Why Do I Still Miss My Lousy Ex?

I stayed with my ex for more than five years of total dishonesty. He cheated the whole time, and, like a fool, I was oblivious. Finally, I was honest with myself, and we broke up. That was about two years ago, but I still have feelings for him. Despite the infidelity, my ex and I managed to have fun together. Why does the positive outweigh the negative now? I keep telling myself to stop thinking about him and move on. I have dated several other men but can't find one that really lights my fire. When will this stop -- when I find another boyfriend? --jcook2003

Question:
ABOUT THE EXPERT

Brenda Shoshanna

Dr. Shoshanna is a psychologist, therapist and certified divorce and family mediator. She has written five books, including Zen and the... Read more

You are not necessarily hurting because you're missing him but because you haven't worked through the leftover pain. A relationship can haunt us when we don't fully understand what happened, why it happened or why we reacted as we did. What you are really missing isn't this man but your own self-respect and self-esteem. You have a longing to return to him to get closure -- to feel good about yourself, to get proof that you are loveable and understand why he behaved as he did. Many women seem to want to be in -- or return to -- abusive relationships because they are stimulating; your ability to be loved, wanted and treated well are being challenged. But getting involved with your ex (or someone like him) isn't the answer. The answer is to understand yourself more fully and also to understand the true nature of love.

To start, I recommend you click here and read an excerpt from Zen and the Art of Falling in Love by yours truly. The premise of this excerpt (and the book) is that it's possible to let people come in and out of your life without feeling rejected. If you pay close attention to my advice, you will also realize that letting go of one painful relationship can eventually lead to a more lasting love with a partner better suited to you.

The bottom line is that getting over your ex is an issue that you need to resolve and you won't feel happy in a new relationship until you do. If you can't do it on your own, then you should consider seeing a therapist who will have the skills to help you through this difficult time.

Answer: