Breaking up after 15 years

topic posted Thu, October 23, 2008 - 10:02 PM by  Sarah
Hi everyone,
I am new to Tribe and just wanted to say hello and introduce myself. I was in a relationship for 15 years and we met when we were in our early 20s. This has been a really tough year for me because I broke up with my partner in March. The breakup was really confusing because I found that my partner was totally detached and non-communicative and wouldn't be the one to break up. Our relationship became so unbearable that I ended up stepping up and being the one to end it. So, this summer has been full of grief and healing for me and learning to be okay with being alone. Even after six months of processing grief and healing I still have moments where I am really emotional and mostly what's coming up for me lately is a lot of anger. I am really pissed off that I have invested so much in a relatioinship and came away with nothing except myself and my cat and that I am now 40 and single (it's not something that I expected or ever imagined would happen). On the positive side though, I am learning so much about who I am without my partner's influence and I am more creative and relaxed and mostly happy with my life. I guess I am looking for feedback from my tribe about how to process the anger....because sometimes I think the anger is helping me to avoid looking at the positive aspects of the relationship which just lead me to feel sad and depressed...not sure where to put the anger.....I am a counsellor too, but when it's your own issues you are trying to deal with it doesn't really matter how much textbook training you's really challenging.

Thanks for any suggestions.
posted by:
  • Re: Breaking up after 15 years

    Fri, October 24, 2008 - 7:51 AM
    Hi Sarah,

    Welcome to Tribe. Sorry to hear about your difficult time. I'm not sure how much a software developer can counsel a counsellor because I'm sure you've heard it all before. Maybe I can just let you know you aren't alone :-)

    You've heard it, I'm sure, but it is worth repeating: hold on to the positives thoughts. Pain and loss are all part of life's journey and, as you've realized, you are learning a great deal. You know, too, that the grieving process is not linear and you know it will get easier. Every day it gets easier. I still have moments, two years later, that leave me feeling angry or disappointed or a sense of loss. But I know it gets better and I know it will continue to get better. Looking back, the pain I was in a year ago seems almost unimaginable now.

    So when things get dark, hold on to the hope and knowledge that you will survive. Not only survive but thrive.

    I'm curious where the anger you are feeling is directed? At yourself? At your former partner? At life in general? It might help to tease that apart and make sure it is going in the right direction.

    It sounds like you got yourself out of a situation that wasn't working for you. That should be cause for celebration and some self-congratulations. Many people would have just chosen to live miserably for the rest of their lives. Then again, it is really hard to celebrate the passing of something so important to us, isn't it?

    You make a good observation that the anger is helping you avoid looking at the positive aspects of the relationship. I know that feeling well. Things are still pretty raw for you, and from my personal experience, that's going to take awhile to heal. Anger right now is protecting you and helping you get through the grieving. I think you have to get that grieving cycle out of the way before you can really be in a good place to honour what was good about the relationship.

    It gets easier...

    • Re: Breaking up after 15 years

      Tue, October 28, 2008 - 6:33 AM
      Hi Blair,
      Thank you so much for giving me some perspective and for sharing your experience with me. I think a Software developer can have a lot to teach a counsellor because this experience is something that most people share no matter what our vocation happens to be. The anger I am feeling is directed at my ex, although I don't share that with him....when I think about him I tend to feel the anger. I had been feeling it often lately, so I decided to talk to him and meet him for coffee last Sunday to see if that would give me some perspective. When we met for coffee it seemed to go well, but when I got home later I started thinking about some of the things that he had said....some of the ways that he responded when I talked about some of the aspects of myself that I have been developing since the breakup....and I realized that some of what he said wasn't very supportive and that I had ultimately made the right choice in not staying with him. So it was good, even though it was difficult to see him....I am also seeing a counsellor to help me to process some of my anger. According to my counsellor it is healthy that I am feeling angry because it shows that I have integrity to myself and that I know that a lot of what went on in our relationship and many of the ways that I was treated in that relationship were wrong. The anger is indicative of the fact that I am aware of this and thus I will avoid repeating these same patterns in my next relationship. Thank you again for letting me know that I am not alone and that it will get easier.

  • Re: Breaking up after 15 years

    Fri, October 24, 2008 - 10:03 AM
    For me the way to make the anger disapear was to know that I wouldn't change anything. That I definitely wouldn't change the break up and that where I am now is the perfect place for me to be. How can I be angry about things that brought me right to where I need to be? To this new life that is wonderful?

