About Me

Hi,

My name is Jesse.

I’ve been through three breakups and let me say this: None of them were easy.

Having said that, the first one was the worst — by a margin.

I was in college and I was madly in love with my girlfriend at the time. We were young and we were stupid (mostly me), and we had hit a couple of rough patches, but things were looking up — or so I thought.

That’s when my ex-girlfriend told me she wanted a break.

I panicked, but tried to stay cool. I hoped that if I gave her the distance she needed, things would turn around.

Needless to say I was wrong. She used this break to sleep with another man. You know, the guy she told me not to worry about. That guy!

This shattered my world. There was no one in the world that I trusted more, no one that I loved more than her, and now she had betrayed me. “How could she do this to me?” I repeatedly asked myself. The initial disbelief quickly made room for intense, primal rage. I. was. furious.

After she told me what happened I went to her house, screamed at her at the top of my lungs, smashed my fist through her bookshelf and ripped off the sweater she had gave me and threw it at her feet before storming out. As far as I was concerned, it was over.

In the days that followed the anger subsided and made room for sadness, the pain of betrayal and missing her to death. Despite the anger, despite the betrayal, the truth was: I wanted her back. I wanted to forgive and forget and I wanted to give her another chance. I was willing to swallow my pride (dignity would be a better description, as I later realized) and do whatever it would take to salvage our relationship.

I was now at the point that I knew I wanted her back. I was certain of it, but I was also afraid that perhaps all of this had meant that she was falling in love with this guy. What if she slept with him again? Ugh, the thought made me physically sick to my stomach. What if she was getting closer to him? I had so many questions. What in the world was she thinking!? I became incredibly afraid of losing her forever. I became paranoid that she would leave me for this other guy.

I tried to retain my cool, but the reality is, I grovelled. I begged, I pleaded, I cried and I tried to guilt trip her into what this was really about: HER taking ME back, not the other way around. Unfortunately for me at the time, all she was interested in was continuing things with this new guy. What started out as a “break” turned into a breakup and that guy became her new boyfriend.

My worst fear had become reality and as a result I felt so very alone. I felt I had been betrayed by the closest person in my life. I felt I had lost my soul mate and would never find anyone that would be a good as match for me as her. I also felt worthless as a man. The person I valued the most in the world chose someone else over me. That led to perhaps the worst pain of all, the pain of feeling that who you are is just not good enough.

And you know what? As painful as it was at the time. I’m genuinely glad she did that. I’m happy she ended our relationship, because it wasn’t a healthy relationship and it wasn’t improving. I’m happy she ended it because I didn’t have the self-awareness to see any reason to end it, nor would I have had the courage to do it. And I’m also grateful for the pain I went through, because I have come to realise that pain is what helps us grow.

I didn’t see it at the time, but our relationship had become toxic. I had lost my sense of direction as a man in the relationship, but also in life in general. The breakup ended up being so hard on me because I used the relationship to define myself and because I believed I needed her in my life in order to be happy.

I have since learnt that having a clear sense of who you are, what you stand for and taking responsibility for your own happiness are things that help you engage in healthy relationships. Relationships where you’re not emotionally dependent on the other person. Relationships where you can love each other enough to let each other go if you turn out not to be compatible.

It turns out many guys lose their sense of direction in their relationship and end up putting their girlfriend’s needs above their own. Yes, a woman wants to be treated like a Queen, but the part no one tells you is that they want that treatment to come from a King — not from a servant. It’s safe to say that at that time I was a far-cry from being a King.

It’s perhaps an odd thing to say, but over the years I’ve gotten better at dealing with breakups.

After somewhat recovering from the first breakup, I started this blog in 2012. I thought I had figured things out and I thought it would be a good idea to impart some of my infinite wisdom on all those poor souls on the interwebs googling how to get over their exes.

Little did I know, there was still much to be learnt, not in the least, by ME.

Although much of the advice I put on this blog initially is still valid — it didn’t go to the core of what this kind of pain is about. Sure, advice like going no contact and leveraging your support network is still valid. What I wasn’t addressing, though, was why the breakup was able to smack me so hard I didn’t know who the fuck I was for a while.

Slowly, I started realizing there was often more to heartbreak than just going no contact and moving on with your life. Sometimes when we have wounds in our past, they get reopened when our relationship comes to an end.

This became abundantly clear when my breakup second breakup hit me by surprise.

I was left for another guy, AGAIN, and I cried, and I felt lost — all over again. But wait a minute! “I’m supposed to be the breakup guy!” I thought. “I’m supposed to be the guy that was this all figured out.” How could I be the one now crawling up in a foetal position crying myself to sleep at night?

Turns out there was at least one more lesson for me to learn. It’s a lesson that sort of goes like this:

Your breakup and your pain are what they are. There is no way they’re supposed to be. They’re exactly like they should be, and (to get all woo-woo on your ass here), all the pain you’re feeling is putting you in exactly the place you need to be in in life right now.

