I Compare Everyone to My Ex, But Nobody Gives Me The Same “Feeling.”

I Compare Everyone to My Ex, But Nobody Gives Me the Same "Feeling."


Hoping you can give me some advice. I dated this girl for 2 years and we broke up last year.  We broke up because she realized that she was no longer “in love” with me and that she felt there wasn’t enough of a spark. Truth be told, there was another guy in the picture who she obviously had a bigger spark with. This wasn’t my first breakup but it hit me really hard because I was so in love with her. In my mind she was perfect in every way, (except for the part where she just wasn’t that into me). I’ve been dating on and off the past year and I have two main problems:

1. I’ve gone from being a serial monogamist to becoming completely commitment phobic. The minute a girl starts to get serious with me, I want to run away. 

2. I compare every girl to her and all I see is flaws in other people. I keep waiting to have that “feeling” I had with her, because I’m scared that without that feeling, I will not be able to commit.

I’m worried I’m never going to get over this. Any help is much appreciated.


I would be much more concerned with your second problem than your first.

Your first issue is that you’re commitment phobic. This is a common problem, one that is usually remedied by falling in love with someone. Once you’re crazy about a girl, you won’t have to think twice as to whether you want to be in a relationship with her. Which brings us back to your second problem:

I compare every girl to her and all I see are flaws in other people. I keep waiting to have that “feeling” I had with her, because I’m scared that without that feeling, I will not be able to commit.

Let’s take these assertions line by line.

I compare every girl to her and all I see are flaws in other people.

Yeah. This isn’t good. Because it’s not real. It’s a rose-colored view of your ex, one that you’re having a hard time letting go of. Do yourself a favor and think of the things that you didn’t like about your ex. Now, I understand that she broke up with you, so you never really developed a chance to hate her. But that doesn’t mean she’s perfect – not by a long shot. Her main flaw, of course, is that she didn’t want to marry you. And any woman who doesn’t want to marry you isn’t really a very good choice for a wife. There are probably many, many more flaws that you glossed over due to your passion for her.

Being “in love” does this to people. In fact, Helen Fisher theorizes in “Why We Love” that being “in love” may be an evolutionary function that causes irrational thinking. In other words, in order to commit to something as irrational as monogamy, we’d sure has hell BETTER be blinded by love. Of course, that blindness wears off, which is why, when you talk to older couples who have been married for 30+ years, they’ll almost always tell you some version of “It’s hard work/We’re really just best friends/We know how to communicate and argue well/We support each other when it’s tough.” Etc, etc….

A favorite cliché says, “It’s not that my partner is perfect, it’s that she’s perfect for me.” We are willing to overlook all sorts of things when we’re in love. This explains a phenomenon like battered wives, who stay because even though their husbands hit them, they always claim to love them as well. Personally, I’ve put up with women who were selfish, delusional, inconsistent, unemployed, mean-spirited, jealous, and bad in bed. Sometimes I did this because I was weak and needy and just wanted someone in my life. Other times I did this because I was so enamored that her bad qualities barely even registered. But the truth only came out after the smoke had long since cleared.

So stop giving your ex a free pass. Apart from dumping you, she undoubtedly had some other character flaws. In a relationship, it’s smart to minimize the focus on your partners’ flaws. But once you’re out, it’s time to realize that she wasn’t as great as she seemed. Holding onto her perfection is unhealthy, since no new dates can possibly live up.

I keep waiting to have that feeling.

That feeling is great, isn’t it? But don’t be fooled. It’s false clarity. You know how I know this?

Because you had that feeling and she dumped you.

And I had that feeling twice and they both dumped me, too.

And, looking back, if those women hadn’t dumped me – if I had GOTTEN these women who made me glow, I would be absolutely MISERABLE right now. Despite their amazing assets, they both lacked some fundamental qualities that my current girlfriend has: Loyalty, compassion, patience, gratitude, big boobs. You know, the important stuff.

Listen, Ken, there are a few people who put it all together. They meet, fall madly in love, and, even when the smoke clears, they’re left standing together as one. My cousin and his wife are college sweethearts who have been together over 25 years. Another cousin met his wife in junior high school. Hey, it happens. And because it happens, because we’ve experienced that intoxicating feeling, we continue to chase it, to our own detriment. In hoping to replicate the simple clarity of puppy love – we usually forget that it doesn’t stick beyond the first year or two.

In hoping to replicate the simple clarity of puppy love- we usually forget that it doesn’t stick beyond the first year or two.

