Dealing with a Breakup
Hi my name is Jason i am a 49 year old male ,and 5 weeks ago my partner of 10 years told me that she wants to have a six month break from the relationship.I was and am devastated.I could not believe it we had been through so much with each other .We had tried IVF 3 times and failed which did put some strain on the relationship.In previous relationships the end had always been pretty cut and dry , but my ex saying she needs 6 months to go on a spiritual journey to find out if she can rekindle the love is messing with my head , to the point where i think i am going insane.She has moved in with her mother and i have left the home to move in with friends , just need the company.Hopefully someone out there can tell me that the emotions i am feeling are normal.I have become very anxious ,will i ever meet anyone else , constantly thinking will she come back ,one minute i am happy then i will be consumed by negative thoughts ,other times i have mini panic attacks and have to be calmed down by phoning friends.I love surfing and swimming but motivate myself to go to the pool or beach.My friends tell me to ignore the six month time frame and just believe it is over for my sanity.Well i hope someone can tell me what i am going through is normal and any advice would be truly welcome.
Many Thanks JASON
Welcome to Beyond Blue Forums. It is good you've found your way here. The people here are very supportive and friendly.
Going through a trial separation must be very difficult. While I have been through one myself, I do have to manage ongoing depression and anxiety. My anxiety levels can skyrocket for what I have believe to be no apparent reason.
The emotions you are feeling are very normal. It's part of a grieving process. You feel you've lost someone, or for that matter, not sure you've lost them. But the grieving is still there no matter what. Making decisions about what you do with your life during the 6 month period is tough. Do you move on yourself or hang in there in the hope she will return? I can see why you feel you're in a turmoil.
You talk about your interests - surfing and swimming. It sounds like you're an active person. Getting exercise does help with managing / copying with anxiety and depression. Do you think you could get at least a half hour brisk walk? Exercise releases a range of chemicals in your brain that helps with your regulating your mood. It also uses up some adrenaline that gets released during an anxiety attack.
Also, you mentioned that you phone friends. That's really very good - if they are supportive. Not so good if they aren't.
There are a range of services available at Beyond Blue, e.g. you can
- chat on line between 3pm and 12am, 7 days per week
- phone 1300 224636 - 24 hrs/7 days a week
- the forums you're currently accessed - 24hrs/7 days a week
BB have also made available on its home page www.beyondblue.org.au includes information and facts about anxiety, depression, lose, grieving. Have a read of some of this material to see that you are normal with normal responses.
Hope this assists you in some way.
Glad to hear that you now realise what you're experiencing is a normal reaction to a life event. Difficult times for you.
From my own experience, making life decisions while I'm in a panic is not always the most beneficial for myself. I now try to bring my anxiety to a manageable level by:
- breathing, in for 5 then out for 5. Doing until my heart rate starts to settle
- do something physical to take my mind off the anxiety
- mindfulness - you'll find an excellent thread in the forums under staying well on mindfulness
When I feel my body and mind are reasonably settled, then I will start to unpack the issue that needs attention, in your case - what to do, wait for the 6 months or move on. This is no easy decision. Your friends are trying to preempt what your partner is thinking or doing.
You have a couple of practical options for how to move forward, e.g.
- When you're calm and settled, make a list of - why do you want to sustain the relationship, what are positives and negatives in your relationship, what is there to your relationship other than just love (love is sometimes not enough), is there any abuse (from either side) in the relationship. Then ask yourself - so do I wait or move on? Sorry I can't provide that answer for you.
- Don't think about it - just make a decision. This option though you may is not the most satisfying for yourself.
- This there any reason you have to make a 'firm decision now'? Could you actually wait for the 6 months? Is it that imperative you move on to someone else now?
When you're calm and settled (this may take awhile), and have thought about how you really feel about her and your relationship with her, then why not talk it through? Tell her you're either prepared to wait the 6 months or you're not going to wait the 6 months, that you'll move on now. I think it's important she knows what you planning too, even though it may not be apparent. Relationships are not all one sided - it takes both to make a relationship work. And it's not just love and/or intimacy that sustains them. It takes a lot more.
Hope this helps in some way Jason.