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 Classmates.com. 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 Globe.com 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 MissedConnectionsCasting@gmail.com and a Casting Producer will be in touch ASAP.

8,724 Responses to “Reuniting With Your First Love…on the Net”

  1. Stuck in 1981 says:

    Sorry about so many video posts. I didn’t know it was an issue. Music is nostalgia, yes, but it is also a means of communication, much like the poems that are posted here. True, I didn’t write the song lyrics, but I relate to them as do many on this site. Sorry if isn’t my own words for my melancholy situation. I believe there are so many songs about this topic because so many people have felt loss of a love in one way or other, many in our same or similar shoes. I would have to keep the radio off completely to avoid hearing my own conundrum, and even then it surely won’t leave me alone entirely.

    Listening to Pandora today, I heard Christopher Cross’s “Never Be the Same,” a song that always reminds me of FL. This expresses exactly why I ended up on this forum. This is what I live with.

    “The years go by
    There’s always someone new
    To try and help me forget about you
    Time and again it does me no good
    Love never feels the way that it should

    I loved you then I guess I’ll love you forever
    And even though I know we could never stay together
    I think about how it could’ve been
    If we could just start all over again”

  2. skeptic/sketch says:

    Just one thing before you go
    Just one thing that you’ve got to know
    No one will ever touch me that way
    The way that you did that very first day

    That’s the lines of that that get to me, Stuck! *sigh* Thanks! I will look that up and play it! ;-)

  3. Pragmatic Dreamer says:

    TLWR: Thank you for bringing up the fact that we’re fortunate to have this website available to us …free of charge! As someone who found her way here after being completely taken by surprise by (what we’ve come to call) FLAD –and especially, as one of those who ended up feeling awfully bruised & battered emotionally– I know that I owe Dr. Rob a debt of gratitude for continuing to “host” this forum for our LL stories! I imagined that the best way to show him that appreciation would be to find & purchase at least one of his books on Amazon, so that’s what I’ve done. We may not be able to make much of a dent in off-setting Dr. Rob’s expense, but it might help a little, and I figured that it was the least I could do. [And no, he is NOT paying me to say this! :-) ] THANK YOU, DR. ROB!

    TLWR, I’m sure that you’re right about not posting the music –but I’ve got to say, that I’ve appreciated the songs that have been shared with me so very much! Quite a few of them have come to mean a lot to me, personally, but I think that the music has also added such a rich layer to our connection with each other.

    WILLIAM– RE: “…I figured if there was anyone on here who could tell me about getting moderated for lengthy posts, it would be you, PD!”

    :-D I think that I probably DO hold the record …but you’ve certainly given me a run for my money, WILLIAM! I’m not going to try to break that record today (although it may just happen accidentally) …and just to be on the safe side –so that they make it through– I’m going to be posting my comments in smaller chunks (so no more “technical difficulties,” I hope). WILLIAM, if you are like me, PROLIXITY comes naturally; BREVITY takes a whole lot of work. Yes, I AM saying that I wasn’t even trying; if everyone only knew how much more I would’ve liked to have said …well, suffice it to say that even YOU might be shaking in your boots! Seriously, though, it’s been so incredibly healing for me to be able to write/think without so horribly annoying anyone here that they would tell me that I was making them “very uncomfortable” or kick me out (as Friend said & did). A very large THANKS to you & the many others who made this a “safe place” in which to process my pain.

    Oh, and by the way, I have you to thank for my big cry this a.m. Your last post really got to me! I sure wish that your FL could know how much she’s meant to you, WILLIAM. Even is she hasn’t felt the same way about you, I can’t imagine that she wouldn’t appreciate getting to know how you feel and treasure that knowledge the rest of her life (and if she DOES care for you …how much more so)!

    Dazed– RE: “I’ve always gone with my gut when making decisions. I wonder how many of us just pick the logical choice. I never had the chance to go with my gut, FL chose rationally, and she was dead wrong.”

    Like your FL, I also believed that I was choosing rationally –based on the info I had at the time (Friend gave me only mixed messages, had a plan to find his “dream girl” when he went away, and rarely even tried to contact me …while “H” was busy lying to me and saying & doing all the things that would convince me that we’d be perfect together). My heart had been too hurt in the past; I never even consulted IT! Obviously, I have nothing but regrets about my decision –even being aware that Friend probably would have dumped me for some GUY long ago (at least, I’d have the satisfaction of knowing that I’d figured out & followed my heart).

    My unsolicited advice would be to just make sure that you aren’t making the same mistake that your FL made so long ago; make sure that you are “listening” to your gut (or HEART)! Otherwise, you cannot really fault her for the choice SHE made (at least, she has the excuse of having been YOUNG & DUMB like me when she made HER decision). :-( Good luck to you, Dazed.

