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It’s been 7 years and I can’t move on.

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Why do I still think about my toxic abusive ex all the time?

This person is my children’s father, they don’t remember him.

We broke up 7 years ago and I haven’t spoken to him in 5 years.

He is always on my mind because the kids look just like him. But I can’t move on, I think about him everyday. He’s in a new relationship, has new children. About a month ago his new girlfriend messaged me because she found pictures of me and the children and was upset that he kept them for so long. It would have been 7 years that he kept these, with numerous girlfriends and moving multiple times. It made me happy, wondering if he still had feelings for me and still thinks about his children. I have dreams about this man and wake up crying. I think about him and what he would think of my new job. Or if he’d approve of the clothes I wear or the house I bought. I just don’t know how to move on. I haven’t been in another relationship since . I’m terrified to bring someone else around my children and I’m scared to get hurt like he hurt me.

He was physically and mentally abusive. But he also accepted me and put himself out there for me at a very bad time in my life. So I hold on to the good things I guess. I don’t still love him. Well I don’t think I do, it’s been 7 years but I still think about him, I could cry thinking about him right now. Am I crazy? Is there something mentally wrong with me that I can’t let go after this long. Will I ever find love again.

Please no rude comments. I always feel pathetic enough as it is.

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I'm sorry you're going though this, OP. It's understandable that it's been hard to let go, considering he isn't in his kids' life at all either. It probably feels like a lot of unfinished emotional business, on many different levels.


Have you tried counselling?

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@MissCanuck and melancholy123 I do understand it is often standard to recommend counseling for severe cases where forum advice sometimes doesn't help or even may harm. I personally googled for online counseling and the 20+ questionnaire is not exactly helpful at the start. If you do have a reference though that is fantastic please post it if linking this is within community guidelines. It's been some time since I posted so I don't recall the rules.


@Spring, you're far from pathetic. I actually am in a far lesser situation than yourself. There are no children, we weren't married, for all I know perhaps I was just a fling he kept on to make himself feel good but that level of pain feels unresolved. Feels crushing and I feel pathetic because I wasn't even married to him but the impact was real. Yes it's human to think about this and to want to get over this immediately. But it doesn't make you crazy...it changes you. It shifts and eventually you will realize you prioritize you.


The most important thing though is to allow yourself to know people, get vulnerable and reach out to new people and friends if your social network is limited. Mine is currently limited and I'm looking to change that immediately.


I know from experience by meeting new people you will eventually have new memories with others, new tangents to talk and think about and your mental and physical health will improve. Even if you don't find love right away your heart opens up and you feel better just knowing someone out there is going through something similar and validates you and cares about you.


I hope this helps you Spring. Because hearing that you're going through something like this helps me slowly resolve my own pain. So I thank you for sharing.

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Springvidi, I want you to think about something:


Knowing who he is, how he treated you in the past, would you knowingly and willingly choose to reenter a relationship with him?


Also, understand that he did the best he could at the time. And it wasn't good enough. You deserve a happily ever after.



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He loves picking the same type of women. Think about it, his current GF messaged YOU. That means this girl is lacking in self confidence and that is the type of woman he likes. I was a huge jerk in my past and I can tell you that finding a woman who lacks confidence are so easy to manipulate and control. Just to make a woman jealous of your X to the point that she calls an X is a huge power trip for him. She either has to go thru his phone or ask or he has to have it written down somewhere. Total manipulation.

So judging what he likes, I am going to go out on a limb and say that perhaps lack self confidence. You might think about him because he did all the thinking for you. Told you what to think, what to wear, who to talk to, how to act and if you got out of line, he would mentally or physically abuse you. You perhaps lost your identity while being with him. So now its possible that you seem lost because you just miss the self confidence. Maybe you miss being told what to do, maybe you miss being spoon fed your daily life or maybe you miss the happy times. It could also mean that you are missing the fantasy of a romantic and loving relationship and you attached that to him and thinking that he was your best chance and finding true love.

Im just spit balling here and could be wayyyy wayyy off or right on. I dont know. But its up to you to really look into a mirror and ask what is it you are longing for? Why are you thinking of your X? Im going to say that you know the answer but maybe too afraid to say it outloud and only saying what people or you want to hear. Time for you to be honest.

As others have suggested, counseling would be a great avenue for you. They dont have to provide all the answers, but help you find the answers, but it all starts with being honest with yourself. You can get thru this.. Make today be your first step

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I think a therapist would be helpful, as others have said.


