‘I can’t stop myself thinking about old uni boyfriend – but I’m with a new man’

Dear Coleen

I can’t move past my feelings for a guy who I dated when we were 20 and at university together.

I’m 29 now and got married at 26 – then divorced at 27.

A few months later, while recovering from the fallout from the marriage, which was abusive, I saw on social media that this guy had got married.

My heart sank and I was surprised that seeing those pictures would affect me in that way, especially as we’d been out of touch for a long time.

It’s now two years on since seeing those pictures and those feelings for him haven’t gone away.

I wish him the best, even if that means the best isn’t me.

However, I’m confused about why I still feel something for him. I guess some part of me always thought we’d get back together in the future, but I never bothered trying and I regret it.

It never usually takes me this long to get over my feelings for a guy – I can usually talk myself into remembering those characteristics that weren’t good and which led to the break-up in the first place. But there is nothing ugly about this guy.

Even though I have a boyfriend at the moment, who is a lovely person, I still can’t help but think about this ex-boyfriend.

Coleen says

Well, he’s the one who got away and perhaps there was never a proper ending to the relationship.

Also, I think you’re still in a vulnerable place after coming out of an abusive marriage and you’re perhaps romanticising this ex.

I think deep down you know all that, but when we’re vulnerable it’s easy to let our emotions get the better of us.

The problem is, if you keep dwelling on this, it will prevent you from moving on and finding happiness.

You say your boyfriend is a lovely person, so why not give him and yourself time to make a go of the relationship? Put your energy into that.

The fact is, this ex is now married, so you have no choice but to move on.

One of the problems with social media is that it’s harder move on from people when you’re confronted with pictures and posts from them all the time. In the old days, we never had that problem, but now the temptation is there to keep torturing ourselves.

So stop following him online!

And remind yourself that life can hold so many great opportunities and people, and you don’t want to miss all that. If you haven’t had counselling to deal with what happened in your marriage, then that could be something to think about too.

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