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Dear Breakup Girl,
I was with my boyfriend for five years. I am currently 22, and we got
together when we were 17. Although we had our good times, I will admit that the
relationship was not very healthy. After our first three months together, he
cheated on me and I forgave him and took him back. After 2 years together, he
decided that he needed space and wanted to see other people. We did that, then
we started seeing each other again, without the titles of "boyfriend"
and "girlfriend." When we did decide to get back together last year,
I got pregnant and had an abortion. We thought it would only make the
relationship stronger. Unfortunately, three months ago, he broke up with
He said the reason why he broke up with me was because he was still young,
and he wanted the chance to hang out with his friends more. Also, because we
had been together since high school, he said that he needed the opportunity to
go out with other girls. Also, he told me that a relationship with me was too
stressful. At the time he broke up with me, I was finishing my last semester in
college and trying to look for a job. I was under a lot of stress and he has
never been the kind of person who would listen to my problems.
Well, we decided to remain friends. I thought I would be all right with it
until three weeks after we broke up he started seeing another girl. Of course
it broke my heart, and I didn't know what to do. He would tell me that he was
confused between me and her. He'd hang out with me and we would still sleep
together, but he'd also spend a lot of time with her.
I started to feel really depressed. I would call him and cry. I'd even wait
at his house at night for him to come home from her house so we could talk. He
was understanding at first, but then he started to get frustrated. He'd start
yelling at me, saying mean things. He'd tell me to get over it, but at the same
time he would still hang out with me, sleep with me, and tell me things like
"maybe we'll get back together in the future."
Well, for three months this whole scenario has been going on. I have been so
depressed, and he has been getting more and more frustrated with me. I know I
should just totally cut him out of my life, but I don't know how to live
without him. I guess you could say I'm codependent.
I've been going out with my friends and dating to get my mind off of him,
but I only end up doing stupid things. The other night, I slept with a guy I
hardly even know. That's something I thought I would never do. The stupid thing
is, after that happened, I felt awful and started crying. Then I called my ex
and told him about it. He actually said that it hurt him to hear that I slept
with someone else. The next day he even called me and asked me if he could come
over. That was nice and all, but the next day, when I called him to talk, he
got upset with me, and he said he was busy and was going to spend the day with
I have come to the point where I don't know what to do. I really am just
ready to die. I have a wonderful job, but I can't even do my work because I
just sit around thinking about him. I know our relationship wasn't good. I
wasn't even that happy with him, but I can't seem to let go. Please help me. I
can't go on like this.
Your letter is instructive for all of us in that your
story kind of represents the breakup id: the division of the psyche prone to
instinct, impulse, and action unchecked by the superego -- better judgment,
norms of decorum, and superhero advice. We've all been there; you just ... went
there. We can all learn something here.
But before I get way too far into psychoanalytical
territory, let's call out our psychotherapist-on-call, Belleruth. "Seems like you're playing out a really ugly masochistic
rejection scenario, over and over. It punishes both of you. He feels guilty and
squirmy (and laid), and you feel abject and grimly satisfied that he's ruining
your life. Is this the play you saw your parents act out? Possible. In any
case, you need to remember how to like your bad self, assuming you did know how
once. A professional -- not, say, him -- should help you do the job, I'm
thinking. But you've already done some of the work, Cecilia, really. See, you
could have not finished college, not found a wonderful job, and then said,
'See how you wrecked every aspect of my life?!' But you didn't go there.
And that's good. Perhaps better than you realize. There is some solid ego
operating in there somewhere. Let's really put it to work."
BR and BG
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