Q&A:My Girlfriend is Still Not Over Her Ex’s Death

Q: I have been in a relationship with a girl for the last two months.

The thing is, her ex boyfriend died two years back. Now, I’m willing to handle this. But of late she’s started feeling like all of her feelings died with him, that she can never truly love anyone ever again. I really care for her. What should I do? 

– Anonymous

Should I break upPhoto by Love is the key

A: When a couple breaks up, it’s because something went wrong between them. That itself gives both the people a good reason why it couldn’t work – a starting point for moving on. It might be entirely one-sided, that is – it might be just one of them who fell out of love. But even in that case it at least causes pain to the other person – gives them some reason to not want to go back.

Death, however, is a shocking end to a relationship. It doesn’t let you say your goodbyes. It takes you away from each other when NEITHER of you wanted it. That makes it excruciatingly difficult for the surviving one to feel anything but longing, yearning and pain for the departed one. They miss them forever. There’s no closure for them.

Hence your case is particularly challenging. She’s still reeling from the shock and pain of not having said her goodbyes to her departed boyfriend. Two years is a long time. Since she hasn’t moved on yet, her wounds seem really deep. I think she needs help. Why don’t you help her see a grief counselor and connect her with support groups of people recovering from similar experiences? Given her situation, these are very important steps in her healing process.

At the same time you have to control your emotional involvement with her at this stage. She’s not completely ready for a relationship yet. If you do decide to help her, make sure you can do so without expectations. You should also keep your own options open by continuing to date. And you should be open to her about it. Help her more as a caring friend and because she needs it, rather than because you want commitment from her in return (as I said – she’s not ready for it).


Q&A: My Live-in Boyfriend Goes Out with Another Girl (Part 1)

I’m 18 year old, American, female, living together with my boyfriend of 3 years. He’s 20. Let’s call him Jake. His dad had problems with alcohol abuse when he was a child. As a result he’s promised himself never to drink in his life and expects the same from me. I’m not a great fan of alcohol either and had no problem giving him my word on this. However one evening about a month back I got drunk with a couple of friends. He was mad and broke up with me.

Now Jake is an extremely responsible, smart, good guy and I’m completely dependent on him for all my practical needs. Like a place to live, for example. I had a job earlier which I left for further education. I’ve now completed my degree and I’m looking for a new job. Ironically, I don’t even have a car which I can drive to my interviews, apart from the one his family has lent me. Even though he’s “broken up” with me, he’s promised he’d never abandon me, so I can continue to live in his house and use his resources as long as I don’t have other options.

Q&A Live in Boyfriend CheatingPhoto by davemmett

It’s emotionally very stressful for me to continue to live with him, with his family thinking we’re together, when he’s totally stopped hugging me or showing any kind of affection. I was used to a lot of hugging and cuddling. Nowadays he just comes home and sleeps and tells me to make plans with my friends in the weekend. And there’s no sexual intimacy between us anymore. He says he can’t get intimate with me as he’s “broken up” with me.

Since that fateful evening out in the town it has been an uphill task trying to convince him that he can trust me again. He’s started getting upset about me visiting even my family and friends. He says whenever I leave the house he feels stressed and worried about what I might do when I’m out alone. He says he feels betrayed, he feels I don’t value our relationship. Apparently he keeps having dreams about me getting drunk and cheating on him. It breaks my heart when he says he can never think of me in the same way again. I haven’t been able to make him understand how I genuinely regret whatever I did and can’t imagine doing it again.

Jake has suggested I take a break, go live with my mum for a few weeks and see if we can work things out. But my mum is part of the problem. Right after my parents’ divorce she started drinking a lot, had a lot of boyfriends over to our place and wasn’t really a great parent. Let’s just stay going back there, even for a few weeks, is not an option for me. Frankly, she doesn’t want me there either.

Recently Jake has started being all friendly with a girl who he had a sexual relationship with earlier. Let’s call her Sally. Jake says she’s just a friend. But sometimes they go out together to eat at night and Jake doesn’t come back till well past midnight. That crushes me every time. I yell at him when he comes back. But the pain doesn’t go away. Even as I write this, at 12:50 AM in the night, he’s still out with Sally and isn’t replying to my messages. It’s such a horrible humiliation, but I’m stuck and don’t know what to do. I don’t even know how I should react when he comes home tonight.

I’m confused, hurt and stressed. Please help me. 


San Fransisco

Love in India Reader Survives Break Up and Achieves His Dreams – Interview

There are those days when you feel like nothing is going to work again. Like the world is over. Like you’ve lost everything.

I know I do.

It might just be the traffic. Or a tiff you had with your mother in the morning. An exam you failed.

Or it might be a break-up.

