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How to stop obsessing about the past


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So I was with my girlfriend for about 2 years starting early 2016, although I loved her deeply she had issues like bipolar and depression which caused us to fight a lot and ultimately breakup which was very hard for me but I had to deal with since it was more her decision while I was willing to work on things. I've never felt this terrible after a breakup and even started seeing a therapist just to help me get through it because I sincerely felt like this girl was the one for me.

After a few months she started seeing someone, which also tore me up inside, and they pretty much dated for 2 years as well. I was heartbroken and casually dated but was only sexual with 1 other girl during this time. It was very hard for me to find someone I had a similar connection with like I did with her.

I should also state we both worked for the same company but different locations during this entire time so we would hear of each other often until one day she was temporarily placed in my location for a day where we hit it off again and started having sex regularly at the beginning of summer. I must say I had thought I'd gotten over her but I feel like I never stopped loving her and this entire time has been completely blissful for both of us. We then decided to try again and make it official and it's been nothing short of living a dream. It's like we've both matured and all the things we used to fight about are meaningless. I realize that I love this girl more than I could ever imagine and truly want to be with her for the rest of my life and she has stated she feels the same and she's so happy with how we reconnected and often apologizes about fights from the past.

The only thing which I know is immensely immature on my part is we were casually talking the other day and I discovered that while she was dating the 2yr relationship guy after me, they broke up somewhere inbetween and she hooked up with another guy. She says it was a huge mistake that she regretted and felt terrible about and ended up back with her then bf. I honestly cannot explain exactly why but this info rocked me to the core. I understand that she didn't do anything wrong but it just makes me feel crazy and obsessive when I think about it. It's like I've gotten over the guy she was with for 2 years after me but obsessed with this 1 instance with someone else instead. One would think I'd be more upset about the long term thing but I think it's because I've known about him since the beginning and I just found out about this other one that's really stinging.

Also the most immature and stupid thought I have is a feeling of being uneven seeing as she has been with 2 people where I was only with 1 and I know how dumb that sounds but I can't help it. I wonder if I had been with another person as well would I feel better, I could never do it now as I couldn't cheat on her let alone anyone, I just couldn't do that. Also I had ample time and opportunity to do that during the breakup and it's on me that I didn't, and she was free to do what she wanted as well and I'm aware that she has done nothing wrong. It's only been a week since I've found this out and I still love her to pieces and we get along great but these thoughts have been plaguing my mind all week.

I'm 34 and she is 33 and I've dated and been around long enough to know I have never had this type of connection or bond with anyone, this girl is literally everything I could ever want and more so I don't wanna break up with her, that seems almost out of the question. When we first discussed this she assured me it was nothing and was sympathetic to my reaction but I brought it up a couple times since and she gets upset and defensive which is not what I want either so I've just been kind of dealing with it in my head. I just have this uneven feeling that I wish I could get rid of. I know this is stupid for some as we're broken up for such a long period but is there anyone who went through something similar who can offer advice? I didn't want to type this up but whenever I search for similar stuff on the net it's always like, "My gf/bf slept with someone while we broke up", and it's usually with a month or 2 so I feel my scenario is drastically different from those.

I should also state that this info hasn't affected my trust for her in anyway, if anything it made it grow seeing as she's so honest with me. To restate, the new relationship thus far has been absolutely perfect. I just have to find a way to get these thoughts out of my brain, I was thinking with time I'll get over it or accept it or I was actually thinking of looking into hypnosis. Any advice would be greatly appreciated and please don't flame me for the immaturity in the post, I'm aware of how dumb some of it sounds

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5 minutes ago, Concernedcitizen4311 said:

she had issues like bipolar and depression

OP, this, and this alone, is what lies at the heart of the matter.  That instability is there and always will.  There is no steady basis. You are not the first poster to come on here with precisely this kind of dilemma.   

You don't need treatment, or hypnosis or anything else.  But this woman will need treatment all her life, and the road will be very rocky indeed.

Please think long and hard. 

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35 minutes ago, Concernedcitizen4311 said:

she hooked up with another guy.

Does the casual sex aspect of this disturb you?

