Q: I have accepted that it's over between my ex and me but I still think of him after three years. He and I were engaged and I moved clear across country to be with him. Then he was deployed to Iraq and our relationship ended, and because I felt misled and this wasn't what I wanted, I wasn't nice about the breakup. We've had no communication until a few months ago, and that was only for a brief second. He stops me in our home town and acts as if we've been in touch the whole while, and at the end of the conversation he tells me I know where to find him. Why would he say such a thing? No contact since. I had heard that he has now married but they're going through an annulment process. Do I still love him because I wonder? Should I attempt to call him? Does he still love me? What should I do? Or is it just that I need closure to the way I feel? Please Help Me!!! I've been battling this for three years now. -- Tamara, 23
Dr. Susan: When you find yourself battling some emotional deal for even half that long, Tamara, think seriously about getting professional help. That's a long time to be confused about a break-up. In this case, it's easy to see that this one brief interaction with your old boyfriend has thrown you back into fresh distress. He sounds like an undependable tease to me, someone who would probably keep you confused all the time. First he misleads you about the seriousness of your relationship and then breaks up with you suddenly. And now he drops hints about "you know where to find me," when he's given you no basis for anything. Not to mention that he's getting an annulment already. Sounds like he's more confused than you are. Do you still love him? No. You're just stirred up by seeing him again after all this time. That can happen after a lack of communication over a decade, too, when the feelings used to be really strong. It doesn't mean a thing. You've both moved on and that's good, since he wasn't trustworthy back then and doesn't seem to be now. Does he love you? Of course not. Love isn't that superficial. Closure is always pleasant, but sometimes life messes with your plans to forget someone. I don't think it will take you three years to get over him this time, not unless you do call him and start the messy process of getting your heart broken all over again.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.