Make sense? No? Good. Read on.

It turns out that the best way to deal with pain is to fully accept that it’s there. It’s a bit counter-intuitive, after all, if you can just “accept” the pain and be done with it, why not just flip the accept-switch in your head and move on?

Well, one reason is that reaching acceptance isn’t a straight forward process. One way to reach acceptance is: Finding meaning to your suffering.

If we can find meaning to our suffering, we can bear it. Nietzsche, for one, is known to have said: “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” If we can find a reason why whatever is happening to us is happening to us, we can also accept it. Much of our suffering (if not all) comes from a state of non-acceptance. If you adopt the belief that wherever you are in life right now is exactly where you need to be then you look for and you will find the reason for your suffering. And when you do, you will be able to bear the burden and accept it.

Easy enough, right?

The reason you find for your suffering isn’t always the ACTUAL reason you’re suffering. Finding ANY reason can still be helpful, but finding the REAL reason is often what sets us up for successful, healthy relationships in the future.

The reason why I was suffering the first time around (I thought) was because I didn’t know who I was to begin with. The breakup was giving me the chance  to figure that out. The breakup allowed me to travel, to visit my country of birth (the US) and to spend 2 years of my university degree abroad. It would help me understand and shape my identity.

Inklings of the underlying REAL reason behind my suffering didn’t come to the surface until my second breakup. The extent to which I was devastated the second time did not match the extent to which I had been in love with this girl, or how close we had become. I knew intuitively that the pain I was feeling was coming from my past.

THIS turned out to be the reason for my suffering the second time around: I got to discover the unattended pain of my past and how it was influencing all areas of my life (yay!).

You see, the way we relate to our romantic partner and the way we express and receive affection we base on what we pick up from our parents in childhood. If our relationships with our parents are loving and secure, our relationships with our partners can often be described in the same way. Conversely, if we felt insecure and at risk of being abandoned as a child, we may feel these childlike fears and insecurities in our adult romantic relationships as well.

More broadly speaking, any adversity we face in our development as children can have an effect on how we relate to others as an adult and how we deal with adversity as an adult. Unfortunately, an adverse childhood tends to lead towards adverse relationships in adulthood. Because, hey, that’s what’s familiar, right?

So I had experienced some adversity of my own growing up, and I had never really given it the attention it required. When I was 7 years old our family moved from the US to Europe and my parents were struggling financially. I remember this period as being incredibly stressful and my parents not always being emotionally available to me. During this period I did not receive the love or attention I needed from my parents and this would go on to have an impact on how I would relate to my romantic partners. Not only that, but it would also make me susceptible (and a victim of) sexual abuse by my volleyball coach.

Adversity had led to more adversity and it would set me up for adverse relationships as an adult. That is, until I gave this area of my life the attention it deserved. This meant going into therapy, doing a lot of self-reflection, meditation and other techniques to get in touch with my inner self. That’s what my second breakup taught me. That was my why.

Then, by the time my third breakup happened, I wasn’t caught by surprise. I had the experience, the self-knowledge and the support network to make it manageable and I had had the self-awareness to see it coming. That still didn’t make it easy (nothing ever does).

To get over it, I limited contact to a bear minimum, I spent a lot of time talking things over with my friends and my family and I approached the pain head on by being present with it and journaling about. I also dove into some new activities to give my mind some rest from the incessant thinking we tend to do in these situations.

The result, within a couple of weeks I had been able to transition into a loving friendship with my ex-girlfriend. We still adore each other, but we realise that we’re better off as friends as there were many reasons we weren’t compatible as partners.

If anything, that’s what I can teach you. How to approach the pain head on so you can be at peace and so you don’t prolong your agony any longer than necessary. Having said that, there’s invariable a lot to be learnt from a breakup and learning often plays a big part in our recovery. Breakups tend to haunt us until we’ve figured out what we need to learn from them to prevent ending up in the same position in the future.

Here are some other areas where I may be of help to you:

  • How to look at your past and identify old wounds that are reverberating through the present.
  • How to cultivate a daily mindfulness practice to keep your grounded and at peace.
  • How to deal with pain in the moment by bringing your attention to it and embracing it with loving kindness.
  • How to initiate and stick to no contact to bring back your capacity to think rationally and to take responsibility for your emotional state.
  • Understanding what went wrong in your relationship, how it all led to this and what the hell she may be thinking right now.
  • How to reach acceptance when it’s just so damn hard to accept the situation you find yourself in.
  • Get back on track if you feel you’ve been set back to square one.

If you’ve broken up and you’re struggling and if any of this resonated, get in touch. Don’t suffer any longer than necessary.

Work with me one-on-one