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Dealing with a breakup and friends

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  November 21, 2012 08:26 AM

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We chat at 1.
And there will be holiday updates tomorrow.


Q: Hi Meredith,

My only relationship ever ended two months ago. We were together for more than five years, through our mid-20s. I had absolutely no idea the end was coming. We were best friends, we wanted the same things in life, we were making plans for the future, and he was talking about buying me jewelry literally the night before he told me he didn't love me "that way" anymore and maybe hadn't for quite some time.

On the outside I've been holding it together pretty well from day one, taking his pictures off the walls, staying busy, spending time with my friends, trying and mostly succeeding to keep all the school-work-life balls up in the air. Inside, though, I'm still a wreck, and while we've cut off contact for now, not a day goes by that I don't want to call him and see why we can't try to fix what we had.

I'm doing everything I know how to do to move on, including seeing my therapist (for depression) more often, but even though the pain has lessened, it's still a very real part of my day-to-day life. It's been a long enough time now that it seems impolite to keep whining about it to my wonderful and patient friends. Shouldn't this be better by now? Shouldn't I be able to go just one day without thinking about him? Is there something else I could or should be doing, or is this just going to keep taking a maddeningly long time to get over? Thanks.

– Still Blue, San Francisco


A: Shouldn't this be better by now? No.

Shouldn't I be able to go just one day without thinking about him? No way.

Is there something else I could or should be doing, or is this just going to keep taking a maddeningly long time to get over? No and maybe.

It's only been two months. You just got over the shock of the breakup and are finally beginning to process what happened. You need to have patience.

You mention your wonderful and patient friends, which is why I chose to run this letter. I'm impressed that you're concerned about them and whether they're annoyed by your constant sadness. That shows some serious empathy.

Your friends are supposed to listen to your breakup monologues -- that's part of the job description -- but you should go out of your way to ask them at least three questions about their lives every time you see them. The question quota might seem silly, but it's a good way to guarantee that you don't alienate them while you're going through this mess. It'll also ensure that you're getting a glimpse of the world outside of your head. Maybe you'll hear a friend's fun dating story and get excited about the prospect of meeting someone new. Or maybe you'll just forget about your own pain for five minutes.

Your breakup is still so fresh. You need to just deal with it. But please stay on top of the friend thing and count to three with each of them.

You will recover from all of this, by the way. Just not yet.

Readers? Thoughts on being good to friends while you're absorbed with your own breakup? Thoughts about how the letter writer can move this process along? Help.



– Meredith


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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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