Reuniting With Your First Love…on the Net

They say that you never forget your first love. And with the exception of yours truly, who would rather stick his tongue in a bear trap than even think about his high school girlfriend, many look back on their first romances with fond feelings. Although not everyone thinks of that relationship for more than a passing moment or so, some must wonder what it would be like to rekindle the romance they had when they were teenagers or college-aged.

Suppose for a minute that you could. What would that be like?

As of 2003, Dr. Nancy Kalish had studied over 2,000 “lost love” relationships. She said that three-quarters of first loves who reunite years later decide to stay together, even when the reunion begins as an adulterous affair. Normally, most marriages that begin as affairs terminate. How are these people reconnecting and why would the relationship work at a later date?

The web, of course, is where most of these meetings begin. When Dr. Kalish was doing her research in the early 2000′s, the most popular site for finding people from the past was At that time, the site found that 36 percent of respondents had used the net to look up or contact a former significant other. And Dr. Kalish stated in an interview with the Boston Globe that while many people begin their search as simple curiosity, affairs can escalate quickly *. The interviewer, Carey Goldberg, noted an anonymous respondent from Dr. Kalish’s research to highlight this point:

“It’s like you’re falling in love all over again,” she said. Her first boyfriend found her on the web, and before she knew it, she was obsessed, and then lying to her husband, and then sexually unfaithful, and then caught by her husband – who, to her continuing gratitude, stuck with her instead of divorcing her.

Dr. Kalish brings up a very interesting point: “therapists tend to underestimate the powerful nature of such old loves, especially first loves. As a result, they tend to tell such patients that their feelings for their re-found loves are based on fantasy and that they can find the same feelings in their own marriages if they only try. But that fails to take into account that reunited lovers really do know and love each other, and a first love, in particular, remains unique. This is not about sex, it is not about the spouse or the marriage, it is not a midlife crisis,” she said. “The reunion is a continuation of a love that was interrupted.”

Carey Goldberg notes some research indicates that a teenager may attach specifically to a first lover in much the same way as a baby attaches to a mother. This hypothesis was given by Dr. Linda Waud, a Psychologist who wrote her dissertation on three reunited couples.

“There is an actual neurological attachment that happens between these individuals,” she said, “and that’s why it’s enduring and it never leaves your mind. It’s there forever and ever.” Interestingly, Dr. Waud herself reconnected with a long-lost love after 35 years apart.

In her in-depth interviews of the three couples, she noted that they had unusually intense sexual connections, which made her posit that sexual attachment may work with the same kind of specificity as baby-mother attachment.

Although a dissertation with only three couples makes generalization extremely difficult, she is onto something. I’ve made the very mistake that Dr. Kalish pointed out: that the former love is simply a fantasy and that one’s current relationship can satisfy this new need. And this is coming from someone who is not only a product of divorce, but someone who also spends most of his days thinking about why marriages fail, so I obviously thought I had some weight behind my advice. After I was wrong not once but three times with clients who ultimately chose to leave their marriage for their high school sweethearts, I had to rethink my position. There’s a possibility for a permanent footprint in your brain when it comes to your first love.
What does this mean for current relationships? With Facebook now in complete control of the human race, more and more people are reconnecting. Many will get back in touch with old flames, possibly their very first romance. Depending on how those conversations go – and yes, of course many of them will be simple hello’s and good-bye’s – casual chat may turn into flirtation, then a discussion about status and availability. And when the relationship moves from Facebook to IM to text to telephone and then to personal contact, the attachment that Dr. Waud talks about has perhaps manifested itself in a true rekindling of the romance, with much more backing than any affair could produce. For some, decisions will need to be made. If married, do I leave for what might be really ‘the one?’ Or do I stay and honor what I’ve agreed to while relinquishing what my mind had perhaps bonded to years ago?

Unfortunately I don’t have the answer to that question and I’m pretty sure that we could get a 50/50 breakdown if we asked enough people. Every person in this spot will need to answer it, however. And from what I’ve seen in my practice, it’s an agonizing choice, especially when the current relationship is at least somewhat satisfying. So essentially I’m along for the ride as people decide what is in their best interests as well as the other parties involved. This can take months, perhaps years, to weigh out the pros and cons, the practical and emotional changes involved in life-altering decisions like these, the risks involved in making the ‘wrong’ choice. In other words, watching a client grapple with a problem like this is very difficult to watch. Even if you think you know the right choice, you can’t give it to the client. He or she truly has to come to it via the self. It can’t be spoon fed. Some will leave their families and begin new lives with a former love, usually with a large amount of guilt. Others will stay put and feel that permanent imprint tugging at them. Either way, it’s not a particularly envious position in which to be.

If you enjoyed this piece please consider giving your blessing to my Facebook Fan Page. Thank you.

* I’d link to this specific article, written by Carey Goldberg, but it’s archived and you have to pay to read it. Hit up if my piece doesn’t summarize it sufficiently for you or if you don’t mind spending the fee.

Related Post: Reuniting With Your First Love…On the Net (Revisited)

Update (11/20/13): I’m not sure if this is of interest to anyone, but I received this solicitation and agreed to post it. Consider it useful until early December, 2013:

Now Casting: People Looking For Missed Love Connections!

Do you believe that your one true love is actually someone from your past? Do you often think about “what could have been” with an old flame? Or perhaps someone that you met and felt the timing was off, but could have blossomed under different circumstances? Do you dream of reuniting with a high school or college boyfriend or girlfriend, but don’t know where to find them? Was there a person that you had a steamy vacation tryst with, but have never been able to track down?

If so, we want to hear from you! A major production company is casting for people who dream of working with an expert to make a love (re)connection with someone from their past. To learn more or refer a friend, please email us at and a Casting Producer will be in touch ASAP.

7,840 Responses to “Reuniting With Your First Love…on the Net”

  1. Do Over says:

    I agree with Up.

    Love is not enough. It also only matters if you both make it matter.

  2. Pragmatic Dreamer says:

    That is true; it has to matter to both.