The end of a significant relationship is one of the most life-altering experiences one goes through in one’s life. It breaks a lot of people. Makes cynics out of the rest. But for a tiny fraction of people this painful and heartbreaking experience becomes the catalyst to a new life, new dreams and a renewed belief in their own abilities.

Subhendra is one such individual. Subhendra had had a devastating break-up some time back. I first got to know him when he wrote to me asking for help with the what he was going through. We kept in touch. A few weeks back I received a happy surprise in my Facebook inbox – Subhendra had got himself a seat in a prestigious management school – something he’d always dreamt of.

I was completely blown away. Here’s a guy who was a crushed, heartbroken mess only a few months back. And today he is an epitome of success – having achieved his dream through sheer hard work, dedication and willpower. I felt proud to have helped him. I also felt eager to share his secrets of this mind-blowing turnaround with all of you. Here are some excerpts from a recent chat I had with Subhendra.

#1. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a very simple person and I like other simple people. Chatting with friends energizes me like anything. Well, I’ve got only a few. But the ones who I call friends are a true life-force to me.

I take success seriously. I want it. I do what I can to achieve it. The more successful I am, the more confident I feel. The more confident I am the more motivated I feel to do more. That’s the recipe for my success, really.

Oh and btw – did I tell you about my new girlfriend? Here she is.

interview - moving onPhoto by victor.lavrentev

Oh yes. She’s the curviest, sexiest, most romantic and most caring thing on earth. I love the way she longs for my touch. When I’m with her, I forget everything else. J

#2. You were in a relationship. How long was it? Tell us a bit about it.

Ah yes, my relationship.

We started as friends really. And surprisingly, it was she who took the lead in turning it into something more. I gave in. I fell.

Love is every bit as crazy, euphoric, beathtakingly happy as they say, you know? I’m glad I’ve tasted it, if only for 4 short months. Oh yeah – that’s how long she stayed. Then she called it off. Just like that.

#3. Subhendra you had a shocking break up some time back. Tell us how it happened. 

Needless to say I have no words to describe my feelings in the months that followed the break-up. For a long time I couldn’t believe it, really. Especially because she never offered any explanations. I begged.

Eventually I came to know that she had gotten engaged to someone else. I felt may be it was the lack of a formally spelt out commitment of marriage from my side which had broken her trust. To make up for this I confessed everything to my family and got my father to talk to her over the phone. I even invited her to my home to meet my parents (yeah I know how lucky I am). She said she was embarrassed and of course, never came.

I’m crazy I know.

#4. How did the break up affect you? 

It has been more than a year since then. I used to feel very lonely. I’d force myself to date other girls, but my past would block everything and my heart would grow cold as I got to know them. I had become a bit of cynic. I felt every girl I met was pretentious and driven by ulterior motives.

I was tired of the so-called positive “pep talk” from people around me. “You can choose to be happy”, and “one day you’ll meet the love of your life” had become meaningless dry platitudes to me. There was no strength, no happiness, no stability in my mind.

#5. What all did you do to cope with your break-up?

My friends were a great support system, to a certain extent. But tell you what – no one can really know what you feel. Hence deep in my heart I was walking alone.

Interview - break up

I’ve learnt a lot from my past. I’ve learnt about myself, others and the “real world”. I’ve learnt to focus on myself, to care for myself, to value myself. If I hadn’t started appreciating and believing in myself more, I would be nowhere near where I stand today.  All in all, I daresay I’ve learnt to be a bit more selfish – it always helps. :D

Needless to say, Sulagnadi’s counselling and articles gave me some very good guidance. They helped me ground myself in reality, to see life for what it was, without any rosy or pessimistic lenses. They helped me think of life in a rational, structured way.

Also Sulagnadi, I know you don’t recommend forcing yourself to hate someone you want to forget, but that’s what worked for me. Hatred is the exact opposite of love. I mean – just like love is that magic potion which brings two people together, hatred is the one that draws them away from each other, naturally. Well, to tell you the truth she’d given me plenty of real reasons to hate her too. I found out many of the moves she’d made during the break-up (and also during the relationship) were predetermined – all part of her plan for her own life. It was bizarre. In hindsight I feel maybe she wanted a guy who was better settled (financially). She knew I was not going to take up a job within the next few years. May be that’s what put her off. At least that’s what I believe. And that has helped me deal with my own feelings. You know, I even called her once and said, “I’m glad you’re not with me anymore. Breaking up with you has taught me a lot, it has leased me a new life. I’m confident I’ll get a better partner than you one day.” ;)

#6. I’m really happy to know you’ve overcome your mental turmoil and have scored a major achievement recently – namely, cracking B-school admissions. Tell us how you feel.

I’ll never forget that moment. The one when MAT results were released, that is. 94 percentile. I almost couldn’t breathe when I saw that number against my name.

