Loves Me Not
I have been in a very happy relationship for one and a half years. All signs point to a promising future for us. Yet, I just found out that my ex-boyfriend is having a baby with his current girlfriend. I adored my ex, but I ended our relationship because I wanted full commitment and he did not.
I know I shouldn’t take this personally and I should focus on my relationship, but something about this makes me terribly sad. Should I just get over it and how am I supposed to do this?
I’ve been where you are and it’s not fun. The guy swears up and down and left and right that he just can’t be committed (he’s allergic to it!) and then, in the not too distance future, you find out that he’s Ward Cleaver with a pipe in his hand and a family sitting by the fireplace. Finding this out feels like being rejected a second time—after he didn’t want to commit to you in the first place—so it makes perfect sense that you’re sad.
Please know that I believe you did the right thing by breaking up with your ex because you wanted a future together and he did not. It’s tempting to wait around and hope a guy will change his mind—and this works out for some people—but in the moment it’s not fair to you and you risk waiting for years and still not ending up with the commitment you want. You recognized this and walked away. I applaud you for it.
Unfortunately, finding out the guy is willing to commit after all (with someone else) is common. Pretty much every man who ever swatted commitment away like a fly will end up married or in a long-term, live-in relationship someday. In situations like these, I try to trust that the universe knows better than I do, which is why she made sure I ended up on this path instead of that one.
All this being said, it’s important to honor your sadness and disappointment. By giving your sorrow the spotlight it wants, it’s more likely to go away. If you try to sweep it under the rug, it’ll keep pestering you. I recommend the following:
– Watch the movie 500 Days of Summer. Commiserate with Joseph Gordon Levitt’s character and know that you’re not the only one who’s ever been in this situation. The movie is a true-ish story based on the writer’s personal experience.
– Write letters to you ex about how this discovery made you feel. Don’t send them. This exercise is for you to process what you’re feeling. Write as many as you need to.
– Keep this link handy: It’s a reminder of the benefits of not taking things personally.
Finally, when you’re with your current boyfriend, try to be present. Be grateful for him and the relationship you share. Wondering “what if” about a former flame is normal and the fact that you are sad about your ex does not make you any less committed to your current man.
You can ask Samara O’Shea questions for the Love & Life Advice Column here at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* The ideas and advice presented here are not a substitute for professional advice. Talk to your psychologist, counselor, physician or health care professional for situations that warrant further analysis.