LuvBuzd 149: A good profile picture if mandatory if you’re planning on making a good impression on online dating websites. Today we discuss a few guidelines.
life, relationships, mental health, & technology
The following is a composite email from several viewers of the old podcast. All identifying information has been removed and the story is comprised of several accounts from different people. The themes are real and present in every email.
My girlfriend of 4 years broke up with me after she said that she needed some time by herself. I was devastated because I was committed to her and the relationship. We lived together. We owned things together. We even had a dog. But because I love her and don’t want her to be unhappy, I figured that I would give her the space that she needs with the hope that I’ll be able to get her back once she’s had some time by herself.
I haven’t see her (or the dog) for 6 months and I’ve been miserable. The other day a mutual friend was visiting and they left their Facebook account logged in on my computer. Since they are friends with my ex on Facebook (I’m not because she unfriended me when we broke up), I figured I would take the time to check out my ex’s Facebook page. I know it’s bad to snoop but I’ve stayed away from my ex and given her all the space she needs. I just needed to see how she was.
When I saw her profile, I was shocked to find out that she’s dating another guy. I saw that she was in a relationship with him 2 months after we broke up. I also saw new pictures taken during the 2 months after the relationship ended where she’s at at bars and posing provocatively with other men. All signs of our relationship are gone from her photos (even the ones of the dog).
I don’t know what to do. It wasn’t a bad breakup. She just said that she needed time alone. I considered myself a good boyfriend who took the time to meet her needs. But now I see that she left me to party and find someone else. I think she was just confused. We had a lot together and even she said (when we broke up) that we were good together. These pictures are not the girl that I knew for 5 years. I’m thinking that since we got together young that she just thought she needed to be a little more free for a while. Is this a rebound relationship? I think so. I don’t see many pictures of her and the new guy (she had tons of us on her profile when we were together). Maybe she thinks that she’s messed up with me and is afraid to be alone but doesn’t think I’ll take her back. How can I get her to see that I love her and want to be with her? Is there something I can do to show her that she was confused about our relationship and what she needed? I know my ex and this is so unlike her. I know she must be having a hard time. Please tell me how I can get her back.
Disclaimer: The following is NOT advice. It is merely my personal opinion and not to be taken as therapy or clinical consultation in any way. Please don’t sue me.
Ending a relationship that has been serious to a person is never an easy thing. It takes time to fully mourn the loss and to begin to heal. That being said, some people might have an easier time moving on from that relationship (like your ex). The truth of the matter is that neither you (nor I) know the true motivation for your ex’s decision to end the relationship. Did she really feel that she needed time alone? Did she just want to end the relationship because she got bored and couldn’t find a nice way to say it? Was she really trying to find herself? The only person who can truly tell you why your ex broke up with you is your ex.
I do commend you for giving her space, however the space seems like it was more for her benefit than for yours. Did she say that she was going to come back to the relationship when she left? If so, then holding on to your feelings for her during the “break” might not have been counterproductive. If not, then perhaps holding on to those feelings might not have been the best course of action.
To be honest, there is no “this is how to get your ex back” manual. Every situation is unique and must be addressed by the people going through it. What raised my concern is that you’re assuming many things about your ex (e.g. she’s confused, the new relationship is a rebound, she’s making a mistake, etc.). We can’t make assumptions about our mates’ intentions without obtaining all of the information. Doing so may simply lead to more pain for you and frustration for her. People can’t be “won back” because they aren’t trophies. A person must enter a relationship of their own free will. While many a movie and love song might have us think that overt gestures can lure a person away from a new relationship and back to the old one, the truth is that this rarely happens. And besides if your ex could be lured away from one relationship, who’s to say that she can’t be lured away from one with you?
The only thing you can know for sure is that she CHOSE to leave the relationship and (judging from your portrayal of the breakup) she tried to protect your feelings. The new pictures on her facebook profile could indeed suggest some things but (again) you can’t assume things without the information. The only thing you can be certain of is that she’s moved on. Now the questions that you must ask yourself are: “Do I hold on to these feelings and hope that I can lure her away from her boyfriend despite her having told me that she no longer wanted to be with me? Or do I allow myself to mourn the relationship, move on, and live my own life?” These are questions that nobody but YOU can come up with an answer for. Sure, there is a 50% chance of making a decision you won’t be happy with but love (for yourself and others) is always a risk. (By the way if I was in your shoes, I’d protect myself by leaving the thought of a relationship with an ex alone since the other person explicitly told me they wanted to leave the relationship and has clearly moved on… but that’s just me).