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Can’t choose between my ex and a new guy

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  • #394380
    jess
    Participant

    I was in a 4 year relationship with a guy that started when I was 16, and we broke up in November 2021. Before I moved in when I was 18, we wished all the time that we could spend every day and night together, but a few months after I moved in he got used to me being there all the time, in his words “I would always be there, so he never thought I could actually be gone.” The way he showed his love started to change, and he used to say that “if he says he loves me, then I should believe it”. All I wanted was for him to give me love emotionally and physically but he was always angry at life and he couldn’t connect with me in that way even though I told him many times what I needed. He was an alcoholic, and I would go to bed sometimes crying facing the wall because he wouldn’t want to cuddle me or thought that me asking for him to tickle my leg was a big deal. I’m still hurt by those things so maybe I should just move on. But now that we’ve seen each other a few times since January, he says how much he’s changed and he knows everything he did was wrong and he should’ve been a more loving boyfriend, more intimate and able to have a stronger connection, actually grow with each other, give me the love I deserve and reciprocate it back because I tried so hard and I loved him with everything I had. I can see that he is trying and he truly loves me. He knows all my quirks and he accepts me for who I am but that might be because of the history we have. I feel like I can’t let that go, but at the same time I feel like my life was not at it’s full potential since he didn’t want to grow with me. He is a good person at his core, he cares, and I don’t want to hurt him again since we have been hanging out after we broke up, but it’s hard to pinpoint how I feel since he was my first real relationship. In this present moment, don’t know if I “loved” him or I still love him because I know who he is. But some would say if I love him now this wouldn’t be an issue.

    We broke up in November because I went to a show with my sisters friends and I immediately hit it off with this guy. We have the same interests, mentality, hobbies, he’s well put together, we connect physically and he’s very affectionate. We just bond and I’ve always wanted that type of connection with someone. With my ex, we started off slow as friends and grew on each other and fell in love even though I was so young, to this day I know he was my first love. I’m so conflicted because of the feelings I have for this new guy I feel like he satisfies my needs and wants which my ex couldn’t, and I’m scared to go back because who knows if he truly changed inside. I definitely feel like a shitty person because how I hurt my ex with this a new guy which no one wants to happen to them. I still have been seeing both of them from time to time hoping I will figure out how I feel but nothing has changed besides me being more confused. I know the best thing to do would be to focus on my self and recovery. But I just can’t help how I feel with this guy. BUT here I go – I feel like my ex and I could potentially make it work over time if I tried to move on from what he knows was wrong and what hurt me. I’m just not sure if I want to put my energy back into something that might not work because of how it was, and that I realized might not be what I want now because of the new guy. I always thought I would be with my ex forever because we got a long and he was my first love.

    I sincerely don’t know what to do. Should I be with this new guy who could show me the world and give me what I deserve from a partner? Or choose my ex who I know cares and could provide me with a family, trust and unconditionality? I don’t know how it will play out with this new guy but I guess that’s the chance you take in every relationship. I took that chance when I was 16, aware what I was getting into and knew it would be hard if we ever broke up. I didn’t know I would ever be like this trying to literally choose.

    Any advice or thoughts are helpful, I just need some words. I feel alone and no one to talk to because I don’t want to be judged, or hurt anyone in my process. Thank you for reading

    #394393
    Helcat
    Participant

    Hi Jess

    It’s very easy for someone to say they’ve changed and much more difficult to actually change. You mentioned that you ex had difficulties with alcohol use. Perhaps, if he resolved that issue it would be a good way to show that he was actually committed to changing. Unless he does that I’d be doubtful of his ability to change in 3 months.

    From what you’ve said, this new guy seems nice.

    An important question to ask yourself is what you want and don’t want in a relationship.

    #394402
    jess
    Participant

    Helcat,

    That is true, he still drinks frequently even when we hung out after the break up. It could definitely take longer than 3 months to significantly change.

    #394408
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jess:

    You shared that at 16 you started your first real relationship with your first boyfriend. You moved in with him at 18. For the first few months it was wonderful, and then, it was not. He was an alcoholic, “was always angry at life” and he was not there for you the ways you needed him to be. In Nov 2021, (being 20 years old), you went to a show with friends and “immediately hit it off with this guy”. As a result of that event, you broke up with your first boyfriend. But since the breakup, you’ve been seeing your ex from time to time, as well as seeing the new guy.

