Am I Addicted to My Ex?

Photo by Gabriel on Unsplash

I haven’t seen him in ten years, but I still think about him every day and dream about him every week.

Even though things ended badly, I can’t get him out of my head, and I hate that I believe that if he came back into my life right now I would welcome him with arms wide open even though he broke my heart.

What is wrong with me that I can’t get over my ex?

It’s a question that I ask myself daily, and something that I’ve been working with my therapist with over the last few months to try to get to the bottom of — and to get over.

It feels like an addiction.

Thinking about him is something I can’t stop doing, even though I try.

Even though I don’t want to think about him anymore, I can’t help myself, I keep going back to the recesses of my mind, searching out memories of the best times of my life, the time that I was with him.

Cigarettes were an addiction that I beat three and a half years ago.

I quit smoking cold turkey and never looked back.

Through a combination of deep inner strength and pride in myself for giving up something I felt I couldn’t control, I was able to quit and stay quit until now — so why doesn’t the same principle work on people?

I would love to quit thinking about him.

I would love to drop thoughts of him like a bad habit and move on without him.

But there’s an itch in my soul that even now, ten years later, only he can scratch.

Him, the only one I ever really loved.

My therapist is trying to help me through this, but I’m not making it easy on her, or myself.

We are working on radical acceptance: acknowledging that the relationship is over and he’s gone for good, and although I do accept that I probably will never see or speak to him again, it’s hard to feel like he’s gone when memories and thoughts of him haunt my mind every day.

I just don’t think I’ll ever get over him.

I’m scared for my future now, because of all this.

I’m scared that my inability to let go and move on will stop me from trying to date again, and leave me single and alone for the rest of my life.

I’ve only had one relationship since him, and it was an affair with a married man, something dead on arrival that did more to hurt my self-esteem than it did make me feel less alone and capable in the world of men and dating.

Part of me feels like I don’t deserve to date anyone right now, or that whoever I do date will deserve more than what I am able to offer.

How will I ever start something new with someone when I’m still holding on so tightly to something that’s been gone for a decade?

I just don’t know, and the uncertainty of it makes me feel so very alone.

I can’t get over the what-ifs.

I can’t stop thinking — what if I had tried to make things work?

Where would I be right now?

Married to him with beautiful brown babies?

Or alone and broken, even worse off than I am now?

I’ll never know, because it’s over, and he’s gone, something my mind can accept but my heart can’t agree with.

I think this ever-lasting love for him is an addiction that I can’t control, and I’d do anything to stop it.

I want to Eternal Sunshine him out of my mind, I wish, sometimes, that I could just forget entirely that he even existed.

Sometimes I wish he were dead, just so all my what-ifs would be useless.

But, it isn’t that easy.

Unlike willing yourself not to smoke, you can’t will yourself to forget about someone you loved and lost.

If I could, I would.

But I think I’m addicted to my ex.

I crave him, I compulsively think of him, I am fixated on memories of him, he is my weakness, I am enslaved by thoughts of him.

Name your synonym.

The shoe apparently fits.

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