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Thread: INTPs and Nostalgia: Why am I letting his past haunt our relationship?

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    INTPs and Nostalgia: Why am I letting his past haunt our relationship?

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    Last edited by pythagolivia; 03-12-2017 at 04:11 PM.

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    TJ TeresaJ's Avatar
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    Sounds to me like your concerns are legit. The question that I have then becomes whether or not it's a big deal.

    Is he still in love with her or is he just processing all the repercussions?

    It took me about two years to get over the second to last time I fell in love, while in a subsequent relationship. If you can both discuss it reasonably, which it sounds you should be able to, an honest discussion of what he felt and still feels for her seems called for.

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    Hasta Siempre Madrigal's Avatar
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    I don't see any justification to keep all these mementos from his past relationship. Unless she's dead, that's just weird. Hell, even if she were dead, it would be weird.
    Everything under heaven is in utter chaos; the situation is excellent. - Mao

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    Member Thoth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pythagolivia View Post
    ...but he has also made it clear that he will never tell me I am more important to him than she was. He says I must respect his past, that what they had was very special. He keeps a ton of mementos in his room from their relationship: signs they stole together, teddies from travels, etc. He recently relocated into a tiny studio apartment and while most of their photos went into storage, he kept a folder filled with old love letters from her, and I see it on his desk every time I visit (he doesn't know that I know what's in it and I doubt he'd ever trust me again if he knew I'd read it). I borrowed his computer once to look up and article on Facebook and his recently searched Facebook tabs were her close friends.
    Only you can ultimately make the decision on what's right for you, but my arm chair questions would be:
    1) Are you comfortable with always being second?
    2) Why is it your issue to get over his past and not his own?

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    igKnight Hephaestus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pythagolivia View Post
    So what is going on here? I know he loves me, I'm sure of that. But is she forever going to be his one that got away? His one true love that I just can't compare to? How am I meant to reconcile the scenario where his heart is fully with me, with the scenario wherein he keeps this pile of intimate love-letters from his past on his desk?

    I've become so overwhelmed by these thoughts over the last year that I can't shake her ghostly presence and my constant need to compare myself to her. I feel a lack of closure about the issue, but I don't know how to deal with it. I've tried to bring up the topic a few times but he's never responded fully, and I don't want to seem like an untrustworthy insecure jealous idiot.
    She isn't the one that got away because she's always stalking him, but he isn't returning. She didn't get away. Still, I can see the case for insecurity, and I've seen enough of how people behave to know your concerns are likely not groundless. It's not impossible for them to be misplaced, but going from gut probabilities, the base rate isn't in your favour--which sucks for both of you if he is actually through with her.

    I'd be inclined to mention you feel like you're competing with a ghost, but before you do, if you do, figure out what it would take to not feel that way, otherwise there can be no end to it. It might be that at this point there will be no end to it because of the past you've already built together on top of the previous relationship. It might be that all you end up doing is smoothing the way for his next relationship to not be haunted because he'll know to keep said mememento collection stripped down and obfuscated, or disposed of entirely, though that latter option is the least likely one to happen.

    The biggest visible problem is that the ex is still stalking him--and you're hardly the first person to be in that position. Happens with either gender.

    The biggest invisible problem--and likely the biggest problem--is that he's trying to protect people from their feelings. If you were all 10 years older, it probably wouldn't go down this way because he'd know better, but right now is when you're all discovering why it's a bad idea. You're embroiled in an unpleasant learning experience for everyone involved.

    I also think he's wrestling with the same ghost. The reason he's having difficulty completely shunning her is that ghost of who she used to be. He's trying to respect her. I think that if he could realize she isn't respecting him, you'd see more definite lines being drawn. As it is, it sounds like he's stuck being wishy washy when both you and the ex need need more spine from him.

    He's not going to grow a spine until he sees need for it.

    It's the romantic equivalent of having three P's try to figure out where to have lunch. He's treating you both as equals instead of taking the lead you're both expecting of him.

    Disclosure: I am an observer, not a participant, in amorous relationships.

