Losing My Ex-Partner and trying to live and love again

Hi all,
I am new here. I decided to join as it is coming to my 3 year anniversary of losing my ex-partner, Chris. How we ended the relationship was messy and painful. As we hadn’t stopped loving each other. Opening up is painful but it helps me. When he died it was a mixture of self neglect and illness. He had pneumonia. But he was 30 and physically healthy so my perception is that he did not seek the help he needed and let the illness take hold. I think the end of our relationship contributed to him giving up on life. I am wording this carefully as I know it was not me who is responsible for his death. BUT I still FEEL responsible.
I lost my ex- partner Chris just a month after we had a big argument and I ended the relationship. It had become toxic for me. I adored him and loved him passionately. But the pain the relationship was causing me was making me feel ill and depressed. He kept pushing me away and then pulling me back which was a pattern that created a toxic rollercoaster push-pull relationship. As soon as we were getting close, he would panic and push me away. Cutting off contact for days or weeks at a time. Then he would re-surface and we would try again. He had started counselling. He was getting help. I understood why he did this. He had years of childhood abuse and trauma. Opening up and trusting anyone was huge and difficult for him. But he also felt shame and could see the pain his behaviour was causing which again, made him feel like he should pull away! He was also addicted to painkillers and other drugs. He was doing his best to fight this. I was supportive but it was taking its toll on me and I decided to end the relationship after a fight. For my own health and for my children’s sake. I know I did the right thing for me at the time but I still feel a lot of guilt and self-shame.
We were together for nearly a year. It was incredibly intense and passionate. I loved him with all my heart. He had many amazing qualities and we connected so well. But we had very different ways of dealing with stress and pain. When I went to see him for what would be our last day together, I had no idea it was going to end. My love had not diminished. I was as supportive as ever. But then we met. I was going to meet his Dad that day. It was a big deal for both of us. He was nervous as he had a difficult relationship with his Dad. I got to Chris’s flat. He was acting out of character. Started being angry at me for wearing a revealing dress. (I later found out that Chris’s Dad was a lech as he came onto me when we met after Chris died. I think Chris was afraid of his Dad doing this and knew he probably would)
I did not respond well to being told what I should or shouldn’t wear quite rightly! We went into his flat. He was very agitated.
He had never been like this with me before. He had never been remotely controlling or judgmental. Or directed his anger at me. But he did have issues around anger as a trauma/survival response to others so it was always there I suppose.

Then he started being more critical of me and saying hurtful things. He had never said anything negative towards me before.
Anyway, I responded to all this by raising my voice and telling him in no uncertain terms never to talk to me like this again. He asked me to leave. I said I wanted to talk through things. He threatened to drag me out (I am incredibly stubborn so this just made me want to refuse more even though I should have respected my partner’s wishes and given him space). I also knew that he would never lay a finger on me. He didn’t. But he then picked up his phone and called the police. He told them his ‘Crazy ex’ was at his flat and was ‘looming over him’ and refusing to leave. (I am 4"11 and Chris was 6"3. On a lighter note, one of his nicknames for me was his ginger dwarf which I really liked! Don’t judge me! )
I added to the drama by shouting, ‘I am not his ex!!!’ down the phone which I am sure helped reasure the police they were not needed!!!

Neither of us had shouted at each other before. It was horrible and dramatic and unhelpful on both sides!
Then I went to his bedroom as I was furious and upset. He came after me saying he had called them back and told them not to come but they were still coming. He looked lost .
I stood up and walked out of his flat. But before I did, I told him I had had enough and he would never see me again. That was the last time I saw him.

We spoke on the phone the next day. Once we had both calmed down. He said sorry. I said sorry. We said we loved each other. But I also said I needed to end the relationship. That it was causing me too much pain. That it was harmful for me and my kids. He loved them and was amazing with them. But his sudden absences and needing to disappear were not going unnoticed by them.
We agreed and as I knew that any contact would weaken my decision. I said it would be the last time we would speak. It was.
He continued to send me messages and try to call me. He wanted me to support him. I didn’t. About a week before he died he sent me some beautiful messages about how he understood why we couldn’t be together but that he loved me and was sorry for how he had acted.
I nearly called him. I missed him so much. The night before he died, I had his number up on my phone and I was so close to calling him. But I didn’t.
Then the next morning I got a message from his Mum to say she had found him. He had been staying with her. He had pneumonia and broken ribs. He had become more and more unwell. Not gone to hospital. It could have bewn prevented. (I am still angry at him for not doing that!!!) He was physically healthy apart from that. He died. He was only 30. My beautiful man died. It is unfair and tragic. I wish I could have prevented it from happening.

Nearly 3 years on and it has been so hard.
In the last year I started a new relationship with a wonderful man. He is consistent and loving. He is very understanding about Chris. It is healthy and not toxix! He has moved in and we have become very close. But I am scared of pushing him away. Last Dec we both developed pneumonia. Which has triggered some painful emotions.
Neither of us became dangerously ill fortunately. But it scared me. And I feel like it has thrown me back to an earlier stage of grief. I am thinking about Chris a lot and missing him. I feel like I am betraying both my current partner and Chris. Comparing them which is natural I suppose. But also I am finding it hard to make sense of my feelings and be a good partner and be in the moment. At the moment anyway!
I appreciate that this is a big wall of text! I neaded to blurt out all of this!!!

Hello, Carrots,
I have read your very sad post with compassion, may I suggest that the seeds of the destruction of your Chris, were planted when he was a child? He would have taken his own life eventually the split from you was a trigger for him to do so. I wish you wouldn’t blame yourself and you stopped feeling guilty, it wasn’t your fault
I am pleased that you have entered into a new relationship.

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Hellk MaryL,

Thank you very much for your kind words.
You are right. Completely.
I do agree that Chris’s childhood definitely set him on the path of self-destruction. I also know that there is a high probability that, even if we had remained together, he would have still taken his own life at some point. But there’s still that small part that sometimes takes over and says ‘Its because you walked away. You failed him like so many others did. You should have been stronger. He deserved better.’

I clearly need to continue to work on the self-blame and guilt side of things! Even though I know it wasn’t my fault. The pesky gremlins/inner critic tell me otherwise!
Thank you so much for your support.
Best wishes,
Carrots x

You are very welcome, carrots.

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