Does it change your view of her (promiscuity, whatever) or possible impulsive decisions being indicative of recurrent manic episodes?

Since sex in the context in a relationship doesn't bother you?

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34 minutes ago, LaHermes said:

OP, this, and this alone, is what lies at the heart of the matter.  That instability is there and always will.  There is no steady basis. You are not the first poster to come on here with precisely this kind of dilemma.   

You don't need treatment, or hypnosis or anything else.  But this woman will need treatment all her life, and the road will be very rocky indeed.

Please think long and hard. 

I get that but she seems to really have gotten that under control and even if she hasn't, just her working on it and not treating me badly due to it is enough for me

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8 minutes ago, Wiseman2 said:

Does the casual sex aspect of this disturb you?

Does it change your view of her (promiscuity, whatever) or possible impulsive decisions being indicative of recurrent manic episodes?

Since sex in the context in a relationship doesn't bother you?

It's really not that, I think it's just that he's new to me or something. Like I said as stupid and immature as it sounds it just makes me feel uneven and I wonder if I'd have been with 1 more girl would that make me feel better, even though I couldn't do it now. I'm driving myself crazy

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How do you get past this?  You stop all contact with her, directly or indirectly.  I get you work for the same company but you either get a new job or stop seeking out information about her as well.

If your desire is to truly move forward then you stop actively doing the very things that keep you stuck.  Your title begs the question to how to stop being stuck in the past.  But you actively continue to breath life into this on a daily basis to keep it present.

It's like being an alcoholic who thinks just a little bit here and there doesn't count.

Edited by reinventmyself
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2 hours ago, Concernedcitizen4311 said:

just her working on it and not treating me badly due to it is enough for me

I would beg you OP, to stop deceiving yourself. 

 

2 hours ago, Concernedcitizen4311 said:

Any advice would be greatly appreciated

 Well, you are getting advice, as you requested.  Not what you want to hear though.

Can I get it into your head OP that you are dealing with a mentally ill person, with all that implies.  She needs a psychiatrist, professional help.  She cannot think in the same way as stable people think. 

Please re-read this, OP.  There is more of this due down the line. 

2 hours ago, Concernedcitizen4311 said:

I honestly cannot explain exactly why but this info rocked me to the core. I understand that she didn't do anything wrong but it just makes me feel crazy and obsessive when I think about it. It's like I've gotten over the guy she was with for 2 years after me but obsessed with this 1 instance with someone else instead. One would think I'd be more upset about the long term thing but I think it's because I've known about him since the beginning and I just found out about this other one that's really stinging.

 

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1 hour ago, reinventmyself said:

How do you get past this?  You stop all contact with her, directly or indirectly.  I get you work for the same company but you either get a new job or stop seeking out information about her as well.

If your desire is to truly move forward then you stop actively doing the very things that keep you stuck.  Your title begs the question to how to stop being stuck in the past.  But you actively continue to breath life into this on a daily basis to keep it present.

It's like being an alcoholic who thinks just a little bit here and there doesn't count.

Appreciate the response but I don't wanna cease contact with her I don't feel like she did anything wrong, just something that's lingering on my mind and it's still fresh as I just found out a week ago. I'm not trying to breath life into it, it's just all I've been thinking about.

As far as the bipolar she sees a doctor for it and as of late she seems to be a much better person than the one I knew from 2 years ago. 

I really love her like so much and I have for about 5 years now so I don't want to just give it all up 

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13 hours ago, Concernedcitizen4311 said:

but I don't wanna cease contact with her

Then there is nothing more to be said. 

 

13 hours ago, Concernedcitizen4311 said:

I don't want to just give it all up

 

13 hours ago, Concernedcitizen4311 said:

she seems to be a much better person than the one I knew from 2 years ago. 

Treatment for mental illness is not about making someone a "better person", but rather it is about making them fit to live day by day, with constant ongoing therapy and medication.

However, no one here can make you see what you do not wish to see. 

 

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16 hours ago, Concernedcitizen4311 said:

I'm driving myself crazy

It sounds like this is all coming from a place of feeling very insecure in this relationship. 

