Monday, 10 November 2008


This morning on the train I was thinking about how unnatural it feels to suddenly cut off contact with someone you’ve spent the last few years talking to nearly every day. It was what I wanted – the only way I knew I’d be able to handle the break up – but is it normal to be so logical and rational about the whole thing? Love is so emotional, everything in a relationship depends on and is ruled by it, yet emotion is the one thing I haven’t really indulged in since the break up was 'finalised'.

Until today, that is, when for the first time in two weeks and after a brilliant weekend of declaring myself absolutely fine to anyone who has asked – fine is the one thing I don’t feel.

Thing is, I’m following the advice I’d give someone else in my situation down to a T. Don’t contact him, it’ll only make it harder, don’t attempt to meet up – it’s a bad idea. I’m being an agony aunt’s dream, someone who asks for advice and actually takes it. I know the rules, I know common sense, I know that in comparison to another friend who is going through an almost identical break up situation to mine, for almost the same reasons and after the same amount of time, but continuing to contact and meet up with her ex, that I am coping a million times better and getting on with life without that dragging, painful feeling of a broken heart getting in the way.

But something about the whole thing just doesn’t feel normal. For me there’s nothing more abnormal than cutting someone out of your life, someone who hasn’t necessarily done anything wrong or major to hurt you, like cheat or dump without word or warning, or said horrible things, someone who you get on with and know better than anyone else. I know it was the right thing to do. I know I was unhappy, that I have been repeatedly questioning whether I was in the right relationship for a lot longer than just the last month. I know that attempting to be friends with an ex is a redundant exercise, and that I couldn’t subject myself to hearing about his life when it doesn’t feature me any more. I know all that and I’m sticking to it. There are no drunken texts, no teary calls or emotional, attention seeking facebook statuses. There’s nothing. One text to briefly mention his stuff at my house, and suggest he picks it up. One acknowledgement back. It is practical in every sense of the word. No questions, no slip-ups, no emotion. It seems completely at odds with every other break up story I've ever heard, seen on TV or read about.

I've taken the rational, sensible option, and today it feels like the most unnatural thing in the world.


Anonymous said...

like you said, you are doing the best thing even though it doesn't feel right, and it will make things easier in the long run.
in the meantime, find a replacement... i don't mean another man but a friend who you can call or text at those moments you feel like you want to speak to someone (him). It's not the same, but it helps a bit x

Martin said...

I admire your willpower, and I completely agree with the unnormalness of the whole thing.

Typical head-heart conflict in my case, ruinous emotion coupled with ruthless rationality make awkward company, and sometimes I end up seesawing rather extremely between the two. Plus, the variance of emotion between the coldness of "dealing with" the future coupled with the far more powerful emotion of absence and loss.

I agree with you & pinkjellybaby ^ oop there, it's the only way to go about it, otherwise you get on a much longer road of emotional masochism and a whole load of confusion on the side.

Anonymous said...

Just hang on in there. It is not easy but it will work in the end. It is the only way you will clear your head and your heart and reclaim your life - well, yourself really.

I broke off all contact exactly a year ago and yes, it felt weird and there were occasions (many of them) when I got so close to emailing, texting or whatever. I am glad now that I did not.

I wrote today about how at last I feel that that weight has lifted - and it has - but it has taken me this long to get there. Just don't expect too much of yourself - it'll be up and down, but with each week/month the downs last a shorter time and happen with a decreasing frequency.

And don't rush into another relationship either. I think that was the one mistake I made, briefly, and it took me a few months to realise that it was stopping me from concentrating on what I should be doing ie getting over the one I had just come out of.

But all will be well.

Bon courage, mon amie.

nuttycow said...

It feels rubbish at the moment but it will get easier. Promise.

You've had the strength to walk away and you're now doing the right thing by cutting all ties.

Be strong :)

The Unbearable Banishment said...

Jo, I hate to say this, but two weeks isn’t that long. Hold fast. It might get a lot harder before it gets easier.

Elaine said...

Oh god. I really don't want to come in here and disagree with everything everyone else has said, but I have never split up with anyone (other than the freaks) who I didn't stay in touch with afterwards. Some of my exes are some of my best friends. Why should you invest so much of yourself and so much time, only to let it all go? I know it's early days and you can't go from lovers to friends overnight, but if you both mean something to each other, you really can make that transition.

Only if you want to, of course. x

Clarissa said...

Only time will make it feel more natural. You're doing all the right things. Mostly, taking care of yourself. xx, c

arbyn said...

I'm proud that you can actually do this.

But at the same time I feel like I'm reading a fictional story.

Not being mean. I just agree it's totally against our natures to cut someone off/out. It sucks but it's probably necessary if you're serious about moving on.

I know you'll be fine.

blueskies2day said...

