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That Awkward Moment When You Realize It’s Been 2 Years And You’re Still Not Completely Over Your Ex

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He stood facing me in the street, about 3 feet away with his hands in his pockets. I knew he wasn’t going to come home with me even though I lived across the street. To say I was disappointed was an understatement—I really wanted to get laid, although the last time I tried to fuck him was somewhat… unsuccessful.

I gripped the tin-foiled Roberta’s leftover pizza in my hand as I contemplated how handsome he looked standing there. I wondered if maybe he wasn’t just a little bit gay.

“Are you sure you don’t want the rest of the pizza?” I asked awkwardly, trying to make some sort of conversation—any conversation—to keep him around.

“Nah, nah you take it,” he shifted awkwardly, “I should go.” His disdain for Brooklyn—and his disinterest in me—was painfully apparent.

As he turned away so did I, and with my back to him, tears started falling from my cheeks to the pavement. I thought about the way his mouth curled upwards at the corners, even when he wasn’t smiling. I thought about how much his mouth reminded my of my ex-boyfriend’s mouth. The love of my life’s mouth.

When I got home I threw myself across my bed, pizza still in hand. I continued to cry, louder now, and reveled momentarily in my hideous self-indulgence. It wasn’t because he didn’t want me—I didn’t want him either, not really. We were an ill-fitting pair at the best of times, me always running and him so still.

I fell asleep to the sound of my own sniveling. In my wrought sleep I dreamed vividly of a man I used to love. I dreamed of him getting married, of my total, gut-wrenching heartache; I woke up feeling exhausted, used up physically and emotionally. I ate the pizza that was still in my hand and felt more dejected by this subconscious chain of events than by any actual event that had occurred.

I passed the rest of the day feeling heartbroken and empty, but it wasn’t until mid afternoon that I realized exactly why I had this feeling. It was because I wasn’t over my ex-boyfriend. The one I had left in London almost 2 years ago.

That’s not to say I was still in love with him—it had been a long time, I didn’t even know who he was anymore—but I was still desperately in love with our relationship and what we had shared in our time together. And there it was—that awkward moment when I realized it had been almost 2 years and I still wasn’t over my ex.

Every guy since—even that guy who wouldn’t sleep with me the night before—was a reflection of the original. I chose men that in some way reminded me of him—from green eyes that were sometimes grey to the curl in a lip or a non-nonsense matter-of-fact attitude and dry Englishness. The worst part was that I was constantly projecting him on to other men, and finding myself completely disappointed when the hologram I’d superimposed on them flickered and a stranger appeared from underneath. I never liked those strangers.

I don’t really know what to do with this revelation. It’s like having a great sandwich at the deli—the best sandwich you’ve ever had, probably. And when you go back to have it again, it’s not the same; the taste is different and the ingredients aren’t as good. You just want that first sandwich again, and you wish the guy behind the counter could just make it exactly the same, but it’s a different guy, and he has a different way of making sandwiches.

What I do know is that I have to stop analogizing men to food. I also know that if men really were food, love would be much easier, and far more delicious. TC mark

image – Steven Depolo

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    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=707272007 Alex Thayer

      i like having that feel of “over it” power, and then having it crushed by bad timing.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-Timberman/922794 Steven Timberman

      “Every guy since—even that guy who wouldn’t sleep with me the night before—was a reflection of the original.”

      Believe you me, that part made it very dusty in my room. There are certain people we date that stick in our heads. Often times they aren't the ones we had the best times with, or even the worst. We didn't love them the most, or the longest. But for some reason, that's the one that flickers back to us, time and time again.

      Been almost four years since the first time I met a girl like that, and all I've done is add a few more to the list that were LIKE HER. You are completely correct that we're not really mourning for a person but for a specific relationship in a very specific moment in time. Like nostalgia kicked through a firestarter.

      • Carrie Jones

        Tou- effing – che.

    • Jordan

      Another good one!  I was expecting another ridiculous observational piece by the title (not that you've been writing those lately but still, this is TC), but I liked where you took this.

      I'm still in this situation somewhat, it's not that I'm not 'over' her I don't think, but without another long term girl to compare (or muddy the memories), she's still the most relevant comparison for future relationships.  I think this is kinda normal and reasonable though, of course you're going to use what you learned from the last one to evaluate new people.  Hopefully it's not clouding judgment though.

