I'm having a difficult time trying to mentally process an ex's recent wedding because I'm hung up on the sex/religion aspect of it all. I need advice on how to stop thinking about him.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (33 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I've known "Tony" since we were kids. We were friends in high school and ended up dating for several months. We had a really fun relationship--very physical, lots of joking around and enjoying each other's company without getting too serious. When university started (we went to different areas of the country), we parted ways on good terms.
College changed him. Instead of being the fun-loving irreverent guy I had known all those years, Tony was now a born-again christian and had joined the military. Our communication became very tense after that. He apologized profusely for all of the ways he had sexually "violated" me and begged my forgiveness. He was concerned about my soul and kept trying to get me to “turn my life over to christ” (he knew/knows I am a hardcore atheist). Most unsettlingly, he had fallen in love with me. He wrote me letters and poems, left me long phone messages, etc, professing his undying love for me. He asked me to marry him several times. Our relationship (which had been, from my point of view, one strictly of friendship save for those several months in high school) was getting strained and awkward, I told him we couldn’t be friends anymore, and we stopped contacting each other.
That was several years ago now. It's been nearly ten years since the last time we saw each other. However, we have a lot of mutual friends and our moms are friends, so we know a lot about what’s going on in each other’s lives. (A peril of coming from a small town.) Friends and family don’t know that our relationship took such a turn for the weird (and assume we’re not friends solely because he’s religious and I’m not) so don’t hold back on any stories for fear of some “don’t talk about the ex” taboo. In short: I hear about him all the time, whether I want to or not.
Anyway, fast forward to a month ago: Tony gets engaged! This is excellent news (he hadn't, as far as I am aware, had a girlfriend since me and people were getting concerned). I don't know "Kathy", but by all appearances and anecdotes she's kind, shares his values (e.g. is also extremely religious), and is absolutely crazy about him. This is all very good. They got married two weeks ago.
Now here are the things I keep getting hung up on:
1. Kathy and Tony have known each other for one year...a year that Tony has spent all but one month of stationed overseas. Kathy lives back in the states. They spent, prior to their wedding, one "life-month" together. (Since the wedding, Kathy has moved overseas to live with Tony.) That, alone, does not bother me.
2. Kathy and Tony have had a completely chaste courtship. The first time they kissed was on their wedding day.
3. When Tony and I were together-together, our relationship was anything but chaste. We were young and full of hormones, and had a lot of happyfun sextimes together. Tony is (was? does a kink ever truly go away?) also into some BDSM stuff, and I spent some (thoroghly enjoyed and consensual) time tied up, smacked around, and playing the slave. Suffice it to say, we had a good time.
Tony's engagement/marriage has profoundly affected me in ways I can't fully grok. I am happily living my life, have a wonderful partner with whom I get on splendidly, and I have no reason to dwell on Tony's personal life. But my brain cannot reconcile points 2 and 3.
Every time a thought about Tony pops into my head (I'm at the age where all of my friends are getting married and engaged, so there are a lot of "triggers" around me), it is immediately followed by a chorus of "IT'S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS, NOTHING TO SEE HERE, MOVE ALONG NOW." I don’t want to think about him. I want to go be happy with my life while he goes and is happy with his. I keep fixating on this, though!
I keep having thoughts like: "but they hardly even know each other!" (which has nothing to do with sex), and "what if she doesn't know about his kinky side? will she be ok with it? what if she's not?" and "what if he's suppressing his kinky side for "godliness", won't he be unsatisfied?" and all sorts of other things that I know are NONE OF MY BUSINESS and that deep down inside are things that I'm not truly concerned about.
I want to stop thinking these things. I can't help it. Other exes of mine have gone on to other relationships/marriages without me even batting my eye. Tony's got me all befuddled and it's all because his current religious lifestyle is so different from the Tony I used to know so well. It’s especially frustrating because I’m not a nosy person and I’m not used to thinking about other peoples’ personal lives. Tony’s situation has got me all screwed up though.
Please give me your tips and advice on how I can just. get. over. this. Is there any good way to halt these thoughts? My guess is that in time the thoughts will become less and less, but I'm obsessing NOW. (FWIW, I have no history of any sort of obsessive compulsive or anxiety disorders, no depression, no history of any mental--anything--that could be gumming up the works, so to speak.) What do I need to do to enable myself to move on?
I am looking for tips, techniques, anecdotes, and maybe articles if there are good ones on how to 1) figure out why I’m having these thoughts, 2) figure out how to stop obsessing, and 3) perhaps start a dialog with mutual contacts to say “don’t tell me about Tony” in a way that doesn’t make it sound like I’m jealous of him or something equally petty.
Thank you for your help, and thanks for reading.