  3. Up&Down says:

    PG, I respect your point of view as well and held the same opinion when my FL said those words to me more than a year ago. I thought it had to matter as I could feel my heart shattering. But, when it came to our relationship and the relationships of so many like us, I now believe it doesn’t matter when there are other people involved. I still love him and he still loves me and we still talk – it would be wrong to call us friends because it’s more than that and we are no longer lovers. I’m still married and he’s in a relationship with another woman now. My husband doesn’t know about him and his gf has no idea he still talks to me. For us, love doesn’t matter.

  4. Pragmatic Dreamer says:

    Up&Down– RE: “I thought it had to matter as I could feel my heart shattering.”

    Ah, we have very different circumstances, Up&Down, but the same outcome: heartbreak.

    My heart rebels against the idea that love doesn’t matter, however. When it doesn’t, something feels …broken (on one or both sides of it). It SHOULD matter, shouldn’t it?

  5. Up&Down says:

    PD, Yes, we all would love to think it does matter but when it comes to this kind of love when other people are involved who can be hurt it doesn’t. The love we have for one another, if it’s found out, will bring pain to others we love. So, my message is just to think long and hard before reaching out to a FL or LL if you are married or the other person is attached to another. I was on the receiving end of the FB friend request and things spun out of control in a matter of days. I am someone who never entertained the idea of cheating, I honestly love the man I am married to and who is the father of my children and here I sit, 2 years later, not able to let my FL leave my life. I am one of those cake eaters Bubble was talking about.

  6. Am I still in love with him says:

    Up&Down I too am finding it hard to make a decision about my life. It been just over 8 years since coming into contact with my FL on FB and I still can’t. There is a lot at stake. I feel very much between a rock and a hard place. Love so very much matters but we all must take into consideration the consequences of our actions. Nothing is free not even love for our FL we must consider our actions and who will get hurt.

  7. Pragmatic Dreamer says:

    I can’t pretend to understand the very sad decision that you are both faced with. I can only imagine how very difficult it must be.

    The only thing that I’m sure of: I once chose a content & complaisant life –a safe life– but if I had it to do over again, I could never make that same choice.

    I wouldn’t want to judge anyone else for the decision they make, though. Everyone weighing in with their own story about this unexpected journey is what makes this such a “safe place” for figuring it out, IMO. And I’ve been very grateful for that.

  8. Am I still in love with him says:

    I am so glad for a place like this. I can actually speak about it. That had helped.

  9. Anonymous says:

    First Love -

    I am posting a response and relying on my memory. Are you the one with the Egyptian love? If so, he mentioned you to his mother after the first date because family is #1 in his culture. He probably adores his mother and it would only be natural for him to do that. Where does she live? Does he have family in Northern Europe? The answers are very clear.

  10. PleaseGodCanIBeWithLL says:

    Wow, lots to read and think about. Good song, Skeptic.

    This morning I got up and went to a yard sale, estate sale, and a thrift store. I had planned on writing to LL and asking if everything was okay if I hadn’t heard from him. I decided to wait until I got home to check and see if he wrote. I’m sooooo glad I waited. He had written me a message while I was out this morning. He had a lot of stuff going on last week and an anxiety attack that was so bad he had to take off work. :( First line of his message he apologized for not writing sooner. And he provided me with more evidence that his GF is a b1tch and doesn’t have any respect for him.

    Now I’m wondering if some of my own increased anxiety feelings this past week were actually me feeling his feelings. It was pretty bad for me this past week too.

  11. Pragmatic Dreamer says:

    Please– RE: “PD, hugs to you! Maybe if you just ignore the box and not focus on opening it, it will eventually open up all by itself?”

    Thanks so much for your encouragement, Please (and also Sketch & Don’t). I especially needed it right then …in light of my little online meltdown. Ugh! I guess that it’s part of the risk inherent in my write/think process (just one of my brain’s little weirdnesses)! So it’s a really good thing for me that I’m among such kind people here.

    I’ve made myself a promise that from now on I will try my best to only post comments written & edited off-line and then cut & pasted (instead of letting myself quickly write my off-the-cuff thoughts & feelings). That way if I ever get too overwhelmed by my emotions again and need to delete text, I won’t panic and accidentally hit the submit button (–when will I learn?)! :-(

    I’ve been working very hard to get a handle on processing my heartache. I’ve just been dismayed by how incredibly blind I’ve been! I may be both the strongest & the weakest, but I am, without a doubt, the DUMBEST person I’ve ever known!!

    No, I haven’t been able to now magically access my feelings that are locked away (only Friend still has THAT key). But by finally applying my “big picture” philosophy to my “box” of feelings, I have –for all intents & purposes– solved the mystery by applying some very basic (inductive reasoning?) logic. I’d been using the equivalent of a magnifying glass on the “box,” when what I needed was a telescope!

    ~IF I know all of the other ways I care about Friend except whether I love him romantically
    and if I can safely assume that my “box” of locked up feelings for Friend can’t be empty, THEN my box of feelings must contain a romantic love for him.~

    It certainly explains why I was never able to forget him.
    It explains why I was so excessively happy to have found him.
    It explains why my nightmares of searching for friend are so extremely emotional.
    It explains why it’s been taking me so long to get past this sadness.
    It explains why my memories of all of the things we did together were the highlights of my “life passing before my eyes” nostalgia during my cancer scare.

    And it seems as though my life has turned into one gigantically SAD IRONY. That I would find THIS place while only concerned about Friend –worried about how he would feel if he ever really remembered me and had actually had any true love for me– while all the time, it was only ME that had been in love with him. It would be like stumbling upon a treatment center before you even know that you have the disease!

    How can this be?! How can any semi-intelligent person be THAT level of CLUELESS?!! I just wish I knew. The only thing that’s clear is that at some point, I must have found myself falling for Friend, and my subconscious mind packed those feelings up and locked them away for my own protection, but all I have is theories as to why.

    I can speculate that when we were young, I’d picked up some kind of clue that Friend really WAS gay, and he was either confused about our friendship or (much worse) saw that I was someone naive & gullible enough to try to pull off a “cover girlfriend” plan –which could have led to (eek!) a “cover wife” plan, with me left devastated (like too many other poor women) after I would’ve finally made the discovery the hard way.

