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Can’t let go of someone I barely know from 13 years ago

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  • #357460
    periwinkle123
    Participant

    First off I have an amazing boyfriend. We’ve been together for over four years. He’s everything I could ask for and more. Except for the fact that sometimes it feels like we’re not emotionally connected all the time. Sometimes it feels like he doesn’t understand me at my core, and often I feel like there’s something just missing but I don’t know what – just a feeling. I know he loves me and cares for me deeply. I love him too. We are talking about engagement in a few months, and I’m nervous because of this lingering feeling of something “missing”. Am I just brianwashed by Hollywood romance movies? Does this feeling I long for even realistically exist once those initial butterflies go away?

    But here’s where things get tricky – I’ve projected that “missing” feeling onto someone I met so so long ago and someone I hardly know. For some context when I was 12/13 I encountered a boy – you could say a family friend, let’s call him Ron – we hit it off immediately every time I saw him which was only 3 times I think. I remember it was obvious he liked me a lot, but it was just a crush sort of thing – we were just kids. The ideas of boys was still scary to me at the time as a young teenage girl going through so many changes. The last time I saw him I was 13 and we had a slightly romantic encounter…but again quite innocent. I remember getting nervous and sad before I said bye to him that day. By the end of that last time I saw him I had a huge crush on him. Maybe you could consider this “first love”, but to me we hardly had spent enough time together to even call it that. I couldn’t stop thinking about him though especially after that last time I saw him. Something felt so special about him to me. I thought I would see him again but it never happened. Any time I would have seen him in the following years a reason came up that he didn’t show up and of course this brought up some disappointment and feelings in me that maybe he didn’t like me much anyway. I didn’t have boyfriends in high school but when college hit I started dating. I had lots of encounters with guys I liked  – some casual, other more serious. My first real boyfriend was at age 20 and we dated for a year. Now I am with my current boyfriend. Well let me just say after all of these years and all of the hookups, crushes, rejections, and romances I have never been able to forget this first crush “Ron” and there were waves of thinking of him more or less throughout the years but he’s just someone I’ve never been able to let go of – as much as I want to. Because my head says – you don’t even know this person and all these “feelings” are just made up and not real – it’s just the story in your mind that makes him special – that’s not really who he is or what you had. The spiritual side of me lately questions this a bit though – WHY do I still think of this person? Is there some sort of greater meaning to this feeling that has never washed away with time and new experiences?

    It has driven me mad and I really wonder why it is like this. I don’t want to think of “Ron” and haven’t wanted to for so long! I want to be 100% committed to my boyfriend – someone I actually know and someone I truly love and can see a future with. So why does that feeling about Ron still linger whereas other crushes/dates I’ve been easily able to move past? I don’t have emotional attachment to anyone else – even my ex-boyfriend of a year. I literally have felt crazy, creepy and frustrated all these years trying to forget and let go of this person from my early teen years that I saw for maybe a combined 96 hours in my whole life. Lately I’ve just tried to accept that maybe I just truly felt love for this person and I should be grateful for that and let it go. There’s a chance I’ll see “Ron” again someday via our social circle – like at a wedding or funeral.

    I really could use some thoughts on this experience and if there’s any hope of TRULY letting go of that feeling I had with him so I focus on who I have now and not wonder if there’s a person I’d have a deeper connection with out there waiting – specifically knowing it’s not “Ron”. Has this happened to anyone else? What is going on? I know I’m not a crazy person haha. But of course this  situation doesn’t feel normal either.

    #357622
    anita
    Participant

    Dear periwinkle123:

    Your feelings about Ron don’t mean that you are crazy (“I know I’m not a crazy person”), and it is not a spiritual matter: it is not a message from a higher that Ron is your soul mate and the two  of you are fated to get together and  live happily ever after (“The spiritual side of me lately questions this a bit though- WHY do I still think of this person”). I think that it is a matter of newness and of youth.

    Here is an example from my life: I grew up in a country where pizza was not available. When I was about 20, I had the very  first pizza in my life. Looking back at the experience, it was magical. No words to express the elation and wonderfulness of the experience. Eating pizza since is delicious but not magical, using your words, “I feel like there’s something just missing”.  If the same pizza I was served then would be served to me now, it would not be magical.

    Ron to you is like pizza to me: Ron was new to you at the time and you were younger (“when I was 12/13 I encountered a boy.. we were just kids”).

    When we experience things for the first time when we are young, we don’t only experience the thing or the person, we experience our youth at the time. When you think about Ron, you remember how you felt at the time: you felt intensely, because you were younger, and children/ young people feel more intensely than older people. We lose emotional intensity as we get older.

    There is more to your post, but I will stop here, and see if you reply to what I posted here. (I will be back to the computer in about 12 hours from now).

    anita

    #357657
    periwinkle123
    Participant

    Hi Anita, thanks so much for your response. That makes a lot of sense and I like the analogy you used. How do I get that emotional intensity back in my current experience? It feels bad to long for a feeling that’s out of reach since I’m older. Or how do I accept and honor those feelings of the past but not let them make me feel disheartened in my current relationship? I want to be really happy and focused on the love I have in my life now.

