Do you ever really let go of past loves?

necrodefy

New member
[correct me if I'm wrong, about anything, which I probably am, but that's why I'm here]

A concept I've been personally struggling with lately is that in theory, wouldn't being polyamorous mean you could move on to a new love while still holding onto a past one? Without going into egregious detail, I still have strong feelings for a girl that broke up with me a year ago. Monogamomy Law dictates that I must sever my feelings for said girl before letting a new one into my heart, but then again I'm not monogamous.

Say I fall in love with a new girl(s) now or in the future. Can't I love them while still having feelings for my previous love? I know that, regardless, the healthy thing would be to let go of my strong feelings for her, but she made such an impact on my life and who I am that doing so would be no small feat. In a way, anyone I've ever been with still feels like a part of me.

Does this make sense to anyone else, or do I need serious counseling?
 

Norwegianpoly

New member
I don't think this has much to do with polyamory. I don't love my exes, then breakups were hard and I moved on. I sometimes feel a sting of something, or attraction to some extent, but not love. I feel they are not worthy of my romantic love anymore. I may be friends with them though, if they manage to transion the relationship into friendship.
 
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tenK

New member
I'm still in touch with a very high proportion of my exes, and I'd say I still deeply love most of them…but only as a friend. I feel like the romantic side of those relationships did fade away naturally when it was no longer being nurtured by all parties. I have wondered if my propensity to 'keep' a lot of my exes in my inner circle might be related to being poly - I don't know many other people who do it to the extent that I have. Most of the people I have dated over the years have been mono, and for them, I am the exception - the one ex they are still in close contact with. Some of them have found it tough to explain to new (mono) partner why I am still a big part of their lives - it seems like that is very threatening to some people - but I am very grateful that they haven't dropped our friendship in that way.

In sum, I think being poly doesn't affect how (or if) I 'get over' romantic relationships, but I think it does mean that I am more willing to let that relationship transition to a good close loving friendship. I see no sense in cutting a person out of my life just because we no longer want to have sex with each other, and I think I am more willing than some to work through the difficult emotions that are sometimes required in order to make that transition happen. Does that make sense?
 

necrodefy

New member
tenK, that makes a lot of sense. Also, what you said made me realize that... I think the reason I've had such a hard time moving past this is because my ex did that thing where she completely cut off communication with me, and so aside from the romantic aspect I'm missing her presence in my life entirely!!!

On something you mentioned that's not specific to my situation but I'm glad you brought up... it disturbs me how much people are negatively affected when their significant others have ANY feelings towards others. Like seriously, do you not want your SO to even have friends? I've heard of horror stories where friends have to be disassociated to appease a jealous SO. It's incredibly sad.
 

FallenAngelina

Well-known member
People cut off communication because it's just too painful or emotionally unwieldy to keep in touch. This has no bearing on the depth of connection, though. I am of the mind that all of our relationships are eternal, no matter our degree of physical contact. The standard issue advice to cut off one person emotionally before you take up with the next is but a flimsy illusion, whether someone identifies as poly or mono. Everyone we ever care about remains a part of us forever, no matter who we are or whichever relationship model we subcribe to, that's how I see it.
 

Dagferi

Well-known member
I don't love my exes when is over its over.
 

necrodefy

New member
I like your take on it HappilyFallenAngel :eek:

I think the reason I think of it as more of a poly thing is because mono would say you can love only one at a time so you should get over your feelings before moving on, whereas in poly we're accustomed to loving more than one at a time so I feel that it'd be more forgivable to develop feelings for someone new while still harboring feelings for a past love. Even though the relationship is past tense, the feelings are not, hence having multiple loves.
 

nycindie

Active member
Even those who practice monogamy can still love people they've moved on from being in a relationship with. That has nothing to do with practicing poly or not. It has more to do with how much you let someone into your heart. But we can love people and still let go of them - for instance, when we know they aren't happy or are bad for us, etc.
 
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Hmmm - I wouldn't identify as mono or poly. To me these are words that describe relationship structures not human beings.

For over 20 years now I've either been in mono relationships or single. I have absolutely no desire right now to have multiple relationships myself or to have a partner who is actively poly. Too much work and effort - one mono relationship is enough relationship work in my life just now. :)

That doesn't mean that I would cut off contact with past loves or feel that I don't love them any longer. I spent the whole of my 20s with one man. We graduated university together, bought our first house together, had our first pets together. Lots of firsts. When we broke up, it was just down to being incompatible. Neither of us felt that the other had done anything wrong and we parted ways in a kind and loving way.

