Moving on in a ‘sophisticated manner’

We chat at 1 p.m.

Was listening to your podcast and thought I'd write. Here's my story: I fell in love with someone rather quickly. We dated for a year and then got married. We got married quickly because of external circumstances, but we loved each other. I had never been able to make a relationship last for more than three months, and I told myself I didn't believe in love. Then I met my husband.

We got along quite perfectly. I was not one to talk about my feelings, but he helped me to open up. We both loved sports, and we played quite often and watched games. He has a job (music) that requires him to travel, so sometimes he had to go on tours and be away, which was fine because I trusted him completely. He was the kind of man that would never even turn to look at another woman, the kind of man I thought had only eyes for me ... until he didn't.

He had short tour for a week, and when he came back, he was acting different. I had a bad feeling. I went to check my phone records and found some calls in the middle of the night to an out-of-state number ... a state he had visited on his tour. And that was it. I confronted him about it, and after much denial I finally got him to confess. We would have been together three years this month.

I have yet to really cry my eyes out, and, quite honestly, I don't want to. I don't want to shed tears for him, but I am holding everything inside and I feel like it's eating through me. I have tried to deal with this in a sophisticated manner. I have not cursed him out, I have not yelled, I just want to move on and be happy. It's difficult because we are married and we shared every day of our lives together. But what really hurts is the fact that he told me he’s been out of love with me for some time now, and I just feel like he is not sorry at all.

I just feel unattractive and disrespected. I am quite young, 25, and I have a bright career in front of me, which is what I am focusing on right now. I am buried in my work, which is why I haven't really dealt with my feelings. I'd like to believe I'm very strong, and the way in which I'm dealing with this should say so, and yet this whole thing is just overshadowing my happiness. Any advice would be appreciated.

– Disrespected

Strength isn't about pretending you're OK when you're not. Often, strength is about weeping and telling your friends you need them. It's is about being honest with yourself, even when you don't want to admit the truth.

Compartmentalization is a nice skill – it certainly helps at work – but it doesn't delete the pain. You're trying to put all of your sadness into little boxes, but you won't be able to keep those boxes closed. For the record, I've heard tales of hundreds of breakups and know they can be painful, cathartic, respectful, and kind. I'm not so sure they're supposed to be ... sophisticated.

You need to cry and yell, even if it's not at him. Even if it's at a wall. You must allow yourself to feel everything, and then balance those sad moments with activities that make you laugh. Your career is a solid distraction, but if you can plan some social time with other nice people, that's even better.

I don't need to tell you that you're only 25, that you'll get over this, and that there's excitement and happiness things down the road. You already made those points. All you need is a reminder that you can't skip ahead. The sadness is a step to moving on.

– Meredith

Readers? How can the LW get to the next step?