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Thread: Feelings for ex returning after years. ?

  1. #1
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    Feelings for ex returning after years. ?

    So split up from wife nearly 5 years ago and we have 6 year old daughter.
    Marriage was the loneliest time of my life, wife had an overpowering twin sister and rich daddy and I never felt like we were our own family. Throw in her ex fiancé appearing after years like a bad smell. Wife hurt and betrayed me to the core and one day something happened that made me realise it was impossible to have the relationship and family I wanted so left her.
    Several years of bitterness, custody battles and all kinds of drama.
    So now I have been with my partner, her three wonderful children and my daughter for just over two years. Just moved in together and plans to marry next year.

    So two weeks after we move in the ex turns up to sports day with new boyfriend. Seems like a nice guy, doesn’t have kids and it strikes me as a casual relationship. Anyway after years of vitriol spite from ex she is suddenly happy and chatty. Finally making an effort to co parent and even making chit chat with my partner.
    Now we are having a laugh and getting along, now she is finding reasons to swap child over outside school and talking longer than necessary. I cut ALL contact outside child arrangements for the last 4 years but tried to remain civil and friendly, but not even informing each other of deaths in the family etc.

    My problem is not the new guy, it’s that for the first time in nearly a decade I’m seeing the woman I fell in love with. The mother of my child, and the deep connection I felt so long ago.
    It is NEVER EVER going to happen, there has been too much damage and I love my new family with all my heart. My partner is my best friend and we see eye to eye on so many things my ex and I did not.

    So the feelings are creeping in, bit by bit day by day. I’m phasing our during the day dreaming about what happened all those years ago and if only,s. I find myself making a little extra effort on my appearance when I know I’ll see her at school. It’s wrong and I feel ashamed of myself, it feels like I’m betraying my partner by even thinking about it but what can I do?

    When I look at my ex wife’s face it’s like the familiarity of looking in the mirror, I know everything about her, I can tell her mood from a 100 yards away. I know when she’s going to cry, I know how she’ll react to things, for the love of God I can even recall her orgasm face with scary clarity. I remember how she likes her drink etc etc etc. How is this possible after 5 years.
    I absolutely do not want to be with her but cannot get her out of my head. It’s going to ruin my family if I don’t reign this in.

    Please help, anything

  2. #2
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Get to a therapist privately and confidentially. There's no need to torment yourself and feel guilty about your thoughts vs your new partner. Sounds like unfinished business you need to tie up in therapy.

    It also sounds like things are either stale or not too stellar with the new partner and nostalgia is biting you in the butt. You are escaping into an idealized sexual past.
    Originally Posted by Bobby987
    So split up from wife nearly 5 years ago. I love my new family with all my heart. I absolutely do not want to be with her but cannot get her out of my head. It’s going to ruin my family if I don’t reign this in.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member ThatwasThen's Avatar
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    Maybe you should stop thinking about her by quickly changing the subject of her when she pops into your head instead of day dreaming away about her. Mind over Matter, my friend.

    If you MUST think about her (but you mustn't) then think about why you broke up in the first place and reinforce it in yourself that NOTHING has changed on any of those fronts.

    Put the focus back on your current partner and take it away from the partner who betrayed you, with whom you never felt like you had your own family with.

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    I tried therapy a few years ago, the problem I had was there was no closure. We had at the time been for a drink/date, it was warm and sunny, we sat in the pub garden and finally after years or spiraling we had an honest talk, she apologised for some things, I apologised for some things and I finally thought the momentum was going in the other direction. She didnt want to leave and we sat on her car in the car park late into the evening. It was magical, I skipped home thinking things were finally turning around. However it took her less than a week to drag up the carcass of old arguments and hit me round the head with it. Thats when I gave up. I sent a text, I said something like its unfortunate, but I suppose it no longer matters and that was it............ nothing, we never spoke again about anything other than our daughter. Im pretty certain she went straight to the arms of her ex but predictably that lasted 5 mins.

    Anyway, I didnt really find therapy helpful, she didnt tell me anything I didnt already know, there was no epiphany, it was over and I knew it had to be. Not because I didnt love her, it was just never going to work.

