If you follow me on Facebook, you’ll have seen me describe my very exciting Saturday night last night as a single woman. Three episodes of Escape to the Country, a half-eaten, two-day old Banoffee Pie and numerous glances at my ex-boyfriend’s Whatsapp profile to see when he was last online. Quite pathetic I think you’ll agree (although I don’t really regret ETTC or the pie.)
Firstly, ‘ex-boyfriend’ is perhaps not the correct terminology for what he was, but it was the guy I was seeing for six months during the summer, albeit not uber serious, and I don’t really know what else to call him, other than twat. So we’ll go with ex-boyfriend for now. And secondly, why on earth was I contemplating getting back in touch when we had a mature(ish), clean break-up a couple of months ago?
Because he’s been messing with my head that’s why, and that’s what a lot of exes do. Give you the occasional online nudge just to remind you they’re still there. So that basically you will find it harder to move on and they can keep you waiting in the wings. The whole ‘Hey stranger’ Whatsapp message, which is the ultimate f**kboy mating call. And he’s played me well. So well that I actually met him for a drink a month ago and we ended up kissing.
I’m so cross with myself. Nothing had changed. He was still going abroad for the winter, even though on the date he pretended otherwise, and he still couldn’t offer me anything much at all, but I allowed myself a glimmer of hope that maybe there was still hope for us to forge something. Meh. I soon realised, after I didn’t hear from him again as promised for four days, that he/the situation hadn’t changed at all.
But of course, by now, the seed was sown, I’d seen him again, and he was in my thoughts. But I was strong. I didn’t message him and when he messaged me this week asking to see me before he went away for the winter, I refused, and told him I didn’t want to be messed around anymore. Which makes last night even more infuriating because I was over him. And now I don’t know if I am.
Maybe it’s the thought that he’s going away for three months, maybe the thought he’ll be seeing his ex wife, or, more likely, the fact that it’s just a reminder that I’m STILL single and I just can’t understand why no-one wants me. And look, before you all rush and say, ‘He’s out there somewhere!” or, “Give it time!” I’m OK, really I am. I’m not a desperate saddo that needs a man, never have been, and don’t forget I’ve had a lot of practice being single, five years’ practice! But it doesn’t stop me wondering if I’ll ever find love again and feeling a little sad about the possibility that I might not.
Anyway, I didn’t contact my ex, and here are my top tips on how to get through these tricky times if you’re going through a similar thing.
What would your best friend would say?
I knew exactly what my best friend would say if I told her how I was feeling … which is exactly why I didn’t text her! She’s always there for me but I felt like I needed to work it through myself, but I definitely had her voice ringing in my head all the time last night! Maybe calling your best friend would help ‘talk you down’, but for me, we’d had this chat before so I didn’t need to call her. But I did indirectly seek a little support online and found what I needed – lots of women telling me not to do it!
Admit how you feel
Instead of pretending I was OK and SOOO over him, last night I admitted to myself that I missed him, or rather had a debate about whether it was him that I missed or whether I just missed having ‘someone’. I’m still undecided. Either way, it’s important to recognise how you really feel, even if it’s not how you want to feel. Admit it, because then you can do something about it.
Or even better, something less calorific. But as much as I don’t believe in squashing your feelings down with food (that’s exactly how I got to be this size in the first place), treat yourself to good quality food, don’t just binge on crap like I did, it doesn’t make you feel better in the long run because after eating that pie last night (and don’t worry, I didn’t eat all of it!), I just feel sluggish and fat this morning. If you like cooking, make something nice. Find a friend to go out to dinner with. The point is to just treat yourself well, and good food is always the best place to start!
Like I mention above, maybe cook something nice or phone a friend or go out, but keep busy. You have to find a way to get through the night until these feelings pass, or until you’re in a better place to deal with them. I had a long, hot bath, and watched seven, yes seven, episodes of The Good Wife, until it was time to turn in. Did it stop me thinking about him? Not totally, but at least I was watching the TV, not my phone.
No relationship is perfect, and annoyingly, until the end, I can honestly say our relationship was great! BUT … that’s because it wasn’t really a full-on, ‘grown-up’ relationship. We didn’t meet each others’ families, or spend long periods of time together, it was more like a series of just really, really good dates. And it’s because of that I find it hard to think of shitty bits. But there were some towards the end, just insofar as I don’t think he was honest about how he felt about me and we should have ended things sooner than we did, but blimey, normally I have plenty of shitty things to remember about relationships! And I’m sure you do too. Hold onto those when you feel like caving in.
I don’t drink at home when I’m alone anyway, so it wasn’t much of a temptation, but had I been out, or had a friend been round, and I’d have reached for a gin or three, I know what a bad idea that would have been. I’d either get teary and morose, or randy, or even worse, all three. Not a good look. And I’d want to call him even more. So STEP AWAY FROM THE GIN!
Remind yourself what you want from life
Long-term, he can’t give me what I need … being in the same country as me, being the main one, and it’s important to remind me/yourself that nothing has changed and you’re just feeling a little blue. And it will pass.
Write down your feelings
I’m lucky insofar as I have this blog to write on and boy, you’ve read some quite honest things I’ve written in the past. But I didn’t want to spend any more time thinking about him last night and so watched TV instead, but now I’ve had time to rationally think about things, I’ve been able to write down my thoughts. You may not have a blog but I honestly can’t tell how wonderfully cathartic the writing process is, for any issue in life. It doesn’t solve anything per se, but it helps me process what I’m thinking and how I’m feeling, so I can make sense of things.
Be mindful/present in the moment
Stop, breath, count to ten and try to be present in the moment. I try really hard not to stress about the past or future, but it’s not easy, especially at times like this when it’s all I can do! But what about the present? I have a great life, far from perfect, but overall, I’m lucky. I know I’m lucky. I have a roof over my head, myself and the boys are healthy and doing well, I have work, although I’m permanently poor, but life is good. And I’ve come a long way from the person I was and I need to remind myself of that. Anyone that I allow into my world is damn lucky and likewise with you, so that’s something I reminded myself of last night.
And finally, you could delete their number. Block them. Give your phone to someone until the feeling passes. Hardcore stuff. And that may work for a lot of people (bit too drastic for me mind), but I much prefer to know I’ve handled the situation myself without having to resort to those steps. That I’ve been mentally strong, drawn on support from friends and reminded myself that I won’t be taken for granted or treated with less than the utmost respect. And that’s what got me through last night.
So thanks to all of you who gave me a kick up the bum last night. It hasn’t stopped me checking when he was last online today but I’m working through that. I think I’m just feeling a little lonely at the moment and that’s OK, it’ll pass. I do wonder if he and I could make it work if circumstances were different, but at the moment, they’re not, and I have to keep remembering that.