Opinion | I don’t want to think about my ex-boyfriend

breakup
Emma Reith
Art Director
@reithemma

I broke up with my ex-boyfriend two years ago. I was sitting on my dorm bed in North Morlan FaceTiming him as he was in Chicago. I didn’t cry, I wasn’t upset. If anything, I felt like I had lost 175 pounds of an emotionally challenged boy. My best friends came over right after and we went out for lunch. I was happy. I promised myself to close that chapter of my life for good.

But sometimes, I still think about him, even in the places I don’t try to. When I was home this summer, I kept my eyes glued to my phone while in the places we used to go together, so that I wouldn’t notice him if he walked past. When I went to the dog park, I feared seeing him alongside his corgi, that I’m convinced he bought out of spite after our break-up (he always knew corgis are my favorite).

I don’t think about him because I want to be with him. I broke up with him and am confident it was the strongest thing I’ve ever done. I don’t miss him; frankly, I sometimes regret ever being with him. He’s not an ex I hope to stumble into and magically reconnect with. In fact, I’ve thought many times about what I would do if I ran into him in public; most scenarios include me ignoring him, like I have for the past two years.

But even as I’m writing this, I’m thinking about him, all at once, more than I ever have since our relieving breakup. I ask myself why – if I hope to never see him again – would I think about him? Should I be ashamed? Did I never move on?

These questions circle my head until I realize: He was the longest relationship I’ve ever had, the only serious, long-term one. Of course, when I’m in the places we’d go together, I immediately think of the memories we shared. When I think of love, he’s the only thing I have to draw back on. Even if he was pretty horrible.

I believe it’s healthy to let myself think of him. It was a long time in my life and regretting it or forcing it out of my mind would just be a way of lying to myself. I ‘got over him’ four months before we broke up, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t mean a lot to me at one point – though I hate admitting that.

It doesn’t make you weak to think about your old relationships, especially when they can often teach you so much about yourself. If you find yourself thinking about an old boyfriend or girlfriend, let yourself think about it. You’ve earned it.