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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12,867 Responses to “Reuniting With Your First Love…on the Net”

  1. Gypsy Soul says:

    Love and war, forgive me but I think your post is difficult to understand. Do you mean that your FL apparently told a third party that he still loved you, and then that party told you? If that’s the case , then I don’t buy it. I think the person who told you that is possibly a person who likes to instigate drama, because that’s not the type of comment most people will ever make (even if it’s a true feeling) and why would the third party reveal that to you?But some people do suffer from mental health issues, so who knows what their agenda might be.

    In my own situation I have seen evidence of meddling. For example, at least 2 fake social media accounts were opened in my FLs name, and the photos were photoshopped to make it appear as though his wife were in the photo. I can tell they are photoshopped upon close examination, and I wonder why someone would do this. Why not use authentic photos? I can only assume it’s because there aren’t any current ones available. This is a sad situation because it seems there must be some severe mental illness involved if this is happening.

  2. Love and war says:

    Down the rabbit hole and Gupsy soul-
    This is so confusing and hard for me to understand too. Initially my friend when she was moving found a bunch of old high school pics and things and got nostalgic about our friends back then. When she asked me if I had any info on anyone I told her I did and gave her info I had on a few friends. One of those was my FL. I didn’t have his info because we were keeping in touch I had it because after he left the night we split up I had been looking for him to tell him the truth but he had disappeared. Back then there was no internet so if you didn’t have info it was almost impossible to find someone. I had remained in love with my FL the whole time because I knew the truth and he didn’t. Throughout the years I would look for him but couldn’t find anything. I had begun to worry that I may have been successful in pushing him away to get him to go back to the military but then worried what if he went back and it got him killed? So I would keep checking here and there hoping to find that even if he hated me because he thought I had left him for someone else at least I would find out he was alive and happy. At some point I guess I just figured he definitely did hate me so the alive and happy became my main focus. After years of looking up people all over with his name and getting nowhere I was starting to think it was hopeless. I stopped looking and just tried to forget. Then I was reminded of him when I had met someone who had served at the same time and he gave me his contact info. I was just happy he was alive and was hoping to find he was happy. I had sent a letter to an email address and tried without babbling all ADD like I’m probably doing here to explain what I did and why and apologize and was just asking him to understand why I lied and to hopefully forgive me for it but I understood if he didn’t. I wished him the best and gave him my info in case we could somehow be friends. I had figured that even though I had never stopped being in love with him he most likely no longer had feelings for me so I kept my feelings to myself and was just happy to find he was alive. I didn’t know if he was married or what his situation was. I never heard back. Ok so forward to my friend moving and asking for mutual friends info. I gave her info on some people him included. She said she always remembered what a great guy he was in high school and how he was so in love with me then. She asked if I had contacted him and I told her I sent a letter a while back but didn’t hear anything so I figured he didn’t want to talk to me. If he didn’t hate me because he thought I left him for someone else then he most likely hated me for lying to him and telling him there was someone else. She said she was planning on contacting him and some other people and see how they were and that she would ask if he still was angry. I guess after some searching she found someone who she found out after asking was his wife. They started talking and sharing stories and I guess photos. I don’t know what photos were sent but only the info I was later told that he supposedly said or