Depressed/Anxious ex came back after a year. Now what?

Postby birdiewordie » Tue May 07, 2019 11:54 pm

Posted about the situation with my ex a year ago. We broke up due to, in my opinion, his mental state. I was devastated but after reading the replies and doing a TON of self reflecting, I accepted it and stopped trying. I never texted him, never looked for him on social media, never asked friends about him. I started doing things that made me happy. Before I knew it I found myself in a new relationship.

Two months into the relationship (seven months since the breakup), my ex texted me apologizing. He said he was sorry, hoped I was well and happy, wanted to know if we could be friends one day, and let me know that he didn't blame me if I didn't respond. I responded thanking him for his apology and forgiving him. I left it at that. He texted me afterwards but I did not respond.

3-4 months later he started contacting me again. This time, more frequently. This time, with questions about my life/job. He never asked to see me or anything. The conversations were always light and not flirty in any way - my ex was genuinely one of my best friends and I was happy to have my friend back, even if it was just over a weekly text.

As the months went on in my new relationship, it became more and more apparent we were not compatible and that I was not over my ex. So I broke up with him because it was not fair to him. Things were going great for me. I knew I was still in love with my ex but I had no desire to pursue anything. I was happy being by myself.

A few weeks later, my ex and I are still texting. He is always the one that texts me first and the texts are becoming more frequent. One night he asks for help on something - just a simple question I can answer. In return for my "help" he says he'd take me out for drinks. So at that point it became clear he just wanted to see me. I agreed to see him thinking it would be fine because it had been a year. Literally a year almost to the exact day.

As soon as I saw him it became very obvious it wasn't going to be fine even if it had been a year. And not "not fine" as in bad, "not fine" as in my heart is going to explode. I will never have the same type of feelings for anyone else and I am positive of that. I don't believe in soulmates but this man is my person. It was the perfect date. I went back to his place and we stayed up until 6am talking about everything and then fell asleep.

I woke up to him holding me telling me how much he missed me. We spent the whole day together. As I said before, I never looked for him on social media and I didn't want to hear about him. This was not the case for him. He asked about things I had posted 12, 11, 10 months ago on snapchat. It wasn’t like he just scrolled through a timeline before he saw me. Genuine questions about my family members, questions about things I forgot had happened. He had been checking up on me the entire time. Nothing has felt better than knowing that.

We spent the next week together. Pretty much every day and night. It was just like before except he seemed lighter (?), better maybe. He was more open about his mental health than he was before. He apologized to me every chance he got it seemed like. I assured him I did not want an apology; what happened was a year ago and it is okay. He just seemed to feel an extreme amount of guilt. He began saying things like he didn’t deserve me. This started to become concerning...I started to remember the way his anxiety would take over his thoughts. The way everything would implode in his mind if one thing went wrong or if he couldn't move past one thing.

Other than that, the week was great. Constantly told me how wrong he was, how he always missed me, how great I am, how he wasn’t against going back to how things were. Still, I never contacted him first - I think after our breakup I learned to just let go and be okay with whatever happens. So that's what I did. He continued to contact me, continued to want to see me everyday and take me on dates.

That brings me to this week, the week after the fantastic week. The heart emojis have stopped being sent. He still texts me often and I respond and then he responds with only a few words. If I don’t respond to the 2-3 words he will text me again. Something feels off and weird. If this was ANY other guy that has been in my life I would think he’s doing something shady. However, I know that is not what’s going on.

I don’t know if he’s afraid of letting me down. Or afraid of possibly doing the same thing in the future - so he’d rather just prevent it from happening altogether. Not sure if he's getting cold feet or has started to feel anxious about the entire thing. I have no idea what happened.

He’s the only guy I have ever truly wanted to marry and have children with so I’m not sure I’m ready to just give up altogether. I did my own thing for a year and, yes, I’m a million times stronger of a person now but those feelings for him never went away. I’m not sure cutting him off will do anything for me.

I’m not devastated like I was the first time he left. I will never feel that amount of loss over him or a relationship again. I do love the guy more than anything but I’m not going to lose myself over him. Weirdest thing is I’m not even sad really, just confused.

