Part One of readers’ responses to the heartfelt request for advice, “How to thrive after a breakup” (Sept. 30):
Reader #1 – “Ten years ago, I was sitting in front of our cottage with my son, daughter, dog, and husband, believing I was blessed. My husband turned to me and said he "wasn't happy."
“He left. We sold our cottage; I had to struggle to keep the house. I felt the agony of rejection and legal turmoil, of raising teenagers post-divorce, and a sense of shame and failure.
“I read everything about "grieving" and "divorce”. I analyzed my every stage of grieving. I also analyzed every negative personality disorder I was sure my "ex" possessed.
“I joined a local Divorce Group. I went to a psychiatrist. I talked to girlfriends, but sparingly, because they looked bored with my ranting.
“I kept a journal where swear words were prolific.
“Someone told me to write down questions I wanted answered and then use my left hand, writing the answers from "yourself," as a young child. It helped.
“Write down what you want. Pray when you’re alone. Seek help from a spiritual source.
“Don't be afraid to start a new relationship but see it for what it is - a rebound.
“Talk to yourself.
“Keep your head up high and never say anything bad about your ex's new relationship. (They usually have one but they don't work out well in the future.) Don't give them the satisfaction that you want him.
“Believe in yourself. You have to move on. Forgive.
“I worked hard and have since been in two relationships. I’m currently engaged and my ex regrets his decision. Time does heal.”
Reader #2 – “I got divorced seven years ago. I've dated 24 guys. Most men are nice at the start, but sadly most are only in it for the sex. The numbers don't lie. Of those 24, only three men were actually interested in a relationship.
“I know my experience isn’t unique. It's tough out there, especially with online dating. A lot of men think a new sexual conquest is just a click away. So you really do have to take your time.
“I threw the rule of sex on the third date out the window. It's when I'm ready! I don't care what date number it is.
After a number of months trying online dating, I met a man who swept me off my feet with his manner, his attention, and his interesting background.
“I fell too fast and made some bad choices, which ended our relationship suddenly as he couldn’t handle that I had a sexual past. We were both in our 50's.
“His harsh judgement was painful and it was months before I recognized his inflexibility and lack of empathy, among other signals, were indicative of a narcissistic personality. I feel I dodged a bullet.”
Reader #3 – “My husband cheated on me. I was aware of it for years and finally was strong enough to leave our marriage of 20 years. I got strength through exercising, taking care of ME.
“Losing those extra 20 pounds did wonders for my self-esteem and gave me energy. I remember being in a spinning class and crying, but no one knew. They just thought I was sweating.
“I also held my head high and never felt sorry for myself. Didn't rely on any shoulders to cry on. If I had a moment of weakness, I’d go for a walk.”
Reader #4 – “I've been single for 16 years and very content.
“A few months ago, while I was playing an online game, some guy came on strong. Long story short, he used me for sex messaging and when I found myself having feelings for him, he bailed faster than you can say “Go.”
“I was devastated - not because a faceless person didn't want me, but from rejection from a stranger (who didn't even know what I looked like or know me) but who didn't seem to think I was good enough.
“I went on a site called exholics.com, where people with broken hearts go to cry it out. Interestingly, I joined to bemoan my story and I met someone on there.
“Neither of us were looking for anyone but we somehow found kindred spirits in one another. This is a very valuable place where people can pour out their souls without any pretention.”
Tip of the day:
Time, and taking care of yourself physically and emotionally, ultimately heal break-up wounds.