that his wife supposedly said about how he felt for me back then. That back then he had been in love with me so bad. I was told by my friend that his wife Said he has always talked about me and I’m the only girl from his past he talks about to the point she teases him about it. I was told he was given my pics and was super excited to get them and that he was talkative and happy all night as opposed to being quiet all the time and mostly keeping to his work. I was given a phone number and told I could call and say hi and catch up with him. Then his wife tried to friend me on FB. My friend later told me how cool his wife is and that we would probably be good friends with her. I was told that my friend and his wife are all chummy now. In the mean time I checked the email I sent to him a while back and it appears it was picked up a while ago. I have never called the number or spoken to his wife as I think that would be weird given I have feelings for him. The one thing that I thought was really strange was the fact that his wife literally showed no signs of worry about me and him talking. I thought then there had to be something she knew that I didn’t. Well if the email had been picked up and he doesn’t use the computer I was told- he doesn’t like all the technology now, then she must have picked up the email. If so then there could be a few things going on- his wife could have given him the email and he has no interest in me anymore so she isn’t worried, she got the email and never told him and she has been just feeling my friend out to see what she knows about our past. My friend knows everything, she was the one who helped me when after he left I was more than a bit self destructive. She was the one who understood and tried to help me get back to who I was then. I was young and him leaving and the thought of him with someone else kinda destroyed me then and i made it happen by trying to protect him. I’m sure you can imagine how that would feel. So my friend knows everything but said she was trying to keep it all separate because she was only catching up for herself and thought his wife was super cool. His wife and him could just be being cruel and talking with her giving false info about how he talks about all the time and is so happy to be contacted and would love to talk to both of us, how much he loved me back then and all the other stuff that was said. Maybe they sit back and laugh about messing with us and it’s his way of hurting me back. Maybe he’s just waiting to tell me something cruel. Who knows. I was told by my friend that he never told her that me and him almost got married but only referred to me as his high school crush. He never told her he proposed. I don’t know if that’s true. She may know everything and know that he’s long over me or she may be fishing for info. Maybe there’s some chance the email got deleted or put in junk and was never read and all I have been told is true or maybe my friend who said that she thought he was the sweetest person in high school and that everyone then thought we were the perfect match made in heaven and even today says she thinks him and his wife don’t really go together but that knowing me and him still believes we are destined to be together. Maybe she isn’t telling me the truth. Maybe she is giving me wrong info and false hope. All I know is that he did go back to the military after we split and he did make it home ok. He eventually met someone, got married and when it didn’t work out got divorced, later remarried and according to his wife they are happy. My friend said she found out he Was the one leaving me notes though he never signed them. At this point I can’t be sure. All I know now is that very recently my friend said she tried to contact his wife and she won’t get back to her. So now his wife is not talking to my friend. I have no idea why but figure it’s just best at this point to take any feelings I have and stomp them out. Someone posted about meeting their FL and he was not at all what they remembered and was lazy etc. I think I should just focus on that idea. Maybe him and his wife were just messing with my friend knowing info would get to me. If that is the case then he really isn’t the person I knew him to be anymore. I just don’t feel like I can trust anyone because I feel someone either isn’t telling me everything or isn’t being honest. I guess since I lied to him back in the day I probably deserve it.

