Dealing with baggage from past relationship [Male 25]

In February last year, I came out of an 8 month long relationship. This was not only the first relationship that I’d had in 5 years, but also the longest I’ve had so far. I unquestionably loved her, so I took it pretty hard when things came to an end, and I spent most of last year trying to recover from it. Eventually, I was able to reach a place where I was relatively happy.

Why am I writing this? Well, turns out I’m not fully over it. In fact, I’m dealing with some new baggage based on a new perspective I have which I didn’t realise at the time. While I loved her, she was only with me because she wanted to feel love for someone but couldn’t be with who she really wanted (her ex).

I don’t know everything about her situation with this guy, but from what I know, she was with him for two and a half years and broke up with him only to regret it. She started dating other guys pretty much right after ending that relationship, only to then decide she wanted a relationship after doing this for a few months. She even told me a few weeks before we broke up that the main reason she replied to my message on OkCupid was because she could see from my profile that I was looking for a relationship. We dated for about four months before becoming ‘official’.

Based on everything I know but didn’t put together at the time, I’ve come to realise that I was merely just the replacement for her ex. Like, she had all these handwritten cards from her ex on the walls of her flat (really not sure why I didn’t question this), and then there’s the fact that any issues with our relationship never really came up until after she found out that her ex now had a new girlfriend (she was annoyed about this at the time because he didn’t tell her about this and she had told him when she started dating after their break up). Admittedly, we did discuss these issues and I said I was going to work on it (she felt I was holding back out of fear of upsetting/offending her). She was the first to say ‘I love you’, but as this was after finding out about her exes new relationship, this was because she wanted to hear me say it back to stroke her bruised ego.

Now we get to the biggest issue we had before our break up. She got fed up with me not being able to tell when she was teasing me and not teasing her back (I have Aspergers, so this is something I struggle with but again, something I said I would work on), so she started ignoring my messages for a week. Not even a message to say ‘I need to think about things for a bit’, just straight up ignored and only recieving cold and blunt responses the few times she did reply. This only stopped after I sent a lengthy message explaining how unfair this was on me, and then she replies saying she misses me and of course all is forgiven. We broke up a few weeks after this as she said she didn’t think things were working out as ‘something felt off’, and I agreee to break up as I didn’t want her to stay if she wasn’t happy.

I don’t know how to feel about this. Like, is there something wrong with me if the most meaningful relationship I’ve had was with someone who was just using me for her validation? It sometimes feels like she only stuck with me for as long as she did because she took my virginity on our third date and felt guilty about ending things after that, that combined with she was bored if dating and thought sticking with me was easier than having to find someone else and I was ‘close enough’ to her ex.

I’ve been trying my best to leave this behind me in 2018, but it’s been tough to shake this feeling. Plus what if this happens again and I’m not able to see through it?

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