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I broke his heart but I never got over it, and now he’s gone forever

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I’m experiencing a grief that has no category, and it’s been two weeks but not getting any better. 20 years ago, I was living with my boyfriend of 3 years. He was kind and sweet and funny and smart and so handsome, and everyone I knew loved him, including me. And he really loved me. But for some reason I let myself get swept up by another man, someone who was world traveled and well read and knew all about art and music and politics, while my boyfriend had hardly ever ventured from his hometown and didn’t have anywhere near the same education and experience. The new guy was relentless in pursuing me, and I fell for his charm and the appeal of what seemed to me then, a very adult and glamorous lifestyle (I was only 22). Still, it took me 6 months to decide to leave my boyfriend. I loved him so much but I found that all could ever think about was the new guy. So eventually I broke up with my boyfriend. He was so heartbroken, it really shattered him. But it also broke my heart. We weren’t able to stay friends because he was so hurt.


But I was broken inside, too. I would lie in bed next to my new boyfriend, and start crying because I was thinking of my sweet boy who’s heart I had broken. And I missed him. I wound up marrying the new boyfriend, and he turned into a super controlling creep and 7 years ago we got divorced. But that whole time, I kept thinking of my ex boyfriend, and came to regret leaving him more and more.


Since getting divorced, I would look for my ex boyfriend online every few months, but he wasn’t anywhere to be found. I thought about getting in touch with his friends, but I assumed he had long ago moved on and found someone new, and I didn’t want to sound pathetic to his friends by asking about him, nor did I want to annoy any wife or girlfriend he might now have. 6 years ago, I met a wonderful man, and we have been married for 5 years. I couldn’t be happier, he really is the love of my life, and my soulmate. And there are so many things about him that remind me of my ex boyfriend. I kept thinking the two of them would get along like gangbusters if they ever met. And yet I still kept wondering what my ex boyfriend was up to. I still care so much about him, all these years later. I tell stories about stuff we did together all the time, and often I’ll see something and say to myself, he would love that. Or hear his voice in my head cracking one of his jokes.


Two weeks ago, I found out that my sweet boy, who I haven’t seen in 20 years but never stopped thinking about, had died of an overdose. And not recently, but 7 years ago, even before I was divorced. His friends tried to get in touch with me, but I had my ex husband’s last name, so they couldn’t find me to tell me what happened.


I feel so empty and broken. It’s not like I was hoping to get back together or anything. I’m very happily married now and there were other reasons why he and I wouldn’t have worked as a couple long term. But I’ve been missing him so much for these past 20 years, and I can’t believe he’s been gone for 7 years and I didn’t even know.


It’s so strange grieving for someone I haven’t seen in 20 years. And it’s so strange that I broke his heart when I clearly wasn’t ready to leave him. I broke his heart 20 years ago, and now he’s really broken mine. I just hope he knows, somehow, that I always loved him and always will. And that I’m so, so, sorry that I broke both of our hearts.



Sent from my iPhone using Grieving.com

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