why won’t my ex talk with me?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Q: I separated from my boyfriend of 6 years more than 3 years ago. It was a very passionate relationship and we had 13 years age difference — he was older. I basically grew up with him and he was my first relationship. We separated because he had a lot of commitment issues and would not move in with me [he’s had many relationships, but ours was his longest]. After we broke up, i was sure he’d come back to me because i felt he loved me very much and we broke up many times during the relationship and he always came back to me. The breakup was very messy, as he asked me for time to think and i subsequently discovered he was seing someone else [while i was waiting for him to think]. He lyied to me about seing this other person, so soon after our break up and for about a year led me to believe that he was thiking of getting back together with me, or marrying me. During this year, i called him at least once a month and i was very desperate and depressed because he had not behaved as i expected — he did not want to return to the relationship mainly because i refused to accept for the relationship to go on as it had. I wanted more from him — i wanted to at least live together after 5 years of being together. He told me he wans’t sure he was able to commit to anyone, and if he were to commit it would definetly be to me, but he felt like he was more of a loner type person. A year after our break up i dicovered that he had in fact been seing someone else during the whole time. I confronted him, and he admited it – saying he got into this relationship intentionally so he wouldn’t get back together with me, as he had done so many times before. He had spoken to a common friend of ours in confidence and told her that he still loved me but that he got along better with this other woman in other areas.

I was devastated when i discovered he’d been lying to me. I felt betrayed by him. The same day i found out about his lies and confronted him i told him how i felt, and then told him i forgave him and that all he could have done was be honest with me and i would have understood. He told me he admired my understanding and said he still loved me but that he felt that maybe he could never change into being someone with a family and stability. We said our goodbyes and exchanged an e-mail telling eachother that we really loved eachother.

That was 2 years ago and we haven’t spoken since. The same week all this happened i dated someone else and i am still with this person 2 years later. I am happy in this relationship but it took me more than a year to stop thinking about my ex daily and to stop mentioning him. I always felt very closely connected with my ex and it was hard for me to not have him in my life. I experienced a lot of grief, and i know it may have been a mistake being in a relationship while still experiencing this grief, but the current boyfriend was aware of it when we met, and i wasn’t mature enough to be alone [perhaps also afraid i may want to go back to the ex].

Wanting to put some closure to how i felt about him and to move on with a clear head with my current relationship i decided to contact him about 3 months ago. Is sent him a text telling him that i didn’t hold a grudge about what had happened in the past and that i would always care for him. He did not reply so I went to his club but did not speak to him, giving him the chance to speak to me. He avoided me but still i was not sure if this was intentional as there were many people and i was not sure if he saw me. After that i texted him again asking him if he was avoiding me intentionally. He again did not respond which really hurt me. A common friend of ours called me telling me that he had spoken to her and asked her to act as a mediator as he did not want to speak to me. I then sent him a lot of angry texts about how embarassed i had felt by this behaviour and how hurt i was. He never did reply.

Speaking with this friend she told me i should move on with my life and that she felt he didn’t want to speak to me out of fear of bringiing up old feelings. He told her he wanted to “not start up again, making the same mistakes we had made in the past”. I am not sure if he meant that he still have feelings for me or that i may start bothering him or texting him etc.

I really want to be able to speak to him for some reason. I miss him as a person sometimes and i feel like i have lost someone really important that i grew up with. [let me mention that i have a lot of feelings of abandonment because my parents were divirced when i was 5 and my father moved back to the united states and re-married and had 2 more children – even though i saw him every summer – i had a lot of issues with this]. He is so much older so why is he behaving so immaturely? i don’t understand why he can’t even answer a text or pick up the phone. We spent 6 years of our lives together — isn’t that worth anything? I still care for him and i feel like i need closure, even if it’s been 3 years. I know it was a bad relationship and would not want to get back together, but sometimes i just miss him so much. Why is he behaving this way?

A: I’m sorry that you feel so upset about this breakup, especially since you have now been with someone else for over two years. At this point, you are asking the wrong question. It doesn’t matter why he is behaving as he is. What matters is that you are still quite stuck. As you pointed out, it may well have to do with unresolved issues with your dad — another older man in your life who abandoned you and didn’t give you what you needed.

I worry that by focusing so much on what you can’t have, you are preventing yourself from fully embracing what you can have. Apparently there is a man in your life who loves you enough to stay with you even though you are not fully with him. Clearly time isn’t healing your emotional wounds. I strongly urge you to find a counselor to help you work through your issues around abandonment and trust. You are only 25. Please get the help you need to let go of the past so you can have a fully intimate relationship for the rest of your adult life.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Photo

 

 

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 22 Sep 2008

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2008). why won’t my ex talk with me?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/09/22/why-wont-my-ex-talk-with-me/