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I'm still in love with my ex

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This may be a little long so it's alright if you don't care to read it all. I just want to get this all out of my head and some advice would really be helpful.

We were together for a year and it's been 4 months since the break up. He left me for a number of reasons that I think were mainly related to my mental health issues that affected our relationship. It was really rough and I took it horribly but looking back I understand that it was the best decision for both of us. During the last few months of our relationship I had pretty much given up on school, family and friends and was just in a downward spiral focusing on almost nothing but the relationship. I criticised him for almost everything I thought he was doing wrong and got irrationally mad over so little. There were still good moments but those were rarer in the last stage of our relationship since I spent most of my time complaining and crying to him about my problems, getting inappropriately drunk at parties and embarrassing myself and him in front of his friends or giving him the silent treatment because of some unimportant issue. I became dependent on him for caring for me and helping me with any situation that brought me down and rather than listening to his advice on how to actually get better I did nothing. I wasn't myself and stopped caring about almost everything that should have been important to me. It was the break up that brought me to a realisation that I needed to fix myself and as much as I want him to be mine again I wouldn't wish us to have stayed together otherwise I don't think I would have even tried to get better.


As of now, I'm doing so much better than I was before. I have had problems with depression, cutting and an eating disorder along with being incredibly insecure and unable to talk to most people but since the break up I haven't cut at all, I've been eating on a regular schedule and exercising and overall I feel so much better about myself. I've gotten new hobbies like designing clothes, practising two instruments, drawing, reading and writing. I've also fixed my grades in school and after some hard work my final results were almost all high 90s and I've worked on my relationships with my friends and met new people as well. It's been so long since I've felt this happy and confident about myself and my future. I still have my not so great moments but I'd like to say that for the most part I'm back to being my old self.


My ex and I decided to be friends about a month after we broke up after I reached out and was doing a bit better. We've both been talking to other people and have slept with others since. I thought I was okay with us no longer being together but after hours of phone calls, texting, hanging out like we did before and sleeping together again I couldn't pretend not to have feelings for him anymore. Despite getting close with other guys I haven't managed to bring myself to really fall for anyone else. He definitely isn't perfect and has his done things in the past that hurt me but I still love him more than anyone else in my life. He's incredibly kind and welcoming to anyone he meets and he hates hurting people. He tries so hard to seem happy and confident for the sake of everyone else even when he feels far from it. When I'm with him he never fails to make me smile and he knows exactly how to make me laugh and I never leave disappointed. I feel like I can talk to him about anything and we've each been more open and vulnerable with each other than anybody else. He makes me feel at ease and he doesn't judge me or criticise me even when I know I deserve it. I've never met anybody that makes me feel the way he does. During the relationship I took so much of him for granted but now I'm realising everything I miss.


Additionally I've also became more aware of his not so great traits. It's in his personality to be incredibly flirtatious with almost everyone which can sometimes bring me to feel a bit jealous or less important in comparison to other girls. He nearly never texts or calls first because he almost never knows how to start a conversation over the phone which makes me feel like I'm too needy or clingy when I do text him. He takes so long to respond to messages which makes me feel like he isn't interested in talking. He's forgetful and incredibly easily distracted so I don't feel like a priority when I'm not with him. He also finds it difficult to discuss his own issues or show his negative emotions so I don't always feel that he really trusts me or feel comfortable with me as much as he says he does.


Even with all his flaws I can't get over him. I love everything about him and who he is even if it doesn't always make me happy and I wouldn't change him if I could. I want to be with him knowing everything we would have to work through and compromises that I would have to make for it to work. The other night I admitted that I still have feelings for him and he said he wasn't over me either but he doesn't think a relationship is in the cards right now and he didn't mention anything about the future either. He told me that if I can't have him in my life he understands and is supportive of whatever I need to do for myself. I know that it might be best for us to give this up if it won't go anywhere but I can't bring myself to remove him from my life.


Some of the reasons he can't get in a relationship right now are that he is as I said very flirtatious and doesn't think he can change how he acts so he would rather not hurt me. He also isn't good with communicating and doesn't want to disappoint me. He has also been seeing this girl non exclusively for a while and has been honest with me about how that is going. He hasn't mentioned strong feelings towards her but he likes spending time with her. I would be okay with a type of open relationship if that would be best for him but I think he mainly doesn't want a relationship because he doesn't want to hurt or disappoint me because he knows he can't change. I know he cares about me and he's shown it but I don't think he really understands that I know what he is like and I want him exactly how he is and I'm accepting of a relationship that isn't perfect.


I know that I won't be able to move on to somebody else if I continue seeing him but I don't want to give up on this. I love this guy and as selfish or dumb as it is, I don't want to lose him.


TL;DR: I still love my ex and want a relationship with him despite issues that we would have to work through. I can't bring myself to give him up but what I really want is a relationship with him rather than something with no labels. He doesn't want a relationship because he doesn't want to hurt me and can't change but I don't know how to let him know that I'm accepting of the way he is despite how I acted before. I don't know how to deal with this or what I should do.

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Have you sought therapy for your depression?


"He doesn't want a relationship because he doesn't want to hurt me and can't change " He does not want a relationship, and this you cannot change.


You cannot move on until you cut contact.

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Something worth pointing out - while you were with him, your life spiraled downwards and you didn't feel good about yourself. The moment you broke up, your life spiraled upwards and you started to feel happy again.


Do you really want to start feeling low again?


Good point....


OP, you are in no place to be with anyone new. Not only have you gotten out of a semi-long relationship, but it was also toxic.


Why not focus on you and continuing to get to a healthy place. Reread your second paragraph. This guy is NO GOOD for you.


What do your friends and family think of him?

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It seems like you were attached to him more than in love with him. Take care of your health first and worry about romance later. Don't replace cutting with random sex just to use yet another numbing device. Your self destruction is something you need to address and not anyone else's responsibility.

I have had problems with depression, cutting and an eating disorder along with being incredibly insecure and unable to talk to most people


We've both been talking to other people and have slept with others since.

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I'm open to the idea of open relationships and won't judge someone for that if it's a preference. In your case, I'd be very hesitant after how tumultuous the relationship has been in the past. From an outsider's perspective, this isn't a choice to engage in poly or open relationships but something you're resorting to because you don't want to lose someone whom you still have feelings for. This is a gray area for me and something I wouldn't be able to look past if I were in his shoes. Be realistic with yourself that you aren't happy with this situation the way it is.


Sometimes when we are stuck in a situation with the feeling that we have no way out, it's dark and it feels like all the windows and doors in the room are glued and cemented shut. It can feel like a grave or a place where we have nowhere else to go but to tunnel even further downwards into the earth. Don't do that to yourself.


Dare yourself to find better opportunities and meet others. It's unconscionable to me the way he continues to respond to you without telling you you need to move on with your life. If he had the balls, he'd have cut off contact with you much earlier to leave you to be free to find your happiness. I'm sorry this is happening. Take a time out and see whether this is worth pursuing at all.

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