    Stuck in 1981– RE: “I hope that I will someday outgrow my need for this forum, be able to make a choice, and be able to live with it.”

    I only WISH that ^THIS^ was the case for me; I have no choices to make and have had to accept that this level of SAD is simply my “new normal” (but that’s because my situation is unique). I’m just going to have to learn how to live with the pain by trying my best to focus on my new-found HOPE for the future. However, I have no illusions that this is going to be easy.

    Although it’s the differences in my story that stand out at the end, there are some aspects of FLAD that have felt EXACTLY the way that everyone else here describes feeling! …Ugh. Okay, I had talked myself OUT of doing this, but somehow I’m finding it hard to resist posting now that it comes to it… Yeah, I’m just going to do it. I have a bizarre analogy that illustrates how this feels to me on a really deep level; however, it uses a sci-fi reference –which completely reveals my level of GEEKINESS! But just in case someone else can relate to it, here goes (the rest of you may feel free to roll your eyes as much as you please). :-D

    There’s an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where an Empath has been born & bred as a diplomatic “gift” (I think it was to unite two cultures or something like that; it’s actually been years since I’ve seen it). When she meets & marries her new husband, all of her empathic abilities will be directed into making her the PERFECT match for him (think Super Wife) –and, of course, what man doesn’t want that (well, unless he’s gay)? While waiting for the groom-to-be to show up, the Empath ends up spending a lot of time with Captain Picard. So much so that by the time her new “husband” arrives, she has already inadvertently imprinted on the captain. His tastes & character traits will now define her in a way that no one else’s ever will (and since he has great taste & traits, you know that she’s the better for it). When she fulfills her diplomatic mission, and marries the not-horrible-but-rather-boorish man who comes to claim her, it’s just heartbreaking. –At least, I found it so; I remember crying at the time because I thought it was so sad. How could I ever have comprehended back then the parallels with my own life’s story (although I never would have been anyone’s “perfect” anything)? Friend was MY Captain Picard –and, yes, that cracks me up every bit as much as Friend would be amused to hear it– while also managing to make me cry (I saw some of the similarities between the tastes of the OLD & the NEW Friend, but I also saw many differences).

    Please– RE: “I can give you my email address if you would like to ever send updates. Let me know.”

    Yes, please, Please (…way too fun to say). :-D I would definitely write to you.

  4. Pragmatic Dreamer says:

    Out of all of the ironies I’ve discovered over these months, none is probably MORE ironic than the fact that I discovered this site when I was trying to figure out why Friend might’ve so rudely shoved me out of his life, and in place of discovering much about HIS motives, I’ve instead gained some insights about MYSELF (figuring out what must be in my box was huge for me), and I’ve met some amazing people –intelligent, thoughtful, and extremely kind people– who are also going through various sad & confusing emotions related to someone special from their past.

    I’ve found myself, on numerous occasions, feeling quite protective of the other hurting hearts that have found their way here. Hopefully, when “haters” & “bashers” feel compelled to lash out, everyone will just do their best to re-direct the conversations AROUND the negativity –keeping the focus on encouraging & uplifting each other and on sharing advice kindly, without the heavy-handed judgments.

    Thank you to all who have given me such kind GOODBYES. I will miss all of you (but I won’t try to list you by name; I’m sure to leave off someone)!!!

    BTW, has anyone else been loving the Downton Abbey FLAD storyline? Will Violet Crawley and her Russian Prince get a Happily Ever After in their golden years …or will the Prince’s wife be found (probably with the worst possible timing)?! ;-)

    Jeff– RE: “Pragmatic- oh I just meant that we both have a similar taste in the style of clothing we wear, both of us like to dress on the darker side so to speak, or somewhat gothic.”

    Thanks for clarifying the style issue, Jeff. And I hope that you find the wisdom for your very difficult decision.

    still crazy: So many things you’ve shared about your marriage have resonated with me. There are so many red flags –and so many possibilities that could be behind your husband’s treatment of you. It definitely could be a personality disorder. The reference to Jekyll & Hyde is a huge indicator for bipolar disorder. And based on your husband’s personality analysis through his work, you may need to check into ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder –does he also have difficulty with making eye contact?).

    I’m glad that you’ve had the wake-up call that SOMETHING dysfunctional is at play here. I, too, was in denial for far too long, and it really took its toll on my self-confidence –that I could have been so blind to what was going on and how I was being treated.

    The saddest thing that you wrote was: “Something else that concerned me was that a couple of years earlier I had gone through breast cancer, and my husband did not seem as upset at that time as he did with this news, as though it wasn’t the thought of losing me that was so upsetting – more the thought of HIM losing that upset him.” And, wow! Is that ever character-revealing?!

