August 19, 2011 - submitted by Kenny, United States of America

Q. Team Oracle Question # 37
I have been in a slump as of late. It's been a little while, but I broke up with a girl I was dating because I found out she was cheating. I have been trying to move on and focus on myself, but even so I still feel empty, I'll accomplish something but it doesn't make me feel happy. Listening to Coldplay all day is what helps me through the day. I blame myself for a lot of things even if I wasn't wrong and don't have much confidence in myself either. Is there a way to change this about myself?

The Oracle replies:

It's totally understandable to feel a huge knock of confidence when someone cheats on you. Apart from the hurt from the break-up there's the self doubt and questioning "what's wrong with me?" "what have they got that I haven't?" This can be followed by the conclusion that it MUST be your fault and therefore your self esteem is at an all time low. Pride and ego can be crushed when someone appears to prefer someone else over us but be under no illusion that he's not better than you. You're worth more. She's not worth feeling empty for.
You can flip this around though. Unfortunately some people cheat and there's no point me going into any of the many reasons why. All you need to realise is that for whatever reason it happened. You don't want to be with someone who treats you that way do you?
If you'd have recognised things that you did wrong in the relationship that may have contributed, it wouldn't excuse what your ex did but it would give you the opportunity to work on it in the future. We can all learn from our mistakes. However, you say you blame yourself even though you didn't do anything wrong. Let go of the blame. It is not your fault she cheated. No matter what, she was the one who did it, no-one forced her, she chose to. There will be someone out there who will appreciate who you are. She did once (was that a boost when you met?) and so will others but I'd argue it's her that has changed, not you.
You can improve your confidence by concentrating on what you already know you're good at. Remind yourself of past achievements. Assuming you have family and friends around you ask them to tell you one thing they like about you and believe them. It may take time but take small steps and get yourself out of the current routine. Force yourself to step out of your comfort zone and try new things. Take pleasure in the small stuff like listening to Coldplay but don't wallow or stay stuck; that's too easy right now. As you push yourself you may find your confidence boosted as you achieve things you didn't think you could do. Like moving on.
Over to you.

I was in the exact same situation as you at 22. For the next year and a half I wandered through my life. I could never bring myself to admit that guilt and loss were writhing together within, forming a prison of self-pity in which I unwittingly confined myself. I was never acutely sad but neither remotely happy. Whenever the guilt came to the fore of my mind all I could do was occupy my hands or eyes with something and hope the guilt would abate. Often that thing was Coldplay. Having gone through what you are going through, and having come out the other side, I can tell you that it will pass. Our hearts & minds generally trend towards catharsis, so will yours. The problem is that the healing process is often obscured by all the little things we do in our lives. Its hard to commit ourselves to thinking about something painful when we have so many small but stimulating distractions around us.
You must feel lost. But there are answers both within and without. Read. Write. Draw. Express yourself and you may arrive somewhere you didn't know you wanted to go, at a feeling you didn't know you had. Otherwise, the best thing you can do is sit down with yourself and truly ask why you feel the way you do. After that talking about it is best. With her, with friends, with family, anyone who cares about you. Even a psychiatrist. Letting the people you know in on how you are feeling is a good way to stop feeling detached from them, and them from you. Brian.

It can be hard to emerge from a slump and re-invent yourself music is a good place to start, it will put you in touch with how you feel. I am more concerned however about you blaming yourself and I know from experience it's easy to do over and over again . What helped me with this, was a statement I heard that defined "forgiving yourself" and that is "giving up the hope that anything you could have done may have made a difference". Can you do that?? If you can, you have a good starting point to carry on with your life, and that my friend is just what you should do, take care and best of luck, Laurie.

I think the key to all this is what you stated in your last sentence, you don't have a lot of self-confidence. An experience like that can really flesh out your insecurities so it may take some time and effort to get over all of that. You need to accept where you are in life now and realize it's much better than being in an unhealthy relationship with someone you can't trust. Reflect on what happened, what to avoid in the future and what to look for in the next girl you date. Chances are, you turned a blind eye to a lot of warning signs with your ex despite knowing better. Coldplay's music is very comforting but understand that wallowing away at this point will only hurt you. You have time now to build yourself up and make yourself the person you've always wanted to be. Continue accomplishing things. Learn to be honest with yourself. Focus on growing as a person and appreciating the people in your life that do care, your true friends and family, as well as helping others. Learn to stand up for yourself while still retaining your compassionate nature, that balance is crucial for a good relationship in the future (when you are ready and well over your ex). I hope this helps and that you meet "the one" for you in good time. But more importantly, I hope you give yourself more credit! Deepika.

I also recently broke-up with someone I truly cared for. I know the emptiness your feeling. It's like you feel you can never truly be happy again, but in time that feeling will change. At the end of the day, you did the right thing by ending your relationship with the girl you were with. Would you rather of continued your relationship, knowing that the girl was not faithful? You would not of been true to yourself or fair by continuing. You were not the one in the wrong, so you should not be the one feeling guilty or the cause of the break-up.
The only way to change your feelings about yourself is to accept that not everything is your fault, and move on. I know it will take some time but when you finally realise this, a big load will be lifted of your shoulders and you will be a much happier person. You will then finally feel able to move on, and your confidence will come in time. I hope this has helped you, Lexi.

Greetings Kenny. You know, you shouldn't feel bad for breaking up with her, you where faithful when she wasn't and you're the better person because of that. I found that's it's easier to surround yourself with friends and family and let your troubles be gone. Even though the memories may still haunt us, we have to remember that things happen for a reason. Also, try being engaged in other activities and branch out to people. I hope all goes well Kenny and good luck! Billy N.

Your ex-girlfriend did a horrible thing to you, which reveals more about her personality and values than yours. Don't blame yourself for one second. You deserve better, and in reality your ex is getting the short end of the stick even though it doesn't feel like it at the moment. It's normal to feel like this and your emptiness might stem from feeling like you were the cause of the break-up (which you weren't). Once you realize you are better off without her, your confidence will grow and you'll soon be able to find a girl who deserves you. Until then, keep listening to Coldplay =) Best regards, Blake.

It's understandable that you feel this way, you were betrayed, and you're going to have to let time heal all wounds. However you shouldn't blame yourself, there wasn't anything you could do. I know you're completely vulnerable right now, you're going to lack in confidence as you recover, but it's okay for you to feel sad. I suggest you take some time, get your bearings. It will take a while, but soon you will be back on your feet, and she will be nothing but a memory to you. And trust me, there is a girl out there, and she won't take advantage of you, and she will love and respect you.
Best wishes, Bradley H.

Thank you all for your replies.
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