Love Bites: ‘Am I dating a carbon copy of my ex?’

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Dear Patsy,

I’m worried that I’m replacing my ex with a carbon copy.

I’ve spent the last two and a half years getting over my ex (my most serious relationship to date) with varying levels of success. At a particularly low point this summer, I even tried to rekindle things (albeit half-heartedly), despite the fact we now live in different countries. Relationships which I’ve been in since we broke up have been disappointing and have generally fallen apart because I’ve thrown myself into them a little too eagerly. I’m now taking things very carefully with a new guy. Geography is something of an issue again so prospects are currently hazy but I’m enjoying the ride.

Recently, however, I’ve started to pick up on a number of not too subtle similarities he shares with my ex – looks, attitude, taste in poetry – and I’m starting to worry that I’m just using him as a replacement. Will I ever be over my ex?



Dear Markus,

It sounds like the first guy didn’t work out for reasons other than your strong compatibility, so I wouldn’t get too het up about the newbie also liking Larkin.

Of course you’re going to be attracted to a similar kind of thing when it comes to singling out and coupling up with people. If it was such a bumpy ride to move on the first time, who you sought out, bonked and bonded with then was probably the right kind of person for you; you obviously connected hard (emotionally, I mean). That your new beau matches up in some ways with that former flame just makes sense – if anything, it should reassure you that you’re probably right to feel he’s a suitable guy for you.

Equally, try not to overstate the overlaps. We human types are naturally disposed to seek out patterns in the world around us (I mean, why do you think people bother reading agony aunt columns when individual romantic situations between random strangers are never really going to be fully relatable to any of our own?), but that can be a wishful trickery which holds us back from moving on.

Because romantic emotional bonds are such a big deal, it’s right to be cautious and natural to second guess things, especially when you’ve done it all before and know it can be hurtful.

But life is for living and living is for loving; so you gotta keep loving.




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