    With “H,” I finally saw that he would always make sure to put himself in the best light (and he had no problem using me to help accomplish this). When he’d really want to get to me (usually because he was feeling insecure about himself, I eventually noticed), he’d “push all my buttons.” That way, I’d go off the deep end into a meltdown and look like the emotionally volatile one, while he could be all calm, cool, and collected. In time, I mostly learned how to just …shut down, so that I wouldn’t react at all. But it kind of felt like something died inside …you know?

    It sounded like your husband does something very manipulative to you when you wrote: “For years my husband wasn’t particularly helpful, now he is annoyingly so. By annoying I mean he starts doing things for me that I didn’t ask him to do and didn’t want him to do. Hard to explain that to someone who hasn’t experienced that, but after a while, it just makes you want to scream.”

    Been there / done that. The role of dutiful husband is now being played by… And he can then play the victim if you don’t “act” appreciative! Just look at the “mean” wife you are –when all he’s trying to do is help!! But that was when I got to the point where I had to decide if I was going to let “H” “break” me –or determine to let my hardships make me into a better, stronger person. Since I’m “stuck,” I have to fight this internal battle every. single. day.

    I hope & pray that you will be able to see that you are NOT still crazy (and you never really were; it only felt that way) and that you will one day be able to get yourself to the place where you can be appreciated & treasured by the people around you! It’s what each of us deserves, IMO. I wish you so much true happiness in your future, still crazy!

    I have to admit that the way that Friend treated me in his last email, there were too many shadows of this same selfishness. Examining Friend’s communications with me, these are the facts that rise to the top: 1) I vulnerably shared that this is an extremely low point in my life right now, while Friend is quite obviously at a high point in his. Instead of this causing him to feel any kind of compassion for me, he chose to “kick me when I was down.” 2) I told him how “H”s lies had ultimately destroyed my marriage years ago. Friend’s response was to tell me lie after lie, revealing himself to be nearly as accomplished a compulsive liar as “H.” 3) I shared with Friend some of my memories of our time together, telling him what an important and uplifting purpose those memories served in my life –especially during the height of my sad times. Friend chose to disavow my memories, revealing that he could care less if I lived or died.

    At least I learned the truth. I was never his love, and I was never even his friend. I’m sure that realizing that Friend wasn’t any of the things that I’d thought he was is the reason for the “disappearance” of my memories.

    That reminds me of a memory that I was recently able to recall more layers to. It had to do with Valentine’s Day (…there, I’ve spoken of the “unspeakable holiday”) –many years ago. Friend & I were students at the same community college, and SOMETHING must have happened not long prior to that day that caused me to be looking more closely at Friend to see if he’d really meant something that he’d done or said (I really have no ability to TIMELINE). My journal barely mentions it –but it’s entitled: The First Time That [Friend] Made Me Cry. I recall that I looked all over for him that day, knowing that we normally “bumped into” each other at least several times. But Friend was nowhere to be found –all day! I’m not sure if this was one of the only …like 2 times that I ever called him (risking his wrath) or whether he called ME later. I recall now that I asked if he was okay because I thought that he might have been sick and not come to school that day, but he was fine. In fact, he was better than fine! He’d had a great day. Apparently, he’d brought a lot of flowers to school with him and had a wonderful time handing them out to all the girls he knew. Only, of course, he hadn’t managed to make sure that I got one! This showed me that whatever sweetly serious thing he’d said or done wasn’t genuine, and I should discount any other “signs of affection.”

    So this memory explains a lot about why I didn’t put a lot of weight on the “romantic” aspects of our complicated friendship. What I STILL don’t know, is how he convinced me that he loved me in that phone call years later! Maybe more little pieces of memories that I’d forgotten or repressed will pop up over time.

    My nightmares have been gone since sometime in December (so far, so good). Hmm… which is right about when I actively began “online searching” for Friend with P.I.’s help ….now that I think about it! Amazing!! So that’s probably what it took since I didn’t get to see him or get questions answered; I really did have to feel like I was getting the chance to SEARCH FOR HIM in order to get rid of my bad dreams! (That’s so interesting –and would be even more so if I didn’t still feel a little PTSD-y about that entire nightmarish YEAR +) I still sometimes get the more modern-day twist on them, though (including the repeated appearance of a certain make & color of car –which is freaky; I’m trying not to visible cringe whenever I see one in real life, which is so ridiculous)!

