Author Topic: Being Single after Long Term Relationship Ends  (Read 14675 times)

Kiwi Mustache

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Being Single after Long Term Relationship Ends
« on: June 24, 2015, 01:17:53 PM »
I ended a six year relationship with my now ex fiancée around three months ago.

Since then, I'm struggling to adjust.

I've signed up for three internet dating sites, even though I don't really want to be in a relationship. I message away to others, but my heart really isn't in it so I don't see the point. A couple of friends have said I should just have some casual "fun" because I'm in my 20's and won't have this sort of chance again. However, that isn't really my thing either.

I want to be single for a while, but am sabotaging myself by being on these dating websites.

I suppose I'm just a bit lonely to be honest, so use it as a way to pass the time and boost my self esteem knowing that members of the opposite gender actually find me attractive and talk to me.

How do I get out of this slump and break the tie to these internet dating sites? I'm a bit confused and no one in my family or close friends has been in the same situation so don't know where to turn for advice. 

vhalros

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Re: Being Single after Long Term Relationship Ends
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2015, 01:26:12 PM »
It sounds like you aren't exactly interested in "dating", you just want to meet people and share some social interaction? I'd find something to do that you enjoy, and is also socially engaging. Sports, volunteer work, dance (does that come under sports)?

Mrs. Pomodoro

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Re: Being Single after Long Term Relationship Ends
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2015, 01:51:59 PM »
If it's not "your thing," doing it is not going to help you adjust. vhalros' suggestion about volunteering is great! What do you do for hobbies? What about taking some classes for things you always want to learn? Declutter to have a fresh start? If you're in a state where you can't motivate yourself to do much, see a (good) therapist/life coach if you can afford it or hang out with close friends who don't push you to do their things. Read the book "It's Called a Breakup Because It's Broken." Watch sad movies and cry all night. Believe that you will get through this someday, because you will!

KMMK

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Re: Being Single after Long Term Relationship Ends
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2015, 01:57:26 PM »
I'm recently out of an 8 year relationship and feel like you do - kind of lonely but not wanting to date.

I haven't looked at dating sites yet; though my ex asked me if I had, since he'd looked around a bit.

What I've been doing is going to as many social-type activities as I can find and handle (being introverted), but nothing really date-like. I've gone to protests with friends/acquaintances, visited people I haven't seen in a while, asked people to meet for lunch or coffee, board game singles night, walking club, volunteering, co-working, artist presentation thing, dog walks with my roommate, city festivals, exercise classes, business training stuff. Basically I keep an awareness for anything that looks at all interesting and I go. Usually wherever I go I end up talking to some people at least very casually and most people are really nice. But there's no pressure for dating or relationships. I've never socialized so much in my life and I really enjoy it.

It really helps that I'm on good terms with my ex, so I visit with him a bit, and that I have roommates. I've found I don't really like living alone. Maybe if I was surrounded by people at my job it would be okay, but right now my work is just myself, so I couldn't handle being alone that much all the time.

neophyte

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Re: Being Single after Long Term Relationship Ends
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2015, 01:59:22 PM »
I'm sort of in a similar position. I got out of a long term relationship in January.  I technically did sign up for OKCupid, but I never uploaded a photo or really filled out the profile, it just felt weird and not the right time. I'm not interested in casual relationships and not ready for another serious relationship yet. 

I'm just kind of coasting along focusing on work and taking care of myself and healing from the breakup for the time being. I work at a university and get free tuition, so I signed up for a class. Did a couple of Habitat for Humanity build days and learned some handyman skills. I'm not sure what's next at this point. I want to get out and start being more social, so I may sign up for some other fun lessons in this that interest me or try to pick up a new hobby. Maybe try out a side gig. I don't have a lot of friends in my current city, so I'd like to make new platonic friends.

Hotstreak

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Re: Being Single after Long Term Relationship Ends
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2015, 02:50:28 PM »
People telling you to start dating again are ridiculous.  This is horrible advice 3 months out of a 6 year relationship.  It's not like you were dating for two months and can just move on to other people... it takes time to process a huge change like splitting up with someone you loved.

Go out and find activities you like, do those, make new friends.  When your life is going good again & you actually feel like dating, go ahead and start.  You're in your 20's, there's no rush here!

mozar

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Re: Being Single after Long Term Relationship Ends
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2015, 03:52:52 PM »
On OkCupid there is an option where you can put looking for friends.

trailrated

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Re: Being Single after Long Term Relationship Ends
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2015, 04:39:54 PM »
I was in that same boat about 2 years ago, there is no other way to put it... it fucking sucks. It seemed to come and go in waves for me, finally being able to feel somewhat happy again then out of nowhere depressed about everything. I have some great friends that got me to sign up in a sports league with them. At first I hated it, but then it became something I looked forward to every week. It will take some time to heal and adjust but the best advice I can give is use the hurt for something productive. I got into running and strangely enough it progressed into getting my finances together.

