September 13, 2017 at 10:56 am #168562
I've been hung up on my ex for 3+ years. I feel like I'm losing my mind. I've dated 2 people since we ended things, and still can't seem to shake the fact that he's been lurking in my mind despite my concerted efforts to move on. Believe me when I tell you I am trying….I've been in a new relationship for a little over a year now and we recently moved in together. I still find myself waking up from dreams of my ex, listening to music that reminds me of him, and I feel horrible about it. I feel like I'm cheating on my new relationship with the ghost of my past, but I don't know how to let it go.
My ex and I went to college together, casually dated on and off through that experience. We were both involved in the same group of friends, so we tried to keep things low-key as to not make it awkward for them/we would then be able to maintain those friendships regardless of what happened. He ended things. We went to grad school together after that, and somewhat maintained the friendship through that period, although it was never quite the same. Contact was less frequent, but a few times over the course of that year, when we did engage with each other, those feelings reemerged and presented themselves in a physical way for both of us. Leaving me feeling very confused. Grad school ended. I saw him the night before I moved to the northeast, and he kissed me. We didn't talk about it. I was also dating someone else at the time. That was a little over a year ago.
He was the first person to tell me he thought I was creative, that I could do anything I wanted. I'm a graphic artist now, and that was a huge turning point for me. I think I got caught up in this idea of him that I had in my mind…that inexplicably linked him to a symbol of art and culture and music. He was/is one of the most insightful people I've had the pleasure of engaging with. I miss those late night conversations. I feel like he understands me in a way that I haven't been able to establish in other relationships. We both shared a kind of darkness due to past experiences. But, you know, I don't think he ever really did open up to me emotionally… so I have no idea if he feels the same. We share a lot of mutual friends, so I still see him from time to time. Which is hard. Other than that, we don't talk anymore. I'll be seeing him this winter, and wonder if I should try and talk to him about it. Or if I should quietly continue to grit my teeth and hope that time helps me cross this bridge.
My new relationship is great. He's supportive. Attractive. Fun-loving. Positive. Great. Goes out of his way to try and make my day, which is not really something my ex ever did. He's not really into art or music but I do think he would literally do just about anything if it would make me happy.
I started having the dreams about my ex again (they had stopped for a while) and I've been really closed off recently in the current relationship. The remorse is killing me. He doesn't deserve to be treated that way. Help?September 13, 2017 at 11:09 am #168566
To understand better, I ask: whose idea was it to keep your relationship low-key so to not make it awkward to your mutual friends (in case you broke up)? If it was his idea, how did you feel about it then and now?
Also, you wrote that he is very insightful but didn't open up to you emotionally. I suppose his insight was about your mind and your life because you were open to him emotionally, correct?
anitaSeptember 13, 2017 at 11:33 am #168568
It was actually my idea. I had a past experience that turned sour to the point that I had to completely remove myself from the environment and everyone involved. I had expressed to him that I was worried about losing friendships, and I think it was his way of being reassuring.
Insightful meaning we used to talk a lot about philosophy and abstract kinds of topics that were meaningful to both of us in a broader way, without needing to be specific about places or events. Lots of theoreticals, haha. But yes, at times I did get specific and try to work through the meaning of my past because I was emotionally open with him. There were rare occasions when he would open up in that way, but he usually resisted. I think it was hard for him to trust someone else with those kinds of emotions, whereas I had a tendency to trust easily (although that's changed quite a bit now, ha.)September 13, 2017 at 12:07 pm #168570
I think the issue is not art and music and you linking him to these. Neither do I think it is about great intimacy that you shared with him. I think it is about you being guarded: in the past relationship with him and since, including in your current one.
Reads to me that you are using this past relationship as a guard against intimacy in your current relationship, fearing to be hurt, you protect yourself using this “ghost of (your) past.
One indication that there was no great intimacy in that past relationship is what you wrote here: “I don’t think he ever really did open up to me emotionally… so I have no idea if he feels the same”- if there was much intimacy you would have know and you would have had a strong idea.
September 13, 2017 at 1:11 pm #168576
- This reply was modified 6 months ago by anita.
Hm, that's something I hadn't considered. I'll have to give that some thought.
I was in love with him. His perspective on life was incredible, sense of humor, the things that excited him…I had never felt that way about someone before. Just totally inspired by their approach to life. I always regretted having never told him that, because I was just terrified that he didn't feel the same way.
That being said, there was also a kind of intensity in that relationship that I continue to crave. We fought, cried, laughed…everything that I felt, I felt immensely. And he helped me through some pivotal moments in my life. When I moved away…and this is going to sound really pathetic… I was devastated. I had truly hoped that we would have ended up in the same place. I keep trying to move on and, frankly I just miss him. I miss talking to him. I miss the sound of his voice.
The thing that kills me is that I do think that he felt the same way, but was afraid of making that kind of connection with someone. That it would be a distraction from his professional goals, that he would have to sacrifice his future. At the end of the day, he was just afraid of losing himself. Which tears me apart.
That thread coupled with a complete lack of closure…I'm just not sure how to move forward. Should I try to revisit this conversation with him? Or continue to take steps to try and move on? And if I continue to try and take steps to move on, what steps might I take? And do I tell my current partner? How do I make this more fair to him?September 14, 2017 at 8:17 am #168638
Clearly you were in love with him, had strong feelings for him, still do. Thing is, you were “just terrified that he didn't feel the same way”, and that fear hindered you then and is hindering you now. I think that at the time you downplayed the relationship, keeping it casual, so to protect yourself from what you feared.
A few years passed but this past relationship is an unfinished business.
You wrote that you believe that he “was afraid of making that kind of connection with someone”- clearly you were afraid of making that kind of connection. “That kind of connection” called for a serious, non-casual relationship, not the one you had with him, therefore… the unfinished business, and your “lack of closure”.
I don't know what he felt then and what he feels now, if your assumptions about his fears are true to him. This is why I think it is a good idea to talk to him, to find out. Have an honest, straightforward conversation with him, one aimed at getting true information about his state of mind, then and now, finding out if there is a possibility now or soon, to have an authentic relationship with him, one that is not downplayed, not casual.
I suggest having that conversation with your ex boyfriend, this exchange of information, before talking to your current boyfriend. Get the information first, evaluate it and proceed from there. It is only from that point, that you will be able to finish this unfinished business and consider how to proceed with your current boyfriend.
anitaSeptember 14, 2017 at 6:43 pm #168696
To be honest, your ex sounds awesome – an independent thinker who challenged you in many ways, remained somewhat mysterious and refused to compromise anything when it came to his mission in life. I'm not surprised you fell hard for him. Guys like that are rare. With the passage of time you guys might be in a position to see each other more seriously. He'll know how he feels about you – whether he truly does love you or not. The only thing you can really do is just try to find out – nothing wrong with gaining more useful information through a conversation….or even an e-mail.
With respect to your current boyfriend, it basically sounds like your saying he's …..nice……:(…..although I could be doing him a disservice there. Maybe he just hasn't shaken you up emotionally to make you forget about your previous relationship. This may be no bad thing and if he's an upstanding guy you might want to stick with him to see how he grows in time. Ultimately, the Hollywood heart-throb might not be the best choice to build a life with. That's simply something you have to get over.