Casinos and Break-Ups


hold-em-cardsA long awaited emotional breakthrough.  There’s nothing quite as sweet.  No more sleepless nights.  No more mind f—ing.  The trap door flew open and the world makes sense again. Well, in some ways.

I had one this morning.  An emotional breakthrough, that is.  With help from a stranger over the airwaves.  *Adam Taha, a Quora contributor who writes about “relationships and dating” provided what I consider award winning post-breakup advice to some female whom I don’t know, sometime in 2014 (I think). 

As luck would have it, my google search, which was a string of words typed through teary eyes and a fit of desperation (I’ll admit I get melodramatic after a breakup), led me straight to the female’s question:

I broke up with my boyfriend, but I miss him.  However, every time I’m with him, it’s like I just want to leave.  What do I do?

I may not have used the same verbiage as she, regardless, I could totally relate to her question.  In my case, the jury is out on “who broke up with who” and it doesn’t really matter.  We’ve had over nine years together, most of it filled with laughter, excitement and cherished memories.  But like many relationships, we hit a wall we just couldn’t seem to get past.  And we hit the wall again.  And again. And again. Until both of us looked battle bruised.

I threw in the towel a few times.  He threw in the towel a few times (whether he admits it or not). Regardless, we’d find our way back together for another go ’round.  The majority of retries were initiated by me. “We’ve got so much going for us, surely we can get past _______”  or “We’re soul mates!  Soul mates can’t break up!”  or a pitiful plea… “Oh my GOD, I can’t breathe without you!”  

And so began “Take 2” and then “Take 3” and “Take… (you get the picture) only to land up increasingly frustrated with each other after every failed “Take”.  We tried various living arrangements…separate homes, separate towns, separate states, and after side-stepping living together as long as we could, we gave it a go….And then we went back to living apart.

I’ve come to believe that some relationships have an expiration date, whether you like it or not.  I call it Divine Guidance (although it hardly seems divine to pull two people in love apart). And if you don’t comply to the guidance the relationship starts to go haywire. Communication becomes confusing and complicated, feelings get hurt, and tempers start to flare.  Unfortunately, we both saw a rather ugly side of the other, that had never surfaced in all the years prior.  Stupid knee-jerk reactions that neither of us really meant, yet couldn’t take back. And that compromised trust for both of us. Subsequent retries lacked effort and were shorter in duration and we drifted further and farther apart, until the writing was on the wall.  So we sat together one last time and reminisced the great times. Then we hugged and headed off in different directions.

Enter meltdown stage.

The aftermath is no stranger to me.  I’d had a taste of it each time we had parted. This was by far the worst bought of grief because there was no going back this time.  In the midst of the on-off-on-off, he’d found someone new to love.  Deep down I knew that was actually a Godsend for both of us. (Someday I’ll say that and really mean it).  It…rather “she” prevented us from potentially destroying each other down the road.  And let’s face it.  We are both great people and deserve to find love, if not with each other.

But try explaining that to my heart!  Even knowing he had a new flame, I still couldn’t let go. I cried. I journaled.  I prayed for some future miracle to reunite us.  And I cried some more.  I gave up eating (not on purpose) and lost 15 pounds in a couple months.  I called in the Goddesses, the Saints, some of my deceased relatives, the spirit of Wayne Dyer, and a beagle I had as a kid.  I had them “sit” in a circle around my bed while I bawled like an heartsick teenager and I begged them to intervene.  “Fix this!  You know he and I belong together!!  It’s in the stars!”   And sensing there was hope, I fell asleep.

By morning I changed my mind and hated his guts for giving up on us.  I let him have it in texts and emails…  followed up by lengthy apologies…  followed up by a pathetic confession where I took responsibility for every morsel of problems… followed up by more nasty-grams.  And when I couldn’t bare to humiliate myself for one more second, I looked in the mirror and said, “Help!  I’m losing it! What is this f–king hold he has on me?” 

I asked because logically speaking, we didn’t function well as a couple anymore and I knew that. During my calm, rational moments, I was well aware of the need for us to part.  It was simple.  The relationship stopped growing.  Our individual needs were not getting met, and forcing ourselves to stay together (for the sake of staying together) was becoming hazardous to our health.  Makes perfect sense, right?  So why all the GRIEF?

