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Why Can’t My Boyfriend Let Go of My Past?

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From the U.S.: I have been with my current boyfriend for about 2 years now. I had known him since freshman year and we always had a little crush on each other. However, I was on and off with an ex of mine for about two years. This ex of mine was very controlling and was very possessive of me and we would always break up but then get back together again. The longest we have stayed together was about a month.

When my current boyfriend and I started dating, I ended up breaking up with him about one month into the relationship for my ex. He was completely heart broken and it took him a lot to take me back. After he took me back, I was head over heels for him. I was completely over my ex, because my current boyfriend really showed me what a healthy relationship is supposed to be like. Throughout the years of being with him, he had random outbursts of being mad at me for no reason quite often, we would fight for no reason and he would get quiet and when i would ask what was wrong he would say he’s just fine, but i knew something was bothering him still.

Basically last night he tells me he still thinks about when I left him for my ex and his darkest fear is me leaving him for someone else again. Thats why he would get mad for no reason. I told him that I made a promise to him that I only love him and I would never do that to him again, and that I still haven’t broken that promise. When he finally took me back after we had broken up he kind of just wanted to ignore how I left him for my ex and just start over. He really didn’t want to talk about it. But since it came up again last night I told him everything as to how badly my ex treated me and that I would only go back to him because he would take me back.

Nothing happened at all between me and my ex when I left my current boyfriend, but I think he is still suspicious of it. He is still very angry at me for something that happened years ago that I cannot change.

Why Can’t My Boyfriend Let Go of My Past?

Answered by on -


You say nothing happened between you and your ex. But something did happen to your current boyfriend when you left. From your boyfriend’s point of view, you broke his basic trust in you. Once that happens, it’s very difficult for the person who was left to recover. Ultimately, it is up to you to remain faithful, and it is up to him to decide if he is willing to forgive you and give you the gift of his trust again. For many people in his situation, that feels like a terrifying emotional risk.

You are both in your teens and just learning how to be in a relationship. That’s normal. The teen years and into the twenties are when people figure out who they are in a relationship and what kind of person they want to be with. It’s a very important developmental task.

You’ve already learned some hard lessons about what behaviors (on your own and the other’s part) makes for a good or bad relationship. Your boyfriend has the same developmental task to do. Difficult times can certainly be an opportunity for growth (both for each person and for the couple) but sometimes it is just too difficult. When that is the case, it is sometimes wiser to end the relationship and take time to think about lessons learned before venturing into another relationship.

You are both young to settle into a forever relationship. You may or may not be able to retrieve the easy trust you once had between you. If not, I hope you can wish each other the best and take what you’ve learned to the next person you want to be with.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Why Can’t My Boyfriend Let Go of My Past?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Why Can’t My Boyfriend Let Go of My Past?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 20 Apr 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.