Give up the ghost

Joey Garcia

My ex-boyfriend (the love of my life and best friend) died suddenly. One month later, I ran into a friend who had lost his girlfriend to cancer seven years ago. We have been together daily since. We are thinking of moving in together, but I vacillate between being in love with this man and feeling sad about losing my love. My new man is the complete opposite of him. He is quiet and does not compliment me, but he often talks about how brilliant his girlfriend was. After seven years, he should get a grip. I have told him that I feel jealous. He does talk thoughtfully through stuff with me, but only if I start the conversation. I am not used to this and feel the lonelier for it. My former boyfriend and I blabbed constantly. Is this a realistic union? Sometimes I feel I’m losing my mind. Please reply. I can’t afford a shrink.

When a person’s head is inflated by neuroses, psychiatry (and meds) can shrink it back to normal (or a reasonable facsimile of normal). You don’t need a psychiatrist, but you would benefit from a bereavement group because your monkey mind is swinging between the past and the present. If you want peace, opt for internal consistency. Here’s how: If you do not want to live with the ghost of your new man’s former girlfriend, stop projecting the ghost of your ex-boyfriend on him. Don’t let your fear of losing another man catapult you into settling for someone you don’t appreciate but who shares the experience of losing a loved one.

Before you tell your new man that you would like compliments, more conversation, a shared initiative to raise uncomfortable subjects, and less talk about his ex-girlfriend, address those issues within. Do you compliment yourself? Him? How profound are your internal conversations? People often claim to be processing difficulties or pondering the mysteries of life, but they generally recycle neurotic thoughts or seek to justify ideas they already possess. Meditation or journal writing with honest self-examination can help. And finally, do all the topics that you raise need attention? It’s possible that you search for something wrong in order to validate your fear that a relationship cannot work with a man who is so different from the one you call the love of your life. Most relationships can work if you are willing to nip and tuck your ego into accepting realistic expectations.

I met a man online and fell head over heels, but he ended the relationship after three months. He’s a hardcore athlete. He knew I was not an “iron woman,” yet that was the reason he gave for breaking up. We got along so well in all other areas. I am having a hard time getting over him. There’s so much more to it. Like, I think he’s still in love with his ex-wife. Help!

Some people are single because they have not met the right person. Others are single because they do not have the ability to recognize the right person. Blindness occurs from clinging to a fantasy about an ideal mate. If your idea about his feelings for his ex-wife is correct, understand that he cannot be honest with you because he is not honest with himself.

It’s important to get over him completely before starting another relationship. Otherwise, you’ll be repeating this relationship, except you will be in his role, nursing feelings for someone who is not available. Give yourself time to grieve the loss of dreams you had about the life you imagined was possible with him. That life is still possible for you—as is the woman you saw yourself as—just not with him. (Believing differently is blindness, too.)

Meditation of the week
“Looking is what saves us,” wrote the mystic Simone Weil. Have you seen Fahrenheit 9/11 yet? If you do not look and allow yourself to be compelled into honorable action by what you see, you cannot keep your humanity or honor the humanity of our brothers and sisters in Iraq or elsewhere around the world.

Our content is free, but not free to produce

If you value our local news, arts and entertainment coverage, become an SN&R supporter with a one-time or recurring donation. Help us keep our reporters at work, bringing you the stories that need to be told.


Stay Updated

For the latest local news, arts and entertainment, sign up for our newsletter.
We'll tell you the story behind the story.