    I’ve kind of wondered whether, after I die, God might let me come back to earth and haunt Friend –just like Cathy haunted Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights! …But I’m not sure that it really works that way. Plus, I’ll probably have plenty of other “heavenly”-type stuff to do –rather than come back to annoy Friend any more than I already have! :-)

  5. Pragmatic Dreamer says:

    My dear “cousin” Sketch! Finally, it’s your turn …which means that I’m nearly done (for anyone who had pretty much given up hope)! :-D

    You know, years from now, when (hopefully) I’m doing so much better, I think that the impression that I’m going to be left with is the “picture” (in my mind’s eye) of you patting my back in sympathy while standing next to me at my imaginary graveside service for Friend (which is a pretty good trick considering how far away we are). You are such a naturally kind & nurturing person, Sketch, that I just have to tell you that your consistent compassion has meant the world to me. There are many kind people here; in a sea of stars, you’d shine the brightest! [Don’t Do It is the buddy who’d be my “partner in crime” --the one I’d stay up way too late whispering my secrets to (like incorrigible schoolgirls)! ...And kind of HAVE. :-D While YOU, Sketch, are the friend that I’d want to sent cookies & flowers to ...and call up when I’ve just fallen flat on my face! I appreciate you both SO much.] I hope that you continue to encourage the confused & hurting people who find their way to this site (if Dr. Rob ever changes the format here, I think that he should let you be its moderator)!

    Sketch: I realized when I was going over all the notes I’ve jotted down about songs that I still wanted to comment on before I say my goodbyes here, SO many of the songs that got to me were posted by YOU over the course of these past few months! I imagine that your brain must be full to overflowing with this amazing music archive –and whenever you shared one of your meaningful songs, it was like you were letting us visit your mental jukebox (and may I say that I’m completely jealous)!

    I’ll only comment on two (and spare you my random thoughts on the rest)!

    RE: “PD.. I loved that song from that movie with Keira Knightly.. I knew it sounded familiar.. saw Adam Levine doing it next on that video… and then I saw that he had performed it on The Voice with the one guy on his team.. I think I saw he’s gonna sing it on The Grammys, too – it’s up for an award! But it says it like we always do – Youth is wasted on the young!!”

    Of course, Adam Levine has the better vocals, but I must admit that I just totally connected with the female POV on the song. It’s amazing how the two different voices bring such different vibes to the same music, and make the two versions almost sound like entirely different songs!

    Something that’s funny is that my son has taken to sharing the cool music he discovers with me (like “Lost Stars”) –and somehow every song he finds ends up hitting my heart spot-on (it’s a little freaky how he’s able to do that)!

    RE: The cartoon video of “Don’t Answer Me” (The Alan Parson’s Project)

    So there I am –deep in my sadness about Friend– when you posted this, Sketch. And I wish that you could have seen me. The cartoon is so adorably dorky that I couldn’t help but smile from ear-to-ear through the whole thing! But then the lyrics were getting to me so deeply: “Stay on your island; don’t let me in.” And so, tears were running down my face …while I couldn’t stop laughing & smiling at the cartoon!! (It was after that that I began to compile my happy/sad playlist!) Thank you so much for that, Sketch! It was just what I needed …right when I needed it. :-D (Also, the cartoon version of the band was too funny! I loved it.)

    In honor of my new-found hope for a Love #4, I was GOING to post two songs –but I’ll be good and just mention them instead: “Next Time I Fall In Love” (Peter Cetera & Amy Grant) & “It’s Gonna Be Love (Mandy Moore). …Both available at a youtube near you!

    A quote: “Life is a song, and love is the music.” –Ashley Hutchins

    Sketch– RE: “I saw a couple do a skating routine to Is It a Crime – I had it taped on a VHS tape… watched it over and over and over…”

    That’s just like I did after that “If It Kills Me” SYTYCD video that you posted. I can see why the “Is It A Crime” ice skating routine got to you; it’s beyond merely beautiful…

    RE: “…not other kids I may have had with FL or somebody else!)”

    It’s funny that you should mention ^THIS^. Because I DID have a sort-of good dream a few nights ago. Friend & I were in the audience at a college graduation. Apparently, we were married …and had always been married (like an alternate timeline-thing, I guess). We were holding hands and listening to the names and watching the students file up to get their diplomas. We were both really happy –like almost giddy– although I didn’t really know WHY (and figure that I was probably just happy because Friend was happy, IDK). But then HER name was announced: Lilly [Friend’s last name] –so she must have been our daughter (she looked about 25)! Then it was like someone hit the rewind button, because then, I’m sitting at another college graduation and I’m MUCH younger –and I realize that it’s Friend’s grad ceremony, and I’m in the audience with his parents! And they’re treating me like Friend & I are a couple …and I’m saying what I always used to say, “But we’re just friends!” …And then I woke up all confused. –Talk about bizarre; I don’t even know how to START to analyze that one!! When I first woke up, I felt rather sad, but overall, the feeling I was left with was a fairly happy one …because (although I can’t see his face) I know that Friend was so happy! [And Lilly is a pretty name, but not necessarily one that I’d pick for my daughter, so I don’t know where THAT came from! LOL]

    Sooooo I think that I’m finally ready for this:

    My Summary:

    Once, I had a Friend. I thought that he was really special, and I thought that HE thought that I was very special …and that together our complicated friendship was an especially unique relationship. Miscommunications seemed to have been our forte, however –epitomized by Friend telling me he loved me after I was already married (and pregnant).