It took some time to sink in. All I could feel was, “Is this really happening?”

As of today I’m glad to know I’ve been able to create something for myself worth creating. That’s a huge confidence booster for me. This achievement tells me that I’m finally free of my past. That I’m ready for the future. The institute I’m about to join is a really great one. I’m looking forward to the start of a new life.

#7. How did you get back your zeal for life, your motivation and your desire to be happy? Most people reeling from a recent break-up struggle with these and would benefit immensely from your answer. 

It was not easy, to say the least. Depression has been a constant companion to me for the last one year. Life would feel meaningless from time to time.

What helped me really … was the desire to feel better, to move on, to be happy. I wanted to find a solution. I took to reading inspirational literature. One of my Favourite books is The Secret. It helped me gradually break free of my negative attitude. It helped me hope again, and to believe in myself. I came across the concepts of Dianetics. It helped me immensely in truly believing in my own power to control my life. When you control your mind, you control pretty much everything in your life.

#8. How did you discipline yourself into doing what it took to crack the admissions? Give us some tips. 

This is really ironical, you know. I have never thought of myself as a good student, and never expected to be giving out study tips. This is really amazing.

You see, I just had to prove me to myself. I had lost my strength, my confidence, my belief in myself. So I was really, really determined to give myself a new opportunity for the future. I set myself the goal of getting admission to a good institute of management studies.

After that it was the usual rigour to get the MAT score I needed. Solving previous years’ papers regularly, setting aside time for specific practice activities everyday etc. If I had to share just one principle of success with an aspiring student it would be this – manage your time well. Effective time management is the key to achieving any goal you set your mind to.

#9. Any message for Love in India readers? Especially the ones struggling with the end of a significant relationship?

A couple of things, really.

  1. A break-up is painful. But it’s a part of life. Be aware that you’re not alone.
  2. It’s a great opportunity to learn about life, about the real world and to change yourself for the better, if you want to.
  3. Tough times don’t last. Tough people do. Yeah the old adage is damn true.
  4. Your significant other is (was) a part of your life, not your life itself. Trust me – your purpose on this Earth goes much, much beyond finding happiness with him/her.

Lastly, I want to wholeheartedly thank you, Didi (Sulagna Dasgupta), for doing such awesome work for all of us. Your help means a lot to a lot of people like me. I wish Love in India becomes ever more popular. My heartfelt best wishes are always there with you.

From Poland, With Love (Part 2)


First of all, DO NOT waste money on coming to Bangalore. DO NOT. This is NOT a moment for taking impulsive decisions. These are challenging times for you, and whatever is the ultimate outcome, if you want to handle this situation the best way, you need to think with a very clear head. Feel your emotions – you have to. That’s what they’re meant for. But don’t let them influence your decisions in any way. You have to promise yourself that. 

Let me tell you a story. In India, every week a few couples across the country commit suicide realizing they can’t marry each other due to parental/societal pressure. We all read about them in newspapers. Not one of us has ever come across an incidence of a parent committing suicide because their child won’t marry as per their wishes. So you can rest assured, Karthik’s mother will not commit suicide over you. All this rhetoric about suicide is nothing but emotional blackmail – a very dirty but very common technique used by Indian parents to force their children into giving up their freedom. Karthik probably knows that already. In fact, I’m sorry to sound pessimistic Daniela, but there’s a chance that the incident about his mother wounding herself etc. might not be entirely true. It may be exaggerated. 

from Poland, with lovePhoto by romaaaaaa

Having said that, I have to tell you Daniela, I’m sorry but Karthik is a closed chapter of your life. Your relationship has every sign of being on its way to an end. Give up on him Daniela, I’m sorry but realistically speaking, there really isn’t a chance for things to work out.

Karthik sounds like a heart-broken man. He’s tired of fighting against his reality. His reality consists of an extremely conservative society and family which would never accept individual freedom. He just feels powerless against so many obstacles – financial situation, the challenges of finding a job in a foreign country, parental psychological torture, societal expectations, his sense of responsibility towards his family … the list is just endless. His strength is waning. He’s wondering whether it’s worth all the fighting. 

Most single Indian men are sex-starved. Very few Indian women would agree to have sex with someone before marriage, even if he’s her boyfriend. Western women are more likely to be OK with it. Hence many Indian men try to seduce Western women just for the sake of sleeping with them.

But let me tell you – Karthik is NOT one of them. If it’s any consolation, Karthik really, honestly loved you and cared for you (he probably still does). I’m confident because, #1. your relationship was almost entirely long distance, you were never in any position to have much sex with each other. #2. He’s tried talking to his parents about marrying you, which shows he really was serious. So you can at least rest assured that you’ve not been duped or taken advantage of. It has been so far a genuine, honest relationship based on love and caring. 

