[Two Pronged] 'Every time I see her, I go back to my old self'
Rappler's Life and Style section runs an advice column by couple Jeremy Baer and clinical psychologist Dr Margarita Holmes.
Jeremy has a master's degree in law from Oxford University. A banker of 37 years who worked in 3 continents, he has been training with Dr Holmes for the last 10 years as co-lecturer and, occasionally, as co-therapist, especially with clients whose financial concerns intrude into their daily lives.
Dear Dr Holmes and Mr Baer,
Call me Martin, an 18-year old geek who loves computers, writing, and other nerdy stuff. As per a usual geek, no girlfriend since birth – not like there's a social stigma for it.
I used to have a crush on this particular girl, let's call her Annie (not real name), back when I was in high school. We used to be friends, but the moment she knew about it, it was like the end of our friendship. It was my mistake though; I shouldn't have been affected by everyone teasing me about it.
Well, it wasn't a complete Berlin Wall. We had our moments together, like dancing in the prom. Those were rare moments. I think she was uncomfortable being with me. She always says she isn't into a serious relationship (even until now).
Enter: college. First thing I did was to throw out the nerd part of me and become “cool” for the rest of my life. It was great being myself, not anxious about what others think.
I'm in my 3rd year college right now. I'm currently dating another girl. But one thing preventing me from entering a committed relationship is the fact that I have never forgotten my past girl. I had the chance of having a closure with her. But I didn't. Every time I see her, I go back to my old self.
I blew up everything in the past, so it's just right I stop bothering her. But I think that's not how I feel. Deep inside, there's the old me still hoping. I don't think it's healthy anymore.
I need help right now.
Thank you for your email.
So you used to have a crush on Annie in high school, nothing came of it, you are now 3 years later dating another girl (let's call her Jane) but have a sense of unfinished business with Annie which is still complicating your life.
If you want closure, then step up to the plate and get it. Go see Annie and find out how things develop from there. You have nothing to lose and all to gain. She may still not want to rekindle your friendship, which will give you the closure you desire.
Alternatively, she may be happy to re-establish your friendship and who knows where that will lead. Or you may find that your idealized memories of Annie do not reflect today's reality. Whatever the outcome, your problem of closure will be resolved.
This course of action will require you to have a serious conversation with Jane. The honest option is to explain your situation to her. She may not be very amused to find that she has been in a relationship with someone who cannot get over another girl or that she is now being put on hold while you work out your issues with Annie. Whether you and Jane have a future will depend first on how things go with Annie and whether Jane wants to wait around to find out.
However, from your point of view, if you don't get closure, it is likely to affect any relationship you have in the foreseeable future, whether with Jane or any other girl, so unless you want to spend possibly the rest of your life with this millstone round your neck, it's time to sort it out now.
All the best,
Thank you very much for your letter. I am happy to say I agree with Mr Baer about almost everything he said above except one point, which I will discuss in the following paragraph.
Mr Baer says and I quote:
“This course of action will require you to have a serious conversation with Jane. The honest option is to explain your situation to her.”
The reason I disagree is because you described your relationship with Jane as “I'm currently dating another girl (Jane). But one thing preventing me from entering a committed relationship is the fact that I have never forgotten my past girl.”
You are merely dating Jane and do not have a committed relationship with her. In fact, unless you told her explicitly that she is the only one you’re dating, you need not tell her about any other girl.
There is so, so much I want to say to you and I think the easiest way is to quote parts of your letter (in bold italics) and respond to them in non-bold, non-italics.
“Enter: college. First thing I did was to throw out the nerd part of me and become 'cool' for the rest of my life. It was great being myself, not anxious about what others think.”
Part of being yourself is not getting anxious about what others think. I hope that includes Annie and if it doesn’t, it will in time. Tell her how you feel (or write her a letter if you get tongue tied).
Rejection hurts no matter how it is done, but rejection will hurt so much less when you have laid all your cards on the table and been honest. This I promise you.
What gives me the most hope about you, however, is the second paragraph of your letter, where you write:
“I used to have a crush on this particular girl, let's call her Annie (not real name), back when I was in high school. We used to be friends, but the moment she knew about it was like the end of our friendship. It was my mistake though; I shouldn't have been affected by everyone teasing me for it.”
In fact, the above paragraph reassures me that you will more than survive, whatever Annie’s decision is about you relationship. And should she give you a definite “no,” I am certain that, though it may hurt a little (or a lot) you will get better.
Your ability to deal with the cards you’ve been dealt is great, but even more helpful and quite rare is your willingness to accept your own role in the problems you have…which is the quickest way to move on from any disappointment, isn’t it?
All the best,
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