    When I (miraculously & ecstatically) found him after approximately 30 years, Friend initially sounded like he wanted to reconnect; however, he went NC instead. I waited for nearly 2 months (and through an extremely emotional breast cancer scare) before I sent my goodbye email (in which I thanked him for my memories of our time together and told him how very important his friendship had been to me). Friend responded by telling me that he was in a relationship & had no time for me. My facial recognition problems & my nightmares led me to contact him almost 6 months later to ask if my Prosopagnosia HAD interfered with an earlier opportunity to renew our friendship, and his reaction was to tell me that he’s gay …so go away. He also told me that he’d never had any romantic feelings for me (despite the mountain of memories that I used to have to the contrary).

    My hurt & confusion lead me here, where I was able to discover the truth: I was never special to Friend in any way, but he was far more special to me than I ever knew. The End.

    *****That’s as succinct as I’m probably ever going to get in telling my sad story!*****

    One of my more sad ironies that have popped up ever since I found Friend: I had wanted so much to be able to recognize him physically, and I have had to come to terms with the fact that I’m never going to get to do that. But here’s what I’ve realized: when Friend sent me that last email, he was giving me a little window into his soul. I now know that he’s someone who –when feeling uncomfortable– is quick to lie when inconvenienced and who has no compassion (even for someone whom he claimed was “a nice person” with whom he was once friends). I continue to wonder whether he really thought that it would cost him so much to have just come out and told me the truth. It’s his life; he didn’t owe me anything –except what any person owes another, IMO: honesty with a little kindness thrown in to soften it. So, I may not have been able to recognize what he looks like, but I now know something so much more important, I guess: the REAL heart & soul of “Friend.” :-(

    I’ve done my very best to proactively process & mourn the loss of my LL Friend, and now it’s time for me to “pocket” my pain and do my best to switch my focus. I think that I mentioned that my son & I received a caregiving break recently (it was our longest one: 9 whole days)! I thought that I’d prepared myself mentally for “H’s” return, but the transition was extremely bumpy, and the stress has made this a pretty rocky week for me, health-wise. The sadness from Friend has really been more than I should have been carrying –in light of all that I already had on my plate (of which, I’ve only shared a portion, sadly). In the 18 months since I found Friend, I’ve dropped the ball on so many things that I should have been doing (since I obviously never planned for any of THIS)! So the timing for this battle to stay physically well has helped to confirm my need to find a way to “switch gears” (and try to find some kind of HAPPY).

    Therefore, this IS goodbye …for at least a good while. My story has always been the hopeless “misfit” of FLAD stories (thank goodness that it’s as rare as it is)! Many times, the differences have been highlighted for me. It has made me especially sad to read about how others would happily travel 150 or 600 or even 2,000 miles just to see their LL –when Friend probably only lives about 30 minutes away from me and couldn’t be bothered to even see me once. :-( But the pain serves to remind me that while it’s been important to me to try to encourage others to hope, I can have no part in that same hope regarding Friend. We all know that the odds of someone else coming along here with the same situation –where I’d be the only one who could relate & encourage– is a long-shot! [If that were ever to be the case, maybe Sketch or Don’t would be able to give me a heads-up, and I’d be glad to rush back to offer whatever support I could!] With Friend’s rejection, my past can now only hold regrets; to embrace HOPE, I have no choice but to turn to the future. But because I’ve come to care about so many of you (and even managed to make a few longterm friends along the way :-) ), I know that I’ll want to check back in for a visit now & then to see how you’re all doing!

    Plus, we all know how this FLAD-thing works, and it helps a lot to know that this “safety net” is here for when I “fall down” and need some kind people to help lift me back up! (I’ll be happy if I can at least get to the point where I can have a passing thought about Friend and NOT cry!) I’m very aware that this isn’t going to be the kind of hurt that you can slap a bandage on, simply give it a little time, and be “as good as new.” The heart just doesn’t seem to work that way when it comes to lifelong loves –romantic or otherwise. My feet are on the right path, though –the one that leads to a measure of healing. And I’m hopeful that I’ll get there eventually. :-D

    Forgive me, but I’ve simply got to leave you with just ONE MORE SONG: “Sooner or Later” by the Alan Parsons Project. The key lyrics that jumped out at me: “Sooner or later, I’ll be free to leave the past behind. Sooner or later you’re going to be the last thing on my mind. …”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6RshOEMwyI

