Are you living in a bubble of your own creation?

Meet Steven. Steven is in pain.

His girlfriend told him she needs space. She doesn’t like how he focuses on her flaws and not his own. She says she’s tried telling him, but he doesn’t change.

This definitely got his attention. He realizes something needs to be done (although he’s not sure what).

“She’s confused” he tells me, “I know she loves me, she’s just scared. I just need to give her some space.”

I’ve heard it so often before. I try to explain to him that “needing space” is often a prelude to the end of the relationship. It’s a softer way of telling someone you want out of the relationship.

He’s not ready to hear it.

“What’s your plan?” I ask him, “You give her space… and then? Until when? What happens after?”

“I need to work on myself” is his answer.

Probably true, but at this point he hasn’t defined what that means.

I can tell he feels like he’s the only one that understands the situation. “It’s complicated” he tells me.

But you know what? It rarely is.

If you want to be together, you try to BE together and you try to work out whatever is preventing you from doing that. If you need to work on yourself, you work on yourselves TOGETHER. You grow TOGETHER and TOWARDS EACH OTHER.

Sometimes you can’t be together. It hurts. It can be difficult. But it’s rarely complicated.

When you say it’s complicated it’s often because you yourself don’t understand and can’t explain what’s going on OR because you haven’t made a decision whether it’s worth fighting for or not.

You can’t understand what’s going on without looking honestly at things as they are. And often we don’t want to see things as they are because we want to hold on to an alternative reality that feels more pleasant.

We are not ready to accept that maybe this is the end of the relationship — because we weren’t expecting it to end. Not now. Not like this. Not this soon.

Our mind tricks us into keeping this alternate reality alive. It blocks out outside opinions by convincing us that no one understands. It tricks us into holding on by offering explanations for her behavior, after all “she’s just confused”, “not thinking straight” or “scared”.

We create a bubble for ourselves and make it impenetrable so that even our loved ones cannot pop it for us.

But, even though the people around us will not fully understand everything that’s going, they are able to give us little reality checks that can help us construct a more accurate view of our situation.

It’s only until after my relationship came to an end that my friends were in a position to tell me that they didn’t like the way my ex treated me or they didn’t like where the dynamic between us was going.

The first time I heard that, it came as a shock. But then, it slowly started to make sense. As time went by after breaking up I realized more and more about the alternate reality I had been living in.

Talk to the people around you, your friends, your family. They won’t have a full understanding of the situation — but they don’t need to to give you valuable advice. They don’t need to know everything to know that your relationship wasn’t healthy for you.

Even long after your breakup, you can still be living in a bubble that your relationship was great and your ex was perfect. The sooner your burst that bubble, the better you’ll feel! And the easiest way to do that is by getting feedback from people around you.

What alternate reality have you been living in? Let me know in the comments.

About Jesse

I’ve been helping guys recover from their breakups since 2012. Work with me to fast-track your recovery.


  1. Hi Jesse,

    I’m glad I’ve found your website, too bad I didn’t know about it before. My girlfriend and I broke up around end of August (was going to propose in September) I was grieving and taking all the pain of it while she moved on in just 2 weeks (dating another guy). I just can’t accept that she used to say I mean the world to her and all of a sudden I am a stranger and now she doesn’t even talk. I was living and working in Japan but due to some complications at work I had to relocate in Hong Kong while she stayed in Japan. So in just 3 weeks she decides to dump me for another guy closer to her. Some days are easier than others, and yes I feel much better than before but that feeling of knowing that she is being intimate with another guy is devastating me. I was in an unhappy marriage before her ( I divorced for her in some ways) and I felt this woman was the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my days with; but it turns out she was the hardest lesson I’ve had to face in my life. I’ve tried to suicide myself a couple of times. One of her friends is actually helping me go through all of this, and she has been telling me that one day she will realize what she lost when she dumped you. Whether it will happen or not, I don’t know. Sometimes people will try to cheer you up, saying: ” It’s her/his loss” but I say: “Is it?? She is dating someone, while I am still crying and grieving for someone who didn’t hesitate to leave me when I most needed.

    In some ways, she had a lot of issues and I tried to break up a few times with her but I guess sometimes love makes you do stupid things. Surrounding yourself with positive people is all you need to overcome this. I’m still far away to reach happiness but I do want to get through all of this.

    • Hey Hugo,

      Thanks for sharing and sorry to hear what you’re going through.

      It’s very common for a big life event to be the catalyst for a breakup, it puts strain on the relationship and if the bond wasn’t strong to begin with, it breaks.

      If you two were also physically separated – that’s an even bigger strain the relationship would have needed to deal with. The fact your relationship didn’t survive is an indication it probably wasn’t going to last anyway.

      I think you should look for support from other people you know – other than friends of hers. Interacting with one her friends is always going to serve as a reminder of her (which you want to avoid).

      I also think that what her friend is telling you is bullshit. People regret these types of decisions some times, but it’s rare. The point is, no one knows how she’s going to look back on this and for this friend to suggest your ex will regret it because you’re so great is counter-productive. It absolves you of responsibility and shifts blame and focus onto your ex. You should, in fact, be doing the opposite: claiming responsibility and focusing on yourself.

      You’re flawed just like the rest of us, and you’ve made mistakes in your relationship like we all have. You have a role in the relationship’s demise and it’s up to you to figure out what it was. It’s also up to you to figure out why all of this came as a surprise (there are always signs things are going downhill or were unstable to begin with).

      Ditch the mutual friend for the time being and go make some new friends in Hong Kong. Video call friends and family in Japan for support if you need it, but it’s best to meet some new people where you are right now.

      Have you joined our facebook group yet?

Speak Your Mind