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Dating someone who looks like my ex

HappyTree posted 1/9/2020 13:36 PM

I'm struggling with this just a bit here. My ex left me for someone who looks just like me. To the point that other people have gotten us confused. 3.5 years later and he is still with her.

Last week I started to see another man. In every single sense he is wonderful. Has his PhD, loves being a father, treats me VERY well. I'm just struggling with one thing. He also looks a bit like my ex. Its a bit triggering for me. I know that I really like this man and I can see us having a future together, I just don't know how to push past this little part. Any suggestions?

WhoTheBleep posted 1/9/2020 15:21 PM

You've only been seeing him a week. Give it time. Once you get to know him, you will see he is drastically different from your ex. His looks will mean very little.

My new SO has similar physical characteristics as STBX. Similar height, build, coloring. I showed stbx's aunt (who kept me in the split), a photo of him. She laughed and told me they could be brothers. I kind of had to agree, although based on physical alone, new SO is way more handsome. As I've gotten to know SO, his personality and disposition are so vastly different from stbx, that the looks thing doesn't trouble me in the least.

Like I said, give it time.

[This message edited by WhoTheBleep at 3:21 PM, January 9th (Thursday)]

Incarnate posted 1/9/2020 17:12 PM

This is something I worry about as well. When I was younger, I definitely had a type; dusky skin, dark hair, almond shaped eyes, I had an attraction towards latina girls.

When I met my STBXW, she didn't fit all of those bits, but I found her stunning. Very fair skin, lighter eyes, still dark hair, but much more petite that the other girls I had been interested in (I had never gone after heavy girls, but my ex was positively skinny).

Now, when I'm looking at women, I find my attraction goes towards those that fit my STBXW's physical characteristics; fair skin, slender build, dark hair, etc. I can still appreciate the attractiveness of women outside of those characteristics, but they don't hit the buttons as hard at that specific type do.

I think the thing is that we tend to have preferences, and if our waywards/exes check those boxes, it doesn't necessarily mean that we will no longer be attracted to those types of people. Rather, I think it means that we will tend to look for people with those characteristics because we find them attractive. It might have a bit of comfort via familiarity, despite the negative associations we have with someone who looks like the one that hurt us.

I am going to let myself talk to a multitude of people before I try to find a partner to settle with. I am a very visual person; I worry that I will not be able to fully engage in a relationship with someone I'm not extremely attracted to. That wouldn't be fair to either of us; whoever I am with will deserve to have someone who is fully engaged, and I deserve to have someone I can fully engage with. I was talking to a friend of mine, and she asked what, specifically, I was looking for in a partner, and I mentioned that one of the requirements I had was that I needed to be able to picture myself being enthusiastic in bed with them.

If I couldn't do that, then it wouldn't work out, because I refuse to have another relationship that is dead in the bedroom. All of the rest needs to fall in line as well - shared interests, sense of humor, pleasant disposition, and a passion with and towards each other - but attraction plays a huge role for me.

Now, long anecdote aside, I am assuming it does for you as well, since you found someone who looks very similar to your ex, and I am assuming that you found your ex attractive. Nothing wrong with that; there was a reason why we started relationships with our waywards in the first place, and a reason why we stayed committed. Not just physical, of course, but most of us were/are still attracted to our ex partners. I know that I am, physically still attracted to my ex, though morally, ethically, and personality-wise, I find her repugnant.

I'd give it some time. Get to know this new guy a bit more, see how he differs from your ex. See the ways he is NOT like your wayward. Build him as a complete and unique person from the cheating guy who just happens to look similar.

EvenKeel posted 1/10/2020 13:07 PM

When I was doing OLD, I ran across this.

I had one guy tell me that I reminded him A LOT of his ex and he just couldn't. I get that and wished him well.

I have almost nexted people because they looked like my ex. Heck, even if they were in the same profession - NEXT.


Only you can decide what works for you.


Did you know this person before you started to officially date?

