Dealing with break ups

Balancing family life and the Dhamma, in pursuit of a happy lay life.
User avatar
TLCD96
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu May 11, 2017 8:43 pm

Dealing with break ups

Post by TLCD96 » Fri May 04, 2018 7:48 pm

Hi Dhammawheel!

My first girlfriend of 6 months broke up with me 6 weeks or so ago. It was the result of my own foolish actions (which I just spent an hour writing about but got erased because somehow I got logged out). I miss her and the life we could be living, a lot. She was such a bright person and I practically threw it all away without knowing what I had.

So now I feel a lot of remorse, nostalgia, desires for what we could have if I didn't do what I did, and hopes we can start again. She's made it clear that we're over, but still these things pop up!

Wondering if anyone has advice or perspectives or experiences to share.

For the record, I didn't cheat on her, but long story short, I was on a 3 month retreat. We both thought we could handle it, but it was difficult for her and she felt like the relationship couldn't go on. During that time, I practically denied her suffering, since I didn't know what it was like for her. Now that I'm going through what she did, I feel that I had made such a big mistake.
All of us are bound by birth, aging, and death.

User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 3780
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm
Location: Sussex, U.K.

Re: Dealing with break ups

Post by Sam Vara » Fri May 04, 2018 8:18 pm

Yes, I've had similar experiences. They can be long-lasting and very intense.

My advice is to try to see this as a form of clinging; specifically to your idea of what the relationship would have been like, had it continued. As you say, you think about what life could have been like, had she not ended it. This view of what could have happened is almost certainly not very realistic, and you should try, if you can, to see it as unrealistic. Most couples argue. If they stay together long enough, there are periods of boredom. To make a relationship last, you have to do a lot of often difficult work. Try to focus on these, the more realistic aspects of any lasting relationship. Focus on the whole picture, rather than allowing your desires and regret to feed you with the false picture of how it would always be great. Whenever your mind gives you a picture of how great it would have been, take some time to deliberately cultivate another picture with the less appealing, boring, or unpleasant factors which you find - just look around you! - in every relationship.

And good luck, and go gently on yourself, because it will hurt for a while.

User avatar
rightviewftw
Posts: 1324
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2018 8:50 pm

Re: Dealing with break ups

Post by rightviewftw » Fri May 04, 2018 9:54 pm

went to 3 months retreat :thumbsup:
the foolish action was having a gf in first place
:toast:
How to Destroy any addiction
How to Meditate: Satipatthana Mahasi
Медитация Сатипаттхана Випассана
How To Develop Factors of Enlightenment & Perceptions
Complete Manual of Insight by Mahasi Sayadaw
Tyranny of Words - An Introduction to General Semantics
Ledi Sayadaw's Anapana Dipani (Samatha) @ ffmt.fr/articles/maitres/LediS/anapana-dipani.ledi-sayadaw.pdf
Dhammapada @ myweb.ncku.edu.tw/~lsn46/tipitaka/sutta/khuddaka/dhammapada/dhp-contrast-reading/dhp-contrast-reading-en/
don't feed the trolls

User avatar
Zom
Posts: 2065
Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 6:38 pm
Location: Russia, Saint-Petersburg
Contact:

Re: Dealing with break ups

Post by Zom » Sat May 05, 2018 12:19 am

went to 3 months retreat :thumbsup:
the foolish action was having a gf in first place
Quite otherwise. Foolish was to go on retreat. Well, however, that is a common mistake for all buddhist newcomers these days, who know nothing about gradual path teaching.

User avatar
TLCD96
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu May 11, 2017 8:43 pm

Re: Dealing with break ups

Post by TLCD96 » Sat May 05, 2018 1:10 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 8:18 pm
Yes, I've had similar experiences. They can be long-lasting and very intense.
...
And good luck, and go gently on yourself, because it will hurt for a while.
Thanks a lot! That's really helpful.
rightviewftw wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 9:54 pm
went to 3 months retreat :thumbsup:
the foolish action was having a gf in first place
:toast:
Zom wrote:
Sat May 05, 2018 12:19 am
went to 3 months retreat :thumbsup:
the foolish action was having a gf in first place
Quite otherwise. Foolish was to go on retreat. Well, however, that is a common mistake for all buddhist newcomers these days, who know nothing about gradual path teaching.
I mean, the retreat was super beneficial for my practice and, in a way, so is this post-break up period. One of the most foolish parts in my eyes was not being sensitive to my girlfriend's needs and thinking that, if it ended, I wouldn't be affected somehow.
All of us are bound by birth, aging, and death.

santa100
Posts: 2926
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Re: Dealing with break ups

Post by santa100 » Sat May 05, 2018 1:46 am

TLCD96 wrote:So now I feel a lot of remorse, nostalgia, desires for what we could have if I didn't do what I did, and hopes we can start again.
Contemplate on the Three marks of existence long enough and you'll realize that it's actually a good thing: your current suffering will eventually be subjected to Anicca! Just like all the wonderful things you're imagining might happen had you and your girlfriend been together, they too would be subjected to Anicca. Nothing can escape its grip... except Nibbana.
Last edited by santa100 on Sat May 05, 2018 1:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
rightviewftw
Posts: 1324
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2018 8:50 pm

Re: Dealing with break ups

Post by rightviewftw » Sat May 05, 2018 1:47 am

i don't think many people could appreciate the aspiring monastic lifestyle because most have wordly aspirations and are entirely on level of worldliness. As i see it a partner should support you anyway possible while you are on a retreat or better yet training herself instead of distracting you and it seems like your exgf could neither handle the loneliness nor appreciate what your were doing. Probably dodged a bullet imho.