    Another possibility: I didn’t trust Friend’s feelings. I’d been made aware that Friend was susceptible to crushes, and this was what I’d always figured had been behind the cyclical nature of the complications to our friendship –which is how I knew back then not to fully trust any signs of affection I thought I saw from him, I suppose. So this theory might be the most logical one, but Friend would have to be bi and my observation accurate (from that photo I saw that was taken by a co-worker) in order to make any sense. Plus, I’d imagine that I was too aware of this concept to have it be the reason my brain would hide away my true feelings.

    But, you know, I can also speculate that the lack of consistent communication was what got to me. When Friend went NC on me last year after initially seeming to sound happy to reconnect, it brought back such awful emotions of feeling abandoned & forgotten & utterly unimportant to him –and being left with the torture of wondering and having to imagine all of the fun adventures he was off having with someone else! That could definitely have the consequence of my subconscious securing my love for him away in a tightly-locked mental box. Communication really is the “food” that keeps any relationship alive. Without it, I know that I would starve emotionally.

    –Do you remember how it felt to come home from spending a wonderful day with a great guy and feeling like you’d had this …connection? –And wondering if he felt the same? Well, if he called the next day to arrange to see you again, then you KNEW that he did (such an amazing feeling)! If he waited for like 3 days to call, you could figure that he was trying to “play it cool,” but he probably did feel the same way that you did. But imagine having that “connected day” and then not hearing from the guy again for weeks –or even a few months. The message that you’d receive loud & clear was that he just wasn’t into you –that you were maybe some kind of back-up plan for him or something. I experienced that over & over again with Friend. And so it makes total sense to me that I’d want to stop hoping for more so that I could stop experiencing the crushing disappointments.

    Assuming that either one or a combination of these factors was the reason, it’s no wonder that I’d locked feelings for Friend up so tightly. My subconscious mind must be a whole lot smarter than the rest of my brain, because somehow it picked up on the fact that these were not safe feelings for me to have –that Friend would never feel the same for me! And in fact, the love was so well hidden from me, that after he claimed that he loved me (…don’t understand that one), I still wasn’t able to access my feelings. For some reason, though, when Friend told me that he loved me, I believed him. I tucked that memory away and treasured it –without getting the significance of why I would even value that remembrance so highly!

    I’d mentioned before that I’m losing my treasured memories of Friend. I’d hoped that if I could conquer the unknown factors of my repressed memories and recurring nightmares, I might somehow gain the power to hang onto them. It didn’t work, and even trying to access them now reveals that my little piece of self-awareness has probably come a little too late. Really, though, my inability to save my memories probably has a whole lot more to do with Friend not really being my friend than about my own feelings for him. All of my minor memories seem to already have been erased, and the major ones are so faded that I can barely see anything anymore. So before I lose it forever, I’m going to share one more memory of Friend (I’ll think of it as one of the last nails in the coffin). This one must be my especial favorite because it was tucked into a special place in my pile of memory chips. [I do also have a “souvenir” of Friend! He brought me a “Cats” trivet from his trip (back when I didn’t even know what a trivet was). I’ve loved it so much; it has survived ...let’s see... 8 moves, I believe --without even a chip!]

    Friend and I had met at “our spot” for a smuggled-in picnic in the woods. Most of my regrets about Friend are centered on that day, and it ended –regrettably– with both of us getting poison oak rashes from taking our picnic lunch off-trail (which wasn’t too fun, obviously, but did make the day even more memorable in hindsight)! [This was also THE day --even more so than the company picnic day-- when, if Friend had wanted to convince me that he cared, he’d have totally succeeded if he’d “gone for the kiss.” On this day, in particular, Friend had asked me to kiss him, but our “date kiss” months earlier (I think) hadn’t gone so well. Also, I was dating “H” by then and didn’t want Friend to think that I was a “cheater” (ridiculous in hindsight; we were only dating!), so I’d said no (even though I really, really wanted to kiss him). If Friend had just “stolen” a kiss that day, I am positive that I’d have discovered how I really felt about him!]

    When the day started out, though, we were trying to figure out how to hide our lunch, since food wasn’t permitted at this location (we knew that we’d clean up after ourselves, so no scolding ;-) ) and being a Saturday, I believe, “our spot” was a whole lot busier than we’d expected it to be (we’d kind of gotten spoiled by having the place virtually to ourselves most of the time, when we used to be able to come on the weekdays). What we ended up doing was stuffing the bag under my shirt –making me appear to be pregnant with the oddest, lumpiest baby ever! Friend was standing higher up on the trail, and we were laughing at how ridiculous I looked (the sack was so heavy, that it actually made me waddle like I was carrying a baby). He was turned to face me and offer me his hand to pull me up a short incline, and he smiled at me and gave me a look that I’d never seen before, and I felt that I’d gotten a …“glimpse.” At least that’s how I kind of thought of it. I had this flash of an image of us as a couple –as a “family”– and I thought that he might have had it, too. (I once heard a song with the phrase, “forever was in your eyes,” and it stuck in my head as a fitting description of what Friend’s “glimpse” looked like to me.) However, our talk later that day turned to whom he kissed while on his trip and about his search for his university “dream girl.” I watched to see if the look would come back, but I didn’t see it, so I told myself that it must have been my imagination. And at that time, I just tucked the memory away to try to analyze later. Following Friend’s phone call after I was married (when he said that he loved me), I took the memory of the pain I thought that I’d heard in his voice and the memory of that “glimpse” and saved them both in a special place in my heart (I know, ridiculously sentimental of me)! So I sometimes would wonder over the years, if we could have built something “more” on our (supposedly) firm friendship foundation. But now, in the present day, understanding that our “friendship” was never anything I’d ever thought it was, I know that this “glimpse” WAS nothing more than a flight of fancy. And my favorite memory of all …was nothing. –Stupid, stupid me. :-(

  12. skeptic/sketch says:

    Oh, PD… I’d never profess to know what friend was thinking or how he felt for you.. but I’m sure that look you saw in his eyes was real…. you can usually see how somebody feels in their eyes. So many possibilities – he may have not been sure of his feelings yet as to being gay.. it was a hard thing to “come out” back then.. I have a friend who’s son reaaaallly tried to not be gay, dated a girl, took her to the prom… only to find he couldn’t reciprocate her feelings or actions. And those two ended up not being able to tolerate each other AT ALL.. pity, cause they were friends, too. The fact that he’s gay now and didn’t “come out” back then or anything complicates your situation to no end.. But I’m sure he did care back then… you couldn’t have been that close if he didn’t! The fact that he’s forced you into this misery by his NC makes me want to bop him, though! And I – as you know – will NEVER understand the NC thing.. We’re both talkers… we don’t try to hide from our feelings, we embrace them and try to figure them out. He apparently is unable to do that! Maybe cause he really isn’t who or what he was back then. People do change… <> Hang in there!

