I don’t know what to do after this breakup

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I moved to Boston when I was 24. I sporadically tried meeting people on apps, but hadn't met anyone who really excited me since college. In my mid-20s I was so committed to work, I never really had time to date and basically became numb to the idea. I almost moved again at 29 and essentially had a job offer to go, but after quite a bit of reflection, I decided to stay in Boston.

After re-settling for a bit, I met someone on a dating app. I fell for her instantly. She was the most incredible girl I had ever met. She's the entire package: bright, witty, energetic, caring, and adventurous. I have never been more attracted to someone in my life. We hit it off so well, cooked together, worked out together, went on trips together – we spent an incredible amount of time with each other. I was so excited about her, and she became my best friend. We dated for eight months or so, but unfortunately, over time, we faded. I could tell she wasn't as into it as me. I thought it was just the honeymoon phase wearing off. I had always rationalized the lack of emotional intimacy in our relationship because she told me up front that she wasn't an emotional person. We broke up because I couldn't take it anymore. I told her that I'd been dying to tell her how I felt about her – and that I loved her. She was silent. And she apologized. She had knew she had hurt me.

It's been months since I've spoken to her. I decided I was going to be the ex she'd never hear from again. I've closed all communication with her. I've tried to move on and have gone on several dates, but no one even comes close to her. I worry that I'll never experience the joy and excitement that I felt with her, and I'm starting to lose faith in the dating process. This woman was so rare and special to me, but she stomped on my heart and was so cruel on the way out. I worry that my heart is a bit ... lost, and I’m not sure if I should take time, continue taking shots on apps, or even reach out to her.

– Lost

Don't reach out to her. You have all the answers you need about the relationship, and you're not looking for another friend. Even if you are seeking friends, she's not that.

You're in a very confusing stage of breakup grief. I have no name for it, but it's the one where someone writes to me and says, "My relationship was so good that I'm scared I'll never find something that makes me as happy." Then that person tells me all the reasons the relationship wasn't that great, and why they weren't consistently happy. Maybe it's Denial Phase 2.

You're telling me you fear you won't find the same kind of joy and excitement again, but you also say this woman couldn't talk about feelings, that her excitement was short-lived, and that she was cruel. She's not the best long-term partner for you.

I assume you want to know that someone else can make you feel that spark, the kind that fills you with hope and makes you buzz all over. I believe that if you felt that excitement once, you're likely to feel it again – but probably not until the effects of this relationship wear off.

A breakup can make you feel like you're wearing glasses that dull everything. That means you're not seeing dates clearly. Take a break from seeking a partner and find joy in other parts of your life. Let this fade.

You lost faith in the dating process before – and then it worked. That can happen again. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon. This part is temporary, I swear.

– Meredith

Readers? Help for this breakup phase? Should the LW be dating now?