Name: Dee
Details: Female / 28 / bi-sexual
Relationship length: 2 and a half years
Ended: 1998
Location: Scotland

Dee met her ex girlfriend through her flatmate who had a crush on her. Dee was, at the time, only vaguely aware of her, knowing only that she was a Swedish exchange student. Her flat mate kept asking her out, but kept getting knocked back. Dee and her ex would meet at various nights out due to their mutual friends and one night they got chatting.

She then asked me to come along to a night out, I went along and we danced for a while. I remember saying something like “oh god I’m all sweaty!” and she said “no, you’re lovely”. After that we started dating!

They dated for around eighteen months when they decided to relocate to Sweden from Scotland. Things were good at first. It was exciting being in a new country, learning the language and customs and trying to find a job and meeting family and friends. But eventually the novelty wore off and a shift took place and it all good too much for the couple – particularly Dee’s ex.

The end came at our flat in central Stockholm, on our bed. I had asked if everything was ok for about the millionth time, as things hadn’t seemed quite right for while. Eventually she said that she loved me but wasn’t “in love” with me. She went on to explain that she had lost respect for me, partly because I had been depressed (my Grandfather was dying of cancer and I had been staying with him in the hospice) and partly because the strain of being emotionally and financially relied upon became too much for her.

Dee had left behind her family, her friends, her way of life in Scotland to be with this person she loved (a feeling I know all too well) – only to be chucked aside like an after thought. She was crushed and stuck.

I was devastated. I cried continually, I listened to Nyman’s Piano Concerto constantly. My new best friend was Absolut vodka. I lost weight, because I wasn’t really interested in eating or looking after myself. I continued to stay with my ex because she insisted that I didn’t have to move out straight away. I was also working with my ex at the time, so things were a bit strained at work too.

Like so many SYBD community members, Dee found out the hard way the perils of dating someone and working with them – and add to that the living with them too arrangement and you’ve got the recipe for agony.

Reeling from the break-up and her grandfather’s death, it was a phone call to her best friend in Australia that served as a wake up call for Dee.

I drank about half a litre of vodka and called my best friend who’d recently moved to Australia. The first thing he asked me was how much I had to drink. Upon reflection, I was really lucky that I didn’t spiral into alcoholism. I just remember him telling me I needed to move out.

Dee’s friend was right. When you’re reeling from another’s decision to break things off – you need to switch into self-preservation mode. So Dee moved back to Scotland and eventually in with her friend in Glasgow. She learned first hand just how long it can take to recover from heartbreak.

Once she did recover, Dee got a job at a call centre and started to date her team leader, John. Yes, it seems her ex put her off women and she’s been with John for five wonderful years now. She’s learned how to drive, passed her driving test (on the 7th time). She’s even flown down to Australia to visit that best friend of hers to thank him firsthand for all his support. Most of all she’s learned a lot about herself and her ways of coping with difficulties.

I'm amazed that I can now think about my relationship with some objectivity. I reflect fondly about the good times, but I also remember the bad times. Ultimately I know our break up was the best thing for both of us. I genuinely wish the best for her. I realise now how young I was at the time, mentally and emotionally. I’ve grown up a lot and feel that although it felt like my world was ending at the time, it was just changing. It was a great opportunity.

If Dee comes across a friend or stranger needing advice – she’s always there to give it. Trained to degree level in psychology, she’s a natural. Her advice is sound:
Look after yourself – first of all the basics: eat, sleep, don’t rely on alcohol (or drugs!) and cut contact with your ex, unless completely unavoidable (i.e. you have kids). Take it one day at a time and make sure you don’t rush into any relationships. Find activities to keep you busy, think of things you’ve always wanted to do then do them.

This chapter was written several years ago, I am please to report that Dee is not only still happy in her long-term relationship with John but they recently had a lovely,, gorgeous baby boy. What a difference a few years can make! It just goes to show - we never truly know what is around the next bend...

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