Our lives have taken us in different directions and we're no longer close. We think of each other with love. Not intense, desperate, wanting each other back type love. More like the sort of affection people have for old friends who they've grown apart from.

Feelings are just feelings.

I would be wary of starting new relationships if my heart and mind were so caught up still with a past relationship that I couldn't fully engage with a new relationship. But I wouldn't expect myself ever to feel nothing for an old love.

IP
 

FallenAngelina

Well-known member
I like your take on it HappilyFallenAngel :eek:

I think the reason I think of it as more of a poly thing is because mono would say you can love only one at a time so you should get over your feelings before moving on.....

:)


But if this were true, then 90% of the population would be single. Most people I've ever come to know closely have feelings for others besides their current mate. Not all are insane, obsessive, gaga feelings, but open heart feelings for sure. Monogamy is about behavior, not about feelings.
 

Norwegianpoly

New member
Even in poly, there has to be room for a new love. Also, there has to be trust even when trust has been broken in the past. Like lots of people have pointed out, you carry your past with you. That doesn't mean you can't dedicate a big part of you towards your new love, be it mono or poly.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
There are some beautiful women in my past, and I still have a soft spot for each of them ... though I'll never see them again.

WHAT SHE'S DOIN' NOW
... by Garth Brooks

Last time I saw her it was turnin' colder,
But that was years ago.
Last I heard she had moved to Boulder,
But where she's now I don't know,
But there's somethin' 'bout this time of year
That spins my head around,
Takes me back, makes me wonder,
What she's doin' now?

'Cause what she's doin' now is tearin' me apart,
Fillin' up my mind, and emptyin' my heart.
I can hear her call each time the cold wind blows,
And I wonder if she knows ... what she's doin' now.

Just for laughs I dialed her old number,
But no one knew her name.
Hung up the phone, sat there and wondered
If she'd ever done the same.
I took a walk in the evenin' wind,
To clear my head somehow,
But tonight I lie here thinkin'
What's she doin' now?

'Cause what she's doin' now is tearin' me apart,
Fillin' up my mind, and emptyin' my heart.
I can hear her call each time the cold wind blows,
And I wonder if she knows ...

That what she's doin' now is tearin' me apart,
Fillin' up my mind, and emptyin' my heart.
I can hear her call each time the cold wind blows,
And I wonder if she knows ... what she's doin' now.
 

opalescent

Active member
I still love all of my ex-partners. I always will. We broke up because the relationship didn't work anymore not because of lack of love. Now I believe it is possible to kill love by behaving poorly. I've been lucky in that my exes have been stand up people. If they had been assholes (or if I was an asshole) then I suspect that my experience would have been very different.

I have also moved on. I don't want them back in my life romantically. That didn't work - no need to try that again. But my love for them remains. And I am glad for that love, for how they remain on my life and all I learned and grew from being with them. Moving on and love are not mutually exclusive in my experience.
 
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JaneQSmythe

Active member
Disclaimer: I don't have any ex-partners, I've never "broken up" with someone (well, a friend once - but no romance or sex involved). But I do have ex-lovers/FWBs that I still feel affection for. I hope they are having fulfilling lives and wish them the best. I've run into PianoBoy several times over the last few years, I'm always pleased to see him and glad that he is happy with his wife and kids.

I know that MrS still 'loves' his first GF. They broke up for valid reasons and aren't particularly close now, they might touch base once every few years. (She is married now, with a kid.)

Dude still cares about several of his ex's, even if he is no longer in contact with them.

One can be "over" the relationship without squashing all feeling to nothing. It depends on the person(s), the relationship, the circumstances.
 

mynameisasher

New member
No.

I am 65 and retired, and in a 35-year [second] marriage. I am still deeply in love with the girl I was with in 1969. We broke up, and in the early 1980's she was taken from us by a horrible crime. But through two marriages and two wonderful kids, she remains the one love I never got over. I still carry her picture from the holidays in 1969, and will love her forever.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
My wife passed away in 2013. Every thought of her brings back a flood of memories, and what I wouldn't give for a time machine.
 

LovingRadiance

Active member
I love my exes.
Our relationships ended because there was some aspect that wasn't working for one or both of us; not for lack of love.
 
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