extremely confused about my ex. And I have a boyfriend.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-23-2011
extremely confused about my ex. And I have a boyfriend.
Thu, 04-24-2014 - 12:59pm

I am really confused right now.  I broke up with my ex 5 years ago.  We had been together for about two years.  Prior to him, I had been in a relationship with someone for almost six years, since I was 15.  The first one cheated on me and didn't treat me well at all, and as soon as I ended it with him, I got together with the next one, who I was already friends with.  I'll call him John.  We talked a lot while I was in the process of breaking up with my first boyfriend, and he was really comforting and was always there for me (it was a long drawn out breakup since we went away to college together and lived together). 

Shortly after the breakup, John and I started hanging out, and it got serious really fast.  We were really compatible, had a lot in common, and just clicked.  I felt really comfortable with him.  He was a great guy-one of the nicest, sweetest, and most honest guys I have ever known.  He treated me like gold.  We meant the world to each other.  After about a year though, things started to change.  I started to feel smothered by him.  I had never really been single, and I just wanted to go out with my girlfriends sometimes.  He was ok with it at first, but as I went out without him more and more, he got jealous.  He would also get jealous of my ex if I had any contact with him whatsoever (small town, so kind of hard to avoid).  Basically he continued to be really into me, and really considerate and caring.  Always doing sweet things for me and telling me how beautiful I was and how much he loved me.  I started to get cold toward him, which in turn made him insecure, clingy, and jealous, which just pushed me away even more.  I loved him and thought he was a great person, but I just didn't want to be with him anymore.  We ended up breaking up, and he was devestated.  I wanted to be happy with him, I tried for months to make myself be happy with him, but I couldn't.  I felt very guilty and sad.  He called, texted, and emailed for weeks after the breakup.  I would talk to him at first, and tell him we shouldn't talk for a while so we could both move on, and then hopefully one day be friends.  He kept trying to contact me.  I would respond occasionally, trying to be nice, and say that I was sorry for hurting him, but that we shouldn't be in contact right now.  Eventually I just stopped responding.  The last email I have from him is about how I am cold and heartless, and one day I will realize it and feel bad.  He moved far away a few months after we broke up.  We didn't see or speak to each other again for the last 5 years.  I've thought of him occasionally, about how I hope he's doing well and he's happy.  I've felt a little guilty for hurting him, but told myself it was for the best.  I looked him up on facebook and would periodically check his page.  (didn't request him as a friend though).  At one point he had a girlfriend and I felt a tiny bit jealous, but mostly happy that he was happy.  I ran into his cousin 2 years ago and asked how he's doing, and he told me he thought he was still hung up on me, which made me feel sad.

Meanwhile, I stayed single for about a year and a half, but have been with one guy for the rest of the time.  It's pretty serious.  I love him and we talk about marriage.  We do have problems though.  We get in horrible fights occasionally.  We live an hour apart but I go stay with him on my days off (I only work 3 days a week). Also, I have a roomate, he lives alone.  He sometimes goes out with friends and drinks a lot.  Sometimes when I ask him where he was the night before and who he was with, he gets annoyed.  I know I can be a little jealous, and then he gets annoyed at my jealousy.  I then get annoyed at him for being annoyed at me.  We don't communicate well.  A tiny fight can turn into a huge one because of our poor communication.  He is also inconsiderate sometimes.  He has lived alone for a long time.  He is very independent.  He owns a business.  I like to talk about everything-feelings, work, family, etc.  He is not very open with his feelings.  This frustrates me.  And he gets tired of my constant trying to talk about feelings, etc.  He is not always reliable.  He occasionally comes to see me, but he doesn't always show up when says he will.  On more than one occasion, he has said that he will be here, and then just doesn't show up.  No phone call, no text, nothing.  I in turn go crazy wondering where he is, and call him obsessively.  He ignores my calls and texts for a few hours.  It turns into a huge fight.  Usually it's because he was out drinking with friends, and things got out of hand.  This has only happened a few times, but it really hurts my feelings.  He evenutally apologizes.  One of the times this happened. I broke up with him and took all my stuff from his place.  He was very sad and called and texted me the next few days.  We got back together after less than a week.  But then, he did it again last weekend.  He was supposed to come stay with me and go to a family dinner.  He didn't show up.  No call, no text.  I called obsessively.  FInally spoke to him briefly and he hung up on me.  Tried to call him back repeatedly but didn't speak to him until the next day.  He apologized, but I had already sent some very mean texts saying how horrible he is and how he doesn't deserve me, and he's a fuck-up, pathetic, etc. 

