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.

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9,675 Responses to “Reuniting With Your First Love…on the Net”

  1. Aretha says:

    @ Complicated I agree Di has a unique writing style also others are recognised by the spelling – American English, British English or maybe slight grammar mistakes. So I suppose recognised without a z gives the game away about for me for it is the British spelling and used throughout the Commonwealth. :-)

  2. PleaseGodCanIBeWithLL says:

    @William,

    When your FL inbox messaged you on FB, did you reply? Maybe she was trying to start a conversation with you and used your link as an ice breaker to start the conversation?

  3. Di says:

    Complicated…
    I know lol.I am who I am. Love me or hate me. The friends I’ve made here are true blue and I am so grateful. The haters, well, I have a new outlook… Not everyone likes everyone and that’s fine. I have a theory that those accusing others of making things up are usually the guilty party. Cheaters are usually the most jealous etc..
    But I’m not focusing on that. My motto is >> ignore.
    I wish that we still had to sign in under our email and use a real name. It certainly makes everyone more accountable.
    We just need to remember there are new people coming here having just been blindsided by a fresh friend request and it would be so nice to present a team of support! Like I found when I first found this place four years + ago.

  4. Di says:

    Aretha
    I’ve always loved your writing! Very easy to read… You are a good writer. Sometimes if I am writing on my phone, it won’t allow me scroll back to see a mistake and then other times it will. So I may send without checking just so I don’t lose it.

  5. WILLIAM says:

    @William,
    “When your FL inbox messaged you on FB, did you reply? Maybe she was trying to start a conversation with you and used your link as an ice breaker to start the conversation?”

    PG, I did think of that at the time. But her inbox reply was to a “public” link/thread…so I figured that she would PM me if she ever wanted to have a private conversation. I did reply to her and another FB friend who had responded earlier on the thread…in fact, I responded to both at the same time (in the same post) so as not to make it look like I was “singling her out” in public, LOL (I kind of do ANYTHING with respect to her with “kid gloves”).

    It’s funny, because I had tossed and turned so much that night…it was one of the more troubling nights of the past two years (since the reconnection). And I got myself up pretty early that Saturday morning (I work some Saturdays, but didn’t work on that one). I remember being so “groggy” (from a mostly sleepless night) as I got my coffee and logged on at my home office computer, and…and then I NEARLY FELL OFF MY CHAIR when I checked my emails!! I just couldn’t believe it! I had pretty much given up on thinking that she even had me on her newsfeed (since she never really seemed to “like” anything that I posted GENERALLY, only things that I posted directly to her timeline for birthdays, etc). AND, I guess that I just really wanted (even “needed”) that small “consolation prize”…I just needed to know that she cared enough about me to “look in” from-time-to-time on my life.

    I was gonna talk about this when we talked about “signs from God”…because I really felt like this was the biggest one that I’ve gotten. It might have just been a coincidence, but it really made me think more about the possible “soulmates” (though not “lifemates” in the traditional sense) connection. It really seemed like God sent me a sign to show that she did care…right when I needed it the most (after a very turbulent night).

  6. Been There says:

    Sounds like the crazy behavior has reappeared as it did in the past. Any new doubter to the existence to some of us should scroll back and see that then too, there were troublemakers pointing fingers and providing judgment rather than help to the suffering.

    Di, Aretha, Complicated and many others know that myself, Don’t Do It and Adam are very real. Di and Stacey can also vouch for this fact! Don’t Do It and Adam have helped me immensely with my FL and I really cannot imagine what I would have done without them!!! We are all here to help each other. There is already enough hurt and suffering, why would any decent person want to add more?

  7. Di says:

    Been there
    Amen!

  8. To Love Without Regret says:

    It’s precisely because of the power of these relationships, and their durability, that some are so hellbent on being disruptive. It will continue – we should just learn to talk around them and not allow them to succeed in their disruptive mission. Anyone doubting this power need only look at the comment count above – and factor that there have been trolls almost from the outset…

  9. gonecrazy says:

    Sorry everyone, this isn’t gonecrazy but she asked that I try to post here using her name. She’s had some trouble from her end.

