Friday, November 21, 2008


Ryan is a handsome, intelligent, articulate, twenty-something reporter. He joined the SYBD community when his three-year relationship ended. Not long after, I managed a meal out with him where I was able to hear his story first hand. As is so often the case, I was sad that such a kind, attractive sensitive soul found himself cast aside. Ryan met his ex girlfriend while at school.

I first met my ex while in college, when I was at the immediate end of a relationship. She and I had become friends and co-workers at the college newspaper, and she had dated a friend of mine. After six months as close friends, talking passionately about journalism, politics, relationships and mutual friends, shooting pool together and commiserating often over lunch and beers, with her editing a controversial column I was writing, we became close. We made the transition one night while in a bar, talking over a trip together. She fell for me, unexpectedly. I hadn't considered her as more than a friend and was blind-sided. But I decided I was interested, and that night in the bar, as we were talking, she came over, sat on my lap, and kissed me. We stumbled home, falling into a flower bed, before spending some time in her parked car, since she lived with a roommate.

Ryan's relationship that blossomed was tempestuous and passionate from the get go.

We fought almost as often as we had sex, and we drank almost as often as we fought. We were young and experimenting, and we roped friends into our dramas. Still, I felt we were soul mates, and should make a go of things. We liked to indulge ourselves - staying out late, eating bad food, sleeping in, dashing off during the day for our own escapes. It seemed we had great chemistry. We were passionate writers, fervent capitalists, and when we graduated the economy was such that we could both pursue business writing in tandem, relatively lucratively.

Eventually, our tendencies caught up with us. We gained weight, became a bit nastier - turning debates into full-fledged fights, and our passion curdled into jealousy. Even my male friends, if they were gay, could arouse her mistrust, and I was ridiculously paranoid about her friends as well. The relationship veered into a dysfunctional spiral.

After several years together, Ryan's ex had travelled abroad and the pair had arguments over the phone whilst she was away, so it wasn't a huge surprise when his ex finally said the words, "I don't think we should stay together anymore." As they' fought a fair amount, Ryan tried to persuade himself that they would work through it, but deep down, he knew his ex would be ending the relationship the day she returned. Even sensing its ending, Ryan still panicked.

I had become utterly dependent - or, more importantly, had come to believe I was utterly dependent on my ex. The terrible thing about a relationship with lots of jealousy is that it can cut you off from outside sources of support. Also, when you're young, you don't even realize your life is terribly out of balance, that you need more of your own activities, and your own emotional center independent of others.

I would cry throughout the day, several times per day. I had no appetite whatsoever for at least a month, and diminished appetite for the next six months. Sleeping was difficult, but I had no qualms about using sleeping aids, ranging from over the counter sleeping pills to binge drinking. I didn't think life could be worth living any more. I did not think I would find anyone like that again. It seems bizarre in retrospect, but it was very real, and I certainly believe I had a certain innocence and full-bore massive infatuation complex then that I will not ever have again.

Later Ryan recalled hitting rock bottom at a party when he was having a good time with friends...and in an instant, he tuned out of the party and spaced out.
I felt like I was sort of floating above everyone. There was then an overwhelming flood of emotion, of sadness and a bit of anger, and of hopelessness. The times when I felt hopeless were always the worst. I ran outside, late at night, down the street, and tripped and collapsed on the sidewalk in the cold night. I was sobbing uncontrollably and had cut my arms open. Two friends came out and saw me there, and I was blabbing about how pitiful I felt. They could tell what it was about. But, to their credit, they walked me back to the party, and comforted me, and turned out to be great friends.

Eventually life began to feel like it was worth living again for Ryan and one day while in a rented cabin at a lake, on a warm evening with plenty of stars - he felt a turning point.
It occurred to me I wouldn't have chosen to be anywhere else in the world with anyone else, or to be anyone else, or to be anything other than single, right at that moment. I felt lucky and blessed and like I would be OK, like the world would take care of me, like maybe there is a God.
The break up prompted Ryan to make new friends, try new activities, and to take responsibility for himself. He had come to care for and love himself, found new self confidence and started travel and have more fun.

I swam from Alcatraz to San Francisco (in a wetsuit) after just a few months of training, and repeated the feat the next year. Now it has become an annual activity. While in the relationship, I did not have the energy or motivation or encouragement to try that sort of thing. I wrote a 150-page novel in a month about a tough-talking tabloid reporter. I learned to cook, assembling risottos and stews and sea bass and barbeque – which I would never have attempted before. Socialising more, I went to parties all over town. Hitting the gym improved my mental health, but in the process I lost 40 pounds! After losing all that weight, I had to buy myself nice new clothes, including two, smart suits.

