Relationship Help Forum: Love's Sudden Death

This is another addition to our relationship help forum true stories. All personal and identifiable details have been edited. You can find some more true stories on the Relationship Help Forum page. 

This time we feature *Bella (not her real name) and follow her story of how her true love came to a sudden end. Here's her (edited) letter.
Help, Anne!
I met a guy, Dave, in college. Before we met, I didn’t believe in love at first sight. But as soon as I saw him, I knew he was something special. No, it wasn’t a physical attraction, as he is not my ideal type, but it was something else. We started dating immediately and it wasn’t long before he said 'I Love You', and I was happy to repeat those words back. We had several happy months together and talked about getting married.  


A few weeks after my birthday, he gave me a ring. Not a few days after that, he disappeared for a week. I couldn’t get a hold of him, his friends, or his family. Finally, he called and informed me that he had been in a mental institution on suicide watch. He had attempted to take his own life, and due to his mental condition (of which I was totally unaware) he would be unable to sustain a relationship. Needless to say, I was absolutely devastated. I felt like my whole future would cease to exist, and I was especially worried about the direction of his life.
Death of the relationship
I did what most people would recommend: I got rid of all photos of us, deleted his contact information, blocked his email address and instant messenger account, and got rid of all of his belongings. He said he wanted to be friends, but I said that would be impossible because I would just want him back. A few months after the incident, I called him up one last time to see if he was “better” and would consider getting back with me. He would not.
In the 2 years since then, the only times I have seen him is when I ran into him about 3 times around town. Each time I turned and walked the other way quickly. I’ve had two other relationships with wonderful men, and even lived in another country for a while.
But I still think about him. I still long for what we had, and still cry about it. I can’t watch a romantic movie, even romantic comedies, because they make my heart hurt. I ended my last relationship by telling him it wouldn’t be fair for me to date him because I’m in love with someone else. It seems like no one else is good enough. No one else is him
Just a few days ago I hunted around and found a way to contact him. I told him how I was still upset after 2 years. He replied, “When I did what I did I was only doing what I thought was best for myself at the time… It was actually a really rough time for me after you left... Maybe you’d let me take you out to lunch or something. Feel free to call me or just email me back sometime. I don’t want there to be any hard feelings between us…”
I don’t want to get back with him. I know we’re not right for each other after all. But the suddenness of the breakup never left me. It would be another thing if I saw the break up coming, if we just started growing out of each other and parted ways ourselves. But he might as well have died right then that day. I feel like he did die. I discovered he has a girlfriend now. That part really destroyed me. I thought he wasn’t mentally stable enough for a girlfriend?
I don’t know why after 2 years I’m not over him. I’m tired of waiting for the next Mr. Right to come along. What should I do? Should I meet with him or not?

My response: relationship help forum: love's sudden death

Dear *Bella, My answer to your question about whether or not you should meet up with *Dave, may come as a surprise to you.
I think that you should!
You said that you don't want him, and even though I’m a bit worried that you’re not over him, I think that you wouldn’t be able to move on unless you do see him.
This relationship ended abruptly, so it’s only natural that you feel the way you do. It’s the same way we feel about someone who’s died before we had a chance to say goodbye. The nature of the break-up (the attempted suicide) is also a very large part of the reason you feel the way you do.
Maybe you ARE over him? Have you thought of this as a possibility? You just don’t feel that way as yet, because you need closure from that chapter in your life.
Meeting him is important for closure
I think that meeting him is very important. I also think that seeing him face to face will give you that strength to move on with the rest of your life. I suspect that you want to ask him why he wanted to harm himself, and you want to make sure it had nothing to do with you. Also, you may want to know why he didn’t choose you when he realised he wanted a relationship.
From what you’ve said about him, I’m sure that his issues had nothing at all to do with you. He felt he loved you at the time, but remember that he was desperate for affection and love at a very low period in his life. You provided that for a while. He realised (and fortunately for you, he did BEFORE you got married) that you were not right for each other. Now that he’s better, he’s ready for a relationship - just not with you.
Loving someone doesn't mean they have to love you back
You can accept this, can’t you? The men in your life who you discarded, I’m sure they were good people (just like you’re a good person), you just weren’t ready to have a relationship with them at the time. In the same way, him not choosing you, has no bearing on who YOU are.
Always remember, that not because you love someone, they HAVE to love you back. Love does not work like that. It doesn’t HAVE to be reciprocal. It’s great when it is, but there is no law that says it should be.
Wait for the guy who would love you, and is stable enough to want to build a life with you and your children together.
Meet Dave and get this closure you need. One thing that you should keep in mind is, if you’d married Dave and had kids with him, one day he could’ve snapped and killed himself, leaving you and the babies to pick up the pieces.
People who try to take their lives once, need careful guidance and support to stop them wanting to try it again. That thought which raised its head once hardly ever gets totally buried in 100% of depression sufferers. Would you be willing to care for a husband and kids as well as work etc? Maybe the day you thought your life took a turn for the worse, was the day it sharply banked a corner for the better.
Blessings sometimes come covered up and disguised, this doesn’t mean we should neglect to count them.
You’re young, life awaits you. Get your closure and walk away.