    The new guy is very affectionate, and he has the same interests and mentality as yours. The two of you connected physically and emotionally, as he satisfies your needs and wants. With him, you have the connection you’ve always wanted. But you feel guilty for hurting your first boyfriend (“I definitely feel like a sh**** person because how I hurt my ex with this new guy“), and you are conflicted otherwise: to let go of the ex, or to go back to him.

    I always thought I would be with my ex forever because we got a long and he was my first love” – my comment: sometimes we have to let go of what we used to think (and feel and believe) and do a… thinking update, that is: use what we learn about our past and the present and update our thinking so that it matches the current reality.

    I sincerely don’t know what to do. Should I be with this new guy who could show me the world and give me what I deserve from a partner? Or choose my ex who I know cares and could provide me with a family, trust and unconditionality?” –  seems to me that you are making assumptions that are exaggerated, or not grounded in reality: can the new guy really show you the world? And can your ex really provide you with unconditionality?

    Being shown the world- what does it mean to you? And what do you mean by unconditionality?

    anita

    #394462
    jess
    Participant

    Anita,

    You’re right, I am making exaggerated assumptions on what these guys could give me. I guess what I mean by showing me the world, is having that spark of energy to want to experiences new things and opportunities with me and also give me what I deserve especially the little things like affection, compliments and positivity. He’s very intellectual and seems like he could challenge me to become a better person and really give me that love/connection I’ve always wanted, if that makes sense.

    What I mean by unconditionality, is that my ex knows everything about me and still chooses to love me. We can be so comfortable together because of the history. He is patient compared to the new guy – I feel like because we are so close in age we could possibly grow together and start a family and eventually buy a house together if he decides to change. But I just don’t have a physical connection with my ex like I do with the new guy. I’m worried that since because of mine and the new guys age gap him being 10 years older, our lives would be on different wavelengths, so my sister says, therefore not working out.

    Jess

    #394513
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jess:

    I don’t know how it will play out with this new guy, but I guess that’s the chance you take in every relationship” – the chance you take in a relationship doesn’t need to be too big, such as in playing the lottery and having 1:1000 chance of winning some money. You can figure out what life with the ex is likely to be, and what life with the new guy is likely to be, and by doing so, you narrow the chances and limit your risk.

    What I mean by showing me the world, is having that spark of energy to want to experience new things and opportunities” – the spark one person provides another in a romantic relationship doesn’t stay the same. It can be intense, then it weakens… sometimes it’s gone, then it comes back, or not.

    Look at your ex’s spark: at first, while living with you, he was very sparked, so to speak: “(He) wished all the time that we could spend every day and night together“. Fast forward a few months, you were still sparked but he was not. Currently, you are not sparked by your ex. You are sparked by the new guy: “I just don’t have a physical connection with my ex like I do with the new guy“.

    What this means is that the spark changes and it should not be the only consideration when choosing between the two men. Let’s look at other considerations:

    The ex is very close to your age, you’ve known him for 4 years, you lived together for two years, so he is familiar with your ways, your quirks, etc., and you are familiar with his ways, which were that “he was always angry at life“. When he was angry at life, “he couldn’t connect with (you)“. He frequently drank alcohol when living with you and he still does. In some ways, he is more patient than the new guy (in what ways, I wonder).

    The new guy is 10 years older than you; you’ve known him for 4 months. He is very affectionate (by nature, or as a result of being sparked, I wonder), very intellectual, and has the same interests, mentality and hobbies as you do.

    To continue this comparison, I ask: (1) did you see the new guy interacting with other people, and if so, is he affectionate with some other people? (2) In what ways is the new guys impatient? (3) Being that the new guy is 10 years older than you, and you met him only recently, I assume that he has a significant relationship history: do you know anything about it? (4) Can you elaborate on your ex’s anger at life: what was/ is it about and is there any reason for you to think that his anger has been resolved? (5) In what ways is your ex acting patiently?

    anita

     

    #394618
    jess
    Participant

    Anita, thank you so much for your voice.

    “The spark one person provides another in a romantic relationship doesn’t stay the same. It can be intense, then it weakens… sometimes it’s gone, then it comes back, or not.” – Yes the spark does change. I’ve noticed that when my ex and I broke up and we started hanging out again, it seemed like the beginning of the relationship, and he told me he regrets getting mad over little things and seems even more happy around me than before, being more physical, but it just doesn’t feel the same since so many years went passed with him acting the opposite… I have expressed that to him.