Best of luck. It gets better.

Kiwi Mustache

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Re: Being Single after Long Term Relationship Ends
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2015, 04:42:00 PM »
Thanks for the advice so far.

I suppose I'm just looking for a bit of social interaction, so joining clubs, classes, etc in areas I enjoy seems like a great option.

I enjoy hiking, cycling, cooking and learning new skills and going to new places so I'll join a hiking club and do some night school cooking classes I think.

ambimammular

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Re: Being Single after Long Term Relationship Ends
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2015, 04:42:55 PM »
if you're working on FI, this could be a good opportunity to use your new free time to pick up a side job for extra income. It would get you out of the house and meeting a new crew of people. I think that would feel like a positive step, very pro-active. A distraction in all the right ways.

ender

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Re: Being Single after Long Term Relationship Ends
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2015, 04:50:05 PM »
People telling you to start dating again are ridiculous.  This is horrible advice 3 months out of a 6 year relationship.  It's not like you were dating for two months and can just move on to other people... it takes time to process a huge change like splitting up with someone you loved.


No kidding!

OP, it's ok to be frustrated, sad, and upset. Your entire life recently changed, and if you are in your 20s, nearly 25% of your life was spent with this person (or more).

The biggest thing coming out of a relationship like that will be 1) missing constant company and 2) having a lot more free time.

Being lonely is normal and expected. You can find friends through mutual activities as others have said. Filling free time will be more challenging (well depending on personality) but it sounds like you enjoy a ton of great activities and I'm sure will find time to love all them!

MissPeach

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Re: Being Single after Long Term Relationship Ends
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2015, 05:17:33 PM »
I agree with the others not to date until you feel better about it. There's no reason to get other's hopes up and hurt them.

If you are just looking for company, meetup was a place I turned to after my divorce. I joined some groups that were doing things that were interesting to me. They have everything from happy hour to networking groups to board game groups. I eventually met several people I just liked hanging out with on top of the meetings.

There were a few people I found on dating sites that I met in meetups but in general I tended to find higher quality people meeting them in that setting.

Lis

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Re: Being Single after Long Term Relationship Ends
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2015, 08:07:20 AM »
The mixed feelings you get after you break up with a long term partner completely suck. I missed cuddling on the couch watching movies, going for hikes with him, trying new restaurants, sharing secrets, all that boyfriend-relationship stuff. But I didn't miss him. It's one of those times where logically, you know breaking up is the best choice and you don't actually want to be with them, but you miss the routine. Your life had some comfortable aspects to it to be with someone for six years. Obviously the negatives ended up outweighing the positives, but that's okay.

Don't date until you're ready, and get off the dating websites. Think of it this way, you're not just sabotaging yourself, but the girls you're talking to who think you're a potential date. In the meantime, definitely look into MeetUp and meet new people and try new things. And while it's okay to be sad and frustrated, it'll pass. Time heals all :)

catccc

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Re: Being Single after Long Term Relationship Ends
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2015, 08:20:12 AM »
1)  Take yourself off of the internet dating sites immediately.   Just do it.  Do it right now.  "how do you drop a piece of hot coal you are holding?"  You just drop it.

Life's too short to waste time and energy on what other people think you should be doing instead of what you want to do.  You are a grown up, you can decide for yourself how you want to spend time.  It's unfair to those who are interested in you if you are there on those sites and don't want to date.  You are wasting their time, too. 

2)  Get comfortable with being alone.  Find something you like to do, it can be productive or leisurely, and do it.  Read, learn a new skill, get fit, etc.  I think that being comfortable with yourself and being alone is a great quality for a person to have.  I am married with kids, and I am nearly always with someone, but I also enjoy being alone.

3) And lastly, self-esteem doesn't come from anyone else, it comes from yourself.  Anything else you get from others is conditional and temporary.

take this with a grain of salt, my only long term relationship has been with my husband.  I was only briefly involved with a handful of others before meeting him at 19.  We broke up for about a month a year into it, and I remember it was hard, but that's not quite the same as what you are going through.  But even if it doesn't, these sentiments can still be relevant.

okits

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Re: Being Single after Long Term Relationship Ends
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2015, 10:57:40 PM »
You mentioned having friends but not how much time you're spending with them.  It's fun and interesting to make new friends but also important to spend time with the ones you already have (who already know you and where the silence is comfortable.) Now that you have more free time you can rekindle and reinvest in the (good) friendships you already have.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Being Single after Long Term Relationship Ends
« Reply #15 on: June 26, 2015, 12:18:38 AM »
No one is equipped for an intimate relationship until he comes to grips with his own aloneness.
~ author unknown


To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.
~e. e. cummings


The loss of a long term relationship can feel like a death; mourn it, and take from it the good things, but eventually you need to bury it and move on with your life. You are still vibrant and full of potential - and now is rare chance to live for your own wants and needs.

