Wednesday, 25 April 2012

There is light...........

Ok, here goes, I'll scrap the words what I writ yesterday, and start afresh, ha ha, if you can put up with my not so perfect waffle. The subject of the amazingly intelligent piece I was hoping to produce is, how do you pick up the pieces and carry on with your life after a relationship has broken up. The reason I decided to write about this subject is (a) I have had an email from someone who is in this situation, she asks the question, and (b) I have had loads of experience of relationships going wrong, and had to put it behind me and get on with it.

With some of the not so serious relationships, it was relatively easy to brush things to one side and carry on where I left off before I became involved with the person. Either they messed up or I messed up, it didn't really matter which, there probably wasn't much love lost on either side. So I just got over it and moved on.

The trouble is that relationships aren't always so casual, they can become quite involved. That thing called love can sometimes take over when you are least expecting it, and before you know it you have fallen head over heels. Common sense goes out of the window, and you are no longer in full control of your own destination. You are now emotionally attached to another human being.

In the beginning, the thrill of a new relationship adds excitement to your life, it's fun, and you want to be with this person every waking moment. As it moves through various stages you become used to each other, and feel comfortable in each others company, sometimes to the point of cutting yourself off from your friends. It is a big mistake to merge yourself into your partner and become one, you need to maintain your own personality, your own individuality, because sooner or later, you will be parted.

So, let's get back to the point in question, how do you survive when your heart is broken and your relationship has come to an end, for whatever reason. One of you will have to move out, so you are either alone in the place you both shared, or you have to find a new place to live.

I remember a particularly painfull break up which I had many years ago, and it was me that left him, I had to for my own sanity. He was a bully. I looked around for a new place to live, and viewed several bedsits. I could only afford one room on my small wages, and everytime I came away from a viewing I was in tears. I could imagine myself sinking into the depths of despair in my small box. As daft as it sounds, I wanted to go back to him, at least I wouldn't be alone. I didn't of course.

The answer came in an advert in the paper. A female wanted a flatmate, so I applied and moved in. I needed to do that because it meant I now had to keep up appearances, I had to stop myself from bursting into tears every few minutes. I had to make an effort to act and look normal, not a quivering whimpish wreck. It worked, I threw myself into work which kept my mind off things, and I had someone to talk to when I went home each day.

To give another example of how I coped after a relationship break up, it was about 15 years ago. Once again the boyfriend was a bully, even more so, he was a complete control freak. I finally realised I had to break off with him. I felt a terrible sense of failure, like I should have tried harder to make it work. How daft to feel like that when it wasn't my fault. I felt completely adrift at sea when it ended, all washed out.

The house I lived in was my house, he was to be a part of it, I had made it nice for both of us to share together. The first thing I did was to removed all the ornaments, photographs, pictures, and take it back down to the basic furniture. I didn't want any reminder that I had made it our house, it was now back to being my house. I had no relationship, no friends, and hardly knew anyone. So what did I do? I needed to rebuild a network around myself, I needed to get out and meet people, I needed some new friends.

I spotted an advert in the local paper, a new social group starting up, they were meeting in a pub. I rang the number and spoke to Penny (changed name), who invited me along. I used to be such an outgoing person before I got mixed up with the wrong 'un, he put a stop to all that. Now I had to start again and get my old self back. The people I met were lovely, so I kept going for a few weeks.

Eventually I recognised there was a need for something like a local singles club/introduction agency, because there must be a lot of single/seperated/divorced people who don't have a social life for various reasons. I decided to start a club. I advertised it in the paper, we had pub socials, bowling, meals out, rambling etc every week. A full programme of activities that people could join in with. It was a huge success, and certainly gave me a lot of friends, but also took my mind off my broken heart. I was able to build a new life for myself.

So, back to the start, and the person who emailed me with the question. I don't know the circumstances of your relationship breakdown, but I have a pretty good idea of how you feel. For whatever reason you are no longer half of a couple, you are a single person. Yes, by all means wallow in your own self pity for a while, that's normal. You need to get it out of your system, so have a damn good weep.