Supportive friends offer text book advice.  No, I’m not afraid to be alone.  I actually enjoy my alone time more than most people.  I’ve vacationed alone, hiked alone, and carve out alone-time regularly. No, I’m not afraid that I’m too old!  (But geez, thanks for bringing that up.)  Losing weight and getting in shape, I actually feel stronger, younger and physically better then I have in probably 25 years.  No, I’m not afraid that another guy won’t measure up.  Hey, there are certainly some qualities that I’ll miss about him, but I’m open-mined enough to know that with zillions of men on the planet, others will have those same qualities as well as being more in alignment with my goals, values, visions… Basically, I can’t wait to meet them! (Someday I’ll say that and really mean it).

So what the hell is my problem?  And why can’t I let go?  We don’t belong together anymore.  I’m not afraid of being alone. I’m looking better than I have in years. And oddly enough, former clients that were MIA for the last two years are finding their way back to me and hiring me for decent sized contract work!  It’s as if I’m being rewarded for moving forward.  Yet—–ugh—– I still wake up every morning to the reality that “he” is no longer with “me” and “he” is now with “she” and before one foot hits the floor, I’m reaching for the Kleenex box and wondering how the heck I’ll survive another day of this freaking miserable heartache!

Help aids have been temporary.  Did I mention I hired a coach who specializes in “life after breakup”? And a healer who extracts energetic blocks that keep you stuck in the past?  Did I mention the tarot cards?  Or the fact I journaled through three thick notebooks and nine ball point pens in the last month and a half?  Wake up at 4:45 a.m. every morning – head to the gym – take indoor cycling 5 – 6 mornings per week. Eat healthy, watch videos, read articles, chant mantras, hike, count blessings, attend meetups… you name it, I am DOING it.  All the things that “break up” experts suggest you do to cope and reduce the grief process. Yet, here I sit. Out of tissues.  

After leaving the gym early this morning, I drove to a nearby park and pulled into a space far from any other cars.  I climbed into the back seat of my Rav4, rolled up my jacket for a pillow and bawled my eyes out wondering if this is my destiny. To grieve a man I obviously don’t belong with and a relationship that drained the life out of me!  After a good cry, I grabbed my phone and for the bazillionth time, I typed some random words in the google search engine.  Today’s words:  “I miss him so much after break up”…….

The internet Gods were finally with me today.  They provided the perfect results.  In 2014 (I think), some female whom I don’t know, asks a question in Quora’s question/answer website:

I broke up with my boyfriend, but I miss him.  However, every time I’m with him, it’s like I just want to leave.  What do I do?

The top answer with 44 “upvotes” (now 45), was from *Adam.  My angel.  Below is his response (slightly edited).

Imagine it like this.  You are at the Casino and you start gambling.  You lose $100.  I walk up to you and say… “Hey, come on, let’s go before you lose anymore.”

You say, “No, I lost $100 and I am going to get it back.”

Now if it was just $1, you’d probably not even bother.  You’d probably walk away with me.  But instead, you continue to play.  The wheel turns and oops, you lose $1000!  I’m going nuts watching you, and I say, “For Pete’s sake!  Just let it go!  Come on!  Forget this.  You just lost $1000!”

But you cannot let go.  You want to invest more and get back that $1000. Even though playing this game makes you sick to the stomach and it’s stressing you out and filling you with fear, you can’t seem to stop. You are determined to get that $1000 back.  You hold on to some hope… hope…HOPE…that you might win it back and then some.  So you put even more money on the table.  I can barely watch.

The wheel turns and you lose $10,000 this time!  Now the investment you made is so big that it’s much harder to let go.  I see that nothing can help you to walk away from the table.  All I can do is standby and watch as you put more money in and the wheel turns.

Oh wait!  You win $500 back!  “There’s hope!” you say excitedly, but I’m trying to pull you away.  I say, “Please walk away!  PLEASE!”  But you push me away and turn back and put the $500 on the table…and you lose that too.

This is your relationship. You made an emotional investment and a time investment and therefore you became attached.  It doesn’t matter whether it’s a week, a month or 10 years. Some people get attached after a short time. When someone comes into your life, it feels like they are adding value.  Especially if you didn’t think you had any value to begin with.  (Yet you did). This isn’t about logic, it’s about emotions.

The Casino represents your relationship.  Because you were attached to the investment (of emotions and time) that you made, you stop at nothing to hold onto it or give it another try.  And each time you try, you lose more and more ground, until you finally lose everything.  Don’t you see?  Instead of gaining, you lose.

