Has the end of a relationship left you on the verge of a nervous breakdown? Let Cosmo’s RAC* (Relationship Advice Counsel) put you on the road to recovery!
“I treated a good man badly – and I miss him”
Claire White, a PA, was with John, a 29-year-old banker for three years before he ended it in March this year.
“John was the total opposite of my previous boyfriends. They might have been better looking, more sociable or stylish, but they were all bad boys, whereas John was sweet, generous, and romantic. I don’t think I knew how to handle it. “Although I loved him, I always felt something was slightly amiss. We lived together for the last 18 months of our relationship, which is when things started to go wrong. I think I took him for granted – I stopped fancying him and started going out a lot with people from work to avoid him. He’d just have to sneeze, and I’d go mental. A few times I sat him down and said, ‘I’m not happy’, but he always brushed it aside. The thought of not having him in my life was terrifying, but I’d still go crying to my mum that I didn’t fancy him anymore. “And then, in March, John dumped me. We’d agreed to take a two-week break so we could see what happened, but when the two weeks were up, he told me he didn’t want to try again. Basically, I’d pushed him away. I felt bereft – I lay awake all night crying. I couldn’t believe I’d actually lost him.
“We both went to a friend’s house for a dinner party two weeks after we’d split up and ended up sleeping together. I was elated, as I thought there might be a possibility we might get back together, but we didn’t.
“I admit to calling every two weeks now to ‘check in’ with him, and we also text each other. My friends’ despair of me. Even though I’ve been out with other men – I slept with someone a month after John and I split up, and have five men on the go at the moment – I don’t really want to get involved with anyone new. I don’t think it’s fair to start a new relationship when I still care for John – if he called me, I’d drop them tomorrow and go back to him. John has since started seeing someone else, which hurts, and I keep hoping it isn’t serious.
“My girlfriends are endlessly telling me to move on, which I know I should. While I still think we might get back together, if it isn’t going to work out between us, I’d love to meet someone else to help put John behind me. I’d be interested to see why I go for the bad guys, and why, when I finally did meet a nice man, I didn’t fancy him.”
OUR EXPERTS; REPAIR PLAN
Dating expert Karen Mooney*, from BBC’s Would Like To Meet, says:
“Claire needs to dump these five hangers-on for a start. How is she going to meet new men who are right for her, if she spends all her time with men who aren’t? She’s only dating them because she doesn’t know what she wants and hasn’t met the right person yet. She should try to meet new people she likes and has things in common with. Claire needs to avoid starting physical relationships too soon, which can change the focus of the relationship. She needs to be herself completely, and find out if that’s actually what she wants. But, first, she needs to spend some time on her own and figure out what she needs from a man. She could write a list, but I think it will be obvious when she meets the right person. She could also try getting herself into a positive frame of mind by smiling more often and wearing bright colours – these will put her in a good mood and she’ll soon start to attract more positive people into her life.”
“I compare every woman I meet to my ex”
Iain Nuttall, 28, a salesman from Cambridge, was with Laura, 28, who works in human resources, for seven years.
“Laura and I got together at university. We came from similar backgrounds, and I thought we wanted the same things – to move to the city, make some money, and then settle back down in the countryside. The relationship seemed solid, and so we bought a house together two years ago.
“I still don’t fully understand what went wrong in our relationship. There were signals we weren’t compatible – for example, our ideas about spending money were at odds. Laura would want a new car and be happy to put it on a credit card, whereas I’d say, ‘Oh no, we can’t afford that.’ She started to love city life and going out, but I was looking forward to a quieter family life.
“I thought they were just the day-to-day niggles every couples go through. Then, during one row, she said, ‘Andy would understand’ (a guy she worked with, who I’d never met). That instantly made me wonder if she was seeing someone else. I don’t know if she was with him then, but she is now. The day we split, almost a year ago, we were just having a ‘what’s going on between us chat’, when she said she thought things were irreconcilable. I felt like something had been ripped out of me. Afterwards, neither of us knew what to say or do. She moved out immediately and we only spoke when it came to things like selling the house. I hoped that by going through those processes, she’d realise what she was throwing away, but she was adamant.
“I haven’t met anyone since Laura – I’ve been on a few dates, but nothing serious. I’d love to meet someone and settle down. My confidence has taken a battering in all sorts of ways: after we sold the house, I even had to move back in with my parents temporarily.
“I constantly compare new women to Laura. She’s very attractive and quite a hard act to follow. I’m starting to worry I’ll never meet anyone else. If I could get my confidence up, and have some ideas about were to meet people, that would be a great start.”
OUR EXPERTS’ REPAIR PLAN
Karen Mooney, says:
“Iain isn’t over his ex because he hasn’t met the next person yet. He needs to meet new people, and a dating agency or speed dating could be the answer, so he can spend time with forward-thinking people who want to make a change in their lives.
“Iain says he’s ready to meet someone serious – I know a lot of women who’d love to meet him – but I do understand his reservations, so a large dating event or dinner part might suit him better. There are lots of events where you can meet single people. He should practise chatting to women in general, smiling at them and complimenting them. It’s a good idea to try this out on a female friend first, so he can be sure he’s not being too cheesy! Despite what we say, women love compliments and they are a great conversation starter.”