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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
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Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology helping with relationships
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Issues with previous relationships

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Hi.. I am facing a very unique problem at my personal front. I am a 31 yr old guy doing good for myself professionally and soon going to tie knot with a very nice girl with in a matter or few months. And I love her a lot and pretty excited for our life together. But ... I have an issue here. Before this, I was in a relationship for around 9 yrs with another girl. Out of which 7 yrs were with distance relationship. Need less to say we both have shared quite much together and never had seen a future without each other. Shes well educated and an independent woman today. But when we started we were in college. During this time we had been together in thick and thins of our lives and our bond was spontaneous and comfortable. I lost both of my parents and she was with me like a pillar and strength always. And same was I. She cared for me and gave me that much needed strength to not loose it.

However, something went wrong and she dated another guy in between and since it was a distance relationship, I came to know about it too late. We almost had a breakup but I trusted her words and we were both together. But this kept on happening again and again behind my back for almost 1 n half year. It broke me a lot and I was very disappointing. Before I could handle this, my father got terminally ill and passed away. She, who was again feeling guilty of being repetitive offender, stayed up with me all this while. 

But since the demise of my parents, I started getting an urge of getting married as I myself wasnt able to cope with the loneliness and needed her to be with me ASAP. She was into her studies then and hence it could not have been possible. I understand that, but I wanted to talk this out at her house with her parents and let them feel that I am in need of her more then ever now. Hence, lets at least plan our future and let me assure myself till when can I see us together. No one at her place entertained this and they always wanted me to wait till the right time comes. Though, they were really okay with our relationship. I have waited for 2 yrs after I lost me last parent and still I didnt know when am I going to start up a life on my own, which I needed because of more than one reason. I was kind of getting uneasy. Since nothing was happening and it was turning out to be a never ending wait, I finally had to take a very hard decision and move on. When I took this decision, I had grown emotionally and mentally weak and I just wanted to move on take a step out of this relationship. And I did. I totally understood the reason why nothing was done earlier while she was still studying but I wanted that atleast I should know how much wait I have to be doing for this. I wanted this to work out at very best. Now, at present, I am engaged to another girl who is really loving, caring and kind. I have no complains with her and I know she is capable of raising a happy and healthy family. But I am still not feeling good about the end of my previous relationship. I am still in touch with that girl and since the time I had moved on, shes grown sad and depressed. I dont feel good when I see her like that at all. And gradually, a sense of guilt is creeping inside me. At times I feel that I could have waited for few more months and we could have been together and just because of my impulsive behavior, I ended it all. Then, at the same time I feel what I did was correct as I thought for myself. And since I had taken a decision then, I should not be regretting it now. I dont want this to affect my future and I want to clear out my head before I walk into this very imp phase of my life. Afterall, I cant let any residue from my past relationship pass on to my future one.

I am not sure if I am correct here but I feel stressed and uneasy at times with such thoughts pondering inside me all the time. I would be getting married in January 2014. Kindly advice on my emotional unrest and guide me for the better future ahead with this new person in my life. Many Thanks.

Hi! I'll be glad to be of help with this issue.

I can imagine how confusing this situation must be for you. You are clearly a caring and loving man and you are torn because you've opted for happiness in your life, that was your decision back then. But she is now in a depressed and difficult time; you feel as though you might have been able to give both you and her happiness and you opted for your own happiness only. In other words, she would not have been in this depressed and difficult time in her life had you stayed.

And this is actually the key to my answer to you that you need to consider and think about. This is a variant of what we call in psychology magical thinking. It is the type that happens to good people. It's not the kind of magical thinking that happens when someone has serious thought disorders. But it is the kind we often find ourselves doing:

We think that somehow, our making a decision for our own benefit is invalid in some way. And if we would have decided in favor of the other person's needs, then their lives would have been different. Not just different, but the problems they subsequently had would not have happened or we would have solved those problems for them.

Why is this magical thinking?

Because there's no evidence that her depression and difficulties would not have happened anyways. That you would now be living with a woman who's depressed and having these difficulties. There's also no evidence that being in a relationship would have changed her depressive tendencies, etc.

You made a decision that you needed to make and it has borne wonderful fruit. You are soon going to be married! Your ex is depressed and this is her life situaiton for her to deal with.

So, be happy with your fiance, be excited for your future, wish your ex the best, XXXXX XXXXX her go. She needs to make her own way in life as do you.

Okay, I wish you the very best in your upcoming marriage!

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Many thanks for the wishes. There is one more thing that I wanted to add to my query. Recently, I also learnt that she has been seeing another guy after we separated. And this goes all fine with me, since I wanted that she also move on with her life and hope she finds someone who takes care of her well.

Initially, I had a sense of discomfort as I had never thought of her being with any other person and I got some uncomfortable. But the I made myself understand that as I have, she also has a right to make a choice and hence, its alright if shes with someone now.

However, the guy whom she was apparently seeing turned out to be a married person. And that disturbed me a lot. I had wished for her betterment only. I tried to counsel her to take a grip of her life and take some constructive steps in her life. But since then, I have got an acute sense of guilt of me responsible for all this.

Since I know her too well I never wanted her to be in this destructive state of mind.

All I can do today is to make her understand whats good for her but cant be a part of if.

Since any thing bad related to her affects me a lot, should I completely isolate myself with her. I get really upset when anything like this happens.

This affects my current alliance as well indirectly as I get distracted.


Kindly advice. Many Thanks.

Yes, I was concerned about this urge to take care of her. It was an undercurrent in your original question and I didn't want to dwell on it, so I only hinted at it by saying that you should wish her will and move on.

This is very important for both of you. You are not the cause of her choosing to give herself to a married man. That was her choice and it was part of a downward spiral. Again, you didn't cause the downward spiral; and it may have happened if she was with you as well.

But the important thing is that the friendship between you is not helping her. She needs to recognize that she got herself into this situation and that she has the power to get herself out of it. Your trying to help her takes away from that need. Her taking steps to help herself is what will get her to a good place in her life.

And it is not healthy for you. Your fiance needs your undivided attention. Really. And you need to not feel guilty for giving your fiance what she needs.

I wish you the very best!

Dr. Mark