For just about everybody, the rush, the ecstasy, the high…it eventually goes away. And what you’re left with is a friendship that needs to withstand failure and temptation, financial ruin and sickness. And if your amazing ex-girlfriend couldn’t stick with you before any of those awful things challenged you as a couple, why would you ever think that she’d be willing to stick it out afterwards?

I said it in “Why You’re Still Single”, I’ll say it again: you can hit on 20, but you’re most likely gonna bust.

And after a beautiful Christmas with my girlfriend’s family – generations of couples who have stayed together for years – I’m inclined to think that the ultimate reward is far greater than the evanescent feeling you’re chasing, Ken.

The real reward is in building a life.


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  1. 31
    legal guy

    Fair enough. I wish you years of virtual enjoyment to come.

  2. 32
    music dumb jock

    Yeah. Being a bitter loner is the one solution that works for me in the dating world. So I now have plenty of time in my virtual social life to post angry opinions on dating advice blogs declaring how “everyone knows the dating game is all crap”, but that’s just my scarred opinion anyway on what I think “everyone knows”. My last 3 marriages failed, but I’m certain that fact has nothing to do with me.

  3. 33

    Downtowngal, your probably right. but at this juncture I’m not intending on dating. Don’t really want to. I’m not a teenager anymore, and I’m not a young stud. So I’m not out here marketing myself as a candidate. To be honest, if i finally do decide that i want to date again, i will probably be too old to care. You know, everyone has their own limits as to what they can allow in their lives, and what they can tolerate. It’s different for everyone. But also i need to add; to say that i will feel this way forever about dating would be in accurate as well. Everyone has to find their place in life where they can function; where they can get a grip if you will. So that’s where i am. And i know that I’m not alone, else why would there be so many virtual social outlets? If there were not, then there would be no purpose for their existence. No one would venture into a business that has no market; be it a physical place to facilitate this social outlet or hosting a website. I knew that posting my view would spark an opinion one way or the other. and that’s fine. I respect anyone’s opinion. I may not agree, but that is ok. As to “muzik dumb jock”, I care not to comment. Look…..my purpose for posting was to show the diversity that is in all of us, and that the “means to the end” may or may not be applicable to any particular person. I probably used an eccentric way of communicating that, and even caused some to misinterpret my purpose for posting. But no one that would take the time to read this site can tell me that they are relationally perfect or “have arrived”. That includes me. With that said, I would hope that all of us can find what works, and complete their course in life with what ever they find is successful and fulfilling for them. Sometimes that requires thinking out of the box. But some are just so used to the box, they hadn’t considered that there might be other ways, and other views. If someone wants to date, and finds that challenge acceptable, great. But i wouldn’t label someone who has another view as someone that has become pathological either. At the end of the day when you take a look in the mirror and you like what you see, who else’s approval do you really need anyways?

  4. 34

    So Muzikjock–
    If you don’t want to date, why are you writing on a dating blog? I don’t get it. It would seem to be a waste of your “virtual time”.

  5. 35

    The answer is simple Selena,
    Your comment suggests to me that you are still thinking in the box, as I mentioned above. Dating is a way of interacting. I simply choose to do mine on the other side of my monitor. Its easier to control. I talk to whom ever I choose. And who ever talks to me is not prejudiced by my looks, or by the car that I drive, the clothes that I wear, or by my wallet. If the conversation proves encouraging, then we chat again. If they seem to be a goof ball, I simply become invisible to them. Easy. You cant do that in real life dating. Getting rid of a goof ball who already has your phone number is grievous at best, worse if they know where you live, or where you work.

  6. 36

    No muzikjock, that doesn’t answer the question at all. You don’t want to date and you have your reasons–fine. That doesn’t explain why you are writing–at length–on a DATING BLOG since you have no interest in dating advice. Would appear you have wandered into the wrong room.

  7. 37
    muzik dumb jock

    The other day, I wandered into a butcher shop and announced I prefer to eat tofurkey.

    Can’t get why all those narrow minded people in the shop couldn’t escape their mental boxes long enough to appreciate my p.o.v. Jeesh.

  8. 38

    I am aware enough to understand the truth of these words, and I realized all this myself quite a while ago. Unfortunately, however, when that feeling of butterflies is missing from a relationship, one instinctively feels that they could do better. They keep holding out for that “special someone” and not fully investing themselves into the current relationship, regardless of how emotionally healthy and actually special it may be!

    And what I think I know about myself is that if the man never does fall madly in love with me (in the course of our relationship), I wouldn’t be able to help feeling that he is only settling. :’-( Yes, I am a good person and have a lot to offer in every facet of life, but I don’t want his desire to be with me to be merely a prudent decision. 😐

  9. 39

    I was rushing at the time of writing my previous post and didn’t finish my thought: it’s not enough to realize the truth behind our feelings and emotions. It would require the enlightenment level ordinarily not achieved even by the self-aware to be able to “get over” this need, for this need is hard-wired.

