or career, pick up a new hobby, volunteer your time, what have you. You mention that you wrote a song- is this a skill you could develop to a point where it is marketable? Perhaps journalism, teaching literature, or advertising? Even if it is something that you wish to keep as a private hobby, I would encourage you to keep at it. It gives an opportunity for introspection, which can give you insights about how you may be able to improve yourself.
Lastly, as has been mentioned, get yourself back on the market, when you are ready. There is no need to rush it; you ill only cause yourself more heartache. But DO get back out there.
Keep in mind, this is something that most every man goes through early on. You'll get past it sooner than you think. I wouldn't send any song or letter or anything. Just say your piece, and let it be. No need for an apology, or a dedicated song, or whatever. Wish her good luck, and say goodbye.
Then, work toward getting back out on the market. In the meantime, pick up a hobby you didn't have when she was around ... shooting or fishing or hunting or something like that.
Or reading books, writing, poetry, drama, dance, music, and cinema.
Agreed. Sounds a bit more up his alley. Journaling may be advantageous in helping him through this period of Limbo.
That was kinda the point. He's already a songwriter/ musician/ poet, etc. Do something not-so-up-your-alley. Something she wouldn't have done with you, expected from you ... or necessarily even approved of. Use your newfound single-ness to figure out something new about yourself.
Nature is the best medicine for me, at least. Nature takes you out of your head and draws your attention back to being alive. Your breath, your body, your hunger, your thirst, your relationship to the world. Exhausting the body rests the mind.
Sometimes after a breakup the problem is spending too much time in your head with your own thoughts. The fishing and hunting, or even just hiking, paddling, swimming across a lake, rock climbing, etc. tends to focus you on the moment and not give the option of dwelling too much on your past or future needs. Just your present needs.
For me, that doesn't work. It's not that nature isn't effective; it's that being alone (anywhere) keeps me in my own head. For me, the best solution is to go do some martial arts. It's kind of hard to get stuck in your own head thinking about all of your problems when some guy is throwing you to do the ground and trying to choke you.
I'd also lean toward not sending it. Writing it, perfecting it, yes. But the person you would be sending it to no longer exists, if she ever did. And you're not over her, you say. So: best to stay disconnected.
But I am no expert.
First off, hang in there, bud - it happens to us all, it hurts, and there's no way around that. Just so you know where I'm coming from - I'm 39, married now for over a year after a 2 year long term relationship. My real heart-stomping came a bit later than yours - I was around 25, but it was after a 3 year great relationship, and our families had relationships, too. People used to talk about what an awesome couple we were - and we WERE. So having said that, here's some random thoughts
+1 Great advice John.
Tesh: I'm with the consensus and wouldn't send the letter and song. What's it going to accomplish? Catharsis for you, perhaps, but you'll look back and think "how foolish I once was!"
Don't get me wrong, I've been there. I was in a great relationship at the same age you're at now and it ended horribly when college started. I was fixated on her and would have done anything to get her back. But like your girl, she changed when she went away to school. She changed a lot that freshman year. She kinda came back to earth now but like you said, she went off the deep end 'just to try it.' I don't understand that mindset either, so I'm right there with you.
What did I do when this happened? I tried to "be her friend" (bad idea- didn't work). I tried to get her back. I tried it all because I was heartbroken and desperate. So trust me, I know where you're coming from. It sucks. A lot.
But just because the suck is there doesn't mean you should cave to it for what you think will give you peace of mind. It probably won't because in reality you've talked yourself into thinking "if I just do X, Y, and Z I'll be okay and I can sleep at night without thinking of her." Don't buy it. If you do send her the letter and the song you'll always be wondering "what does she think of it? Does she care? What's going through her mind?" And based on what you've told us she won't care to receive it. If she won't give you the time of day do you think a song will change things? (no).
The best way to solve this situation is to cut contact. You just gotta lift your head up and move on. As John said, hang in there. You'll make it. It sucks right now but you'll make it.
If you're wondering what ever happened to my ex and I, well we don't talk much, if ever, and I've got a new girl who loves me for who I am and I love her for who she is. It's a big sea with a lot of fish. Keep that in mind and hang in there.
Wow! I'm so happy and surprised to see all this support. I've read and taken everything into consideration and you guys are right, I gotta stay up and move on. Thanks again gentlemen, I really value all the sound advice and sympathy. I want to return the advice and support and so I'm making sure I stay involved in the Art of Manliness community, you guys are some quality humans.