Sunday, June 24, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

New endeavors can help fill void left by ex-boyfriend

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Q: I went through a breakup about four months ago. The relationship didn't end in the best way; I simply stopped taking calls from him because I could no longer take the lies and deception.

Now I am terribly lonely and missing companionship. I am seeing a therapist to make sure I'm taking care of myself while going through the healing process. But, I'm sad and I miss him (or I miss companionship). How do I get through this?

I feel dumb for missing the man who caused so much drama and distress in my life, but we also had many good times. How do I get through this time without being a downer?

Heartbreak Hotel

A: Branch out, please. I won't suggest how, because it has to be in ways that have personal meaning to you — but the way you present this situation, it sounds as if you see your world generally as the Past With Your Ex, the Present Without Your Ex, and the Future You Construct So You Don't Think About Your Ex — and there's so much out there that's better than someone who lies to you on a regular basis.

Whenever you're not sure what that is exactly, start by finding ways to give to others. It's such a reliable way to get out of yourself and also to stay positive about your worth when you need it.

Also, instead of beating yourself up for being "dumb," which is unfair, please use therapy also to explore why someone so antithetical to comfort — a liar — apparently served as your comfort zone. Your loneliness in his absence means his presence likely filled more than a superficial need.

Dealing with envious thoughts exposes some good, some bad

Q: A column of yours from December (wapo.st/T5yRYy) raised a rarely talked-about issue between friends: envy. It's human to envy those who have what we want, but it isn't an easy emotion. What do you think is the best way to navigate this minefield of (privately) acknowledging the ugly emotion but also caring genuinely for your friend?

Anonymous

A: One way is to accept that we all have ugly thoughts and feelings sometimes. One of our jobs on earth is to master them, which means not letting them corrupt our behavior — and making the necessary repairs when they do get the best of us.

Another is a mental exercise I use all the time. When I feel envy, I ask myself whether I'd trade lives with that person if I could — not the part I envy, but all of it. There's always at least one part of their world (though typically dozens) that I wouldn't want, enough to make me say, "No thanks, I'll keep mine."

A third way is so obvious I almost didn't think to mention it: Keep friends you actually like. So many times, when someone's successes or spoils really get under your skin, the truth ends up being that you're not all that crazy about the person to begin with, and envy is just the delivery system for your dislike. It's so much easier to be happy for people when they're a pleasure to have around.

Comments

Tell Me About It: Dad despairs at state of gender relations

Q: Day after day, we have new news of a famous man who has done unspeakably stupid and offensive things to women ... for decades. Society is, somewhat belatedly, starting to take these accusations seriously.But change is needed at the opposite end of...
Published: 06/22/18

Tell Me About It: Future in-laws are insisting on an open bar

Q: My fiance and I are getting married in my familyís hometown and my parents are hosting (and paying for) the wedding. My family are minimal drinkers. My fianceís large extended family is accustomed to weddings with full open bars.My parentsí initia...
Published: 06/21/18
Plan your weekend: St. Pete Pride, Hall and Oates, Pixies, Logic, comics Jay Pharoah and Bobby Bones

Plan your weekend: St. Pete Pride, Hall and Oates, Pixies, Logic, comics Jay Pharoah and Bobby Bones

Rainbow connection Pride weekend: One of the largest Pride celebration in the Southeast happens this weekend in St. Petersburg, bringing a rainbow of activities. Things set off on Friday with the free SP2 Concert at North Straub Park, hosted by Coc...
Published: 06/20/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Big concerts this weekend: Luke Bryan, Hall and Oates, Weezer, Logic and more

Big concerts this weekend: Luke Bryan, Hall and Oates, Weezer, Logic and more

HIS KIND OF NIGHT: Luke BryanItís been three long years since Tampa has seen the well-groomed hide of Luke Bryan, the Hollywoodiest hunk in Nashville. But heís about to make up for lost time. On Saturday heíll headline his biggest-ever show here, a b...
Published: 06/20/18
Top things to do this week: Go Skateboarding Day, Hollywood medium Tyler Henry

Top things to do this week: Go Skateboarding Day, Hollywood medium Tyler Henry

Tyler Henry: Hollywood MediumTyler Henry, the so-called Hollywood Medium who stars in an eponymous E! hit show, is coming to town with a live show called "Life Lessons I Have Learned From the Departed." The soft-spoken 22-year-old has done readings f...
Published: 06/20/18
5 things to do under $5: USF Summer Plant Festival, Bridal Show, free show by AnastasiaMax

5 things to do under $5: USF Summer Plant Festival, Bridal Show, free show by AnastasiaMax

1 Summer Plant Festival: If you think you canít get anything to thrive in Floridaís brutal summers, check out the vendors with fruit trees and advice on how to grow them, along with hundreds of blooming butterfly plants, herbs and tropical and exotic...
Published: 06/20/18

Tell Me About It: Wife punished after being victimized

Q: At a work happy hour, a male co-worker groped me. He later "apologized" with the qualification that I had been sending him mixed signals.Iím married, he has met my husband, Iíve never led him on. And when it happened I was incredibly clear that it...
Published: 06/20/18
Your guide to St. Pete Pride: What's changed for 2018

Your guide to St. Pete Pride: What's changed for 2018

Pride weekend kicks off in St. Petersburg Friday with a free concert hosted by a RuPaul’s Drag Race star, a parade along the downtown waterfront on Saturday and an expanded expo of vendors and art on Sunday in the Grand Central District that ga...
Published: 06/19/18

Tell Me About It: Mom/daughter dynamic feels controlling

Q: I am afraid I may be a controlling mom of my young adult daughter, but we have a dynamic in which she seeks me out often, solicits my advice, and makes me too important in her life. I admit to offering that advice because it is hard for me to draw...
Published: 06/19/18

Tell Me About It: Regretting staying too long in bad romance

Q: I recently broke up with someone after two years. Even though there were things that bothered me while we were together, I would convince myself I was overreacting, he didnít really mean it, etc.Now that itís over, I feel like a fool for not havin...
Published: 06/18/18