You’re an honest & caring person with a very precious heart. Whatever you do, NEVER fall into the trap of blaming yourself for any of what happened. You’re NOT at fault. There are only two CIRCUMSTANTIAL forces at play here – #1. You’re in far-off countries #2. The conservative culture of India. That’s all. It’s neither your fault, nor his. 

You need to stay strong Daniela. Check this: How to Forget Someone You Love: 7 Rules, and this: How to Enjoy Life when You’re Alone.  

from Poland, with lovePhoto by anyasmiff

You need every ounce of strength, confidence and self-worth you can summon. Like I said, you’re a wonderful person (as is evident from your story) and if you focus on yourself, you’re certain to create happiness in your life. Happiness may not always come from the sources you thought it would come from. But you need to commit to your own happiness Dan. You need to promise yourself to make yourself happy.

A boyfriend has left? It’s OK. Shift your focus to your career. Give it your 100%. Be emotionally invested in it.

Your career doesn’t give you the satisfaction you want? OK. Shift your focus to that long-forgotten hobby you always wanted to pursue.

You see, life is too short to focus on anything but happiness. Don’t fix your attention on a particular aspect of your life (your crumbling relationship, for example). Fix it on what gives you happiness. If your relationship gives you happiness, great. Focus on that. If not, shift your focus to something that does.

All the best Daniela. I pray for you. May you find all the strength and happiness that you deserve.  


From Poland, With Love (Part 1)

I always believed there’ll be just one guy in my life. Just The Perfect One who I’d fall in love and spend my life with. When I met Karthik on an online dating site 6 years back, I had no doubts that he was that guy. Like all romantic stories, ours started with a juvenile infatuation. But gradually we came to a point where we couldn’t live without video-chatting with each other every day. Like all couples we had fights, we had misunderstandings and “break-ups”. But every time we “broke up” we realized anew that it was impossible for us to live without each other and we’d patch up again.

There was just one glitch. Karthik is from Bangalore, India and I’m from Bobowa, Poland.

We didn’t meet face to face until 2008, when he came to Germany on a project. It was pure bliss. Meeting each other after being in love over the long distance for such a long time made us realize that it was all real. That we actually had the passion for each other that we always thought we had. That our love was of the purest, truest and deepest kind.

from Poland with lovePhoto by Graphiweb

We knew there would be serious resistance to our relationship from his parents’. But we decided we’ll find a way.

In 2009 he had an accident which had him bed-ridden for 6 months. It was at this point that the first signs of real trouble arose. He started lying to me and we started moving away from each other. For example, he gained back his ability to walk within 6 months of the accident (as I later discovered) but at the time for 1.5 years he’d told me that he was not able to walk. I think he just wanted to postpone coming to a decision about me. He wanted me, yet he didn’t know how to be with me.

Cut to 2013. He came to Netherlands for another project and we met for a second time. I felt he’d finally realized that we’d meant for each other and seemed really happy with the prospect of staying with me forever. We realized we still had the same passion, same love, same affection for each other even though 6 years had passed by. Finally – yes, after 6 long years of knowing each other – we had sex. It was the first time for both of us. (Yes, the fact that I’m European doesn’t mean I have to have slept with twenty guys.)

We shopped together, travelled together and did household chores together. Everything seemed perfect. “I’d be crazy to throw so much happiness away. I want to be with you and I’ll find a way,” he said.

But then he went back to India.

As I should probably have known – things weren’t quite the same anymore. I felt he was starting to avoid me once again. I can’t tell you how, but I knew something was wrong. I didn’t know what to do. So I decided to give ourselves a break for a week. I stopped contacting him. He mailed me saying, “Does your silence mean you want to break up? If yes tell me, so that I can take a decision on what to do next. My parents, like always, are pressurizing me to have an arranged marriage here.”

I was crazy with anger and pain. I told him to go ahead and marry whoever he wanted.

He broke down. “I’ve never wanted anyone but you Daniela. It’s just that my eldest cousin is getting married. So the pressure on my parents to have me married off is that much more now. Please Dan, find a way for me to get a job there.”

I was already researching potential employers for him here in Poland. I threw all my strength behind that project now.

My efforts finally paid off. I could hardly breathe as I spoke into the phone, “Karthik I’ve found a great opportunity for you at XYZ. A friend of a friend works there. They’re interested in your profile and would like to talk to you!”

What happened next would probably remain the most shocking experience of my life.

“I can never thank you enough for all the selfless effort you’ve put in Dan. But I’m afraid we’ll have to take things a bit slow now. I have too many things to sort out at the moment. I need some time to take the decisions that are best for all of us.”

