My memories of his past relationship are interfering with our current one?
I have known this man for eight years, and we've been best friends for two. I started to have some feelings for him around a year ago, but at that time he got a girlfriend. I was fine with that. However, their relationship got progressively more and more abusive. She was very manipulative of both him and me. She basically lied to both of us, caused problems with him, and then came crying to me about it when what they were fighting about was me. She wanted him to end our friendship. Anyways, I was his support system through this and I have some very vivid memories of how much he said he loved her and how he thought she was perfect. They broke up 5-6 months ago and now we have a relationship. He treats me extremely well and with lots of respect. I have no doubt that he loves me and has no more feelings for her. However, these memories keep flashing in my head and making me close up and try to put barriers between us. We talked about it and he told me more about their relationship, and it helped a little but I can't help but remember them together and I can't reconcile that fact with the fact that I'm dating him now in my mind. I know it's my problem and not his. I don't know what to do to get over these memories that keep popping up. What should I do?
I know it's hard to but you are going to have to set the past aside. Remember that he is with you now and not her. If you are having trouble with this you might want to see a therapist about this. You can't let this keep running your life and relationship.
OK, so he DID love her, or thought so when he thought she was perfect. Then reality set in and her true colors apparently started showing. It's perfectly reasonable that his feelings changed. This would be due to the fact that he didn't fall in love with who she really is but rather who she led him to believe she was. It seems that what you're having a problem with is the fact of him loving her at one time. I really think you should make an appointment with a therapist and talk this out. I'm sure you're putting up barriers because you don't want to be hurt if he went back to her. That's a very natural feeling and you need the tools to deal with this and to be able to work through your feelings. Good luck dear
Hi. I want to address one thing first of all. His old girlfriend was actually right in wanting him to end his friendship with you. She was no dumby! She sensed you had feelings which you stated here and saw that as a viable threat . . . and it was as you two are now dating. In her place, I also would have an issue with a "friend' like that, right? Wouldn't you? So I don't think I'd call her names for being smart enough to have picked up on your signals.
With that said, they've broken up. Maybe you are thinking about his love for her because you know that you played a tiny little part in their breaking up . . . and had you not been in the picture, they might still be together? Maybe not . .. probably not even! But I'm sure your subconsious thought has gone to that place. You also know that he could very well allow a "friend" that deep down has romantic feelings for him to stick around. That is hard . . . wouldn't like that at all myself! It would make me less trustful.
But overall, he has given you no indication of anything but that he is with you and happy to be. That is good! Go with that and do not let your mind dwell on these other thoughts. (again, I think some guilt and doubt due to your 'feelings' you had for him while with his last girlfriend are coming into play.) You can do a distract method--------- if you start to think about that---------- have a "go to " thought ready. Have a list of things to switch your thoughts to (planning a vacation, making a list of chores to do, etc.) and immediately be proactive and SWITCH your thoughts to that. You can also have a "go to" activity that you do right away if you start thinking the thoughts you'd like to not have---------- I head for my garden but whatever floats your boat. Just go do your go to activity when the thoughts come.
I also think that you can have a one time conversation with him about this. You can ask him about his feelings for her and if he is genuinely happy to be with you. Only do it once or it will become 'needy'---------- but it may make you feel better to air it with him and get a response. But again, only once.
If wanting me to stop being friends with him was the only reason, I would not not have called her abusive. But I think lying about committing suicide when he tried to break up with her, stalking him, wanting him to break off friendships with ALL girls, not just me, and constantly putting him down and manipulating him into thinking he wasn't worth anyone and she was putting up with him-- I think that counts as being abusive. I understand your point, however. It would make sense for a normal girlfriend to be upset (although he says his feelings for me didn't start until after they had broken it off... although he's said if he'd have known before, he probably would have broken up with her earlier).
I understand your point about the guilt. I guess it would make sense, but while they were dating I did everything possible to be a "good friend." I supported their relationship, tried to resolve their fights, listened when they were upset (both her and him), and stayed out of their way. I shoved my feelings into a teeny tiny box and tried to get over him. I was fine with their dating until it became abusive. That's when it got bad, and that's where the memories come from. I do feel guilty on some level, I suppose. But there's not much else I could have done to not feel guilty. It's upsetting that guilt exists even when there's nothing you can do about it.
I really like your idea about go-to thoughts and I will be trying that. Also a go-to activity.
Thank you so much for your advice. I think it will help.
And on a wider note, thanks to everyone for their advice and listening. It really has helped somehow, and I think I'll be able to get through this. :)
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