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I started seeing someone but I feel so fake sometimes

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As many of you may know, I broke up with my BF of two years about 7 months ago. We were not compatible. He had drinking problems. He didn't respect me. Blah blah blah. I'm over him. I actually met with him briefly over the weekend over coffee to catch up and I had no feelings for him. It was so liberating. I'm free.


Part of this has to do with another guy I'm seeing. I'm not super serious about him or looking for a full-on relationship immediately, but being with him has given me a taste of what I deserve - someone who respects me, who listens to me, etc. And it made me realize that I can never fully have that with my ex. It was the final step in getting over my break up hump.


But sometimes, when I'm with this new guy (let's call him Carl), I feel pieces of my ex floating around inside me. I don't know if anyone understands or if I'm making any sense. My ex was my first bf so I don't know if this is normal. Basically, I feel like the person I am today is largely due to his influence in my life. As bad as my relationship with him was at times, I grew and flourished in so many ways because of him. It's almost like I feel indebted to him. Like, I can only be the woman I am today around him...not around Carl. Does this make any sense to anyone? Or am I overthinking everything?


I understand that we are shaped my the people and environment around us. But sometimes it freaks me out that one person - my ex, my once best friend, the person I told everything to - can have so much influence on me. And now what? I have left him behind and moved on but what do I do with the pieces he left behind, the pieces that are so much a part of me? He is a part of so much that I do... does this mean I'll never forget him?


I guess the reason I'm freaking out about all this is because I was lying in bed with Carl the other night talking about life (it was the type of conversation I've had with my ex several times). And the guy looked at me and said "Do you talk to your friends about all this? I feel like you and I talk about really deep things." And he was so genuine and kind and I could tell he was happy that we were having this "deep" conversation. But in the back of my mind, I couldn't help thinking "this is nothing. I told my ex all of this and 20x more." And then it freaked me out. Will I ever be as close with another man as I was with him?

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I know exactly how you feel. I had a boyfriend who I grew so much with and shared so much with from about 2003-2006. After the breakup it took me a couple years to be able to be interested enough in creating a bond with someone else to actually go on more than 2 dates with a new guy. I'm in a relationship with someone now (been with him 2.5 years) and we've really never shared on that intimate level. I don't think he has it in him probably b/c he already shared that feeling with someone else. My story is kinda opposite of yours in that I wish my "carl" would share with me, because I'm ready now but it doesn't look like that's gonna happen.

I often think that love can only happen once in life. It is contrived after that as people build up walls and become cynical even when they try not to.

I've been contemplating breaking up with my "carl" in the hope that I can find someone it won't feel this way with.

Maybe you need more time alone or maybe your carl isn't the one. Not sure, but I know how you feel.

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Will I ever be as close with another man as I was with him?


Yes, you will. I think you've got a little way to go to the finish line of having moved on from your ex, and it involves a choice on your part. This may be harder if your ex was your first boyfriend, but truly getting over someone and moving on means that you have to make an effort, to mentally and emotionally accept that you and your ex are done and to be open to what the future holds.


You're comparing your new guy to your ex, and that's just not fair. No one is going to be the same as him. Part of getting back the magic that you had with your ex requires you to let down your walls, trust your new man, and be vulnerable to him. You've still got your walls up out of fear of getting close. You had your walls down with your ex so this new guy will never measure up unless you make the effort.


So it's your choice. Make an effort to open up and let yourself be vulnerable to the potential heartbreak if you want a fulfilling relationship. You will never be totally over your ex, but it will continue to lessen with time if you concentrate on your future instead of your past.


And as a footnote, you may be rebounding. You may have subconsciously chosen Carl because you knew in advance that he'd never measure up, there were things that you didn't like about him and therefore you wouldn't have to actually fall for him. If this is the case, you should let Carl go because it's not fair to him.

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I think it helps to adjust to the idea that you'll never have exactly the same sharing with two different people. Each time I've found myself seriously interested in someone new, I've discovered that I can share things with them that I couldn't share with my exes ... and perhaps that I'd shared things with my exes that I couldn't share with them in exactly the same ways. I've known I was ready to move on when I felt open to a "new, different sharing" rather than focusing on the "I'll never be able to share exactly what I did with my ex with anyone ever again."


I don't believe that love comes only once in a lifetime - only that new loves can't be an exact replacement or substitute for the old. As an ex of mine told me, "There's never one person, there's a range of people - different possible relationships, each with different risks and joys." Don't let the old be the enemy of the new.

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Love is a decision. It doesn't come into your life, you will it there. You choose to make yourself vulnerable... The INFATUATION stage of the first love will always be the most exuberant, especially because we romance the memory and place it on a pedestal. That's the feeling that rushes over you regardless of what you think....like being high.


For me, as time goes on I have found that the rewards of love as a decision (while slower to materialize and less dramatic) far outweigh the rush of infatuation.

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