There are different types of grief that many of us endure in life. Death of a loved one; death of a pet; grief over lost opportunities or the life we did not get to live; grief over lost friendships; and relationship break-up grief, amongst others.

Fear-Based Assumptions

Annie and Richard had a six month relationship. They both fell in love, in that time, but trust issues began to rise four months in. The last 7 weeks were torture for both parties. Richard was certain that Annie had a wondering eye. He accused her every day of paying too much attention to men in cafes, men walking by on the street, men on television, in movies, even professional men that she had dealings with. He was convinced too that her interests centred on men much younger than herself. He became terrified. His self-esteem was also impacted as he felt he could not compete with younger men.

Richard’s reasoning for these suspicions was due to to Annie’s comment on a young actor, that he was interesting and charismatic. She only made these comments after Richard pressed her for details as to why she said the actor had stage presence. Richard took this to mean that Annie was attracted to the young man, who was young enough to be her son, but Annie had only referred to his performance in one particular role.

Deaf Ears

Annie had first noticed the actor in this film where he played the part of a deranged misfit, who was portrayed as cold, sociopathic, robotic and not at all appealing. He was in fact, freakish. Only later, she realised that it was the same actor in one of her favourite films, which she had already seen but had not taken special notice of him. Her interest was in fact sparked by his performance as the disturbing character.

Annie explained that she could have been referring to a female actress, or an old age actor or a child, with her comments around charisma. But because the actor was later known to be a heart throb, which Annie was unaware of at the time, and certainly not evident in this performance, Richard was convinced her comments were sexually based. He could not understand that Annie was commenting on his role in the film.

Annie was aghast at Richard’s accusations. Never in her life had she thought about younger men in this way, or fantasised about anyone. Her friends found Richard’s accusations incredible. One of Annie’s friends was in fact a woman who had affairs with younger men, and if Annie had been so inclined, surely this friend would have become aware of it. She wasn’t. Annie’s brother just said, “If he’s thinking like that now, at his age, he will never change”. Another friend said, “I’ve never even seen you look at a man”. Yet another said, “He really doesn’t know you”.

Richard then requested Annie scour her hard drive to see how many films featured young heartthrobs. The result was minimal. Of 74 entries, there were 8 films. Of those films, Richard himself liked three, and two others were Academy Award winners. Two more featured lead actors who Annie did not like, but still enjoyed the film; and in the last one, the actor in question played a minor role.

On Richard’s side of the issue, he had discussed his ‘observations’ with several of his friends, as well as his daughter. His interpretation of events was so exaggerated through fear that his friends rallied around him in shock at Annie’s supposed interests. When Annie learnt of this, she collapsed in despair. How could anything be resolved now that Richard had involved his children?

Phobic Responses

In Annie’s observation, Richard really launched into an attack after they had spent meaningful time together. Every special day together was followed by Richard’s ever growing pain and fear, until Annie simply could not bare it. It seemed as though she was in a constant war. They fought almost every day. Her patience had grown very short and her hair was falling out with the stress.

Annie was aware of Richard’s previous relationship where he was betrayed by a woman, with a much younger man. This was a woman with a wandering eye. She was the likely cause of Richard’s suspicions as the event broke him. Richard believed he had dealt with it and that his observations on Annie were in fact accurate. There was no convincing him otherwise. Annie’s last request to Richard was to contact her, if he could eventually see a way forwards. He agreed, but neither of them could spot solution at that stage.

While Richard had enjoyed several relationships before meeting Annie, Annie had been alone for over a decade, and had a few short, aimless relationship attempts during the eight years prior to that. In that time too, she had been approached by a few ‘nice looking’ younger men and had declined their interest, due to their age. She had virtually lived like a nun, because she had chosen to be alone rather than become involved with anyone but the right one. She thought Richard was ‘it’.

Richard had never considered a second marriage until he met Annie. This told him everything he needed to know about his feelings for her. He thought Annie was ‘it’ for him too. And then it all fell apart.

Break-Up Grief for Both

The break-up grief was immense for Richard and Annie. For both, it was the deepest love that they had felt, though continuously marred by this issue.

Annie began experiencing break-up grief weeks before the final day, because she knew she could not last under the current circumstances where she was emotionally abused on a daily basis. She had pushed for time-out when things began to weigh heavily, but Richard did not want to lose her and resisted the temporary break. Eventually they both decided it was best to part, until further notice.

During their time together, Annie and Richard both recognised that they had identified a ‘soul mate’ connection in each other. It was a sense or a feeling of sharing the same core. They literally felt their hearts beat as one. “I love you’s” were exchanged but could not express the depth of feeling. And now, it was all gone.

What to do?

When the relationship circle is broken, each partner has to start again by creating their own complete circle once more, as they were before they met. This often takes time, self-esteem building, resolution of trauma, and a sense of knowing what one is truly looking for in a partner. For Annie, she needed a partner who could show her love and trust. If you need help with creating your own circle, we can help. Horizons Clinical Hypnotherapy Sunshine Coast.