How to cope with someone who can't get over a former relationship?
November 22, 2008 1:45 PM Subscribe
Need help in coping with the issues of being with someone who can't get over a relationship that ended five years ago. More inside...
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (14 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I am in a relationship with an adorable guy, we have great fun together but...he still can't get over the end of his previous relationship five years ago. I knew him before we got together and am aware this has always been a major struggle for him. Apart from that glaring issue, our relationship is normal to the outside world.
But internally, things aren't that simple. He says he loves me, but only when 'prompted'. The reason, he claims, is that 'there is too much going on in his head'. We talked about it quite a lot lately and he agrees he needs to resume the therapy he stopped a couple of years ago and recognizes this is not healthy. Apparently, he thinks about her (who has moved on ages ago and is obviously sick of him still thinking about her in that way so many years after the break-up) every single day. Another point to mention is that his mum died shortly before the relationship ended, so it may be that he mirrored his mum on the girl and the break-up probably meant he was losing his mum again.
I sort of understand all of this and try to help by living the present, but this issue does cast a shadow in the relationship. Sometimes, I explode and get angry about it all and want to just leave him and his issues alone, but I always decide against it. This week though, we had an argument over the phone and I said things along the lines of 'you are wasting my time', 'it is her who you love, not me, so why are you fooling us both'...I realized later that what I said has not helped at all. He didn't call me after that.
A day later, still no calls from him and I went for after work drinks with a guy who turned out to be interested in me for some time. After a few drinks, he tried to kiss me, I sort of responded to it and felt awful after that. It is not something that I would like my bf to do by any means but if that can be justified at all, it is because I often feel that I am not doing enough for my relationship and thus feel rejected.
After leaving the bar I called my boyfriend and gave him the summary of what had happened, said I felt horrible and apologized, and he invited me over to his place. I was drunk, but told him about all about my evening. He seemed sort of unfazed by it all and said I would always have that sort of approach [from other guys] but he is the one who is WITH me, so I should think about that. I felt horrible still and burst into tears, mainly because I hate being in this position, where I need so much attention and reassurance from him as to how he feels and where do we go from here, etc.
Following all these events, I do feel he is more distant. I may have been so dramatic and put him under so much pressure that I may have jeopardized the relationship. I love him and want to be with and help him, but how do I cope with these issues, how do I 'revive' the relationship so that he is not constantly thinking about his ex? And how do I keep in peace with myself under these circumstances? Experiences from people who had a lot of trouble getting over a previous relationship particularly appreciated. Thank you!