My first love left me for someone else

From Brian in the US:

I am trying so hard to stop communicating with my ex. Your articles are very helpful. I feel so “weak”. I am 45 years old and my ex was my first love. I was married for 25 years right out of high school, so when I got divorced I have never been with anyone else. My curent ex was my 2nd date, first true love, and I am suffering. The break up occured 4 months ago, when she went back to her ex, but she has never missed a day contacting me still saying I’m her best friend, she loves me, and meets for sex on occassion although her partner does not know about it. She has a lot of pride so she cant admit that she made a mistake going back to him. She calls me as soon as she gets in the car to drive to work, text me all day long, calls on her way home from work, and moves to emails when she gets home telling me good night before she gets into bed with HIM, and starts the process over. I am tortured and its my own fault. I love her more than anything. It’s killing me and hurting all area’s of my life. I guess I didnt have a questions as much as I need someone to help me. I’m truly suffering.

Hey Brian, thanks for sharing your story. There are certain factors that make a breakup extra painful:

  • The longer the relationship, generally the more painful the breakup
  • If it was your first love
  • If she leaves you for someone else
  • Not sticking to no contact
  • Your ex-girlfriend giving you a false sense of hope

You mention each and every one of these factors in your story. I’m not surprised you say you are truly suffering.

The length of your relationship, the fact it was your first one and her choices thereafter, are beyond your control. They are the starting conditions we need to accept. The other two, however: no contact and her giving you hope, are two things we can have some control over.

Your pain is understandable, but your behavior is exacerbating the situation. You need to stop listening to what she is telling you with her words and start listening to what she is telling you with her actions.

Regardless what she tells you, she’s with another man. She would have to be devoid of any emotion not to still feel some level of affection to you. But unwittingly, she’s hurting you by still showing that affection, because she’s giving you hope. She’s giving you a reason to hold on. Her action tells you that although she still cares about you, she wants to be with another man now.

Not sticking to no contact is fuelling your pain. Every interaction with her is firing up all the memories and emotions in your brain, keeping them fresh and in the foreground. Every word she says you’re over analyzing and finding reasons to be hopeful. The pain we cannot change – the suffering we can.

You need to get to your tipping point. Where you decide that no one person is worth this much pain. Where you assume that you will never get back together again. What she’s doing right now is not fair to you. If she wants to be with another man, she needs to own that decision and take responsibility for the consequences. Right now she’s being unfair to you and you need to protect yourself from that.

Regardless if there is hope for you guys in the future or not, your working assumption must be that there isn’t. Because any alternative involves being in touch with her and thinking about her. Both will exacerbate the pain you’re feeling and will continue to fuel your suffering.

You need to tell her you’re initiating no contact and that you’d like her to respect that decision. You need to be strict in this – and it’s going to be very hard. You need to start reaching out to your support network and make sure you have friends and family on standby. And lastly, you need to start exercising if you aren’t already.

All this can only happen if you reach your tipping point. If you catch yourself talking to her again. Looking for signs to be hopeful again. Realize, that only if YOU DECIDE that at some point the pain is not worth it anymore. Only when you decide to assume it will never work out again can you start on your path to recovery.

Best of luck my man, we all feel for you!

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