Advice: I regret our break-up
She may have misjudged someone who was very important to her, and now feels as though she is left with nothing. How can she make peace with her decision and find the strength to move on?
Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and remember to include a nickname if you don't want to be identified.
Several years ago I sought advice from a newspaper columnist about my inability to move on from an unexpectedly painful heartbreak.
My partner of seven years broke off our engagement, and while I embraced the chance for a single lifestyle wholeheartedly, I started to struggle a few years later when other sad events occurred in my life and I realised it would have been nice to have a loving person with me to help me through.
The previous columnist said I needed to fully understand my reasons for letting go of someone whom it was very clear I loved deeply. Well the truth is, the only reason was that despite him being a wonderfully kind, funny and loving person, I was worried that he might not have been able to provide a secure future for us to have a family.
He is now engaged to a smart, young, and lovely woman . . . and they have bought a house together! So clearly I had misjudged him. I'm happy for him, but in the meantime I have let it cost me in an emotional sense, my health is poorer than previously and I am now financially worse off than I was when we were together. I am also too old to have children, so the dynamics of finding a life partner has changed.
How do I find peace with what now seems like a rather shallow decision in hindsight? Or is this just how karma works?
It sounds like your change of circumstances has caused you to reflect on your previous decisions.
That can be both a positive, and a negative. Positive, in the sense that it can help us to become clearer about what we consider to be important to us and evaluate what expectations we have of a relationship and where these might originate from. I am curious about what a secure future might look like for you now, and how, you would discuss these concerns with a partner at an appropriate time.
Finding peace is a journey, a journey that requires us to come to terms with decisions that we have made, and we all make decisions that we regret at sometime in our lives. Often these decisions result in a period of grief and loss, it sounds very much like this has been your experience?
Recognising that grief in itself is a journey that takes time to navigate. What have you learned as a result of your decision? You determined that it was a 'rather shallow' decision. Forgiving yourself, and recognising you made a mistake is a part of the journey toward peace.
Perhaps another part of the journey might be to develop trust in yourself again that despite your change in circumstances, you are still worthy and able to have another meaningful relationship.
I sense that you might be a little apprehensive to 'try' again and put yourself out there! You said that the dynamics of a life partner have changed, do you know what you are looking for now? And are you socially active to enable the possibility of a meeting? It might be difficult to imagine that you could be happy again and that there is someone out there that will meet your needs, while we may experience the discomfort of a cold day - the sun will surely rise again.
A good relationship allows us to get to know one another; this occurs on different levels, the intimacy of vulnerability, in a healthy relationship develops once we feel comfortable enough to share our 'deeper' thoughts, feelings, and needs. I wonder at what stage you shared your fears and concerns with your previous partner?
One of the predicators of a healthy relationship might be the way in which your partner responds to these 'deeper' understandings of you. You may not necessarily agree with one another but it's more about how you understand what this means to the other person. I sense that you have a deep desire to experience again, the kind funny and loving relationship that you had in the past.
You have no choice but to move on with your life just as your partner has moved on with his - you can however allow life to pass you by or be an active participator in your future.
We'd love to hear your take on this week's issue. Before you comment below, though, remember that this is a real-life situation. This reader has bravely shared their personal life with you; please show them respect by refraining from hurtful or abusive comments.