Can We Ever Make Amends?

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Dear KitschMix,

We dated for about 6 months, but it was me who actually broke things off. I broke it off for the wrong reasons. You see, I fell for her hard and it scared me. I felt so giddily in love that it completely freaked me out, and made me feel so insecure. Insecurities led to paranoia, and paranoia led to me bolting. This was 5 years ago.

Once I broke up with her I watched her move onto another relationship, which crushed me. I tried to ‘win’ her back, but she thought I was just playing games with her. So we went our separate ways. In fact, things got very bitter between us. I was pretty horrible to her, and did things I’m not proud of in my jealousy.

I did move on, started seeing someone new. Years past by and I moved cities, changed girlfriends, but I could never shake her from my thoughts.

I’m not sure what to do now. She has moved on with her life, settled down and looks happy.

But something inside of me feels the need to reach out to her. I’ll never forget how it felt to be with her. She was someone who understood. I guess that was part of her charm, and also the one things scared me. She saw me for who I was, and I loved and hated that.

What should I do? Should I reach out to her, or leave things how they are?

I’ve been there before. You get freaked out because you’re feeling things you never felt before… And then, after the fact, you realize you blew it. That’s actually how my current relationship started: I was trying so hard to keep things casual, once I had some “real feelings” that were too tough for me to handle. I was scared, and I did what you did: I came up with a bogus reason to run. Thankfully I caught my mistake before either of us actually moved on. If she’s happy with someone else, it’s absolutely necessary that you leave her to her happiness.

Why? Let’s look at the options here. Option A, you prove your point that you made a mistake, and she agrees to take you back. Now her current partner is left heartbroken, through no fault of her (or his) own. Obviously this sucks, and Dream Girl will probably feel super guilty about it for a long time. Effectively, you’d be causing her more pain than you already did, by insisting on getting a second chance.

Option B: She understands that you made a mistake, but she doesn’t want to leave her current partner because they did literally nothing to deserve being left. Now she’s got some conflicting, confusing emotions, you still don’t have her, and her current partner is still sort of being punished for something that’s not his or her fault. Plus, Dream Girl still feels guilty and hurt.

Option C: She sees it as another game (because she’s right – trying to win someone back because you’re jealous is definitely a game) and doesn’t give you another chance. Not only that, but she’s slightly creeped out about all the trouble you went through to prove you changed, and she still doesn’t think you have.

These might be a little generalized here, but I think they make a good point. You learned your lesson, and that’s wonderful – but you can’t erase the things you did wrong to her. Even if she forgives you, it’ll still hurt, and she’ll wonder if you’re going to do it again. That doesn’t sound like a fair thing to do to the person you love, now does it?

I understand it sucks admitting that things are over. I wish I could tell you that it gets easier the longer it’s been, but that’s not automatically the case – especially if you’re not allowing yourself to get over her. It’s completely normal to think of the things you loved about her, and the ways she was so amazing. But that doesn’t mean she owes you anything.

Instead of trying to win her back, you should be focusing on embracing the good and bad within yourself. As perfect as she seemed, it’s unlikely that your first “true love” is the love of your life forever. (Not that it never happens, but if she’s really moved on… Well, it pretty much answers itself, doesn’t it?) This is good for you, because it means you still have the chance to use the things you learned from that relationship in order to make your future relationships better.

If you move on first.

Getting with someone to try to push yourself over someone else is never going to work. You’re allowed to think about her, like I said before. If you think journaling your thoughts would help, I’ve definitely been known to journal letters to “the one who got away” before. In many cases, this actually works out a lot better, because you’re in love with the memory – and the real person changes over time, as you should, too.

If journaling doesn’t work for you, then just try to explore your hobbies. Don’t “try” to meet anyone, just try to figure out what you enjoy. You need to learn how to love yourself as much as you love her. You’re probably always going to love her, too, and I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, either. There’s a reason our first love means so much to us. Figure out what that reason is for you, and grow that part of yourself.

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