Relationships / Heartbreak

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"I had a real thing going on with this one girl, but things have gotten weird and that’s over. I’m having a really hard time not getting sad every once and a while, especially since we are still friends and I see her a lot. How do I fix this?"

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

I think you should let yourself be sad AND I think you should take a break from this girl. I went through a really tough break up a few years ago wherein SRIRACHA (her name bc hot sauce bc burn, get it?) asked me multiple times to NOT attend an event with a bunch of our mutual friends. I was bummed out, I was SO bummed out, I felt v estranged from a bunch of people I had previously had pretty good relationships with, BUT I got it. I totally understood. I hated it, but I understood. You can’t be expected to just be totally okay right after a split, you know? Time passed, and now we are super close. Time and space, y’all.

I’m not suggesting you ask your ex to not attend friend events, maybe that doesn’t make you comfortable. BUT you can back off a little. No one knows your feels the way you know your feels. AND SOMETIMES YOU PROBABLY DON’T EVEN KNOW YOUR FEELS, YOU KNOW!?

Skip a few friend events, stop following their facebook feed, mute them on twitter, etc. You don’t have to cut this human out of your life, but taking that space will help you take the time you need to move on. Let yourself be sad, don’t feel dumb for wanting space, be honest about what you need. We’ve all been there and if she isn’t understanding it’s just kind of selfish, you have to do what is best for you.

Kristin Says:

I think that hits the break-up nail right on the head, y’all.

A lot of times we think we shouldn’t be sad, and we make excuses to ourselves to get what we want in the moment even though we KNOW what is ultimately best for us. Brains are tricky little assholes.

So, first things first (#imtherealest): You have to be honest with yourself. When you know that this girl is going to be at a place, you have to check in with that honesty and say, “Yes, I want to go. Yes, I wish I could go. But, I am going to skip it, because I know this is temporary and seeing her will only make me feel worse.”

It SOUNDS simple as pie (why is pie simple?), but we all know that it requires about the same amount of effort as climbing Mount Really-High. I couldn’t think of a good high mountain that started with Mount and I really wanted to say Mount. Is Mount Hood big? Do you all know what Mount Ranier is? Anyway, you get my point. OH MOUNT HELEN — MOUNT HELEN IS HIGH RIGHT?

A huge part of this is mustering up that strength each time you feel like you might slip, and an even huger part is time. I know, I know. No one wants to hear that… but that’s why we have really sad music and tissues and best friends.

<3

ps: i looked up those mountains and it’s called mount st helen and im sorry. i apparently need a lesson on land masses. or whatever.

***

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“I really need help! I want to break up with my boyfriend, but in past attempts to do so, he said he would commit suicide, and I don’t want to be responsible for someone ending their life. I do still care about him, so it makes me really sad. Please, please help me!”

- Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Dr. Kelly Wester, PhD as a part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions

Dr. Wester Says:

**TRIGGER WARNING: Suicide is discussed in the below post**

Let’s first acknowledge that this statement by your boyfriend, or any partner or friend for that matter, puts you in what feels like a helpless bind. Before moving into what you can do, we need to acknowledge that there are a lot of reasons why an individual might threaten suicide, including past experiences of trauma, current stressful situations that feel overwhelming and hopeless, a sense of feeling like a burden, being alienated from others, feelings of loss, and feeling out of control. With all of these going on, no one person (partner included) will be able to fix or save that individual on their own. A suicidal individual needs professional help, and sometimes from more than one professional. This can include mental health counselors, psychiatrists, medical doctors, and more.

Getting back to the situation at hand, ultimately his threats of suicide when you attempt to break up are a way to manipulate you and gain control. And it seems like it has worked for him, as you have tried multiple times to breakup yet find yourself still in the relationship.

In this situation he has, on the surface, put the responsibility of his life into your hands (based on your decision to end the relationships or not) – or so it seems. However, ultimately he has responsibility for his own life. Keep in mind that he is the only person who is responsible for his behaviors, choices, and decisions – theonly person. He chooses how he reacts, what he says, and what he does. So you are not responsible. You can, however, make the situation better or worse based on your choices and behaviors.

This acknowledgment of responsibility, though, might not make it feel better to have this threat hanging over your head. So what you need to do is not waver in your decision. Simply have the conversation with him and be direct. Say something like, “I need to talk” and then, “I no longer want to be in this relationship.” Stick to this decision (if it is what you want to do) regardless of his statements. Wavering back and forth and breaking up and getting back together based on threats is not fair to either of you.