There are many things that surprised Ryan about his break-up the biggest is that he's now glad the break up happened.

I never believed anyone who told me that I'd eventually feel that way - least of all my ex, who when she broke up with me said I might be happy about it some day. I have come to learn it is true, however. I am glad it happened. Being single for an extended period forces a sort of personal growth that is self-sustaining and enriching. It also encourages you to stay away from (or break out of) any other bad relationships that come your way. If you survive a horrible break up, there is not much in life that intimidates you. Physically, socially, culturally, intellectually, professionally -- you become tuned for bigger challenges, and braver. You also learn to savour and enjoy happiness when it comes, and to appreciate the positive relationships you form, romantic or otherwise.

I am also surprised I was able to get past feelings of guilt and blame. I really felt guilty at first, that I ruined something great, and then would veer into periods of angrily blaming my ex. But I was able to arrive at a more balanced view, to see us both as human, and thus as both faulty and loving. It was going to happen and needed to happen, and I am happy to put life behind us.

Ryan feels that the best advice given after a break up is to cut off contact with an ex to the greatest extent possible.

I didn't get this from my friends or my therapist but from Thea. Once I truly applied this axiom, my emotional healing and growth began to accelerate quite a bit. In that case, I was not the one who decided to end the relationship, but I think whether one is dumped or dumping, this is a good rule. The end of a relationship is a clear signal that you need to reflect and change. Your problem might be as simple as not recognizing certain serious incompatibilities in others, or as complex as internal self esteem and acting out issues. Whatever your individual problems, you need to focus on yourself. I found that as long as I had any contact or potential contact with my ex, I was not able to focus on myself very well. Not calling, emailing, writing or even forwarding mail allowed me to get my priorities straight.

Ryan has learned to effectively and positively harness all of his potential since his break-up. He's an inspiration to others in this boat.

I am an example of how courage can be synthesized by even a shivering, frightened man who feels like a shell of his former self and all alone in the world. I was not brave -- I became brave. Also, I think my case underscores the power of physical exercise and counseling/therapy. Physical exercise gave me the internal chemicals to reduce stress, increase energy level and even induce happiness. (Antidepressant drugs can help with this as well, although I did not have the chance to get a prescription.) Therapy gave me the weekly or bi-weekly opportunity to chop off bad lines of thought before they turned sour, and to initiate new positive lines of thought that had the chance of producing great benefits.

Finally, being part of Thea's online community and listening to her excellent and generously frequent advice helped me feel less alone in the world and gave me the most important and practical tips for keeping my head above water and on the track to a happier future.

These days Ryan is a new man. He is less afriad in the world and possesses confidence to do anything and trust that things will be OK.

My to-do list is a mile long and I love it. I want to become a freestyle snowboarder, proficient and frequent surfer, daily open water swimmer, cyclist, tri-athlete, author, award-winning journalist, publisher, world traveller, learner of new languages, entrepreneur, gourmet chef, filmmaker and artist.

Ryan has moved on from his break-up with forgiveness of both himself and of his ex. He's turned his pain into something positive – whether swimming with Sharks or simply through his new outlook on life. He has even moved on to a new healthy and happy relationship and is now married and regardless of what happens in his future - he knows how to turn his pain into gain.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS # 6: Simple Gesture of Kindness & LISA DAILY's TV


Well, I seem to be a day late with all my blogs this weather, so today I am combining what should have been posted yesterday (Random Act of Kindness) with today's normal LISA DAILY TV spot.

First things first, greetings from London...I am down to meet a group of community moderators for a night out of talking shop and trading ideas. That should be fun. But also we're having a night out in London for SYBD benefactors. These are always so fun as I get to put the names to the faces - something I love doing.

So just a short bit of "kindness" to report. Last week I was at the Tramway knitting with some people from a group. One of the ladies, Evelyn, gave another of the ladies Maggie a massive bag of yarn for a volunteer group she works with. I eyed one of the chunky, colorful balls thinking it would make a nice hat. I didn't think anything of it and about an hour later Maggie gave the ball of yarn to me. A simple gesture, that cost her nothing and yet meant a lot to me. I was touched. Such a nice group of people I seem to surround myself with. Always giving. So thank you Maggie.