    Or, rather, it seems to me that for women it’s much more important to be the object of this mad love, and for men – to feel that way about someone. But that’s just my observation.

  10. 40

    I have kind of a similar problem – Maybe I am commitment phobic, but I always seem to sabatoge myself. I enter relationships where I know I wont end up with that person – that he doesnt do it for me, and He’s Mr Right Now. But everytime in my life Ive met someone that I really could care for and he does all the right things and ticks all the boxes, I seem to run for the hills or do something to ruin on purpose. What does that mean? Of course, when you’re younger sometimes you date just for experience or because its fun w/o thinking about the future. Is it asking too much for find a good-on-paper guy that leaps off the page? How do I get myself not to run?

  11. 41

    Evan I think you take one thing for granted here. I have a similar situation. I fell in love with my best friend a few years back and he never reciprocated. I am no longer in love with him, but he is still my best friend. And I know that everything I loved in him was completely valid. To this day he still is better to me than anybody else in my life, including my closest girl friends and my parents, have been. His faults lie in very occasional poor comedic timing. When I tell him something is bugging me, he offers to do whatever it takes to fix it because he values our friendship so much. Sometimes you don’t fall in love and become blinded to their faults. Sometimes you fall in love because the person is legitimately the best person you have ever met. What I want to know is how do you go from loving somebody who is still the person you respect most on this earth, and then find somebody you won’t compare to him?

  12. 42

    This is an old post.. so i dont know i anyone will reply, but..

    I am in the same situation. I compare everyone to my fiance – who I was with for 7 years. The differece is I was the one who messed up. Not with a single action, but over a period of 2 years where I concentrated on work, was selfish and neglected her. She didnt cheat, she didnt complain.. she tried to hold us together, but my business wasnt going well and I was in a foul mood a lot of the time.

    She left me when we moved to her home country. And it seems having her family around gave her the strength to finally let go of me. I proposed a few months before this as I had read her diary and new I was loosing her, but although she said yes, It was too late. She said her love had faded and she couldn’t get the feeling back. So we broke of the engagement and I came home.

    Now I am devistated.
    I cant meet anyone else without making a comparison.. and noone comes close.
    Ive given it 6 months but its stil the same. It is really affecting my life.

    I really need to move on, but she was incredibly beautifull, funny, and giving, and she wanted to marry me for years. I feel I have completely messed up.

    I am now 37 and feel this was my last chance at a relationship without baggage.
    she was 28 and I was only her second boyfriend. She had an incredible zest for life and I feel i have now aged and dont have that.

  13. 43

    Steve, in my humble opinion, you will heal in the time frame that was meant to be. We want to give grief a time line or a deadline, like looking at the six-month mark on our calendar, but that’s not how grief works. Given your seven-year relationship, I think six months is too soon.

    Men very often want to move on quickly from a breakup. It’s kind of like jumping from one fire to another without much thought; sometimes a knee jerk reaction. I am not sure why this is.

    I am sorry for your pain.

  14. 44

    This is an extremely old thread but after I few years I happen to stumble back here and wanted to say that this post made a huge difference in my life.  When I originally wrote Evan, I didn’t expect him to actually answer.  The support and thoughts I received were extremely encouraging.  It’s now years later and here’s what I can tell you.
    1. I learned to accept that she wasn’t in love with me and that was something I couldn’t control.
    2.  I learned to appreciate myself for who I was and stopped telling myself I wasn’t good enough.
    3.  I spent a 1 year learning to just love myself and love being single and not needing a relationship to make me happy.
    4.  I focused on other things in my life.
    5.  I am now in a relationship with someone I love (different feeling but a good one).
    Time does heal wounds but you have to learn to be strong on your own.  Thanks Evan!

  15. 45

    This is an old post, but I seriously hope music jock stayed out of a relationship. It sounds like he hates women and has serious issues with control and intimacy. If you believe all women are gold digging “manipulators” then those are the type of women you will attract. It’s called self-fulfilling prophecy.

  16. 46

    I’m a 27 year old college student who doesn’t entirely know what to think about love. I’m confused yet it seems that whenever my other friends mention how they are planning their marriage with their Fiance it seems to me like I get this same feeling every single time. It’s that feeling that I’m going to marry my Ex-GF. I don’t know why I get this feeling, she was my first Girlfriend, but I still love her. We both have Asperger’s Syndrome” but regardless of that i’ve been single for almost 4 years coming up this September. Not that i’m proud of it, I’m making a point.