    What I also mean by showing me the world is that the new guy can show me a healthy relationship and give me what I deserve physically and mentally. I want to be mindful with my partner, and that spark of energy to be passionate and want to live for more is what’s important to me along with the affection, intimacy and words of affirmation… etc. His confidence in himself and the ability to look beyond what he’s already learned and experienced is attractive.

    I feel like my ex and I don’t have that physical connection because of the conversations we’ve had about it, even with his mom involved. I moved in while he was living with his mom, we rented the basement it was like our own little house, kitchen and everything. One night we were talking about why he isn’t a physical person and his mom said it’s because of her not being in his life for the majority of him growing up, not being that loving mother figure. “We’re not huggers” they said, and my ex told me that he believes that “drinking gives him that confidence” to be naturally physical because otherwise he “doesn’t know how to transition into hanging out and being a loving/intimate partner”. It shouldn’t be that hard but everyone is different. I kind of just shrugged it off for a while, but I slowly realized that I don’t deserve to be loved only when someone is drunk or when they choose to put in the effort. I had that spark with him for such a long time because he was my first love and I wanted to believe in his good side, I didn’t want to just leave when it got hard. I guess his spark faded away but got more intense when he absorbed the weight of the situation between us after the initial break up.

    My answer to your questions:

    1. One thing I like about the new guy is that he is willing to do stuff with me, things that might be out of his comfort zone because he wants to experience new things within himself and or with me. He’s not opposed to hanging around my friends because he knows they’re important to me, so he will give them the same treatment as I do to them, he said. Most of my friends are girls, and that’s okay because he grew up with sisters and gets along better with woman. He says it’s not hard for him to connect to his feminine side, maybe that’s why we have the same mentality and interests. He’s such a gentlemen with him acts of service – sometimes I get the feeling that he might be TOO nice to where it worries me that I might get jealous cause I can’t tell if he’s trying to flirt or just be accommodating. I don’t want to get jealous that’s not me at all, and that could ruin our relationship making assumptions. But he is a grown man who seems like he knows what he wants, I’m sure he would be honest if he felt a certain way towards me or someone else. Throughout time I might see him being affectionate towards other people but for now, I just wonder and observe since his dream is to perform live music and make people happy and inspired. Maybe he’s just super friendly overall.

    2. The new guy is very impatient, he even said it himself because he just wants to get to the point, no beating around the bush. There have been a few instances where I’ve noticed it. Personally, I like to take my time because I’m detailed oriented and I just want to make sure everything is right. Plus, I don’t see the need to rush everything. We planned a trip for my birthday in January with my best friend and her boyfriend, and when we went on a trail/hike he didn’t walk with me, he seemed just to want to hurry up and get to the top (though he is more fit than me)… I also feel like him being a Leo and having a big ego might get in the way of…. something I don’t know at this point to be honest. I do adore that he knows what he wants and he’s confident in how he feels but could this pride override our relationship?

    One of the mornings we woke up before my friend and wanted to go get coffee, but I thought it would be nice to wait for them but he seemed to be a little irritated since it was my trip that we couldn’t just go alone without them. I felt bad for just leaving when my friend texted me saying she needs a few minutes, but I heard him just leave and I guess started walking towards the bakery. It was only 5 minutes until we left and he texted me where we were at, and said he waited for us at 2nd street. We went the other way and I just don’t understand why he couldn’t have just waited in the hotel with me. Something I just noticed. Anyway.

    There was another time where we were cooking dinner together and he asked me to do something, but then a few minutes later just started taking over and seemed irritated that I was taking my time in dipping the cauliflower in the sauce. This might sound petty, but all those things combined kind of bothers me. Should it?

    3. We haven’t talked a lot about his relationship history because he says he “doesn’t want to talk about it right now.” Assuming it was a really stressful time in his life from what he has told me, he lost a lot of hair and wasn’t happy. Something along the lines of drama with her and his family and her cheating on him for a few months during their relationship. One thing he told me was that they split up because they were growing in separate directions, and she wanted kids right away and he wasn’t ready. He has said his goals in life are to buy a house and have kids. I don’t know much details about his ex other than that. He did tell me that he dated someone in his twenties that had an alcohol problem who he tried to fix over and over, but realized he can’t change anyone so they split up.

