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Relationship Health Message Board

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I was with this guy for 5 and a half years - about 2 yrs in, he started hitting me. I wasn't strong enough to leave him then, but I started planning my escape by applying to graduate school on the other side of the country. 3 years later I finally got away and for the past year, I've been living on my own, going back to school, really trying to rebuild myself. For the first few months I was so stunned by all the changes in my life that I didn't get out of the house much, but finally this summer I started dating - I have been with 3 different guys since my ex. Also lost 10 pounds, and school is going really well - it has already opened all kinds of doors for me. I'm so sure I did the right thing and I'm proud of myself for my newfound independence.

The PROBLEM is, since school started up again this year, I CAN'T STOP THINKING ABOUT MY EX and all the nice things about our relationship. This is so terrifying because I really thought I was over him. Why is my brain so willing to forget all the OBVIOUS PROBLEMS to preserve some sentimental, romantic picture of what we had? I am worried that this kind of thinking is what led me blindly into an abusive relationship in the first place. Even in the last summer we were together he was still hurting me - smothering my face and pushing my head into the bed when I said something whiney one time, and tearing one of my favorite books into pieces in another fight. So obviously things were not as rosy as I want to think they were, but I still seem to focus only on the things I loved about him.

He made it pretty easy for me to move on by not really communicating with me for the first 6 months after we broke up, but this summer he started calling and e-mailing about how he wished things had turned out differently and how he couldn't stop thinking about me. He has a new girlfriend, whom he started dating only 2 months after we broke up, and when I think about that I get furious for some reason. But the point is, I know he is playing mindgames on me by trying to suck me back in, but nonetheless it is working!!! Is it normal to have a relapse like this, after you feel like you've made progress away from someone? How do I get him off my mind this time? I've done all the recommended things: I have tons of friends and family to support me here, I'm busy all the time with things I care about, I'm staying in shape, I am good to myself. But all the time, underneath everything, I have a gut-wrenching sadness about this relationship that I can't seem to shake.

My friends and family are sick of hearing about it - they don't tolerate my relapses because they just don't see why someone so ****** would have such a hold on me. They were very relieved when I moved away and seemed to be getting over him, and I don't want to disappoint them by showing weakness now.

Any advice?

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