Can I accept even this?
The crepe-like skin that has appeared on my neck in the last twelve months, visible from any angle, in any light, but definitely at its worst when I turn my head.
Can I be at peace with even this?
The veins on my hands, shaped like oak branches, becoming three-dimensional.
Can I love even this?
My body in jeans, with no high-rise leggings to pull your eyes away from the pillow of softness that once encased my child, but has been childless for nearly five years.
Must I change what I see?
Is Botox the only solution for the frown lines between my eyebrows, the laugh lines alongside my crinkled eyes, the deep grooves in my forehead?
I allow others to age and I still love them; am I not worthy of this as well?
I think my husband is more handsome with his grays, tbh.
Is my body allowed to retreat + fade — can I give it this gift?
Even as it happens, doesn’t my mind grow brighter, and kinder? More and more each year?
Is acceptance an option?
I hope you remember me, Annie from Switzerland who has been following and reading your blog since 5 years. It took me a while and I was hesitant to reach out to you for advice over break up and heartbreak since you are already at a much better stage in your life where not only with C, but also V, your precious daughter that I can’t help telling myself how gorgeous she looks everytime seeing her pictures, and the house , the job..everything. I never thought after 5 years I again end up here, writing to you about grief and loss. And that I thought after reading your blog about how to get over an ex, I would have learnt so much and not going back to the same path but here I am again, guess I’m just a human being.
My break up is still very fresh, it was not even a month yet. I was with a man who came to my life with compassion, with attentiveness, kindness and of course love after me dating
emotional unavailable men who were good for nothing but destroyed my self confidence and self esteem. We got introduced by mutual friends The relationship was rather short ( 7 months) but it was intense. We were compatible in many ways, have the same values in morality and other aspect in life and both are believe in God. We talked about marriage, about having family as both in our 30’s. I met his parents, his family and lots of his friends. The only thing we are not compatible is he has a large circle of friends and sociable but me rather more of a loner and has a small circle of friends. We were so matching from how we look to the point that everyone said we are made for each other. Both of us brought a lot to this relationship even though I had my own issues with insecurity and trust from my past experiences yet he was always patient to me every time I started my nonsense. He was everything I wish for a man, a husband.
He decided to break up with me after an incident where I wasn’t being able to communicate my feelings, infact it was a very stupid reason but I didn’t know why I was so dumb on that night that I couldn’t communicate to him but rather giving him a silent treatment. He said my silent treatment, my behaviour on that night triggered him so much that he don’t think we’re no longer a good match. He didn’t break up with me immediately after that but we were rather trying to solve the issue out back and forth for a good 3 weeks and this happened right on last month where all the Christmas and holidays season started. I know that it was my fault so I tried hard to amend, he finally decided that we shall end the relationship and shall remains friends since i am someone who is so dear to him that he doesn’t want to cut me out of his life and because without solving an issue he said he has in himself which he realised after the incident happened with my behaviour, he can’t go back to the relationship again. I was ( and am still) in love with him, as much as it hurts I accepted his offer to be friends. And as I mentioned earlier, the breakup occurred during the holiday season, and because we had plans which we had plans it already before we even know we broke up and because he said we could remain friends, we were continuing our plans which attending to dinners, doing gifts exchange and was still communicating regularly. It wasn’t easy but I was happy to have him around, I was okay to pretended to be fine being friend with him. Turned out, Jen, I realised it hurt so bad. It hurt to the core to be with him but things were not the same like before, it hurt to send him to his car not receiving a kiss like before but rather a brief hug. It hurt when he no longer called me ” babe” but rather my first name…
After Christmas he went home visiting his parents who live in another city for the new year. We still had some short conversation, he thanked me for the hand writing letter which I wrote to him on Christmas, in which I pour my heart out into saying how much he had done to me in this relationship and how much I appreciated to have him in my life. During that time I just realised it hurts so bad to carry on ” being friends” so I waited for him to come back and gave him a call saying I needed some time and space to get myself to a better emotional stage and I will reached out to him when I was ready. He agreed and said he would be happy to hear from me again. And it actually lasted only for a week. I reached out to him today saying I’m OK now and that we could meet next weekend. To be honest, I was only sort of ok but I missed him dearly so I thought I would do whatever is right for my heart. His response was rather a big surprise to me : he said it’s best to not meet next weekend, and that he feels my expectation and pressure that made him feel uncomfortable to be friends and perhaps it was too much too soon. And that I should focus my time and energies on taking care of myself and say sorry for not being anything more at this point. Needless to say I was hurt and furious. He offered to be friends, now he didn’t even want that. He didn’t want to cut me out of his life, now he just let me go and watching me fighting so hard to salvage the relationship. Jen,I’m just so hurt how the man months ago was telling me we were meant for each other and talking about marriage but now let me go…
I know and everybody knows he’s good person and I would try again with him if there were a chance in the future but now I’m so lost and hurt…
I know you have your own life and worries but if you would have some thoughts and words for me from your wisdom I would be greatly appreciated. I’m just so lost…
Sending you and little V warm hugs from the cold Switzerland
Yes, of course I remember you. Hope you’re staying warm and cozy through these cold winter days.
