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It's been 3 years and I can't forget him... Please help.


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Nine years ago, when I was 15 years old, I met a guy online. (He was 1 year older than me). We met through a mutual interest forum, started exchanging e-mails, discovered we had a lot in common and became close friends. It may sound silly, since I had never even met the guy in person, but I felt attracted to him from the very first time we talked. I fell for him really hard, eventually told him how I felt, and discovered he felt the same way too. But there was nothing we could do since we lived several states apart, so we just remained friends, continuing to exchange e-mails.

 

Then when I was 18, in my first year of college, we finally met in person when I went to visit him and his family for spring break. You know how when you're really crazy about someone, and you know they feel the same way, and it feels like the air is dancing with electricity whenever you're in the same room together? Yeah... It was like that. I've never experienced anything like it since. So we talked about how we felt, and we decided we would try to have a long-distance relationship.

 

Then I went back to school, and to make a long story short, we exchanged a lot of really intense e-mails for about two months. But some things came up that we disagreed about, and it also seemed we each wanted to take different paths in life that may not coincide. So we decided to be "just friends" again.

 

We continued to be "just friends" exchanging e-mails until I graduated from college. But all that time my feelings for him never changed, and I began to get kind of obsessive, and it was a little scary. So I told him I thought we should stop writing each other for a while, and we did.

 

After that I went to Taiwan for a year to teach English, and during that time I experienced one of the most difficult things I've ever been through-- I lost my belief in Christianity. The reasons and circumstances are irrelevant, but at any rate, I didn't believe in God anymore. I became very depressed and withdrawn. I also knew that I could never talk to my internet boyfriend again, because he was an extremely devout Christian, and I was sure it would hurt him terribly to know that I had lost my faith. And there was certainly no way he'd consider being in a relationship with me.

 

Well, life was still hard after that, but eventually I did start to get better, and I came to Japan, where I still am now. I also found a new boyfriend, who I fell for really hard at first... Actually, I have to admit that I met him online as well, while I was still in Taiwan. I think maybe the reason I fell for him so hard was because I was just so lonely and desperate for someone to talk to. But after I came to Japan (not because of him, mind you-- I had long been planning to come here for unrelated reasons) and we started dating, there seemed to be no "spark". I never really felt anything when we were together. I had very strong feelings of missing him when we were apart, but I think that's just because I was lonely and had no other friends.

 

And the scary thing was, I still found myself thinking about the first guy. Especially the week we spent together for Spring Break-- I honestly remember that more vividly than any other time in my life. The images, the words, and the feelings from that one week would constantly play back in my head. Just when I thought I was over him, those memories would always come back...

 

About two weeks ago I broke up with the Japanese boyfriend, who I had been with for a year and a half, because I had a lot of self-esteem issues and things to work out that were hurting the relationship. The relationship felt like hard work the whole time, and we were both tired.

 

Then, just the other day, I was shocked to find that the first guy had joined facebook and had requested to add me as a friend. We hadn't spoken in around 3 years. I told myself it couldn't hurt to just say hi, so I accepted the request and sent him a message casually asking how he was doing. He replied, casually telling me what he had been up to. I wrote back to tell him what I had been doing, and am still waiting to see if he'll reply again.

 

And I'm really scared. I'm scared because it's really hard not to obsessively check my e-mail all day to see if he's responded. Because those memories are playing back in my head more persistently than ever. Because I'm afraid he might ask me something about religion, and I'll have to hide the fact that I'm no longer a Christian... and he might find out. Because he might still have feelings for me, and he might say something, and I'm not sure if I'll be able to stop myself from telling him that I still love him too.

 

I know, practically speaking, that we can never work. I am positive he would never date someone who is not a Christian. We are headed on completely different paths in life, and they just won't coincide.

 

What should I do? Should I tell him I can't be friends with him? Should I de-friend him on facebook and just stop replying to his messages?

 

And how on earth can I make these feelings go away?? ](*,)

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And the scary thing was, I still found myself thinking about the first guy. Especially the week we spent together for Spring Break-- I honestly remember that more vividly than any other time in my life. The images, the words, and the feelings from that one week would constantly play back in my head. Just when I thought I was over him, those memories would always come back...

 

All I can say is, it's not silly. Sometimes, you fall for someone, even though you might not have known him in person for a long time.

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Why don't YOU bring up all these things so that you're not hiding, pretending, faking it and so on.

Tell him it's great to hear from him, you've thought about him alot through the years, have very fond memories, that you remember him with a lot of love and after writing about your adventures in Taiwan/Japan/etc. tell him that you're no longer a practicing Christian for your own personal reasons (if he wants to know he can ask)....

Shouldn't be too hard and it will relieve your stress.

Don't pretend.

Don't avoid.

Don't hide.

Why waste several conversations with someone you've been dying to reconnect with being fake or avoiding real, meaningful dialogue? what a shame that would be!!!

Put it all out there and if he doesn't want to be friends anymore, then at least you know. For all you know, he could have had some revalations himself in the last several years and you could have a great time reconnecting.

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Honey, it seems to me like you're lonely... This may be the main reason for your obsessiveness. I dont doubt at all that its hard, I'm sure it is, but i'm not sure how much it really has to do with this other guy. The heart has a way of filling in with obsessions when certain needs aren't met... I would really work on yourself and, to be honest, a week and a half is not long enough, by any stretch of the imagination, to be through feeling your grief over the break up, no matter how much you convince yourself. I'd suggest checking out the book "What Happy People Know" by Dan Baker, it helped me a great deal, and giving yourself time and distance to feel your way through the loss of the relationship and try, try, try, (It will be hard but we are here for you) not to NEED this guy. Its time to take care of #1... and thats you. and remember, you are not alone.

