What The Hell Am I Feeling? (Ex-Relationship Question)

OK, tired of my own boring self-analysis. Thought I’d turn to the experts.

Ex-boyfriend of seven long, mostly incredible years (breakup was about 14 months ago) married new lady friend yesterday. I didn’t expect to feel so wretched about it.

I did not want him back. I knew every door and window was closed, sealed and double-reinforced on the day he broke up with me over a year ago. I have no lingering desire for him, nor did I have any desire to marry him in the last couple years of our relationship, though at one point in about Year 5, I DID expect that to happen between us, and DID want it very much.

He is not a great partner, and this woman is actually quite brave to take him on. He wanted a woman self-sufficient enough to basically support him, and has wanted that for many, many years now. Guy is nearing 50 and still receives support from his 80-year-old father (or DID, during our relationship, when I could not be expected to pay for something or another). New lady friend is independently wealthy (inherited a tidy sum from her husband who passed away a year and a half ago). He effectively won the lottery with this woman, and is deliriously happy about it, and planning to quit his job soon and “go into business” with her.

Additionally, and to my greater distress, he has spent the months since our break-up assuming I have wanted nothing more than “to be friends” with him, and he has gone out of his way to “stay in touch” via phone, via email, in person where I work, or through our mutual friends. This is a small town and it has been hard to avoid him totally, too. I have done my best to stay away, but even the infrequent bombardment of his presence has made all of this emotionally difficult for me. Still, I felt I was over with any feelings, even nostalgia, for him, for the most part.

I am dating a wonderful man, whom I adore. I wouldn’t trade this new relationship for anything. We are not quite “permanent” yet, and I am not pushing for that, nor ready for it, either. We have spoken about the future, tentatively, and both agree that many things are possible between us.

So WHY am I so wretched? I am thinking it is self-pity. Apparently I could not even BUY myself a boyfriend/husband with the ex-guy. I am 48, and not getting younger or lovelier. I ended up with nothing after 7 years of dedication, loyalty, love, support. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride. Or some such crap.

Do you agree with my assessment of self-pity, or is there another reason for my feelings, which I resent even having over this undeserving ex-guy? If you’ve “been here” with me, how did you feel, and how did you resolve your feelings?

Help a sore loser out, huh? I want my sensible, reasoning self back again…


I don’t know that I’ve precisely been where you are – but the heart takes a while to heal. Seven years is a long time and you were very used to him. It’s not hard to understand that you’d be feeling what you are.

I’m reminded of the scene in When Harry Met Sally … when Sally finds out her old boyfriend was getting married. “It’s not that he didn’t want to get married,” she weeps, “he just didn’t want to marry me.” That’s hard to take, and I suspect that’s a lot of what’s driving your misery.

Just accept it, and let it pass. You have a terrific guy now. Focus on him and let Mr. Sponge roll off your back like water on a duck. You gave your all and he didn’t want it … thank God you got out of it, then, right? Best of luck to you.

Ditto Ellen Cherry’s advice. I went through the same thing with my ex, and he took up with a *teenager! * And her married her. I didn’t want him back, and my loss was her loss as well (some vindictive side of me should have rejoiced at that, but it didn’t work out that way), but it still bugged me somewhere.

You are the winner here. One day you’ll feel that as well. Good luck with your new man.

Just because you don’t want him back doesn’t mean you two didn’t have some good times over the past 7 years. You have a lot emotionally invested in him. You are having a perfectly reasonable response.

I broke up with a long time boyfriend and I did **not ** want him back (he was driving me crazy by the end of the relationship). But, a year and a half or so later when I found out he was getting married, I cried my eyes out. It wasn’t jealousy. It wasn’t that I wanted him back. Heck, like you, I couldn’t figure out what the heck I was so upset about. That lasted for a few days. Then it went away – kinda like the flu :wink:

Your mind knows you don’t want him, but your heart wants to keep what it spent so much of itself on. Give your heart a few days to sort itself out. You’re fine :smiley:

Your feelings are perfectly normal. They will pass. My wretch of an ex-husband caused such feelings in me, even though I didn’t want him back and wouldn’t wish him on my worst enemy. It came down to what Ellen Cherry said, sort of…being upset that the “bad guy” wins, and that you, a good and deserving person, is left basically alone, rejected. Doesn’t matter that you’ve got someone else, there is that momentary feeling that despite all the facts to the contrary, you have lost something you wanted. When he got married to the absolutley horrible woman who made his life and ours a living soap opera, I still felt like the loser in the situation because I hadn’t gotten anything but freedom, and he seemed to have the life I wanted.

