Home US BEL MOONEY: I changed after a heart attack… then my partner ran away

BEL MOONEY: I changed after a heart attack… then my partner ran away

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BEL MOONEY SAYS: I send my sympathy for your distress, but I also have many questions, just like you. Illustration: Neil Webb

Dear Bel,

Although I’m not sure what I hope to accomplish by writing, I still have questions about the breakup of my relationship.

Maybe I hope my ex-partner reads the letter and realizes that it was never my intention to hurt her and that I was really going through some sort of mental crisis after a myocardial infarction (MI).

Five years ago I was in a wonderful, loving relationship; then I had the MI. He turned my world upside down and upside down.

I’m sure my partner was as loving and caring as he had always been, but I don’t remember the period after my attack. Apparently I became a completely different person.

Not being able to remember the events after the MI, along with the departure of my partner, has left me feeling abandoned, alone, empty and extremely unhappy.

I have many friends, but I can still feel alone in a room full of people. Now I rarely go out, only if I really need to.

I visit my family from time to time so they don’t worry about me. I haven’t spoken to anyone because they would just worry and constantly check on me, which is the last thing I need. The hardest part of this whole sad story is that my ex-partner didn’t believe me. I have never ever lied to her, but she has decided not to believe me. I thought she would have been more understanding because in the past she had had her own problems to deal with. Unfortunately, she is a very determined, dare I say stubborn, woman.

BEL MOONEY SAYS: I send my sympathy for your distress, but I also have many questions, just like you. Illustration: Neil Webb

She was, still is, the only woman I have ever truly loved and I miss her dearly. I think about the problems we had to go through to be together. It wasn’t easy but we made it work.

I don’t understand why she would think I would knowingly throw it all away. I know she thinks I deliberately chased her away, but nothing could be further from the truth. Her departure certainly wasn’t what she wanted, but she had no idea what was happening.

It was only after Covid hit that my head and emotions began to return to something resembling normal. Only then did I realize exactly what had happened.

All my hopes, plans and dreams for the future were built around her. He loved her totally. Why would he knowingly push her away?


The standard phrase for MI is “heart attack,” and I confess that my initial perplexity about your chosen medical term is only matched by slight confusion about the events you describe.

I send you my sympathy for your distress, but I also have many questions, just like you. She says she suffered a mental breakdown after the heart attack and doesn’t remember anything about it, but she probably asked her partner exactly how she behaved, which was scary enough to scare her away. Did you have those conversations?

He uses the word “hurt,” which implies serious emotional harm to her. So how were you “different” after MI? Did he leave you while you were still in that state of mind or after?

You mention Covid, are you saying you also contracted the virus? It’s not clear. You are lucky to “have many friends.” Haven’t you sought out his insights and advice on the period you don’t remember?

I thought they would be able and very willing to answer your questions in some detail and at least offer you some insight into why your partner couldn’t stay the course. Someone you know well should be able to provide guidance.

Can you see why, somehow, your email doesn’t quite fit? After being sick, you behaved in such a way that your ‘loving and attentive’ (but stubborn) girlfriend left you, but you have no idea why and now you feel alone and lonely, keeping everyone at a distance, which cannot Helps your mood.

It’s interesting that you say (almost accidentally) that you and your girlfriend ‘went through problems to be together.’

Then you sound quite resentful when you say, “I would have thought she would have been more understanding because she has had her own problems in the past.” What ‘problems’, I wonder?

Have you seriously considered receiving counseling to help you understand events?

A mental breakdown needs ongoing help. I think the process of finding the right therapist (see, for example, welldoing.org) is in itself a useful exercise.

I ask all of the questions above to encourage you to be honest with yourself about what went wrong. There are missing pieces of this puzzle and only you can find them, with the help that I suggest.

You admit that your relationship “wasn’t easy.” Perhaps because “all my hopes, plans and dreams for the future were built around her,” her relationship was already under strain even before her heart attack. It’s possible that she became too needy and then (through no fault of her own) started lashing out verbally because of the terrible impact MI has had on her system. She then decided that she had had enough.

I’m not writing so clearly to hurt you, but you will continue to be unhappy unless you begin (with as much help as possible) to accept the past and move on with your life.

Should I celebrate this ‘big’ birthday?

Dear Bel,

I’m approaching my 80th birthday on June 6 (D-Day baby). Now I am single, I live alone in my own bungalow without financial worries and I have three lovely children, all married, and three grandchildren.

Thinking of the day

The world is what was given,

The world is what we make it.

And we can only discover

Life in the life we ​​make.

From London Rain by Louis MacNeice (Northern Irish poet, 1907-1963)

I am healthy and I love being at home, reading, watching television or walking my two dogs on the beach.