Well I'll leave you with this week's TV from dating expert LISA DAILY - which I've yet to even watch yet. Let me know your feedback if you have any.


www.datingexpert.TV -- Does it seem like there are no good guys left? Dating Expert Lisa Daily (author of HOW TO DATE LIKE A GROWN-UP and STOP GETTING DUMPED!) tells you why your luck is about to change.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

ASK SYBD: "Can you live with your ex after being dumped?"

A day later than billed due to life being super busy at the moment...But today's topic is one that comes up fairly often. It's one I've experienced a few times myself in slightly different ways.

Bib writes:

"So I've been dumped - and I am confused! No real explaination, she just doesn't feel the same as she did six years ago, and doesn't fancy me anymore! Just over a year ago we bought a house together, usual stuff, dream home, pushed the limits on the mortgage and in the middle of this year we extended the house which took up our remaining cash...'not a problem as we were going to live happily ever after. The trouble is we have split and neither of us can afford to move out or indeed have anywhere to go! This means we have to live together until the work is fully complete on the house (two months) and then we sell it (which will take now long?

So my question is - can you live with your ex after being dumped?

This is something I've had to contend with. After my marriage ended - we had to "co-habitate" for two, long weeks which was a bit of a nightmare at the time. Then after my second long term relationship - we split a month after buying that 'dream home' together. Thankfully we didn't have to live together, but I had to stay alone in the house until he could buy me out.

So my advice in this situation is as follows:


While I don't suggest you be rude, I'd be as brief/cordial as humanly possible.

If you start freezing her out and she starts freezing you out - you'll both be pissed off and plagued by frostbite...which won't help an already stressful situation.

Keep the subject matter solely about the house or house-related things.


Avoid asking her stuff about where she's going/what she's doing (especially who she's doing!)...

(When someone just goes off someone like that - I do fear there may be someone else on the scene - so brace yourself for that!!)


Book up as much time away from the home as possible. Now is the time to join that motorcycle club, book club, movie club, hit the gym, reconnect with old friends, search out new ones, volunteer somewhere - or take up some new hobby or whatever. Just fill your social diary as much as you can to help pass the time.


Be mysterious and enigmatic - but don't bring women around, try to make her jealous by bringing people back, or leaving random numbers around etc...

Really, just avoid being petty if at all possible.


If you try to be pals (platonic room mates) right away - it's going to be even more confusing and challenging, I believe. It takes a real solid pair to pull it off straight away.

There is a chance you can make this transition to flat mates / house mates - but it's not usually in the first week or two of a split. It is something that may happen gradually over time as the wounds heal.

So if you can watch TV in your room / or listen to music / type on the PC - away from her - that might be best - just for now.

As I mentioned in my situation above for those weeks we had to live together I was out A LOT - because it was too uncomfortable and acrimonious to be under the same roof as each other.

I think he did the same. It was really challenging...Maybe you can rent it out until the climate changes...?

DMC also had some wonderful advice on this topic:

What with the credit crunch, it seems impossible to get rid of a house these days, but me moving in with a lodger can offset an ex's part of the mortgage, while they still retains their original stake. I'd advise therefore that it's vital that you try to keep things civil between you, and be prepared to compromise a bit, as your compromising will make her more likely to compromise too.

Sound words from DMC.

Have you experienced the torture of post-dump co-habitating? Do tell us.

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Friday, November 14, 2008


HAPPY FRIDAY - it's that time of week when I share with you another chapter of my BOUNCED BACK book. The feedback on these stories has been great - so thank you for your input. I am so glad you like them. This week, it's LJ. Enjoy.

LJ is a forty-six year old woman who works in IT. She joined SYBD four years after her thirteen-year relationship ended. Despite the time that had passed, LJ was still trying to cope with the betrayal of her husband of nine years.

We used to work at the same company, and met at a disco on Halloween night. We got on so well and were instantly attracted to each other. We started seeing each other from that moment on, and we were together every day until we broke up. We had a superb relationship. We got on like soul mates. We shared everything together. Everybody thought that our relationship was rock solid. Including me. Everything changed when we had a child and he didn't feel he was the centre of attention anymore.

It wasn’t long after when LJ discovered that her husband was having an affair. It was naturally a painful discovery, and one that she could find no respite from.

