Dear Angela: I’m happily married but still thinking about my ex, help? | The Ask Angela Column

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I’ve been very happily married for 5 years but I still have deeply hurt feelings from the way I was treated in a relationship that ended 7 years ago. I assumed once I found the right one they would eventually fade away but I still think about this relationship fairly regularly. I don’t want to. I feel like maybe I just never got the closure I needed but I don’t know how to make that happen now. The guy and I aren’t in contact and I don’t think it would be appropriate to contact him anyway. What do I do? – Ave

Dear Ave,

Thank you for your question and I want to begin our conversation by asking you to ask yourself some questions.

1. What are these deeply hurt feelings that you have? Why are they painful for you now?

2. Did the person you were with 7 years ago change the way you viewed yourself? If so, in what ways?

3. What do you think would make you feel better?

Think about these, and respond, I’d love to talk with you about your experience. Break ups, even when they are for the better, are extremely difficult. I know I have a relationship from 10 yrs ago that I still consider from time to time and regret choices that I made. And honestly, that’s okay. We remember that we loved someone, we remember that we hated someone, we remember that we were hurt, we remember that we had fun, we remember, remember, remember…the challenge is to put those memories into the proper place in our minds and hearts – so that they don’t torment us in the present and block us from progressing forward.

Before I share my thoughts on how to do this, I’ll turn the topic to Ask Angela readers. What advice would you give Ave about navigating the feelings she’s experiencing?

Love,
Angela

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2 thoughts on “Dear Angela: I’m happily married but still thinking about my ex, help? | The Ask Angela Column

  1. I dated and was planning on marrying my high school boyfriend. Throughout our relationship I had given up parts of myself, and our relationship was built upon me being something I didn’t want to be anymore. I left him because I wanted to be able to find myself again. For me, it was a spiritual decision made after much prayer. It was so hard, because he wasn’t a “bad” boyfriend. Very shortly after our breakup. I met the man who is now my husband. We dated and soon agreed we felt we should be married. Again, we prayed on this decision and if felt right. It was a whirlwind and everything happened very fast. I wasn’t even able to fully process my breakup with my previous boyfriend until we had our first child. I stopped working and had all this time to just sit around and think. I felt guilt, anger, longing…everything. Postpartum depression fueled these feelings. I had dreams about him. I wished I could talk to him, to see how he was doing. It was awful. I was frustrated with myself because I felt like the feelings I was feeling then, should have been dealt with years prior. But I had never allowed myself. I prayed and prayed and PRAYED for relief from these feelings. It did not come quickly. What has helped me the most, is taking those memories I had, and instead of dwelling on them, using them as reminders of what I don’t want my life to be again. As I said before, this journey has been very spiritual for me. When I have a thought or dream about my ex-boyfriend, I remember that the adversary wants me to be tempted, to long for that which I gave up. I tell myself that I gave him up with good reason. I reread journal entries that I wrote back when these things occurred. I use memories as a reminder of “I do not want to go that way. That path is not for me.” It has been a slow process, but these things have worked for me. I hope my story has helped you in some small way! Best of luck!

    1. Thank you for your comment! It’s ironic because the day I wrote this question and was really struggling with this I ended up rereading my journal at this time too. That helped a lot but as you said it’s a process. I think it’s easy to look back and only remember the good things or at least downplay the bad. I’m so glad I have a journal for that time to read because I usually am very bad at keeping it kept up. I think part of the reason we are asked too keep journals is because it can be therapeutic. Not just for record keeping. This reminds me that I should be doing it now. Anyway, the day I wrote this I was doing some serious Facebook stalking of my ex and his wife. I’ve been trying to avoid that and it’s been better but I hope I can stay strong and avoid checking them out.

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