Ask E. Jean - Tormented? Driven Witless? Whipsawed by confusion?

Advice Vixens

Dear vixens, i have a very hard time letting go of the past. My ex-boyfriend, a man I dated for four years and was in love with, has recently gotten married. i found out because I looked at his well-guarded Facebook profile and saw he'd made a comment on bike shop's page, saying that he bought a bike for his wife and she loved it. I couldn't sleep the whole night. This boyfriend and I broke up 6 years ago!

The reason this is all so distressing for me is the shame involved in how we got together and how i ended it. He was married when he met. He said he didn't love his wife, and only traveled to the city she lived in once every 2 weeks to see their young daughter. I wanted to marry him, but didn't think I could voice it. I met someone else (who was ending his own long term relationship) and broke up with my boyfriend. When I broke up with him, he said he'd separate from his wife, but needed me to stick by him while he did it. I didn't want that. I wanted him to get a divorce and sort himself out before getting back together with me. He turned on me, and sent me nasty messages, hacked into my accounts, and even tried impersonating me. He had never done things like that to me before. I never stopped thinking about him though. Two years after the breakup I was feeling very low, and I called him. I asked if he'd gotten divorced, and he said yes. He also said he was dating someone.

I stayed with the person I left him for, and we're still together 6 years later. We've had our drama with his unresolved feelings for his ex, and at this point, I feel very detached from everyone and very alone.

I wonder if my ex was the love of my life, and if I should have just stuck it out with him. I think I made all of the wrong choices and that there's no point trying to change things, because everything blew up in my face before. I just can't seem to move on, or to understand how people who say you are the one can move on and be that for someone else.

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    I wouldn't worry about your ex being the love of your life. Because he wasn't. But there's a heck of a lot of other things going on that are muddying the waters for you.

    First, you dodged a bullet. If he was unhappily married, dating you provided some relief from his current situation so that he didn't have to do anything about it and go through the often unpleasant process of getting a divorce. So for him, at the time, you were "the one" because you provided a valuable service. But when you made what was essentially a reasonable request, he lashed out - because (in his mind) you threatened his comfortable setup. He wasn't thinking about your needs or feelings in the matter - at all. This is not what the "love of one's life" does. It's what a selfish, immature person does.

    But because he eventually got divorced and married to someone else, your ego is saying to you, "But if he loved me, why didn't he leave his wife and marry me? Why wasn't I good enough?" It's not you - it was the situation. And it's not a case of you not being good enough but him not being good enough. This is at the core of your fixation with him; that, and your unhappiness in your current relationship (which can oftentimes make a person fixate on their previous relationship choices).

    Second, I'm seeing a recurring motif here, in dating unavailable men. The first man was married and the current man, who you started dating while he was still in the process of leaving a long-term relationship, is still not over his ex. Relationships like that generally make you feel more lonely than if you were actually alone. And all of these relationships have overlapped, which muddies the water even more. Have all of your relationships overlapped? Has there ever been a time when you WEREN'T dating someone? Or do you always find a new guy before leaving the current guy?

    From what I've read here, the only bad choices you made were getting into these relationships in the first place. The one good choice you made was getting out of the first one; and I'd like to recommend getting out of your current relationship before you are REALLY miserable. And don't look for his replacement just yet - rather, take the time to figure out why you have been choosing unavailable men. See a counselor to help you with this. Because if you continue on as you have, you're going to continue to be miserable, and it doesn't sound like something you want.

    reply to Jill
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