  3. Gypsy Soul says:

    Hmmm…I still am having a hard time understanding this story, Love and War. If you haven’t actually communicated with him at all, and he definitely is married, I would recommend not pursuing this any further. You have no reason to believe he still has feelings for you, and frankly your friends whole story seems rather contrived.

    Without hearing anything from him, it’s probably best to just let it go. It’s my opinion that if there really is a deep soul connection between 2 people, you will know it. You won’t have to question whether it is real or not.

  4. Love and war says:

    Down the rabbit hole and gypsy soul-
    Sorry for going on so long on the last post just trying to give a whole picture of things here. I had sent him that letter a while ago and hadn’t thought anything about it because I never heard back and figured he didn’t respond because he was still angry or maybe he didn’t get the email. Through the years I had looked for him and found nothing but over that time there must be something like 70 to 80 letters I had written over 26 years to try to find him. I heard back from some guys over that time admitting they weren’t him but would love to meet me- yikes! But never a confirmation that I had found him. The last letter I had sent when I didn’t hear back I figured was possibly wrong or old even though I had gotten it from someone who served with him. When my friend was looking for our old school friends I gave her the info I had. She however did more digging I guess and confirmed it was him and he was married to the woman my friend contacted. I hadn’t thought to check to see if my email had been picked up until about a week ago. When I did I saw it had. My friend told me she didn’t know what what up because she tried to contact his wife and his wife won’t respond to her. His wife actually I friended her on FB but has not blocked her. So my friend says she doesn’t know what’s going on. She asked if I did anything and I told her since she had found he was married I have struggled with do I or don’t I tell him so I haven’t spoken to or tried to contact anyone. I did think it was strange when my friend was communicating with her that she would ask my friend- did you know this or did you know that about him? She had asked my friend questions about when my FL was in the military and what she knew about it. She also made comments about me being his high school crush and how in love he was with me in high school. My friend at the time said she obviously didn’t know it was a lot more than that after high school. When I had sent him the last letter a while ago I had reminded him that I told him back then that he was going to meet someone he loved a lot more than me and I was just gonna be Some girl you had a crush on in high school and Asked him if that was what happened and if so if he was married and happier now than he had been with me then I would be happy for him. I don’t know then if what I was told by my friend about the whole he had such a crush on her in high school comment was because of my letter. I had t thought about it before because I had sent the letter a while back and kinda forgot about it. It was just one of many over time. His wife asked my friend if I was married and for other info about me and said it was because my FL wanted to know. Now that she has gotten info from my friend and who knows what all info she got I don’t know about now she isn’t talking to her. I know my friend didn’t say anything about us almost getting married she told me then that she was trying to keep stuff separate because she was just trying to catch up for herself but said she realized there was a lot to do between him and me still with all the questions. She said initially when she sent pictures over that his wife asked,is that her? My friend didn’t know what she meant and then his wife started talking about the girl he had the crush on and was so in love with and talks about to this day. With all that and now she has unfriended my friend out of the blue and knowing now that the info I had was correct when I sent my last letter but never heard from him even though he supposedly wanted to know things about me and I had given my contact info. Plus I was told she mentioned that he would leave me notes for a long time and had been the one who sent me flowers with no cards. I don’t know if he is part of this or not. If he is then is he having her say stuff to my friend to mess with me, did she get the letter and not tell him and he still doesn’t know. I don’t know what to think but so far that’s everything I know

  5. Down the Rabbit Hole says:

    Love and War: I doubt your FL is purposely trying to hurt you. When I broke things off with my former love, he was devastated and hurt more deeply than my selfish and immature mind could comprehend. When he continued to pursue me, I got so frustrated I said something very cruel. To be fair, he was drunk or high and instigated it by trying to emotionally manipulate me. After all that drama, I carried guilt for years believing he must, rightfully, despise me. When he reached out years later, he had forgotten that incident. Finally I could apologize, and even though we have major regrets, we have forgiven. He never stopped loving me.

    I suspect it is the same in your situation. He will forgive if he knows the truth. Your reasons for breaking up were far nobler than mine. I was selfish. And foolish. You were the opposite.

    At this point, you probably can do nothing but wait. The fact his wife stopped talking to your friend may indicate he finally knows the truth and they have issues to work through. Hard to say, that’s for sure.

  6. Love and war says:

    Sorry all for the long posts. That should be the last of them

  7. Love and war says:

    Gypsy soul and down the rabbit hole-
    Gypsy- that’s why I was saying it’s very confusing for me too. Before I had been told that he had said he had all these feelings for me but I’m finding out that what I was told before may not be true. It’s possible his wife got the email that I sent back at the end of 2015 and if my friend had not been giving me false info then it’s possibke his wife had been messing with her. That’s why I said before I just have to let this go because it seems someone hasn’t been telling me the truth or has been giving me false hope. Without talking to him directly there’s no way to know and since he’s married I don’t plan on contacting him. It’s just frustrating.
    Down the rabbit hole- I hope your right and he is forgiving for what happened in the past. At least if he knew and was able to understand why I did what I did and forgive me then I could feel better about it all. Ultimately I want him to be happy even if that means I have to keep out of his way. My friend believes that if he knows the truth a lot would change. So maybe he did find out and like you said maybe they are trying to work through some things. I guess time will tell.

  8. Gypsy Soul says:

    Love and war
    I think it’s best to let it go, all things considered. I’m still confused about who told you your FL still had feelings for you, if you didnt talk to him yourself. I can’t see him telling his wife that he had feelings for another woman, and I also can’t understand why she would tell your friend anything about her husbands feelings. So strange!