And I had the same feelings when a 3-year platonic dating relationship ended and he abruptly married within 4 months. The fact that his new wife has now called me and told me she feels he’s lying to her about our former relationship and that she can’t trust a word he says about anything and that he has a terrible temper, yada yada yada… I still feel like the loser. (and I told her that…said, “Why are you concerned about me? You won, you got the guy!” She was very puzzled by what I meant! I haven’t spoken to him since before they married over a year and a half ago, and she still thinks I’m some sort of threat…makes me laugh, me who is sitting here thinking I’m the queen of the rejects).

So don’t worry about these feelings…they will pass. Avoid him as much as you can, tell him it’s not appropriate to keep calling you, and concentrate on this new guy. At our age, in a small town, you got lucky enough to find someone new. I’m in a large city and can’t even get a coffee date! Just remember that the fact that you HAVE feelings makes you a better person!

This sounds a little bit like stalking. Even if he isn’t stalking you, he is being an enormous asshole.

You’re better off without him. Anyone who wants to be “kept” is bad news. I hope this guy doesn’t drain his new wife dry.

I’m very sorry this happened to you. You deserve better than this fool. Good luck to you! :slight_smile:

Awww, Rebecca, that sucks. I’m sorry.

Echoing what the others have said. Right or wrong, you had a connection, and that connection doesn’t go away just because the partner does, even if he was a total creep. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with you; you’d be abnormal if you didn’t still feel that connection.

This is the story I sometimes link to when I get into a conversation about love lost and bidding good riddance to bad partners.

Remember that it’s not you!! It doesn’t have anything to do with you. This guy could be dating a woman who looked like Charlize Theron and spoke like Golda Meier, and he would act the exact same way. Your sanity won’t return, because your sanity never left you in the first place. Sooner or later you’ll discover this fact, and you’ll feel better.

I don’t think you’re feeling too sorry for yourself. This would be devastating for anyone. Just realize that the connection won’t absolutely fade away anytime soon, and get back to living as soon as you’re able. Good luck, and let us know how it goes.

My divorce is final as of almost 1 year ago and separated for almost 4 years. My ex left me for a much older, fleshy, balding, hairy construction attorney of no consequence and dull character. Not to be too arrogant but people who see him are consistantly surprised and take double looks of disbelief when they compare me to him.

She’s come to regret her decision of late but her bed is made and now she’s got to lie in it - with him (LOL!). Punishment enough, I suspect.

Though I’m in a new and wonderful relationship with a beautiful and smart woman, I sometimes catch myself wondering what the hell my ex was thinking in destroying a 10 year marriage over that completely mediocre dullard. What bothers me more than anything, even though I have no desire to have her back (not like ever!) is that it still bothers me from time to time. Such is life, I suppose. Real closure with answers is often a rare luxury.

It’s Relationship Survivor’s Guilt. You know how people who survive a terrible tragedy end up feeling bad because they walked away and so many other people didn’t? You walked away from this gigantic loser. The poor woman he’s getting hitched to didn’t.

The more one invests in love, the more pain one feels by love denied.

But, love guarded will never thrive.

You were not loved as you wanted to be loved. Each reminder brings that wound to you again. Don’t seek the end of the love, but let the pain pass. Love again, knowing that pain might well be a part of it, but joy is part of it too.

Living is sweet, and bitter. By these things, you know you are alive.


I guess I wouldn’t say he was “stalking” me, as he has made every attempt whenever he sees me to talk endlessly about the new woman, to the point of smugness. When it ended, I behaved with dignity, I felt, in never letting him see me “down” about it…I was so proud of that reaction, I thought it was so adult of me, but I sometimes feel as if I should have put up more of a fuss in front of him, because he certainly came away in a very short time with the feeling that I was “totally ok” with what happened between us emotionally, and that I might be comfortable enough to become his friend again, apparently the sooner the better. My poor but wonderful & amazing friends got the brunt of my hurt and pain, and HE should have gotten more of it, I think in retrospect.

Yes, I am consoled by the fact that she just signed 50% of her assets over to this guy, who WILL be a steady drain on her pocketbook. Although his father is probably considerably relieved. Also, a friend of ours, when he met ex-guy’s intended, said afterwards to all within hearing, “Why, she looks EXACTLY like Beck!” You don’t suppose this was ALL about the money, do you?


I went through something similar. I dated someone for almost 6 years on and off (mostly on) and we were honestly miserable alot of the time. He was a heavy drinker/drug user that didn’t understand the term “moderation” and liked to yell in order to get his point across.

I almost never drink, I didn’t even try marijuana until I was almost 20, and I cannot STAND to be yelled at. Bad scene.

This man could not hold a job to save his life. We both lived with our parents when we met as teenagers and I watched him quit school, quit jobs after a couple of days or a week, end up HOMELESS for a few months, and go insane a couple of times.

So to see him working a steady job, holding up his end of a household and generally being a decent long-term partner with his new girlfriend really killed me for quite some time.

It wasn’t that I wanted him back, I just felt like he took most of his awfulness out on me and now she’s reaping the reward for all of my hard work and emotional damage.

Nevertheless, it’s a crappy feeling and I hope it passes swiftly.

Fourteen months is enough time to heal, but not enough time to “get over it.”

My ex-boyfriend broke up with me three years ago. We kind of hated each other for a long time, but we were honestly in love at one point. Even though I dislike him now (he’s turned into a douchebag, for lack of a better word) every time I hear about his new woman there’s a weird feeling in the pit of my stomach, despite the fact that I’ve been dating a wonderful man for almost two years. Love’ll do that to you.

It’s normal. Just thank your lucky stars you didn’t marry him, right?


This is sad and true. I’m just a bit tired of feeling anything at all about this very undeserving ex-guy, and wish the holes left in my heart and soul would scab over for good. Even if they are just pinpricks in size right now, they sure can suck the life out of a person from time to time.

Thanks for all the marvelous insight and especially for everyone acknowledging that a person can still feel this slightly empty, even if she got the better end of the deal in the breakup, and even if she has a much better, much more emotionally mature thing going on now in her life.

Oh, and I HAVE been married before, tho it was for only 2 years and tho I can now scarcely recall it at all, as it was nearly 17 years ago. So I have to stop thinking that “bridesmaid, never bride” thing. I don’t technically qualify. That self-indulgent thought stops here!


You need a Mrs Danvers–to push him off a balcony or something.
No, seriously, we all have dreams and goals that we hope to achieve–I realize that you didn’t want it with this particular man, but IMO, his getting married just drives that point home to you.

Good luck–trust in tearjerker movies and chocolate and hot monkey sex with your current man (who sounds much better than Mr Bridegroom).

I have thought, bitterly, from time to time that my role in life is to “prepare” miserable guys for their next solid and long-lasting relationship, so I can understand this feeling of yours very well. Ex-guy in my case could hold a job, just didn’t feel like working very hard at it, and fortunately had the luxury of not having to work so hard (it is commission-based and COULD be substantially lucrative, but he simply won’t put forth the effort). He had the luxury of both parents and a long-term girlfriend who would “take care” of his every need. You WANT someone like that to get his share of instant karma, and instead he wins what is effectively, as I said before, the lottery. In a generous moment, you can hope that he learned one or two good life lessons from you while you were “raising” him, but most of the time, you just have to realize maybe everyone is better off with the results as they happened. YOU are better off, and I am, too.


It certainly is normal to feel blue on the day your ex-lover marries someone else. If that isn’t an excuse for a Haagen-Daas lost weekend, I don’t know what is.

It sounds like your ex found the perfect partner. Good for him. He doesn’t want to work. Guess what? I know LOTS of women who don’t want to work and so they found a husband to support them. It works for them. So who are we to judge?

I really do believe that the best thing you can do for yourself is to try to find it in your heart to wish them well. You loved him for a long time, times that you describe as mostly wonderful. So honor him, and the 7 years you spent together, by taking the high road.

P.S. I do hope that one day he’ll have to drown his sorrows over a few pints because you’ve found someone new. And then, after the initial grief, I hope he loves you enough to be glad for you.