    Quote Originally Posted by Madrigal View Post
    I don't see any justification to keep all these mementos from his past relationship. Unless she's dead, that's just weird. Hell, even if she were dead, it would be weird.
    Men are more sentimental than women.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thoth View Post
    Only you can ultimately make the decision on what's right for you, but my arm chair questions would be:
    1) Are you comfortable with always being second?
    2) Why is it your issue to get over his past and not his own?
    I don't think that's what he meant when he said she would never be more important than she was. I think that's just him thinking that previous relationship hit his max regarding caring for another person. He might be right, might be wrong. But it doesn't mean taking second place other than chronologically. Still, it's a surprisingly casually callous comment--but pretty INTP.
    --Mention of these things is so taboo, they aren't even allowed a name for the prohibition. It is just not done.

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    Member Thoth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hephaestus View Post
    Still, it's a surprisingly casually callous comment--but pretty INTP.
    Yeah, maybe it's my "F" in the mix, but I would characterize his statements/actions as rather tactless, egocentric and immature even as INTP objectiveness/bluntness can go (though I do realize we are talking a 21 year old here). I can see the objective, upstanding argument in being honest up front, but any sort of framing that his inability to move on from his previous relationship is his new partner's problem should she fault/disparity in their current relationship is social chicanery in my book.

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    The ex sounds quite manipulative. I think he needs to ditch her. Cold turkey. Keep the mementos but shift them away somewhere. A different building entirely. By keeping contact up with that girl he's perpetually tempted and he's not decisive enough to live with the temptation/curiosity and make the good choice. He may not be aware of that, because you say he doesn't like talking about those things. I don't think he's deliberately being stupid. He just can't help it.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Spartan26's Avatar
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    In no particular order...

    Assuming him to be your age, I wouldn't make anything of a need or desire to hold onto things. It's his life. As he does more, accumulates more, experiences more, older stuff may get shoved further and further back. Heck, if I had concert T-shirts that fit from back in the 80s best believe I'd wear them today. Of course I wore them less and less as i got older. I'll still pull out some old groups to listen to today but but even if it's a group I was really into and they're playing a show nearby, there's still only a slim chance that I'll go see them. Somewhere in my parents' basement I prolly still have an autographed poster of a couple of Playmates I met on a spring break trip to Daytona Beach. It went from dead center on my wall so people could see it and I could recall the experience of the trip to people. But then it went to the back of the door. And then it was inside my closet door. Then it's in a tube w/retired NBA players and promos of friends' bands. Life moves on. But it's at his or anyone else's own pace.

    Going through people's stuff is not healthy for you, for the other person and certainly not a relationship. For what you don't know your brain will fill in pieces to complete the narrative. These fill-ins will almost always be negative. Spying on someone is not getting to know someone. When you acquire information this way you cease asking questions or allowing someone to reveal more about themselves as they feel comfortable. When you do ask and don't get the answer you believe to be true or find it to be incomplete, you will grow resentful and distrustful or hurt for what is not communicated. You may speculate incorrectly, too. For what to him may be no big deal and not worth mention, you may feel slighted that he's keeping something from you. Lack of privacy builds anger. People will pick up on distrust and suspicion by their partner and it will cause them to withdraw even further away. Which in turn causes the other person to become more certain that the person is keeping something from them.

    I don't know if anything good could come of meeting an ex. Will it cause you to change? Will you compare yourself even more to her? Would she try to become friends and use you to get back into his life? Would she plant seeds to get you to feel resentful? Maybe not even intentionally. If he's bringing her up all the time just tell him to cut it out. No explanation needed.

    Remember he's an introvert. Nothing is wrong with him for not sharing. He's also not going to be good, at least as good as you'd like for him to be, at discussing feelings. If you find what he does in relation to his ex, like mentioning too much or seeing her too much, and it hurts you, then you should be honest with yourself and him and tell him so.

    How many SO's have you had? How many has he had?

    It seems like you guys had been broken up long enough to sufficiently start anew. I wouldn't expect him to know what to say without having time to consider your concerns. You should come up with specific questions and give him time to think about them before answering. He may not have answers for why he does all that he does. Self awareness isn't likely developed at all at his age. I know I certainly hadn't. Small steps, keep communicating.

  9. #9
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    I've been there, and if I were you, I'd start thinking about moving on. The guy you're with is stuck in the past, so let him be there.
    "Doesn't matter what a man has if he doesn't have purpose. You take that away from him, man usually goes with it." -Beau

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