  9. Love and war says:

    Gypsy soul- that’s the same thing I said. I’m not planning to pursue anything. My friend had told me she had been told he still had feelings for me but I know now she is hoping we get back together. I don’t plan on dealing with this any further. I don’t see why his wife would say something like that to my friend. She says she did but if so then his wife is just messing with her. It’s too much drama for me.

  10. Love and war says:

    Down the rabbit hole-
    Are you and you FL together now?

  11. Down the Rabbit Hole says:

    Love and War, no. We love each other very much, but he cannot fathom leaving his wife. The reasons I understand and cannot elaborate on. It is sad for both of us but I am happy we have come to a place of mutual love and respect. I do not know what the future holds, only living one day at a time.

  12. Anony says:

    @Love and War….What does your friend have to gain by telling you all of that? I don’t understand. Even though I do understand your reasons for not pursuing it, he does deserve to know the truth from YOU, not a friend, etc. Like the saying goes, the truth shall set you free. Let the man know the truth, so he can decide what he wants to do. If nothing else, at least you’ll have closure so will he.

  13. Love and war says:

    Down the rabbit hole- I’m so sorry. My heart goes out to you. I can only imagine how hard it has to be to know you both love each other and can’t be together. Hopefully in time the situation will change and you can finally be together. Until then at least you know he loves you and if he loves you then I’m sure you are always on his mind and he probably misses being with you.

    Anony- I do wish he knew. At this point I’m not sure if he does or not. When I tried to locate him last time I was given an email address. I email him and told him but my friend found his wife and now they are friends too. I had sent the email so long ago I had forgot about it and recently I checked and the email says it was delivered. My friend said he doesn’t do anything online. He doesn’t like all the tech stuff so his wife does all that for them. So I don’t know if his wife got my letter and told him, didn’t tell him or maybe it just went to junk and no one got it. So now I don’t know if the info I’ve been given previously is true or if his wife is giving my friend info to mess with her or if my friend just really wants to see us back together because as she told me she’s never known two people to ever be so in love or be better matched. So now I guess I worry that someone isn’t telling me the truth. I’ve actually worried that him and his wife could be saying this stuff to my friend to just mess with us and that it’s just a joke to him now, kinda like payback for him being hurt earlier. I guess depending on what else I hear I may eventually tell him but for right now, when it looks like the email was picked up and maybe someone is playing games I probably should let things settle down. Maybe in a little while my friend will have a better idea of what’s going on. I don’t think she’s lying to me. She has no reason to and I know she’s not that type of person.

  14. Anony says:

    @Love and War- so your friend and wifey are friends? Just online, or hanging out on Saturday night friends? You basically answered your own question…..you sent an email, but not sure if him or wife read it- but he doesn’t like tech stuff, so she does it for him. So SHE read it. I’m not trying to be rude, honestly I’m not. But by your friend being friends with her you really should be leery. Playing both sides isn’t good. I guess give it a little time, but I wouldn’t let a friend no matter how close we are do my dirty work, there’s always a chance for miscommunication. The best way in my mind is – from your lips to his ears. No misconstrued bs.

  15. Love and war says:

    Anony-
    My friend and his wife are only online friends as far as I know. She told me though she doesn’t know why but his wife won’t talk to her now. She said she doesn’t understand because she hasn’t done anything wrong. She’s never told his wife about how I feel. She told me though that she doesn’t think anyone got the letter and that it probably went to junk and got deleted. I still think his wife got it. My friend said she doesn’t think his wife got it because everything his wife told her about what he has said about me has all been good and how he still thinks about and talks about me all the time. So now I don’t know what to think. I’m just gonna lay low for a little bit and see what happens. Your probably right though. At some point I should probably tell him the truth but I have no idea how to start that conversation when we haven’t spoken for so long.

