Recovering from hurt and betrayal after a breakup.
I need some help letting go! I have recently gone through a jolting experience with a girl who was exactly what I've always wanted. For a year, we never had a fight and always enjoyed one another's company. Suddenly, she asked me if we could just be friends. She said that there wasn't anyone else, she just needed some space. Although this was incredibly hard for me, I agreed to try. For three months I was patient, even though I began to suspect that there was someone else, but she insisted there wasn't.
The other day I was at the mall, and I saw her holding hands with another guy. This really hurt me, and I feel that she lied to me the whole time. I don't understand this at all. I haven't spoken to her since then, but I'm angry and upset, and I don't know how to get over this. I don't think I can continue being her friend, and I am wondering if this is a character flaw in me. I'm incredibly confused!
--Mark from Augusta
What happened to you would be deeply upsetting to any mentally healthy person. The fact is you were betrayed and lied to--by someone you loved and respected. It doesn't matter what her motives may have been, whether to let you down easy, to maintain a friendship, to avoid a scene, or to string you along until she decided between you and the new guy. Whatever her motive, what she did was wrong and certainly does not indicate a character flaw in you. No one could witness what you did in the mall and still feel friendship. And for you to try to feel friendship in the face of this betrayal will only confuse you. What you want to feel, and eventually can feel, is release.
But what do you do now? Speaking angrily to her will not help, because when we attack someone, they attack back in some way, and this only complicates the situation and drives the pain deeper into our mind. Your first step should be to back away from this relationship as quickly, gently, and unmemorably as possible.