Why can’t I just be satisfied?


I’m having trouble with some lingering feelings. I had a “fling” with an old crush over 2 years ago now. It was the kind of situation where we liked each other for years, but nobody ever said anything or made a move. Honestly I thought he was too straight laced for me at the time. So when we finally got together after not seeing each other for 3 years, the chemistry between us was out of control. We got together one night when he came into town, and did things that had never happened between us before. It was so exciting, but he left town the next day. It didn’t end up working out between us, he wasn’t really interested in “talking”. After things got physical, he basically shut down. I tried to talk to him to figure out how he was processing everything, but he was so emotionally constipated I couldn’t get anything out of him! Besides that, he lives in another state and only comes into town to visit his family on holidays, so we really never get to see each other. Neither of us were at a place in our lives where we could make the sacrifices we needed to do a long-distance relationship, and I knew it would never work if he couldn’t open up to me, so I told him if it was meant to be it would happen, and if it wasn’t, it won’t. So I moved on… or tried at least. Occasionally I would think about him, or dream about him and it would stir up old feelings all over again. I realized I don’t REALLY know what he’s like, beyond what I knew from him during our 3 year friendship. I was idealizing him, as if he was the perfect guy, but I clearly just experienced how un-perfect he is for me!

Anyway, over 2 years later, I have a new boyfriend who is amazing. We’ve been together for a while, we’re totally happy and everything is perfect. However, when I recently found out that the old fling has a new girlfriend, I felt something, I’m not sure what. Discomfort maybe, but I don’t know how to identify what I felt. I tried to dwell on that, to try and understand why I would feel that way.
Most of all I’m mad at myself. I have an amazing boyfriend! I’ve never been in a better relationship! We’re moving in together and are discussing getting married. Why do I care what an ex does? I’ve noticed the same sort of feeling whenever I see any ex has gotten married, or had babies. What is this feeling?! I don’t think of it as jealousy, because I know those guys weren’t right for me, and I’m not really ready to get married or have babies. So why would I feel this way? Any ideas?

Tags: asked February 12, 2014
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5 Answers

Well you still made an emotional connection with the previous gentleman. You might always have some feelings for him because at one time your were intimately involved. Your feelings are much more common than you might think. Did you have closure? You know you have an amazing boyfriend and I have no doubt that you two are wonderful together. Your feelings are normal and they will fade in time and you'll move on.
Well, when we stop seeing people, they remain in our minds how we remember them. Learning anything new about them, especially a new relationship, could be uncomfortable because it reminds us of who they were with us, as well as the fact that that person no longer exists, and is beyond our reach. We don't miss them, but remember old feelings. Sort of like nostalgia? Also, there's pressure to have moved on and bettered ourselves, to "show them what they're missing". Even if you aren't in contact with them, hearing about the new developments in their life, good and even sometimes bad, can bring up that defensive feeling. It's okay to remember, but also remind yourself that it ended for a reason, and that you are happy now, and deserving of that happiness.
I have that same feeling often when I see an ex has entered into a really serious committed relationship of some sort. I think its not jealousy, but a feeling like "Why wasn't that me?" I see that we weren't right for each other and that is obvious, we broke up for a reason, but I also feel sort of uncomfortable at the thought that my exes have found such serious and happy lives with other people and I am still years away from marriage and even more years away from children and settling down. Again, Im not ready for those things, but part of me still feels that strange feeling when I see that my exes are.
Your feelings are normal. It could very well just be because you were friends and it doesn't seem like you two had any real sort of closure. Somewhere deep down you might still be wanting to be friends or something more, but you are afraid that you won't be so it is causing a feeling of discomfort.
To be harshly simple: you were the wrong girl at the wrong time. Focus on your boyfriend and put the past out of your mind, it serves you literally no good to focus on something that cannot be changed.