  10. Jeff says:

    William- LOL, yeah I’ll look into the lobotomy to erase these memories! That’s hilarious! There are other options but, I don’t think a lot of people here believe in spells and Magic lol, Nothing has worked for me yet to get my FL off my mind though.

  11. still crazy says:

    I’ve been away from this sight for a while and it looks like so much has happened!
    Hindsight, I have a question for you – I see someone was questioning your identity. When I first saw the poster calling herself Hindsight, I had no doubt it was really Di. But after seeing someone questioning that, I was curious myself. Why did you use the name Hindsight, and not let us know it was really you, Di? Could you please ease my mind and post under your original name, you know the one that shows your picture. And I would also appreciate it if you forwarded the link to your blog again. I remember how informative it was. Though I guess I could scroll back and find it, when I get the time.
    I can understand you wanting to change your name, Di. I’ve been considering a name change myself. I think I might change my name to
    Have Faith. It has a nice ring to it.

    Wishing everyone a wonderful day!
    Namaste

  12. Di says:

    Still Crazy or…. Have Faith… (I like that!) It’s more positive! ;)
    It is me.
    Sorry to not answer right away. Putting out fires at work yesterday. There are a few reasons that I changed my name. Trying to stay positive now, lets just say that there was basically one poster here that came on long after I’d arrived throwing darts. I had enough on my plate at the time to worry about some stranger’s opinions of me and it was just annoying trying to ignore her constant comments. She was annoyes at me PUSHING my blog etc… Well, I have a lot of positive followers and it was just easier to write and focus on that part of my life.
    But just like recently when I had a “blip” and needed your guys perspective, I came back here where only “we” GET what WE are going through…. I changed my name once after the Di days… and posted not as Di but (like I said before… for the life of me can’t remember under what name… something that had annononymous in it… maybe Annonymously or something like that??) Anywaaay, I never tried to change my story, I just didn’t feel like I wanted to be OUT there as much as I am when my face is staring at everyone. :)
    I am posting here for you because you asked. And because everyone is questioning who I am.
    I have a few ideas why I seem to generate fighting and my guess is… that it is all ONE poster posting under several names trying to look as if they have a team of negative people posting and in that case, I think that perhaps those are the fake ones… the ones who initially thought there were fake posters.
    I never saw the Lisa and David stories… I think the last time I really was here with any regular visits was when Adam was here. It is when people question the real posters that it bothers me. He is real. I am his Facebook friend, I saw his photos. It was just a sad time of life for him. My thoughts on people questioning other people’s authentecity or guessing if they were someone fictional makes me feel like >>> those questioning are the guilty parties… just like real jealous people are the cheaters because they know that there are opportunities out there to cheat because they have. Could they actually have fictionalized themselves here so they feel everyone else has?
    Now don’t get me wrong…
    I feel that the ones questioning NOW are doing so because it was put in their heads by the one who started the questioning! If that makes any sense! LOL.
    AS for me me I come clean…
    When I left as Di I LEFT for a good chunk of time, just trying to survive. I’d made real friends here and we all had a kind of support system as needed. Though some still returned here to report. I made myself stay away because I was just trying to survive all that come with FLAD.
    I didn’t feel I was better than anyone. I just had to stop focusing. So I stopped the notifications and truly left. I was in N/C for a long time and then my FL started viewing me on LinkiedIN and I came back here not incognito but just not as blaring as “me” with my blog link and my photograph staring back at you!!! lol.
    I asked a few questions if anyone knew about linkedIn and then didn’t come back until my good friend who has been my lifeline and has kept me SANE just by sharing our lives, told me she’d visited this site and got blasted by who knows who. You have to wonder if there are just lurkers on here kind of reading and resenting us. Or actualy long time posters who change their names.
    I have always thought that once we weren’t required to sign in under our email, people weren’t as accountable and once the first Trolls appeared whether ones that were lurkers, or had just found this place for reasons of their own or long time posters that realized that they could sign in annonymously, it got crazy here.
    At first I was hoping that it was just kids but when I realized that it was adults and some I’d thought of as friends, it made me sad.
    Bottom line is….
    We all googled this place when we were hurting. Bewildered at how our lives were ours one minute and then consumed in a love that pretty much blindsided each one of us. We were lost with NO ONE to understand once those we did share our dilema with got tired of hearing about our FLs and wanted us to be “normal” again! The things is… I think FLAD is a real condition, though we made it up here, and it is not in the textbooks yet. We all have textbook stories about what happened to us. I mean, I have been back and forth for four years since my fl first friend requested me. Even with N/C for over two years, when I found out that my FL’s dad just died I reached out to him with a quick IM and then second guessed myself for months wondering if he’d seen it and agonizing over what he was thinking, if he was mad or hurt or whatever. Only to find out that he’d never seen the Instant Message!! Then I came here to talk about it and decided to reach out where I knew he was keeping track of me… (linkedIn) and he responded. I’d just recently been reading about others agonizing about N/C so I posted to give a little hope and have kind of found my way back here.
    Not sure how long I’ll stay. I am sure I will get the negative comments. But for the most part, I wrote this disertation for the ones who have been wondering where I’ve been. The ones who are still here that I connected with four years ago! The ones who were here for me! Thanks for all who have privately been a part of my life since. I think it is a given that you know how much you mean to me!
    xoxo

