Relationship Help Forum: Thirties Break-Up

Relationship Help Forum: Thirties Break-Up will be added to our regular relationship help forum page on this blog. Today's real-life story features thirty-plus *Kelly (not her real name) and her agony at her relationship falling apart. Somehow it seems - especially for women - twice as difficult to deal with relationship break-ups the older we get. 
The thing is, if you're not happy, relationships can fall  apart at any time of your life. There are so many decent online dating sites nowadays, that no matter what your age, it's possible to meet someone who will love you for you. Please see our relationship forum page to see what it's about and how we edit and handle these real-life relationship crises.  

Relationship help forum: thirties break-up


Here is today's story
Hi Anne,
At 34, I’m older than most of the other people on this forum. And have been broken up for longer (9 months) than others have said in their comments, so I’m curious to know if your advice might be different.
My problem is that getting over him has been an upward struggle. There was the initial shock of the break-up. Then came periods when we didn’t talk at all, but I felt pretty okay about it. Then periods when we did talk and I’d be okay about that too.

There was cheating in the relationship

After the break-up he’d say kind things to me like, “You’re a very special part of my life, I don’t think I could ever be happy without you.” Nowadays we’re not talking at all. I’ve learned that he’s still with the stupid girl he cheated on me with and dumped me for, and thinking of them together makes me feel like a piece of garbage. This time of year has exacerbated all these feelings because my mind races when I think that she could be at his house, celebrating his birthday and laughing with his wonderful parents who have welcomed ME, not the stupid new replacement, into their home these past 3 years.

No trust to get over the relationship and move on

I feel WORSE than I did nine months ago, before I learned about the cheating. Maybe I also hoped that by now he’d have come to his senses and begged for my forgiveness.  Now I just feel old and worthless and panicked about ever trusting ANYONE again - ever. I’d like to move on but I’m obviously too much of a mess to do that right now. How can I quiet my brain down and stop thinking about him all the time?
Thanks for listening.

My response to: relationship help forum: thirties break-up

Dear *Kelly,

When I read your post, one thing was instantly clear. You have very low self-esteem. It puzzles me as to why this is so. You seem otherwise intelligent and independent.
I wondered if his cheating on you could have caused this, but I think that it’s more deep-seated than that. Your obsession in wondering what he’s doing with his new girlfriend is hurting no one but you. The two of them are happy and in love, and what have you got?
You’ve let this fester for far too long. The only thing that will help is for you to work on you. Join a gym, learn a new language, join a book club, take up a new hobby – anything that will build up your confidence in who YOU are. The person you’ve clearly (but sadly) forgotten how to be.
At 34, you’re not old. My sister is your age (and single). She is starting an exciting new career this year! She’s full of confidence and expectation. She’s just lost a stone, coloured her hair, and changed her style. I’ve seen her grow from a sad, young woman to a confident star.
Your thirties should be the best part of your life. You know what you want, and have had enough experience to know what you don’t.

How to get past the relationship

In short, my answer on how to get over this man, is do nothing. Do nothing about him (or his girlfriend). Spend some effort on yourself.
Make an appointment tomorrow with your hair dresser and get a style that you’ve never had before. After leaving her salon, search out a foreign-languages class to join.
Work bit by bit on yourself. Build your self-esteem, and your pain will take care of itself.
What’s the point in hating your ex’s girlfriend? She may be the person who makes him happy now. So, you did in the past. The past is gone – forever.
Who are you? What do you like? What are your hobbies? Who are your friends? What makes you giggle? Find this person again. After all, you have to live with HER, 24-7

What would you say to *Kelly? Have you had experience with break-ups in your thirties and how did you handle them. If you enjoyed Relationship Help Forum: Thirties Break-Up, please share it on your social networking sites. Thank you.


ChopperPapa October 18, 2012 at 2:10 PM  

Don't allow him, or this girl, to rent space, for free, in your mind. Moving on is a choice, on that she seems to be unwilling to make.

Connor Harley October 22, 2012 at 1:57 PM  

I understand that it's hard to move on, especially if the guy now has a girlfriend. But you must think that you can do better than him. If he cheated, that means it's not worth it anymore. Some relationships really has to end. Don't stop looking for THE ONE. You will find him. Just wait, and you'll be swept up off your feet again. That's like a magic that's waiting to happen :)

Anne Lyken-Garner October 23, 2012 at 12:06 PM  

CP, I love the quote about 'renting space in your mind'.

And this is free rent too, as the person isn't going to be paying a blind cent.

Anne Lyken-Garner October 23, 2012 at 12:07 PM  

Connor, thanks for stopping by. And great advice too.

A lot of people have said that it was only until they stopped actively looking for 'the one' that they found him/her

Harleena Singh October 25, 2012 at 10:19 AM  

It's certainly not easy to move on after a breakup- no matter the age.

Things take time and perhaps with time you would get over him. But for that, just as Anne mentioned, you need to work on yourself and see the brighter side of things. Every cloud has a silver lining is something to live by.

Do things that make you happy and keep your mind distracted and away from thoughts of him. Once you do that, you would find better options to think about and feel much better about yourself.

What's gone is lost forever, and there's no point thinking about the why's, if's, and but's in life. What remains is the present - the NOW. So make yours a good one. :)

Unknown October 29, 2012 at 2:06 AM  

You have such wise readers.

Personally, I always say men are a luxury, not a necessity and sometimes the cost is not worth it! Bottom line is there are so many many wonderful things to do and wasting time thinking about the one thing we are not doing is such a wasted detour to the path to do things we can and could be doing!!

Anne Lyken-Garner October 29, 2012 at 9:45 AM  

@ Harleena. Thanks for getting involved and leaving your wise comment. Doing things that make us happy is one good way of investing time in ourselves. It also enables us to forget (even for a while) the heartache we're going through.

Anne Lyken-Garner October 29, 2012 at 9:46 AM  

@ Judy, I love that! Men are a luxury, not a necessity. :-)

Anne Lyken-Garner is a published author, editor and freelance writer. Her specialities include relationships and confidence building. You can find her inspirational memoir here.
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