She's now more experienced than you, and you know that she's sexually attracted (and attractive) to other men. My sense is that you don't feel good enough for her, and that likely in part stems from a very unstable history with her. 

Do you tend to fixate on other things in your life? 

Edited by MissCanuck
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1 hour ago, MissCanuck said:

It sounds like this is all coming from a place of feeling very insecure in this relationship. 

She's now more experienced than you, and you know that she's sexually attracted (and attractive) to other men. My sense is that you don't feel good enough for her, and that likely in part stems from a very unstable history with her. 

Do you tend to fixate on other things in your life? 

I wouldn't say insecure in this particular relationship, I would feel this way with anyone in this scenario. Also she's been with more people to begin with than me because before I dated her I was with another girl for 10 years so I haven't had as many partners as she's had to begin with and that doesn't bother me much.

I think it's a feeling of since we were together and broke up the people she was with almost feel like cheating even though I know that's not the case. I trust her completely now and don't feel insecure in the relationship she seems to have matured a lot since we originally dated. I just want to be able to accept this and move on in the relationship because I absolutely adore this girl and things were going perfectly until she told me this.

And yes I do tend to fixate on things in life, I become obsessed very easily and usually have one thing constantly on my mind until something else happens and takes the place of it. When I talk to people about this scenario with my girl they tell me the whole uneven thing is childish and I agree and am able to see that it is, I'm just having a hard time getting past it

 

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2 hours ago, LaHermes said:

Then there is nothing more to be said. 

 

 

Treatment for mental illness is not about making someone a "better person", but rather it is about making them fit to live day by day, with constant ongoing therapy and medication.

However, no one here can make you see what you do not wish to see. 

 

I see what you're saying but I feel like you're focused on the fact that she's bipolar but she does do ongoing treatment and takes meds for it. It was a problem in our original relationship but has not reared it's head in this new one which has been going on for about 2 months now. I'm on guard for it in case it does but like I said everything has been blissful.

She no longer starts arguments out of nowhere, she's more understanding and thoughtful, down to Earth. I used to say she had no emotions and behaved in a robotic manner at times but all that has changed for the better. I love her so much I'm just gonna have to get over this because I can't lose her she's everything I want

Edited by Concernedcitizen4311
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4 minutes ago, Concernedcitizen4311 said:

because I can't lose her she's everything I want

Then this is YOUR  choice OP.  Nothing further to be said. 

And no, I am NOT, as you put it, focused on her illness.   The mental illness is there, a fact of her life.

 

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3 minutes ago, LaHermes said:

Then this is YOUR  choice OP.  Nothing further to be said. 

And no, I am NOT, as you put it, focused on her illness.   The mental illness is there, a fact of her life.

 

Taking all other facts away, if you broke up with someone for 2 years, they were with 2 other people during this time while you were only with 1, would you take them back if you were still in love with them? Or would the difference in numbers be a dealbreaker for you? And I know that sounds childish but that is the question I'm dealing with

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I predict good things for the two of you, @Concernedcitizen4311 - a little touch of crazy has never hurt anyone 😅. You both seem to have grown into mature relationship partners in the course of your relationship, able to deal with anything coming your way with kindness, thoughtfulness, patience, understanding, mutual respect and love - the cornerstones of a long-term, healthy, connected partnership.

All the best to you both - I feel LoveAngel is looking after you both 🙂

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26 minutes ago, Concernedcitizen4311 said:

if you broke up with someone for 2 years, they were with 2 other people during this time while you were only with 1, would you take them back if you were still in love with them? Or would the difference in numbers be a dealbreaker for you? And I know that sounds childish but that is the question I'm dealing with

And I keep telling you that is not the question here, OP. I have to be honest with you. Giving honest opinions is in general a hallmark of this ENA forum. The truth is often unpalatable. 

My dealbreaker would be entering into a marriage or LTR with some suffering from a mental illness. (I am married btw).  I do not have the capacity, the ability or indeed the training to take on someone who has those difficulties, and it would definitely not be fair to them either. 

That aside, if I broke up with someone, and two years elapsed, I think I can safely say I'd have moved on and met someone else.  But then anyone I was involved with did not work with me and that kind of proximity never existed.   You kept "hearing from each other" all that time, so in essence you didn't give yourself a chance to move on.

