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You Asked: Is My Ex Okay?

Dear Sugar,

I have been with my boyfriend for about six and a half months and things are going really well. He goes to grad school about two hours away from me but he comes home most weekends to visit. He is the second person I feel I have loved in my life. The first guy, my ex, I started dating about three years ago (I was 24, he was 22) and we dated for a year. He was nice at first, but he abused drugs, was very depressed, and thought about suicide more than once while we were together. I supported him as much as I could but towards the end of our relationship, he started using cocaine and cheated on me. I was completely devastated, even though many of my friends repeatedly told me he was no good for me. I felt like I couldn't help loving him.

My present boyfriend is wonderful. He is focused on graduating from a great engineering program, he cares about me infinitely, and is actually willing to talk about our future together (something I thought I'd never find in a guy). I love him and am eternally grateful to have found such a great person to share my life with.

My problem is this: there are times when, despite all reason, I find myself thinking about my ex. I don't want to call him and try to get back together or anything, but I can't help thinking about what he's doing, if he ever got clean, or what. I think about him at least once a week. I try to keep it to myself but sometimes it makes me really upset and the guy I'm with now can't help but notice, and won't let me avoid talking about why I feel so crappy. I know it hurts him when I tell him I have been thinking about my ex, but he also knows that I am not thinking about him in a romantic way. How can I get out from under my ex's storm cloud and into the present, sunny life I have with my guy now? Do I still love him? If not, why would I care about him even after so long without even hearing from him?

—Worried About My Ex Emily

To see Dear Sugar's answer

Dear Worried About My Ex Emily,

You sound like an extremely sensitive and caring person, so it's no wonder you are still worried about your ex, even though it's been a while since you last spoke. When you dated him, you took on the role of friend, nurturer, and therapist. You gave so much of yourself to him and received nothing back. I'm sure the only thing you ever wanted was for him to get better, but he never got to that point. Then things quickly ended so that you never got any closure, and you were left still caring for him.

Here's a question for you. Say you were able to call your ex to find out how he was doing, and you found out he was still abusing drugs. What would you do then? Or what if you called and he was totally clean. Would you become friends with him again? Is it the not knowing that is the most upsetting? If so, perhaps you should talk to him and get the closure you need. I know it's hard to swallow, but you did all you could to help, and it's not your job to make him well.

When you and your ex broke up, you were heartbroken, and it sounds as if you still are. There's no cure for a broken heart, only time can heal that wound. Try to focus on the amazing relationship you have now, because if you don't, you may end up losing him. I'm sure your ex will always have a special place in your heart, but it sounds as though you're much better off leaving him in your past.


Join The Conversation
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
Everyone thinks about past loves. I do not have any contact with past boyfriends. I was engaged once, and was with that man for 5 years, i have no idea where he is now. Do i think about him sometimes? yes, i have googled his name and nothing came up. Its a natural curiousity to wonder how they are doing. its not unhealthy unless you become obsessed. Just concentrate on your own well being, its out of your hands really
alltherage alltherage 9 years
Dear is right on. And while I dont lvoe my ex or want him back I think about him wonder how he's doing. But knowing contact with him would be detrimental to me i choose not to know about him. I bleieve you shoudl do the same. First loves are the ones younever truly forget, its ok as long as you dont stop enjoying what you have -- and it sounds like you have a great guy. but dotn be so hard on yourself. if you think about him you think about him -- trying to stop will just have the opposite effect.
onesong onesong 9 years
i agree with popgoestheworld
Cymone Cymone 9 years
If you're going to talk to him, I'd bring someone (a close friend maybe?) to go with. They can help you to stay focused on what you really need to because I know all to well how a first love can rope you back in. Good Luck!
MrDPember MrDPember 9 years
I can really relate to what you are asking. I broke up with my ex about a year ago and I am always thinking to myself how he is doing. It is hard not to when you shared so much with a person. Not only do you lose a boyfriend but you lose a best friend. We tried the friend thing...twice...he ended it by ignoring me each time and absolutely crushing me. I try not to hold any hard feelings though and I still wonder from time to time if he is OK, etc. My biggest fear is that I will never fully get over my matter how great the next guy is but keeping in contact with you ex is just be like re-opening a wound. Every time my ex and I tried to be friends it re-opened the hurt and I had to fix everything all over again when the friendship stopped. Just step away from him/don't contact him and focus on your new guy who sounds amazing.
nicachica nicachica 9 years
Maybe you don't need to directly contact your ex. if you two have any mutual friends you should try and find out how he's doing through them. Is there anyway you can find him on MySpace/Facebook/etc and check his profile? he might even have another girlfriend who has to deal with him so you don't have to worry about it. but honestly, i think you have to learn to let this go. i get the feeling that if you find out he's not okay you would try and do something to help him. while your intentions are noble, i think it would cause you a lot more harm than good. i think your current bf sounds really great but i'm guessing he won't stand for you getting back in touch with your ex to help. that's a really slippery slope you'd be treading.
ylime6 ylime6 9 years
First of all, congrats on your new guy - - he sounds like a dream come true! Focus on the life you have now, the past is the past, don't let it haunt you. I know you can't help but be curious/worry about what is going on with him now but he isn't your problem anymore.
NdHebert NdHebert 9 years
Sugar why do you keep posting these questions? Same one everyday...
ccsugar ccsugar 9 years
Before I saw Dear's answer, I was thinking you should call him for closure. Sure enough she said the same thing ;) I have done the same thing with my ex's, I think it's important to get closure when things ended on a sour note. But you SHOULD focus on your current bf, he sounds awesome and like he really cares for you and loves you. And good for him for standing by you while you still think about your ex! Not many guys would do that.
mlen mlen 9 years
if you think you'd be ok with just having a phone conversation to catch up with the ex and see how he is- then ok. but ask yourself a few things first- such as, what would you do if he wasn't ok? would you feel the need to help him? would you have to get involved? or would you be able to walk away. because if you can't walk away then you shouldn't contact him. its normal to think of an ex. everyone does. but unless you can have a quick convo to say hi and be done, then don't initiate one at all. especially since it sounds like you have a great guy who does care for you.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
It's completely normal to wonder what your exes are up to, especially if they were troubled. Don't beat yourself up about it. But on the other hand, I see your need to try to get it out of your head. There is definitely something to be said for getting in touch and seeing how he is. I'm in touch on and off with all of my exes and it's nice to be able to check in and see how they are from time to time. Your current BF sounds great!
SusanTeufel SusanTeufel 9 years
I had this problem too - Sometimes you just have to let it go and forget. He's a big boy, he'll figure it out.
legallyblonde legallyblonde 9 years
I was in this exact same situation one year ago, except I made the mistake of hanging around to see if I could make things better. Huge mistake. I will have to deal with those consequences for a long time. I don't want to see the same thing happen to you. Please don't contact your ex. He has a LOT of stuff to deal with. He will most likely be struggling with this addiction for a few years. He might be clean now, but he could relapse tomorrow, 2 months from now, or years from now. You never know. Stay with your new guy; he sounds like he's good for you, and he is focused.
hotstuff hotstuff 9 years
Your ex was no good. You have a good man don't sabotage your relationship. Leave your ex alone and move on!
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 9 years
Um, your ex is responsible for hims behavior and im sure he's old enough to be cognizant of what he's doing. Focuse on you and forget about him.
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