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Darth Vader beckoning to Luke in Empire Strikes Back.

“Everything’s more dramatic and exciting on the Dark Side of the Force!”

Before we dig into today’s letter, I really like this “Ask Polly” piece at The Awl, I Miss My Maniac Ex. The Maniac Ex is what we around these parts would call a Darth Vader boyfriend.

So you focus on that one magical night, in the middle of a sea of terrible nights, where he held your hand and treated you like a person and you drank too much and that awesome song was playing and you imagined, in that moment, that you two were destined to be together forever, and your whole life might be this good. Lucky for you, your whole life turned out even better than that, it just doesn’t feel like it because you’ve become acclimated to love the way you used to be acclimated to suffering. Those highs you miss are the sorts of highs that occur in a life mostly made up of lows.

There are plenty of different kinds of bad partners. A Darth Vader, to me, is one who strings you along with tiny bits of your heart’s desire at carefully controlled intervals. Not enough to actually sustain you, but enough to keep you hooked. Enough to make you abdicate everything you know about what’s good for you.

Her advice about how to refocus these pangs and get past it is quite good.

Today’s letter, the first to come into the new inbox, is also about exes and regretting the past.

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African Violet, photo by dog.happy.art on Flickr, shared under a Creative Commons attribution-noncommercial license.

Photo by dog.happy.art on Flickr, shared under a Creative Commons license.

Dear Captain Awkward:

A year ago I broke up with a girlfriend of three years. Before she was my girlfriend she had been my best friend for over 10 years, and was someone whom I deeply trusted with pretty much everything. When we broke up it was very messy and she said some very hurtful things to me, things that, due to all those years of knowing each other, she knew would hurt me pretty deeply. And it did. But that really is not my core issue.

I’ve been suffering from depression for a couple of years (approximately 2 years), and only recently have I started seeing a therapist and taking meds to help me with my issues. And it has worked wonderfully. But those sessions have made me realize a lot of really troubling things about my past relationship. 

The doctor brought to my attention that her behavior had been pretty controlling and abusive towards me, even before we started going out. A small list of her behavior: she would get upset when I went out to hang out with other friends that were not her; also, if I had planned an outing with her and a few others, she would get upset that there were other friends there appart from her. If I liked things that she didn’t like, she got upset, same if I didn’t like things that she did. It got to the point that I would just agree with her so she would’t get passive-agressive with me. She also would get angry with me for the strangest things, like, messing up the structure of a sentence or misremembering the name of her college. She would start berating me for forgetting something so easy and so on. And on one occassion, when one of my friends was staying over at my room (I currently live in a college residence) because she was sick and her roomate wasn’t there, while i was skypeing with her, she got very upset and demanded that I tell her to leave, when I didn’t she got angry and hung up. I got so distressed over that that my friend took to leaving to her room whenever she called me via skype. And whenever I called her out on her behavior, for some reason, I would always end up apologizing to her for saying anything. And she could be so condessending towards me that she made me feel bad for things I didn’t feel bad for before (I’m really short, I don’t have a complex about it. But she once told me that she avoided heels when going with me so I would’t feel bad. I was hurt and for years I didn’t know why).

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