Can’t Stop Thinking About Ex

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

My mind and soul can’t get rid of my EX all the time: My Ex boy friend broke up with me for almost 8 months. We had been in the long distance relationship for almost 3 years. I thought he was the one all from the beginning. We met online. He came all the way from his country to visit me in my country. We have 13 hours time difference. He visited my parents when he came to visit me. I also went to visit him in his country for three week. We did have good time together. During the whole relationship, we had been talking to each other every day by mail, and several times on phone in a week. We did get on very well. He always told me I am the most special person he had ever met. He said I am the only one in the world who he can get on with.

He is already 53, never married. We have 19 years difference in age. He had never had any long term relationship with anyone. He visits his parents every month. His parents and his own things are always priority in his life. He only lived with two women in the past – one 20 years ago for a year, and one 10 years ago for a year. He said I am the only one could be with him for so long though we were in the long distance relationship. He told me all the women he had been with, who all couldn’t accept him in the end. They found him having problem. He told me he is very difficult to be with. He said once he tries to get close to someone he would have certain fear, then he would just walk away, and leave the relationship. I had been so patience with him all the time. I bought him gifts, cheered him up when he wasn’t happy, and when he was with health problem. He said he felt much more attached with me emotionally compared with other women he had been with. I trusted all he said. I started to ask him if we could be together in real life 2 years ago.

He started to hold back. One day his father was ill, he stopped all the plans seeing me since then. I thought he worried about his father’s health so I kept waiting and waiting until his father got better. Then it came to his health problem. He kept telling me he would come to visit me once his problem solved. I still waited without regret and with so much patience. One day, I told him that I could fly to see him. He got very angry all the sudden. He started to say I kept pushing him all the time. He said I gave him so much pressure. He told me he is not ready, he probably never will. He told me he would date someone else, and pushed me to leave the relationship.

We stopped talking for 2 months until one day I can’t stand it. I called him, and mailed him again. We communicated again, and seem fine. One day I called him, and asked if he still loved me. He became very angry and said he was actually seeing someone else. I got extremely upset. I asked him how he could meet someone only one month after we broke up. He said he thinks it’s good to both of us, and asked me to move on. I couldn’t take it, so still kept communicating with him as a friend. He said we can be good friends, and still can talk on the phone sometimes. I still called, and he accepted me, and he still always shares his worries with me anything related to his parents. I comforted him whenever he felt not good. We became close again, and I thought he wasn’t with anyone anymore. He started to see me via web cam, and we talked every week again. He was always happy when he talked to me. I cannot feel that he has anyone at all. One day, I called and he didn’t pick it up immediately. I was feeling very intense, and kept calling. He knew it was me, and when my line connected, he got extremely angry. He kept saying many times he was talking to his parents. I said I didn’t know, but he was extremely angry, and forced me to promise him not to call again otherwise he would call police. He suddenly said he got a girl friend already, and pointed out that sometimes she is in his place. He was afraid of me calling while she was in his place. How come he didn’t say all these when we were not in any argument? I couldn’t even feel he has a girl friend. I asked him many times that if he has ever thought of how I treated him in the past, and how he could treat me like that. He said those were past, and this is not his first time to be in such situation with women. I asked if she is the one, and he said none of my business. I asked him why we couldn’t work out, but he was always happy when he was talking to me until I did something that made him angry. (can’t tell how I made him angry as he is originally a very emotional person and he has bad temper without patience) He said he cannot do what I want. I told him I don’t need marriage, but he said he just doesn’t want to get back to it. Before we argued, he was even thinking we could meet up again, but all the sudden because of the phone call, he cut me off. I was very ill the day we had big argument. He didn’t pay any concern at all. I always care about how he felt, and concern about his feeling, comforted him, but he met someone else shortly after we broke up. He even said he didn’t like the cards I ever sent him during our argument. When he received them, he always said I was so special to him. He said I never understood how he felt, and only concern how I felt about myself. If I really wanted him to be happy, I shouldn’t call him again he said. However, after he said all these, we still communicated with each other. I mailed him first. He accepted me again as a friend. He asked about how my health status was as the day we argued I was ill. He still cares about me. He shared with me again about things related to his parents and such. I couldn’t understand if he has a girl friend, why he wouldn’t share with her only. He knows I still love him. If I didn’t ask to get back to him, he will be with me in a nice way, but once I asked to get back together, he immediately got very angry. He would blame on me for everything which I strongly feel not fair. I always did him good, so I couldn’t believe why I have such treatment from him. I cannot get my mind away from him all these months. I gave in a lot in this relationship. He told me he is a promising person, but he doesn’t keep his promise. I told him I had been very serious with him, and he realized it all from the beginning. If he didn’t feel that way how come he didn’t dump me few months later, but dumped me 2 years later. He knew all these. I am not sure if he was trying to be ready, but in the end he just couldn’t. He sees someone else shortly after we broke up that I couldn’t accept it. If I was so special, then how he could do this to me? He is indeed selfish, but I just can’t be angry with him. I don’t know why? He asked me not to wait for him as he is not ready even for now, but how come he has another girl friend?? All these questions come to my mind and soul all the time. I can’t stop getting rid of all these questions. I just cannot leave though I know I should. I feel I am connected with him strongly especially he also likes sharing with me his personal issues.

