About 10 years ago, I got engaged to a man eight years older than me. He was my father’s best friend’s son. Since childhood, I knew that I would be marrying him one day. It became official when I was 21 with our engagement.
The engagement was a glamorous affair since he came from a well-off family and was the only child of his parents. We only started talking to each other after the engagement. We were engaged for a year and it was the worst year of my life.
He never showed any interest in me instead ignored me most of the times. He was not romantic at all. I felt he did not like me which killed me every day. I tried to get his attention but nothing worked and I started feeling humiliated. After a year, he admitted that he does not feel anything for me and my parents unwillingly called off the engagement. The break up was not ugly. We just returned the rings and the gifts. I must admit that I was rather relieved after we broke up.
He was an average looking guy with an ordinary job. I, on the other hand, am quite beautiful and graduated from one of the best universities in town. I am usually loved by everyone around me. People admire me as a smart, beautiful and bold woman.
After my breakup with my fiancé, I was married to a doctor. I feel lucky to have him in my life. He is financially stable, handsome and we live in the United States now. We have travelled the world together. I have two beautiful kids and a lovely home. He takes good care of me and loves me to bits. I have never felt ignored or neglected by him. I also love my husband a lot. In short, I am living a life that every girl dreams of.
My husband also supports me professionally. I am doing post-graduate studies from a US institution and have his complete support – financially, physically and emotionally. My ex-fiancé, on the other hand, got married to an ordinary looking woman. She is not a career-oriented woman and I have also heard rumours that they are not even happy together. I have communicated with him a couple of times in the past 10 years – a few messages exchanged when close family members died.
My problem is that I think of my ex-fiancé all the time. Not only that, but I also stalk him, his wife and her family online on a regular basis. I do not know why I cannot help thinking about him. I think of him so much that I have begun to feel I live in two separate worlds – one is the world where I have my husband and my kids and the other is where I have continuous thoughts of my ex-fiancé. Also, I am always tempted to show him how happy I am without him. I fantasise about him seeing me happy with my husband and kids.
If I stalk him, does that mean I am still holding on to him after 10 years? If yes, then why? There was nothing especial about him or our short relationship. Why am I being so weak emotionally?
Please advise me how should I let go of his thoughts and forget him.
Dear ex-fiancé stalker,
The answer to your query is quite simple – and deep within you, I believe, you know it too. The reason you cannot stop thinking about him and stalking him online is that he was the one who ended the relationship between you two and not vice versa. He was the one who let go of you and you have not been able to come to terms with that.
Your relationship with him ended because it was he who did not care much for you romantically and not the other way around. Like you mentioned, you tried a lot to get his attention but nothing worked. Had you been the one who had been uninterested in him and had broken off your engagement with him, you would not be feeling the way you are right now.
All your life you have been told by people around you how beautiful and smart you are, how well-educated and bold you are, how special you are, etc. With such positive affirmations from everyone around you, it is very natural that you must have started believing that your ex-fiancé, when you got engaged to him, would also feel that way about you. Sadly, he did not.
This is something that has not gone down well with you. It is a shock that you have not completely been able to get out of. It has been 10 years – and like you mentioned, you have a wonderful husband, two beautiful kids and an envious happily-married family life – but you still are obsessed with your ex-fiancé and his life.
One of the reasons why you are having a hard time in letting go of his thoughts is because you did not get a proper closure and you also did not get answers to the questions in your mind. You know he was not interested in you but you do not know why not. That is why you stalk his wife to get a clue about why he chose her over you.
Your desire for your ex-fiancé to see how happy you are is natural. The reason behind it is that you want him to accept to himself that he made a mistake in letting go of you, that his life would have been a much better one if he had you in it. Your trying to show him how happy you are is a way of you getting back at him – in an indirect manner.
Sadly, no good is going to come of this desire of yours. It is hardly unlikely that he will ever contact you to let you know how he made the biggest mistake of his life to let you go. That isn’t going to happen. Therefore, do not waste your time and energy hoping, wishing and dreaming for it to happen. Otherwise, you will keep on living in two different worlds all your life. And with each passing day, it will just get worse.
Think of it this way, the time that you actually spend thinking about your ex-fiancé and stalking him, is actually the time that you are taking away from your life that you have with your husband and kids. Instead of spending it on someone who is not in your life, spend it on those who are. Because this spent time is not ever going to come back.
As for your question what you should do to let go of his thoughts, I have the following suggestions.
The best way to seek closure is, of course, by confronting the person who is responsible for this condition of yours, i.e. your ex-fiancé. But as this is not possible – and I would strongly advise against approaching or contacting him – the best thing you can do is sit down when you are all alone and have ample time and write a letter to him.
Write down each and everything that you think about him, how he left you and how you feel about it. Be honest with yourself while writing this letter. Do not leave anything out. Be very frank and be brutal. It may be tough writing this letter and may overwhelm you but it is necessary. Hopefully, this will help you a great deal in letting go of his constant thoughts.
Warning: This letter is for your eyes only. Do not show it to anyone else. And, of course, do not ever post it. Destroy it after writing and reading it.
Tip: You do not have to write just one letter. This letter writing can be a regular practice – until the time you feel that it has served its purpose.
Try to be truly and really grateful for the life that you have and the loved ones that you have. Not many people are as lucky as you. You are one of the rare ones in this respect. Therefore, be thankful and practice gratitude for all the happiness and love in your life.
Meditation can help you greatly in uncluttering your mind with unhelpful thoughts and giving you peace. There are many different forms of mediation such as yoga, mindfulness, diaphragmatic breathing, etc. Choose those which you can do easily and regularly and which you enjoy.
Seek professional help
If after practicing all of the above, you still are unable to let go of the thoughts of your ex-fiancé, then you should consider professional help. Seeing a psychologist would be helpful. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can be quite useful in overcoming negative thoughts and helping you let go of your ex-fiancé’s thoughts.
All the best!
Asad is a counsellor, life coach, inspirational speaker and a personal-development expert. He advises on social, personal and emotional issues. You can send him your questions for this weekly column at [email protected] with “Ask Asad” mentioned in the subject line and provide as many details as possible.
Note: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Express Tribune.