Dreams and thoughts of past relationships hurting day to day life/family
Recently I have been literally losing sleep over two women from my past. I don't think about them collectively, they both seem to come and go from my conscious mind, invade my dreams from time to time, and it pushes me to try to "check up" on them. One of them I am still friends with though she lives far enough away now that we never see eachother in person, but we have talked as friends off and on over the past years after a few years of bitter silence and resent. The other was a bitter breakup, but for some reason despite my bitter emotions I continuously have straying thoughts and dreams about her coming back into my life. Both of these women are now married/engaged and I am currently in a commited relationship of just under 4 years with a wonderful woman who we have 2 children and a house together.
The first girl in question and I were in a relationship just out of highschool for 8 years, we never had kids, and when we were finally out of college, had our own home and were discussing marriage. Unfortunatly, time/money got in the way and she began working long and late hours as a bartender while I was starting my own business. She never totally told me why she cheated, but she hooked up a number of times with a coworker's friend and before I found out I sensed a distance between us and started to make what attempts I could to save the relationship. When I found out she was cheating she denied it at first, became scared to lose me and then admitted life was too routine and she had become bored. I cut her off for several months and she stayed with the guy she cheated on me with, which did not work out.. and then she came back and pursued me. I eventually caved in and we tried to be just friends but the spark renewed and we attempted to become "us" again, however shortly after we started dating again she discovered she was pregnant with the baby of the guy she left me for originally and we ended it again. She moved out of state and eventually married someone else, thankfully who treats her well. We have stayed in touch over the years, but I always feel there is unfinished business and try to cut her off again out of guilt. I recognize I've had commitment issues since this relationship ended.
A few years and several casual relationships later I met a girl that made me feel like I could try to commit again. We moved in together and got a house about a year after we started dating. We shared alot of interests and mutual hobbies, other than being a little immature at times (being about 8 years younger than I) and a little shy/socially awkward (which did lead to some needy and attention seeking behavior at times) we had a very healthy and enjoyable relationship. However, after she got involved in a solid career job she dropped alot of friends in exchange for her more so newly found "professional" work friends. She re-wrote alot of her personality, burned alot of bridges and eventually began to pressure me to move to a different state. I own a business and am involved with a lot of stable things here at home, so it became a point of contention between us as I was interested in a future with her, but not in leaving my home. Eventually she became aggitated and showed signs of displeasure, though she wouldnt talk about it and played off everything to be fine... Till one day I came home and her things along with nearly half of my things and a good chunk of "our" money was gone... and she wouldnt return my calls. It would have appeared sudden and strange to an outsider, but I did sense something brewing over the last 3-4 months of our relationship and was heartbroken but not totally suprised. The coming weeks she was up and down, calling/texting incessantly, saying she missed me but wanted to stay single for awhile, to try to date me again... but not exclusively, to see if I was the one, or if we were just wasting eachothers time. I feel in some degree I acted a little desperate and went along with it in hopes to get her back, but she kept showing uglier and more dissapointing traits and eventually we had an awful fight that ended all communication from me. I deleted her from all my social media, blocked her phone number and did my best to not cross paths. She eventually moved away and it made it easier to close the wound though again, I feel I never recovered from losing her either.
So, now a days, I restarted my life, did alot of traveling and things for me, soul seeking, new hobbies, didnt want a relationship any time soon or even a girlfriend. Yet, I met someone special, we buckled down, moved in together and started a family within the first 2 years of dating and as it appears, we are fairly happy. I however feel I am not giving my all in the relationship despite loving her and our children very very much. I feel ill at ease and distracted. Our sex life has plummeted in the last 6 months and I find myself having thoughts of my first true love often... but to be fair, I never truly shook her and its been almost 9 years weve been separated. I started talking to her again as friends after the second relationship I cited began to sour and never really stopped... I feel that may have been a mistake.