      • Katgeorge

        Judgement is a bitch at the best of times. It's just good to acknowledge that there are some experiences so embedded in you you'll always be moved by them.

    • Emma

      MISS YOU BF.

    • http://twitter.com/kyleangeletti Kyle Angeletti

      I enjoyed this. 

      I think eventually you'll find another sandwich you like even better, be surprised by how good it is,  and you'll be able to eat it all the time.

      • Katgeorge

        mmmm meat ball sub…

      • Katgeorge

        Ps thanks for the support xx

    • NobodyMuch

      This bit:  “That’s not to say I was still in love with him—it had been a long time, I didn’t even know who he was anymore—but I was still desperately in love with our relationship and what we had shared in our time together.”

      This is dead-on.  I'm experiencing this right now, and it's been–wait for it–thirty years.  I feel awful for myself, my husband (who I really, truly love), and the object of my misplaced and insane feelings.  It SUCKS.  Do the best you can to move on, Kat, because this can eat you alive.  I know.

      • Katgeorge

        Future self? Is that you?

        What are we going to do with ourselves? I mean, my relationship wasn't perfect, by any means, but it was my perfect idea of what a relationship should be. Bouncing back from that is tough!

        I really hope you can find a way to move on… And when you do, let me know the secret!

        xx

        • modedossier

          My relationship with my ex can be summed up with our conversation this weekend:

          Me: You know its been almost a year since we broke up
          Him: Yet here I am hanging out with you
          Me: I could say the same thing

          We're that divorced couple who still oddly functions.

    • http://www.upbsel.blogspot.com Alice May Connolly

      Real in2 the thought of ice cream bf

    • douchegirl

      Yesterday, while talking to one of my friends she said “You're still heartbroken. You're still not over it.” I said “I'm dating someone else though!” Her response was “So? That doesn't mean anything. Who are you trying to fool?”

      I don't know. Myself? Everyone else? The new guy? The old guy?

    • Erik

      “You just want that first sandwich again, and you wish the guy behind the
      counter could just make it exactly the same, but it’s a different guy,
      and he has a different way of making sandwiches.”

      By insisting that every guy make you the same sandwich, you may be overlooking completely different sandwiches that some other guy knows how to make even better than that first guy.

      • Katgeorge

        You're right. And that, right there, is the biggest problem with all this.

      • http://twitter.com/steviekew Stevie Kew

        nail-head-hammer!

    • thedailyawe

      Oh, girl, I know the feeling. I don't think it ever gets easier, really. My first love was my best love and that love lasted almost 8 years. I still compare everyone to her. It sucks.

    • inflammatorywrit

      This made me want to listen to Sinead's “Nothing Compares 2 U.” I realize that might not sound like a compliment, but it is, of the highest order.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

      Wow!

    • Melissa

      Wow!   You described a very familiar experience in such a wonderful and eloquent way.  Thanks for the insights.

      • TeaCookies

        My thoughts exactly. And this actually all occurred to me last night too. I had a strange dream about an ex 2 nights ago and haven't been able to stop thinking about him and our relationship that ended 2 years ago. Very strange.

        • Melissa

          Nostalgia is a feisty, strange beast.  Dreams and songs (and other random, less universal things) have a weird way of causing that beast to surface in surprisingly poignant ways.

    • SisterRay

      It's okay, it took me approx. 5 years. And a lot of people look at you like you're crazy, even your best friends, when you can't seem to “move past it”, but a lot of people don't get to experience the kind of “love” and connection that makes people lose their minds – so you're/we're lucky, in a way. So when you're finally over it, you'll be that much stronger, and still have memories that you know are extremely special. You'll get there! And yes, it is also worth exploring the other “sandwich” options, because there's gotta be ones that are just as good out there.

    • http://twitter.com/steviekew Stevie Kew

      Love this – it touches the piece of my core, soul and existence that has been loose the past year. It's these feelings, so great and so painful, that let us know we're alive.

      • Katgeorge

        You made me happy just then xx

    • http://twitter.com/godworm Nicholas Cox

      This is beautiful.

      The reason a relationship with food can be so satisfying and uncomplicated is because it is completely one-sided. You get to CONSUME it; it doesn't get to consume you. A relationship with another person is so much harder because it is supposed to be reciprocal.
      I know you meant the last paragraph as a joke—it's just a shame that you felt you had to end such a good article like that, after admitting that you couldn't think of a fitting resolution. Most of the time life is just like that—unresolved. There's no reason to feel embarrassed about it and tell a silly joke to dispel the awkward silence that always fills the room after someone shares such a serious confession.