My daughter is the one in the middle, the one who keeps everyone under control. She knows how to treat her two brothers and me too. She’s a planner, while I’m, I guess, a “I’ll deal with it later” kind of person.

My ‘problem’ (I know it’s small and enviable, in a way) is that she pressures me to plan birthday celebrations. I’m not a party person! I would love to go out to eat with the family.

I’ve tried to stop her, but she thinks we should reserve things in advance. My older son thinks he should let her do her thing, my younger son thinks he should tell her to leave him alone since it’s my birthday.

I have family in the Netherlands who would come, which would be great, but it would be a big expense for everyone. My daughter says everyone would be very happy with that and she’s probably right, but she still makes me uncomfortable.

I find myself in such a dilemma: I like and hate the very idea of ​​a party and I don’t want to deprive my family (especially my daughter) of helping me celebrate, but rather I wish it was all over already.

My daughter does this out of love, but how can I stop her without hurting her feelings and jeopardizing our relationship?


You made it pretty clear that you know how lucky you are and even expressed a degree of embarrassment in sharing what’s on your mind.

I often remind readers (who might be quick to criticize) that every problem, even if it seems trivial, is important to the person experiencing it.

I assume there are other people reading this who will understand; You don’t have to be almost 80 years old to not be sure of who you are and what you want.

Contact bel

Bel answers readers’ questions about emotional and relationship issues each week.

Write to Bel Mooney, Daily Mail, 9 Derry Street, London W8 5hy, or email bel.mooney@dailymail.co.uk.

Names are changed to protect identities.

Bel reads all the letters but regrets that she cannot correspond personally.

There is a sense of dignified rebellion behind your letter, which I have seen more than once in older people, including my own deceased parents.

It expresses an aversion to having things imposed on them, as if they were no longer capable of making decisions for themselves.

The most caring and well-intentioned bossy person can come across as condescending and (whisper it) overly controlling.

It is quite possible to know that persuasion is motivated by love, but at the same time wish that it could be reduced. I think that’s where you are, right?

If you told me you hated the idea of ​​this party, then I’d know exactly what to say. But you don’t hate the idea, it just makes you anxious. Since you are torn between “liking or hating” your daughter’s plan, my advice is to follow your older son’s advice and go with the flow.

Always choose the positive, not the negative. Always say yes to life, instead of turning your back on it.

The sensible thing to do would be to tell your daughter that, after all, you will gladly leave everything to her. No more arguments. Yes, she can “do her thing.”

Let the family from the Netherlands come and visit us if they wish, because it would surely be cruel to deprive them of the chance to have a little vacation and a fun party.

Let your daughter invite whoever she wants, because wouldn’t it be wonderful to see old friends again and share a happy time with them?

Let the corks pop, because that silly, happy sound spreads joy. If I were you, I would think that the proposed celebration is not for you but, happily, for them.

Your peace at home and walking with those dogs sounds idyllic.

You can live the life you love, okay, lucky woman, 364 days a year.

But look at the calendar beyond the birthdays: time is getting shorter now for you, as it is for me, so why not allow a night of generosity, laughter and love to send sparks of light into the darkness?

And finally… I will do my best to improve.

You like to know, so this means my column won’t be here next week.

My second hip is about to be replaced and that means a lot of discomfort and adjustment.

After all, it’s a big operation, but I know from last time (February 2017) that the pain is worth it and it’s exciting when you can finally put the clubs aside and jump into spring.

What saddens me is having to give up my weekly personal training and Pilates sessions for a while.

However, I am the person who used to hate all exercise. Now I am very happy to be much stronger and fitter than in 2017.

It got me thinking about the concept of a “personal best” and to inspire me, my coach Jenny made a list of my best efforts.

You may not be interested in those things, but be patient. I will only mention four: dumbbell shoulder press, 5 kg (11 lb) in each hand; cable row, 31.5 kg (69 lb); cable squats, 37 kg (81 lb); barbell deadlift 40 kg (88 lb). Each exercise is performed ten times and repeated three times.

No, I’m not signing up for the World’s Strongest Grand Grand! But since my mother died two years ago, I’ve been looking toward the future and understanding that you have to use your muscles as you get older. Upper body strength is vital and boy is it going to help me!

Both young and old, we all have to take care of the only body we have.

This is serious advice. Try to achieve your personal best in any way you can.

For example, use that body weight: get up from a chair without using your hands and repeat it as many times as you can.

Of course, I won’t be able to do that in the next few weeks, but I will be able to use the hand weights that I will have on the table next to my couch, next to my laptop. Both are essential.

Join me in doing whatever is possible and then some.

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