Jan 5, 2023Liked by John Paul Brammer

HUGS to you and Papi. Never feel bad for doing good. You are not disposable; We are all here for a purpose. You were good to this person. Now, continue to be good to yourself.

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Came here to comment about how brilliant "therapy-flavored everything" is, and how well that sums up the phenomenon that I have also noticed. Cheers to another great letter and response!

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Jan 5, 2023·edited Jan 5, 2023

I saw the headline and just had to subscribe to your and comment. You see, I think I'm living through AD's experience right now.

I've been with a wonderful man for a year now. We've had a very rocky start in 2021, and a lot of very tough moments related to my supposed infidelity and his inability to believe I was credibly committed to him. He always accused me of really being into someone else while we were friends. So we had issues of trust for a long time.

But by late summer and fall of 2022, we became really close. I explained I was committed to him, deleted Grindr from my phone to avoid temptations. That was a great step for me. That helped me really focus on him. We just returned from a lovely trip abroad, where I introduced him to my closest friends. We laughed a lot during the trip and supported me during some stressful times. Usually he's very much against PDA, but kissed me in public in front of a big crowd during our trip. And we became even more intimate. We planned future trips. I was finally in a great place with him.

Then on New Year's Eve, only two days after getting back from our overseas trip, something began to turn. He started, once again, pointing ways in which we're not really gelling, making things up from my perspective. Maybe he was just a little drunk. When the power went out at his house a couple days ago, he decided to go to a library during the day and stay with a friend instead of with me. He's stopped contacting me to initiate conversation, returning to a pattern of me reaching out to him via text. He won't tell me when we can meet again.

We've had problems before throughout 2021, but we always came back together, mostly at my insistence. He comes from a culture of not really sharing his feelings or emotions. I'm extremely verbal--always saying I love him, but rarely heard it back from him. He might be attacking advantage of my vulnerability and gets off on how much I value him. From what I can discern, he has a habit of justing getting up and leaving his ex's without explanation. Looking back, I was almost always the one trying to keep us together.

I just don't know what our status is, whether we've broken up, and, of course, why. I haven't been able to sleep or think of anything else for days. Can't focus on work because I'm so in my head, sketching out what I want to say.

The problem is that this is just my perspective, and I don't know what he's thinking. Rather than running to him for reassurance like I have in the past, I've given him lots of space. Although it's only been about 4 days, I think what I thought what was a wonderful relationship for the long-term might be over for the reasons you wrote to AD. It's just so damn sudden!

This is particularly sad for me because this was only my second relationship. My first lasted for 11 years, which was full of trauma and emotional abuse.

Today I'll reach out once more and ask to chat. He'll probably say, once again, he just wants to be friends. It's just so hard when you don't know what the other person wants and won't tell you. I think I can only take your advice and realize that this has also not been a healthy relationship for me. If he wants it over, I'll have to move on.

I just needed to write this because AD's experience is much like mine in real-time.


Sleepless in San Francisco

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I think shame is an element that we often forget motivates a lot of behaviors. If I care about somebody, I can’t just turn that off because they aren’t reciprocating effort. I continue to care and remember that we are all hurt in our own ways. People treat others poorly for a lot of reasons — I’d argue that shame is at the root of many of those reasons. So in the case of this writer, I think the ex is experiencing a lot of shame, whether consciously or unconsciously, about the way he treated the writer, so in his mind it’s better to keep distance to avoid feeling that shame more acutely. So while it feels very personal to be treated poorly, it likely has nothing to do with you. If you want to keep caring about someone, you can do that while letting them go. Caring about them can mean knowing that reaching out will induce shame, and so you might decide not to. Exercise the caring part rather than the hurt part. How lovely to be someone who can care and love and be otherwise vulnerable. Like Papi says, you might get hurt again. I hope that this experience is a lesson learned in how to better protect your heart, not close it.

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deletedJan 5, 2023Liked by John Paul Brammer
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I think I would disagree in this case. I don't think it's healthy to tell someone to please stay in your orbit then never reach out to them. Certainly, every situation is unique and there could be hundreds of explanations for certain behaviors, but in general if you're in pain because you're clinging to a relationship that's ended, it's likely best for all parties to simply move on. Sometimes communication reaches its natural conclusion, and it's best to recognize rather than pretend it should keep chugging along. I've certainly been in a depression spiral that keeps me from being able to reach out very much, but in the case of a romance that's ended, lingering around can do more harm in the long run.

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