Q: What happens when you can't get over a former significant other from almost 7 years ago? I've dated many others since then but none compare. I've given those others a chance but can't help comparing them to her and thinking about her when I'm with them. I've had no contact with this significant other -- until a random correspondence through a good old social media site. We found each other on there and exchanged messages. She claimed that she was "so happy" I found her.
Just as fast as she appeared, she was unresponsive and then gone. After not answering a couple more of my messages she deleted her account. My messages were not psycho at all; I didn't mention anything about us or our past or ask about her current love life. I was just asking general questions about how she's been and what she's been up to. It almost makes me feel that she knew what she was doing and had spiteful intentions.
I know people will tell me she doesn't even deserve any bit of my attention and how I have to move on -- but it hasn't happened yet after 7 years. I want somebody else to come along who I'm crazy about, but it just hasn't happened yet, and at 33 I feel that it should have by now.
– Nice Guy Who's Sad, Cambridge
A: She just wanted to say a quick hello on that social media site, NGWS. She didn't want questions. She just wanted a shallow, virtual "friend" with no expectations. She probably hid her account because she could tell that you wanted more. Or maybe she has a boyfriend who wondered why she was getting questions from an ex. I doubt she was being spiteful. She was just sending an honest message. She didn't want to get your hopes up.
You broke up seven years ago, which means that something went wrong back then. Your selective memory has turned her into some unattainable angel, but she's not. She's just someone who had potential but didn't stick around.
My guess is that you're mourning an entire period of your life. You miss your mid-20s. She was a part of that. Put her in context.
There's nothing I can say to make the process of moving on any easier, but it might help to make a list of what you want from a partner now that you're 33. You want someone who's available (she's not). You want someone who responds when you send a message (she doesn't). You want someone who makes you laugh (she makes you feel like a stalker). At 33, you want someone else. Embrace that. She failed. Break up with her.
Readers? Can you tell him why he's still thinking about her after seven years? How can he erase her from his mind? What did he do wrong online? Was she being cruel by disappearing? Help.
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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.