Finding out that he was having an affair, and coming to terms with it, was a long and painful process. I denied it to myself for a long time, even though I kept finding evidence to prove it. I lived like that for a year. When I finally confronted him, he would get angry and defensive and accuse me of being disloyal. I would feel bad for days, and then it would all start again. I eventually proved it with no doubt, and I asked him to leave. I could not live like that anymore. He maintained that he was not having an affair, they were just friends, because he did not have a home life! Seemingly it was all my fault because I had been too busy with our child. He continued to maintain they were just friends - until the day he had to tell me she was pregnant with his child. After that, we had to remain friendly and civil, (which of course was a painful process), for the sake of our son.

When LJ was told that her husband and his mistress were expecting a child, she was unsurprisingly distraught.

I was devastated. My whole world - and everything I believed to be true, honest and good - was totally shattered. I felt humiliated, betrayed, angry, hurt, confused, and thought I would never recover and would never ever love again. To love like that again would be impossible. My health suffered. I found it difficult to sleep because I was afraid of being alone in the house all the time. I became obsessive about checking the doors and windows were locked three or four times a night. I would sit in bed, with the light on, until I dropped into exhausted sleep. I lost a terrific amount of weight. I had palpitations and smoked like a chimney. I was over anxious about our child, every little cold or sneeze was meningitis or something worse. I eventually got very ill with shingles and anemia.

LJ remembers hitting rock bottom and never wants to go back there. She felt her life was over, and that she would never be able to cope with anything again. She feared that she would live the rest of her life – destined to be alone.

When I found out he was having a kid with her, I knew there was no going back. Finally, I was able to close a door that had remained open. It was about a year after we finally parted. I realised then that I needed to start to take care of me and my son and look forward – and stop looking back. I had also started to discover that I was OK on my own, and that, in some ways, it was quite nice. I didn't have to answer to anyone for anything. I was master of my own destiny, and could do what I wanted with my life. I started to see this as an opportunity to change the way my life was going.

LJ’s life began to turn around day by day. She went back to college to retrain in IT. She got a good job working in a school – so that she could be there for her son as much as possible. She embarked on a full-scale self-improvement plan.

I joined a gym and went three times a week and made some new friends. I went to anything I got invited to. I rose to the challenge of turning up to parties or events on my own. I have brought up my son on my own and I am always grateful that I have him in my life. He has blossomed into a wonderful teenager and I am so proud that we pulled through this together.

LJ has reached ambivalence about her break-up with her ex-husband and, though it was a tough slog, they are amicable.

Eight years down the road, we are genuine friends. It’s all water under the bridge. It does not mean I have not come away without my battle wounds but at least there are no hard feelings anymore. I genuinely like my ex-husband and we have a good friendship. He’s even been there for me to help with a few things, and I know he always would, if I needed him to. I have no bitterness or hatred towards his partner who caused us to split. I have developed the attitude that you should never take anything for granted, but you should take whatever life presents you and make the most of it and treasure it and always look forward to new challenges and opportunities. I am not even sad anymore about losing my marriage.

Confronted with someone going through a similar situation, LJ would warn them that it’s going to be a hard road ahead and that they are likely to feel a lot of pain, but she’d also assure them that they will survive. Break-ups are of course a chance to grow and learn and come through the other side – learning skills and tools to enhance their lives in a positive way.

It’s not what life gives you, it is how you deal with it that makes all the difference in the world. If you’re healing from a break-up, treat this as a time to reflect on what you really want and go for it. It is possible to bounce back from rock bottom. Think about making changes. Turn your life around and strive to be a happier person. For instance, with the benefit of some time and distance, I am now am eternally thankful that I don't spend my life washing and ironing shirts cooking late at night for someone! Relationships should be about sharing and developing with each other whilst leading your own life. Never be totally dependent on another person for your happiness...Make your own!

I have a more relaxed attitude about relationships. I don't look at them as something for life...I look at them as something for the here and now…I have more respect for myself and I won't put up with any nonsense from anyone anymore. I can handle myself better now and have more confidence. It is important for people who have experienced this pain to know that as agonising as it is, you can recover from it and move on. No one ever thinks they will.