    #357669
    anita
    Participant

    Dear periwinkle123:

    You are welcome. “How do I get that emotional intensity back in my current experience”- I don’t know if it is something you or anyone can do: to get back a feeling or an intensity of a feeling. People try to do that by taking drugs, or sky diving, but I don’t recommend drugs and I don’t encourage sky diving.

    Try to be okay with how you feel, don’t aim at feeling something different.

    “I want to be really happy and focused on the love I have in my life now”- you can choose to focus on your relationship and make it the healthiest relationship possible, loving and healthy, one to benefit you and him.

    But focusing on feeling “really happy” will bring you the opposite result: feeling dissatisfied, always comparing what you feel with an ideal of happiness-ever-after.

    Happiness/ joy is a temporary feeling, it cannot be maintained because joy is a neural and hormonal excitation that the brain/ body cannot endure for long.

    Is my post making sense to you?

    anita

    #357679
    periwinkle123
    Participant

    Thank you, anita. Yes this post makes a lot of sense and reaffirms what I innately know. I feel like I just need to let go of searching for a feeling and be as present as possible in a healthy loving relationship and accept that it’s okay to be a bit bored and not feel that initial exhilaration of a new relationship anymore. We will find our exciting moments together through adventures but haven’t done much of that lately in quarantine.

    #357685
    anita
    Participant

    Dear periwinkle123:

    You are welcome. “it’s okay to be a bit bored” with your partner, absolutely. Who is not bored with a partner once in a while (?!), especially in quarantine. It is not possible for one person to see to  it that the other doesn’t get bored every hour-of-every-day, day after day, week after week. Best you can have is “exciting moments” here and there: moments- not a life time of happiness and excitement. (Fairy tales ending with, “and they lived happily ever after”, are works of fiction/make believe, same as romantic movies in which <i>for two whole hours</i>, two people are excited about each other.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by anita.
    #357671
    Kitty
    Participant

    Periwinkle, your description of being emotionally hooked to a tender and beautiful long-ago moment, one that has become timeless, touches me deeply. Though its still haunting you does ‘feel’ disruptive to your current relationship, there are ways to release its ‘hunger’ element and to learn to cherish its message to you. In my long lifetime as a sensitive female, this kind of radiant primal attachment has been my own situation a time or two, and still revisits now and then. It’s possible to cherish these threads woven into our being without feeling ‘caught’ and held back by them. The luminous magic that woke up within you through falling for ‘Ron’ back then still calls to your heart. In inner growth, it’s like a message from your best self now that you’re reaching for meaning in adulthood.

    This troubling ache may be saying something to you like,”Hey, Periwinkle123 — please hear me: I see you holding the rich, trusting pulse of love that struck you so profoundly then. But you’re holding this memory/hope like a secret lantern, as if I (the idea of ‘Ron’) am something <code class=”w3-codespan”><i>outside<code class=”w3-codespan”><i> yourself.  Something that is missing, that’s not yet your own. But actually, I — this idea of perfect trusting tender connection — am a source of loving light <code class=”w3-codespan”><i>within<code class=”w3-codespan”><i> You. I’m right here, in your consciousness. Please let me open your heart fully here and now. Let this kind of love flow from memory and deepest awareness into your daily life as you are living it. Please set me free. Let me be a current of compassion and loving attention for those you care for. Bless their hearts through me … I am lingering and nudging you to remind you that you can BE what I represent for you. I am here to serve your loving vitality as you gently let me loose into your daily life.”

    Put in other terms, it’s as if Eros’s (Cupid’s) arrow pierced your heart when you parted from this boy and never reunited. ‘Ron’ is the symbol chosen by your wise Inner Self to hold this light for you, and to carry this invitation for you. The arrow’s wound doesn’t need to heal when it can serve to keep your own heart open and glowing. Maybe — if you find ways to open your heart fully to living and loving in the present, you CAN redirect your aching, tender search outward, to flow through you  gently into those imperfect, wonderful people you love. And to illuminate everything within and around you with its light, alive and real in the lantern of your own heart. Imagine that … how beautiful for that ‘Ron’ encounter to warm your entire experience with others in the world …

    If this makes any sense to you, may it help. The memory and the longing for that eternal flame of connection are one and the same, and the power is your own to awaken and release into Now. When this process comes alive, it is a lovely kind of relief — and best of all, you do not lose the magic: you simply transform it from a burden into a blessing. My own ‘Murray”, and ‘Walden,’ and ‘Robin’ are all still here with me, now nourishing my own ability to love, love, and love — both others and my own precious self. <code class=”w3-codespan”><i>Hope it can be so for you too.<code class=”w3-codespan”><i>

    #357675
    Canadian Eagle
    Participant

    We are look to our partners to complete us , and when they don’t we feel let down . The only person who can complete you is yourself .

    The first taste of love is so powerful that it a standard all  measure our Partners against ( whether is was a good experience or not).