    4. Throughout my ex and I’s relationship, he changed jobs a lot because he wasn’t happy at his initial job he’s been at since he was 17. He was really good at the job and knew what he was doing unlike the rest of the employees who would just sit back, which bothered him because he was picking up other peoples slack and getting paid very poorly. The problem here is that he never had the courage to leave and find a better job because he was comfortable doing the same thing everyday. He was living paycheck to paycheck which is stressful… But after the break up he even said it doesn’t matter about the money or what he did all day, he should’ve came home to be a loving partner. Instead, he would come home not even say “hi babe”, and just be angry about the day and situations at work, and be pissed off until we go to bed, along with drinking which would increase his anger. He would play video games and get angry (slamming his fist on the table), I would get annoyed and say please stop doing that! But he would get even more mad that I said something which would turn into an argument. He switched jobs thinking he would be happier and he told me things would change. But he would still come home pissed off because of certain people not doing their job. He is a very hard worker…

    His anger might be resolved now because he quit his original job and is looking for a more stable one with health benefits because he’s never had a job like that. But he is irritated because they’re paying him $15 an hour which he was told different, he told me he could go back to his second job making $19 an hour, but I know he won’t be happy and his life won’t progress.

    5. The ways my ex is acting patiently is how he wants to wait until I’m ready to be with him again, if I do see myself with him. I do love him and I want it to work but at the same time I told him that we need some time apart to focus on ourselves and maybe our paths can cross again in the future when he’s actually changed. He said if I’m sure about this, it will take a while for things to mellow out and for us to date, but in the long run he said he doesn’t want to marry anyone else besides me… We wouldn’t live together for quite some time if I did decide that he’s what I want to put my effort towards again.

    – Jess

    #394619
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jess:

    I will read and reply to you in about 11 hours from now (Tues morning, my time).

    anita

    #394622
    jess
    Participant

    Thank you!

    #394643
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jess:

    1) The Ex: He grew up without his mother for the majority of his childhood and didn’t have “that loving mother figure” as he grew up. “He isn’t a physical person“, and he and his mother identify themself as “not huggers“. At first, when living with you, he was excited, passionate, I’ll call it, sparked. After a few months, he lost his spark. You told him what you needed from him, but he “was always angry at life” and he neglected the connection with you. At times you went to bed “crying facing he wall” because he didn’t want to cuddle/ touch you. He drank frequently and he still does. He told you that drinking alcohol gives him the confidence to be physical, and that without alcohol, he “doesn’t know how to transition into hanging out and being a loving/ intimate partner“.

    He is a hard worker. He was very good at his first job but was bothered by other employees because they didn’t work hard, and he ended up doing their share of the work and being paid poorly. He didn’t look for a different job because “he was comfortable doing the same thing every day“. He used to come home after a frustrating day at work, and “not even say ‘hi babe’, and just be angry about the day and situations at work, and be pissed off until we go to bed, along with drinking which would increase his anger. He would play video games and get angry (slamming his fist on the table), I would get annoyed and say please stop doing that! But he would get even more mad that I said something which would turn into an argument“.

    He then “switched jobs thinking he would be happier, and he told me things would change. But he would still come home pissed off because of certain people not doing their job“.

    You broke up in Nov 2021 and started hanging out. It felt “like the beginning of the relationship“, he seemed “more happy around me… more physical“, you wrote. He was sparked again, I figure. He then told you that he “regrets getting mad over little things“, saying that he changed and that he “should’ve been a more loving boyfriend, more intimate and able to have a stronger connection“. You wrote: “His anger might be resolved now because he quit his original job and is looking for a more stable one with health benefits because he’s never had a job like that. But he is irritated because they’re paying him $15 an hour“.

    2) The New Guy: you met him in Nov 2021, hitting it off, having the “same interests, mentality, hobbies” and the two of you connect physically very well and he’s “very affectionate“, physically affectionate, if I understand correctly. You feel that he is able to satisfy your needs and wants (“I feel like he satisfies my needs and wants which my ex couldn’t“). He is willing to get out of his comfort zone and “experience new things within himself” and with you. He grew up with sisters, he is very friendly with your friends, mostly young women, and he told you that “it’s not hard for him to connect to his feminine side“, and that “his dream is to perform live music and make people happy and inspired“.

    He “just wants to get to the point, no beating around the bush“, sometimes he rushes, like when he rushed up to the top of a hiking trail, leaving you and your friends behind him. At another time, he was irritated about having to wait for your friends before having coffee. At another time he was irritated about you taking your time dipping cauliflower in sauce.

    In a past relationship, “he lost a lot of hair and wasn’t happy” because of “drama with her and his family and her cheating on him for a few months during their relationship“. He told you that “his goals in life are to buy a house and have kids“.