Beautifully said Miss LJ. Some of those phrases I feel I could have written myself. We both had what we thought were ‘enviable’ relationships, both got left for other women and both learned not to take anything for granted with relationships. Finally, like LJ, I’m a firm believer in making your own happiness. It never works to try to find that outside ourselves. That was perhaps my most-challenging, yet my most-rewarding lesson learned over the past ten years. It's the one I wish for everyone on SYBD to learn too...Happy Friday.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

LISA DAILY: Dating Tips # 3: Get Your Guy to Propose

Well Lisa Daily is the author of Stop Getting Dumped and How to Date Like a Grown up...and she runs DATING EXPERT each week we get her take on the dating rituals of the world. This week she talks about getting a guy to propose. I'd be curious to hear your feedback on the advice. Love it or loathe it do let us know.

I've never been one for dating much, unfortunately...

For you serial daters - do tell.

Tomorrow it's another success story for SYBD. Check back then! Thank you! :)

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS # 5: Everybody Needs Good Neighbours

Pardon the Australian soap opera reference in our title this week...

Each week here on the blog we try to spread a bit of kindness - just to show it's not all "doom and gloom" around these parts. Also we're firm believers about what we put out coming bouncing back. Today's input comes from an anonymous American woman who simply goes by Anon101.

"There are a couple of elderly women who live above me (separately) in my apartment complex. Whenever I see them carrying in bags of groceries or whatever, I normally stop and carry them up the steps for them. One morning I was running extremely late for a meeting, but I couldn't stand the thought of my neighbor trying to haul up six bags of stuff to her apartment. So, after I traipsed up and down the stairs a few times...(in a suit and heels, mind you)...I was sure that I was going to get reamed at work for being so late. Instead, I missed every red light on the way there and made it in the conference room just as everyone was sitting down!"

Isn't it great when life works out like that? Anon also gave us another story.

A year ago or so, on one of the morning talk radio shows, someone who called in told a great story of "paying it forward." Apparently, someone who was going through a McDonald's drive-thru decided to pay for the person behind him. Then the second person did the same. Then the third...and the fourth, I think. Even though I wasn't part of that line, hearing that story sure did put a smile on my face and made my morning much more enjoyable."

This past weekend - on a lovely drive in the country here in Scotland I clocked a tree in the wild with Christmas ornaments on it. I had to do a u-turn to go back and photograph it. What a wonderful and simple idea. I wished I'd thought of it myself. It made me wonder who the person was that did such a thing. Being one who loves Christmas lights, trees, ornaments etc - this really struck a cord with me. I hope it does you too. I thank you for keeping this thread going and hopefully you'll be inspired to do something kind for someone else.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

ASK SYBD: My Ex Claims to Want to Be Friends but Why is S/He acting Like This?


When we split up we don't always get the answers we need or want. People (our exes) often say things to us to try to soften the blow...things like they "still care" about us and that they still want us in their lives, but why then do some of them act in the direct opposite way to those wants?

Each week, there are many posts on SYBD that reflect this sort of sentiment - where the dumpee is left asking "why is s/he behaving like this?"

Many times a dumper will SAY they want to be friends and sometimes they even mean it, but sometimes they don't. Unfortunately.

It's not uncommon to feel like you're getting a mighty cold shoulder or even freezed-out once the break-up has occurred.

This can mean the dumper doesn't want to be friends - but it can also mean they simply feel awkward, embarrassed, confused and a whole host of other emotions. It's not always as black and white thinks it is.

So a dumpee ends up reading things into the situation that aren't in fact there and they blame themselves for their ex's inability to communicate effectively and positively - when in fact it may have nothing to do with them.


If a new person is on the scene (e.g. and you've been replaced) then it's more than likely that their free time is taken up with Mr or Miss New. Or that the new

This is why the general rule of thumb is to make a clean break - at least until such time as you can handle being "friends" yourself.


A lot of time a dumper may not want to be in contact with their ex anymore is the sense of guilt they feel for causing the pain, turmoil or upheaval. So they do what they feel is best and disappear.


Splitting up can be confusing - even for a dumper. Even if they (and sometimes you) - know it's for the best that the split happens - seeing each other can cause all sorts of confusing emotions to rise to the surface. If chemistry has been good - then it's likely to rise to the surface too.

This is why we hear of the ole "sex with the ex" chestnut. Which can be totally fine if you're both on the same page about it. But in many cases a dumpee will try to use sex as a way of convincing an ex to get back together. That trick seldom works and the dumpee ends up feeling used.


Dumpees often feel terribly hurt post break up, it's only natural. But what they dont' realize that in spite of the way their ex may be behaving - they're hurting too in many occasions. Just because they're ACTING like they don't give a toss about you - doesn't meant they don't. Often acting like they don't care is simply a protective mechanism from showing they actually do care.