    So your feeling are normal and healthy. Don’t surprises them , rather celebrate the beautiful memory of this teenage crush . Often a letter to your 13 year old self is a good exercise .

    You and your partner live in the now , where all beauty and human frailty is revealed . Love your partner for the wonderful person he is , flaws and all.

    It sound like you have a very special relationship , I wish you joy and health .

    #357706
    periwinkle123
    Participant

    Dear Kitty:

    This is a wonderful way to look at this feeling. I agree with you, but didn’t realize until now that you’ve said it, that I already have access to that source of inner loving light within me. The yearning I feel to find this again with “Ron” or really anyone outside of myself will always exist – I have to turn inward and find it within myself and radiate it out. This has completely changed my perspective – nothing is missing at all, rather I’m just blocking the feeling I could find within and am personifying that missing feeling onto someone from my past making it “unattainable”. I see now how I’m blocking myself from my source of love and completeness. Thank you <3

    #357707
    periwinkle123
    Participant

    Dear Canadian Eagle:

    Thank you for your note and helping me realize I will only find completeness within myself.

     

    #357710
    Kitty
    Participant

    This is IT! Not surprised, Periwinkle, given your sensitivity and insight, that you’d recognise yourself in this dynamic. ‘Ron’ is a gift of the universe to you, and a treasure within your own spirit that you can honour forever. Warm hug to you! ~ K

    #357771
    Jan
    Participant

    Hi Periwinkle

    He’s basically the one that got away! You are posing the ‘what if’ question in regard to Ron, an unanswerable question full of mystery and romance.

    Laugh it off. If a relationship had blossomed with him it would probably have died long before now and you would, from within your loving relationship with your boyfriend today, be thinking to yourself ‘thank God I didn’t marry that Ron bloke’. The feelings that linger for him are as intense and lasting as they are because they were generated when you were very young and because they, and he, were never tested.

    Having said this, if you do feel something is missing, that your boyfriend doesn’t really understand who you are, perhaps that’s something you can work on with him. If you talk to him about the parts of you that you want him to understand, and he shows interest in getting to know you on the deeper level you crave, all well and good. However, if he is dismissive of your concerns and isn’t willing to know you more deeply, that might be a cause for concern.

    all the best

    Jan

     

     

     

    #357870
    periwinkle123
    Participant

    Dear Jan:

    Thank you! I agree with that :-). And yes I definitely need to speak with my boyfriend about my feelings for him to truly understand me.

     

    #358008
    Jan
    Participant

    You’re welcome. I’m just wondering, what kind of situation brings up this feeling for you, that your boyfriend doesn’t understand you ‘at your core’? Is it because he shows no interest in the things that make you tick? Your hobbies, the things you love (maybe art, music, running, animals, growing orchids) or is it more fundamental like politics, attitude to money or religion? Or how much time you want to spend with friends and family (ie away from him), or how you dress or where you want to live?

    You say:

    “it feels like we’re not emotionally connected all the time”

    which is OK, two people can’t go about joined at the emotional hip all the time. But do you mean that, when you express your feelings either verbally or through actions, he sometimes turns off from you? That he seems to disapprove of you sometimes?

    Or if, say, you want to carve a career growing orchids which would make you happy but not rich, and he thinks you should do a job you hate because you can make a lot more money that way, that’s a pretty big stumbling block as he is not showing concern for your feelings. Or if he wants to have five children and you’re not even sure you want one.

    I know that nameless feeling, I’ve experienced it. Sometimes it’s that we do know, deep down, what the problem is but we don’t want to address it. If you feel there’s something missing, it might well be something you should spend some time examining (on your own) to make sure it’s not a huge red flag that you should not be ignoring. If, as you say, he’s amazing and cares for you deeply, he will be willing to work with you on any doubts you may be having.

    all the best

    Jan

    #360253
    periwinkle123
    Participant

    @Jan – apologies for not seeing this earlier. You’re bringing up some really good points that I need to explore.

    We often get into arguments in which he tells me I shouldn’t feel a certain way. He usually takes the way I’m feeling as an attack on him “not doing enough” so sometimes I feel it’s better to not bring up what’s concerning me at all. Knowing it will inevitably turn into me “picking a fight.” It’s hard to understand if I am picking a fight trying to get something out of him that’s just not there. I think I might be just trying to get his attention. I know I can’t get what’s “missing” from another person though, right? That’s something I need to heal inside myself I suppose.

    We disagree fundamentally about spirituality. I often push his buttons when I talk about big dreams he deems to be “unrealistic”. It makes me angry when he seems to be okay settling for things in life because “that’s just the way life is” rather than going after his dreams. I often feel pinned down and held back because I’m patiently waiting for him to make decisions about his life so we can take next steps. Right now we don’t agree on what we want next in life.

    I agree with you – I don’t know what the real problem is at the core of this. I’m not sure how to figure it out and resolve it :-/. He says he cares for me deeply and I believe it, but I think sometimes he’s stuck behind his own walls he’s put up.

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