Thinking about my first boyfriend

Hey there. I'll post self-help reviews on Monday. Have a good weekend.

I'm younger than most of your writers. I am 19 but I don't believe that a lack of maturity is an issue in my story.

My ex, "C," and I have been broken up for almost two years. We started dating when I was much younger and he was much older. He was my first real boyfriend (and first everything). We had a great relationship. We dated for a year and a half until I ended it because I was young and felt trapped. The relationship was too serious for me and I guess I got scared and wanted out. I was on and off with C while being on and off with my current boyfriend, "J," for a month or two. The day after I finally ended it with C for good, I started dating J more seriously. Now J and I have been dating for the two years, but every day I think about C and regret my decision. Sometimes I think about how C was the right person, wrong time, but I know that's not true. My current boyfriend is everything I want in a man, but for some reason I'm not happy. Well, I'm happy as long as I don't think about C.

I know C feels the same way. We can't be in the same place because it's too heart-wrenching. We both care so much about each other, and I'm the one who just won't go back. I just know that he isn't the kind of boyfriend I want, not abusive or anything terrible, just lazy, snobbish, and not very romantic. J Is perfect, attractive, attentive, romantic, and so in love but for some reason I'm just not happy. I get scared when I think about breaking up with him and just figuring things out partially because I haven't been alone in years, but also because I'm terrified of breaking up with J only to find myself longing for him the way I do for C.

Please help. I'm so confused about why I can't let this past ex go. We have been apart longer then we dated, and my current relationship has always been 10 times better. Is this a "want what you can't have" issue?

– I left him, but I can't leave him, Vancouver

You sound quite thoughtful and mature, ILHBICLH, but you're still 19. You can't change your place in life just because you're self-aware.

Your last relationship haunts you because it was your first. C was older and larger than life. He always will be.

As for J, he's just too much right now. He's so serious -- and you just want to be 19. I understand that you're afraid of being alone, but you don't have much of a choice. You're not ready for this. J deserves to know.

Timing is important, especially at your age. Based on what you've told us, I just don't think that you'll be confident about any relationship until you've spent some time by yourself.

One of the lessons here is that it's pretty normal to mourn the loss of a relationship. You might be miserable and sad about a breakup, but it doesn't mean that you want the person back. It just means that you don't take things lightly. That's a good thing.

If you break up with J (and you will, right?), you will miss him and doubt your decision. You will mourn, for sure. And that's OK. You'll read this letter and remember why you're learning to be on your own.

You know what you have to do about J. Your obsession with C isn't really about C. C represents an out. You want an out. That's all you need to know.
Readers? Is this about her age? If she drops J, how can she avoid going back to C? Does she have to be single for a while? Why is she thinking about C? And will she regret dropping J? Help.

– Meredith