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How to Let Emotionally Go of a Relationship that is Not Working  E-mail


Hi Maria,

Thanks for your wonderful website.  It is a huge relief for me.  To make a long story short, I met my partner when I was in my early thirties and she was couple years older than me.  We were by no means "kids" and I figured we were both healthy adults.  The relationship lasted several years and couple of those years were actually really good.  She was diagnosed with having clinical depression, BiPolar II, and is suspected to have a personality disorder but therapists seem to be hesitant to diagnose her with any of those.

Unknown to me, during the second year together she was already e-mailing back and forth with some guy online.  The e-mails were flirtatious, she said terrible things about me, and basically made me feel like everything we had together was a terrible lie.  Please realize that her feelings towards me were unknown to me.  I've read about Borderline Personality as well as commitment phobia and she seems to fit the bill to all sorts of mental issues.

After accidentally discovering these e-mails, it was terribly painful.  It's important to say, I did not discover these e-mails until a year later when she was in the hospital for clinical depression.  She gave me passwords to everything to pay for bills and such and that is when I discovered e-mails.  After discussing the e-mails, her initial response was "you should not have been looking in my e-mail account to begin with."

Eventually she showed true remorse and I thought to myself (they were just e-mails...it's not like she actually met the guy).  It took me over a year but eventually I put the e-mails behind us and I thought we were headed for a new beginning.  In reality, things got worse. She asked for "space" and that she just needed some time before she made a commitment to me.  She was caught between wanting her freedom and loving me "forever."  During that time, she "accidentally" went out with a guy at church and she "accidentally" ended up kissing him at a bar.

It's important to say that I was happy that she had found God, but I was at home thinking she was in a "book club."  She told me of this incident with this man two years later.  I never knew this and she said she genuinely felt bad about it and that it was a kiss and nothing more.  After a year of being broken up, her memory has haunted me.  I ended up depressed myself and getting in trouble at work for not being "present."

I've finally decided to let her go and told her that it was in MY best interest that we go our separate ways and find happiness with someone else.  I told her "I truly cannot get past the infidelities" and since I cannot get past it, I don't see a point to trying to stay in each other's lives.  She told me she will respond to my letter, but I plan not to read it.  I don't see the point of making myself angry over the nonsense that she says..... but she feels I must listen to her because there are some things she must get off her chest....

My plan is to cut her from my life for good since the privilege of having me is something she already lost and made the decision to betray me.... She also fits the bill for narcissistic personality disorder.  I see a reconciliation as an impossible thing and have decided that losing contact is in my best interest. Am I handling the situation correctly? After all, we've been in touch after the break-up for one year now and there is no progress.

She STILL says she considers us "taking a break" and not broken up. In many ways I've had a hard time reaching acceptance, but she has too.  The good was REALLY good, but the bad outweighed anything good between us.  When someone cheats on you, and there are no kids, mutual homes, or anything..... there is nothing there to fight for...


The goal of this website is to give support to people who are feeling depressed and unhappy with their lives. I am living in Europe and English is not my native language, I wish you will excuse me if I make some grammatical errors. I decided to write in English because I wish to reach as many people as I can around the world.


Maria's Reply:

How to let emotionally go of a relationship that is not working


Dear Friend,

Thank you for your email. I know how painful it is to experience dishonesty and betrayal in a relationship. As you said, when there are no children involved and no other bonds between two adult people, it is sometimes easier and simpler just to walk away than to try to mend a relationship that has been damaged beyond repair.

Based on your letter it seems clear your girlfriend has been having some serious issues related to her mental health. These issues can partially explain her behavior. It can be emotionally very demanding to be in a relationship with a person who is suffering of conditions you mentioned. In the end you need to think of yourself and what is best for your own mental health. As I said, your girlfriend's depression and other issues can explain part of her behavior, however you should not use her issues as justification for her to behave the way she did.

You said it took about one year for you to get over the email issue. It is natural that recovery of that kind of a betrayal takes this long. Some people might think emailing to opposite sex is not such a big thing, especially when it did not lead to actual encounter. However those who have experienced similar kind of a betrayal know exactly how painful it is to deal with. It is painful to discover that someone who you thought loved you is actually doing something behind your back with someone else. That thought hurts, even if physical cheating is not involved.