Something I wanted to share, that helped me, was realizing ruminating on something from a long time ago, is a habit.


At first its making head or tails, then its blame, shame and guilt trying to explain myself and then what I'd do differently or how this situation could have gone.


I was getting so sick of thinking about it but i couldn't stop. That desire to want to stop made me realize its just like any other thought, I can choose to go down the rabbit hole or I can stop myself mid thought and say no. I'm gonna ficus on right now.


Controlling your thoughts is a major aspect and benfit of meditation. Its a constant effort to push thoughts out, realign yourself with your voice in your head, working toward only having one voice-- you! You becime one voice because your focus on yourself and the current moment. You're no longer multi- tasking in your head.

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I have just put up a somewhat similar post and I'm experiencing similar feeling to you although it's not been seven years but all in perhaps a year for me on and off.

I won't go into to much detail as its mostly been shared on here. I also have strong feeling for my ex that I just can't shake no matter what I do or try. I would say I dream of her every single night and that's if I actually sleep because I have some really bad night, nights seem to be worse for me. It can be something silly as a small memory enters my head and that just sets me off, it can be a movie a song. I actually had to run for my car last week as I was walking our dog (who I have with me) and something I had completely forgot about entered my head and it was something that happened between us a nice memory. I was walking in the same area, same spot and with the same dog and the memories just hit me like a truck. I felt sick I felt light headed. Went into a panic attack and made a run for my car. I sat in there for 30 minutes before I could start the engine.

Now I know all this sounds crazy and bazaar, if someone else would have told me this a few years ago I would have wondered what the hell was going on with them.


What I'm trying to say is I understand, I can't help because I can't help myself but I am really struggling with this and I shouldn't because although there was no physical abuse I did get my feelings played with a lot, I got lied to and deceiver in an unforgettable way but I still have very strong feelings,,, I actually think the way my head is I would return to my ex if she asked and I know it would be so wrong on so many levels.


I have done the whole therapy thing I've seen a doctor I've tried medication but it's in my heart body and mind and I can't let her go.

I'm a 45 year old man who barely shed a tear in his life and I'm a bloody mess now. I've broke down in tears in front of so many people I feel so embarrassed afterwards.


I'm sorry I can't help and the only advice I can offer although for me it only works sometimes is to go for a long walk, wither it be morning noon or 3am I just walk it off the best I can.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just so you know, I come off as very direct. Please don't consider this judgmental. I myself am actually starting to go through a divorce... The key here is abuse. Get professional help, in person counseling. Don't stop until you feel like you find the right therapist for you either. There's most likely something more in your past that is deeper rooted that causes this... by this, I mean the lack of self-worth. Others have said... would you re-enter this relationship? Well, the fact that you all are on here posting about not being over an ex speaks volumes about where you're at. It's not about him. It is about you. It doesn't matter who he is or was. It's about you feeling that it is ok to stay in a relationship like that or be treated that way. Sometimes emotional abuse causes mental issues that can be just as severe as physical abuse.


Why would you miss someone that emotionally or physically abused you? Repeat that... over, and over again. That is not love, and he doesn't deserve your thoughts anymore. Why would you love someone like that? Life has a way of repeating cycles until you break them yourself or tell the universe that you really don't want that anymore. It would be beneficial to start telling yourself that you are better than that every time you think of them. Wish them well, and let go.


Don't worry about him, her, or where they are at. He's the same person and you deserve better than that. Life is about growth. Figure out how to do that. Out with the old, in with the new experience.

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It has been years for me too, and I think about him often. Just dreamt about him last night. Perhaps it is something one never gets over, (depending on the personality type and nature of the relationship), but rather one does their best to learn to live with the residual heartache.

As NO 1. said, it sounds like his current GF has trust issues with him. And while it is nice to hope he thinks of you often and misses you, as you do him, it is important to face the truth about what you had.

Try and focus on everything that was wrong in the relationship, rather than nostalgically remembering it through rose tinted glasses. I too have a tendency to reminisce in an idealistic, delusional, romantic fashion. I have to constantly remind myself he used me, betrayed me, lied to me. I have to try hard to not continue to Love him; to shake myself out of the trap of thinking we had something special. Perhaps we did, but it is irrelevant at this stage to ever know the truth. All I know is , it is better to assume there was never any Love from his end; safer and more self-protecting.

People with narcissistic traits tend to be extremely damaging and difficult to get over. Not saying your ex is a narcissist, but on the off-chance, it may be worth looking at Lisa Scott's 'the path forward' website. I found it helpful ( until I was banned :) )

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