Why Trying This One 'Positive' Thing Pretty Much Always Ends In Nothing But Heartbreak

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man and woman sitting together

When your long-time boyfriend breaks up with you for someone else, it can feel like your world is falling apart. How can the man you love have developed feelings for someone else?

Sadly, this situation isn't all that uncommon. If this has happened to you, you might be thinking up ways to make him reconsider getting back together.

You're already thinking you should get back with your ex as soon as he wakes up and realizes what a big mistake he made ending your relationship.

But that would be the biggest relationship mistake of all.

Instead, what you really should do is tell him this: "I’m so glad you have found someone that makes you happy. I hope you have an amazing time with her."

Then, you should sort out any loose ends (like a shared business or belongings) as soon as you can before leaving him in the dust and moving on.

He will be a painful blip on the radar screen of your past rather than the giant sinkhole he’ll become if you chase after him knowing what you know now.

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Life is about second chances, but maybe not with him

Dating is about getting to know someone and this is an example of the kind of pain this person can dish out. It isn't pretty.

But, what if you don’t detach from him, pick your gorgeous self up, and move on? What if he comes back and asks about "getting back together"?

After all, you've already been wondering, "Should I get back with my ex?" So, if he comes back with the right heartfelt apology and seems to have changed, shouldn't you at least consider giving him a second chance?

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The nightmare reunion

Here’s a nightmare theater version of what your life could be like when you wait around for him.

You give in to his pathetic, whiny crying about how he "threw away the best thing he ever had", "really, really loves you" and "will do anything to get you back" when he comes back after this novelty-based new relationship of his fails like the lead balloon it probably is.

He magically says everything you so deeply want to hear about how dumping you for someone else was the "biggest mistake of his life". You know him well, so you believe the look of painful, frenzied desperation in his eyes.

At first, you tell him absolutely not and yell at him for what he did.

Undeterred, he keeps calling you — pledging his undying love and devotion. You’re hurt, afraid, and skeptical, but still love him and slowly start to give him more and more of your time, bit by bit. He's on his best behavior.

In an effort to further make amends and erase his mistake, he proposes while promising you the sun, moon, and stars. You have a gorgeous wedding and it seems like you can both put it all behind you.

You have a couple of kids. Things are OK for a while. Not perfect, but OK. It has never been as good as the first three years, but you’ve done the hard work to forgive him.

In the back of your mind, you feel uneasy every time his phone beeps or he seems preoccupied with something else. Every so often, you ask him what’s up and he says, “Nothing” every time.

You really, really want to believe him. But as the years pass, your passion sags.

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Was it a mistake?

You get tired of him only acting romantic toward you once every six months, so you throw yourself into raising your kids, work, and whatever you can use to distract yourself.

At some point, he stops going to bed at the same time as you — maybe he stays up late playing video games or watching TV, so you feel lonely pretty much every moment you’re awake.

If you have the resources, maybe you get therapy. All the "constructive conversations" in the world don’t really solve the consistent lack of cherishing you feel from this person who was supposed to be your one and only.

When you confront him with your pain, he either denies the problem altogether or accuses you of being "too sensitive."

The more he denies your loneliness, sadness, and heartbreak, the angrier you become. And the angrier you become, the less loving you feel and act.

Maybe he tries to do more around the house for a little while or takes you on a "date," but the changes feel forced and don’t last very long.

He withdraws and you fight. You fight and he withdraws.

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Anger rears its ugly head

The seething anger lurking just below the surface starts to seep out in increasingly scarier rages. One day you find yourself screaming at your kids on the front lawn like a madwoman because someone dared to leave their rain boots outside overnight.

You don’t know how to tame your anger so you try to talk it down but it never really goes away. You can see how unhappy your husband is too, and sometimes feel bad about who you have turned into — but you don’t know how to fix that, either.

Maybe he goes to marriage counseling with you, but the pain runs deep and nothing really gets resolved. You have grown into different people.

To numb the pain of continued neglect and rejection, you turn to food and stress eat, building a wall of blubber — compounding your self-esteem issues further.

Or maybe you go the other direction and throw yourself into one body improvement routine after another in a sad, misguided attempt to "get hotter so he’ll finally love you as you deserve."

Either way, the sinking unhappiness as well as the lack of love and cherishing shows on your face and body.

Sooner or later, your gut tells you something really is happening and you find out he’s had affairs. Not one affair, but many.

You double down on counseling because now you have so much to lose. He feebly apologizes. You’re devastated, but you rage at him.

Things between you grow ever colder. You entertain the idea of cheating on him to even the score.

The women at work think he’s charm personified. He’s also complained a lot about how bitter you are (which isn’t technically an untruth) so everyone acts weird when you call the office or go to the company picnic.

You tell yourself, "Marriage is work" so you stay in a martyred attempt to try to be a good partner while angrily and bitterly doing the lion’s share of the cooking, cleaning, and childcare.

Your husband tolerates the battleground environment at home while satisfying his own stuck-ness, disappointment, and depression with extramarital activities, substance abuse, and porn. He escapes as much as he can without actually moving out.

One day, you start to really feel the crushing suffocation of the trap you’ve found yourselves in. The realization that you don’t have to live as this starts to dawn but leaving feels so hard and scary.

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When crisis mode hits

Eventually, something throws your mutual resentment into full-blown marriage crisis mode. Maybe he chooses to "work late" one too many nights in a row and you rage at him. Maybe he ignores your humiliating last-ditch pleas for simple acts of affection.

Maybe he finally offers you affection and you angrily reject him, remembering all the nights you went to bed alone.

Either way, you both feel pathetic, used, and ever more trapped. But even though the emotional heart of the marriage has gangrene, you both have serious obligations.

In the end, divorce is a financial decision as much as it is a romantic one. Maybe one or both of you silently decide that it isn’t so bad and you should bide your time until the kids are finally eighteen.

You grit your teeth and tell yourself, "Surely, I can make it only three more years." But it feels like a prison sentence.

Then you remember that time you asked that relationship expert what to do and could kick yourself for not running off into the sunset to create another life when you were bright-eyed, younger, prettier, and still free.

That leaves you with a choice to make.

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Get through the pain now or live a wasted life?

If you’re smart, you’ll choose a year of pain now over a wasted life.

Along the way, when you miss who he used to be and the love you once shared, remember that this same boyfriend fell in love with someone else after your first three years together and treated your love and loyalty like trash.

The worst-case scenario in any relationship isn’t getting dumped. It’s losing yourself by settling for something that is irreparably broken and letting it trap you, stealing your time, innocence, and life.

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Elizabeth Stone is an author, dating coach, and personal development coach who helps women restore themselves to improve their relationships.

This article was originally published at Attract The One. Reprinted with permission from the author.