There’s an episode of 7th Heaven where Matt has a bit of an … episode … about girlfriends past. It happens on Valentines’ Day or something. He’s sitting there thinking about why he’s alone, so he ends up visiting all his exes to find out exactly why he broke up with them. I do that sometimes. I look back at the guys in my life and try to analyse what went wrong.

Because I’m such an over-thinker, I generally have clear, distinctive answers to my musings. There’s only one ex I would willingly go back to, and sometimes I still wonder why he left. Plus, we’re still on good terms, so every once in a while we have a nice, friendly chat.

He’s seeing someone else now, and I’m genuinely happy for them. She’s the complete opposite of me, the kind of girl I sometimes want to be. Looking at her, I see why he left me. She’s everything I never was, everything I tried to be for him. He used to say I moulded myself into him, changed myself to suit him.

You see, he had a very clear idea of what his dream girl was like, and when he first asked me out, he said he was surprised that he had fallen for me at all. I was so not dream-girl material. I spent the entire relationship worrying that he would find the girl of his dreams and that I could never really make him happy. I weaved between trying to be her and berating myself for not quite making it.

Broken Wings by 1lostGirl -
Art by 1l0stGirl –

In the end, he picked someone who could be that kind of girl effortlessly, even though we’d been apart for two years before he met her. Of course she has flaws (and of course I see those flaws quite clearly). But he loves her good points more.

Sometimes I wonder if he ever thinks of me, or misses me, if there are traits in me that he wishes she possessed. After all, we had stuff in common that she doesn’t get. She’s not much of a reader, for example. I first met him in a virtual library, and she doesn’t seem to enjoy books very much.

I asked him about it once. I was re-reading the book he bought me on my birthday, and asked him what he was reading at the time. He said he doesn’t read much these days. His girl prefers movies, so they have season tickets to their equivalent of IMAX. I wondered (inside my head) if he missed reading, and whether – by extension – he missed me. But I respect his new relationship, so I’d never ever ask that question out loud.

It made me wonder about cheating. There will always be a certain quality, memory, hobby you share with your ex that your current doesn’t quite understand. Or maybe you meet someone new that shares the one hobby your current partner detests. If you were to indulge that particular longing, it could be very easy to have that passion for  minute, or an hour, or a night. I guess you just have to choose not to indulge it.

So I look at this ex now, at the person he becomes when he’s with her, a person I never saw when we were together. I wonder if that person was inside him all along, itching to be let out, or whether he has changed to suit her just like I changed to suit him. I wonder if being with me restricted him from ‘being himself’ or whether I was so caught up in my vision of him that I simply didn’t notice those things about him.

I wonder if I could love the person that he is now, the person he has become because of her, and whether this new person could ever love a girl like me. Probably not, or he would still be with me. That’s why people should never play ‘what if’. It’s a pointless, hurtful, extremely dangerous game. Also, Happy-Month-After-Valentines-Day.

♫ Broken Wings ♫ Alter Bridge ♫

106 thoughts on “Steps into the past

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