I can’t get over this breakup

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Dear Meredith,

I am a 30-year-old woman facing the first major breakup of my life, and I continue to be thrown off by it even six months later. The relationship lasted about a year (half of that year he was also going through a divorce), although we have been romantically entwined for about three years total. Our professional circles also intersect a bit too. I felt happy and very loved in the relationship, but I was very blindsided by our split. He started seeing someone else a few weeks later, which was also incredibly painful to me.

Through all of this, we were still clear on both wanting to preserve a friendship and professional connections if possible, and we stayed in loose contact. Midway into the fourth month, he reached out to me in a way that seemed more than platonic, inviting me to dinner at his house and suggesting a seafood restaurant we had really loved as a couple. We started talking on the phone and he revealed that his girlfriend had split up with him. We were in touch via text a lot more. I was very honest about still having feelings and wanting to try to get over him, but also enjoying the exchanges and not wanting to cut off contact. Two years ago we both went through a forced no-contact period from each other that was totally awful, and we promised each other we wouldn't have to go through something like that again. He assured me from time to time that I had nothing to worry about and that I wasn't bothering him.

A week ago I received a message from him that he and his girlfriend had reconciled. I decided I would need to give myself some time away from him because I felt as though he had been using me to nurse his wounds. I still hoped we could eventually be friends, but today I see that he has blocked me on Instagram, which really, really stings, and I don't know what prompted it.

Why can't I get over this? My family and friends are sick of hearing about it. I have not gone through a single month of 2020 without at least one day of sobbing at some point. I consider myself a rational, independent person, but I can't seem to let go of this person. Will we ever be friends again? Will I ever heal?

– New to Breakups


First, not all breakups are like this. Some are just really, really bad.

Second, 2020 has involved a lot of sobbing, in general. I can’t imagine that the limitations on social interaction has helped your healing. Give yourself a break for being a bit of a broken record. That said, it's summer now and outdoor company is easier to find. It's time for distractions.

Third ... you ask if you'll be friends with this person again. But you don't want to be friends! You want to get back together. Stop pretending you'd be satisfied with dinners and phone calls. Those scraps aren't enough. I have no idea why he blocked you, but thank goodness he did. He's not in your life, and that's for the best.

It is very easy to get stuck on a hamster wheel about what went wrong but you've processed this from all angles, so now it's time to force yourself to look away. Ask a friend to binge a TV show with you (yes, my solution to most things is to watch TV). It will give you a way to engage with a friend without falling into bad patterns and annoying them with repetition. Also start a project that takes all of your concentration. Planting, painting, building, learning ... anything that requires most of your brain.

So much of getting over a breakup is about training yourself to focus on anything else. That makes it easier to heal. And you will, I swear.

– Meredith

Readers? How do you get over this kind of breakup?