Then you go away from your partner and you fall apart. Why? Because you haven’t yet embraced the pain that you must go through for a while. You haven’t embraced the fact that you must fill the emptiness you feel.  With self-love, with “bigging” your life up.  So you slip back to thinking about him…maybe he can fill that emptiness you feel. At least you hope.

However, like gambling at the Casino, you keep investing more and getting nothing back. So each time you actually feel emptier.  As you continue that way, it drives you up a wall. It sends you into a deep depression.  It isolates you from everyone, especially those who tried to help you to leave!  So when it breaks apart the next time, you’re more alone than ever!  

By not letting go, you’re just investing more emotions, more time, more energy and more fantasies about life with a guy who is no longer a good match for you. All because you think he can fill the void.  But you see, no one can fill that void but you. When you put yourself first, you attract a wealth of people who are drawn to you because of the value they see in you. They come because of the value you see in yourself.  Its enough value to fill the whole world.

So walk away.  Leave that Casino.  Don’t forfeit another dollar!  Move on. Give yourself plenty of time. Go on a holiday.  Meet people.  Do what you love.  Get a journal and spill out your feelings, your pain, your discoveries.  Write until there’s nothing more to write. Remind yourself that you won’t get your investment back.  It’s gone.  Take the hand that life has offered and walk away without looking back.

Most importantly, let yourself grieve.  Embrace the pain and you will move beyond it.  I’ve been there myself and there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

What a breakthrough! It all made sense! It explained why after all the times I walked away fully aware the relationship had stopped growing, I just couldn’t forget about him and move on.  My former longing to be back with him wasn’t as much about him as it was was fear of losing something into which I had invested so many years, tears, love, growth, changes, and dreams.  And no matter how difficult the relationship became, I wasn’t willing to let go.  Until now.

I responded to Adam hoping that he’d still be involved with this particular Quora thread. I wrote:

“Adam, you are brilliant!  That was by far the best post-relationship advice I have ever come across.  I can’t tell you how much you helped me gain a whole new perspective.  That response was a masterpiece!  In finding you, I hit the jack pot!”

Analogies work like magic in changing one’s perspective.  The Casino was an excellent analogy. I thought about it for a while.  I was never a fan of casinos.  I played a few times and only lost a little because I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my hard earned money for a “questionable risk.”  Yet I was willing to sacrifice my values, my goals, my dreams, and even some of my friends and family, by clinging to a relationship that was almost always a “questionable risk.”   So it seems I protected a few bucks far more than I ever protected my heart.

This awareness was quite a breakthrough.  Now I’m actually relieved that it ended before I lost anymore of myself.  And it looks like I have a void to fill.  One that I can’t run from.  It occurred to me that filling that void isn’t only about self-love.  (I have worked on self-love for years and I don’t think that I lack all that much of it).  For me, filling the void is more about facing the pain. I’m not a fan of pain.  I’ve been through a lot of it in my life and so I avoid it at all costs.  But I don’t want to repeat the patterns of my past, so I’m facing this pain with every bit of courage I can muster – even if that means more curling up in the back seat of my Rav4 and crying like a baby.  Years of grief need releasing.  As I wrote in my journal only a week ago:

“Grief is necessary. It is a stage within endings that can’t be avoided. It is a cleansing of the past and a guide to the future. Grief is priceless. It shines a light on the wounds of our soul that have been hidden for eons, so that we can transmute those wounds into something of incredible value that will impact our future relationships in ways we can hardly imagine”.

So if you happen to see me crying, don’t try to stop me. I’ll be just fine. And I’ll continue to share the breakthroughs along the way.  🙂

*Adam Taha gave me permission to share his sage wisdom.  Look him up on Quora!


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3 thoughts on “Casinos and Break-Ups

  1. Clinging to a relationship that is bad for you must be rooted in fear at some level. I imagine how releasing it can be if that fear is is discovered and dealt with appropriately. Then the transition phase would be enabling to a new and improved loving relationship and become exciting.

    • Oh yeah, it’s definitely rooted in fear. There are abandonment issues that go way back, that I’m only discovering recently. And it’s why I attracted relationships that tend to exacerbate it. I’ve been dealing with each aspect of it as it surfaces. In other words, I’ve had to face some of the biggest fears by talking about things I use to avoid. John, you always add so much value to my posts! Thank you!

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