  13. skeptic/sketch says:

    I always forget that if you type something in it doesn’t show up…. that was ((hugs)) for you! Also, I should proofread.. I have a friend whose son… not who’s son… duh!

  14. skeptic/sketch says:

    type something within those little things.. Apparently THEY don’t show up if you don’t put something in them! This site is weird for that kind of stuff! LOL!

  15. Don't Do It says:

    Tess and Up & Down,
    So nice to hear from you. When I said advice and compassion are plentiful on this site, you were two of the people I was thinking about. You were both helpful and genuinely caring when I first found this site.

    I haven’t really updated my story here much. It just seems like there is a time when you need to let it all out, a time when you need to help others and a time when you just need to watch.

    I did choose the name Don’t Do It because I wanted to say (after it was too late for me), if you haven’t contacted them don’t do it. It was a mixed up, confusing, life changing time for me.

    I guess Bubble just hit a nerve with me in her response to John D. He’s in exactly the spot I was and being warned to not do it after you’ve done it is not helpful at all. I don’t know about the rest of you but once it was done, I couldn’t have gone back. What I needed at that time and what all you wonderful people provided was a listening ear and a pat on the shoulder. Not a fatalistic, you’re doomed and this is all ending in disaster response.

    As far as my comment that maybe I should change my name because I’m not sure my advice would still be “don’t do it”, it’s hard for me to advise anyone not to do something that I don’t regret doing. I did regret it and the turmoil it caused when I chose the name. Now months later, FL and I have moved forward in our relationship. We have taken our time to look at this from a distance. We’ve held off on a sexual relationship and we are trying to make a responsible decision that is fair to those we love. When I said I’m not sure where this is going, I meant I’m not sure how it’s getting there. I know where it’s going. There are so many people to consider and as much as possible we want to keep the pain to a minimum. My kids are grown and his kids have already been through the divorce of their parents (long before I came around).

    The choice we were faced with was me staying in a marriage in which I didn’t still love my husband more than anyone else in the world. Doesn’t he deserve that? Doesn’t he deserve to have someone who loves him more than anyone else in the world? It’s not fair for me to take more years of his life and secretly be longing for someone else. I understand those who stay because their kids are still at home. That would be my exact decision, also. I’ve lived my life for my children. They now have their own lives to lead.

    PD said “Real love always matters. (even when it’s overwhelmingly, hopelessly sad).” I’m a romantic, like you PD, and I want to believe that true love is all that matters. Unfortunately, none of us live in a world where we are the only ones that matter. Those we love who will be genuinely affected by our choices must be considered. Once our children are grown, I think we should be past the point of living our lives for someone else. We should be able to live our lives for us.

    Skeptic, you are a breath of fresh air. You’ve had a bad experience but don’t let that turn you into a negative person. You are always positive and I am so glad to hear from you.

    Up, thank you for worrying about me. I wonder if you would take it back. Would you change any of it and not have your FL in your life in any capacity?

    As for me, I’ll take the odds. Dr. Kalish said 5%? That’s one in twenty. I wonder what the success is for any new relationship. I doubt it’s much better.

  16. still crazy says:

    Bubble buster
    It seems like you have been very hurt. I’m under the impression your FL won’t leave his marriage and is sitting on the fence, but please forgive me if I’ve got the story wrong.
    I think that is the same basic story several of us here face. One of the things I would like to mention though, is the idea of working on our existing marriages. The fact is, for some of us here, the marriage may not be worth saving. And though we may be working on it through counselling, that doesn’t mean it should be saved.
    Recently I’ve had the frustrating experience of attending counselling with my husband, only to have him lie to the therapist to show himself in a better light. He didn’t want to admit to his abusive behaviour, so instead he chose to portray me as imaging/inventing incidents. I am now left to wonder how we can fix anything if me husband refuses to be honest and admit to his faults.
    I realize that if I did chose to leave my marriage and start a relationship with FL, that it wouldn’t be perfect. I’m not living in a delusional fantasy world. I don’ t think this reconnection with FL is about believing in some perfect idealistic love. I think it’s about facing the truths in our lives (which may be an unhappy marriage) and realizing that maybe, just maybe, at some point in our lives we did experience a different kind of love and we let that slip away.
    I don’t know if it’s possible to ever get back that type of love, but I honestly think that connecting with FL was destiny. And in my mind when the universe throws something at you, there is a good reason for it. So for that reason I will continue to explore this relationship, what ever the outcome is.

  17. Anonymous says:

    TO QUOTE: “As of 2003, Dr. Nancy Kalish had studied over 2,000 “lost love” relationships. She said that three-quarters of first loves who reunite years later decide to stay together, even when the reunion begins as an adulterous affair. Normally, most marriages that begin as affairs terminate.”

  18. skeptic/sketch says:

    Anonymous… I remember seeing that quote now about 3/4 deciding to stay together.. but then recently, somebody posted something about her that said they rarely work out when one of the people is married.. Is it just me, or do those statements just not jive??

    Still Crazy… Yeah, some marriages are just not worth saving. If he can’t even admit to his behavior, nothing will EVER change… Can’t remember off hand your situation with FL, but I can totally see why you would want to just “go for it” with him!?

