Obsessing About The Past

Dear Neil: I have liked a guy since I was fifteen years old. A lot of time has gone by, and I have rarely seen him, but I still care and think about him every day. I recently found out that he is married and has a child. You would think this information would make me forget all about him, but it hasn’t. Why can’t I get this guy out of my head? I feel like I’m obsessed with him. What can I do to get over this obsession?

Fixated in London, Ontario

Dear Fixated: The man you are talking about obviously represents something to you. Does he evoke the memory of your innocence, or of pure giving and caring? Did the two of you have great communication and connection, or strong passion and attraction? Is he the last male you loved, or who loved you? Did you pass up an
opportunity that you now regret? Perhaps he represents to you the risk not taken.

Whatever it is, figure out what he—or your relationship with him—represents to you. Once you have the answer (example: love) you can then look at how you could create love with someone new in your future. It is there where you will achieve the peace of mind which you seek.

Dear Neil: My ex-boyfriend and I broke up because he made me feel like an immature jealous person. Even though we’re in our thirties, he is a very flirtatious guy with other women. I would feel very insecure when he had long lingering eye contact with other women, and smiled suggestively at them. He said that was normal and acceptable behavior, and I thought it was disrespectful to me.

He doesn’t like hanging around guys because they’re too “boring.” His girl “friends” are mostly married, but he would talk to them using sexual innuendos, and would ask them to describe in detail about their gynecologist visits. He would say to me that he’s just nosey and has to know every detail of their lives.

I need to know if I am too immature, insecure or paranoid about how men should act in a relationship. I’m old fashioned, and believe in respect. Am I normal or abnormal in this day and age? What should a respectable relationship be like?

Golden, Colorado

Dear Golden: There’s nothing wrong with having close friends of the opposite sex, and even talking with them about personal subjects. But most married women do not talk with their male friends about their gynecological procedures, and most men would not care to hear about it anyway.

I suspect that your instincts were perfect. From what it sounds like, your boyfriend was looking to keep other women “on the line”—keeping them hanging around just in case things didn’t work out with you.

There are two other plausible explanations. The first is that he was voyeuristic, wanting to know very intimate and sordid details of other people’s lives. The second is that he was involved with one of the women as more than just friends.

If you have a history of feeling insecure and paranoid in a relationship, you may want to look at how you can overcome that. But it’s okay for you to be old fashioned and to believe in respect from men. And respect, in this case, involves honoring your needs, requests and comfort levels, and putting them on an equal footing to his own.

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