I have been in love with a woman for five years. We have had great fun together and I had even bought an engagement ring as I was planning to propose on our anniversary at the end of this month.
A few weeks ago, however, she left me for another man. She gave me no reasons as to why only telling me that she had been having an affair for the entire time that we were together. I had no idea. I feel utterly stupid.
Since finding out, I have not been able to sleep properly and I have not been able to focus on my work. I am forcing myself to eat, although I do not have much of an appetite. I cannot stop looking at photographs of the good times my girlfriend and I had together and I cannot face packing up her things in my house as she has requested.
I feel like part of me is missing. My friends and family are being very supportive, but they do not understand why I am so upset. They feel that I should be angry at her for her deceit and that I should also feel lucky that she is now out of my life. I just do not feel that way. I find myself questioning what I have done wrong and thinking back to times when I could have been a better partner. My good friend recently tried to organise a blind date for me, which I refused. He means well, but he just does not seem to appreciate how low I am and how much this whole situation has impacted me.
How can I move on?
It reads as though you are still in a great deal of shock. And no wonder, given that the woman you were planning on spending the rest of your life with is now gone. Not only that, you have been struck with the revelation that this woman has been unfaithful throughout the five years of your relationship.
You mention that you are finding it difficult to focus at work, which is to be expected, as you are experiencing emotional trauma right now. This is mirrored in the fact that you are also struggling with your appetite and your sleep. It is not easy I know, but if you can, do your best to stick to your normal routine, eating what you can at your usual meal times and attempting to sleep at your typical bed time hours. Have patience with yourself. A few weeks is not enough time to heal and you may well find yourself needing a number of months to process your heartbreak before you even begin to feel better. Know that you are strong enough to get through this. If it starts to feel worse or if you become worried for your state of mind, I would suggest that counselling sessions may be beneficial for you to assist in working through your feelings and supporting you through the recovery process.
I am glad that you have family and friends who seem to be rallying around you at this time. It is okay if they do not understand the depth of your feelings. All you can do is what you are already doing, state that you need to wait to feel restored before even thinking about meeting with other women. A thank you but no thank you response is concise and states a clear boundary for you moving forward. You are politely communicating that you do not wish to discuss this topic at this current stage, but thanking those around you for their efforts at trying to help. You know best Anton and it is important that you move forward at your own pace, when you are ready, not when others think you ought to be.
You describe that you feel neither angry nor lucky as those around you expect you to be, but instead, you feel stupid, because you did not know about the affair. You also express how you find yourself questioning where you went wrong and what you could have done to be a better partner. Remind yourself daily that this is not your fault. You are looking to yourself right now with a sense of blame and guilt because you do not have your ex-girlfriend there with you to discuss why she had an affair and why she left. You have been given no reasoning whatsoever, which is unfortunate. Yet, your focus here should be about taking steps to build upon your happiness and in reclaiming your sense of self.
Know that you will come to see that this woman was not meant for you. You will find somebody else who loves you just as you love them. In time, you will have the courage to pack up the old photographs and belongings and you will feel ready to approach the idea of seeking new relationships. Right now, however, it has only been a matter of weeks. Allow yourself the necessary space to be on your own. Embrace this period as an opportunity to feel strong within and to adjust to this new life path.
Take good care,
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