“All of us? You mean… your parents? Karthik I don’t understand anything.” I was shaking with anger, pain, panic, confusion … I don’t know what else.

I don’t remember much of the words we exchanged over the next few minutes. I just remember telling him again and again that we were each other’s first love. I felt it was impossible for either of us to forget the other over our lifetimes. He apologized and told me he’d let me know his decision.

from Poland with lovePhoto by gjhdrenth

I don’t know how I managed to hobble through the next few days, until an email arrived.

“I’ve thought about it a lot. I’m sorry Dan, I don’t think we can be together in this life. I’m helping my parents repay a housing loan they’ve taken for a new house. It’ll take 4 more years for the repayments to finish. it’d be a long time before I can even think of moving out of Bangalore. You’re entitled to a husband, children and a happy life. I can’t keep you waiting forever, especially given that you’re not getting any younger. I guess we’re just not destined to be together, and we’ll have to accept it. But I miss you a lot Dan. You’ll always have a special place in my heart. You’ll always be my best friend.”

It was yet another shock to me. I just couldn’t accept it. I kept pleading with him to rethink. In the meantime his sister found out about us from his computer and told his parents. His mother promptly started threatening suicide if he doesn’t cut off all contacts with me immediately. She apparently even took up a knife and attempted to cut herself in front of the rest of the family.

I don’t know what’s going on. I’m thinking of going to Bangalore and make him and his family understand how deeply I love him. If required I’m ready to stay back in Bangalore with him for the rest of my life.

Please guide me Sulagna.


Bobowa, Poland

The No Contact Policy: 5 Tips to Follow Through

Somewhere in our lives we’ve all struggled with the “No Contact Policy”– that sickeningly painful period of forcing someone out of your life because you know it’s right, even though it’s not easy for you.

May be because you’ve ended a wrong relationship but are still weighed down by guilt and sympathy.

May be because someone has ended a relationship with you and hence you know you have to move away from them.

The first step of moving away from someone is the “No Contact Policy”, i.e. to cut off contacts. Completely. Utterly. And permanently. No, remaining friends is never an option if you want a healthy end.

Two factors present major challenges to this – your own lingering feelings and their refusal to stop being in touch.

I thought I’d explore this often overlooked but depressingly common relationship phase in today’s post.

No Contact Policy – Rule #1. Explain. Once.

Don’t abruptly stop taking their calls. That’s unfair to them and difficult for you, as they might keep trying to make contact without realizing why you’re not reciprocating.

Clearly communicate your decision to follow the No Contact Policy. Preferably write an email (Written communication gives you the opportunity to present your thoughts precisely, effectively, and most importantly – without interruption. :D). Don’t forget to emphasize that it lies in their best interests to stop trying to make contact and to forget you. That’ll make it a tiny bit easier for them.

No contact policyPhoto by Envious Photography [OHH SNAP!]

No Contact Policy – Rule #2. Avoid temptations

If and when they call you don’t keep looking straight down at their name on the screen. Leave the phone ringing in your room and step out. Use at auto delete and forward filter on their email address. It would forward any emails they send you to a trusted alternative email address and delete it from your inbox. This way you can avoid being tormented by their melancholic (or worse – hateful/emotionally blackmailing) messages. However it’s important that any important information contained in these messages reaches you (like suicide threats, or threats to harm you). Hence it’s important it gets forwarded to someone who can give you any necessary information.

Needless to add, the person you forward these mails to has to be one of your top two trusted people in this world – your best friend/sibling, for example.

No Contact Policy – Rule #3. The 5 Minute Strategy

Whenever you get those urges of calling them, tell yourself, “I’ll reconsider whether to call them or not after 5 minutes.” Just 5 minutes. That’s it.

Most people would forget about calling anyone by the end of 5 minutes. What if you haven’t? Look at the clock, and tell yourself again, “I’ll think about that call after 5 more minutes.”

You get the idea.

You can continue to postpone the action in 5 minute chunks till the time you forget about it or your urge dies down. The 5 minute strategy can be extremely effective not only in staying true to the No Contact policy, but also to overcome temptations of any kind.

No Contact Policy – Rule #4. The Replacement Strategy

Resisting your urges of engaging in a particular activity (contacting them, in this case) is basically about replacing that activity with something else.

No contact policyPhoto by a_Daydreamer

When you have the urge to call them, tell yourself, “At the moment I’m free to do anything I like apart from calling them. I reward myself for not calling them with 10 minutes of Facebooking, watching YouTube, playing games or listening to my favourite music.”

Don’t be too hard on yourself at these moments of weakness – there’s no need to replace the activity of calling them with something productive. It’s important to replace it with something fun. Don’t “punish” yourself with work/studies (anything you don’t actively enjoy doing) for successfully resisting your unwanted urges. “Wasting” a few minutes of your time won’t kill you. Instead reward yourself with activities you just love.

