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Thinking about my ex

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  April 1, 2010 09:43 AM

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The Huntington Theatre was nice enough to give me two more pairs of tickets to "Becky Shaw," its show about dysfunctional relationships and a blind date gone wrong. The show is Sunday at 2. If you applied for the last "Becky Shaw" giveaway and weren't chosen, all you have to do is shoot me another note saying that you'd still like some tickets. If you want tickets and have never applied, send me a note explaining why you need a good afternoon out at the theater. Emails are due tomorrow by 11. I'll email two winners before tomorrow afternoon. I'm at meregoldstein at gmail dot com.

Q: Dear Meredith,

My issue: I broke up with my ex-boyfriend last May after nearly three years of dating. We were long-distance for about half that time and were a mere two hours apart when I decided to end the relationship. He was the first person I ever broke up with, but also the person I proclaimed would be my husband someday. I broke up with him for a number of reasons: 1. He valued his social life far above me and never put me first, 2. He didn't want to move in together or deal with a long distance relationship, and 3. I wasn't sure if I still loved him, or was just telling myself I did.

I was fine immediately after our break up because we continued to see each other on a semi-regular basis, so it was like we were single when apart, but dating when together.

In November, I met my current boyfriend and promptly ended things with my ex. My boyfriend is amazing -- a great combination of manly man and sensitivity, loves the same things as I do, puts me above anything else, and wants to see me as much as possible. He makes me bagels every morning complete with a love note, and even takes care of my puppy while I'm at work. He recently asked me to move in (after a little more than 4 months).

While I have told my boyfriend I love him (and I do very much!!), I've lately found myself thinking of my ex on a more frequent basis. It is hard to cut ties with someone who I considered my best friend for three years, and had to make that decision rather quickly in November. I don't regret the decision, but I'm wondering what these thoughts are all about. Lately I've only been able to think about my ex's good qualities, our inside jokes, and still have thoughts of marrying him. But, some of my behavior over the summer assured me that I could not have still loved him.

I realize I am very young (not yet 23) and have been pretty lucky-in-love. I also don't like to be alone (adopted and father issues, blah blah blah). But ... I'm not alone and my boyfriend is so incredible, so why do I keep thinking about my ex?!?

– Confused But Not Really, Connecticut

A: CBNR, you think about your ex because you did love him, because you might still love him, and because you wonder whether he would have been more open to commitment had you waited a little longer to make big demands.

This is the thing about never being alone. The bonus is that you don't have to be alone, obviously. The drawback is that you never get the space to think about what you actually want. You never get to figure out who you miss, who you need, why you love someone, and what you're looking for.

My advice is to hold off moving in with your new boyfriend. I'm not sure why you're rushing the big stuff with him. It shouldn't even be a discussion at this point. You're 22. There's no reason to move this forward if you're confused. You can date this guy, have a few fantasies about your ex, and see how it plays out. Those fantasies will either become more frequent and intrusive or they'll disappear. That's how it goes.

There's a part of me that wants to advise that you reach out to your ex, just for a friendly conversation. Sometimes all it takes is one real-life interaction to remind us why we left someone. Of course, I don't know enough about the terms of your break-up and your new relationship to make that recommendation. But if talking to your ex is something that wouldn't break everyone's rules, it's something to consider.

Whatever you do, don't move forward in this new relationship. You've been dating the guy for four months. This is evaluation time, not move-in time. These thoughts about the ex … they're your brain's way of telling you that you have no idea what you want. Listen to your brain and put the brakes on. I'm not going to tell you that you have to be alone to figure this out, but you do have to give yourself the time and space to think.

Readers? Is she still in love with the ex? Should she contact him? Or is bagel guy the one to stay with? Should she be moving in with bagel guy? Is this all about her fear of being alone? What should she do? Discuss.

– Meredith


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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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