Yes I know your ex may be behaving like the spawn of Satan - and acting like they really don't care - but chances are, deep down they do. They just have a funny way of showing it at times.


So really, at the end of the day, it's wise to not analyze what a dumper is feeling and why they are behaving in this way or that. We end up second guessing and guessing wrong.

Case in point...I once had a guy go AWOL on me. Literally one day he vanished in a way that many on SYBD would be shocked by. His behavior would be labeled "bad" by most around this site.

Though I admit it hurt at the time, about a year later, we became good friends and he confessed why he'd acted in the way he had. It had NOTHING to do with me. Once he told me his reasoning it all made sense.

But at some point just after he left I just kindly reminded myself over and over "this is not about me." Because in most cases - it isn't. So all those early days/weeks (or what have you) after it happened, that I spent trying to read his mind (and actions), was all wasted energy.

You can never get behind someone else's eyes. Once I stopped trying to work out my ex's behaviors - I was able to "go with the flow" and it's resulted in me being able to be friends with every guy I dated in the past decade. In no case did it happen straight away. In some of the cases they acted like I had the plague...But as time goes on, dust settles and it's easier to be open and honest when some water has passed under the bridge.

Good luck...and let me leave you with a wonderful excerpt from Wayne Dyer's CHANGE YOUR THOUGHTS CHANGE YOUR LIFE book:

"Let the world unfold without always attempting to figure it all out. Let relationships just be, for example, since everything is going to stretch out in Divine order. Don't try so hard to make something work - simply allow. Don't always toil at trying to understand your mate, your children, your parents, your boss, or anyone else, because the Tao is working at all times. When expectations are shattered, practice allowing that to be the way it is. Recognize that some of your desires are about how you think your world should be, rather than how it is in that moment. Become an astute observer...judge less and listen more. Take time to open up your mind to the fascinating mystery and uncertainty that we all experience." (PG 5)

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Sunday, November 09, 2008

Friday, November 07, 2008


Bob* (ok, it's not his real name) is a twenty-eight year old student in Reading, England. He joined SYBD in July of 2003 after his two-year relationship ended. They’d met in a London club a few years prior through mutual friends.

It was that sort of intense connection. I had never met anyone, previously, in a club before. At least not one I had a long-term relationship with, until then…We had a few things stacked against us namely the distance between us (about one and a half hour’s drive), which didn’t help us. I think the relationship was just something we both wanted at the time, but not in the long term, e.g. not forever.

It was a decent relationship which ticked along, but one day came to and over the phone. They both knew it was in the cards but instead of making a “clean break”, they opted for a “two-week trial” break in hopes of softening the blow.

She took a holiday and while she was away she decided, for herself, that it was finished. When we got back together to speak about the future, she made it clear that for her (and us) it would be best to move on.

Even though it had become, in many ways, a relationship of “convenience”, and he knew a break-up was imminent, Bob still felt the pain of detachment quite severely - experiencing all sorts of pains.

I had severe physical effects, which was really strange for me, as it was the first time I'd had any after a split up. The initial reaction was shock (even though I knew it was coming). As it started to sink in, I took a definite down turn. My appetite completely went and I lost a lot of weigh but at least I looked good with this weight loss! I wish I could lose it again!! But I was basically eating next-to-nothing and chain-smoking all the time.

You could tell it had hit me: body language, the sound of my voice, I was unmotivated and lost all enthusiasm for everything. I have a passion for buying lots of music and for six months I didn’t even listen to any music let alone buy any. I'd lost my inspiration to do anything creative and it hit my confidence. It hit me as soon as I woke up in the mornings and didn’t leave until I dropped off to sleep at night. I literally couldn’t think of anything else!

Over the course of the break-up, Bob survived many dips to rock bottom – so many that he can’t even remember them. It was an over all feeling that he’d simply never get better.

It was the first time I'd really had my heart broken badly, and it felt like death. I guess in some ways it was death, the death of the relationship. The feeling of hating life, hating myself and losing all my confidence was particularly soul-destroying for me.

Bob took the advice he was receiving on and made a clean break from his ex which he says was the start of the healing process. He had grown tired of the questions like “what happened with your ex?” and “have you found someone new?” He eventually also got fed up dissecting it all after the split.

I literally felt 'talked out'! It definitely helped. The relationship with my parents definitely got stronger after the split. I have always been close to them, I'm not embarrassed to say that, but it was my mum I turned to, time and time again to talk, talk, and talk some more. Also, I learned that real friends are the ones you could talk to, week after week, about the same thing, often boring them silly, and that they would still be there supporting you.

In addition to talking, Bob coped by staying active both at night and during the days. It’s not uncommon for dumpees to take activity to the ‘extreme’ - as a way of being in denial – so while activity and productivity is good – don’t do it to the exclusion of working through the pain of the break-up.

I used to book up my diary so I was seeing someone every night. It helped just to be busy and could justify to myself that I was really trying. Sure, some nights were terrible, but some were good as well. I started going to the gym regularly and it did help lift my mood. Even though it was the middle of summer and there I was: sweating buckets in a gym, feeling alone, it gave me a structure in my life. I think structure is important. At the very least, it’s much more preferable than, as a worst-case scenario, sitting in your flat/house wallowing in self-pity.

The break-up certainly made Bob look at his life and he started asking important questions about where it was going. He decided to make a change or two.

I applied for University as a mature student to become a social worker. I'm halfway through the course now and am so glad I did it. I've also started some radio presenting/DJ work at the university which is something I'd wanted to do for years.

Bob feels like it’s a pleasant surprise to look back and see all the positive ways his life has changed since his break-up.

I'm surprised at how my feelings of relief came up. I am really glad it finished. We weren’t right for each other. At the time, I think I tried to make her the villain but in reality, I think she was the hero. She really had tried her best to finish as painlessly as possible.

When I turned around and said we needed to have 'no contact at all forever!', it really hit her hard. I know the split-up was very upsetting for her too. I just really hope she is doing well.

Overall, SYBD is an encyclopaedia of great advice. The no contact rule was great but hard rule to adhere to. Other things that spring to mind were so many messages like, 'if you were meant to be together, you would be' - which is something I strongly believe in. Just hearing other people's stories really helped a lot. My only regret was not finding this site sooner.

Bob thinks anyone going through a break-up needs to mourn for a bit and to go easy on themselves, but then to start to tackle the pain, head-on. Here are more survival tips from Bob.
1. It doesn’t matter how long it takes - some people take years to get over it.
2. Join a gym, take up hobbies.
3. Try and read more.
4. Do anything at first to take your mind off things.
5. Try and be as busy as you can, even if you don't feel like going out (which you won't), do it anyway.
6. Call on your friends for support - you'll have some pleasant surprises, they do really care for you.
7. Go to your family for support (if possible).
8. Try and change things in your life so you have new things to think about that aren’t associated with the ex.
9. Go on holiday, if your friends won't come - go alone.
10. Try traveling.
11. Opt for a career change.
12. Change up your flat or house, redecorate it - start afresh.
13. Each time you cry, remind yourself, it is a good thing. It's all part of the process of recovery.

Bob suggests that someone healing from a break-up needs to be honest with his or her self.

Only you know in your heart if the one you’re with is really your soul mate. Don't fall for the 'but no one else might not take me/may not find me attractive/this might be my last chance' rubbish. You need to remember that you are a good, lovable person and don't just settle by taking the first person who becomes available. I would also say keep your independence when in a relationship. Yes put 100% into the relationship, but don't forget about your friends, family, hobbies, dreams and your aspirations.

Even though, at the time, Bob was devastated – when he looked back at the relationship after a year or so – he realised it was one of the best things that could have happened to him. He realised he’d known all along she wasn’t really “the one” for him, but at the time he felt like his world had finished when it ended.

If I'm completely honest, the relationship was convenient for me, I like being in relationships and we seemed to get on ok, and we enjoyed each other's company. But we never really 'clicked', and we had many different interests and thoughts on life. I really should have been a bit more independent during the relationship, and not spent my spare time only being with her...but that is something I have learned for the future.

These days, Bob can now empathise with someone who is heartbroken, and feels like he could give good advice and point them in the right direction. His break-up has also helped him understand himself a lot better in terms of his actions and his feelings. Given his experience, he fully comprehends what is meant by being on an “emotional roller coaster” but he’s all the better for having survived the ride. Bob got busy, worked out, quit his job and went back to university to do social work. The break-up resulted in strengthening ties with his family and friends and allowed him the benefit of a greater self-awareness. While he is currently seeing someone new, he’s certain he will manage if they unthinkable were to happen. He survived once, he’ll do it again – after all he’s a survivor.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS # 4 - Flip Flops for Ice Cream


Apologies for my lack of timely posts this week. I've been rushed with film stuff and then got floored with a head cold. Today's rock bottom but I wanted to get something posted as it's Wednesday and a day for acts of kindness. This week's comes from Goldie...