I know exactly what you mean! It is so strange to sever contact so immediately - it seems unnatural and wrong. I guess you're right though - it's better this than letting it drag on and on slowly and painfully. It sounds like you're coping admirably and I am very impressed.

Anonymous said...

Argh, it sounds to clichéd, but it will get worse before it gets better.

As PJB says, it is great to have someone you can call / text in those moments when you really want to talk to him. That's when you really need the help.

Who knows whether you'll be friends in the future? You never know what might happen, but you also might not want it for some time to come.

Anonymous said...

Reading your post kinda brought back the last few months for me. It took me from about the middle of June to about 2 weeks ago to start feeling better about my breakup. Sounds like the circumstances were simillar too.

All I can say is that you have done a good job of putting your thoughts in words - it's actually not that easy. The second thing being that as the unbearable banishment said - it's only been 2 weeks. I hope and pray that you have all the strength, and I guess good friends around you when you do feel low and down. Hopefully you won't have to go through those days. :)

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

pjb - Good advice. My friends are great and always there for me, it's just, as you say, not the same sometimes.

martin - I take it you are going through a break up too - I'm glad the article in one of my other posts helped. I've let the head rule on this one so far, but sometimes ignoring the heart gets a bit difficult! Urgh.

reluctant - It was reading your post earlier that made me think actually. Like when you said how angry you were and all the emotion you went through - it refirms to me that this is the right thing. But sometimes you just want to sod the right thing and barge straight on in with contact. And you're right, writing about it helps so much. Once I wrote this post and pressed submit it was like 'ahhh. that's out now'.

nutty - Who'd have thought being rational could feel so irrational? The fact that I'm not a weepy mess all day tells me it's a good thing, but still. Doesn't stop that pang every now and then.

unbearable - It seems like so much more than just 2 weeks! I'm stuck between thinking this is as bad as it will get, or that I'm not even at the bad part yet. I wish there was a blueprint for this relationship crap!

elaine - No no no, varying view points are always welcome. t's just friends with an ex isn't something I've ever really managed to do. I admire you for being able to do that! The only one I've remained in contact with wasn't someone I ever really loved to this extent. This one was going to be my 'always' - and I'm not sure I can be friends until that's completely out of my head. Yet, anyway. Not for a very long time. As you say, who knows.

Clarissa - and I just had my last cupcake while watching eastenders, always a good way to pamper!

arbyn - That's what I mean about it seeming so unreal. This stuff doesn't even happen in films! In comparison to how I thought it would be; whenever I imagined us breaking up in the past I've seen myself as a real mess. But I'm not. It doesn't feel like its happened because the emotion was over so quickly.

blueskies - Ah thank you. I think a lot of the coping is helped by having a blog and very attentive readers - all with superb advice! During our walk and talk that day, he actually commented on what good advice the comments were on my first lot of posts about this.

perpetual - Urgh. The friends thing makes me feel funny. All I know is that I couldn't hear him talk about meeting someone new. Thats how you know you're not friends with someone.

buiscit - I think I find it easier to put things into words on a page than to talk sometimes. I'm blogging about this more than I thought I would, but what can I say - it helps. Especially knowing other people, like yourself, have been through a similar thing. And have come out the other side, it seems?

weenie said...

I feel your pain - hang in there!

Tabby said...

You are definatley doing the right thing by not staying in constant contact. Getting over a break up takes time... the best thing you can do is to delete his number (but give it toa friedn to keep for you for emergencies or when you need to speak about something practical) so that you dont get tempted to text when drunk or sleepy, and then spend as much time with your freinds as you can and fill you time with fun... hope you feel better soon :o)

david mcmahon said...

There is no definitive answer to something like that, but I wish yoou luck - and happiness.

Mouldy-Old-Tartlet said...

Poor Jo ... am afraid I've come to this post later than I'd've liked but with the `things going on' at the mo I've not been me usual `keeping on top of blogs' girlie!

Breakups (no matter the circumstances) are always hard as just when you think "Oo I think I've got this nailed" and feeling quite chipper, the next thing you're feeling all blue again (and wanting to punch someone's lights out - or is that just me?).

As you've already said in your post, no contact is definitely the way forward. Wounds never heal if we return back to pick at them.

Ella said...

I really do admire your willpower, if I had it I could do so much!

jo said...

natural or unnatural, it's damn hard to do what you're doing... i commend you...

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

weenie - I'm hangin'.

Tabby - That's the thing. I know I'd never let myself do the whole drunken text or call thing, I'm not having to stop myself because I feel I owe it to myself not to be so stupid. It's just a strange feeling to be so rational when the rest of the world usually isn't in this situation!

david - thank you!

m.o.t - Yes but picking a scab always feels wonderful at the time, doesn't it ;)

ella - willpower / stubbornness!

Jo -'s hard but worth it in the long run (i hope)


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