By Jody Valley
In the shadow of the ex
Q: I am currently seeing someone, “Aaron,” whom I met about a month ago. We initially met online and our conversations turned into phone calls. We talked every day, plus emailed each other every day at work. We agreed to meet on a Friday at his house. When I arrived at his house, I noticed he didn’t quite look like his picture, but when I saw him cooking dinner in the kitchen I knew right then he was the one. He is so cute. True, the picture he sent me was a few years old and he was possibly 15 pounds lighter than when he took the picture, but I was very please with what I saw. We had a great time that night and couldn’t believe how much we had in common. We have a really strong connection.
We continue to see each other as often as possible, still keeping up with the daily phone calls and emails. The only problem is, I really care about him and I think I’m falling in love. No, I guess that isn’t the problem; it’s that he’s just gotten out of a relationship of two and half years, about four months prior. He says he still misses his ex, although he doesn’t want to be with him romantically. One day, we ended up calling off work and spent the day together. During that day we watched TV, had breakfast and straightened up his house a bit. Then we had sex for the first time.
I knew it was too soon for that after only two weeks of knowing him, but it happened. He felt guilty at the time, but he said later he was okay with it and that he really enjoyed it. I was the first and only person he’s been with since his break up. Well, that weekend, I wanted to go over to Aaron’s house and retrieve some things I had left over there from the previous night. Anyway, I called him, but he never called back. I went to his house and saw that he was not home. It was late and he normally doesn’t hang out. The next morning, he returned my call.
I was upset at this point so I didn’t answer the phone. It turns out he went over a friend’s house and they talked until they fell asleep. Hold on Jody, the friend was the ex-boyfriend. And yes, after some scrutinizing on my part, I found out they had sex. He said that it was something that just happened and he didn’t provoke it or initiate it. I told him that didn’t mean anything because he still put himself in that situation.
Imagine how devastated I was after hearing this. But he did apologize and assured me that it would never happen again. A couple of days later, he told me that his ex called him to apologize for having sex (yeah right) and told Aaron to move on.
We have been doing that. I’ve spent the past two weekends with him and everything’s wonderful. But I’m still very suspicious of him. We established from the beginning that we would be totally honest about everything, but I still feel like I can’t trust him. Now, if he doesn’t call me by a certain time or if I call him and don’t get an answer, I immediately think the worst. I told him how I felt and he understands and promises to not let me worry. But I still do. And it seems he’s still sad over his break up even though we spend a lot of time together. He’s also getting to be a little possessive. Not so much but he expects certain things from me, too, which I kind of like.
He is a wonderful man. But I feel like I’m in competition with his ex. I don’t understand why he’s having such a difficult time getting over his past relationship when we seem to be made for each other. His ex told him he could never be the partner that Aaron wants him to be. I worry that he’s going to go back to his ex.
Confused, but In Love
A: You need to understand that it is completely natural that Aaron could still have feeling for his ex, and he would be sad about the break-up of a relationship. It takes time to get over relationships, and as you know, getting involved in another one so quickly was not particularly a good idea for Aaron. Having said that, the fact is that you two are now involved. If you want a chance at this working, you will need to back off and give him space and not be demanding or possessive yourself. Otherwise, you could drive him back to his ex; however, it doesn’t sound to me that his ex really wants a relationship with Aaron. So, your best bet is to relax and just enjoy your time with Aaron, and not push him away with mistrust and demands.