    I guess the question for therapist is, am I feeling nostalgic because, as you suggest, maybe there is something lacking in my current relationship. Or is there something lacking in my current relationship because I havent let go of ex or the anger/closure etc.

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    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    One of the things that therapy is good for is helping you understand that thoughts like these are, all things considered, totally normal. And normal is...well, it's just that: normal, not mysterious, nothing to get bent out of shape about, nothing to indulge.

    You guys have a lot of history together, and a young daughter, so you'll always have a relationship of sorts. Sometimes you'll be angry at the past, sometimes nostalgic. It'll happen. It'll pass. Most of the time—hopefully—you're pretty indifferent and accepting.

    If you find yourself struggling to get back to that place of acceptance and indifference—well, that's when another hit of therapy can come in handy. Helps you jump out of yourself for moment—instead of, you know, sprucing up in the mirror—to see things a bit more broadly. Once you see something as normal it loses its power.

    In your shoes, I'd take this as small moment where life is tapping you on the shoulder and asking you to engage, just a bit differently, with your current partner. Not some massive show, but maybe a nice dinner, a date, something to affirm—and, by extension, strengthen and deepen—that connection.

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    Thanks guys,
    I’ve been thinking about this, I think the feelings were always there. But she’s been so nasty these last few years, using child to hurt me. It’s been easy to see her for the real person, now she is being nice it’s harder to be indifferent. She told me yesterday she is going on holiday with new boyfriend and daughter and I’m sorry to say I felt a twinge of jealousy.

    I think you’re right, I’m going to keep my distance and concentrate on my partner.

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    Platinum Member Carus's Avatar
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    Haha....Yeh my exwife really didn't give me many reasons to 'hate' her....I wish she had of....probably would have been easier :)

  9. #8
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    It’s all totally okay, what you’re feeling. It really is. It doesn’t mean you’re “messed up” or a lousy partner. It just means you’re human.

    The key is being able to acknowledge these feelings when they surface without self-judgement, and just let them pass. Sometimes just acknowledging them is what allows them to pass. Sometimes we may need a little bit more: talking to someone, a friend, some internet strangers, a therapist.

    Think of it like a more complicated (but totally manageable) version of going to a party and finding someone really attractive while you’re in a relationship. Happens. Doesn’t make you a monster. You simply acknowledge it but you don’t indulge it, and should you run into that person another time she’s just a person again, demagnetized.

    It sounds a bit like you were “lucky” in that your ex-wife was pretty lousy for a good stretch. That helped you heal, in ways, but in other ways it maybe blurred the line between anger and acceptance in the grieving process: you were frustrated, then frustrated with being frustrated, then too tired to be frustrated. And that was that.

    Now she’s thrown a little wrench into that narrative by not being a witch—no biggie. Grief isn’t linear, either are feelings. Ride this small wave, without letting it ride you, and you’ll enter a deeper place of acceptance. Big picture: this is better for your daughter, which makes it better for everyone, including your partner. Just keep redirecting the feelings into that—the present tense, the amazing thing you have and are building—and you’ll be okay. You already are.

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    In time, you only remember the good parts. And totally forget all the nasty ones. Very common as you move on to the next chapter of your life only because sticking to the old one is familiar and comforting like a warm blanket. You just need to remember, your ex-wife pissed all over that blanket, and the smell is still there - you just haven't used it in 5 years.

  11. #10
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    Originally Posted by Bobby987
    I guess the question for therapist is, am I feeling nostalgic because, as you suggest, maybe there is something lacking in my current relationship. Or is there something lacking in my current relationship because I havent let go of ex or the anger/closure etc.
    Yes. You are chasing your tail. If you are truly happy in your current relationship, you will NOT put it at risk by letting your ex take hold of your feelings. Consider your interactions with your ex to be a transaction. Take all emotion out of it. Be kind and gracious, but remind yourself that it is not an option.

    Look at your current partner. What do you love the most about her? What is her best physical attribute? What attracted you initially? What is your favorite thing to do with her?

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