    Any insight on what is going on in his mind?
      Has anyone experienced a partner return months later only to leave immediately? What happened after that? Was it just the same cycle?
        Is it always a push/pull relationship when a partner struggles with their mental health?
          Is there any chance this will ever be a normal relationship? And by normal I mean a consistent one. A consistent couple. I understand all relationships have ups and downs. I will always support him with whatever he is going through - even if that means needing to spend time alone - but I'm not looking for a relationship where alone time spans months.
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          #1

          Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Wed May 08, 2019 1:59 am

          What is going on is very common, psychologically speaking. There has been plenty of research on the subject, with one of the more well known in the field being Daniel Gilbert out of Harvard University.

          Memory.

          Memory has an interesting way of adjusting with the passage of time. The intense negatives drift away while the positives are reinforced. With memory comes all sorts of cognitive bias that amplifies with time. A great example is the emotion of regret. When younger we regret actions, but as we get older we tend to regret missed opportunities, we idealize what could have been even as what could have been is an idealized fantasy, a creation of our mind.

          In your post, what is a clear indication is the following paragraph;

          birdiewordie wrote:That brings me to this week, the week after the fantastic week. The heart emojis have stopped being sent. He still texts me often and I respond and then he responds with only a few words. If I don’t respond to the 2-3 words he will text me again. Something feels off and weird.


          Over the past year he has been tracking you, idealizing certain aspects of the relationship as he remembers the good times. Social media doesn’t help, given people only post pictures of the great vacation, the smiling celebrations, the photogenic photo of you on the beach, etc. Month after month, the little negative things, those things that drove a wedge between you two were minimized or even forgotten.

          Now it has been a week together again and suddenly some of those memories are coming back to him. They are coming back to you as well. You are remembering what it was that you didn’t like exactly and so is he. You are both remembering why things were not meant to be.

          A great example...an analogy that I think most of us have experienced...is a camping trip. A year ago it sucked. The mosquitoes were thick, the rain came, it turned cold, you swore to yourself NEVER AGAIN! You did enjoy some wildlife and a nice sunset view. You took pictures and posted those, because that is not only what you want to present to others, but it is the memories you want. It is how you wish to remember the trip. You don’t want to remember the miserable, cold, exhausting night, sleeping in a rain soaked tent. And as time passes you don’t. The memory of the misery is reduced, while the memory of the sunset is reinforced.

          A year later you have forgotten the bad and are back on the trail, once again hiking. The cycle repeats. Why? Because you are human.

          My advice is to stop this relationship before it “restarts” for lack of a better term. You have grown, you have changed, you have learned. You need to take the new you and look forward, not back. Don’t invest anymore of your time in this relationship. You have been down that path. You have had that experience in life. Seek out a new journey and let him seek out his as well. Don’t repeat the cycle...for the sake of you both.
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          #2

          Postby Candid » Fri May 10, 2019 10:35 pm

          Is there any chance this will ever be a normal relationship?


          I think this is the relationship you want. You've been letting this guy push you away and reel you back in again, over and over. He doesn't have to make an effort or examine himself at all, because no matter how cold and rejecting he is, he knows you're always there waiting for him to want your company again. He knows which buttons to press to reel you back in, and it suits you because you don't really want a committed relationship.

          He had been checking up on me the entire time. Nothing has felt better than knowing that.


          I would consider that creepy -- cyberstalking -- but I am not you.

          I will never have the same type of feelings for anyone else and I am positive of that. I don't believe in soulmates but this man is my person. It was the perfect date.


          Lucky girl! And you can have the best of two worlds as long as you don't pursue him, accept that he isn't marriage material, and learn to be happy in the times when he's unavailable.

          It's all very dramatic and 'interesting' now, but if by "normal relationship" you mean marriage and children one day, you need to look elsewhere. Romantic relationships that go the distance are partnerships -- not one party being endlessly understanding and forgiving while the other gets a free ride. But for now I believe you've got exactly what you want.

          https://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk/
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          #3

          Postby Olga275 » Sat May 18, 2019 11:41 pm

          Dear Birdiewordie, my deepest sympathy to you. You are a strong woman! You found a strength in yourself not to look his fb. Please keep up updated. I am going through similar situation
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