Please note that I can only talk generally here about this subject, I am in no way qualified to talk about long term mental health issues. If there is anyone who is struggling to get a grip, professional help may be more appropriate. All I can do is draw on my own experiences.

I have always had a strong will to survive, no matter what life throws at me. I get knocked down, I get back up again. In my heart of hearts, I know that I have every right to make a good life for myself. To be honest I have become a bit cynical about love, what is it anyway? I have experienced deep down true love, but it hasn't worked out for me, so now I am happy to love lots of people as friends, and not fall truly madly deeply again. Now, I will not give my all to a relationship, I keep a bit back for me. Me because I am a person in my own right, not the other half of someone else.

To the person who emailed me, take it one step at a time. Love yourself for who you are, the gorgeous lady who deserves the best in life. Look after yourself, you can and will get through it. All the best.         


  1. What a wonderful thing it would be to be one of your live-nearby, not-too-intrusive friends, Ilona. It's so refreshing to learn your honesty, candor, sensitivity, independence, sense of humor, wit...take care.

  2. My friend actually stayed living with her partner after they split up. They were at Uni and neither could afford their own place. It made life incredibly difficult for both of them, so I think it's definitely good to make a clean break of it rather than dragging it out.

    It must be hard to feel sort of cast out of a "couple" into the sea of single people, but I am sure the lady who e-mailed you is a fantastic person in her own right, and deserves to be happy!

  3. Wow MQ - you've touched a raw nerve there !
    but you certainly didn't need to worry about finding the right words - you did just great.
    I've been there, done that, and in some respects am 'still there' - it's ****** hard ! you have to keep going for your own sake and your own sanity when the thing you want to do most is give up.
    I've also been the one who left and the one who stayed, without a doubt it's easier to leave, and start again somewhere fresh, when you are the one who stays you are left with the memories, and they are hard to get rid of and get out of your system.
    I would say to the lady concerned, start a blog (if you haven't already) it's great to know you can waffle away and have 'friends' listening to what you say - do it.
    oh and just to say it's not just the young who have the monopoly on broken relationships ....

  4. Oh, my!!! You could have been describing my life!!! Been there, done that...several times, unfortunately. I'm a slow learner :( I'm also a survivor and always picked myself back up after wallowing for a bit. I've had abusive, I've had cheaters, I've had gay (unbeknownst to me at the time!!), I've had name it, I've been there. Low self-esteem and no one to help me through those times was a very dark time in my life, but I made it (with Divine intervention, I believe) and have finally been settled in a marriage relationship for the past 15 years to a wonderful, caring man that I actually met back in 1975 when I was going through one of my many destructive relationships. He waited for me all that time :)

  5. I think your post on the subject of breaking up of relationships is written lovely sensitive and honest. Ive been there too.But there is someone for everyone, usually when you least expect it .xx

  6. What a brilliant piece of writing AND advice! I have been very lucky with relationships but your experiences, I am sure, will be of great help to anyone going through traumatic break-ups.

  7. You gave good advice:

    Go ahead and cry lots.
    Get rid of reminders (unless they are diamonds or valuable!) I am pragmatic!
    Quit crying and look around.
    Keep part of yourself, always!

  8. Brilliant piece and so very fitting for me right now. Written beautifully, thank you for sharing your own experiences it make me feel that im not alone, hope the lady who emailed you feels the same way x

  9. Sound advice Ilona. The end of a relationship is a loss, and should be grieved, but then it's time to get up and get on. It will not be easy, nothing worthwhile ever is, but I think the first few steps in anything are usually the hardest which is why I try to begin with baby steps and then build on them till I can take Giant Leaps!!

  10. Ilona, I've always found your posts to be reflective, wise and has a good dose of reality, and this post is another example. Thank you for being who you are.

