Living in the Past

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I haven’t seen my ex in 7 years but I still love him even though I’m with someone else. I was with him for about 4 years off and on. He moved away and I haven’t seen him for 7 years. I never really got over him I checked up on him and still talked to him sometimes until I got with my current boyfriend and he didn’t want me to talk to him anymore so I quit for about a year. I found him again on facebook and started talking to him as friends without my boyfriend knowing. Eventually it backfired on me and he found out I had talked to him and we almost broke up over it so I swore I wouldn’t do it again. My current boyfriend is overall a good man and provider for our family (I have a little girl that he raises as his own even though he is not her dad hes been with us since she was 9 months old). He has never cheated or did anything bad to me he is just a bit controling. I believe he really does love me and thats why I stay with him I know he would be there through thick and thin but I really just can’t shake this feeling of wanting to have contact with my ex. I don’t know whats wrong with me I love my current boyfriend but I can’t give him 100% of me when I can’t get my ex out of my head. Please help me out here. Thanks

A: You’re only 22 and yet you have all the responsibilities of an adult. It’s no wonder to me that a part of you longs for the simplicity of being 15 and the time of being relatively carefree. I assure you, your feelings are only partly about missing this old boyfriend. They’re mostly about missing out on time to be young. While other people are in college, living with friends and partying, you have a little girl and a home to take care of. Your ex is a symbol of what could have been if you hadn’t made the choices you made.

From what you’ve told me, you are in danger of jeopardizing a very good thing in your present by longing for the past. Stop all contact with the ex. Conversations with him and keeping him as a Facebook friend just feed a fantasy. Your choice wasn’t a bad one. You just took a different path than people who decide to stay single until 30. You have a wonderful man and a sweet little girl to love. They don’t. Focus on the love and luck you have. If you can’t do it on your own, get into some therapy to help your feelings match your grownup life. Your partner deserves to have all of you. Your little girl deserves the stability of a loving home with the dad she’s always known. You deserve to settle into your good life.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 18 Nov 2012

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2012). Living in the Past. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/11/18/living-in-the-past/