No Contact Policy – Rule #5. Write an email

But even in spite of all your best efforts you might have those moments of irresistible longing when you feel your life depends on making contact with them. At those moments, you can write them an email.

Pour your heart out. Write down everything you want to tell them. All your accusations, blames, hatred … or may be not – may be longing, wistfulness and attraction – pour it all out in that white electronic space.

But you’re still following the No Contact Policy, remember? So just one word of caution – don’t hit the Send button. :D

Have you ever been in a situation where you desperately wanted to avoid someone but still felt attracted to them? What was your strategy for following through the No Contact Policy? Share with us in the comments. :)

9 Rules to Deal with a Cheating Boyfriend

Over the months many of you have read our very popular post 14 signs your boyfriend is cheating on you and asked me, “So what? What should I do if I find that he is, indeed, cheating?” Hence today’s post. Discovering with a cheating boyfriend is going to be one of your most challenging emotional experiences. Here are some tips to help you through it.  

Handling a cheating boyfriend – Rule #1. Double check

Based on what evidence have you concluded that your boyfriend is cheating? If it’s just your suspicions, don’t make a conclusion yet. Try to verify the facts. Look for hard evidence. Believe the unthinkable only if you’re absolutely sure.

Cheating boyfriendPhoto by diablo_x_238

Handling a cheating boyfriend – Rule #2. Give yourself time

Once you’ve assured yourself that your boyfriend is indeed cheating, do not confront him immediately. You’re feeling shock, pain and humiliation. Your first reaction will be denial and delirious anger, arising out of a feeling of being wronged. Give yourself some time to deal with these feelings, before you confront your boyfriend. Take a few days off from him. Don’t see him, don’t answer his calls. You can text him saying you’re unwell or busy.

Handling a cheating boyfriend – Rule #3. Let yourself feel

Use this period to process your emotions –the hurt, the anger, the humiliation. If you have a trusted friend or supportive family you can confide in them.  If not, start keeping a journal or a private blog – where you pour out your emotions and come to terms with them.

Handling a cheating boyfriend – Rule #4. Do not react

When you’re back in control, confront your cheating boyfriend. Do not dramatize. Do not get into a mad frenzy of yelling and crying and blaming – ceding control hurts you and you only.  Let him know of what you’ve found out in a calm, mature way. Let him respond. You cannot know his true feelings unless you create a non-threatening, safe environment.

Handling a cheating boyfriend – Rule #5. Let him explain

When you give him a chance to express himself freely, he’d most likely put his sincere apologies on the table. Subsequently he can either express his desire to continue with you calling off the other relationship (this is what most people do), or confess his feelings for the other lady and choose to break up with you.  

Handling a cheating boyfriend – Rule #6. Assess the relationship

If he wishes to break up, well, I’m sorry. You need to be strong and deal with your break up in a healthy way. But if he wants to continue, you must have a discussion about the needs of both of you from the relationship. While cheating can never be justified, it can be a manifestation of some of his needs going unfulfilled. You should at least know about such needs, if any.

Cheating boyfriendPhoto by Miguel Co

Handling a cheating boyfriend – Rule #7. Avoid self-loathing  

While an incidence of cheating may not be entirely the cheating partner’s fault, you must make sure you avoid the other extreme – drowning in self-loathing for not being “good enough”. Irrespective of what your cheating boyfriend says about his unfulfilled needs, consciously stop yourself from going down the “I’m not good enough” lane. You are extraordinary the way you are. Fulfilling or not fulfilling his needs does not, in any way, increase or decrease your worth as a human being. Whether you want to do something to fulfil more of his needs is simply a call you need to take, not a standard you have to live up to.

Handling a cheating boyfriend – Rule #8. Take a break

Once you’ve discussed your needs, if you still decide to stay together, you need to take some time off from each other. Do not jump back into your relationship on the basis of verbal apologies and promises. In that case there’s a chance that you’d go through the same nerve-wracking cycles of being cheated on and then making up. Make it clear that the only way you’d stay with him is if he’s OK with taking a break for at least a few weeks or so.

Handling a cheating boyfriend – Rule #9. Invest in yourself  

You can keep in touch with your boyfriend during the break but seriously, I’d not recommend anything more than a call once a week or so. Use the break to enrich yourself instead. Do a hard assessment of your life and set goals for your future. If you’re already pursuing some life goals, take a fresh look at where you stand in relation to them. Find new ways of doing the things you were doing to inch towards your goals. Pick up long-forgotten hobbies if you want. Reconnect with old friends. In short, shake up your life a bit. Take some time to live actively, not passively. The objective of this break is not to force yourself to fall out of love with your cheating boyfriend, but to create happiness and balance within yourself. This is meant to give greater stability to your life by reducing your emotional dependence on your boyfriend (or anyone else).

