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Dear, Mark,

How are you today? I wrote you a while back and told you that the guy I had fallen in love with had broken up with me. After what happened to me, I tried to do what you suggested that I should do. I tried to hold my head high and be respectful to him as hard as I could, though it wasn’t easy. I was even able to work with him.

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Dear, Mark,

How are you today? I wrote you a while back and told you that the guy I had fallen in love with had broken up with me. After what happened to me, I tried to do what you suggested that I should do. I tried to hold my head high and be respectful to him as hard as I could, though it wasn’t easy. I was even able to work with him.

I was doing great, you know. I even tried a lot of things to really heal my broken heart. I read a lot, tried some recipes that I always wanted to cook, made some new great friends on the internet and wrote some poems — something I had never really been able to do before. I was back on my feet again. I even laughed genuine laughs and more… I thought I was doing great in putting my pain behind, even when he was around me a lot.

But today, well, this morning actually, I didn’t go to work since it was my day off, so I didn’t see him today. Actually because of some circumstances in my office lately, I’ve been meeting him almost every day now and that means I saw him a lot. I didn’t know whether it had something to do with that or not, but suddenly I am so missing him and it even made me burst into tears (I cried for about half an hour). I felt, well, I’m feeling so empty, like something or someone ripped my heart out of my chest and I am so lonely and missing him terribly. I really want to call him, just to hear his voice. I didn’t, and I don’t intend to, either. I know if I call him, it will be a setback for me.

Why, Mark? Why did it happen to me? I mean I thought I was doing fine, even great, but why did I suddenly feel so ripped off? So broken-hearted after such a long time? I wonder whether it will happen again. I know I really must let him go. I mean he doesn’t have mutual feeling as I do for him, right?

The worst part is I think the more I know about how imperfect he is — since after my breaking-up with him I’ve learned that he has so many flaws in his character. My best friend told me that he’s not worth loving since he loves nobody but himself and that he wasn’t good enough for me because he was immature, a little bit irresponsible, narcissistic, and not reliable. Why do I keep loving him, Mark? Why do I grow more and more affection for him even though I know he doesn’t deserve that?

What’s happening to me, Mark? Is it what people called true love? How can I be able to cope with it, Mark? What should I do to really end this?

Mike, Boca Raton

Dear Mike,

It sounds like you have been doing some great things to recover from this man -poetry, friends, cooking – all good avenues to divert your mind from thinking of him. The trouble is that when we are in love (or have been in love at some point) our minds tend to wander back in that old direction. Usually it happens more right after a relationship is over. We think back to the “what ifs” and sometimes drive ourselves crazy. Usually, though, with time, those thoughts tend to diminish as we begin to resolve the old situation and move on with our lives. Your situation is a little different in that you see him in a professional capacity every day. But you can still move on. You just have to give yourself some time.

That being said, you may never be over him. I have patients that come into my office and talk about past loves as if they were yesterday. Most people do not truly fall in love very often. When it does happen, it is a significant event. We remember it. But time does indeed heal most wounds. It is the hope that, although you will never forget him, you will be able to think of him in a different, less damaging way over time. So give yourself just that….give yourself some time. Tell yourself it is okay, even normal, to be thinking about this man AND still try to find ways to move on with your life. I put the “AND” in all caps because you can do both things at the same time. You can allow yourself to grieve and still push yourself to heal. Both things are possible. A great book for you is a little book called “How to Survive the Loss of a Love.” You should be able to find it on Amazon.com or at any bookstore. It’s filled with insights and poetry. The best part of the book is that it shows you that others have been there before. People have loved and lost and picked up the pieces and moved on. You can, too. Hang in there. This too shall pass.

Sincerely, Mark Rutherford LCSW

 

 

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