Meanwhile, that same weekend he was supposed to come stay with me, I ran into my ex, John.  He was in town because his father passed away.  They were very close and he has no siblings.  His mother left when he was a baby.  When I heard of his father's passing, I sent him a card.  I was afraid to contact him, since the last time we spoke, I had broken his heart.  Anyway, I thought about him a lot when I heard about his Dad.  I felt sick to my stomach I felt so sad for him.  I desperately wanted to talk to him, but figured I would just leave it at the card.  Then (the very night my boyfriend didn't show up when he was supposed to), I ran into him at a local bar.  I went up to him right away, we had a couple drinks and spent hours talking.  It was really nice.  We talked a little about our past, and I told him I was sorry for hurting him.  He had always questioned what he did wrong, and I told him I hope he realized that he didn't do anything wrong, I just wasn't ready for a relationship.  We had jumped into it too fast.  He said he understood, and it was fine.  Throughout the conversation, he would occasionally reference our relationship.  But nothing inappropriate happened, we were just like old friends.  I texted him the next day and said it was nice seeing him and I hoped we could be friends.  He agreed.  We texted for a few minutes, nothing serious, just very casual, and out of nowhere, he said that he never got over me.  He said he hasn't had a serious relationship because no one compares to me.  He said he thought he was ok, that he only thinks of me occasionally, but then seeing me and speaking to me made him so happy.  That he is still in love with me, and doesn't think we can be friends, because knowing that I have a boyfriend kills him.  I felt awful.  Told him I don't want to cause him any pain and that I understand.  I told him I care about him and seeing and speaking with him made me happy too, and that I would love to be friends, but understand if he thinks it's not a good idea.  He went on about how much I had broken his heart and how he was depressed for months.  I apologized.  He still seems to think it's his fault we broke up.  He thinks if he had been "good enough", I would have been happy.  I told him he was wrong, and that he was great, I just wasn't ready at the time.  I told him what a great person he is and that he deserves to be happy.  He apologized for having said what he said, and that he wished he would have just left it at the light conversation it started out as.  I said I was sorry for everything, not to be so hard on himself, and that was basically it.  Now I can't stop thinking about him.  I feel awful for hurting him so bad years ago.  I've been crying and sick to my stomach I feel so guilty.  He truly is a wonderful person.  All these years, I have almost never questioned breaking up with him.  Now, I'm looking back and feeling regretful.  We had such nice time last weekend and it reminded me of all we have in common and how great he is.  I feel like we should have been happy together, and I'm really beating myself up for breaking up with him.  I love my boyfriend that I'm with now, and I feel bad for thinking this way.  I have fun with him too, and when things are good with us, they're really good.  But when they're bad, they're awful.  I've been comparing him to my ex and thinking about how much more considerate, caring, and good my ex was.  He truly is unlike any man I know.  But at the time. his consideration and caring felt smothering to me.  He would have done anything for me, and at times, I felt bad for thinking this, but I thought it was pathetic.  He treated me like a queen.  Anyway, I don't know if I'm only feeling this way because I feel so sorry for him due to his Dad passing?  In a way, I'm feeling like I wish I could be with him.  I just feel so confused and I'm going crazy.  I feel so sad and guilty.  I did tell my boyfriend that I ran into my ex and talked to him.  I had already told him about my ex's dad passing and that I was thinking about sending a card or something.  I was also sad because I was close with his dad when we were together.  My boyfriend comforted me through all this.  He was ok with me talking to my ex.  He trusts me completely.  I wouldn't cheat on him, but I just feel so confused now.  Thank you to anyone who read all this.  ANY input would be greatly appreciated.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-14-2014

Your ex will always be insecure and clingy. I feel if you went back to him again in time you would feel smothered and stifled. You sound like a very caring person and no one likes to be the bad guy, you were the bad guy when you broke his heart. You still feel like the bad guy now, because he told you he is still hung up on you. You are not responsible for his feelings and emotions, he has to take care of those. 

 Your current boyfriend can sometimes be a jerk and you have let him get by with this behavior, unfortunately you have set the pattern for the relationship now. He has pulled the no show stunt more than once, then said sorry, you bought it and more or less let him know this was ok. I don't see how this will ever change in the future. Only you can decide what you will and will not put up with. You and your boyfriend need to have a serious talk about what is and isn't acceptable. Would your boyfriend appreciate you standing him up? 

Best of luck. Remember your ex is an ex for a reason, don't let guilt cloud your mind.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

My theory is that your ex is looking great to you right now because your current BF is kind of a jerk.  Let's see--he drinks too much, he stands you up and is inconsiderate about the fact that you will be worrying about him, you don't communicate well with him (because he doesn't like to talk about feelings) and you have big fights--this to me is not the sign of a great relationship, although you probably have some good times with him.  But I doubt you would have a good future with him.  So you meet the ex who is a nice guy and you look at the past with rose colored glasses--but the relationship with him wasn't perfect either otherwise you wouldn't have broken up with him.  There's a line that he crossed between just being a nice considerate guy and being too clingy--plus he was unreasonably jealous even if you were out with the girls--that's not good behavior either.  Then when you try to break up with him, he basically turned into a stalker.  Even 5 yrs later, he's still feeling sorry for himself that you broke up with him?  I mean, time to move on.  You were only togeher 2 yrs.  I didn't even take that long to get over my divorce after we had been together 15 yrs!

I think you should forget about your ex and start looking at your relationship very objectively--is this the type of man that you want to be with?  Will he try to change the bad behaviors or does he think you should just continue to put up with him drinking too much and not showing up when he's supposed to, for example?  If you can't have a serious talk with him about what is bothering you and he won't change, then I think it's time to break up with him for good.

Avatar for khatru1
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-07-2004

As the others have said, your ex is always going to have those traits that drove you up the wall. He may have other very wonderful traits that you like but they will be overshadowed by the negative ones, if you got back with him, just as they were when you were with him.

Truthfully you have some soul searching to do regarding your current BF. You have a dysfunctional relationship in many ways. I would go so far as to say in it's current state it is unsustainable, at least as far as you are concerned anyway. He is probably fine with his immature behavior. So either has has to change or one way or another the relationship will end. It can't go on like it is, you must sit down with him and be clear his ridiculousness must stop, other wise you have no choice but to move on.