Have you ever had to deal with a cheating boyfriend? Did you break up or stay together? What was your coping strategy? Share with us in the comments section. 

Q&A: How to Get Over a Devastating Break-Up?

Priya and I were friends. I loved her a lot. But she wanted a relationship. Gradually I fell in love too. I allowed myself, ‘cause she came across as an honest person who’d respect my feelings. But after only 4 months she broke up with me abruptly. Devastated, I begged for explanations but received none. Needless to say I have no words to describe my feelings in the months that followed, till I came to know that she had gotten engaged to someone else. I felt may be it was the lack of a formally spelt out commitment of marriage from my side which had broken her trust. To make up for this I confessed everything to my family and got my father to talk to her over the phone. I even invited her to my home to meet my parents (indebted forever to my parents for their understanding and support). She said she was embarrassed and of course, never came.

More than a year has passed since the break-up. At 25 I’m now an unemployed graduate. Sometimes I feel lonely – like I absolutely need someone in my life. I’ve tried getting close to other girls in recent times but whenever I start getting involved the past experience clouds my consciousness and keeps me from proceeding any further. I don’t know if it’s my bias or my bad luck – but whoever I meet comes across as less honest and commitment-worthy than I’d like. It seems having a boyfriend/girlfriend has suddenly become a pretty badge to be worn and flashed around – purely a show-off factor.

“Be positive”, and “one day you’ll meet the love of your life” are nothing but tiring platitudes to me now. I’m unable to find my strength and mental peace. Please help me.


How to overcome breakupPhoto by Heaven`s Gate (John)

First of all ,Dev, I think you’re approaching this the wrong way.

Stop “trying to find” love

You’re 25. Your “marriageable age band” hasn’t even started, going by Indian standards. Secondly you shouldn’t even let societal norms dictate your life at the cost of your happiness.

Why do you need to worry about finding someone now?? Always remember the time-tested cliché:

You can’t find love, love finds you.

Stop “looking for it” and “trying to find someone” altogether. Now is the time to concentrate on yourself. Take this time to enjoy your singlehood instead. Love will happen when it’s supposed to happen.

Now. Does that mean it always happens naturally like a bolt from the blue for everyone? If you look around yourself you’ll realize the answer is an emphatic No. But the time to worry about it is at least 5 years away, not now. And five years is a very long time, Dev. Today you have no idea about what your thoughts, feelings, beliefs would be five years hence. For instance if I meet the me of five years ago now, I wouldn’t even recognize her. ;)

The protective shell of emotional unavailability

Having said that, the reason you haven’t been successful in forming other relationships ever after your break up is because you have never been emotionally available ever since.

After we’ve suffered a heartbreak/any sort of emotional trauma, our heart goes into a protective hard shell. We withdraw ourselves emotionally; we come to a state where it seems we’re not able to feel emotions at all. I’ve myself been there so I know. Just as the body develops a scab on a wound to protect the raw skin underneath, the human mind, as its natural immune response, develops a hard, cold protective layer of conscious around its core emotions, ’cause those emotions are still too raw, too delicate after a devastative emotional bloodbath, so to speak.

But the good news is, just as a scab falls off on its own when the wound is fully healed, the mind heals itself and sheds this protective layer around its emotions in due course of time. You don’t need to put in any special efforts for it. But unfortunately emotional wounds take a lot more time than physical wounds to heal. In your case, even after 1.5 years they’re still not fully healed. And you need to wait it out till it happens. Like they say, there’s no cure other than time for your emotional bruises.

Breaking up and what it means

Coming to the emotional pain of your break up, it’s excruciating. I know that.

A break-up is a one of the types of a wide and deep range of disappointments one can experience in course of a romantic relationship. And tell you what – disappointment is an inevitable part of any relationship. We’ve all had our hearts broken in some way or the other in course of our love-lives.

Yes, it happens to everyone. And it’s an unavoidable part of growing up.

Think of people who fall madly in love, get married soon, only to discover that up close their spouse is an entirely different person than what they thought.

You would’ve heard of the phrase “Before marriage men are slaves, after marriage they become slave-masters”? Think of those women who’re intensely wooed by a hopeful admirer, who then becomes her starry-eyed boyfriend upon her reluctant and almost pitiful acceptance, but after marriage undergoes a chameleon-like change to become a demanding boss, so to speak!

Think of those who after twenty years of marriage discover that their spouse had been having sex with their cousin for the last five years?

Now do you realize how easy it should be for your to get over your ex?