  11. Hi Ilona ( message to the person who emailed ) These are wise words. Give yourself credit for getting over this. It will take time but a new start is just around the corner. Ilona I can't wait to read your comments on day to day living. Well done girl for helping a cry for help. Kind regards Jean

  12. Men! What are they like eh! Who needs 'em.
    Seriously though. This is good advice you have given.

  13. You're post made me cry Ilona it reminded me how lucky I am to be at the point I'm at now. My last relationship was with a cerebral narcissist. Look it up on You Tube if not sure what one is. I had to take anti depressants for 3 years and lost everything when I took my kids and walked out. Of course he carried on and has a wonderful new wife and social life and standing in the community but I know he'll be doing the same to her as he did to me. Your advice is spot on don't look back look forward. Things end for a reason. 5 years on I'm still not over it, it was too traumatic I think to ever be over it completely but I'm at peace on my own and know I'll never want to share my life with a man again. But you know what , that's ok . Life is good especially on my own.

    1. Bloody Hell! I researched ' cerebral narcissist' as I was totally ignorant on that term and was dismayed to learn that these people exist.
      Nasty, nasty beings. You are so very lucky that you have escaped to go on to live a full life with your children.
      Don't beat your self up over being deluded by him and don't think you were gullible. From my reading, it appears they are predators and choose their victims. YES... victims. So , my dear, onward, forward and upward. Wishing you the very best life has to offer. xo

  14. Wise words indeed from a life of experiences. I am married to a truly lovely man but have had a fair few restless moments over the years as we live and work together which can be stifling. I now have made a bit of life of my own with friends of my own and it has done such good for me and my self esteem as I always felt in his shadow as he is quite a strong personality, not controlling or anything but with firm ideas on life! We all need to try to value ourselves a bit more I think.....

  15. "The trouble is that relationships aren't always so casual, they can become quite involved. That thing called love can sometimes take over when you are least expecting it, and before you know it you have fallen head over heels. Common sense goes out of the window, and you are no longer in full control of your own destination. You are now emotionally attached to another human being."

    That was me!!!

    As you wrote, a new relationship is heady. We accept behaviour that we know is annoying. Later it becomes a ' pain in the proverbial'. It takes guts to move out. Specially now with the massive rental costs. Sometimes it's easier to stay with the devil you know. This is a very thought provoking post and thank you for that.

  16. Yes, it takes some getting over, but time's the best healer.

    And it's not always the man to blame, I came out of 35 years of marriage, not by choice, but by hers, with 5 or 6 black plastic bags with a few of my clothes in, homeless, jobless and almost destitute. I was under the doctor for a year with depression, and it took about 3 or 4 years to get back on course.

    Having met, moved in with and eventually married my second wife, I realise just how miserable I had actually been in my previous marriage.

  17. My ex husband left me after thirty years of marriage--he too was a narcissist, abusive verbally and physically. A bully too. It wasn't very easy to learn to have a life apart; it took a lot of thinking, several months of counselling witha psychologist and anti-depressants. Thirty years is most of a grown up life time after all. But....I have learned about who I am and have moved on to a life which is independent and my own. I do not need to account to anyone and enjoy what I do. It did take a lot of hard work to get there--heartache and pain--and I have had to accept that there are some things that don't heal. However you don't have to confront them every day. You have to decide to live for yourself and not to please another person. You have to realise that you are just as important as anyone else. Take courage and know that it WILL pass.

  18. Hi Ilona, your last paragraph said so much. If you have time - go to Youtube and listen to Karine Polwart (Daisy). She agrees so beautifully with what you say - "Hey Daisy darling don't spread your arms too wide. Why don't you keep a little something inside. I know you think that hands are for pulling us through, but there are people in this world who don't think like you do. They don't think like you do" .....Strange that this always makes me cry. Debs x

  19. I'm guessing that greiving a lost relationship follows the same process as greiving a death.
    Excellent post, Ilona.
    Jane x

  20. Well, I ve been married for almost 45 years (to the same bloke) so I cant give an opinion but before that happend I certainly had my moments and some of them were pretty turbulent.
    The only thing I m head over heels over now is Southern California.

  21. Excellent post. Your last paragraph is spot on! Best wishes and hugs to the lady who emailed xx

  22. There is very little about cerebral narcissism and it is not a recognized disorder. However, what I did read describes my ex. It would have been different if he actually knew anything. He stood in the pulpit and trid to impress people with his knowledge, mispronouncing words in every sentence. Lest you think I am being overly critical, he pronounced the word "ambulance" as "ambliance." He insisted I was just stupid because I was born in Mississippi. He was born in New York, so wow, his intellect had to be greater than mine.