    Don’t Do It… Your husband does deserve to be loved totally.. and so do you! It’s funny – and I know people who’ve never found themselves in this situation would never understand it – but you leaving him might be a loving gesture on your part. It’s just sooooo hard after we’ve each made our own lives that include spouses, kids, grandkids… Hard to decide what to do! BUT… if you’re not happy, he might THINK he is but you’d be lying to yourself and him if you stayed just to keep the peace.. How you talk about feeling is exactly how I did at the time – that it was now “our turn” cause our kids were grown.. it just didn’t turn out that way for me, and I thankfully found my way back to loving my husband again.. but the love must have still been there – or else I’d have been able to tell FL I didn’t love him anymore when he asked.. Maybe he could see what I didn’t at the time? Who knows? I hope whatever is best for you will be your happy ending! Hang in there, and don’t give up hope! <3

  19. Up&Down says:

    Don’t, thanks for updating your story and I’m happy things seem to be working out for you and your FL. I agree your husband does deserve to be loved the way you love your FL. If I remember correctly your FL has a long time girl friend who lives in the same city where you live. Has he broken things off with her? As to your question if I would do things differently. That’s a very hard one to answer because sometimes it depends on the day. I wouldn’t change what happened because I met an amazing group of people because of the reconnection and my life is much richer because of their friendship. My relationship with my FL wasn’t easy when we were young and it seems it’s one that isn’t meant to be easy at this stage of our lives either. I know it isn’t much of an answer but it’s the best I can do.

    This reconnection has taught me that I can’t always get what I want no matter how badly I want it, this is a relationship that seems forever destined to bring equal parts pleasure and pain.

  20. Don't Do It says:


    He hasn’t broken it off with her. We have taken this all very slowly. He only sees her about every six weeks. He hasn’t been here for a month and has no plans to be here the rest of the year. He and I are meeting in another place the end of December. We hope to use that time to discuss what we both want to do going forward.

    It’s taken FL some time to believe how much I love him and to convince him that he’s what is best for me. There was some left over feelings of abandonment on his part. He really had to learn to trust me again and then to trust that our feelings were real.

    He seems past that now so we’ll see.

    I understand your answer to my question. I’ve also met some amazing people through all this and that is a priceless gift.

    Gone Crazy, I’m with you on destiny and fate. It’s what’s kept me sane this past year, the unshakeable feeling of a shared destiny with him.


    Thanks for your encouragement. I really appreciate your support.

  21. Pragmatic Dreamer says:

    Don’t Do It, you are still my hero! You & your FL deserve all happiness! :-)

  22. Pragmatic Dreamer says:

    Sketch, thanks so much for always being “in my corner!”

    I don’t really feel like I’ll ever get to know if Friend’s signs of affection back then were genuine, were what he thought he felt at the time (but later realized that he was mistaken), or were some kind of manipulative game he was playing with my emotions (especially if he was aware of –or guessed– my feelings, despite the fact that I was clueless).

    RE: “The fact that he’s forced you into this misery by his NC makes me want to bop him, though!”

    :-) Thank you for that smile! That’s the nicest thing that anyone has said to me in a long time, Sketch!! You know, if Friend had had the guts to deliver his last message to me as a little speech in person, I think that I’d probably have been waaaay too tempted to “bop” him one —and I’m a PACIFIST …lol! But then I’d have immediately felt bad and wanted to grab him and kiss him …which he would’ve REALLY hated. :-(

    I’d written: “When Friend went NC on me last year after initially seeming to sound happy to reconnect, it brought back such awful emotions of feeling abandoned & forgotten & utterly unimportant to him …“

    And his final email confirmed all of these horrible feelings. Friend had clearly “forgotten” our relationship (whether by choice or not…), and he made it clear that I wasn’t welcome in his life in any way, shape, or form –abandoning any hope for a friendship and demonstrating that I WAS utterly unimportant to him.

    Friend had sent me his last email at the end of March, pushing me out of his life for good. Toward the beginning of April, I’d sent my response, pointing out the inconsistencies between what Friend claimed and what (I thought) had actually occurred in the past. For awhile, I kind of hoped that Friend would’ve figured out that he’d made a mistake and regret sending that horrible email. If he had sent it off quickly, without really thinking it through, this might have been true (after all, I figure that if I had responded hastily to his final message, he would have received only 3 words from me: YOU’RE. AN. IDIOT. Which might have felt good to send at the time, but ultimately, I would’ve regretted –although Friend probably would have appreciated that I’d finally managed to be concise & succinct ;-) )!!

    However, Friend’s email wasn’t sent overly quickly, so he must have actually put some thought into what kind of lies he was going to tell me. And when a few weeks had gone by after my reply, his silence confirmed that this really was the astonishingly cruel message that he’d meant to send to me! I must admit to still being appalled by this; I never would have thought that Friend was capable of such callousness. I wonder if/when it will ever stop hurting.

    You wrote: “Maybe cause he really isn’t who or what he was back then.”

    No, and I don’t even have words to express how terribly sad this fact makes me. If I had a dollar for every tear I’ve cried (and am STILL crying), I’d be one incredibly wealthy woman. But I also have to go back to considering the probability that I was simply mistaken about who Friend really was –too blind to see the truth. And I’m not sure which is worse…

    I’d written: “My subconscious mind must be a whole lot smarter than the rest of my brain, because somehow it picked up on the fact that these were not safe feelings for me to have..”

    –And yet another sad irony: that my subconscious must have deemed any romantic feelings for him as “unsafe” (hence the massive lock-system), but I had actually always thought of Friend as my “safe person.” I’m not exactly sure when I became aware of this concept, but it centers on the idea that we each have a person or persons whom we feel this compulsion to turn to when life gets hard (on a very deep, instinctual level). I know that when I’m overwhelmed, I’ve had this desire to run away –to escape whatever bad/sad thing is going on. And this is still true for me, since, when I’d experienced my cancer scare, my recurring dream was to talk Friend into running away to spend the day with me at “our spot” …just like I used to “in the old days.”