    I have met plenty of women at the college I go to but none of them give me the same feeling she does.

  17. 47

    I can’t tell how long it’s been since someone last posted here but I’m gonna give it a go.
    I met a man that was similar to Ken, he was really in love with someone, he invested everything he had in her and in the end she had reservations, cheated on him and it left him devastated. 
    I met him on a site where people talk about their difficulties with relationships (I had just been rejected by someone I met recently online, long story).  Anyhow, things progressed really quickly for us and before I know it, within a week of talking to each other he confessed that I bring out feelings he hasn’t felt in a very long time.
    Of course I had my reservations, I didn’t want to get involved with someone who was basically on the rebound (it’d been two years since he last had contact with the ex). But eventually, the walls that I spent years building were being dismantled one by one. I really care about him and we are going to meet in the near future…here’s my own problem …
    I have low self esteem (which has been building, I’ve been going to the gym and feeling better inside and out) so I’ve always had this fear that he’s still not over her and he somehow compares that ‘feeling’ of being with her to when he’s talking to me.
    Because we met online, I don’t think he was physically attracted to me at the beginning but now he says I’m sexy, pretty…I don’t know how I feel about that…if at the beginning he wasn’t attracted to me but now over time he is.  I guess I miss the “wow” factor when I date a guy at the beginning.
    The same thing can be said about him.  I didn’t find he was attractive at the beginning or at least not my type but over time now I find he’s cute and attractive… I know I am being superficial.
    At the end of the day, I’m really worried and it scares me that maybe like Ken, he is quietly comparing me to his ex.  Or that the feeling he gets with me will never compare to that of ‘an idol’ as he had posted on the blog I had met him…

  18. 48

    I totally disagree.  I am in a very similar situation as this guy, and he is right to compare.  A huge problem in this world is so many people don’t know what they want.  He knows exactly what he wants and won’t settle, just like me.  He is on the right track and you are trying to ruin that by putting him on the road to settling for something lesser or different.  I been comparing for almost 5 yrs now and nobody has measured up, but I am glad because it kept me from wasting time on someone who is not ideal.  I’m sick of everyone saying the type of rhetoric that you have and not trying to understand where people like me and this guy are coming from.  Horrible advice.

    1. 48.1

      But why would you want to compare someone new to your ex? Your ex and you obviously didn’t last, so even if they were an amazing person, you weren’t right for each other. If everything was right, you’d still be together.


      So, what Evan wants is not that you settle on someone who you can’t be enthusiastic about, he simply wants you to start each person on a clean slate and take them as they are. If you keep comparing, you may push someone out of your life who really could measure up if you gave it a chance. They may not compare in all the same ways, but they could have qualities that make the relationship right and it can still feel wonderful.

      You need someone who will make a great partner, not someone who measures up to your ex, only to find out that this person also turns out to be wrong for you, just like your ex.

      Everyone is unique with their own life experiences, abilities, and desires. They don’t need to be compared to someone from your past.

  19. 49

    Ken says that they broke up last year but since we are in January 2016 last year could be a month ago! My point being we don’t know how long ago this relationship actually ended.  Was it a year ago or three months?  I think even if it was a full year Ken it’s too soon to evaluate whether you are having dating and committment issues or if it’s just too soon for you to move on, I’m thinking you are just not ready.   Your ex already had one foot out the door.  You on the other hand appear to have been blindsided and in shock.  You went from 100 to 0 in one day and although you don’t say you were cheated on at minimum your trust was broken and you likely suspect she had something going with the other man while with you.  You with with her for two years that’s nothing to sneeze at and relationships where chemistry and passion and intense tend to be harder to get over.  So do relationships that end on bad terms where trust was betrayed.  That’s hard to swallow.  You were also rejected in favor of another person.  Your reaction or draw to this woman could have nothing to do with her but with your desire to be chosen and win.  Bottom line you are wounded rightfully so.  One thing men do different then women when relationships end is they don’t deal.  They ignore they get right back out there the next week or month and date and act like it’s all okay.  Women they cry wallow talk to their friends many take time off from dating lots of time to heal.  But when they get back out there they are ready and have worked through and past the pain.  Women one year out may not have been on any dates but very healthy.  Men are emotions messes still not over their exes yet having been in a series on unhealthy relationship with the wrong women or the right women and hurting them deeply because they are not ready to date.  I had the same thing happen to me Ken that you did.  I took an entire year off dating and healed.  I was angry I could not stop thinking about my ex.  I tried dating and all I saw was him.  I know what you mean you need time.  Give it to yourself if you are here a year from now reevaluate but now you need time.

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