In Ask Max, our guide to the male mind in all matters of dating and relationships, Max Able fields reader questions. If you’d like to ask Max yourself, email your question to Max at firstname.lastname@example.org
Recently, reader Micheal submitted this impassioned comment on our Stop Worrying. Love Yourself blog piece. Michael finds himself emotionally reeling from a relationship with ‘the one’ that ended three years ago. “I continue to work on me and keep my side of the street clean, but it just doesn’t seem like I will ever be able to love again or love another,” Michael writes. “I feel like I will love her forever. I love her no less than I did 3 years ago. She still haunts my dreams and my waking days and nights.”
It’s okay to love the wrong person.
You can be so in love with the wrong person that no one, in your imagination, will ever exceed them. You can be so in love with the wrong person that their loss makes you see the rest of your life as a slump. In fact, you can be so in love with the wrong person that you forgive what makes them wrong, and you can incur a tremendous amount of pain doing it.
I’ll say it again – it’s okay to love the wrong person. Why? Because you might not know that they’re the wrong person until the relationship goes sour. Or until you gain the perspective that only months or years passed can provide. Or, perhaps, until you find the right person.
I’m going to tell you something you already know, Michael. Your ex was the wrong person. You give us many examples in your statement… allow me to emphasize them. This woman led you on, manipulated you, used you and lied to you. She showed a tremendous disregard for your emotions, and most important, did not reciprocate your affection. No matter how great your love for her, she is also these negative things to you. You can’t just dismiss what was bad and dote on what you loved –- it’s all a sum, and what was bad then would only bring you more hurt if you were still together.
Heartbreak, as your statement honestly and eloquently encapsulates it, is the most emotionally difficult thing you can face. Your story illustrates how love works by being full of contradictions: you realize her faults, you still have feelings for her. Your self-esteem is strong, you feel belittled by her leaving you. You want to get past her, you want her back.
You should have no regrets about loving this woman and spending your time with her. But you should not confuse the pain and sadness of finding out your lover is the wrong person with a life sentence. It’s a necessary step in finding out who’s right. And you’re well on your way.
It’s okay to love the wrong person. So forgive yourself.