I've been "grieving" the loss of guy I dated for about six months. Initially, we had great chemistry (or so I thought), but once I got to know him better I noticed the difference in our values and principles. We attempted to start dating again several times after learning this, but things just don't seem to work out between us.
It's been almost two years since we met and stopped seeing each other, and I feel that I still care for him as much as I did when we were together. I'm starting to understand that maybe he just didn't care about me as much as I did about him. As I write this, I'm still examining these feelings and my underlying emotions.
Does this mean I still haven't gotten over him? Is it some sort of "complicated grief" (when a person can't move on from feelings of loss)? I really feel that these unanswered questions I have are preventing me from moving on and hopefully starting to date other people in the near future.
– complicated & confused
I can't tell you whether this is complicated grief. That's the kind of question you can ask a mental health professional. I do recommend finding one so you can talk about how you've tried to move on (and more).
I can tell you that breakups sometimes feel more significant – and devastating – after shorter relationships. I bet that if we looked back at the most miserable breakup letters from this column, many of them would be from people who dated their exes for less than a year. Why? Because at the start of a relationship, there's a lot of dreaming, hoping, working on potential, etc. When that's ripped away, everything feels … unfulfilled. People grieve what they lost – and what they never got to experience.
You know it didn't work with this man because you had different values. Something wasn't quite right, and it didn't feel comfortable. That's the answer here.
You seem to want to wrap this up before you move on to anyone else, but timelines don't always work that way. You can be sad about this ex and date new people at the same time. It might be the thing that gets you unstuck. There is no need to isolate yourself with these questions and memories.
Also, try Season 1, Episode 1 of the LL podcast, because it features a scientist explaining what happens to our brains after a breakup. It's very revealing.
Readers? How do you get unstuck after a disappointing breakup?