It is important that you are not trying to deny the seriousness of what your girlfriend did. Even though there was no physical encounter, your girlfriend cheated on you emotionally by interacting with this other man via email and telling him details of your relationship. You said your girlfriend wrote horrible things about you to this man. What happened was clearly emotional cheating. When you allow yourself to think of the incident as is was (emotional cheating), it is easier for you to understand why it took so long for you to get over it and also why you feel now it is not worth it to continue the relationship.

After the first betrayal you decided to wait and see if you are able to forgive your girlfriend and get over what happened. You managed to come to terms with what happened but then your girlfriend betrayed your trust again. After evaluating the situation you then started to feel the relationship is not worth saving.

You asked are you handling this situation correctly. Dear Friend, what you are doing is an ideal way people should behave if they are facing dishonesty and betrayal in a relationship. Everyone deserves a second chance. When the first incident occurred, you decided to stay because you felt strongly for your girlfriend and felt your relationship was worth fighting for. Perhaps you also felt that her depression and other issues might have contributed to what happened and also for this reason you wanted to try to save the relationship. But when the second betrayal occurred, you started to see a pattern of behavior.

If your girlfriend truly valued your relationship, she would have been extremely careful not to stray again after the first slip. Anyone can make one mistake (even though it is very different thing to have for example a drunken one night stand by mistake and to keep a secret email "relationship" going on for long period of time, telling horrible things about one's partner etc. Many people find the previous easier to forgive than the latter). But second betrayal (her lying to you that she went to a book club even though she went to a bar where she ended up kissing with another man) suggests that the "roots" of the problem are related to her personality, and personality is very hard to change.

You evaluated the situation correctly and realized that it will take a long time to regain the trust after the second betrayal. You also understood that it is possible that your trust will not return, or that something similar will happen again before you are able to recover from this second blow. And since there are no children involved, you decided not to take that risk and stay for couple more years to see how things develop.

I do not know the details of your relationship with your girlfriend but based on your letter I feel you have made the right decision by leaving. The road to recovery and regaining full trust is long and hard. Many people stay in a relationship even after it seems clear that there is no positive improvement, that the other person simply has dishonest personality and cheating continues. Many people do not have the strength to do what you have done, to draw the necessary conclusions and walk away.

Dear Friend, I know you still have feelings for your girlfriend, otherwise you most likely would not have written to me. I am glad you decided to write. Your story gives encouragement to others who are facing a similar situation. It is very hard to walk away from someone one truly cares for. But in the end of the day it is as you said: Your girlfriend turned out to be different kind of a person than you thought she is. You originally fell in love with an image you had of your girlfriend before she betrayed you. Now when you have started to see her true personality you are still to some extent emotionally attached to the old image you had of her.

It is the love to that old image of your girlfriend that you are mostly missing, not so much the person who she turned out to be. It is important to be aware of this, it helps you to make the decision regarding the future of your relationship. If you decide to get back together with her, you must be aware that by doing so you are not going to get back the feeling you had towards her before you found out about cheating. You are not going to have again the same kind of a relationship because your view of her has changed after what she has done. This does not mean that your relationship with her would automatically be bad. But it will be different, and you need to ask yourself is that something you want, do you still want this person, now when you have seen how she really is like.

I know how hard it is to let emotionally go of someone you have loved very much. If you have made the decision to end this relationship, I agree with you that the best thing to do is to have no contact with this woman at list for some time. If you maintain contact, you are preventing yourself from healing. Once you cut the contact your healing process can truly begin. Old saying "out of sight, out of mind" is true in that sense that if you are not in actual contact with this woman, the memory of her slowly starts to fade in your mind, making it easier for you to let go of her. If you keep seeing her and hearing her voice or interact with her via email, you are "keeping her alive" in your mind, and hence the memory of her cannot fade.

Warm hug,



It helps to know we are not alone. To read more stories of people who are experiencing problems in a relationship, visit section Personal Stories.



If you wish to submit your own story to get feedback and support or if you wish to contact me for any other reason, please send me email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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