Social Question

imgr8's avatar

How can I enjoy myself abroad without worrying about my ex?

Asked by imgr8 (434points) May 4th, 2014

2 months from now I will be living in another country. I will be volunteering, meeting new people and trying to immerse myself in a new culture for a total of 6 months. This is something I have wanted to do for a very long time.

I am leaving behind someone who I have a very complicated relationship with. He is my ex boyfriend, we haven’t been together for a year, but we are extremely close friends to the point where you may as well call it something like a ‘platonic romantic relationship’. We spend a lot of time together, have sleepovers, talk constantly, but we don’t sleep together or do anything of the sort. I am aware that this is most likely an unhealthy relationship, and that is not what I want to discuss at this time. I’m only trying to provide some background.

I love this man very much, not in a romantic way, but in the way that I feel a strong need to take care of him and make sure he is safe and happy, sometimes I feel almost maternal towards him, though I’m not sure that’s really the best way to describe it.

When I first met him, he had a lot of mental health issues, he was very sad and suicidal. I feel like I made a substantial difference in his recovery from that. Near the end of our relationship, he did not treat me well, which is ultimately why we broke up. Honestly he still doesn’t treat me well, I am a pretty co dependant person and I find myself stuck wanting to move on without him while also wanting to be in his life so that I can keep him safe (I know, not my job).

Anyways, back to the real point, I’m leaving him behind and it terrifies me. I’m worried that I’m going to miss him so much, and worry so much that I wont be able to enjoy my time away. I have an understandable but mostly irrational fear that he will get depressed again and kill himself while I’m gone. I am his only friend and I worry that without me he will be extremely lonely and unhappy.

He is totally supportive of this whole thing and says of course he will miss me but he will be fine. These fears are mostly unwarranted I think, but I cant help feeling this way and its causing me a huge amount of anxiety when I haven’t even left yet.
Basically, I’m just asking for advice.. From anyone who has been in a similar position or can imagine it. How can I overcome the fear of missing him/him dying while I’m gone?

PS: I realize how this whole thing makes me look but I swear 100% that I don’t have any romantic feelings for him, its just a messed up situation.

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7 Answers

GloPro's avatar

Wow. I am sorry you feel this way. You already said everything you need to hear.

There is no answer for you other than to suck it up. My worry for you is that you will attempt to continue to be codependent when you move, and that will hinder your ability to genuinely propel your life forward in this new experience.

Do not allow yourself to hang on so tightly when you leave. Resist the urge to stay in constant communication because you are lonely and unsure of yourself in a new and scary situation. I believe you are displacing your fears about your future (which sounds so amazing and exciting, congratulations!) onto this guy, which is classic codependent behavior. Realize the need to take care of and create a healthy you. You cannot control him, his life, or his behaviors as a way to avoid the fear of not being in control of your own life.

You will be OK. This is an wonderful opportunity. Open yourself to it fully, which you cannot do if you cannot let go. It sounds cliché, but your biggest regrets are the opportunities you don’t take, or in this case, the opportunities you don’t allow yourself to experience fully. This is a game changer moment in your life. Think about that, and not someone else.

imgr8's avatar

@GloPro Thankyou. I needed to to hear that. Of course I already know everything you say is true, but sometimes I just need to hear it from someone other than myself. I second guess myself a lot.

GloPro's avatar

You won’t believe how much your life will change in that 6 months. The independence you will gain will strengthen your core. When you miss him, just write him a hand written letter he can keep on his person and refer to when he’s having a hard time missing you, too.
It’s only 6 months. Although my hope for you is that you don’t want to come home!

marinelife's avatar

Focus on your own life. Say affirmations like “X said that he will be fine while I am gone so he will be.” “I am living my life.” “I am volunteering my time; I will be present for that.”

You need to look hard at why you are so focused on your friend instead of your own life. I suggest therapy.

Unbroken's avatar

Yep i’ve been there to a certain extent. Get and stay busy. Write about it if you need to. Here’s a worksheet that helped me deal.

Hopefully you’ll look back in a couple years and boggle at your state of mind. Oh hey and dont doubt yourself, be a wild woman instinctual strong free.

LuckyGuy's avatar

First, let me congratulate you on your upcoming experience. Immersing yourself in an other culture will enrich your life more than you can imagine – even if it is only 6 months. You will meet interesting people and make friends you will keep for life. The shared experiences help people bond.
Get everything you can out of this once in a life time adventure. Make every day count. Go to the festivals. Talk to locals. Shop in the local stores. Rather than sit in front of a laptop go outside.
If you must have a connection to home keep the line tenuous. No calls every day, no daily emails. Both sides of the connection will benefit. You will be pleasantly surprised to discover how well your friend will manage and find alternate support. His life will be enriched as well. Really!

JLeslie's avatar

You might miss him a lot at first, but it will fade, you might not miss him much at all and the new chapter of experiences you will have on your new adventure might overtake your time and might even feel relief, it’s hard to know in advance, no matter what if you focus on your new life it will all work itself out. It all sounds very exciting! Physically leaving to go to a new city in my opinion will be very very good for you. It will be much easier to be apart being far away then with him nearby. I have a good feeling about it all, I hope it works out well for you. Make an effort to get to know people, don’t wait for them to approach you. A little fear is normal, but don’t let it stop or paralyze you.

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