Question: Yangki, I love all your advice and your approach to relationships and love. I don’t know what I would have done without your site and books, and want to say thank you.
I hope that you will reply to my question. I made the mistake of doing no contact against my exe’s wishes. She wanted to stay in contact and said if we were not meant to be, we would naturally go our separate ways. Long story short, we reconnected 2 months ago after 3 months of no contact. In our first text chat, she told me she was seeing someone new and wanted to be upfront with me. She also said she still had feelings for me but had been badly hurt and wanted to see the new relationship through. We text 3 – 4 days a wk and speak 1 – 2 times a wk. We have hang out a couple of times and we have a great time together.
My problem is that I can’t get the other guy off my mind. I mean, I try but it drives me nuts that she’s with him instead of me. I know I should not be feeling this way, but I do, and it makes me feel guilty that I pretend I am okay with her being with him when I am not okay with it. She doesn’t know how I feel because it will drive her away, so I hurt quietly. Am I weak for having this feelings and thoughts about her and him? Should I walk away?
Yangki’s Answer: No, you are not weak. There is nothing wrong with how you feel. As I discuss in Dating Your Ex, when there is someone new in your ex’s life, it complicates the process of trying to get back together. It’s much easier when your ex is single and looking to get into a relationship than when their relationship needs (love, affection, validation, support, companionship, intimacy etc) are being met by someone else.
Some people fair quite well and are able to move things forward without getting distracted by the presence of someone new. Some people choose to not even try and move on themselves. Others fall in between… doing okay sometimes and struggling other times.
This is because when you still love someone and/or have been with them for a long time, there’s a tendency to think and act like they are still “yours” even when the relationship ends, and even when you have accepted the break-up. It is just one of those things.
When your ex is with someone new, the feeling that someone else has what ‘belongs’ to you, or that you are being or have been ‘replaced” is constantly at the back of your mind. Very often you’ll find yourself distracted by thoughts of the new man or woman, and your emotions swinging from hope, excitement and confidence to frustration, discouraged and depressed.
What helps many of my clients through this period is focusing 80% on themselves (their happiness, social network, interests, self-work etc) and only 20% on trying to get back together. But since there is someone else in their ex’s life, the “trying to get back together” is essentially “laying a foundation” for when their ex is free to date you (e.g. strengthening the emotional bond, showing an ex that they are changing/changed and creating attraction).
The more you become the more attractive choice and demonstrate that getting back together will guarantee a better relationship, the easier it is for your ex to make a decision as to whom they want to be with.
Again, this is not for everyone. If you know (and no one can “know” it for you, not even me) that you are not emotionally equipped for what it takes, it is okay to walk away. You are not ‘weak’ because you walked away, you are just being true to yourself.