If he threatens suicide when you have this conversation, express concern. Indicate that you care about him as a person, as a friend, and as a human being. State that breaking up with him doesn’t mean you don’t care about him, but rather that the relationship is changing. Indicate that his threat is not fair and that it holds you hostage, and ask him if he really wants to be in a relationship that exists solely due to the manipulation or sense of hostage from your fear of his death.

What you should not do in this situation is argue about whether he will commit suicide or not, or make challenging statements such as “I don’t believe you” or even “I don’t care” out of frustration. This can lead someone to assume that challenge and engage in the behavior or attempt suicide just to prove that they would.

Once you leave that conversation (or while you are still in it, for that matter), if you feel uncomfortable or have a strong fear that he will actually engage in suicidal behaviors, call 911 and provide them with that information and the address of his location. It is not your job to deal with the suicidal behavior or help him through that emotional place–let a professional handle that. As a friend, your job is to listen and show concern and care, but not to treat the suicidal behavior or to handle it on your own.

If you have questions, or if you want to refer him to a place to talk, feel free to call a hotline such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK (8255)) or find one in your local state http://www.suicide.org/suicide-hotlines.html. Remember–the threats about suicide, although they seem like it, are ultimately not about you – they are about something he is going through and internally battling.

***

Click through to read more about Dr. Wester and our other Second Opinions panelists!

Everyone Is Gay has started a new project to help parents who have LGBTQ kids: Check out The Parents Project!

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"My girlfriend and I broke up, and I really hate her, however my sexual attraction to her hasn’t gotten the memo, so I always find myself talking to her even though I really don’t want to. How do you handle something like this?"

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

I’d like to challenge you to not use the word “hate,” because I think it’s super emotionally damaging TO YOUR OWN BRAIN / EMOTIONS to feel something so negative. I also think it probably contributes to you wanting to fornicate with her.

Love and Hate are the two most passionate emotions, they’re essentially the same thing. So, if you’re focused on hating you’re ex, you’re giving her as much energy as you would be if you were focused on loving her. AKA, SHE IS WINNING.

I think you should draw the line. If this person isn’t making you feel awesome and loved and appreciated, etc. Don’t talk to them for a while. I think you can TOTALLY get to a place where being friends is possible (in fact, in a lot of cases the new friendship will be THE BEST), but I think you need time. You have to stand your ground.

Tell her you can’t talk for a while and STICK TO IT. It will be hard as hell. It will be so difficult, but it’s one of those stupid idiot life things we all have to go through. It’s annoying and it’ll make your stomach hurt, but you have to do what’s best for you. Being all lusty after someone who doesn’t treat you right is no what’s best for you. I PROMISE.

Kristin Says:

Agree and also want to call out that Dannielle said “fornicate” which means she must be at least as old as me by now.

I have a news alert for you: that memo you are waiting for isn’t going to arrive in your sexual attraction mailbox (oops, gross) for quite awhile – so you need to sit down at your desk right this moment and write your own goddamn memo. Put it on a post-it or a napkin or whatever you wish, and write down, “I, [YOURNAME] SOLEMNLY SWEAR BY THIS DATE ON MAY 12, 2014 THAT I SHALT NOT DO ANY MAKING OUT, CLOTHED, NAKED, OR VIRTUAL, WITH OWLEY (your ex) BECAUSE IT IS NOT GOOD FOR MY HEART OR MY SOUL. IF I VIOLATE THIS AGREEMENT I WILL OWE KRISTIN AND DANNIELLE A DONATION OF $750.

Then, you sign it. Then, you have a close friend sign it. Then, you hang it on your bathroom mirror UNTIL the day you see it and the thought of making out with OWLEY makes you shake your head and laugh, because you no longer hate or love her, you just know that you are going to find another human (or already have) who makes you very happy and also gives you all the sex memos you need.

If I see a donation of $750 come through over the summer, WE SHALL KNOW WHAT IS UP.

Bottom line here is commit to making the right choice, stay strong, use your friends as backup defense, and keep redirecting your focus elsewhere.

Oh, and Dannielle’s right. Throw that hate in the compost bin. #reducereuserecycle

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"How do you trust anyone enough to be in a relationship again after you committed fully to one person and they said they committed fully to you for the rest of their life and then they decide one day that it is over without any notice? How do you ever give someone your heart again after that?"

