Does My Boyfriend Still Love His Past Crush?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I have a boyfriend. There’s some problem going on so we had to go on separate ways. We’re breaking up next week and we want to end everything as clean as possible. We we’re talking about it one afternoon when all of a sudden he told me he wanted to say something important to me on the day we’ll break up. I asked him why can’t he say it now and he said I might get mad at him. I insisted and he suddenly blurted out, “I still love her” (referring to the girl he was courting before me). He said it in a serious face and all I could say was “really?”. All of a sudden his expression changed and he said it was only a joke. He said he only wanted me to get mad at him and that he really loves me and no one else. I don’t know if I should just consider it as a joke for I have my own suspicions myself.
I don’t know if dreams are really that accurate but it’s actually bugging me lately. There was a time I dreamt of a girl my boyfriend was really close with and he was cheating on me. After a few days, I asked him, if he hadn’t met me, who would he court. His answer was that particular girl i just dreamt about. Then just last week, I had another dream that he was again, cheating on me. I dreamt that he was texting his “ex-crush” while I pretend to be sleeping. Then after a few days, he told me that “not so nice” joke.

Sometimes that “ex-crush” would just pop out of nowhere in our discussions. Once, when we were watching a movie, he told me that he asked his mom what she would name him if he was a girl. He told me it would be the name of that “ex-crush”. Another time, we were talking about the poem he had written for me and he told me that he filled an entire notebook writing poems for that “ex-crush”. He said he already burned that notebook since she turned him down. He had only given me 8-10 poems. There were other times that we were joking about names of scientists when suddenly he emphasized a surname of a certain scientist. It took me a while before realizing that the last syllable of the surname was actually the name of that “ex-crush”. Since then, the name of the scientist was a common joke between us. Sometimes when I try to bring up a subject about her, he would stop me and say that we shouldn’t be talking about her.

Also, one time, i was so mad at him, I actually turned cold towards him. Suddenly he was asking me to play a certain online game which has the initials of his “ex-crush”. I pretended I didn’t notice. He would suddenly blurt out he wants to play that game and that he would go back playing it. I still pretended I didn’t know. I checked his text messages and the name of that “ex-crush” on his contacts was her initials only. When we confronted each other, he confessed that the game he was talking about was THAT girl and that if I continued acting cold, he would go back to her. I can’t remember what happened next but the issue was resolved and he told me it was only a joke.

The last thing that makes me suspicious is the way he acts when that girl is around. They aren’t very close personally so they don’t even say hi to each other. He told me a certain incident while he was still courting her. He also had a crush on that girl’s bestfriend at that time. He told me they were textmates and that he said something really offending that the girl’s friends actually went outside his classroom and waited for him. He told me he was so afraid that he was already traumatized about what happened. After that, he stopped courting the girl but he told me they were still friends. Now, whenever we were together and that “ex-crush” is around, he can’t even turn his head towards her direction. There was also a time when he turned around and saw that “ex-crush” and her bestfriend walking past him. He said his heart did a double flip and he even let me feel the fast beat of his heart. It’s like he’s broadcasting how he got nervous about that split second he came face to face with them. He thought, they’re going to slap him. He said that jokingly ofcourse. You know, like a child tells you the first time he got nervous and you don’t know if he’s really happy about what happened or he’s just really excited to tell me what happened.

I don’t know. I don’t get him anymore. I don’t know if he loves me WHILE he’s loving her. I tried to confront him but he keeps on telling me that past is past and he loves no one other than me. I’ve caught him lying several times but those are just minor ones so I haven’t really confronted him about it. He said he haven’t lied to me because he can’t when I accuse him of lying. Atleast before we break up, I want to know the truth.

I’m afraid he wouldn’t confess to me (if he’s really still inlove with her) because after he told me that joke, I got mad at another thing he did. And now he thinks that I got mad because of what he told me. How can I determine if he’s really inlove with her because if I ask him directly, he would deny it because he knows I will feel bad. How can I get the truth out of him (if there is really something between them)?

A. Your soon-to-be ex is toying with you. He deliberately tries to upset you and then makes a joke about it. Making a joke about a subject that he knows bothers you is very insensitive. He may be doing it as a way to judge how important he is to you. It’s like saying “don’t take me for granted because I could leave you any time.” He may also do it because it prompts a reaction from you. In other words, he does it because he can. If he brought up his ex-crush and you had no reaction, he would probably stop.

You asked about how you could get him to tell you the truth. You can’t. You can’t force someone to do anything. The problem is that he’s untrustworthy. He has lied to you on several occasions. It is difficult to have a relationship with someone who violates the basic tenets of a good relationship, honesty without deception.

If he were in love with his ex-crush he could’ve kept it a secret. I am not saying that would have been the correct way to handle this situation but the point is that most individuals can keep secrets. He chooses not to and instead brings up the topic of his ex-crush seemingly for the purpose of deliberately upsetting you. He does this at your emotional expense, without concern about how it makes you feel. Not only is this type of behavior insensitive but it shows a high level of emotional immaturity.

You wrote in your letter that you and he have decided to break up “next week.” The fact is that once you have decided to break up you’ve already broken up. The relationship is over, perhaps for the better. Thanks for writing. I wish you the best of luck.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Mar 2010

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2010). Does My Boyfriend Still Love His Past Crush?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 31, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/03/30/does-my-boyfriend-still-love-his-past-crush/