February 26, 2014

“Dear Daddy Kenneth, while I feel that I made the right decision to walk away from a bad relationship for the past year, I feel lost and keep wondering what is wrong with me that I didn’t deserve love and respect. I gave it my all including financial and emotional support. I was never enough. He has jumped right into another relationship and I’m still angry at what he has done to me. I feel like I can’t move on. We don’t speak period so the questions will never be answered. How do I let this go? Sincerely, a hurt soul”

It is very hard to let something go when you’ve held on for a long time. If you thought that you were losing it, and held tighter at the end then letting go is even more difficult. What you have to remember is that even though you walked away rather than sink any more emotional and financial resources into this relationship, you already contributed those resources and you’re going to feel their loss. That’s not even to mention the fact that you are going to feel the loss of the stability you thought you had with this person. Allow yourself to feel, and mourn, that loss. I have a theory that a person is in mourning for their past relationship for half as long as the relationship lasted. This means that your ex-boyfriend is rebounding with his new beau, or he emotionally ended the relationship with you much sooner than you did, and has already mourned its loss.

I find that when relationships end, it’s usually because the people in the relationships want different things out of them. When relationships end badly, it’s because the people in them did not know how to communicate properly about those differences, or they didn’t even try. Most of the time, people assume that their partner knows what they want, and their partner wants the same thing. This is not always the case. Not wanting the same things does not mean that you are not deserving of love and respect, it just means that you partner may not know how to give you love and respect in a way that you can appreciate it. A failure to communicate can leave both partners feeling like they “gave it their all” and just “weren’t good enough.”

The question of what you did wrong, from his point of view, will never be answered completely. What you did was fail to give him what he needed, and fail to tell him what you needed. What he did was fail to give you what you needed, and fail to tell you what he needed. Beyond that, the specifics of his needs and your needs cannot be articulated unless you both drastically change your method of communication with each other. The chances of that happening at this point are negligible.

How do you get over it, and move on? You have to grieve. It sounds to me like you’re already in Anger, which is the second stage of grief, and next you’ll move into Bargaining, followed by Depression and Acceptance. You won’t be able force these, you won’t be able fake any of them; all you can do is let yourself experience them as they come. I recommend that you stay in acceptance as long as you can before you try moving into another relationship yourself. There’s no need to compete with your ex to show who is doing better post-breakup. Surround yourself with friends who love and support you, and work on letting go, one step at a time. You may also want to use your anger to motivate you to block your ex on social media, and remove him from your phone.

Do you have an question for “Ask Daddy”? Send it to me, for a chance to have it answered in a future column.

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