    And ONE LAST QUOTE: “Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.” -Mary Oliver

    THANK YOU again to all who have come alongside me in my graveside grieving for Friend and aided my attempts to alleviate my heartache (not to mention my baffled brain). I hope & pray that each of you finds the wisdom & the courage you need for dealing with your unique & unexpectedly emotional reconnection. Remember that there really ARE those windows of opportunity that only come around once in a blue moon. If you’re like me, and missed it the first time, but you are blessed enough to have the gift of HOPE that your LL loves you, too, then you may just want to resolve to take the scary leap of faith before the window closes. [Maybe I will get my opportunity to leap with a Love #4! But if I’d had the chance, I’d like to think that I would’ve let my inner Dreamer win and taken the chance on love with Friend ...even if I’d had to lock my inner Pragmatist up in a closet to do it!!!] :-D

    Signing off now.
    ~Pragmatic Dreamer

  6. skeptic/sketch says:

    Oh, PD… I feel like the Scarecrow… (though who would Don’t be? Maybe Toto? or a best friend in school back in Kansas? LOL!) I will definitely miss your posts here.. but hope you continue your journey to happiness – which you SOOOO deserve! Ya know, I might be the one patting your back at Friend’s imaginary gravesite… but I’d also pat your back after a crazy night out with you trying to find your Love #4!! :-) You WILL find him, I’m sure! In time… I’m so glad my music helped you.. like I said, it’s healing! And I’m going to go listen to the 2 songs you mentioned now! I’ll sign off to you here as in my main email signature (which will come as no surprise to you, I’m sure! And yes – I stole part of it from that quote – which I LOVE!)

    “Life is a song…and love is the music!” Be safe, be well, be happy….. and sing out loud Love ya!! Sketch

  7. David says:

    I didn’t get an opportunity to read the posts thoroughly from Saturday, but after scanning through them, I see I have missed a lot. I love to see everyone’s different perspectives on things. My quick comment based upon what I read is that FATE is a crazy thing. I equate it to God directing us. When he reunites us with FL or LL he is giving us a gift of letting us feel that strong love that we once shared with someone, and in some cases can share again. If, like skeptic says, it has the other affect of making someone realize their current situation is a good one, then that is a gift also. Sometimes it takes a jolt like that to wake you up and make you see what you have right in front of you. For the case of Lisa and I, without speaking for her, the (fate) God that brought us back together, did so to make us see what we had been missing for the past 30 years. When I think of all of the Christmas & Thanksgiving holidays I have missed out on with her, I am saddened. But when I think of all of them that are yet to come with us being together, it brings a smile to my face that no one could pry off with a crow bar. We can’t torment ourselves with what we’ve missed in the past, because by doing so we won’t allow ourselves to enjoy what we have in the present and future. I am reminded of the lyrics from Aerosmith’s song that says, …”I don’t want to miss a thing. I don’t wanna miss one smile. I don’t wanna miss one kiss…” Have a great day, everyone. I’ll try to dedicate some time Sunday to catching up on all of the posts.

  8. neverends says:

    Checking back and looking at so much activity here, happy to see so many new perspectives!

    First PD: You have added so much wisdom and compassion to all who come here, I can’t really think of you not being here. Even if it’s just once in awhile, please check back in. You will be greatly missed. I for one must say it will not be the same without you…….but I understand and wish you the BEST of everything

    There are several comments on FATE. In my case, I believe in Fate especially in regards to my FL. Over the years it even became bit scary with so many coincidences that eventually I had to see things for what they were…Fate. We were meant to meet when we did, and reconnect when he was ready to contact me after all these years. If I were to lay it all out, it is shocking how many connections we made dispite so many outside influences. Things had to line up just perfectly, we started worlds apart and we still live so very far apart and yet somehow things worked out with this reconnection. I do believe!

  9. PleaseGodCanIBeWithLL says:

    @PD, I will miss you being here, but realize you need to do what is best for your health and happiness – you WILL get there, to a happy place.

    b a c o l v i n 7 0 5 @ y a h o o . c o m

    No spaces. :-)

  10. Lisa says:

    Thank you David for being there for me today. :) I can’t wait to be in your arms again, to feel your breath and see your smile.

  11. Stuck in 1981 says:

    @Pragmatic: About the Star Trek episode — when I read your situation, that was exactly what came to mind.

  12. Stuck in 1981 says:

    P.S. Hugs and best of everything to you, PD!

  13. David says:

    @Lisa, You are quite welcome. We are there for each other. This is why we are meant to be together. We are each other’s rock. I am longing for the day when we can be together permanently forever. I wish everyone on this site the happiness that Lisa and I have found by picking back up with our relationship after a 30 year hiatus.

