Upset in Upton – Dog Abby

Dog Abby, advice from a Golden

Dog Abby,

I was recently at a party being thrown by some college friends of mine whom I hadn’t seen in a long time. I was having a great time until I saw my ex-girlfriend walk in with her new husband. I hadn’t seen Jenny in three years, and thought I was over her, but seeing her again brought back feelings I thought were long gone. I buried those feelings long enough to approach them, have a decent conversation, and to wish them well. I avoided hugging or kissing her — I just couldn’t do it. Shortly after, I said goodbye to my friends and headed home, feeling very depressed and alone.

I’m not sure why I feel this strongly about her all this time later. We broke up for a reason, after all…we simply weren’t moving forward as a couple after 5 years together. Is it jealousy? Johnny is obviously able to make her happy in ways I couldn’t.  Is it simply because I can’t seem to make things work with women? Am I still harboring romantic feelings for her, or was it simply a fleeting thing? It sure didn’t feel that way.

I know I can never have her back, and I have no plans to make an idiot of myself like a character in a bad comedy. I guess I am just looking for advice on how to approach this and feel better again.

Upset in Upton

Dog Abby paw print

 

Dear upset,

I am sorry that you are feeling sad when you see an old friend. I know that I have friends who have gone away forever that I miss very much. It is a good thing that your friend has not crossed the rainbow bridge and that you can still see her from time to time.

It is also good for you to be happy for her. It is natural for you to feel jealousy, in a way, because she has something right now that you do not. Close your eyes and think for a moment about how much different you would have felt if it were the other way around; that you had a new wife and your ex-girlfriend was alone. You can see that you would not have those same feelings anymore. My kitty Max experiences this all of the time when Mom or Dad are sitting at the table. He will jump up on his stool and yell at them until one of them gives in and lets him have some of whatever they are eating. If they do not comply right away, he will use his paw to remind Dad to pay attention to him. The funny thing is, even after they give him a little of what they are eating, Max very often does not even want it! He will sniff it, give them a funny look, and then leave.

I usually get to clean his kitty bowl of whatever they put in it before they put it in the dishwasher.

The things he wants are usually pretty good, but not as good as his kitty food or my doggy food! Sometimes, we want things that are not very good for us, and sometimes we think we want things that others have, but it turns out we really do not want those things at all.

I also know that both a human and a dog’s life are short, so five years is a very long time. When you spend a large part of your life with someone, it is hard to completely separate that part out of who you have become. What you are feeling is more of a memory and appreciation for who you were when you were with her, and it should be a celebration of who you have become without her. As you said, you broke up all those years ago for good reasons. I hope that you have learned from those experiences. You can use what you learned to make your next relationship work better and last longer.

With love,

Abby

 

*If you’re looking for Max’s take, please listen to the podcast or stay tuned for the animation!

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