As for how to actually deal with it, reflection and mindfulness.

For a story my exgf cheated while i was on a retreat, i couldn't care less now and looking back at it i wish i did the retreat without being entagled with her because she was sending me the texts and it was a distraction, also other distractions and hindrances. I would actually trade all the good of the 5 year relationship for a day of training, easily.

You seem to be taking it well anyway.

Equal, better or gtfo.
Last edited by rightviewftw on Sat May 05, 2018 2:12 am, edited 5 times in total.
How to Destroy any addiction
How to Meditate: Satipatthana Mahasi
Медитация Сатипаттхана Випассана
How To Develop Factors of Enlightenment & Perceptions
Complete Manual of Insight by Mahasi Sayadaw
Tyranny of Words - An Introduction to General Semantics
Ledi Sayadaw's Anapana Dipani (Samatha) @ ffmt.fr/articles/maitres/LediS/anapana-dipani.ledi-sayadaw.pdf
Dhammapada @ myweb.ncku.edu.tw/~lsn46/tipitaka/sutta/khuddaka/dhammapada/dhp-contrast-reading/dhp-contrast-reading-en/
don't feed the trolls

User avatar
Dhammarakkhito
Posts: 1115
Joined: Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:31 am
Contact:

Re: Dealing with break ups

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Sat May 05, 2018 2:03 am

Attachments
Screen Shot 2018-05-04 at 21.07.37.png
Screen Shot 2018-05-04 at 21.07.37.png (222.16 KiB) Viewed 838 times
"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

https://www.facebook.com/noblebuddhadha ... 34/?type=3

http://seeingthroughthenet.net/
https://sites.google.com/site/santipada ... allytaught

User avatar
DooDoot
Posts: 2089
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:06 pm

Re: Dealing with break ups

Post by DooDoot » Sat May 05, 2018 3:35 am

TLCD96 wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 7:48 pm
Wondering if anyone has advice or perspectives or experiences to share.
The Buddha taught a successful relationship will happen when two people share four same qualities. Refer to the Samajivina Sutta and also AN 4.53 and AN 4.54 for guidance. My impression is both of you were not compatible with each other. Relationship is more than just indulgent feelings but two people sharing the same long term goals, vision & morality, as the Buddha taught in the Samajivina Sutta.

My impression is the girl did not really love you and you were too unfocused for whatever she was searching for. I had a girlfriend once who loved me in a loyal way. I gave up the relationship because I was not happy with what the world had to offer me and 18 months later I discovered Buddhist meditation when I was travelling in Asia. I meditated for one year full-time (practising Anapanasati) and then I returned home. My ex-girlfriend believed when I "found myself" I would return to her so she basically waited faithfully for me for around 2.5 years. This is an example of real loyalty. However, since I had no interest in sex or relationship, I did not return to her. This shows I was not compatible with her and she was wasting her time & mental devotion on me. She was a Catholic and I was an atheist. She was straight & (when we were together) I liked getting high on marijuana & listening to Jimi Hendrix. She made unskilful kamma by entering into a relationship without knowing what she was doing; without following the teachings of Buddha or Jesus or similar. She should have stuck with the family orientated Catholic boy who was courting her before she met me.

2600htz
Posts: 300
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 11:37 pm

Re: Dealing with break ups

Post by 2600htz » Sat May 05, 2018 6:06 pm

Hello:

Hahaha lol gotta love buddhists talking about relationships :jumping: .
Right effort, you should replace that relationship with something else (another relationship, some spiritual quest, or whatever wholesome you decide to apply).
"There is the case where evil, unskillful thoughts — imbued with desire, aversion, or delusion — arise in a monk while he is referring to and attending to a particular theme. He should attend to another theme, apart from that one, connected with what is skillful. When he is attending to this other theme, apart from that one, connected with what is skillful, then those evil, unskillful thoughts — imbued with desire, aversion, or delusion — are abandoned and subside.
Regards.

User avatar
TLCD96
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu May 11, 2017 8:43 pm

Re: Dealing with break ups

Post by TLCD96 » Tue May 08, 2018 12:54 am

Thanks all for the answers!

I think the hardest part is de-convincing myself of the notion that I have a need for her, or that she's special. Seems like those two can also manifest in the reverse: she needs me and I'm special. Whether or not those two support each other, I'm not sure. Memories are very fleeting compared to a sense that my life depends on a relationship with her.

