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Still Obsessed with Ex's Ex

Brigid wrote:

I broke up with my boyfriend of two years a couple weeks ago and moved out. I miss him and still have strong feelings for him, but almost more than that I am still haunted by his past. He had a kid with an ex-girlfriend about a year before we started going out.

She broke up with him before the little girl was born and made him sign a parental recission form.

Ever since I found out about his kid, he has ranted on and on to me about how he hates his ex-girlfriend and wants revenge and wants to know her life is miserable (although he has not taken any actual steps to do anything about it).

He has also given me intimate details of their relationship and
their sex life, including showing me pictures of them having sex and the love letters she wrote to him. One time while we were laying in bed together talking, he said something about my having had an epidural, but I have never had a kid. He was thinking I was his ex while he was laying in bed with me!! He also told me during a fight once that I am not half the woman she is.

The jealousy over all this tore me up while we were together. It brought out the worst in me. He told me he didn't love her anymore and he hated her because she wouldn't let him see his daughter, but I can't help but think he was so angry and bitter because he still loved her and wanted to be with

her! He would just yell at me back that I was just jealous and upset because my father loved my sister more than me and that I'd never be the first one in his life to have his child.

Part of the reason I wanted to break up with him was to free myself of the torment of thinking of his ex and thinking that he has loved her all the time he has been with me. Now we are broken up and it is still haunting me.

What does this mean??

Dear Brigid

It seems to me that you have fallen into an unresolved conflict, and I suspect you became part of it before you realised what you were up to.

You may have felt powerful and superior while he boasted about his Ex, but to have encouraged him, to the point of viewing pictures and listening to intimate details was silly, to say the least - first, because you have reinforced his anger and feelings of inadequacy, instead of helping him to move on; second, because such behaviouir should have warned you of this obsessional side of him.

How would you feel if he shared such details of you with his next girlfriend?

But that is the past. The present consists of your feelings of failure, and your failure to get closure.

If it will help, try now to do what you should have done two years ago; try to see things from his point of view.

Through choice or coercion, he had signed away his rights to his child; so he was probably nursing immense feelings of loss. Also, his Ex was clearly a strong woman, who protected herself and her child, and cut him out of her life. So he might well feel resentful and emasculated by that experience (deserved or not, his resentment might fester).

Now, it may be that he was - and is - a sad, weak man, who learns from his mistakes and repeats them exactly, and finds it easy to project his frustrations onto other women.

Or he may be a man who has made genuine errors, and is still struggling to come to terms with tremendous loss - you just happened to get in the way.

You know which comes closest; either way, it is now too late; learn and move on.

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