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Can't get over an ancient mistake.

(103 Posts)
likestodraw Sat 13-Jun-20 15:13:28

I'm going to be told to just get over it, but I'd really like some practical ideas about how. This is ruining my life.

When I was 18 I met someone who I quickly became very close to. We spent all our time together. We went travelling together. We occasionally slept together and regularly told each other we were in love.
I then got a boyfriend but we stayed close, we still sometimes slept together. He had a couple of girlfriends. The other relationships never changed how close we were. We both assumed that we would end up together, but we were really young still and not ready for 'forever' yet. We were trying to have our cake and eat it. We were shits to the other people involved and I'm sorry for that now, but everyone was young and nothing was serious.

A few years went by, we were in our early-mid 20s, he got a girlfriend, initially nothing changed between us, but she loathed me and their relationship became serious. I got a serious boyfriend a year or so later.

They got married. We got married. We had kids, they had kids.

20 years has gone by since we met now. I have a lovely husband who is a wonderful father and a great friend, but we're like flat mates. I have never got over that first love. I keep it under control, just, and sometimes the sadness fades to almost nothing. But then every so often it engulfs me like a wave and I am completely overwhelmed.

I always thought there'd be a point when we were together, always thought there'd be another chance, but then life just took over. I moved in with my now husband for practicality's sake, got pregnant unexpectedly, then got married. He asked his wife to marry him shortly after I told him I was pregnant.

I just can't bear the thought of this going on forever. We're still regularly in touch, my husband is friends with him, his wife accepts I exist.

It's so crappy and I just want to remove the part of my brain that remembers him. I just can't seem to move past the mistake I made in thinking there'd always be another chance.

OP’s posts: |
BluebellForest836 Sat 13-Jun-20 15:16:39

How old are you now ?

There still might be another chance one day.

Does he feel the same?

likestodraw Sat 13-Jun-20 15:19:26

I'm almost 39.

We haven't spoken openly about it all since the relationships we're in became serious. It's alluded to occasionally.

He adores his daughter (of course) and would never do anything to jeopardise their family. I'm the same. My children adore their dad and we have a lovely family unit, I could never break that up just for me.

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ProfMcGonigle Sat 13-Jun-20 15:22:19

I'm going to say what you already know and I say it with kindness.

I'm sorry, this will never work.

Neither of you can leave your happy families for a fantasy that couldn't work out when you were both free agents. Why on earth would it work now?

Lucywilde Sat 13-Jun-20 15:22:38

Are you sure the relationship would actually work? I wonder if there’s a reason you’ve never tried. And maybe your romanticising this.

GilbertMarkham Sat 13-Jun-20 15:22:57

I think you're idealising it.

likestodraw Sat 13-Jun-20 15:23:21

I completely agree. I just despair of ever getting over it.

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likestodraw Sat 13-Jun-20 15:25:04

I've broken off contact completely for a year but then caved.
I've spent a lot of time focusing on all his negative points.
I've tried meditation ffs!

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likestodraw Sat 13-Jun-20 15:27:57

Sometimes I really think I'm there, I've cut out the sad part of me. But then it just engulfs me again. Something tiny will happen and I feel like the bottoms dropped out of my stomach.

I know we will never be together, I just want to get over it and I don't know how. It's been about 14 years since I last kissed him fgs, time is not working.

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Truthpact Sat 13-Jun-20 15:29:32

If it was meant to happen, it would have. You're mourning the loss of something that never was because you're bored of your current relationship. Work on your relationship and stop contacting the other man at all. It will never happen.

likestodraw Sat 13-Jun-20 15:29:30

When it engulfs me all the work I've done to be ok is gone and I have to start again, it takes so long and so much effort and I'm exhausted by it. I can't carry on with this cycle forever.

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ProfMcGonigle Sat 13-Jun-20 15:31:33

Have you considered counselling?

I think most of us harbour fantasies about others from time to time while we are happily married but usually we haven't experienced relationships with the focus of these fantasies so there is a 'barrier' there.

Your 'barrier' has already been broken by your past relationship, you can remember your connection, great sex, etc. It wouldn't seem as big a deal to revisit this as it would to initiate a brand new affair.

You're looking at this through rose-tinted glasses I bet.

Try to re-find the magic in your own relationship, focus on your relationship with DH and try to put him behind you.

likestodraw Sat 13-Jun-20 15:31:40

I need to completely cut him out of my life but our lives are very entangled. Many many mutual close friends. Ffs. I annoy myself.

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Opentooffers Sat 13-Jun-20 15:32:59

Seems a bit odd that you spent all this time together, loved each other, slept together, but then never became BF/GF. There's a lot of pussyfooting around, years of it. I suspect although you look at it as 'we'll be together one day' he sees it as 'if it was meant to be it would of happened by now'. I'm with him on this, it really would of happened by now. You can waste your time wishing things were different, focus on fixing your current relationship or get out of it, but not because of him, as it sounds like you would of dated him but he's happy to just keep you dangling in the background.

likestodraw Sat 13-Jun-20 15:33:25

Would a counsellor take something like this seriously??
When I write it out I just find it all so ridiculous, but the emotions are so real and overwhelming. I feel an idiot.

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likestodraw Sat 13-Jun-20 15:35:04

I was the one that didn't want to have a serious relationship tbh. He would've done. That's the mistake I made that makes me sad.

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likestodraw Sat 13-Jun-20 15:38:19

When he'd been with his now wife a few months I had my last chance and I blew it. I was so sure I didn't want to be tied down, and that we'd have another chance further down the line. I was young and headstrong and a prat.

The other chance never happened and I promptly got myself tied down with someone else anyway.

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Besom Sat 13-Jun-20 15:43:54

I think counselling might be useful OP. You said it is 'ruining your life' so is serious for you. It sounds a bit like a form of grief for the past and for what you think you might have lost. Also tied to issues with your current relationship. It might be good to talk to someone about it all if you can afford that.

Likingthecamber2951 Sat 13-Jun-20 15:47:08


I think if he was your "one and only" you would have grabbed on with both hands , you didn't for a reason. A good reason. You are years down the line , in the middle of married life and family drudgery and you're fantasising about a person who doesn't exist ( and I completely get it)

I think you miss who you were when you were with him , I think you need to reconnect with who you were, and who you thought you might be.

I absolutely think you should go to counselling as a way to help you through this . This is all those thoughts and feelings that we always think happen to someone else , middle age crisis or something similar (I'm not saying you are middle age btw). Unfortunately it really does hit most if us one way or another .

likestodraw Sat 13-Jun-20 15:47:27

Affording it is definitely an issue.

I can't bring myself to talk about it with even my dearest friends because it's so ridiculous. I just cannot go on like this though.

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GinGinHooray Sat 13-Jun-20 15:53:34

I think your problem here is that you haven't actually ever had closure. If you'd had a serious relationship and then a big break up you would probably never ever look back.

You need to trust that if you and old lover were meant to be together you would've been, you had plenty of chances...maybe it wasn't as great as you remember after all?

Perhaps your dissatisfaction in your marriage is the real problem.

likestodraw Sat 13-Jun-20 15:53:39

@Likingthecamber2951 yes. You are right that it's all tied up with wanting to be that young headstrong girl who wasn't going to be tied down again.
Now I'm knocking on 40 with three kids and don't recognise myself at all anymore.

When I talk/email him we talk about art and politics and big ideas, just like we used to and it makes me feel a bit like that girl I used to be again.

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likestodraw Sat 13-Jun-20 15:55:09

@GinGinHooray yep. I've often wished we'd been together and split up. It's all promise and no real life drudge.

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Likingthecamber2951 Sat 13-Jun-20 15:56:51

It's really not ridiculous and you aren't alone in feeling like maybe you're living in the wrong life because you took a wrong turn... And the massive problem is that the life you think you should be living looks so shiny and perfect and pretty in your mind. You need to realise that even a life with this man would have brought its own difficulties and disappointments and would have been far from perfect. I'm not saying that's easy but you need to accept things as they are and not as you think they should be.

likestodraw Sat 13-Jun-20 15:57:10

I'm sure if we'd somehow settled down together we wouldn't be discussing 'big ideas' anymore. I'd be pissed off with him not taking the bins out or something.

My logical brain understands all this but my emotions just refuse to get the message.

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