Thanks, Anne! I did go meet him! Before I read your response, actually…. Anyway, I feel a LOT better. There were some tense, sexually charged moments (that did not come into fruition, thankfully!) and some nostalgia to get over, but now it finally feels like a normal break up from which I can move on. So, your recommendation was right on. He said he would consider getting us back together, and I rejected him. It felt good to be the one to do the rejecting. A year ago I would have been all over the chance.
To be honest I don’t know why this new girl is interested in him. He’s on all kinds of meds, has a history of depression and suicide attempts, totalled his car because he was driving drunk, and has no job! If I met him for the first time now I wouldn’t give him the time of day!

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Harleena Singh February 18, 2013 at 4:16 PM  

Your advice as always Anne is apt!

However, if Bella wasn't really over him or as she says is still interested in him, wouldn't she have considered accepting him even though he has a medical or mental issue? If the other girl can, she too could. Unless of course, she has got over him for which confronting him one last time to clarify things was required, which you suggested and she did before that herself.

Love cannot be defined and comes to us in all forms - doesn't it? It's the right inner feeling you feel when you know that this person is right for you that gets things moving. :)

Thanks for sharing. :)

Anne Lyken-Garner February 18, 2013 at 6:13 PM  

You're right, Harleena. Love does come to us in many forms. I suspected she was over him, hence the suggestion to see him to get the closure she needed.

Sarah Park February 24, 2013 at 8:46 AM  

Very nice story. Sometimes, all we need is a closure in order to forget the past and move on with our life.

Self Sagacity February 25, 2013 at 5:04 AM  

I guess one has to be in the situation to know, if someone hurts me they would never have the chance to see me again, if they did it would not be of my choice. Some people need closure, and it helps to deal with it face-on.

Anne Lyken-Garner February 25, 2013 at 11:44 AM  

Hi SP and SS,

I think most people need closure. I know I do - and not only where broken relationships are concerned. I like to face the person and have a good talk about it. I've always thought that everyone is like that, but perhaps some people can move on without this.

I've moved on from relationships in the past without hashing things out, but closure would've helped me to heal that much faster.

ChopperPapa February 26, 2013 at 2:26 PM  

I feel it's a bad idea to meet with him. I could provide a laundry list of reasons why. I will only say this, our search for 'closure' will often drive us down paths that we never intend. The point I hope to make here is that 'closure' isn't something that we are owed.

In the situation above she seems to be in love, not with him, but with the idea of him. Frankly it seems she wasn't fully aware of who this person was. So being in love with him may be over zealous.

Immediate breakups are always the most difficult because it punctuates the rejection. A slow demise allows us time to find our own reasons for the ending of the relationship.

I would encourage her to see that her longings are for what he represented not actually who he is (does she really know the man). And that any notion of closure usually does more harm that good.

Anne Lyken-Garner February 26, 2013 at 6:19 PM  

I know that having closure isn't owed, but the feedback from meeting him was good. In the end, she met with him and realised that she was over him. This was a great result I think. Don't you?

Thanks for stopping by, CP

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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