Take yourself off the dating sites. Declare you are taking a break from dating right now to any friends/family that might be prone to setting you up. Just be you right now and enjoy who you are and get comfortable in your own skin.

Read, work on your hobbies, hang out with friends and family, and travel as much as you can. Meditate and exercise and wander around doing exactly what you want to do, when you want to do it.

This is not the time to let sadness in, this is an opportunity to learn more about yourself and explore whatever you feel like doing without compromise for anyone else's wants or needs. Take advantage of this time to get to know yourself.

You'll know when it's time to start dating again, and if it takes you a few weeks, months or year... that is the right time for you.


ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Being Single after Long Term Relationship Ends
« Reply #16 on: June 26, 2015, 04:54:43 AM »
take this with a grain of salt, my only long term relationship has been with my husband.  I was only briefly involved with a handful of others before meeting him at 19.

I'm not the only person in the modern world who has had this experience? That is shocking.

Not being comfortable in your own skin is not going to make you an attractive partner. You're wasting your time until you wake up and smile again.

MMMaybe

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Re: Being Single after Long Term Relationship Ends
« Reply #17 on: June 26, 2015, 05:01:46 AM »
I agree with the PPs. You are not ready to date yet. Definitely get out there and broaden your social circle.

Was it you that was asking about travelling? If so, now would be a perfect time to up sticks and go to London and do the working holiday thing.

Otherwise, go on Meetup and/or try a whole bunch of things. Don't go with the intention of meeting "someone" but rather to see what else is out there in terms of people and activities.

Torran

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Re: Being Single after Long Term Relationship Ends
« Reply #18 on: June 26, 2015, 05:04:52 AM »
1)  Take yourself off of the internet dating sites immediately.   Just do it.  Do it right now.  "how do you drop a piece of hot coal you are holding?"  You just drop it.

Life's too short to waste time and energy on what other people think you should be doing instead of what you want to do.  You are a grown up, you can decide for yourself how you want to spend time.  It's unfair to those who are interested in you if you are there on those sites and don't want to date.  You are wasting their time, too. 

2)  Get comfortable with being alone.  Find something you like to do, it can be productive or leisurely, and do it.  Read, learn a new skill, get fit, etc.  I think that being comfortable with yourself and being alone is a great quality for a person to have.  I am married with kids, and I am nearly always with someone, but I also enjoy being alone.

3) And lastly, self-esteem doesn't come from anyone else, it comes from yourself.  Anything else you get from others is conditional and temporary.

take this with a grain of salt, my only long term relationship has been with my husband.  I was only briefly involved with a handful of others before meeting him at 19.  We broke up for about a month a year into it, and I remember it was hard, but that's not quite the same as what you are going through.  But even if it doesn't, these sentiments can still be relevant.

I second the advice - get comfortable being alone. 3 months out of a 6 year relationship is a very early place to be in, and I would definitely give yourself time and rest. I won't prescibe whether you should go on dates or not (maybe someone will catch your eye, who knows) but I would definitely take pressure off yourself and focus on adjusting to your new life, as that is a big change to deal with. It took my about 2 years to get over the break-up of a 7 year relationship. I don't mean that to be all doom-and-gloom - those 2 years were a time of getting used to being by myself, enjoying doing this alone, building my confidence, and making a lot of new friends. That sort of happened randomly and accidently as I started to do more things by myself rather than as a couple. Best of luck to you.

Shamantha

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Re: Being Single after Long Term Relationship Ends
« Reply #19 on: June 26, 2015, 05:43:55 AM »
Forget about the dating piece, to me it feels like going to job interviews rather than having a good time :-)

I have come out of a 26 year relationship 3 years ago, and have filled my time with work, my friends, hobbies, but most of all: time for myself (fully agree with Torran!) The last part of the time you were together was probably already quite stressful, then the break-up, regardless of who is doing the breaking up. I just felt I needed a lot of time to just relax and enjoy my own company, without the stress, and build from there.

Occasionally I run into a nice guy and have a fling, spontaneously without the stress of dating, and without any strings attached. It has now been three years and I still do not feel I am over it, but I am OK with that, it is fine the way it is. When I feel the moment, or person, comes around to change that, I will know.

norabird

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Re: Being Single after Long Term Relationship Ends
« Reply #20 on: June 26, 2015, 09:05:30 AM »
Meetup is a good place for loneliness. I had great friends already but after my last relationship ended in spectacularly awful fashion, I finally started attending a meetup group that had been on my back burner. It was great--something that was for me, a new start, low pressure. I am still friends with people from the group and it was a great decision to start going! I also started going to community board meetings for a while, since I was interested in that. Forget dating--just pursue some interests low pressure. Some people are not meant for casual dating/sex, but also I think everyone needs decompression after a major relationship.

