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The ex still finishes my sentences

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  October 28, 2010 08:00 AM

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Great chat yesterday.


Q: Longtime lurker, first time writer.

I dated my ex for five years including a few months living together after college. He had his share of problems, which he frequently took out on me, and very few friends. This was exacerbated by his problem with alcohol.

To make a long story short, he broke up with me saying he just didn't feel like he used to but there wasn't anyone else. A few days later my gut told me something wasn't right about it and I used my "resources" to find out the truth, which was that he had been cheating for months with someone I had considered a close friend. (FYI for Meredith and readers, I am not the jealous type at all and do not typically snoop, spy, or anything of the sort. I am actually usually more trusting than is deserved! Sometimes you really SHOULD listen to your own intuition!)

After the break-up, I started dating a good friend who I've known since before the ex and I even met. My family and friends can't stop gushing about how much they love seeing me with the current bf. He is wonderful in more ways than I could ask for … good to me, fun, social, responsible, family-oriented, the best grilled cheese sandwiches … but I can't get rid of this nagging feeling that the ex and I were meant for each other. I've never had anyone "get" me like that, and I don't think it's just the five years. An example: the current boyfriend tries to finish my sentence but is usually incorrect. With the ex, he didn't even have to finish my sentence if I was at a loss for words because he already knew exactly what I was trying to say.

I understand that it probably sounds silly. I have the current boyfriend who is everything I want on paper and is an incredible person, and then there's the ex who doesn't deserve me and maybe never did, but we have that deeper connection. The ex and I still talk on occasion (yes, the current bf is aware of this). He has also been dating someone else for a while now, but we have talked about how neither of us currently has the connection we had (and still have) with each other.

I have no delusions about the relationship with the ex being perfect, but when someone has betrayed your trust in such a major way, is there any coming back from that? Am I wrong to compare the current boyfriend to someone who treated me as if I was disposable? I already feel like I'm damaged goods and possibly not capable of loving the way I used to. Am I even more damaged and broken than I realized?

I always think that the songs that ring true to you tell you more about yourself than you might already be aware of. Before things even ended with the ex, the Sara Bareilles song "Gravity" hit me to the core, and currently La Roux’s “Bulletproof” is having that effect.

– I've Been Thinking of Writing This For Months Now, Boston

A: OK, IBTOWTFMN, if these songs tell us about you, let's look at "Gravity," shall we?

A sample lyric: "The one thing that I still know is that you're keeping me down."

"Bulletproof" isn't any more uplifting: "All you do is fill me up with doubt."

The ex fills you up with doubt. Who cares if he finishes your sentences?

I do believe that he "gets" you, but that's not enough. I'd rather have you spend the rest of your life with someone who wants to learn how to finish your sentences than with a guy who already knows how to finish them but is happy to leave you and date someone else.

I don't believe in soul mates, but I do believe in people who seem like soul mates. They're often very exciting, very perceptive, and not quite right for the long haul. I don't know why that is. All I know is that your ex bailed and that the new guy is here, making good on his word. That makes me think that the new guy gets you more than you think. He knows what he has.

Your strong feelings for your ex are just a confusing mix of loss, anger, pain, rejection, and love. It's difficult to feel so much for someone without assuming that those intense feelings mean that you want to be with them. Try to untangle those feelings and see them for what they are.

My guess is that after five years or so, the new boyfriend will be better at finishing your sentences. And in the meantime, tell him to let you finish them on your own. Less annoying that way.

Readers? Want to suggest any songs for the letter writer? Is this ex as important as she thinks he is? Does the ex actually want her back? Does her letter imply that she doesn't quite dig the new guy enough to stay with him? Advice? Shall we check out the video? 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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