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

I think for a long time you just DONT, and you recognize that you don’t, and you try to actively work through it. Give yourself time because TIME HEALS ALL WOUNDS and allowing yourself that time will help a lot.

We get in our heads about this stuff, we sit there and say ‘you need to get it together and jump all in and stop being a pansy’ …and it almost always just makes things worse. Because you’re not really jumping all in – you’re fake jumping all in where you say you are jumping all in but you’re not actually jumping all in and then you’re mad at yourself for not jumping all in and your new relationship isn’t growing or really doing anything because you’re so focused on the jumping all in thing.

Take it slow and be honest. When you start seeing someone just say ‘hey, I’m still getting over being burned so I might take things a little slow, but that doesn’t mean I’m not into you, it just means I need some time.” Any human who has lived a life will understand what that feels like and hopefully will not take it personally.

It’ll take time, and it’ll be hard, but you can do it. When you notice yourself holding back, try to actively put yourself out there. You know that quote “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”? It’s totally true. You got the chance to experience a great love, a love many people may never experience. That is a good thing. You’re hurt, you feel knocked down, you feel incapable of trust and that makes sense. But do remember that it was worth it. That love was completely worth it. And allowing yourself to give in to another love is an incredible thing.

Kristin Says:

This is one of the absolute hardest parts of falling in love.

In general, falling in love means that you are taking something that is most precious to you (your heart and your most vulnerable pieces) and sharing them with someone else for care and compassion. The idea is that this person will share their heart with you as well, and you will grow together in a space that is rooted in trust.

When we fall from that place of trust it hurts more than nearly anything else that we can experience… and it’s hard to imagine how we can ever trust another with those same pieces. I totally, completely understand how you are feeling — and even without someone having broken your trust, it’s flipping TERRIFYING to fall in love and have a relationship because, if we are being honest, we can never predict the future, and we can never know how our paths will entwine with someone else’s.

But… like Dannielle said, that is all part and parcel of falling in love. You have some broken pieces right now, and that is okay. You are going to be able to take one shaky step forward and then probably fall three paces back.

Honesty is the only way of moving forward, and that means honesty with yourself and with others. Maybe in the past you’ve been able to let go completely as soon as you start to fall for someone, and now you can’t find that place so easily… that’s okay. That doesn’t mean you can’t find that place EVER, it just means that you have to take a different route. Think of your heart as a Siri map where she’s offering you a 1 hour and 12 minute route and an alternate 1 hour and 47 minute route. Your 1 hour 12 minute route isn’t accessible right now — but I promise you that 1 hour and 47 minute route will get you to your destination.

Own up to those feelings of fear. Share them with the people you meet. Move forward slower than you have in the past. Forgive yourself when you stumble, and be honest about those stumblings with whomever you are trying to move forward with.

Broken hearts are the worst. However, the things we find in between those broken hearts are often the things that help shape us into being the best versions of ourselves — and that risk of love is what makes love so very powerful.

One step at a time.

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"What are the best songs to listen to when you’ve dumped? Super sad or super happy?"

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

1. “I Don’t Wanna Love Somebody Else” – A Great Big World
2. “Half A Heart” – One Direction
3. “Stay” – Rihanna & Mikky Ekko
4. “Waiting Game” – Banks
5. “Maybe You’re Right” – Miley Cyrus
6. “Every Time” – Britney Spears
7. “I Don’t Wanna See You” – Camera Obscura
8. “Your Side of the Bed” – Little Big Town
9. “Dead Hearts” – Stars
10. “That Should Be Me” – Justin Bieber
11. “Don’t Forget” – Demi Lovato
12. “Doing it Wrong” – Drake
13. “All My Little Words” – The Magnetic Fields

Kristin Says:

1. “Cry” – Kelly Clarkson
2. “Don’t Speak” – No Doubt
3. “That’s What You Get” – Paramore
4. “The Next Girl” – The Black Keys
5. “Winter Song” – Sara Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson
6. “Boats & Birds” – Gregory & The Hawk
7. “I Don’t Want to Get Over You” – The Magnetic Fields
8. “Fuck Was I” – Jenny Owen Youngs
9. “Forever for Her” – The White Stripes
10. “You Oughta Know” – Alanis Morisette
11. “Since U Been Gone” – Kelly Clarkson

(AKA: Kelly Clarkson bread wrapped around your sobs & screams sandwich.)

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