  13. Di says:

    STILL CRAZY/HAVE FAITH

    Sorry I forgot you asked for the link to my blog! This is for you! Thank you for asking and for the sweet compliments.
    Also, I probably won’t be posting under my link… but I promise to forever just be Di from now on… ;)

    https://dianereedwiter.wordpress.com/

  14. Complicated says:

    Yea, Di!!

    I never viewed you as anyway but caring and positive. Don’t any of you sincere posters let anyone run you away.:)

  15. ------------------------------------------ says:

    Jeff said: LOL, yeah I’ll look into the lobotomy to erase these memories! That’s hilarious!

    Yes and I’m sure that your wife & FL find it hysterically funny, too.

  16. Harry says:

    Posting after a long time.Cant stop myself from visiting this wonderful and addictive site.Where else one can interact with so many souls suffering from FLAD.

    FL too is suffering from FLAD and cant stop herself from contacting me on phone only.I tried for a long time not to contact her following the advise of so many worthies over here.But I cant stop my self from immly replying back on receiving a missed call from her.

    I keep on wondering on the reasons we drifted apart.Primary reason was my inability to take a decision which still prevails with me.I was simply afraid of marriage . When FL or anyone else proposed I kept on prevaricating till the other party lost interest.Whenever I asked for time to think it over it could be safely presumed that decision from my side will be further postponement.

    FL too became a victim of it.She went to a separate city for job and her future hubby arranged the job for her was immediately smitten with her.He took advantage of my indecisiveness ,poisoned the mind of FL against me.

    However I was in touch with her through letters only at that point of time as mobiles were absent 21 years back here and land lines v scarce .MY letter asking us to meet was intercepted by hubby who never let it reach FL further cementing doubts against me.

    Hubby who is a controller of first degree was wooing her desperately by playing the Prince Charming phase.FL was stupid enough to fell for it and Hubby established physical relations with her surprisingly within 1 month of their meeting.FL was trapped post this physical intimacy and forgot me.

    She contacted me only once and I was not able to speak to her in detail as I was in office in a meeting.She conveyed to me about her new association .I kept mum as was my wont but I was shocked by her new friendship so soon.

    FL was taken away by her mother once she came to know about her affair for 6 months.FL in the meantime had totally forgotten about me.I too to be honest may be due to her immediate new found intimacy with her hubby.

    FL eventually ran away and married hubby . Her parent broke all realtions with her for 2-3 years after marriage.

    Hubby finding her alone and without any support started abusing and controlling her thrashing her on slightest disobedience, not allowing her to meet anyone or talk with any one,asking her to touch his feet every day in morning ,asking her to polish his shoes and then put it on his feet as a duty of an obedient wife.

    Later his mother also joined her in abusing her.This went on for 20 years and is still on.

    She was tightly under the leash until I found her new surname and found her on Linkedin.She immly put the phonne down and told her hubby about me who became surprisingly generous and asked me to speak when I call ed next time.

    I was deeply disappointed by her rude reaction but after few months she put her profile on FB saying she was expecting again a call from me.

