Out of my life, but still in my thoughts

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-03-2003
Out of my life, but still in my thoughts
Fri, 12-04-2009 - 5:08pm

I am curious to know if anyone else has experienced something close to what I’m about to describe, and if they could relate. DISCLAIMER: This is long and still a complicated story in my mind. My hope is that with some 3rd party help, I can finally put this issue to bed, at least begin that process, or at least be reassured that I am not alone in this.

I had a male college friend I met 11 years ago, with whom I was very close. We were in the same major and part of a small, tight-knit group. By nature of the discipline (science), R and I spent time together in the lab working on research, doing field studies (often with overnight stays, always in a group), or late nights finishing labs and projects. We talked each other through breakups, life decisions, dreams, etc. After graduation, we were separated by distance, but the correspondence of emails, phone calls and letters continued. We met up at a conference and a friend’s wedding. I always wondered if something would happen between us. Distance, finance, other romantic relationships and a host of other variables at various times prevented this from ever happening. Still, anytime one of us had a break-up occur, the correspondence would reinvigorate and be very intense. I felt I could confide in him about anything.

During two long-term relationships on my end, I realized (either at the time or in retrospect) how much this so-called “platonic friendship” with R was detracting from my primary romantic relationship. Both guys were very wrong for me, but what I was doing could certainly be described as an “emotional affair”…I was too young to define it or know better at the time.

Halfway through the second relationship, I DID realize what I was doing and tried to knock it off and cut ties with R. R had already demonstrated he was a flake in many respects, and had never followed through on promises to visit, call or send something we’d discussed. Also, our lifestyles became very different. I was ready to be more settled and begin a career, and R’s lifestyle was very spontaneous…he traveled everywhere, worked odd jobs, did extreme outdoor adventures, crashed with his parents for long periods, always owed somebody money. Still, the lure of his tales of adventure often drew me back. I loved reading his emails, which always made me laugh and feel special, as though he could confide in no one else.

When my second relationship ended after 4+ years, correspondence with R intensified again. He sounded more ready to be settled. The similarity between our life goals, and the fact that we were living in the southeast, made me wonder anew if we were destined to be together.

Then, he dropped the bombshell that he was moving to another state to get back together with his ex. Hearing him sing her praises, I felt physically ill. Still, we pledged to remain friends and always keep in touch. In the weeks and months that followed, however, I received no replies to any emails or calls, even a desperate one I made to his mother, begging that he get in touch. I was shut out in a way I never had been, and it hurt me on a very deep level.

Yet, something inside me shifted because of this. The embarrassment of getting no reply out of the plea-to-mom forced me to get off my butt and mend my life spiritually, financially, socially, and health-wise. I deleted 100s of emails I’d saved from him, and all his contact information. About three months later, out of a clear blue sky, I received a very flippant “Yo Dude” email about how he hadn’t been happy with the ex, how he’d moved out the day before, and about how the two of us should get together for backpacking over the summer.

I was FLOORED…and then royally pissed. I never dignified this with a reply. It has now been two years, and I’ve never once regret that or felt any desire to get in touch. I’ve never missed the deleted correspondence. I feel I let the so-called “friendship” affect my life and relationships far too long as it was, and have no desire to circle back (again) towards that path.

Occasionally, I will google-search R, since he has an unusual name and this does provide a track of his activities recently. I guess this is mild curiosity. One recent morning, I was jolted by a “Friend Suggestion” on Facebook where R’s name popped up. I am well-hidden so I do not come up in searches; I can only guess he entered my specific email address to see if I had an account.

This made me think about R anew, but I also realized how much my life has been vastly improved without the ambiguity and emotional rollercoaster this relationship provided. I have a healthy, happy relationship with a great man where I am 100% mentally and emotionally “there” instead of distracted, am debt-free, and involved in many fitness and outdoor activities I enjoy, with great likeminded friends. My BF and I look forward to relocating to California in the next 1-2 years.

Still, I find I still think about R all the time – practically on a daily basis. He sort of drifts into my thoughts and then out – there is nothing that would spur me to action as far as contacting him goes, and he is in my thoughts, but has no effect on my day-to-day decisions or activities. If he were to contact me, I again would not reply.

Is it normal to think of someone so often, even when you feel 100% absolutely sure that you would NOT want them in your life again in any way, shape or form? Has anyone else experienced this? I don’t confide often with the people in my life about this and my BF has no idea of all this. I feel a bit silly about all this because this is someone I’ve only seen twice since college graduation (2001), yet during all that time (until 2 years ago) he affected me on such a deep level.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-05-2008
Fri, 12-04-2009 - 5:19pm

Hi Mandarin Orange,

Welcome to the board!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-15-2008
Mon, 12-07-2009 - 8:46am

SURE THIS IS NORMAL!!! why? she asks? because you DO have a extended history with this guy in your life.. and good or bad... on again or off again he was/is a part of your life and a part of you.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-03-2003
Mon, 12-07-2009 - 11:19pm
THANK YOU for your replies! Esp. making it through my novel. :)