    I don't think it's true that you came away with nothing. You came away with who you are now. You would only come away with nothing if you only valued the relationship as a way to not be single. Then I suppose it failed to keep you not single for your whole life. Maybe that is a hard one but it's not something I ever worried about so maybe I don't get it.

    There is a saying that it takes half of the time that you were together to get over the a break up. I think that's really arbitrary but it sure makes sense to me that after 15 years it's going to be at least a few years before you've worked through most of the stuff.
  • Unsu...

    Re: Breaking up after 15 years

    Mon, October 27, 2008 - 7:41 PM
    Welcome, Sarah.
    Many folks of all shapes and sizes, etc. have gone through similar things, including myself. There is much support to be had here, and I wish all the best moving forward for you.
    Hope to see you around Tribe!
    • Unsu...

      Re: Breaking up after 15 years

      Thu, November 27, 2008 - 4:33 PM
      Sorry to hear your situation Sarah. I hope all can find some help and much needed support in this Tribe, as I'm sure we will, saying this as I find myself in a situation as well (read my recent story). These times are always challenging, the important thing I have always remembered and believed, that things do happen for a reason, and I have found they have always worked out for the best......
  • Re: Breaking up after 15 years

    Fri, August 28, 2009 - 10:23 PM
    I respect your ability to separate your anger from yourself to where you can address it independently.
    I am not at that place. I just want to call my new ex a jerk and vent about all the crap I put up with until I finally got a clue and walked away.
    I broke up with him today. So here I go...
    I am proud of myself for finally standing up for what is best for me and putting an end to the years of filtering what I need through what is best for him or our relationship. I can finally put my needs on the table.

    I know he lost feelings for me, but was just too much of a coward to say it. His actions however said it clearly.
    I do not know if he fell out of love, or if he just never really loved me in the first place.

    I saw changes and detatchment, slience..
    and I straight out asked him to 'just tell me'...was there someone else? did I not do something? Did his needs change? Was it work?

    He denied everything and lied-through-his-teeth saying that "everything was fine" with him....
    then went right back to his detatchment, distance, slience. it was obvious he was 'going through the motions'
    ....Spineless creep.

    So I do not mourn him.
    What I mourn is what I thought was him and what I hoped for in our relationship. But as for him personally?
    Good riddens. I deserve better.

    I do not say that arrogantly.
    I say that as a woman who sincerely put her heart and soul and many good years of my life into acting in his/our relationships best interest. I gave my best to him in every moment and every area. I tried to love him well.
    Being thoughtful, considerate, patient, etc...all those healthy relationship activities just to watch him kick back on auto pilot.

    Honestly, I should have been gone way too long ago.

    And yes. I am angry. At several things.
    Angry at myself for not having better judgement.
    Angry that he was not honest when I asked him to be.
    Angry that good years I invested I can't get back.

    But I will get to a place of peace becasuse I know it is necessary for me to enjoy my life.

    And I refuse refuse refuse to let that man be the death of me or take any more of my joy.

    And I know what forgiveness is all it is a gift you give yourself...blah blah blah....and it
    I will get there.

    But today is NOT that day.
    Today this is what I want to think: JERK JERK JERK.!!!

    I want to imagine a day where he sees me and I am twice as beautiful, amazing and much happier "without him."
    I want to imagine a moment-when he leasts expects it-where it hits him like a slap in the face- that I was the best thing that ever happened to him.
    I want him to feel the chilling void of my absence as cold as a polar ice cap.

    I want him to get a clue and have regret...lots of regret that keeps him awake at night...

    and I want thoughts of me to HAUNT him endlessly and without mercy!!!

    OK now I feel better.
    needed to get that out.
    glad I found a safe place to vent here. Best of luck to all who find yourselves here.
    Atleast we can know we are not alone. Health and healing to us all!
    • Re: Breaking up after 15 years

      Sat, August 29, 2009 - 11:34 AM
      Yes, I mourned who I thought he was. I beat myself up for not seeing who he really was, or at least who he had the capacity to be to the negative. Why was it so easy to see who he could be to the positive and so impossible to see how low he could go?

      I believe a good rant can be cleasing, I hope this day and the days in the future you need are cleansing, always working toward washing that man right outta your hair!

      He'll definitely regret, but by the time it hits him you probably won't care much (o: not that it's not still satisfying in it's way.

      Health and healing to you

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