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savignon,

 

Maybe you're right... But I don't know. I just don't want to hurt him. I know that as a Christian, it would have been extremely painful for me to know that someone I loved had lost their faith. I mean, think about it... If you truly believe that person is going to go to hell, that's a serious burden. It may not seem like a big deal to someone who's not religious, but when you believe, it's *everything*. I know, because I've been there.

 

It's true that spilling everything would probably make me feel better, but isn't that kind of selfish? If we all just did what made us feel better all the time, we'd hurt a lot of people.

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larryburst,

 

Sorry if my post was confusing, but I think you've misunderstood. The guy I broke up with a week and a half ago is not the one I'm obsessed with. I'm obsessed with the guy I broke up with three years ago, who I exchanged e-mails with for seven years.

 

That said, you're definitely right that I'm lonely. I haven't heard of the book you mentioned, but I'll check it out. Thanks for the suggestion. =)

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It's true that spilling everything would probably make me feel better, but isn't that kind of selfish? If we all just did what made us feel better all the time, we'd hurt a lot of people.

If it made you feel better to say that he's a gigantic jerk, then, yes, that would be hurtful. I don't see what's hurtful about being honest and truthful. If his beliefs are so different than yours that you can't be real friends then I think it's better to know now, right?

The best conversations I have are with people I disagree with. That's what I find interesting and exciting. Someone else may think I'm going to hell (for example) but that's their burden...I don't feel guily or badly that that's what THEY think. It's not what I think and they are entitled to their beliefs as I'm entitled to mine.

I don't think you should stress about what he MIGHT think about your life choices and beliefs. If he needs to judge you, that's his plight....not yours. Even though you can relate, it's not conducive to a good friendship to avoid real issues or hide who we are.

Isn't it selfish (or presumptuous maybe) to decide in advance what he's going to think of you after all these years? If we all just judged other people to suit our own beliefs, we'd hurt a lot of people.

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Thank you for your replies.

 

I understand where you're coming from, and I agree that we shouldn't assume what people are going to think of us. I also value conversations with people I disagree with. I did tell a couple of my close friends who are Christian about my loss of faith. They were shocked, but were very kind and didn't try to preach at me. It made me feel so lucky to have such good friends.

 

I told those people because they were my good friends who I interacted with regularly, and I knew the subject would come up and I'd have to tell them eventually anyway. With this guy, however, that's not the case. I hadn't heard from him in 3 years, and all of a sudden he added me on facebook. So far all we've exchanged are very casual, "Hey, how have you been" type messages, so in any case, I think it would be a little immature of me to launch into a big emotional tirade without warning.

 

As for how I think he'd react if I told him about my change of beliefs, this is based on what I know about him, very well. To quote Dr. Phil, "Past behavior is a pretty good predictor of future behavior." Sure, there's a possibility he's changed, but I think that possibility is pretty slim. I'm certain he hasn't wavered in his own beliefs because he's written extensively about religious subjects on his website. I don't think he'd refuse to be friends with me, but I'm about 99% sure he would never consider anything more. It would be really hard for me being just friends with him when I still have these feelings for him I'm trying to get over, and furthermore he'd be very hurt knowing that I'd changed, and he'd probably try to re-convert me, which would be very stressful for both of us. Besides, even if he were willing to consider the possibility of a relationship with me, we live on opposite sides of the Pacific. Not that I think something like that could never work out, but it's simply not something I'm ready to attempt at this stage of my life. I'm not ready to be in a relationship right now, period.

 

By the way, just in case some people are misunderstanding, I have not lied to him and don't intend to. As I said, we've only exchanged some very casual messages about what we've been doing. Basically I figure that if the exchange continues to be casual and not too frequent, and if the subject of religion doesn't come up and demand to be discussed, it's simply not necessary to bring it up. But if the subject does come up, or if it turns out that he still has feelings for me and tells me, in my mind I will have two options: Tell him, or cut off all contact. And I'm thinking that the latter option would cause a lot less pain for the both of us.

 

I appreciate everyone's responses and I don't mean to be argumentative or stubborn, but I still just can't see the reason in spilling everything to him at this point.

 

At any rate, he still hasn't written me back... So for now I'll just have to wait and see if he does. ^^; I have managed to stop worrying so much about it over the past couple days though, at least. =)

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Well, nobody is going to argue you out of what you think is best. It just seems cutting all contact is being very, very, very presumptuous (VERY) about how he feels, his beliefs, whether or not he can be friends with you or consider more. It's like you've already thinking ahead to whether or not you could be in a relationship with someone who lives far away and is trying to convert you when you haven't said more than "how are you?" in three years.

In the end, it's your decision and maybe no contact would help you to not analyze it the way you are doing. If you know him *that* well, then I guess take the less painfull route. To me that's just so dismissive of him. Like assuming he's so small-minded that he can't even be friends with someone without launching into conversion lectures or that he'd never speak to you again. That's a mighty lot to assume about someone you haven't spoken to in 3 years and who you had such a great connection with before. Especially since you've been where he is and YOU have changed.

 

???

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Okay, so... I've realized that you guys are right. I just sent him a message telling him about the religion issue. I'll let you know what kind of a response I get.

 

I feel, at least, like I've done the right thing. Thank you for making me realize what a fool I've been avoiding contact with him all this time because of this.

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