Although I have been broken up with my boyfriend for over a year now, I keep thinking about him on a daily basis. I do not think of him in a romantic way and I do not feel the crucifying pain I used to have when I missed him or I was hurt by him. I just think about how he is spending his day and if he would be proud of me if he knew what I was up to. There is a pattern when I think about him the most and it’s when some big changes are happening in my own life (and when I have anxiety about them).
We were together for a long time and basically grew up together. But still, I couldn’t understand why I kept thinking about him so much. I am very happy now with my new life and new relationship. My ex and I were too different and wanted different things. I think we would have never been really happy together. We would always have to compromise and I know we both realized that once we broke up.
But, I finally figured out what it is. I was listening to the podcast “This American Life” this morning and had a light bulb moment. The episode was about who you were going to call when something went wrong. The guy was talking about how he never called his mom while she was still alive, even though she always wanted him to. Now that she has died, he calls his stepdad every week, for one reason just to check on him, but also just for himself to say “I remember.”
And that is exactly how I feel about my ex. It’s like missing a person who died. He could as well be dead, because I haven’t talked to him or seen him in over a year. It was a relief to realize that, to understand why I keep thinking about him so much.
As we spent more than eight years together, I guess it is similar to losing a family member. No article or movie ever prepared me for that. When you break up with someone, it feels as though there are only two options: either you want to get back together or you are over them. This messed with my head, as I was still thinking and dreaming about him. Because of this, I concluded that I subconsciously wanted him back (although emotionally I did not feel that way at all).
In life, either if it is a breakup or a death, we are never prepared to lose someone that we love dearly, even though it might be the best for both of you. Even if you are 100% sure your life is better without them and you would never even dream of getting back together, you are still going to miss them as support, as family, as your friend. Finally, I can understand how I feel about him and allow myself to miss him without feeling guilty or confused.
So, to my ex, I do still think about you and “remember” you.
I feel like I owe it to you to right some of the injustice because of everything you have meant to me. That does not mean I am not over you or want to get back with you. It just means that I value the time we shared and no matter how I feel about you, you will always be family to me. So, once in a while I will think about how your day is going and I hope once in a while you will think about me too.