I’m six month’s pregnant with my fiancé’s baby, but I’m still not over my ex

And when Ben proposed after their 12-week scan, Jess kept imagining John’s reaction: “I put up a post on Instagram saying we were engaged and I think a part of me wondered – or hoped even – that John might see it and immediately realise that he wanted to be with me and get in touch. I checked my Instagram messages more often than normal that first week after getting engaged, and every time I’d get a sort of butterfly feeling in my tummy at the idea that he might have reached out. He never had though.”

At this point, Jess is keen to make something clear though, that she takes the idea of marriage seriously. “I wouldn’t have agreed to marry Ben if somewhere deep down I didn’t think it was the right thing to do. I know it sounds like I’m being a bit flippant about it, but I do truly believe that he will look after me, be a great dad and that we work really well together. I’m serious about being his wife.”

“What Jess is experiencing is more normal than we might think,” Tami says. “Our relationships are linked to so many other aspects of our lives: how we feel about ourselves during that period in time, what we believed the future held with that person and where we were at with our personal mental wellbeing. When we look back, it can be easy to tie all those good parts of ourselves to that relationship, rather than looking at them as separate parts.”

She also adds: “Sometimes letting go of an imagined future can also be hard, life very rarely pans out in the way we might expect, and our brain can often link this to a person. So, if only we’d stayed with our ex, then this might have happened, or if we were still in touch with a friend, things might have turned out differently.”

“Particularly if the breakup was messy, or you were left with unanswered questions, moving on and leaving the unknown behind can feel impossible. It’s human nature to want to tie up loose ends and make sense of our experience but we need to work on accepting the fact that life doesn’t really work like that, we might never know why something happened, or how it might have turned out if we’d taken a different path.”

Now, six months pregnant and renovating a flat in London with Ben, Jess feels that she has made peace with her feelings for John: “I’ve spent years feel embarrassed and ashamed, and often really lonely because of it, but now when feelings or emotions come up, I sort of acknowledge them without fixating on them. I think maybe being pregnant and feeling constantly tired has just sort of left me wanting a break – I can’t stop myself linking things to John, or dreaming about him, but I often don’t have the energy to overthink it all.”

“I’d love to be able to tell you that I’ve reached a point where I do feel like I’m over it, but at this point I feel like having him in the back of my mind is just second nature to me, like a really strong neural pathway in my brain and I sometimes wonder whether I’d actually be a totally different person now if I had managed to move on.”

“Of course I want to be over him,” Jess responds when I ask her. “I just don’t know if I ever will be and I can’t be bothered to beat myself up over that anymore.”

Before we end our Zoom call, I wonder aloud whether Ben has any idea of her continued feelings for John: “I hope not,” she says. “I hope he sees me as I want to be some day, fully committed to our life and grateful that it turned out as it did.”