      Don't run away from embarrassment. When it's getting embarrassing that means it's getting real.

      • Katgeorge

        That was a really sweet comment. I have a problem where everything that happens to me is 50% serious 50% joke. I sort of think that sometimes it's nice to not take life so seriously. Things happen, sometimes it's a bit ridiculous and self-indulgent. It doesn't mean it's not real, but it helps to feel like everything is just all part of one bit giant fun experience.

    • Tim

      I can totally relate. Nostalgia is a complete bitch and I swore off that drug earlier this year.

      Now I'm not English, but I do have a Kiwi accent, green-grey eyes and a dry wit. Oh, and I live in Manhattan. Your bio pic reminds me of Cassie from Skins. If you want to continue projecting onto guys like me, let me know.

      • Katgeorge

        That made me LOL.

        Picking up men on TC. Email me.

        • Tim

          Done. If it didn't make it through your spam filter, let me know.

    • fjhg9
    • Marz R

      Two years, and I'm still here thinking 'bout the good times from a four year relationship that ended in a not-so-good way. Sometimes, it's the feeling or the idea of him that you miss, not the reality of who he was or had become. 

      Thanks for sharing this. It's good to know that I'm not the only one feeling this way. We'll get by. :)

    • http://twitter.com/andshewasnt genna mae

      Right there with y'all.

      I always wonder how well I would've gotten over him if anyone else since had given me even half of the attention that he did. I mostly feel like I would've moved on quickly if that were the case; that I would be feeling a little better than miserable after two years. Everyone always says that moving on is easier when there's someone else to date/fuck/whatev…does that actually work?

      • http://twitter.com/andshewasnt genna mae

        What even the fuck. I've had my facebook privacy settings not-so-private (although not wide-open, either) for three days, and the fucker just now tried to add me. Dammit.

    • fjhg9
    • carmel

      i had my first relationship when i was 17 and it lasted for almost 2 years. it was my first so i had no point of comparison. but i feel like it had been a great relationship. everything felt right even. the way we were different felt right. but then, life happened, we broke apart. he went abroad to study and i havent seen him since then. its been 3 years now. and i still think about him a lot of times. i still look for him in every guy i meet. i havent been in a relationship since us. and im wondering if im still inlove with him or just with the relationship we had.
      “That’s not to say I was still in love with him—it had been a long time, I didn’t even know who he was anymore—but I was still desperately in love with our relationship and what we had shared in our time together.”

      misery reallyl oves company. i know we shouldnt wish ill of eachother but it feels better when you know you're not the only one going through this.

    • carmel

      i had my first relationship when i was 17 and it lasted for almost 2 years. it was my first so i had no point of comparison. but i feel like it had been a great relationship. everything felt right even. the way we were different felt right. but then, life happened, we broke apart. he went abroad to study and i havent seen him since then. its been 3 years now. and i still think about him a lot of times. i still look for him in every guy i meet. i havent been in a relationship since us. and im wondering if im still inlove with him or just with the relationship we had.
      “That’s not to say I was still in love with him—it had been a long time, I didn’t even know who he was anymore—but I was still desperately in love with our relationship and what we had shared in our time together.”

      misery reallyl oves company. i know we shouldnt wish ill of eachother but it feels better when you know you're not the only one going through this.

    • Smmakira

      It has been three years almost to the day since the love of my life and I parted ways. We were together for eight and a half years, and while we had our problems it took me by complete surprise.  I've never gotten over it. I still dream and think about her almost daily. I have dated other people since, but there is always “something” that steers me away from them. Projections of my past love on them? Maybe, it was all I knew for a big chuck of my life. Sometime I can swear I smell her perfume, and immediately stop and look around for her, but it is most likely my mind playing tricks, or someone else. Conscientiously, I know I need to just focus on the future and stop dwelling over the past; sub-conscientiously, it's not that easy.

    • ge

      In a discourse concerning
      break-ups and all sorts of inconveniences, a friend once told me that there is
      no mourning period if you're trading up. Which would be fine, if you were doing
      the trading up. Or even if there’s any trading at all. If none apply, well here’s
      to you, me and the fact that we’re not alone in this.

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