  14. Lisa says:

    well said David

  15. Thetortureoflove says:

    Does anyone fear that the enormity of the feelings that they have for their FL/LL might be overwhelming to that person, should they ever one day grasp the full extent of them and maybe fear that they would never be able to “meet” that and shy away because of that fear? because as we well know we all see things differently, as for David and Lisa it’s refreshing to see them reciprocating that equally, where as for many others of us, for now it is rather one sided for whatever the various reasons are. Is that a factor to consider in keeping the thought voyages real? No we cannot deny the fact we love them, and always will. though it’s sad, the reasons it’s not working out are equally important to consider. Emotional honesty is a difficult subject..and skill. I guess I’m concerned that I might work myself into a very unrealistic frenzy and be tormented needlessly for years(I got a few more to enjoy than some others of you) instead of trusting the unseen and focusing on being a great person and basically trusting but hoping, yet not expecting, and then focusing that energy into positive pursuits rather than becoming narsisitic about it all, and yes there will be wondering and longing at times, but will it interfere with a healthy happy experience with life around me now? Should that person(FL) never come back into my life will I be able to see that love with a smile in a flower by the road years from now and pick it and put it in my little daughters hair with transferred joy for her right now? Like after a death some people never stop thinking of their departed but some learn to love others as they once loved those who have passed on.. And is that possible? Or are we all here to say that is not possible, and only if they are alive in front of us will life be complete? Is it just the closure we are missing for the unsolvable cases to be resolved? Can it be derived from the facts of the situations? Or must it just it be only a wonderful reunion equally reciprocated that will “solve” our heart cry?

  16. David says:

    TTOL, There is always a fear that we are putting ourselves out there on an unstable “emotional branch” by revealing our true feelings… But, if we don’t take that chance by revealing how we honestly feel to them are we not setting ourselves up to be misread by our FL? If a relationship with FL is going to be a possibility, doesn’t it begin with honesty in how you really feel about them? When Lisa and I first reconnected, I was hesitant to let her know how I felt for fear of it not being reciprocated. It took her breaking the ice by asking me what caused me to break up with her 30 years ago. Had she not asked that question, I’m not sure if I would have had the intestinal fortitude to break the ice myself for fear of scaring her away. This is because Lisa takes marriage very seriously, as I do. So, even though she was having issues with her marriage, she would put up with it due to her ethics. The relationship has to be based on honesty, so reveal all and hope for the best. If the connection is right, the honest feelings will be reciprocated.

  17. Lisa says:

    David is waiting in Missouri for a drive-through bank to open at 8am and he is singing love songs to me. That is LOVE. I love him so much. I am here in Houston, Texas. We still have not seen each other for 30 years.

  18. PleaseGodCanIBeWithLL says:

    @PD, I remember that Star Trek episode too!

    Yesterday was a rough one. LL was being quite chatty this week. We had been talking about how his GF uses sex to get him to do things around the house. He suggested I try that with H to get him to get things done at my house that have been neglected. I told LL that kinda sounded like using sex as a tool or weapon and I’m not comfortable doing that. He explained in his household sex is often used in a bartering system like that and he didn’t think of it as being a weapon (his GF most definitely withholds sex as a weapon, he just doesn’t see it that way). Anyway, after that conversation, he had some time to think about things and then sent me this whole description of how sex changes over the years in a long-term relationship. But he also talked about love and connection and stuff that that. And that sometimes the stars align and he has an amazing connection with his GF during sex. Some of what he said made me feel like I was second best to him. His message upset me, and some of what he said felt like he punched me in the gut. I replied immediately and without taking time to think about what I wanted to say. I prefaced my message that I am writing “off the cuff” and not thinking about what I’m saying. The main point of my message was that sexual connection and true love are not the same thing and that I felt like he was minimizing what we had. At the end I wrote that I was afraid he would shut down communications because of all the stuff I just wrote.

    Apparently I was way off base and that was not what he meant at all. He apologized for upsetting me and for writing out his stream of consciousness thoughts without thinking about his words and maybe less is more, meaning he shouldn’t just let the thoughts transfer right to the messages he writes.

    We had a long volley of messages through the day. I told him I don’t want him to edit himself, that I need to suck it up, and be a big girl.

    We ended up chatting live for about an hour and a half in the evening. He was so sweet and asked if I was okay and tried to assure me that he wasn’t referring to anything about us in that message that upset me. And he told me not to be paranoid that he will “go away”.

    It meant a lot to me that he logged on to FB right after I sent him a message for the sole purpose of chatting live with me. It was like he sensed how much I needed him in that moment and he came through.