    It never felt to me like I was Friend’s “safe person,” though –like he was mine (so maybe that is pretty revealing). I’d always wanted to have the opportunity to be that kind of friend for him, too …which is maybe where a lot of the confusion comes in –between what constitutes “safe” and “unsafe.” So long ago, I’d clung to the hope that if I could only keep him in the “friend-zone” (even to the point of lying about my attraction to him), I could keep Friend “safely” in my life! So now the whole idea of SAFE is just this baffling jumble of mixed-up thoughts in my head.

    And here’s a random thought: as my memories are fading, I think that my recurring nightmares may be slowly decreasing. I’m actually not even remembering my dreams as much right now. But I know that they are still about Friend, because when I wake up in the morning, I’m almost always crying (obviously, NOT the best way to start the day). :-(

  23. Pragmatic Dreamer says:

    WILLIAM: “Me and my FL don’t have the same faith, PD, but I should have made this more clear by specifying: I am a “serious” Catholic, and my FL is one of the most active Protestants on the planet!”

    That WAS kind of an important piece of information. Thanks for clarifying, WILLIAM. I understand that the issue of raising children is what complicates the decision about religion the most. But if that is no longer a factor, it seems to me like the respectful discussions and the searching together for common ground could have the potential to become a real bonding point in a relationship.

    still crazy– RE: “I now am of the impression that my conscious mind is on a need-to-know basis with my subconscious mind.”

    Wow, that “feels” so very true in my life!

    RE: “Honestly, when it happened to me I was emotionally overwhelmed. So much so that I couldn’t even function or sleep properly for a period of a few weeks.”

    Yep! THIS, exactly (and I haven’t even gotten my box open)! I’m so sorry that you have had to experience this, still crazy. :-(

    I’ll admit that I was doing my very best to force my subconscious to reveal the contents of my box. Because, really, if the stresses from my sadness are pushing me toward a “broken-heart” demise, I’d just really like to at least understand WHY…

    So, I need to search for the truth, accept it, and find a way to get past the pain and inject some hope & happiness into my life –oh, and I’m needing to “speed it up” before I slip back into my sad survival-mode.

    Thanks, JohnD, Don’t, and Please, for trying to help my understand telling vs. not telling a spouse about a FL. I’m relieved that it doesn’t seem to be a gender-based decision. But I have one more question about this. You don’t have to feel compelled to answer if you’re uncomfortable doing so, but here it is: If your spouse had come out & asked for the info (back then), would you have told him/her about your FL?

    JohnD– RE: “We both had begun counseling before the contact. So before we do anything physical, the goal is to do the things the right way. Maybe we’ll be one of those success stories. Who knows, maybe there will be a film that comes out about our story some day.”

    The sadder & more hopeless my story, the happier I am that others are capable of dealing with their feelings in a much wiser way! I am hoping that you & your FL continue to sensitively discuss your choices and evaluate the timing in order to be able to continue your life-journeys together, John. :-)

    Please– RE: These lyrics:
    “You can box it in
Bury it in the ground
You can close it off and turn it away
Try to keep it down, six feet in the ground
But love don’t die”

    Even though it may not die, in my situation, I need to at least be able to “put it to rest” since Friend doesn’t care about me. And I’ve been beginning to wonder if I should just consider packing Dreamer & the “box” up into the coffin, as well, since I am losing a chunk of myself along with my hopes & memories of Friend, anyway. Dreamer Me is just getting in the way of the grieving process as it is.

    I’m so glad that you finally heard from your FL, Please. It does sound like he has a lot of real feelings for you.

    First Love, I completely agree with the Anonymous poster who commented about your situation. I think that both (telling his mother & planning a trip) are signs that your FL is very serious about you.

    Up&Down– RE: “The relationships do seem to pick up where they left off, FL knows our heart, they fill that piece of our heart we have kept just for them. Some of us didn’t know the piece was missing until we felt the click as we let them back into our lives and once again share declarations of love.”

    For those of us who are resigning ourselves to having to live out the rest of our lives with huge holes in our hearts instead, it sure seems like we should at least have been able to gain some closure (a patch or bandaid, of sorts, for the hole) through some compassionate (and honest) communication. This rarely seems to be the case in lopsided situations (like my own). But I believe that it’s the very least that two people with “matching” holes in their hearts should be able to give to one another! So I do feel extra sad for all of you in that situation right now.

  24. JohnD says:

    “Thanks, JohnD, Don’t, and Please, for trying to help my understand telling vs. not telling a spouse about a FL. I’m relieved that it doesn’t seem to be a gender-based decision. But I have one more question about this. You don’t have to feel compelled to answer if you’re uncomfortable doing so, but here it is: If your spouse had come out & asked for the info (back then), would you have told him/her about your FL?”

    Absolutely I would have…in retrospect I probably should have. Maybe that would have been the impetus to check in with FL before delving into a deeper relationship with my wife.

    Destiny, fate play such a huge role in all of this in my opinion. I guess I’m a hopeless romantic at heart…love this rare should not be cast aside. I couldn’t live with that regret.

  25. Don't Do It says:


    I would have told him but I don’t think I would have been able to explain the exact place FL had in my heart. First I was young and didn’t realize how special and unique that feeling was myself. Second, I still have a hard time finding words for it now.

    Husband wouldn’t have gotten any idea about the depth of feeling.

    Please God, still seeing FL this week?

  26. PleaseGodCanIBeWithLL says:

    Don’t Do It,
    Still don’t know if LL and I are meeting up or not. I asked him if he was still considering it. Have not heard back from him yet.

  27. WILLIAM says:

    Hey folks, I found a little time to check in tonight…and I am absolutely floored by the amount of activity on here lately! It’s so good to see a lot of the people back and posting!

    Anyway, I wanted to respond to and mention a few things as we head into the holiday:


    “H does not ‘get’ the type of connection or depth of feelings that LL and I had (have?) because H never experienced anything like it himself.”

