Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Is this newlywed blues or a really bad case of the what-ifs?
Q: I'm a newlywed. The first month was great, and then I was suddenly walloped with a serious case of missing an ex. Couldn't sleep for a few days, and still can't seem to stop thinking about him.
We ended on bad terms (with him not speaking to me). We still run in some of the same circles so I'm bound to see him, but dreading it, afraid that the missing and anxiety will be too acute. (I'm not worried about awkwardness in speaking to him; he's likely to act like I'm invisible.)
I guess part of what's bothering me is the feeling that my new marriage has made it impossible to make amends in any way that would be appropriate now that I'm married.
Worst of all, I've become really frustrated with my husband, who is objectively wonderful, but it's driving me crazy that he's NOT the other guy. Completely horrible and unfair, I know.
I guess my question is how not to be such a nutcase.
New Marriage Blues
A: If you still had feelings for the ex and hoped your husband would help you spackle them over, then you were a nutcase waiting to happen. That might feel like the worst case, but admitting it is still better than trying to deny it.
If on the other hand you can honestly say that you really were blindsided by these newlywed blues, then the ex could be a proxy for some other doubts or pains.
It sounds an awful lot like the former, but the latter has certainly been known to happen.
Either way, you're going to need some room to think without your husband (or anyone else) present to clutter your thinking. That could mean you build a daily walk into your schedule, or a trip to the gym or wherever else you can reasonably expect to be alone without interruptions. It could mean you get away on your own for a few days, maybe visit an out-of-town friend. A therapist's office would also be a safe place to talk this out.
An honest reckoning might not be possible until you do away with those insidious fictions we call "what-ifs." Q: What if you hadn't broken up the way you did? A: You would have broken up some other way. There's your what-if. Now face your what-is.
Want to go from just friends to more? Better to just tell him
Q: I think I'm falling for a friend of mine. We already have a close relationship and all of the usual interest "signals" — casual touch on the arm, showing interest in what he has to say and what he does — aren't going to do anything since we do all of those already. I think he might have been interested in me in the past. Are my only options to stay in friend territory forever or do a full-on confession, or is there another, more subtle way?
A: You can invite him to join you on more conspicuously date-y things, and get a little less casual about your arm touches. Or you can just see these in writing and, I hope, be inspired to drop the games and just tell him you're falling for him.