Books that I found very helpful were "the Breakup Bible" by Rachel Sussmann and "Getting Past Your Breakup" by Susan Elliott. I had a lot of healing to do and they helped me process it all. You may not have had as dramatic an ending, but there are still things to let go of.

Good luck and please ignore your well meaning friends. External pressure and expectations are meaningless, just do what is right for *you*.

BooksAreNerdy

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Re: Being Single after Long Term Relationship Ends
« Reply #21 on: June 26, 2015, 01:30:05 PM »
Always remember, being alone is not the same as being lonely. :)

tyd450

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Re: Being Single after Long Term Relationship Ends
« Reply #22 on: June 26, 2015, 03:04:56 PM »
I am an old married guy now but I know in my past experiences with breakups, it always seemed like I never met my next girlfriend until I got to the point where I was finally over my previous girlfriend and I was in such a happy place with myself that I didn't even want one.

Then like clockwork I would meet someone that changed my mind.  I don't think that my experience and timing was just a coincidence, I really do think that once you are happy with yourself, your confidence and good attitude is attractive to others.

Bearded Man

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Re: Being Single after Long Term Relationship Ends
« Reply #23 on: June 26, 2015, 07:05:42 PM »
Time is the only thing that will heal this situation. In the meantime, work on yourself to keep busy and be a better person at the end of it all. Go to the Gym, get a degree or another if you already have one, throw yourself into your career. This is one of the reasons I like to keep my work and sex life separate. If one isn't working out so well, I  would throw myself in the other.

When my ex and I broke up it was a relief for the first few months, I had girls back at my apartment in DAYS. But as time passed, I started to miss the routine we had. Eventually, after a year and a half I was so passed it having so much fun dating that I never wanted to be in a relationship again! My current gf had to fight really hard to get me to bite.

daymare

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Re: Being Single after Long Term Relationship Ends
« Reply #24 on: June 27, 2015, 08:29:55 PM »
I've never been through this myself, but from what my friends have shared, one of the hard things is spending so much time by yourself, especially being alone with your thoughts.  I would recommend filling time with things that feel personally productive and will help build you up.  For instance, I read a ton because I love learning things - my current favorite topics are personal finance, land-lording, venture capital, domestic violence, education, parenting, business.  You have your own list of topics that are interesting - google 'top books about X' or browse through Amazon, or ask friends for recommendations, and get those books from the library.  Reading books during some of your alone time is wonderful.  If you drink tea or coffee, perhaps make said beverage and settle in on the couch in comfy clothes.  I absolutely look curling up with a book (or these forums) and a cup of chai tea with milk. (Or do this outside in a park, also lovely.)

Another thing I love to do is listen to podcasts - this way when I walk to school, I'm being productive and learning while walking.  Or I'll put on a podcast and talk a long, hour+ walk around my city.  (I also do the same while talking to friends on the phone.)  Again, you'll have a different set of interests than me, but the podcasts I listen to (and recommend) are: Mad FIentist, Ric Edelman, Intelligence^2, Ted Radio Hour, Snap Judgment, RadioLab, 99% Invisible, On Point, Radical Personal Finance, The Moth, The Longest Shortest Time, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, Dear Sugar, Invisibilia (not in season), Serial (not in season), Death Sex + Money, Mom and Dad Are Fighting, Savage Lovecast, This American Life, Planet Money, and Freakonomics.

What makes me feel most happy is when I have a community around me.  Can you think of any activity or interest-based group hangout you can set up?  Ie, if your friends want to read more, set up a book club that meets monthly where everyone rotates in hosting, and then you'll have this group activity to look forward to.  Or an ultimate frisbee game every other Wednesday after work.  Or a regular coffee date.  Or start hosting friends for dinner.

Quote
    take this with a grain of salt, my only long term relationship has been with my husband.  I was only briefly involved with a handful of others before meeting him at 19.
Quote
I'm not the only person in the modern world who has had this experience? That is shocking
You're definitely not the only person - I'm in exactly the same position.

MrsCoolCat

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Re: Being Single after Long Term Relationship Ends
« Reply #25 on: June 28, 2015, 01:01:16 AM »
Always remember, being alone is not the same as being lonely. :)

Very true. When my husband was away for school for 1.5 yrs I was alone (with my cat) but I was never lonely. Even though it's not exactly the same I also took that time to focus on me. I've always been a person that keeps busy and even now I sometimes go out with a couple as their "3rd wheel" or with groups that include couples when he doesn't want to go. It may be weird but we both get time to ourselves and I always tell whoever I'm with that I'm going alone. I just consider myself independent, but for the most part I usually keep busy working, working out, cooking/meal prepping and doing online research/being online, but I'd def travel and volunteer at the Humane Society if FI or free. Good luck.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2015, 01:06:15 AM by MrsCoolCat »