    [I’m always amazed at how many people (even married ones) HAVEN’T experienced anything quite like what we all (on the forum) are feeling down deep inside. I’ll talk later about my dialogue with MG (messenger girl), who I broke down and contacted regarding my FL (yes, after all these years!). I talk to her from time-to-time, but really wanted to see if she remembered anything about what FL said to her when she inquired about me…30+ years ago!!! (LOL) Anyway, MG, who is divorced, said the only thing close to my feelings about FL (for her) were some “mystery guy” (possibly me if mutual friends are correct) that she might have just been “in love with the thought of”. And that includes her ex-husband, the father of her two kids!]


    I wish you luck in achieving that special “friendship” with your FL and her husband (your boyhood friend). That sounds like it might be hard to pull off!


    WILLIAM: “Me and my FL don’t have the same faith, PD, but I should have made this more clear by specifying: I am a “serious” Catholic, and my FL is one of the most active Protestants on the planet!”

    That WAS kind of an important piece of information. Thanks for clarifying, WILLIAM. I understand that the issue of raising children is what complicates the decision about religion the most. But if that is no longer a factor, it seems to me like the respectful discussions and the searching together for common ground could have the potential to become a real bonding point in a relationship.

    [I agree with this, PD…although it seems like a moot point now. I mean, my FL is married. However, interestingly enough, I would pursue her and try to make it work (regardless of the now-known very significant religious differences)…if I only had that “time machine”!!!]

    I’m not sure who said FLAD is “hell on earth”…I just know that I saw it listed by not one, but TWO people on here somewhere. Anyway, that is so true. I was knee deep in work all weekend, groggy from the lack of sleep, but functioning by way of adrenaline in the job that I love the most (my passion). Yet there she was, in my thoughts again a great deal of the time. I just can’t seem to shake her (FL), even when I don’t exactly know what makes me think of her! She is like a “virus” or something!

    Anyway, I have to get back to work again. Hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving, and I hope you all can at least navigate these FLAD waters enough to stay “sane” and content this weekend!

  28. still crazy says:

    Dreamer, Don’t do it, William,
    I agree that the feelings we all seem to have for our FL or LL surpass the feelings we have for anyone else. I also know for a fact, because we have talked a bit about it, that my husband cannot ever understand the depth of feeling I have for FL. My husband just doesn’t get it and never will because it’s so far beyond his experience.

    From what I can understand the same is true for my FL and his wife. She doesn’t understand it either. I think both of them feel we are being immature and that we believe in a perfect, idealistic love. I don’t think that’s true at all – I know all too well the faults FL has, and he must remember all the faults I have as well (and there’s a lot in my case!).

    To me, this isn’t about looking for something perfect. It’s about realizing that not all love is the same. Sometimes love is instantaneous. You take one look at that person and you know there is something special there that can’t be explained. It’s that kind of love that combines friendship, chemistry, and that unexplainable “something”. It’s a very sad thing when you realize you could have had that and that you lost it due to your own stupidity.

  29. Am I still in love with him says:

    I think my fate is decided with my first love. I think he has another love. Yesterday on his time line on Facebook he put a photo of himself up. Another woman wrote “Looking so fantastic!” His response was “Thanks, habibati. You, too!”

    Habibati means “my beloved” or “my darling” in Aramaic

    I cried, but have decided to let go as he loves another woman. :-(

  30. skeptic/sketch says:

    Am I Still…. So sorry.. if that’s truly the case.. :-( ((hugs))

    To Everyone… Happy Thanksgiving! Please try to enjoy it the best you can.. no matter if you’re with your FL or your family or whatever.. Remember… “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans” Just enjoy the life you have today! :-)

  31. Pragmatic Dreamer says:

    JohnD– RE: “Destiny, fate play such a huge role in all of this in my opinion. I guess I’m a hopeless romantic at heart…love this rare should not be cast aside. I couldn’t live with that regret.”

    You’re a man after my own heart, John. The world could sure use more “dreamer” men like you! I hope that your FL realizes how blessed she is to be back in your life.

    Don’t– RE: “I was young and didn’t realize how special and unique that feeling was myself. Second, I still have a hard time finding words for it now.” / “Husband wouldn’t have gotten any idea about the depth of feeling.”

    Thank you both for responding to my question. It certainly seems like less of a b&w issue than I’d realized. You’ve helped me see how each individual situation can be so very complex.

    Am I Still– RE: “I cried, but have decided to let go as he loves another woman.”

    Are you able to ask him about her? Could she, for instance, be a relative, maybe? I’d probably at least want to find out for sure before abandoning all hope, if I were you.

    still crazy– RE: “My husband just doesn’t get it and never will because it’s so far beyond his experience.” / “From what I can understand the same is true for my FL and his wife. She doesn’t understand it either.”

    From what I’ve observed about other marriages –as well as knowing from my own circumstances– most people either have been in love but been so hurt that they choose instead a “happy enough” choice (as I did when I married “H”), or they simply don’t believe in the concept of a “true love” and so are not even aware that they are settling for less. They really don’t get it.

    IMHO, if someone’s idea of “love” is a relationship that is reasonable, controllable, “safe” (in the worst sense of the word), relatively static, and warm & fuzzy, they’ve never really experienced LOVE. Because true love is dynamic, confusing, potentially messy, and extremely safe & scary at the same time. (True love is FIREWORKS with dazzling explosions of light alternating with a velvety dark calm; “happy enough” love is a SPARKLER that you can hold in your hand and wave around!)

    The potential for heartbreak with real love is huge –which is why I don’t think that most people really want it! (I continue to envision my “leap of faith” imagery, where most people won’t even go near the edge of their precipices out of fear that they will actually find the one who will cause them to WANT to jump!)

    Of course real love is a risk, but I believe (from my unique perspective) that the “safety” of the settling choice is actually an illusion. IMO, there is NOTHING riskier than being tied to someone with whom you don’t have that solid true love base! When the hard times come along in life (and sometimes they can get very, very hard), the SAFEST place to be would be in the arms of the one for whom you have a genuine (can’t-get-rid-of-it-if-you-tried) love. A solid love combined with a solid faith creates the firmest foundation for a relationship, the way I see it.