    3) About Jess: the ex was your “first love“. You feel guilty for breaking up with him following meeting a new guy (“I definitely feel like a shitty person because how I hurt my ex with this a new guy which no one wants to happen to them“), and you feel guilty, as I understand it, about the facts that he still loves you, is trying, and wants to marry only you, still seeing you as his forever-relationship (“he is trying and he truly loves me… he said he doesn’t want to marry anyone else besides me“), while you like a new guy, and no longer think of your ex as your forever relationship (“I always thought I would be with my ex forever because we got a long and he was my first love“).  You are conscientious, caring, you know what you need and what you want, you get along with people (easy to get along with, is my feeling), you don’t want to hurt the ex, you are loyal (“I didn’t want to just leave when it got hard“).

    You are also open-minded and willing to look into yourself and consider possibilities, ex.: that you may have been “making exaggerated assumptions“. You are patient and insightful, and you care about: “that spark of energy to be passionate and want to live for more is what’s important to me along with the affection, intimacy and words of affirmation“.

    And now, my closing thoughts: the ex reads like a good guy at heart, but angry and troubled. The fact that he didn’t have a mother, nor did he have a loving mother figure growing up, was very tough on him, as it would be on any boy. Seems to me that because adequate affection was not available to him as a child, for so very long, he naturally buried within him/ inhibited his need for affection, best he could. No Need= No Pain, is the instinctive reasoning behind such inhibition.

    When he drinks alcohol, which lowers inhibitions, his inhibited need for affection gets disinhibited and he is able to participate in and enjoy affectionate interactions.

    But alcohol also lowers other inhibitions as well, such as his efforts to control his anger, anger which he feels intensely at times. I imagine that he felt intense hurt and anger about not being loved as a child. Fast forward, you expressed love for him, lots of affection, but alas, he projects his unloving mother (and/or other unloving person or people in his childhood) => into you, and feels angry… at you. It is very common for adult-children who experienced tough childhoods, to project an unloving/ rejecting parent into a romantic partner.

    It is his anger projected at you that’s behind his refusal to cuddle with you when you were crying, facing the wall, his anger was behind his refusal to tickle your leg when you asked him to do that, etc. After you moved out and were no longer in his physical presence much, his projection eased and so did his anger, and so, the spark is back for him, and his patience is back, and his love.

    If you go back to living with him, naturally, he will again project his mother into you and struggle yet again with anger toward you. This is not his intention, it’s the way the hurt, angry human mind works. He will need to work hard in the context of psychotherapy to change this.

    His anger might be resolved now because he quit his original job and is looking for a more stable one” – I wish it would be that easy, but changing jobs, changing locations, going on a vacation, buying a new car, etc., etc., do not resolve deep seated hurt and anger born in childhood. In a child’s mind and heart, a bad day feels like forever, and a year of lack of love feels like eternity. Such eternity of LACK cannot be resolved by getting a better job.

    You wrote regarding your ex: “I feel like because we are so close in age we could possibly grow together and start a family” – I think that the closeness of age is a non-factor compared to the issue I pointed to right above. If the ex and the new guy experienced a comparable mental/ emotional health, then the age would be a factor, but this is not the situation.

    The new guy is emotionally healthier than the ex, at least this is how it looks like so far. His impatience and irritation, in the context of the incidents you described, are not alarming to me; the two of you can work around it. He rushed to the top of the hiking trail, that’s okay: you were hiking behind with friends. He didn’t leave you behind alone, with a mountain lion lurking around. In the morning, he really, really wanted that coffee. I understand that.

    With the ex, your life is likely to be like it was before, and “that spark of energy to be passionate and want to live for more” will be extinguished. With the new guy, that spark has a reasonable chance to survive.

    If you go back with the ex, at first, he will be very happy, and then- he will no longer be happy. I am guessing that he will be surprised, not understanding why and how it happened, he may try hard to not show his confusion and spark-reversal, but it will show and again, you will be facing the wall, crying. This situation will be bad for you… and for him.