    She was still v beautiful n my heart meted and all the old emotions came running back.FL was again naive enough to tell he hubby about this recontact saying She has forbidden me to contact her again.

    Easier said then done.

    I cried incessantly on hearing about her abuse and wished atleast she could have got a handsome tall well earning husband.

    Hubby is v short only 5’2″ vs 5’4″ height of FL , very average vs strikingly good looking FL earns little and always takes away the full salary of FL for 20 years now as a controlling tactics.This has been on for 20 years through emotional blackmail of suicide threats and birth of her son with 1 year of marriage.

    I am really saddened by her fate as she still doesnt have the guts of leaving her husband bowed down by his suicide threats and pressure form family and what will become of her 2 kids and society.

    She continues to suffer and I too.

  17. Harry says:

    Advice for me invited from my worthy friends and well wishers of this forum please.

  18. To Love Without Regret says:

    Harry, this story does seem to go round in circles. We’ve told you what we think before, and I have to say that I’m uncomfortable that you seem to talk about your FL as if she is a helpless child, incapable of any agency or personal decision-making. So I’d like to ask you three questions, and request that you answer them clearly and unambiguously. No fuzzy answers, no obliqueness.. that would clarify things for us all, and mean we can maybe offer better advice.

    1. In the last 3 years, has your FL clearly and explicitly told you that she loves you, or that she is in love with you? I’m not talking about what you’ve interpreted, or a suggestion or bit of a declaration – I’m talking about an explicit, clear and unarguable declaration of love. Nothing that is subject to interpretation by others.

    2. In the last 3 years, has your FL clearly and explicitly told you that she wants you to maintain contact with her, despite the added difficulty and danger to her? Has hse said she wants you to keep your communication stream active? And as an slight adjunct to that question, has she told you that you keeping in touch with her isn’t likely to further endanger her, or create greater difficulties or that she doesn’t care?

    3. Does your wife know about your feelings and interactions with your FL, and if not, why not? What is your actual, long-term objectives regarding both your FL, and your wife? Would you be prepared to leave your marriage for your FL, and if so, under what conditions?

    Honest answers to these 3 questions will (at the very least) help us to formulate the kind of support and suggestions that may be most helpful to you, based on a bit more intimate knowledge of what’s actually going on in this complicated and confusing situation. Please be aware that the charge of a ‘controlling’ spouse being the reason for a stalled reconnection is a common and usually empty claim. That isn’t your call – it’s her’s.

  19. Tarzan&Jane says:

    Now I understand the monkey.
    Welcome to the jungle, baby

  20. Aretha says:

    Keep posting folks – all of us that have been here a long time know the people that need a bit of helpful advice.
    Harry I have a feeling she is not going to pick up the courage to leave or she would have done it before now. I think you should just stay in touch as friends.

  21. Complicated says:

    Harry – please answer TLWRs questions. It will help us be less confused.

  22. Tarzan&Jane says:

    Why are yhou confused, Complicated?

  23. TarzaN&Jane says:

    scream baby scream

  24. Harry says:

    Thanks for response TLWR.

    1) I have been in touch with FL since last 14 months not 3 years.

    2)She very clearly expresses her love for me

    3)She is aware of huge risks she is taking when she is in contact with me yet doesnt stops calling me inspite of thrashing she received from her hubby when he came to know about her earlier phone calls nearly 1 year back.

    4) Yet she is not ready to take the step of leaving her abusive husband fearing he will commit suicide,her children and society will not support it

    5) I have told my wife of speaking to my old friend of bachelor days and we spoke about our children career etc.Wives anyhow have a feel to guess something is amiss and has been improving the physical intimacy on her own which was earlier being used as a bargaining tool.

    6) Paradoxically FL has been acting as a inadvertent counselor for me pointing out my weaknesses in mine behavior towards wife and asking it to be improved upon.I have tried it and it has helped.

    I am constantly asking FL to become more strong as her self confidence has been lowered greatly over last 20 years by her hubby constant criticisms and beatings.Unless she becomes strong she cant leave her husband and I can join her only subsequently.

    I am sure that I will live more peacefully with love and affection with FL unlike life of 20 years with wife full of constant arguments and bickering with wife.

  25. Sara says:

    I am a silent admirer of this forum.

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