As you say:

19 hours ago, Concernedcitizen4311 said:

where we hit it off again and started having sex regularly at the beginning of summer.

It is entirely up to you, OP.  Entirely. 

A book, should you wish to read it:

"Married To Mania: Jumping the Shark Without a Seat Belt"

By Elizabeth Atlas. 

Edited by LaHermes
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39 minutes ago, Concernedcitizen4311 said:

I wouldn't say insecure in this particular relationship, I would feel this way with anyone in this scenario.

So insecure in general, then. That is where you need to concentrate - why do you not feel secure with yourself and your own sexual experience? 

16 minutes ago, Concernedcitizen4311 said:

Or would the difference in numbers be a dealbreaker for you? And I know that sounds childish but that is the question I'm dealing with

I wouldn't have even asked about how many people they'd been with, because it's none of my business. But I generally have never cared how many people a partner has been with, and never compared their prior sexual experience to my own. I've never asked for numbers, nor have I revealed mine. It's a non-issue for me.

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8 minutes ago, MissCanuck said:

So insecure in general, then. That is where you need to concentrate - why do you not feel secure with yourself and your own sexual experience? 

I wouldn't have even asked about how many people they'd been with, because it's none of my business. But I generally have never cared how many people a partner has been with, and never compared their prior sexual experience to my own. I've never asked for numbers, nor have I revealed mine. It's a non-issue for me.

I feel secure about my own sexual experience, I think it's just a feeling of since her and I originally starting dating she now has 1up on me and I feel uneven. I can look at that statement and see how it reeks of stupidity and immaturity but yet it still bothers me. And I usually wouldn't ask for numbers, I wish I didn't ask her this but we were just casually talking about her long term relationship after ours and I felt the urge to ask if she'd been with anyone besides him since we split and that's when she told me. I immediately regretted asking. 

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18 minutes ago, LaHermes said:

And I keep telling you that is not the question here, OP. I have to be honest with you. Giving honest opinions is in general a hallmark of this ENA forum. The truth is often unpalatable. 

My dealbreaker would be entering into a marriage or LTR with some suffering from a mental illness. (I am married btw).  I do not have the capacity, the ability or indeed the training to take on someone who has those difficulties, and it would definitely not be fair to them either. 

That aside, if I broke up with someone, and two years elapsed, I think I can safely say I'd have moved on and met someone else.  But then anyone I was involved with did not work with me and that kind of proximity never existed.   You kept "hearing from each other" all that time, so in essence you didn't give yourself a chance to move on.

As you say:

It is entirely up to you, OP.  Entirely. 

A book, should you wish to read it:

"Married To Mania: Jumping the Shark Without a Seat Belt"

By Elizabeth Atlas. 

I'll check it out and I appreciate the responses. I'm gonna continue to work at it as I don't find connections like I have with her with anyone else in life. I just have to stop obsessing over numbers. To be honest I have tremendous OCD and should probably be seeing someone for that myself

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12 minutes ago, Concernedcitizen4311 said:

I have tremendous OCD and should probably be seeing someone for that myself

I would definitely, and kindly, recommend that you consult with a health professional for that issue.  And please, when you are talking with the health professional, do make clear that you are in a relationship with a bi-polar person.  You are going to need all the help you can get. 

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5 minutes ago, Concernedcitizen4311 said:

So you're saying that wouldn't bother you at all?

That's what I'm saying, yes. 

I've been in that position once, and I didn't really care who my ex had been with in the time we were not together. I assumed there had been others, and that was fine. It was unrelated to our relationship so I wasn't bothered. 

Edited by MissCanuck
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6 minutes ago, MissCanuck said:

I really don't know what to recommend here, since I can't relate to that mindset. 

Same here, Ms.C. I can neither relate to or even understand that mindset. Why on earth would it "bother" me. You break up with someone, and you each go on your merry way, and no doubt find someone else. Thing is, OP, and from what you say, you remained obsessed with her, and she was in the same company, and in your mind you never "broke up".  

Again this is beside the point, as there is a very different and large elephant in the room. 

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