Now especially in the recent I have dreams about the second girl often, which I find odd. Its usually of a bitter meetup by accident... like bumping into eachother at a bar, fighting and hashing out my feelings, but then her apologizing and we end up going home together and having sex. Sometimes I even cheat on my current girlfriend or leave her entirely in my dreams, which scares me that Im secretly not as happy as I think I am in my current place in life and it fills me with guilt and sadness. I recognize I'm in my mid 30s and shouldn't be playing games with myself or others, but I cant control my dreams, and when they become frequent it makes me start peeking at her social media and seeing what shes doing and I begin imagining what our life would have been like if we had stayed together. Because of this peaked curiosity, I discovered she is now engaged and getting married soon which has made my sibconscious more and more obsessed with her it seems as the past 5 nights I have had very vivid dreams of her that leave me feeling exrememly "off" the rest of the day...
I feel like I love 3 different women for three different reasons and two I can't ever have again, and I know that. I want to put history to bed and close the wounds and empty feelings, especially from the loss of the first relationship I cited, as I feel I never will truly stop loving her.
Am I damaged or doing something wrong? I have a family now that needs and loves me, I have no reason to be unhappy, but I cant feel true happiness it seems without these ghosts haunting me. Insight would be most appreciated! I aplogise for the extremely long entry! Thanks for reading it through to this point!
Strong emotions, even hurtful ones, can be very seductive. I think you are addicted to these kinds of feelings.
I think if you did a REAL honest evaluation of those relationships, they would not have passed the test of time. In fact, most of what you "dream" about now is not even reality, fanstasy, really - and those gals are not the same people as you remember from the past.
The 30's can be very tumultuous. You said it yourself: "I feel ill at ease and distracted."
Time to seek out a male counselor who can help you mature and get ready for the 40s and 50s and more . . .
I think you've been hurt a lot by both women and there has been no closure for you, maybe you need to look into getting counselling which should help you to do and be able to move on feeling more content and know you going in the right direction.
If you look at it, you've had two different relationships, one after the other, where they used you, cheated on on, left you taking money ....thats quite hard going and not nice! But you also lived with them and discussed a futures with them.
I think hurt and resentment comes out in different ways, dreaming about them, looking up on social media and fantasising about them out of courisoty, thinking about what you would say to them and fanatsing where you would be now with them . But one is married and one is engaged they have moved on and probably with the right people.
You say you're happy and love your wife and children and they the stable things in your life now, along with your businesss. I wouldnt question anything. Like you said, you have nothing to be unhappy and they sound like the best out come for you
just to clarify, I know that I would never be able to rekindle a relationship with either of them, nor reunite with either of them... I think it's more about the unfinished business and somehow not allowing myself to move on completely emotionally. The problem I have with the first girl I cited is we both mutually uphold our friendship, but its clear that she and I both allude to the remeber whens and the what ifs as we were together for so long, I feel the friendship I have with her may be a mistake, but as a friend we have alot of history and it feels secure to talk to her at times as a way to, i dunno, a remember where you came from sort of thing.
Its the dreams causing feelings of loss and absence qith confusion that have started plaging me in the recent, especially in the very recent that is making me feel I may be in a wrong place in life as, like I said, I feel its causing detraction from the relationship Im in not so much that I have any delusion of getting back together with either ex, but moreso that I wasnt ready to get into the relationship Im in now, or maybe Im in a place Im not truly happy to be in allowing nostalgic feelings to flood my brain from places of a time I was content.
I will try seeking a counselor as suggested, it just feels Im internalizing these feelings and ripping off my current girlfriend by allowing myself to feel discontent and distracted from her which she defiantly does not deserve. Ive been trying to be more honest with myself amd my emotions, but now I feel I need to atleast say it alloud, even if by this typenof forum, just to be able to even admit it to myself and be open to criticizim of my actions and reactions. Thank you both for the replies so far, Im definitely taking the feedback to heart. Simething needs to change so I can work on my self fullfiling happiness so I can continue to have success in my family and relationship with them.