One of my last random acts of kindness was on holiday. I decided to spend the day at the beach on my own. I went to the 'lagoon' which was a bit of a walk and you have to pay a few lira (Turkish) to get in as it's a protected area. The beach, whilst glorious is pebbly and can be very hard on the feet.

There was a couple on the next few sunbeds next to me and I heard her asking the sunshade guy if there was anywhere she could buy some cheap flip flops or shoes. There wasn't. All there was was a small beach hut selling snacks and drinks, the alternative being head back to town.

See, her shoes had broken and as they were only flip flops she couldn't walk on them. Seeing that their only options were swim round to town or piggy back off her husband (at their age, probably not the most sensible idea!) I offered her my shoes so they could walk into town and buy some more.

I got a Cornetto ice cream cone as a thank you, and very grateful they were too!


Recently Ken and I went for a shop in Glasgow. It was a busy Sunday and the stores were heaving with folks as we searched for a winter coat for him.

One store, (about the sixth we went in), was having a birthday party and you could reach your hand into a box at get discounts up to 50% off.

I suspect the box was filled with 25% tickets (as that's what each of us got on first attempt).

Ken jokingly says to the kid with the box, "Any 50%-offs in there?" and the guy said "I'll look" and sure enough a few minutes later, he had found one in his box, walked over to us and handed it to Ken.

So since it was 50% off everything we had, we both had a little shopping spree! I picked up a hoodie that says "Soul Cal" and a black v-neck jumper which I just love. Ken got some jeans and a fabulous black winter coat. We were smiling for ages after that.

Not sure the guy's boss would have liked that "random act of kindness" - but we sure appreciated it, and to be fair, we spent more than we would have without it.

So there you go.

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Monday, November 03, 2008

ASK SYBD: Should I Delete My Ex From Facebook (& other online networking sites)?

Should I Delete My Ex From Facebook?

When things are going good in life - those online networking sites can be a real treat. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin et al. When you break up though - it gets tricky.

"Delete or not to delete?" that is the question.

Just as "is it possible being friends with an ex?" is a common question or topic on So You've Been Dumped - so is how you handle breaking up in the Networking age.


It's a total nightmare seeing their status go from "in a relationship" to "single" or even back to "in a relationship" -- only this time with someone else! Ugh! (That's why I just leave my status as "it's complicated" - then if I am single or not - it doesn't change.)

I say "ignorance is bliss".


Oh boy, don't even get me started on seeing their PHOTOS on their profiles. Sometimes they're with other people. Sometimes just them. Often they're out having fun and it feels like they're rubbing salt in a wound - (intentionally or not). Ouch!

What' worse is the fact that even if you delete your ex - you can still end up seeing the photos on your mutual friends pages. This is particularly an issue with it not?

So each week it seems that someone comes on to SYBD and posts a question about what to do with their Facebook (or other) site.

Should they delete the profile? Should the avoid the site? Should they delete the ex as a friend? What about the mutual friends?
Honestly who knew this stuff would get so complicated?

Recently, FIREMAN BRAD (Aka "Brad") had some good advice I thought I'd share with you...The thread is many merged threads on the topics of these social networking sites and the thread runs to five pages...I asked Brad if he'd mind if I used his words for the blog today and he said that was ok. So thanks Brad.

Brad says:

Guys and girls. You don't need to avoid these sites, you just need to manage the information getting back to you. You can do this in a number of ways.

1. Change your settings to reduce the alerts getting back to you from mutual friends etc.

2. Speak to any mutual friends and explain that you will be deleting them for a while. They should understand.

3. Delete or block an ex from your profile. This would require an embarrassing re-adding as a friend - should you want to stalk them which should be off-putting enough.

Failing that, have an almighty blazing row with your ex calling them all names under the sun (effing this and that etc) which should result in them deleting and blocking you, solving your problem in one fell swoop. This approach worked well for me.

I didn't see why I should stop having fun on Facebook because of an ex, and don't see why anyone else should either.

Treat Facebook as you would your life - in that you carry on with your life, but just amend your routine somewhat.


That's actually some pretty sage advice. Do what works for you. Any suggestions - feel free to log in and share them with us.

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