Is it normal to feel numb?

I fought with my boyfriend and now I’m ghosting him. Is this OK? 

Absolutely, says our elder. Take all the time you need.


Dear EWC

I just found out my boyfriend of three years has been ‘group dating’ with his best friend. Apparently his best friend is interested in this girl and her friend always tags along. So he claims he’s being a great wingman. But the girl calls him and they text inappropriately. He doesn’t think this is cheating. But I do. We fought and I left. Since then I can’t bring myself to pick up the phone or respond to his texts. I just feel safe ignoring the whole thing. I think I could go forever never speaking to him again. I know he’s full of crap and a liar. He has nothing I want or need. I can walk away without needing another conversation. He can keep whatever I left at his house. Don’t need it or want it. I haven’t cried or lost any sleep. But it’s there. In the bottom of my chest. I’m locking it away. Pushing it down. Because I just don’t feel like being hurt. Or dealing with it. Nobody knows. I haven’t told my friends or family. I probably won’t. He keeps calling and texting and everytime I see it I just feel sick at the thought of even engaging in any type of communication. I don’t care why he did what he did. Is this normal? Will I be OK if I just ghost him forever more? Because right now that’s all that’s keeping me sane. If I hear his voice or see his face I’ll crack. And I’m sick of cracking.


Catherine replies

I get it. I have experienced the numbness you describe. And it feels better than pain, doesn’t it? I can completely understand why you would want to stay in the land of numbness rather than open yourself up to a world of hurt. 

You asked if your reaction was normal. I have already mentioned that I reacted similarly when I decided to leave my husband. I just went cold and numb. I had previously begged him to go to counseling with me, but he had always refused. After I left, he called constantly saying he would go to counseling; he sent flowers; he begged for forgiveness; but I felt nothing. I gave him nothing because I had nothing left to give. So, yes, I think your reaction is normal. Your boyfriend of three years is texting inappropriately with another woman. I suspect some of your justifiable anger comes from him gaslighting you by telling you that he is acting as his best friend’s wingman. 

You ask if you can ghost him forever. My advice is for you to take it day by day. Be gentle with yourself. Right now it feels right for you to stay numb. Fine. Allow yourself that. You get to decide. However, recognize that you are grieving what may very well be the end of a three-year relationship. Elizabeth Kubler Ross discovered that grieving has several stages. You are probably now in the stage known as denial. As we grieve, we move in and out of the various stages, eventually coming to acceptance. I suspect that once you move out of the stage of denial, you may want some closure. You may want to talk to your boyfriend and inform your friends and family. However, you are in charge. You decide when you want to do any of these things. Stay in the land of numbness as long as it feels like a safe, appropriate place for you to be. 

Article #: 476916

Category: Dating/Relationship


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