There is a lot to unpack here. I understand all of the ways you’re feeling. To be fair, it is a really rare occurrence that any exes can remain friends right after a breakup. There is too much emotional/physical change to process in that short of a time. I think he suggested friendship at first to be kind, and to not leave you alone during the holidays. Once he read your letter, I think he realized how much you were hurt and how much this was affecting you. So when he said he didn’t want to meet that weekend, it was because he recognized you were suffering and didn’t want to hurt you further, which I understand. In his shoes, I would have done the same thing.
I actually sense that he still loves you, and that there is hope of reconciliation here. You were only together seven months and many of them were happy.
But you already know what I’m going to say.
Whether you’re in your 30s, 40s, or even if you’re 80, no relationship is going to work out if you don’t learn to master not only your insecurity, but how your process & communicate emotion when you’re upset. I don’t fully understand why you gave him the silent treatment that night you fought, but you need to be able to communicate better than that in your final relationship (I say “final” because it’s the one you wanted to lead to marriage). Even if you say, “Gosh, I’m upset, though it doesn’t seem rational, and I’m having such a hard time speaking aloud how I’m feeling…I may need a few hours to process my thoughts,” — that is better than just clamming up and staying silent. And so while you apart, whether it’s temporary or permanent, you MUST absolve your insecurity from the past AND work on your communication so that you never sabotage a promising relationship again. For this, you need to be journaling, reading books, and probably going to therapy to to learn to communicate through conflict.
I’m not judging you — I used to be the same exact way, and I worked tirelessly both in therapy, with friends and through my job to become a better communicator in my relationships, and it has changed my life. I no longer fight with anyone because as soon as tension rises I’m able to communicate what I’m feeling and ask for what I need.
In the meantime that you’re doing this work and healing from your breakup, all of my usual breakup advice stands — don’t contact him, try to break the addiction of thinking about him/checking on his whereabouts, etc. You must fully focus on healing yourself and also pretend that he’s not coming back (ever) so that you do this work like you mean it.
I’m sorry you’re going through this pain. It is such a hard time of year to go through this, I know. I do think it will ultimately serve you and that there is hope of reuniting, but only if you perform the difficult work that is ahead of you. Sending you so much love, Annie. ❤️
I feel very honored to receive your prompt response despite of you having your own busy schedules and that every time when I read your answers to someone, I can feel you do it with a lot of compassion and not for moment I would take it for granted.
I reread your answer again and again, words by words. There are days I feel okay, there are days I got stuck on blaming myself for what happened and wished I could undone what I did. The silent treatment issue that I have come from growing up in a household where that was how my parents use to “communicate” to each other every time they fought, somehow unconsciously it has become the ugly pattern of me too which I am not proud of it. I wouldn’t consider myself as a religious but rather a spiritual person, I do agree with you what happened is like a wake up call to me, that I need to change, need to grow and shine. There would be no one wants to be with someone who is already in her 30’s yet still not be able to communicate self feelings. And somehow I believe the Universe let this happened to help me to focus on something more important that this stage in my life : finding a job. I quit my previous without having a new one as I was so unhappy with it. If he ever came back to me, I wanted him to see how much of a progress I will have made and change during this time. But pretty much at the stage, I promise I won’t reach out to him again for any reason.
I thank you again for your kind and wise words, again I hope you will not shut this blog anytime soon in the future. You have been inspired and helping so many people including me in this world so consider yourself as our hero, Jen!
I send you lots of love, lots of warm hug!
One last thing: try not to blame yourself too much. Though you are still learning to communicate through conflict, that does NOT mean the breakup was only your fault. A good partner will stand by you and the two of you will learn to communicate together. He shouldn’t have abandoned you at a time during which you were already having a hard time.
I just felt I needed to say that — don’t carry all of the responsibility for this heartache into the future. It’s never only one person who makes a relationship fail. It takes two.
There is love and stability and ease of communication out there for you. I know that, because I’ve built those things myself. I had a very similar childhood to yours.
Sending you love.
Time is a remarkable thing, and I think your last point is the most important, because, if we’re living life right, our souls will grow in the direction of goodness and kindness as our bodies begin to fade.
I wanted to say hello again. Around three years ago, I landed on this blog, as many have, reeling from a breakup – needing to re-discover myself and re-build my world. Today, I am happy to share that I am newly engaged to an amazing man, and I look forward to posting here again as a glowing bride.
I hope those who come here aching are able to consider the possibility that something, or more accurately, someone unexpected awaits you on the other side of your healing journey.
Oh my gosh! I wish I got more of these comments. I often hear from people at their absolute rock bottom and then never again. It makes me SO HAPPY to know that you are thriving and well, and LOVED! Congratulations!!!!!!!! All the love and happiness in the world to you, Karen!!!
Thank you, Jen! Actually, it was four years ago that I found the blog – crazy how time flies but how that also feels like another lifetime.