‘My heart aches, 12 years later’

I am a happily married woman with two young kids. My problem? I am still hung up on my ex. We dated when I was 16 and he was 21. We were together for four years. He was a first of many things for me. We broke up 12 years ago.

I felt I missed out on a lot while we were dating and ended up drinking quite heavily and got into drugs. The two years following our break up, I was hardly sober enough to miss him. Then reality hit when I found myself pregnant. I sobered up and found myself depressed and all alone.

I always have loved him. Even before I met my now-husband, I would still try to connect with him, even tried to arrange a meeting with him when my daughter and I were visiting relatives in the same area (which he declined).

I still dream about him often, think of him often and my heart aches, 12 years later. This was never a sudden revelation. Please give me some much needed advice on what I should do and how to finally let go. I do love my husband; he is my best friend.

– Haunted

It doesn't sound like you're longing for your ex. You haven't been with with this man in 12 years, which means your fantasies have nothing to do with who he is now.

It sounds like these feelings are about wanting to make sense of your past. You've been through a lot, and maybe you haven't had enough time to think it through.

That's why you need to take this issue to therapy, where you can talk about everything from dating this man at 16 to building a life with a husband and two kids. A professional will help you find the context you're looking for. A professional will help you accept the story – and let it go.

I suspect that part of the reason you're always thinking about this is because you haven't been able to talk about it. Therapy is the best way to get it out of your system.

– Meredith

Readers? Is this about the ex or her past, in general?