  16. Love and war says:

    Anony, Down the rabbit hole-
    Ok I did it! After speaking with my friend i decided I was just gonna call him and say hi so I did. Initially I texted him and told him who it was and wished him a Merry Christmas. Next thing I know my phone rang and it was him. He asked if it was really me and then said he has thought about me for the last 25 years. Then he asked if I was married. He told me about how he had the biggest crush on me back then and he never stopped thinking about me. He said he remembered kissing out front of my house and how happy he was and that was the last thing he remembered with us. That he was restationed and never came back home. I asked him didn’t he remember what split us up and reminded him of the last time we saw each other. He said he doesn’t remember!!! Wtf?! How do you just not remember asking someone to marry you? My friend said it is possible that when people have trauma like that that they do forget. I don’t know. I guess it’s possible but I think he is just saying he doesn’t remember because it’s a rough thing to talk about. He told me he doesn’t know how someone so gorgeous and wonderful didn’t wind up getting married and having kids and that he was an idiot back then and wishes things would have been different. So I guess now I have a whole new thing to think about. Is he or isn’t he telling me the truth and what do his comments about mean? What do you guys think?

  17. Anony says:

    @Love and War…..I’m happy you finally spoke with him!!!! It is possible he doesn’t remember, as it is also possible he is just saying he doesn’t remember because it’s hard for him to talk about. You dumped him, it’s not a pleasant experience. Just stay positive. Give him some time.h

  18. Down the Rabbit Hole says:

    Love and War,

    He may have such deep feelings he has buried the hurt. Like you, I was shocked my FL had no recollection of the hurtful thing I said, nor did he remember his part in it. He was impaired at the time, which I didn’t know. We had spoken by phone.

    I agree with Anony. Give it time. It must feel good to have lifted some of the hurt from your shoulders, even if it didn’t go as expected.

    Hang in there.

  19. Gypsy Soul says:

    I’m a little surprised he would say that much, considering he’s married. That’s certainly not the kind of thing I said to my FL. Usually, in a situation like this, when someone still have feelings, they tend to keep quiet about it. Most people, who are married, would not reveal that they thought of you often and had made a mistake (as a mistake implies he’s not happy in his marriage)
    My thoughts are either he is unhappily married, or he’s the kind of guy who cheats on his wife.

  20. Anony says:

    @Gypsy Soul…yes, I agree with you most married people wouldn’t say those things unless they’re unhappy. My FL told me he loves me, thinks about me allot and wishes he wasn’t married. @DTRH, yes we all tend to bury our deepest hurts. @Love and war, time…..just give it time. At least he knows now. I hope we all have a great year ahead.y

  21. Green girl says:

    My FL expressed all of that and more and he’s married. We all know these relationships are different from the start and they bring out things we forgot. Gypsy soul just because it’s not your experience doesn’t mean it’s not someone else’s experience. It also doesn’t mean they are just another cheater. It means they screwed up the first time and don’t want to do it again. When you love and miss and think about someone for 30 years, it all comes spilling out when you get another chance.

  22. Gypsy Soul says:

    Huh?…I didn’t say it wasn’t their experience. I said I’m surprised he would immediately say those things, even if they are his true feelings, that isn’t something you just blurt out if you are happily married.

    As I said, he may not be happy, and he may have regretted marrying who he married. Or possibly he is a guy who cheats, and he sees an opportunity here. We have no way to know what is going through his head.

    I’ve already experienced all this myself, Green girl, so Ive had my own experiences with this, which is why I say he may not be happily married, in light of what he said to Love and war.

    Just curious Green girl, who is the “all” you refer to when you say we all know? Because from what I’ve experienced most people don’t believe these relationships are different, most people seem to think we are just living in a fantasy world and trying to relive our youth, or maybe making a subconscious attempt to fix past mistakes.

    My own opinion is that sometimes those things are true in these situations, and sometimes we are “spiritually ” connected to someone, and the Universe pulls you back to that person…basically that there are forces outside ourselves operating , besides our own free will.
    But that’s just my opinion based on my own experiences.