My mind told me we haven’t finished. I don’t know why I would have such thought. My subconscious told me we are spiritually connected. The most strange thing is I don’t need to see him all the time as from the beginning we have always been in long distance. I can accept it without him in the real life, and willing to wait. I don’t understand myself. I just can’t leave him in my mind. I just need to see his mails and occasionally hear his voice then I feel satisfied to certain extent. I don’t know what I want. How can I leave him? I feel he is in my mind forever. I need to find a solution to get out.
Thank you for sharing!

A. Thank you for providing many details regarding your question. The relationship started off very well. The two of you seemed compatible. You cared about one another. He traveled long distances to see you and to meet your family. You shared with each other your likes and dislikes, your wants and needs and ostensibly, much more about your lives. The two of you spoke everyday and even interacted through web cams. The relationship in the beginning seemed good.

But it was in the beginning of the relationship where your ex displayed his “true colors.” He essentially warned you about himself. It may have been a warning that you disregarded or overlooked. Your ex explained that he was unable to sustain a long-term relationship. He said that he was “difficult to be with.” His two previous relationships ended, according to your ex, because of his own self-defined faults. Learning this information, however, didn’t faze you. It seemed that you were determined, as you are still, to remain in the relationship regardless of the circumstances.

When you learned that he was “difficult to be with” it should have alarmed you. At the very least it should have prompted you to learn more about what he meant by “difficult to be with.” You needed to know this information to better assess whether he was someone you should pursue a relationship with.

As the relationship continued you unfortunately learned of what he meant by “difficult to be with.” In an instant his demeanor changed. One day you were the love of his life. Quite literally the next day he wanted nothing to do with you. Soon thereafter he informed you that he had met someone else.

When he told you to “move on,” refused to communicate with you and told you of his new girlfriend, it should have driven you away from the relationship. But it didn’t. Actually, it seemed to have no effect on how you felt about him or the relationship.

Herein lies the problem.

It’s important to know that you should not be accepting of his disrespectful behavior towards you. It is not okay for him to be angry with you, to ignore you and to date someone else if he still has an interest in you. It’s not acceptable for you to tolerate this type of behavior.

It’s not healthy for you to want to be with someone who clearly does not want to be with you. Yes, sometimes he takes still your calls. He even occasionally inquires about your health status. But he likely does those things because you repeatedly contact him.

Your time, love, kindness, energy and devotion should be reserved for only those very special individuals who are worthy of receiving them. Your ex does not seem worthy. You should not be accepting of how he has treated you. You also should not be “willing to wait.” What are you waiting for? For him to break up with his current girlfriend and to come back to you, when he has no one else to be with?

The only way he may be worth waiting for is if he were to undergo intense therapy to correct his fear of relationships. That’s assuming that a fear of relationships is his problem. That’s his perception of the problem and it may be inaccurate. He may have other personal issues that need to be corrected. But even with therapy he may not be able to correct all of his problems.

My suggestion is that you focus on trying to understand why this relationship as you have described is not good for you. As difficult as it may be you should try to move on. I know that you feel destined to be with your ex. But you can’t let this false belief of devotion blind you to the truth, which is that you deserve to be in a much better relationship.

If you have trouble understanding why you deserve better or why it is that this relationship is not healthy for you then you may want to consider therapy to explore these issues in greater depth. Thanks for your question.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 26 Jan 2009

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2009). Can’t Stop Thinking About Ex. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 30, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/01/26/cant-stop-thinking-about-ex/