  19. Jeff says:

    David- I agree 100% with you, my FL asked me why I left her too. She told me right away how much she still loves me and I said that I still love her too but, at the time I told her about how I’m married now and that i wished she’d contacted me before because, I was looking for her too. At the time I didn’t see myself leaving my wife to be with her but, after talking to her about 3 days I realized how much I still love her and by the following week I started feeling like I could leave my wife for her. Now it’s been almost a month and it’s extremely serious, i feel pretty sure that I will end up breaking it off with my wife to be with her, it’s so crazy how things can change that fast. I’m definitely not looking forward to sitting her down and telling her what’s happening but, if all goes well when I spend days with her in 3 weeks(which I’m pretty sure it will), then it must be done. I think I’m going to come to a breaking point by next month, I’m going crazy thinking about it! Going to have to get it over with soon I know cause I can’t take it much longer.

  20. David says:

    Jeff, The love and respect that you have for your wife’s feelings are what make it hard to tell her that your heart is leading you towards FL. It was not easy when I told my wife about FL and continues to be a very delicate situation in our home. Today (Monday) she spent the day in bed crying. She talked about how her life was over, because I am her life. She talked about how suicide would end all of her pain. She wanted me to lay down with her and hold her, which I did for portions of the day. She was drinking wine, which only compounded matters. I told her repeatedly how it was never my intention to hurt her and that she was not to blame for my uncontrollable need to be with Lisa. We spent time together talking about where things had gone wrong in our marriage that seemingly must have prompted me to seek Lisa out. The blame was on both sides in equal amounts. This is not an easy time to deal with, Jeff… I won’t lie to you. I shared all of this with Lisa and she was very concerned for my wife. Don’t make the mistake I did and tell your wife that FL is concerned about her, though. That did not go over well! Lol …”if she’s so concerned about me then tell her to quit talking to my husband…” Yeah, don’t make that mistake! Lol On a serious note, though. Your wife deserves to know what is going on, especially if you truly plan to pursue a relationship with FL, and the longer you wait – the longer it will take her to process it. Remember, the process of the death of a marriage is very similar to the process of actually losing someone to death. Once your wife has processed it to the point that she is willing to talk about it, be there for her to answer her questions as well as you can. She deserves that and you will feel much better, too. Remember, just because you are the one ending the marriage doesn’t mean you won’t be dealing with the same feelings of “the death of the marriage”.

  21. Jeff says:

    David- nice post, I appreciate it! Yes, that’s what I imagine will be the case when I tell my wife too except, I don’t think I’ll be able to live at the house any longer after I tell her. I have all that part covered though, I could stay at relatives for awhile or since my job I’m gone 4 nights a week then it wouldn’t be too bad staying in motels a few days. You’re right, my wife deserves to know. It’s not right staying in a marriage when I’m in love with someone else, when I’m gone from home like now I just text my FL all day and barely even think about texting my wife anymore now. I think I’m being distant at home too, I don’t even want to be affectionate with her now because my heart is with FL. these feelings are just gonna get stronger after I see her in 3 weeks too and I will have no choice but to get it over with. I will be ready for anything, I could get my ass kicked lol. I’ll just sit there and take it haha, protect my face. She’s the type that’ll get furious at the beginning and then probably start crying. Well thanks for the tips David, I’ll be posting more I’m sure.

  22. Thetortureoflove says:

    My now ex wife went ballistic at first when I told her about my heart situation as well, she was like I knew it, n on on, and then yes tried to win me back w sex n trying to dress all sassy, and txting me like non stop, which she never did before I told her about my FL, but after the rage n competition (including hacking into my device and sending lots of disturbing emails and messages to my Fl) she settled down n after thinking a while about it all realized where my heart always had been, and when she realized I was steady and kind and not just deserting her or the kids, but was being responsible and not rushing off too quickly to be with my FL but that I was calmly realizing the reality of my head, with no garantees of anything including the possibility of it NOT workin out with my FL but also it never having been perfect between us, she was ok with it, and accepted that we can still be friends and co parents, yet calmly realize that deep heart connection never was there, and that is ok, and is sorta happy I’ve found where it is, hopes it will be a positive experience but no she can’t sit by as a consolation prize should it all go belly up. And once the initial shock n drama wears off if it’s clear a steady deep love is present most women will actually respect that more if the guy is responsible, than a guy who just sucks it up n does second best and isn’t honest with his heart..

  23. Thetortureoflove says:

    At end of the day most women realize these issues better than we do… Lol

  24. Jeff says:

    TTOL- that’s good, I hope my wife understands like yours does now. Doesn’t sound to good at the beginning though lol, must’ve been a real stressful time. I really just want to get it over with now, I’m getting tired of thinking about it all damn day. It will be like a ton off my shoulders when it’s done with haha

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