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Help me to help my heartbroken friend(7 Posts)
Ok, I don't know where to start with this. I was scouring the internet trying to find the right source of information, the right words of comfort, the right something to help my extremely heartbroken friend and mumsnet kept flashing up in the search results, so here I am. I wonder if any of you can help me find a way to make my friend feel better as I seem to be struggling on my own.
They were together almost 5 years. Never lived together as she spends a lot of her life in hospital due to a chronic disease. She met him just before her health took a downward turn and although she has a great family and many friends, he really has been her rock and her reason to keep doing all the awful treatments. He was her future. Like all relationships, they had their problems and with so much more added pressure on them (she couldn't work, they had very little time alone, holidays together were almost impossible, dates weren't easy) they sometimes had the most awful, explosive rows with sadness and frustration on both sides.
6 weeks ago, out of nowhere, he told her that he needed more from life. That he couldn't live in a constant cycle of hospital, home, row, back in hospital. He was very kind and gentle but it was extremely sad. There would never have been a good time for him to leave her, there never is for anyone but he reached a point he couldn't return from and ended their relationship.
She begged. Cried and begged some more but he wouldn't budge. He said they could be friends and that he cared for her deeply. In truth, I don't think she ever accepted it was truly over. She viewed it more as a break and thought he would realise the error of his ways and come back to her. He didn't and last week he told her that he has met someone else. He wasn't cruel about it, he didn't just blurt it out. They have still spoken every day (not seen each other) and in one of their sharing sessions about "whats new", he told her.
And now she is devastated. And I want to help her. She is obsessed with his social media. Obsessed with the times that he's online. Obsessed with the time between her texts and when he replies. She is twisting herself in knots and climbing the walls. We have all rallied round. We've done empowerment talks and we've let her cry and eat ice cream. We have told her that we've all been there and that although a cliche, it will get better in time but it's as if she can't function without knowing absolutely every detail. I don't think he is being deliberately evasive with her, it's just that before meeting this new woman he was still happy to share enough about his life to make my friend feel included, now he has met someone else, he isn't keen on maintaining that level of friendship. It could also have nothing to do with the new girlfriend and maybe 6 weeks of holding her hand through a breakup is enough and he personally needs to distance himself.
What do I do? Where can I get her some support? She has a team of specialists and nurses who look after her and they are doing everything for her medically and her family are being fantastic. Her friends are all taking it in turns to make sure she isn't alone for long periods of time and that none of us lead the conversations. Letting her decide if she wants to be angry or sad, reminisce or cry. But it isn't getting any better. It's been 6 weeks and although it's only been 5 days since the new woman conversation, I am really really worried about her.
I've been married for 15 years. Prior to that I didn't really have relationships past a month or so. There was never any breakups. I can't draw on personal experience to help her. Social media has made making the break so much worse. Seeing times that people are online. It's an absolute minefield. The last time I had a boyfriend, we didn't even have mobile phones.
Can anyone help? How can I get her to stop texting him? He isn't replying and that is breaking her further. How can I get her to stop asking him for phonecalls that he doesn't want? She simply won't accept that it's over but I'm not sure how much more vocal he can be about it and I know that eventually it will turn nasty. She isn't stalking him as such but she must truly be making his life very unhappy. Which in turn makes her so so sad.
What do I do? I'm not trying to make her do anything she doesn't want to do by the way or speed up her sadness, I know everyone mourns and moves on differently. I just want my friend to feel whole again
I have no advice as such but just wanted to say that you sons like a lovely person and it's a shame there's not more like you in this world.
In time it will get better for your friend.
Maybe her heartbreak is magnified because she feels like her illness will stop her from meeting someone else.
I think the best thing you could encourage her to do is stop online stalking her ex! Constantly following what he's doing online will only make her feel worse. You note that she's obsessing about him - this has to stop as its really unhealthy behaviour and it isn't helping - in fact its rubbing salt into her already open wounds. I'd suggest that she breaks off contact with him for now. Perhaps in time they can be friends, but not right now. She needs a break from him, not to hear what he's up to or that he's already met someone else.
Its only been six weeks and it WILL get better, but a horrendous break-up can take a long time to get over. I've only had one really awful break-up, but it took me months to start to heal and tbh, it was only meeting DH that finally got me out of the funk I was in.
Maybe it's time to gently take a hard line and insist that she blocks him from all forms of social media? The constant reminders aren't helping the wound heal, they're like picking at a scab. I've been there, I've experienced heartbreak, what she needs is distraction, friends, fun things that aren't a reminder of him but a reminder that there is still joy to be had in life, and definitely no contact with him. It's the only way to move on I'm afraid. What your friend is currently doing is damaging to her health and self esteem.
6 weeks is very early days! It will get easier for her, but takes a while. Carry on supporting her the way you have, you sound great!
I think 6 weeks is a red herring here - because she obviously thought it was just a blip. She hadn't processed it as a breakup.
So what you are really dealing with is 5 days into a breakup after a 5 year relationship. That is very new and raw.
I wouldn't worry too much about it just yet. I'd give her two weeks in total (so another 9 days) to carry on with the obsessive looking at his face book, to have a wallow and lots of tears. And then tell her she has to cut contact totally as it's the only way she can start to heal.
You sound like a really lovely, kind and thoughtful friend.
The other thing I'd suggest as a psychological trick to get her to stop texting him is to tell her that if she carries on like that he will start to see her as a nuisance/bunny boiler and if she wants any hope of getting him back, she needs to stop it now and give him some space.
ie. something that may make her stop even if its for the wrong reasons (hope of getting him back) because this is about time and space for her.
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