The topic of prior partners/dates/exes/etc. and triggers comes up from time to time. I've noticed this can be a pattern for me. I've not been able to fully tease this apart. I can't tell if it's something about who she was that triggers me or something about who I am or how I handled my part of the relationship. While a new relationship would smooth over some of this, I'm curious as to how to understand this better. At times, it fades and then out of nowhere it all comes back in some new variant. She's a real person and yet the fantasy aspects seem less healthy than fantasy involving a new potential partner due to the baggage and retrospective aspects. I try not to fight fantasy because the nature of the fantasy can be useful in understanding my internal state. Perhaps I'm finally admitting my deeper feelings for her that I didn't properly express due to not wanting the relationship on the same terms as she desired.
There may be some connection to where my life was at in other areas at the time I was seeing her. In some ways, I'm now in a better place and yet in others I'm worse off. Neither place was great.