    …And I’ve done it again, haven’t I? I’m clapping my hand over my mouth AGAIN (sorry)! …Okay, but just one more thing:

    I don’t think anyone does cynical angst quite so well as Taylor Swift [I must admit that I, at first, wrote her off as just the latest "pop princess," but she has some serious truths hidden in her catchy tunes!], and she has a song that I think pretty perfectly encapsulates the differences between the two “loves.” It’s called “The Way I Loved You.” Here is the link & the lyrics:

    “The Way I Loved You”

    He is sensible and so incredible
    And all my single friends are jealous
    He says everything I need to hear and it’s like
    I couldn’t ask for anything better
    He opens up my door and I get into his car
    And he says you look beautiful tonight
    And I feel perfectly fine

    But I miss screaming and fighting and kissing in the rain
    And it’s 2am and I’m cursing your name
    You’re so in love that you act insane
    And that’s the way I loved you
    Breakin’ down and coming undone
    It’s a roller coaster kinda rush
    And I never knew I could feel that much
    And that’s the way I loved you

    He respects my space
    And never makes me wait
    And he calls exactly when he says he will
    He’s close to my mother
    Talks business with my father
    He’s charming and endearing
    And I’m comfortable

    But I miss screaming and fighting and kissing in the rain
    And it’s 2am and I’m cursing your name
    You’re so in love that you act insane
    And that’s the way I loved you
    Breakin’ down and coming undone
    It’s a roller coaster kinda rush
    And I never knew I could feel that much
    And that’s the way I loved you

    He can’t see the smile I’m faking
    And my heart’s not breaking
    Cause I’m not feeling anything at all
    And you were wild and crazy
    Just so frustrating intoxicating
    Complicated, got away by some mistake and now

    I miss screaming and fighting and kissing in the rain
    It’s 2am and I’m cursing your name
    I’m so in love that I acted insane
    And that’s the way I loved you
    Breaking down and coming undone
    It’s a roller coaster kinda rush
    And I never knew I could feel that much
    And that’s the way I loved you oh, oh

    And that’s the way I loved you oh, oh
    Never knew I could feel that much
    And that’s the way I loved you

    Happy Thanksgiving to you, too, Sketch. You deserve a really wonderful day! We all have much to be thankful for. (I’ll be even more thankful if I can manage to have a day without tears, though. :-( )

  32. Am I still in love with him says:

    PD I asked about her before. My FL assured me that they are only friends. You don’t call just friends “my beloved”. He wishes her happy birthday, he has never bothered to wish me blessings for my birthday. Regardless what he has said, I am afraid FL has now made me very wary. Who else does he speak to this way? I would sooner stay where I am than become involved with someone who may cheat on me. :-(

  33. Am I still in love with him says:

    My heart and my intuition are saying the opposite. My heart says love him. My intuition says something’s a miss. If his only flirting with her to get me jealous than his a cad :’(

  34. Am I still in love with him says:

    I would never go out with a man that used those sorts of tactics because men like that only eventually hurt you. Plus you could never trust them with your heart, it would break. I would sooner it break here and now than if I invested my whole being, (which I believe could happen with him) then have it broken more severely later on.

  35. Am I still in love with him says:

    I need to know if I can trust my FL with my heart. At the moment I don’t think I can

  36. PleaseGodCanIBeWithLL says:

    @Still Crazy, you nailed it!!

    @PD, wow, those lyrics of Taylor Swifts! I can totally relate!!

    Not getting together with LL over the Thanksgiving break, but that’s okay. We spent 3 hours chatting online last night. It was awesome!!

  37. Bob says:

    Well, I thought I was doing really well, and I think I was doing really well. I honestly think I am still doing well. But low-and-behold I am commenting on an old high school friend’s post on facebook, and I see a recent photo of my FL posted on my friend’s site – because this person was “tagged” in the photo. This summer my FL’s oldest child was married, and of course they attended the wedding. Obviously there must have been many photos taken of the wedding event, and my FL (being the mother of the groom) was probably in many of the photos. My facebook friend also attended the wedding and was included in some of the photos (one of which ended up on my facebook’s friend’s page because they were “tagged”). The photo of my FL was “breath-taking”. She is absolutely, incredibly, and stunningly beautiful. I saw her face in a great photo with her hair looking radiant and her smile and her eyes also personifying radiance. My heart “skipped a beat” and I remembered how it felt to hold her in my arms and passionately kiss her. I remembered her breath upon me, and the smell of her perfume. I know now that although I will not pursue her, I will always love her. I was “head over cleats” in love with her, and I always will be.
    “I don’t know what to say, you take my breath away” —- words from a love song from the early 80′s. I have not heard this song in maybe 15 or 20 years, but this song came to my mind (and my heart) when I saw this recent photo of her. I love her! My FL turned 49 years old a few days ago. I hope she is doing well, and I hope she had a good birthday!

  38. Am I still in love with him says:

    Bob. You sound like me. Though I still love FL I will not pursue him. I think he has moved on. I thought about going to visit him in 2016 when I will able to travel but I have changed my mind. Will let him go so he can pursue the woman he calls my beloved

  39. PleaseGodCanIBeWithLL says:

    Am I still,
    Just because he calls her “beloved” doesn’t mean it is the same depth of love the two of you shared.

  40. still crazy says:

    I’m not sure I agree with Taylor Swifts version of love – I guess it doesn’t really fit my experience. When it comes to my husband, I definitely would not say he ever showed me much respect. Looking back at the past I can see I overlooked so many red flags and bad behaviour on his part and just focused on all his good qualities. I think I was determined to make the relationship work, even if it was at my own expense. It seems that eventually all those resentments added up and suddenly that was all I could see.

    At this point my husband is trying to be a “good guy”. One problem is my lack of trust now. After all our history has shown he always reverts back to his real self after a while. It feels to me like he wears a mask at times that hides his true self. He won’t ever acknowledge this and I’ve begun to lose any hope that he can permanently change his behaviour. Though recently he has been on his best behaviour, especially since the therapist recommended he stop drinking for a while. That has really helped him control his anger.

    Bob, it is impossible to get that one special person out of your mind, isn’t it? I just had my birthday a few days ago, as well. Are the words you quote from “Don’t forget me when I’m gone” by Glass Tiger?

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