I also remember one of the monks at Abhayagiri saying: what tends to draw monks out of the holy life and into a relationship is both a sense of loneliness and lack of metta towards oneself.

These have been recurring themes for me.
2600htz wrote:
Sat May 05, 2018 6:06 pm
Hahaha lol gotta love buddhists talking about relationships :jumping:
:]
All of us are bound by birth, aging, and death.

User avatar
No_Mind
Posts: 1902
Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 4:12 pm
Location: India

Re: Dealing with break ups

Post by No_Mind » Thu May 10, 2018 4:45 am

I am not sure those who go on long retreats should have a gf in first place (unless she also is spiritually inclined).

In my experience younger women (20-40 .. women who are still young enough to enjoy life) look dimly upon men who are on a spiritual path .. and quite correctly .. since men who are pursuing the spiritual path are not materialistic, have no ambition and may refuse to have sex regularly (along with not going to concerts and not participating in other similar plebeian activities).

That said .. breakups are painful. May stay with you for years (all depends on how much you were in love with her)

First thing is to find out why you are hurting .. is it because you loved her and she left you or because your ego took a bad beating. If it is the former it will take a long while .. if the latter it will soon fade .. the ego is fickle, restless and cannot concentrate on the same thing for long ..

:namaste:
I know one thing: that I know nothing

holylotus
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jul 06, 2017 10:26 am

Re: Dealing with break ups

Post by holylotus » Mon May 21, 2018 4:49 pm

Dear Dhamma Brother(s),

:anjali:

I happen to be in the same boat. And it is an extremely rough ride, so first and foremost here is a warm tight virtual hug! :hug:

I feel I do not have the strength to put my whole story into words right now, and also feel it would somehow be disrespectful to the girl involved (who, atleast at one time, was also a very serious meditator) to post intimate information about her and our relationship (and that too completely one-sided) on the internet.

And most obviously... because getting burned by fire feels the same. The exact how and when and why of it are ultimately of little to no importance. If you are burning and/or have been burnt before, you know exactly how I feel.


My question is: Would it be wise and advisable to go into monastic training right away?

Nothing else makes any sense or appeals to me anymore (and has for a long time now. My idea of a good evening is meditating and then listening to a good dhamma talk). The idea of having to do an 8hr job along with having to deal with a forever aching heart and people is frightening and overwhelming.

Also obsessively 'stalking' her instagram profile through various websites many many times a day is... not very soothing to say the least. Yet despite over 5 years of meditation, I cannot help myself from doing just that!

So maybe not having a laptop, phone and seemless 24hr internet access would be more beneficial than ever right now...

Although on the other hand something fierce and strong forever urges me to stay and fight... honour the commitment of a lifetime 'I' made to her. Be there incase she ever decides to come back. That this is the only way to ensure a regret free death.

And even before that, this regret will most probably sabotage my attempt at holy life way before that time.


Intellectually it makes perfect sense to 'be the man', stay and fight the good fight - be the change you want to see in the world.

But emotionally it is impossibly hard (I have been trying for a month, and have not even started a job yet...). The worse is when you pump yourself up with positivity through your practice and are trying to have a good productive day handing out CVs etc., but then the thought of her most probably being with another man who is better than you in every way comes in the mind, and like a tornado, instantly uproots and blows away all the little huts of equanimity you have so painstakingly erected in your heart and held together with metta.

And seeing this process happen over and over... is discouraging to say the least.


Sorry for the ramble everyone.


Deep breath....mettttaaaaa :console:

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 16108
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: Dealing with break ups

Post by mikenz66 » Wed May 30, 2018 10:03 am

Off-topic discussion moved elsewhere: viewtopic.php?f=56&t=32018

This thread is for advice on break-ups.


:heart:
Mike

User avatar
Laurens
Posts: 423
Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2009 5:56 pm
Location: Norfolk, England

Re: Dealing with break ups

Post by Laurens » Wed Jun 06, 2018 11:19 am

About eight months ago I came out of a four year relationship. That kind of big change is always difficult especially if you didn't intend upon it. You will feel lonely, remorseful, angry, hurt, and worried sometimes. Just as the relationship did not last, those will not last either.

At some point of deep reflection I decided to be honest with myself. What did I do wrong? Lots of things it turns out. This helped me to let go. To abandon the anger that was telling me to blame her. It just didn't work. That's ok. There's is nothing I can do to bring it back, the only thing I can do is not make the same mistakes going forward.

I still feel the loneliness sometimes. I still sometimes have little bursts where my inner monologue goes into an angry tangent about what happenened. But overall I'm in a good place. Better in fact than when things were going South and I was in the relationship.

Whatever pain you feel will pass. You don't have to listen to the voice that is telling you to be angry and resentful towards her. Be thankful for what you had and be thankful for what you still have. There will be others, and you'll move on. Mindfulness will help you to surf the emotional waves without hurting anyone.

All things must pass.
"If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests