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LeavesNoTrace's avatar

I'm in a relationship but still in love with my ex. He's expressed feelings for me as well. Help?

Asked by LeavesNoTrace (5663points) December 23rd, 2013

I’ve been in a relationship with a good guy for two years and it’s serious. We even live together and have discussed taking the next steps sometime in the future. We’ve had our ups and downs and frankly there are some things he’s done that have upset me but he shows me genuine love and a desire to grown and develop as a person and within our relationship.

Here’s the problem: I still have feelings for an ex I split from four years ago. At the time, I was 20, he was 25 and it wasn’t going to work out because of where we were in our lives and distance (he was in the Airforce.) Let’s just say the feelings never really went away for either of us but we both tried to move on, see other people etc.

He’s confessed to a friend of mine that he’s still harboring romantic feelings for me and that I was the only woman who’s ever made him happy. I feel the same way for him. I care so much about him, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever felt. He understands me, makes me feel safe, doesn’t judge me or nitpick, lets me have my freedom. We just “get” each other and I’ve never enjoyed anybody’s company so much in my life.

Last week, I spoke to him on the phone for nearly three hours after several months of non-contact (without my partner’s knowledge, he would be so upset.) and it felt so right and so comfortable that it’s been on my mind since.

I want to see him again. What do I do? Do I throw away a two year relationship I’ve worked hard on, after we’ve been through so much together? I don’t even know if I should be in a serious relationship right now at all, but I really enjoy this person’s company and would like to have him in my life again in some capacity. But by doing so, I’d have to leave my current partner.

More torn than ever…

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18 Answers

chyna's avatar

I think you are right when you say you don’t know if you should even be in a serious relationship right now. You can’t give 100% of yourself to the guy you are with, so it might be best to end it now and get on your own for awhile. You could get back with your ex-boyfriend and see if those feelings are real or if you are just romanticizing what could have been.
It’s not really fair to the guy you are with to be with him and dreaming of someone else.
Good luck and let us know what you decide to do.

BosM's avatar

I agree with @chyna. If you are this unsure then you have unfinished business when it comes to determining a mate. Be honest with yourself about the initial break up and be sure it was just a timing thing and there weren’t deep seeded thoughts of it not working out. I’ve heard stories about people going back a second time and being disappointed. So, you need to balance feelings of the heart with honest, rational thought.

Who do you see yourself growing old with? Who truly accepts and loves you for who you are? Who do you share goals and belief systems with? Who makes you laugh, feel safe, enjoys doing the same things you do? That’s someone you’ll want to devote yourself and your attemtion to.

Katniss's avatar

Yikes! I don’t envy you. I was in a similar situation once and I remember what a hell it was.
What is your gut telling you? My advice is to go with it.

Great advice from @chyna and @BosM.

Keep us posted. Good luck!!

elbanditoroso's avatar

Get your shit together. You have to decide. You cannot have both, and it’s not fair – even remotely – to the guy you are living with now, for you to be screwing around behind his back. Tell him about your mixed feelings, but be prepared for him to take a walk.

The way I see it, there’s probably a reason why you and the ex broke up. What has changed to provide confidence that you won’t crash and burn a second time?

We don’t know you or either guy. So we cannot be sure about this. But from your description, the current BF is getting shafted by you, for no good reason other than your ego.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

@elbanditoroso Who said anything about screwing around? I have no intention of being unfaithful.

I gave the gist of the situation but this isn’t about my “ego”. There have been problems in the current relationship.

zenvelo's avatar

By your last response, and what you said before, it is time for you to get out of your present relationship, even if the one with the old BF doesn’t work out. It’s not fair for him at all for you to continue as is, with your doubts and wonder.

And lets say you stay with him and completely break it off with the old boyfriend. That is unprocessed unknown stuff, and even if it works out 99% perfect with him, five years from now the 1% will pop up and you will wonder about the old boyfriend and have a resentment you are with him.

Break it off now. Merry Christmas.

marinelife's avatar

Is it fair to your current partner that you have romantic feelings for someone else? End it, and then explore this past relationship.

Kardamom's avatar

I have to agree with @zenvelo.

You’ve got un-finished business with the first guy, even if you don’t ultimately end up with him.

Also, you are currently walking the tightrope of emotional cheating with the old BF, even if you haven’t even seen him in person. Imagine how your current guy would feel if he knew you’d been having intimate 3 hour long conversations with the old BF. He’d either be devastated or extremely angry.

You have several choices. You can either decide right here and now that you’re going to give up any thoughts of being with the old BF, and then have a heart to heart talk with your current boyfriend (you don’t need to tell him that you’ve been thinking about the other guy, or talking to him) just let him know that you have doubts about your relationship with him. Then make a decision to either break up with him (or maybe he’ll just break up with you) or you can both decide to get into some couples counseling to help you to solve the problems that you have with him. But the only way your relationship with the current guy is going to really work, is if you give up the idea (and the romanticism) of a potential with the old guy.

I’m guessing that your ideas about the old guy are very romantic, but because you were not really with him, you don’t know what it would have/could have been like if you’d been together in a day to day relationship with him (like you have had with your current BF). I’m not saying that he’s not a better choice for you, I’m saying that you still don’t know if he will be or could have been a better choice, because your actual time with him was limited.

You’ve got a decision to make. You either need to decide to give 100% to the current guy, and get some help working out your problems, or you need to let him go. If you let him go, then you can either decide to try it out with the old BF or try to make a new life for yourself without either one of them. If you break up with the first guy and decide to try out the old BF again, I think you owe it to your current guy to let him know that that is what you are going to do. If he finds out later (and he will) that you dumped him for the other guy, he’s going to feel like sh*t, and he’s going to know think that you deceived him. That’s not cool.

If you decide to stay with your current guy, there’s really no reason to tell him that you’ve been considering dumping him for the old BF, or that you’ve been talking to him (but you must break off all contact with the old BF right this second, if that’s what you decide to do). If your current BF finds out what’s been transpiring and brings it up later, just say “Yes, I did talk to Alex and considered my options, but I love you and want to be with you and I haven’t had contact with him since Dec. 23, 2013. I hope you still want to be with me.” Then let the chips fall where they may.

Either one of these 2 guys, or neither of them, might be the right choice for you. But whatever choice you make, don’t just make the choice based upon what feels good for you. Be kind and compassionate in your actions. Don’t start something new with someone else, until the first thing is completely over and done with. And if you don’t want to go back to the old BF, make a decision, very soon, to stop having contact with him. It’s not fair to play your current BF like that.

creative1's avatar

Sounds like you have a bit of cold feet and a bit of the grass is looking greener with the old boyfriend itis. You need to remember why you and your old bf broke up in the first place and then sit down and make a pro’s and con’s list of why you are even living with your current bf. Maybe a little counseling is in order to help you figure out what it is you are really looking for and whom it is you want to be with (even if it neither of these two men)

josie's avatar

Make a choice and live with it. But make a choice.

Coloma's avatar

Textbook for why rebound relationships are a bad idea. You have a lot of processing to do, do it!
You don’t get over someone else by getting under someone new!
Learn your lesson and next time, take a LOT of space between relationships so you are not USING another person as a band aid for your unhealed issues.

yankeetooter's avatar

As Christopher Plummer said in “The Sound of Music”, you can’t very well marry someone when you’re in love with someone else. (I know you’re not talking about marriage, but it was on last night, and the quote stuck with me).

Haleth's avatar

Take a break from both of them for a while, and give some serious thought to what you really want. Then act on it.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Soooooo… want to have a phone affair behind your current partner’s back, what if it were he doing it to you, would that fly?. You want to hear that is OK because you and this ex still have attachment issues? If it was so great, and he made you feel safe and he “got you”, why are you not together now? Apparently there was something that wasn’t working and that is why you parted. Take advice from Oprah, one of the few things I really have to agree, don’t go back to the exes, if there was something that caused the union to fail, it more than likely still there. What if you go back after chucking the current relationship, which seem to be circling the drain, only dude doesn’t know it, and your reconnection with the ex ends as the 1st, now you have nothing. A bird in the hand is worth 5 in the bush, but since you seem to not be happy and only holding on to the relationship because you invested so much time in it, if I was in Vegas I would bet the current union is a wash and the reconnect will eventually implode. You were right about something, you are not ready for any relationship with anyone unless extended friends with benefits

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

I broke up with the current partner on NYE.

Kardamom's avatar

@LeavesNoTrace I hope you were gentle with him, and you don’t have any expectations of running back to that fellow if you don’t find what you want with someone else (the old BF or a new guy).

Are you planning to get back together with the old BF? If so, you should put down some ground rules and expectations and have a lot of conversations before you get physical. There were reasons, other than just long distance, that made you two break up in the first place. If you don’t solve those problems now, you won’t be able to move forward with this old/new relationship. I do think you have a chance of making it work, you just need to make some changes and not just fall into the same rut.

Good luck to you, and keep us in the loop : )

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

Hi @Kardamom It was actually fairly amicable. And to be honest, my current partner had some tendencies that were very negative for me if you go through some of my old posts, you may see that we had a complicated relationship and were very different people with different expectations. Honestly, I think that if we had been more compatible, I may not have been so smitten with my ex.

I’m actually trying not to communicate with my ex right now and don’t have any big plans on getting back together. Mostly what I need for a while is time to myself. If I can’t explore a relationship with him, I need to truly ‘get over’ it before I can be with someone else anyway. Thanks for your helpful and non judgmental answers. I do appreciate them.

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