‘I feel like a zombie’ thinking about my ex

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I can't stop thinking about my ex-girlfriend. We dated for two years and broke up more than seven years ago. She was younger, less experienced, and I just felt our timing was way off. I broke it off.

At the time, a mutual friend told me she met someone and got married and moved a few towns over.

Eventually, I also moved on and met someone. We live together and have a great life. I love her, and I'm lucky to have such a quality woman by my side.

However, I think of my ex every day. It started about two years into my current relationship – just once in while – but little by little, it became every single day. Sometimes it's multiple times per day. I'm preoccupied with my thoughts; I feel like a zombie. I don't see her on social media, and we live far apart. I've only seen her once, more than three years ago, when we ran into each other at a court when I was there for jury duty. We've had no contact since the run-in, but I can't get her out of my mind. I crave her in every way.

What is wrong with me? Why can't I let this go after such a long time?  Do I get out of my relationship and try to pursue her?  Do I go all in for her and hurt others in the process? What if the thoughts of her never disappear?

– Tired of thinking

You should not pursue this ex. She is married and has a life, and she has done nothing to indicate that she wants to hear from you, not even after your run-in.

Thinking about her has become ritual or you. You've turned it into a habit – a natural part of your day. It is very possible to change habits and stop unhealthy routines. I suggest seeking therapy for a strategy. You might get a lot out of the experience. This is a great time to talk to a professional about how to improve and better engage with your real life.

Usually, when someone tells me they're thinking about an ex from long ago, I ask them whether they also long for that time. Maybe the person represents youth, a more spontaneous life, and possibilities. That could be what's happening here. What was up seven years ago? It's worth thinking about what else you miss from that era. In reality, you might not be longing for her, specifically, at all.

Focus on yourself and your partner. Do it with some professional help. Remember that the ex you long for, the one you dream of, is a product of your own imagination. You don't know her.

– Meredith

Readers? Why is this on the LW's mind so frequently? What does it say about the current relationship?