Forum Archives

Return to Forum List

"giving up" memories

You are not logged in. Login here or register.

nealos posted 9/17/2013 22:38 PM

Someone posted in the wayward forum about (and I'm going to butcher this of all of its original eloquence) how a trait common in some successful long-term relationships is a constant re-affirmation of one's partnership. Essentially, "my husband makes me so happy and I'm proud of him," or "my wife is incredibly sexy and I'm such a lucky man to have her as a partner." Little affirmations that hold true and straighten one's attitude when life throws curveballs at you-- anything from gaining weight in middle age to serious trauma. It's a chosen attitude-- a mantra-- saying something so many times it BECOMES true or perhaps even transcends fact... and I thought this was an interesting idea.

I started to think about this in my current situation. I've started dating someone (don't worry, she knows about and accepts my recovery). However, I still have these "memories" of my ex floating around in my head. It's not all the time-- it's not that often-- but they're there. For instance, one of them was when my ex and I were at an airport in FL. This guy ahead of us in line told her that her smile just lit up the airport-- that she glowed with joy and beauty-- and he wasn't being creepy or anything, he was even comparing her to his wife and one of the things he loved most about her-- and I agree. She is that, always... and I miss it! I miss that about her. And I have this memory of him telling her that... and my memory includes how that made me feel. I was so proud to be her boyfriend then. I replay this memory from time to time... and I (until recently) have been reliving that memory... I relive that feeling. And I miss that feeling.

I know the relationship wouldn't work-- she's emotionally detached (hell, she almost married an addict) among other things. But it doesn't matter. I hold on to that relationship when I relive that memory-- I'm re-affirming that it was a great relationship, and that I think it would work. I'm not telling myself that explicitly, but isn't that in affect what is happening?

I really really want to "give up" that memory. I don't know how-- and frankly, I'm scared to. There's more work around this that I need to do, but I feel like talking about it here might help. I don't want that memory... but at the same time, I'm scared to give it up. Very very scared. <sigh>

Anyway, I think I need to give up memories like these. They have no place in my current relationship-- and they serve me nothing. Or at least I think they serve me nothing. Does anyone else think along these lines?

CallMeRed1 posted 9/18/2013 03:46 AM

I personally don't think there is anything wrong with cherishing nice memories, no matter what they are about.

My ex may have broken my heart and shattered our marriage beyond repair, but I still think of our wedding day as one of the best days of my life, for example.

I also still think of previous BFs occasionally, nice things we did or they said. I'd imagine it's normal.

Don't beat yourself up about having happy memories, that is what life is about.

Sad in AZ posted 9/18/2013 06:37 AM

I think you need to focus on detaching from your X rather than detaching from the memories. You may feel as if you've detached from her, but this is a perfect example that you have not.

Once you reach the blissful stage of complete detachment, those happy memories will be just that--happy memories. No ghosts hiding in them.

Hell, I with the X for 40 years; if I had to give up my happy memories, I'd need a lobotomy.

nealos posted 9/18/2013 14:05 PM

You may feel as if you've detached from her, but this is a perfect example that you have not. Once you reach the blissful stage of complete detachment, those happy memories will be just that--happy memories. No ghosts hiding in them.

How did you get there? ...I've done therapy work around grieving the end of the relationship, but this kind of feels different. My point earlier was to try to not practice re-living the memory... or reenacting the feelings the memory provided me. If I live those memories again I suspect they reinforce a feeling that I no longer wish to reinforce: that the relationship is good and fulfilling. The relationship is not good-- there is no relationship. So that might be a bit clearer on what I meant about "giving up" the memory. But this framing of "detachment" is good. I like the way that sounds.

Any advice? I have a prayer I do associated with my 12-step work where I say, "god please help me focus only on thoughts that are productive to me recovery and happiness." There was some relief, but I feel like I was saying it every 20min... it's exhausting. I'll keep doing that, but I would like more tools too.

Sad in AZ posted 9/18/2013 14:30 PM

Since you are a wayward, my approach is probably not helpful: I had to get very, very angry at the X--'good thing I don't have a baseball bat' angry. That allowed me to finally release the good feelings and hopes of R.

For you I suspect you will have to reach the point in your healing where you can forgive yourself; that's the point where you'll be able to let her go.

nealos posted 9/18/2013 14:46 PM

Shit. I think you're right... just letting that feeling happen-- of what it would be like to forgive myself-- elicited an emotional response. I've never thought that I might need to forgive myself. Maybe my attachment to her is weighted down by a need to be forgiven-- and I keep trying to reconcile that forgiveness by reliving fantasies/memories of our relationship-- thus amending the damage I did. But it can't be amended that way, obviously!... it has to be resolved internally... I need to forgive myself.

This is huge. Thanks so much!

Return to Forum List

© 2002-2018 ®. All Rights Reserved.