Maudlin posted 1/10/2020 20:08 PM

I donít date men who resemble my ex, itís too triggering. I loved his chest hair, but now chest hair squicks me out (well, a lot of it like his) because it reminds me of that. Ditto baldness- if you shave your head no way. I donít want to be in the throes of passion and suddenly think of him!!

Incarnate posted 1/10/2020 20:36 PM

Well then, Maudlin, I'm sorry, but it's just not meant to be. I'll have to take my bald, fuzzy self on to someone else. :P

But yeah, I get how it can be a trigger. I just started talking to a lady who, frankly, looks nothing like my ex. Blonde, solidly built (though still on the average/slender range), but still a few years older than me (she's 40, I just turned 35... what can I say, I like women who are just a smidge older than I am... they seem to know what they want, and I like that).

ShatteredSakura posted 1/10/2020 20:52 PM

I loved his chest hair, but now chest hair squicks me out (well, a lot of it like his) because it reminds me of that. Ditto baldness- if you shave your head no way.†

Although I have very thick wavy locks!

I wonder if I should shave everything off, WW liked to stroke my chest hair and beard. Another woman stroking them may be too triggering.

TBH, I don't know. I think there's a lot of different types of ladies out there I find attractive. But I do think that I did develop a type with WW.

Justsomeguy posted 1/11/2020 14:22 PM

I couldnt do it. It would becway too triggery for me, but I hope it works for you. I live in a town where the women look like they came off an assembly line bleached hair, fake nails, yoga pants... no disrespect meant..you know the type. My STBXWW fit right in.
At my age, I see that it is tough to meet normal, authentic people. If you are lucky enough to have found one, try to really explore ways to work through these issues, recognizing that they are most like transitory. Shame to live with regrets. Rspecially with what could have been.

ShatteredSakura posted 1/11/2020 15:34 PM

I live in a town where the women look like they came off an assembly line bleached hair, fake nails, yoga pants... no disrespect meant..you know the type. My STBXWW fit right in.†

Canadian Jersey Shore?

I know the type, and the male counterpart. I'd rather be single!

Dispirited posted 1/11/2020 20:53 PM

I'm struggling with this just a bit here. My ex left me for someone who looks just like me. To the point that other people have gotten us confused. 3.5 years later and he is still with her.

Last week I started to see another man. In every single sense he is wonderful. Has his PhD, loves being a father, treats me VERY well. I'm just struggling with one thing. He also looks a bit like my ex. Its a bit triggering for me. I know that I really like this man and I can see us having a future together, I just don't know how to push past this little part. Any suggestions?

I studied Psychology in graduate school. One of the concepts that always interested me was how people "subconsciously" gravitate to those who are like our parents. Many never realize when we do so, there is a distinct reason.I've read numerous articles attempting to explain the psychology.

It's more complex than one may think. Gender? Mother was so and so.now the child subconsciously seeks someone like their mother, hoping to settle childhood issues.Conversely, same with the opposite gender.

HappyTree posted 1/15/2020 11:02 AM

Thanks for the info guys.

I met this guy online. Its been really good for me because I was going out with guys in the same circle and I needed to break out of that.

I have been talking to this man every night for at least an hour and it has been really nice. I'm getting to know who he is so I can focus on his personality instead of his looks. Now I can see the differences more clearly. This guy talks about his feelings and emotions all the time, he doesn't care about what "stuff" he has in his life, he puts his kids first. Its been really nice. I get to see him this weekend in person and I'm really looking forward to that. I could really be onto something here.

WhoTheBleep posted 1/15/2020 12:27 PM

Okay, so you've never met in person? But you will this weekend? You might find in person that he looks different from his photos.

Just make sure he doesn't talk about his feeeeelings too much. My stbx was always talking about his feelings. It took me 20 years to realize he believed feelings were facts, which is why my side of an argument was never heard. Not once in 20 years.

That's just me being overly cautious.

Watch his actions, don't pay so much attention to his words. Good luck! Give us an update after you meet him!!

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