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How to Get Over a Break-Up
Dating Advice

How to Get Over a Break-Up

After seven months of great dating she suddenly broke up with me. I feel used and betrayed.

by

Dear Rosie and Sherry,

I'm in my early 30s and recently dated a woman in her late 20s with the intention of getting married. I come from a more traditional background than she does, and when we first started going out I explained that I was looking for something more than a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. I told her that at this point in my life I'd rather be single than have a relationship that goes nowhere just for the sake of some fun and entertainment. She said she understood, and although she didn't come right out and say that she was also dating for marriage, I thought that if she continued to go out with me it meant that she was willing to have a serious relationship.

We got on well from the beginning and had a good time together. We shared many interests and values. I was open with her from the beginning about my career, earnings, lifestyle, and my goals for the future, and she seemed happy with it all. I felt that we were really getting to know each other and that we had connected on a deep level. In time, I confessed my feelings of affection for her, and I believed the feelings were mutual. I was shocked when, after seven months of dating, she abruptly ended our relationship without any warning or clear reason, beyond, "My feelings have changed, sorry."

That was two months ago and I've had a hard time getting over the break-up that I never saw coming. I just learned that she's in a new relationship. I feel betrayed and cheated. People around me tell me to accept that this is how dating works, and it's acceptable behavior. I find this hard to accept. I have never been involved with someone for more than a few dates before realizing if there is a serious potential or not.

I feel rather used and have am losing faith in people and their motives. I'd appreciate your advice on where to go from here.

Gabe

Rosie Einhorn, L.C.S.W. and Sherry Zimmerman, J.D., M.Sc.

Rosie and Sherry's Answer:

Dear Gabe,

It's a sad fact of life that dating can be heartbreaking. As you just experienced, sometimes one person is convinced that he's found the right person and the relationship should move forward but the person he's dating doesn't feel the same way. When the break-up comes, the person feels devastated, even betrayed. His former dating partner may have mixed feelings about the break-up that range from confusion, guilt, sadness, and relief.

Love Potential

Here are some perspectives that may make it easier for you to heal from what you experienced. The first and most important idea to internalize is that even though your relationship did not turn out the way you hoped it would, you did, for the first time, connect with another person in a deep way and see potential for the two of you. You were able to feel emotional intimacy and love for another person, and to feel that she connected to you as well. As Tennyson's said, "'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." It's natural to feel discouraged and hurt when a promising relationship ends, but the knowledge that that you can connect deeply, love, and be loved is something you can take with you and build upon.

Almost the One

While you believed this young woman was The One, at some point she didn't feel the same about you. You may think that even though you made your intentions clear from the beginning, she was leading you on the entire time you were dating, enjoying the connection and good times she had with you but ending things once you became serious. These thoughts can increase the hurt and betrayal you feel and you can get stuck blaming her for your misery. It seems to us that given the length of time you were dating and the depth of your connection, she valued your relationship and didn't make the decision to break up lightly

It is more likely that she thought she was ready for marriage or hoped to feel ready as time went on, and broke up with you when she saw it was time to move to the next level but wasn't able to do so. Or, she could have had strong feelings, felt a deep connection, and wanted to make it work, but after a time realized that you weren't right for each other. In either case, it may have been very hard for her to make the decision to end things. When we date for marriage, there's a risk that either of these situations can occur, and daters can experience one or more of these "almost The One" relationships before they find the right person. Many men and women who are now happily married will tell you that they were in at least one hopeful relationship that ended in disappointment before they met their husband or wife.

Benefit of the Doubt

How can you get over your feelings of hurt and betrayal and move forward?

Try to give your former dating partner the benefit of the doubt, that she made a sincere effort to go the distance with your relationship. This will help you develop faith in others and hope for the future. Allow yourself a little more time to grieve, but at the same time get back into your usual lifestyle - working, seeing friends, doing things you enjoy. When you decide you're ready to resume dating, let your dating partner know that you are dating seriously for marriage and only want to date a woman who has the same goal. If she can't agree that this is also her goal, don't continue to see her.

And find a married person whose judgment you trust to talk to from time to time while you're dating. The perspective of a married dating mentor can often give you support, encouragement and clarity. He can help you see good points when you have doubts and red flags you choose to ignore, encourage you to bring up topics of discussion you may be avoiding, and develop more realistic expectations..

We hope that you will soon be able to move forward and meet the right person.

All the best,
Sherry and Rosie

July 11, 2015

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Visitor Comments: 6

(6) Anonymous, July 22, 2017 2:49 PM

Good relationship, bad breakup

This article was published two years ago, but I bet "Gabe" still remembers the breakup as one of his life's biggest disappointments. I hope he has found someone who made him happy that his previous relationship didn't work. Sometimes when we try too hard not to hurt people we end up giving them lame excuses for why we don't want to be with them. This can make them blame themselves for years. If the woman had articulated the reasons for the breakup more clearly, Gabe could move on knowing that this nice woman was simply not right for him and that he did nothing wrong.

(5) Anonymous, July 25, 2015 12:46 AM

Say 'no' to anything physical

Get to know the person you are interested in without letting the 'physical' get in the way. That will never keep a couple together. Communicate. Really communicate. I am only assuming that it might have been part of the equation because that is the way it is these days....but not the way it should be. A friend of mine had the same experience but they had lived together for 5 years, no conflict and she just up and left one day without any explanation. He was heartbroken. She was using him and he didn't mind because he didn't know she was using him. So the physical might have kept them together temporarily but it didn't keep them together permanently. Never works out for the best for anyone. Something will be lost or compromised in the end.

(4) Anonymous, July 18, 2015 4:03 AM

Much needed! Thanks for posting!

(3) Michael L, July 17, 2015 7:11 AM

break ups

It is almost 7 months since my break up and it still hurts. Unfortunately the break up was sudden and without explanation..i justctracked under a lot of pressure.. Post the break up I really wanted to explain and reconcile to a place of peace. It didnt happen and in a small community we kept meeting uncomfortably so.
Always honour the person for who they are- do not respond with anything but a kind word or a supportive gesture you have no idea what pain or other emotional stuff lies behind the mask.
I hurt back because I only responded to what I perceived I saw as a response. I didnt see the huge pain,hurt and let down that she was hiding. She is a beautiful soul but with both of us unwell at the time things were said and done that hurt..
Sometimes having to amputate a limb is neccessary to save the body and it doesnt mean you love that limb any less..it just means sometimes u have to save the body..
Always respect and honour the space you shared..
With love affection always to that special person B C. may Hashem be the guiding light as all is as it should be.

(2) Raphaelle Do Lern Hwei, July 17, 2015 5:11 AM

Not enough "Chemistry"?

I am really sorry to see someone hurt this way. It could be possible that the former girlfriend did not believe there was a relationship that will lead to marriage despite of what the hapless man shared with her due to lack of physical affection (within boundaries, of course) like hand holding, kissing. I can guess this as Gabe said that he is the traditional type. To some, action speaks louder than words. I hope that he finds a life partner who communicates the same way as him.

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