How to overcome breakupPhoto by meechellllle

Why your relationship was NOT what you think

You’ve only known her for 4 months. Sure, that doesn’t mean your pain is any less. In fact breaking up at such an early stage is what hurt you so much – because you were still in the initial heady phase of your relationship (called “limerence“). (Guess what – it has happened to me too! I know what the pain is like. Here’s my story: How I coped with being dumped and why that’s NOT going to help you.) But I urge you to appreciate the fact that in the long-term scheme of your life as a whole, you haven’t suffered any real loss.

You’ve not been in a relationship with her for long, so you don’t know if she was “The One” for you or not. (No. “Getting the feeling” that someone is “The One” basis a relationship of 4 months is not the real thing. Ask your married cousins and they’ll tell you – you get to know nothing about a person in that short a period of time, irrespective of what you might feel. There’s only one way to know if someone is The One for you and that’s through being in a relationship with them over years.) So there’s nothing to regret. Someone could have been “the one for you”, have not been and there will be hundreds of other options in the future. I know it’s difficult to dissociate your emotions from your thought process at this point, but when you grow up (no, you haven’t yet, at least not at an emotional level :)), one day you’ll realize this episode doesn’t really matter. It was too short, too insignificant to matter.

Focus on happiness

Always remember the following:

Life is too short to focus on anything but happiness. If it isn’t coming from one source, focus on others.

In this case other sources might include your friends, family, your hobbies, books you read, your everyday learnings from your job search etc. But focus on happiness, not one particular girl who you knew so briefly, who could have been a source of happiness for you, has not been and is hence not so important.

All the best and do write back whenever you want to share any pains/worries/concerns… anything at all. :)

How I Coped with Being Dumped and Why That’s NOT Going To Help You

I once got dumped.

There. You have it – my unequivocal confession.

The worst part was that we were just about twenty days into the relationship (if you can call it a relationship) when he decided this wasn’t what he wanted.

What’s even worse is that I was madly in love with him. Well, madly doesn’t even begin to describe it.

It hurt.

And I let it. May be because I was so mad, I couldn’t make any attempts to wish it away by telling myself, “I’m fine” and “He’s not so important”. ’Cause these would be lies.

Cope with being dumpedPhoto by Lsea584

So I acknowledged the piercing pain and loss.

I avoided all things him…

…Like plague. Not doing so would’ve been more dangerous to me than plague at the time.

I avoided the restaurants we visited. Even whole parts of the city. Even the music I used to listen to in that period.

And I don’t know if you believe this – even discussions of the industry he worked in.

I sought support

I was devastated. Broken. Over.

Or so I felt.

I had no option to “grieve silently”. I couldn’t bear the avalanche of pain that was crippling me. So I immediately contacted my (real) friends and cried my heart out on their sturdy and trusting shoulders.

Note that I said real friends. I think even letting the fake ones know about it would’ve been disastrous.  

I actively formed other connections

No, I’m not talking about a nutty rebound confusion. (My madcap mind had that bit of sense still left in it.)

I dug out old friends in Mumbai. I simply called them up and wanted to meet.

Those of you who know me can imagine how uncharacteristic of me this was. That’s how desperate I was to hold on to something.

And a good thing too, ’cause it helped numb the pain.  

I focused on myself.

I was forced to.

I had completely lost myself in those twenty days (yes I’ll definitely tell you all the stories sometime).  He had become the sole purpose of my life to the utter exclusion of everything else (I know I’m crazy, but be honest – that’s part of the reason you love me. ;) ).

So when God disappeared I was forced to turn all that focus, energy, attention somewhere. I chose myself.

I rekindled my long forgotten love for reading and music. I sought beauty in whichever place I visited. I tried to give myself freedom – freedom from the past and freedom to embrace the good things of the world.

I gave him a piece of my mind

Woohoo! This is the fun part.

He made the mistake of calling me one day to say sorry. (Yes! I was evil-ly waiting for this!)

As per the advice of one of my (real) friends, I made full use of this opportunity.

I still don’t know whether I was able to make him really feel sorry, but I sure felt relieved.

A lot.

All of the above …

… Helped lessen my pain and helped me inch towards normal.

About 5% of the way.

That experience taught me that if you’re really in love, all the self-help methods of the world are only going to help you so much.

The rest – you have to leave to time. There’s a reason they call her (or him?) the best healer.

So what happened eventually?

Eventually… I got into a rebound relationship. (Yes, I did make that mistake against the good advice of all my friends and family.)

There was just this tiny bit of saving grace – this was with the same guy who had dumped me.

One year later I married him.

:D :D

Now don’t get greedy for getting your hands on my priceless “Proven Ways of Getting Your Ex Back” for free. Let me think up a killer business plan to launch it as a premium course… :P

Cope with being dumped