DEAR ABBY: I have a serious problem that's consuming my life. I know people say you never really get over your first love, but I don't know why after six years I still think about my ex on a daily basis.
Abby, I am happily married. My husband is the perfect man for me -- understanding, sweet and patient. My ex, "Chad," cheated on me with other women and recently married the one who effectively ended our relationship.
I thought I had moved on, but I can't seem to stop thinking about him. My ex and I had a strong chemistry -- not just a physical one -- that my husband and I don't. Somehow I wonder if, while my husband is the man of my dreams, Chad was my true soul mate.
I don't want to jeopardize my marriage because of a lurking shadow from my past. How do I get over this and move on? -- DESPERATE FOR ADVICE IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR DESPERATE: Old habits are hard to break, and sometimes memories do linger to the point of being intrusive. While it can be frustrating, this is not an indication that someone who cheated on you multiple times was your "soul mate." If you had been meant to be together forever, you would still be together. Consider yourself lucky that another woman freed you from that unhealthy relationship so you could find the man you married.
What you may miss is tension, drama, uncertainty and pain, and that's not love. The sooner you quit idealizing your ex, the more clearly you will recognize this. And if the unwanted thoughts persist, consult a therapist because your problem is not unique.