With my new boyfriend, thinking about my ex

Season 2 of the podcast begins today. The first two episodes involve a hair salon that got into matchmaking, and an office romance that very much involved HR. Find it on iTunes here. Find it on Spotify here.

Dear Meredith,

I recently changed cities, and one month after my big move I met a new guy. I was immediately passionate about him in a way I've never been with someone straight off the bat before. We've been dating ever since, and I love that he is such a genuinely kind person, but recently I've found myself thinking back to someone who hurt me almost a year ago, before my move. This man and I also met on a dating app. He was an art student's dream; he restored old buildings for a living, had a film photography hobby, and played an instrument. We dated for two months, during which time we saw each other three or four times a week, agreed we wanted more than a hookup, met each other's friends, and became exclusive. He took so many Polaroids of me that I'm still coming across the ones I failed to burn.

The last time I saw him, he had bailed last minute on an important show of mine that he'd promised to see. His excuse was that he didn't have time to make it across town after my set got moved up by a few hours (Read: I wasn't worth the cost of an Uber). In an admittedly desperate grab not to let him totally flake on me, I asked him to hang out after my set was over. He took me to lunch, walked me home, but declined to come in. I never saw or heard from him again. I will admit that I ignored several warning signs. He told me that he'd only ever loved one girl and had broken up with her without warning one day. After that, he dated someone else for over a year but claimed to have never really felt anything for her. He also told me he rarely cared deeply for other people at all. Meredith, I know this guy's emotionally damaged and that it wasn't my fault he ghosted me. So why do I still have flashbacks of playing guitar in his room while I'm with my new, much nicer boyfriend?

- Haunted By a Ghost


You have guitar and Polaroid memories because a) you keep finding those photos and b) because your experiences with this man were romantic and nice. The relationship seemed like it had potential, so you began to have hope. Just like you do for your new relationship now.

That's probably why you're thinking so much about the past. You've found a new significant other who makes you feel safe and excellent. But ... that last relationship felt pretty good in in the beginning too. You were blindsided by that breakup, so it makes sense that your brain is replaying the events that led to the end. Maybe you're remembering the good stuff because you're looking for clues that will tell you whether your current relationship is as good as you think it is.

Your best bet is to allow yourself to remember the guitar playing for a minute, sigh, and then move on. Distract yourself by turning on music that has nothing to do with your ex. Go to a coffee shop he'll never see. Remind yourself that you are with a very different person now, which means there's no way to use past experiences to predict what will happen in the future.

– Meredith

Readers? How can the LW get rid of this ghost?