    I’m detailed oriented, and I just want to make sure everything is right” – please let me know if I can try to help you further with the details, and with making the best choice for yourself.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by anita.
    #394741
    jess
    Participant

    Anita,

    You truly don’t know how much you’ve helped me talk through this problem, and make it more easier for me to handle my feelings and articulate them, you helped me realize the rationality behind the situation. I think now you’ve said it, my life would be the same if I were to go back to my ex, and that wouldn’t end well for him or me. I just want him to be happy and healthy but that might mean we need to go our separate ways. My trouble now is communicating how I feel because I don’t want to hurt him like I mentioned above. I do know sometimes people have to get hurt but how do I approach him since things have been somewhat OK? I’ve told him I could see myself marrying him but now that time has gone by my feelings have changed and I’m definitely going to break his heart. I will just express to him what I have before, that I can’t put my energy into something that might not turn out to be what I want and need. I don’t want him to think I’m necessarily leaving him for another guy, there just happened to be a connection as soon as I had serious feelings of separation in August. I would’ve gained the courage to leave my ex but probably not so fast if I hadn’t met the new guy. Which for some reason is where I still feel guilty, but I can’t help my feelings. I’m not sure how to feel better about that, and how my ex is going to respond, I might just have to give it time.

    – Jess

    #394742
    jess
    Participant

    I also agree that there are serious problems within my ex’s and I’s relationship that will probably never get resolved. But the issues I have seen so far with the new guy really aren’t that big of deal compared to my ex, I am just being a sensitive. It wasn’t that big of a deal that he walked further up the trail because I was in fact with my friend, not alone. And I can see how he wanted to go get coffee really bad because I’m the same way sometimes. Those are minuscule problems that won’t ruin our relationship like alcohol and lack of affection.

    #394747
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jess:

    I will reply to your two recent posts when I am back to the computer, in about 10 hours from now.

    anita

    #394758
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jess:

    I also agree that there are serious problems within my ex’s and I’s relationship that will probably never get resolved. But the issues I have seen so far with the new guy really aren’t that big of deal compared to my ex” – from what you shared I didn’t detect a single big deal/ serious problem with the new guy.

    In regard to the new guy hiking ahead of you and being impatient to get his coffee, you wrote: “Those are minuscule problems that won’t ruin our relationship like alcohol and lack of affection” – miniscule indeed. The problems with the ex- huge.

    I just want him to be happy and healthy” – if he (the ex) equally wants you to be happy and healthy, he would be okay with you doing what you believe will make you happy and healthy.

    My trouble now is communicating how I feel because I don’t want to hurt him” – when you tell him that the two of you will be going your separate ways, he will be hurting. But remember that he was hurting when the two of you were together, living together for many months: it was hurt underneath the “always angry at life…  angry…  pissed off until we go to bed, along with drinking which would increase his anger…. he would get even more mad that I said something which would turn into an argument” etc.

    So, hurt when together with you, hurt when separate from you. The hurt in him preceded you and is independent of you. If you go back together with him, he’ll be happy for a short time and then… the hurt (and the anger) will be back.

    How do I approach him since things have been somewhat OK?… I don’t want him to think I’m necessarily leaving him for another guy” – don’t tell him anything about any other guy. Tell him that you truly “want him to be healthy and happy“, and that you believe that for yourself to be healthy and happy, you need to go your separate way.

    If he then tries to convince you or argue with you that you should not go your separate way, he will either be arguing that (1) he doesn’t want you to be healthy and happy, or that (2) he doesn’t believe in your mental/ emotional ability to know what will make you healthy and happy. Both these options are not about love for you!

    A loving response on his part would be to express his sadness, but to wish you well.

    I would’ve gained the courage to leave my ex but probably not so fast if I hadn’t met the new guy. Which for some reason is where I still feel guilty…  I’m not sure how to feel better about that” – millions of people in the world feel guilty for what they are not guilty of. I communicated here on the forums, over the years, with hundreds of people who felt guilty for no valid reason. Most often it’s been adult-children feeling guilty for their parents’ hurt, a hurt that preceded them and  was independent of them (just like your ex’s hurt in relation to you).

    I was one of these adult-children and looking back, I wish that I didn’t make all those poor choices I made in life, based on that invalid guilt. I hope that you don’t do the same.

    I can’t help my feelings” – you can’t help your feelings, but you can help your choices. It will be difficult to have this talk with the ex, but as difficult as it will be, you can do it!

    If it is too difficult for you to do this in-person, you have the option of doing it in writing, sending him a clear and thoughtful message online. If you want to prepare what you would tell him (in-person or online), I can try and help you with it.

    anita

    #394828
    jess
    Participant

    Anita,

    Agreed. I don’t want to feel guilty and make poor decisions that I later regret, that’s why I don’t think it’s right to go back to my ex just because I feel bad for hurting him. I want to tell him in person because I want him to know I truly care. I feel like I need to write out my thoughts and certain things I want to say before I meet with him though, because sometimes I can’t articulate what I’m thinking/feeling when I’m emotional. Thank you so much for your words

    – Jess

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