I once dated a guy who just could not let go of his past.
You remind me of my ex … Are you serious?!
Everything from how he wore his hair to the drinks he ordered me were based on what he had done for his ex wife.
He would remark so often how I reminded him of her, which to me was not a compliment. It had me constantly question if he saw me or her when we were together.
He would order me her favourite drink and obsess if I wore a perfume or skirt that twigged his memory of her.
Thinking I would be flattered he would voice all the similarities we shared. I once snuck a look of her on his Facebook and was horrified as I saw very little resemblance to us physically and even less to us as individual women.
A past life
To make matters even harder to bear were his conversations. They were full of his past life, his childhood and the mistakes he had made. He would fill our time together with his memories about his friends and his life. At no time interested in mine and not once was there talk of a memory we had shared.
He held on tight to his regrets and his memories of these. They consumed him. Devoured his days and kept him awake at night with nightmares and the agony of “what ifs”.
A penance for your sin
He would dissapear at all hours and leave no note of where he had gone. Then on his return he would be prone to fits of anger or succumb to hours of heart wrenching tears as he tried to process his daily penance of sins for crimes long forgotten by everyone else.
He was emotionally empty and to me emotionally draining.
With a wall of moments I did not share and no way to penetrate them, I would turn over and leave him withering in the tortured weight of his past.
A little bite of reality
I was unable to process why he chose to relive moments gone by instead of making new memories.
In holding on to his previous life he was unable to live in the moment, plan his future or invite anyone into his life.
No matter how hard I tried to understand, I was angry and resentful. I had opened my heart and offered my hand in a new journey, and he was not willing to even try to move forward on this path with me.
You see, it became so obvious in my frustration to try get him to become more present that the moment he invited someone to share his day, he would suffocate the moments and shut the other person out by only talking about his past.
Memories are important
And while all of our past memories are precious and deserve a special place, if the past was your best life and you are not open to discover what life still has to offer you then you are stuck.
Stuck in a void that will never allow you to truly feel happiness, excitement, joy or life again.
Stuck to be trapped in the moments you relive over and over and over again.
This future’s not looking so bright
Very soon into our relationship, it was evident to me, that he needed a therapist not a partner.
Now, don’t get me wrong,he was a great guy and honestly I most likely could have endured a few years of trying to fix him and struggling to understand why only his memories were ever good enough for him.
You see, without my self esteem and my love of life, I could have gotten stuck with him.
I may have become just as negative, as lonely or as sad. I may have become trapped in my own few memories and end my life there, simply continuing to breathe and exist.
But who wants to live in that state of limbo? Who wants to be haunted by memories you do not share? Who wants to be that insignificant and unseen by the person holding their hand?
It dawned on me that had I stayed, I may have given upon my own dreams and tried to recreate his memories for him.
Or worse, I may have believed it my fault that he could not move out of the shadows of his own choosing.
So, what if you live in the present?
But, I love life. I love dreaming.
Whilst my memories are important and I often look back, I don’t stay there.
I’m positive and always moving forward with the reminder that if my life was so great at those moments I fondly remember just imagine how many amazing things, how many opportunities and how much still to experience is waiting ahead for me.
I live in the present and often in the future of my goals and dreams.
Breaking it off
And so, I remember sitting across the table from him, before I was about to break the news that we were officially over, and wondering if I would become a memory or if like his life I would just fizzle out until my light had completely gone?