Is it normal that love has totally crippled my ambitions?

I was utterly in love with someone in secret for five years and finally got the chance to start dating them earlier this year. One thing I noticed while we were dating is that I seemed to put him over everything else in importance. I'm a conscientious person, so I definitely was aware that I was doing it and knew it isn't healthy but carried on because that's how strong my feelings were. It didn't physically stop me from getting on with assignments at uni but I noticed my severe lack of drive. I've always been passionate about learning, and striving to do the best that I can but this really dropped to the point where I was happy to hand in half-arsed work that I knew could've done with SO MUCH more, if only I'd given it enough time.

However, it wasn't that he was encouraging this behaviour. In fact, he always said I should concentrate on my work / always encouraged me to revise when I needed to revise. And to a certain extent, I did. But again, it was totally just for the sake of revising. I wasn't ENJOYING what I was doing, because I was so consumed by my relationship - I'd constantly be waiting for him to text me, thinking about the next time I see him etc. etc. It was my first and understandably a pretty significant relationship so I guess I can understand why I was so hooked on it at first. But it was spiralling to the point where I was depressed and empty because I kept having paranoid thoughts like "What if he doesn't love me anymore? What if he's secretly disgusted by me?".

Everything I thought about revolved around him. If I thought about stuff I wanted to do in the future, I'd wonder how he would fit into that equation (travelling abroad etc). It was so ridiculous, and at times I felt ashamed at myself for being so dependant on somebody like that. Before, I considered myself as someone with a lot of ambitions, dreams and optimism. I was so ready to take on life, I was so excited to get into university and step into the "adult world".

I'd like to point out again that the guy in question was a very kind, sweet and generally sincere person who never purposefully made me feel this way. We have since broken up, and although I do have feelings for him still, I know that neither of us could benefit from carrying on a relationship that (for me anyway) was too emotionally heavy.

I'm trying SO HARD to move on and get some of that optimism I once used to feel. The excitement of starting something new and challenging myself intellectually and actually feeling EXCITED about learning, and wanting to get good grades and prove to myself that I'm still that ambitious person. I just want to know why I'm like this. Why is it so IMPOSSIBLE right now to let go of him, and gain back my confidence in myself and my ability to move forward academically in life? Why did I let something that's supposed to make me feel happy, an emotion like love, get in the way of my other dreams?

Is It Normal?
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  • (I am not a native speaker, type on my Smartphone right now and have to get going to the airport soon. Sorry for any misspelling)

    But I really feel I should share with you that you are not alone.

    You where (or are) addicted by his love. Just like any other addiction that of course leads to obsessive thoughts and a shift in priorities. Also the fear of losing that someone gets really strong. The other person probably has not done this on purpose but there are however certain mechanisms of a relationship that can trigger this kind of „addiction“. Let me give you some examples:
    You may or may not be programmed to the fear of losing someone else by past experience such as a divorce of your parents in your childhood or a non available parent.
    Your partner might have given you the feeling of uncertainty by being very loving and caring sometimes and then totally not available on other times. This would lead to you wanting him so much (because he can be loving) but being afraid to lose him (because he is online all the time but doesn’t text you back etc.). This can spiral because you are putting pressure on him to be more considering which he will do if he cares about you. But he will only do it sometimes. Other times he will be more than happy to be alone or with his friends and not having to care. (So you are needy and that pushes him away and makes you more needy).

    There are many other mechanisms like that. I can not list them all. However, if a lot come into play an addictive relationship will be the result.

    There are very good books about this by Stephanie stahl. She is a German author though and her latest book „jeder ist beziehungsfähig“ (everyone can have relationships) I couldn’t find in English. Also recommendable for your topic though is „the child in you must find home“.

    In the end he wanted to be independent and you wanted to be close. That didn’t work out.

    You will have to make sure that your next partner wants the same level of being close (sorry can’t find a better word in English).

    Now this gets very deep into the topic...
    You might have a thing for unavailable partners and fall in love with them easy. Be sure to just let it go then. Because just like Alkohol is not good for an alcoholic or fast food is not good for an obese person it sure feels good for them. They might „love“ the things that harm them.

    Anyway, I hope that helps. Feel free to contact me in a private message if you want to learn more.
    ...and I have to get packed now ;)

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    • Thank you so much! This makes a LOT of sense, especially about him being emotionally unavailable sometimes. On some days, he would pour his heart out to me and other days our conversations would be very aloof. He never tried to push me away intentionally for sure, but I felt there were times when there was a mental block between us and that he wasn't sharing things with me, which agitated me even more. When we talked about our break up, he said that there were times he just couldn't bring himself to be emotional, and that he felt "numb" (not just about me but about a lot of things in life). It made me realise that he's probably got a lot of deep-seated issues of his own that he needs to resolve, and that the only way I could help is by giving him the space to work things out on his own. But anyway, again thanks so much for this! Safe travels (I assume you are travelling!).

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