I am not in contact with this person and no longer want to be his friend or girlfriend or anything, but for some reason I keep thinking about even the good times we had and get kind of sad. So my question: is this normal? I mean, I think some kind of self-reflection prior to moving in with a new boyfriend is bound to occur but I just want to make sure I’m not missing a huge warning sign. I don’t want to put my new boyfriend, or myself for that matter, in a situation that is doomed from the start. It probably doesn’t help that he’s moving in to the house I shared with my ex (mine is bigger and less expensive than his). I just really want to be as emotionally healthy as I can be so that my new relationship flourishes. — Thoughts of Ex
Right after I got engaged two and a half years ago, I had a series of strange dreams that lasted maybe a couple of months. I had a few of these dreams in the first weeks following my engagement, and then they petered out to once every couple of weeks or so. My exes were featured heavily in several of the dreams, but not necessarily in a romantic sense. In the dreams, it seemed like I missed them or like I couldn’t figure out why things didn’t work out, and always when I woke up, I was a little bit sad that things in real life ended the way they did. The sense I made of these dreams — dreams about exes I most certainly did not wish I was still with — was that they represented whatever anxiety I felt about my impending marriage and the possibility of it, like my past relationships, not working out (let me be clear here that that was a small, insignificant anxiety, but one I think must be normal for most newly engaged people). If I was in love before and things didn’t work out, how could I be certain that this time it was forever?
Luckily, it wasn’t hard for me to answer that question in my waking life. While I suppose we can never be 100% certain that our decisions will work out — even the ones that seem fated — there were so many reasons I felt confident that marrying Drew was right. And it was that confidence that helped me win the war against my own anxiety — anxiety about the future and about being a wife and about wedding-planning and just all the things that crosses one’s mind as she takes a step as big as marriage.
Moving in with someone, while perhaps not quite as big of a step as marriage, is still a big deal. Unless you are having serious doubts about your relationship or your motives for moving in with your boyfriend, or if you feel like you aren’t over your ex or that you simply can’t trust your own judgment, I’d chalk up these thoughts you’ve been having about your old boyfriend to common nerves. It sounds like it’s your mind’s way of projecting anxiety over making such a big life change. You’re making a huge step in your relationship and it’s only natural to think back to the last relationship and all the mistakes you made with that one. How can you be sure — how can your trust yourself — that you aren’t making similar mistakes with this one?
Only you can answer that question. You’ve got to do some soul-searching and see if you can come up with some answers. Are you completely confident this is a wonderful relationship that you are totally committed to? If not, what’s the rush? You’ve only been together for six months. Why not take another six months or a year or even two years to continue getting to know each other before you share a home together? If it feels like you’re rushing into something, then you probably are, and of all the things to rush into, moving in with someone is right up there with a burning house fire and a free trip to Beirut. If you’re having anxiety about something — if your gut, or your subconscious thoughts or whatever — seem to be tell you to slow down and mull things over, there’s no harm in doing just that. At best, you’ll have validation and a deeper confidence that you’re making the right decision; at worst, you’ll save yourself from getting burned.
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