Can she really forget she loved me?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My ex-girlfriend just abruptly ended our 8-year relationship and immediately started a new relationship. Moving in with a guy she’s only know for a few weeks. She still says she loves me, misses me, feels empty without me, but that we can’t be together “right now.” We had a very loving, good, sweet relationship, but it was complicated because I’m a single father and I have had a hard time balancing everything. Often, my ex got the short end of my attention. Last year, behind my back, she thought she’d fallen for a guy who ended up being a conman that stole money from her. She developed a relationship with him while he was in jail. I didn’t discover it til’ months later. After nearly a year, she finally came out of the “spell” she was in and realized that she didn’t want anything to do with him. But that was a huge red flag that she was unhappy with both herself and our relationship. We should’ve gone to counseling, but didn’t. My question is: Is it possible for her to avoid having to really deal with our break up just by being in a new relationship? Can she really forget how deeply she’s loved me? Can she just transfer what she feels for me to someone new?

A: How complicated. And how sad. Your ex seems to be a woman who can’t tolerate a “loving, good, sweet” relationship. When things get too close, she manages to fall for someone else. The excitement of new romance is a great distraction — even when it is with someone as inappropriate as someone who is in jail. I don’t think she was unhappy with your relationship. I don’t think it has to do with your children. My sense is that she can’t stand being happy in a stable relationship. The problem is with her feelings about herself.

Sadly, the answer to your question is that, yes, she can avoid having to deal with your breakup and yes, she can talk herself out of her love for you. When someone’s fear is bigger than their ability to love, they can find lots of reasons for leaving. I don’t know what happened to her that makes this make a kind of sense. I do think some counseling is needed for her to come to deal with this pattern of fleeing exactly what most women would give anything to have. I worry about you accepting her if she comes back without an agreement to get that counseling. Twice is enough for you to deal with this heartache.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 25 Apr 2011

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2011). Can she really forget she loved me?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 1, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/04/25/can-she-really-forget-she-loved-me/