(The following was my Quora response ( one among many by others) to a 26 YO woman who was in distress over her relationship)
As you can see, everybody’s a therapist. Or thinks they are.
First to reassure you, it’s very likely your emotions are within normal limits.
Amateurs’ support can be helpful, many people will have had similar experiences and can offer useful advice to some degree, and normalize your experiences ( “I went through something like that.”)
1) You’re anxious, you should get yourself a good, full physical from a qualified medical doctor or nurse practitioner. There are lots of metabolic problems that manifest as psych symptoms.
2) Find a therapist that has taken the trouble to get some additional certification besides their psychologist, social work, or psychiatry license.
But pick a sub-specialty that’s a accepted traditional one. Reiki therapy doesn’t count.
Could be a post doc in cognitive therapy, or something really deep like a Jungian analyst. These are my favorites ( I almost became one) because they have to get analyzed themselves and are less likely to have some unconscious agenda like extreme feminism, or its opposite, misogyny.
To find one of those google jungian analyst <your city>.
The sour note that stands out is your rather casual declaration that your ex was a “dick”.
So why did you pick him? It’s normal to pick charming shallow guys who hit on a lot of women when you’re naive, because they make the first move more often. With more women.
My impression is Freud described something like the repetition compulsion, which is that people repeat unhealthy patterns of behavior because it’s the only pattern they know.
Many women go through jerk boys who are inconsiderate and promiscuous hoping to change them into the nice guy who isn’t as exciting.
Also contrary to some feminist propaganda, your fertility is just about starting to decline, and the risk of Down’s syndrome is already rising although it is low. I don’t mention that to be alarmist, but just to help you stay connected to reality. Don’t believe equalist bullshit, men’s and women’s bio clocks are very different in case you want to have kids. It’s unfair but don’t blame me– blame evolution.
One last tip: Education is a great screening tool for mates, because it shows :
1) The willingness to learn, to accept someone else is smarter and to do what they are told by someone smarter.
2) The ability to learn, the raw intellect to absorb the information.
I’m not saying everyone has to go to a lot of formal schooling, but when you deal with someone with a 4 years degree you get the benefit of a large data sample across a relatively long period of time.
They were willing to show up, keep their mouth shut when they needed to, were healthy enough to get to class, and smart enough to absorb info and pass the tests– for several years.
Maybe better than falling for a crooked smile and nice jawline, but it’s your life.
This answer will also be posted at my blog beyondrepill.