    I think I did not suffer emotionally as much as most women for several reasons--1) I left him/filed for divorce. 2) I has suffered so much abuse that after 14 years, being without him was a relief. 3) I did not have to back up his lies he spoke from the pulpit, but the children listened and whispered that he was not telling the truth. They were more important to me than he was a bully our whole marriage.

  23. Thank you all very much for sharing your eperiences with us.

    I hope I did not give the impression that I was man bashing. The two examples I gave about my own life were two of many. I am not perfect, I know I broke a few hearts along the way, and the men involved were probably pretty upset about it. I am sorry that I was a bitch, but life is swings and roundabouts, you win some you lose some.

    For the purposes of this post, it does not matter how the breakup came about, it was the question of how do you get over it which was important. In all your comments I see that you had your own way of dealing with your situation, and I applaud your resilience.

    I have recieved a lovely email from the lady who asked the question. She is trying hard to get her life back, and has found the post and your comments very helpfull. So thank you all.

  24. Very very very good excellent post. Everyone needs to take care of themselves. God Bless.

  25. Thank you again for this post, and to all those who have commented. I have learned such a lot from them. I have a bullying manipulative husband and have recently realised that my daughter has learned his tactics and uses them in her relationship with me. I have followed up on some references here and discovered a wonderful book - In Sheep's Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People - which has opened my eyes. I was such an unhappy victim of all their manipulation, believing myself to be all the bad things they said I was. I am becoming stronger and more confident all the time and this post, the comments, and the book have all helped me to progress a little further. Thank you all.

  26. Thank you for that Carrie. No one should ever stay in a place they don't want to be, even though the fear of making that change makes them sick with worry. No one should ever feel guilty for taking control of their own life. No one should ever think that their life is not worth living because their partner has gone, or they themselves have had to end the relationship. Onward and upward Carrie, just remember, you are precious, you deserve a nice life.

  27. Hi, tis I murphyfish the long lost blogger. I've started to write once more and would love to have you along for the ride me dear, find me here at ;-

    tis not what you may expect from me but I'm getting there.


  28. Funny you should post this as I return to the blogasphere me dear, tis indeed the darkest of times when a partnership fails, for what ever the reason, but the only way is the try and look forward as much as the shadows allow, in time things get better little by little.... but the past still bites you n the arse at the smallest of reminders.

  29. Ilona, that was quite some walk you did! And what fantastic photos. No-one can say the north is industrial and bleak looking at them!

  30. Sshhh 'trees' , we like to keep it a secret so we can keep it to ourselves ;-)

  31. It's so true what you said about not giving everything to your spouse. My partner and I are learning the hard way that we need lives apart from each other we can't be all each other have. We both have depression and are both having to learn to take a step back when the other is having a rough time and not give our all to trying to help the other because more than likely we will just end up getting dragged into a depression as well which doesn't help anyone. So we are learning (it's an ongoing process) to do only what we can for the other well keeping our distance in a way, if that makes sense, because ultimately the only person who can help when your depressed is yourself (another hard lesson I'm learning). I'm very lucky I found someone who encourages me to be happy and have a life apart (In fact he's the one who finally got me to get help for the depression).
    I had a not so understanding boyfriend before this who didn't understand the depression and made me feel wrong and mellow dramatic which made me hide my feelings because I felt wrong for feeling so sad about nothing (at the time I hadn't been diagnosed yet and thought I was just stupid and strange). In the end he broke up with me and went around behind my back telling all our mutual friends what a freak and weirdo I was (didn't help the self-esteem issues I was having) in the end I basically had to start over and find new friends. It's very difficult when your in the same social circle as your ex but it does make you realize who your real friends are, I learned it was not only the boy who was wrong for me but the "friends".
    Thank you for the advice about starting a social group in the paper we are both working on finding friends and I think I may have to give that a try.
    Anyway I hope that that all made some sense I know what you mean about having trouble organizing thought into words.


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