  23. Love and war says:

    Thanks for all the insight guys. I spoke to him again. I never thought I’d actually find him and was so scared of how it would go when I did. He did tell me that he saw some really hard stuff when he was in the war and since then he has had some issues blocking stuff out. He said he really wishes he could remember because it makes him crazy not knowing. I told him if he can’t remember the bad stuff and just remembers the good things to go with that cause it could be the other way around. He told me he never stopped thinking of me. He said he is married and has never and would never cheat on his wife but would love to see me again. I know his marriage right now isn’t great from what he’s said so I don’t think he’s super happy in it but if he’s anything like the guy I used to know he would never cheat still. He’s asked me to come visit him and of course I’m thinking about it. I know his son knows about me, he’s all grown now. His son texted me and told me I must bring back a lot of happy memories because his dad is so happy to talk with me and he said he’s never seen him blush so red before. He’s a very sweet young man. My best friend told me if I go to visit she’s going with me to make sure nothing happens that shouldn’t. That way we can keep it on a friend level. That may be a good idea. I know talking to him all those feelings come back to me. I think maybe for him to a little.

  24. Down the Rabbit Hole says:

    Green Girl: I agree 1000 percent! These are not serial cheaters. They are life regrets situations.

  25. Dragonish says:

    It is so comforting to hear all these stories that are so similar to mine. I am 34yr and have been married 15yrs. There are many significant stressors in my marriage and I have thought about leaving the marriage for the past year. I am alone supporting my family of 5…on not a big income. About 3months ago I reconnected with my high school sweetheart, we were together for 2yrs and ended on fairly good terms. I have been searching for him for at least the last 12yrs and was beyond shocked when he reached out on social media and stated that he has been checking on me from afar through social media for all these years and decided to reach out. My FL recently got divorced. The interesting part is my husband and his ex-wife are the people we both got with after we broke up, so we have both been with the same people for over 13yrs. We were speaking on the phone daily and of course all these feelings came rushing back that I didn’t know were still there. He has told me that he has thought about me everyday and loves me more than anything. He regrets that we ever broke up and that was the biggest mistake of his life. I got into therapy about 2 months due to all the stress of my marriage and dealing with having my old love in my life…to work some things out for myself. Unfortunately, my husband found out in the worse way possible…which I will not go into but it was awful. The day my husband found out he called my FL to tell him to stop talking to his wife. I spoke with my FL the next day and he was understandably shook up. We decided to take a slight step back and let things cool off but were talking sporadically. All the news came out about 1 month ago and since then things have changed significantly. I am still in therapy and for the most part my FL and I have stopped talking. I am heartbroken. I am beyond stressed and depressed in my marriage. My husband is a great man, great dad but not such a great partner. He does not work and hasn’t for almost 9yrs. He does have health problems but would at least be able to have a part-time job but has not been willing to until now. Since all of this has came out, he is at least doing UBER (I would like a real 9-5 but taking anything right now) and working on some of the other issues. I have a couple issues with that, why did it take the threat of me leaving or talking with another man for him to do these things? And more importantly, I do not know if and how to get past the resentment of him allowing it to get this bad. I have been solely supporting my family of 5 for over 9year and have BEYOND stressed. I suffer from depression and anxiety and so they only feed off of each other. My FL still wants to remain in contact but from a distant and only every now and then since “nothing can happen”. I am so sad and hopeless. It has been 4 days with NC and I am sad and crying all the time. I do not know what to do. I will not leave my husband for another man, I would leave for me. How do you decide what to do when this is all I have known for 15yrs…the dynamic in my marriage? How do I leave when I support the entire house? Where would my husband go? Where would I go?
    I miss my FL but I am so MAD at him at the same time. I feel like he left me hanging. How can he just drop me like it was nothing? I texted him the other day and asked that, he said that’s not the case at all but its too painful and we both have things we need to figure out. I have not responded. I know I can not have him casually in my life. I don’t feel casual about him or the situation. I love him. I want to spend time and see where this leads. There is no guarantee and I do not want one but I want to feel like a woman and feel love. I feel so lost.

  26. Between a rock & a stone says:

    Dragon
    I am amazed at the similarities between your story and mine. The main difference is I’m quite a bit older than you, and that i separated from my husband after reconnecting with my FL. There had been problems in the marriage previously and the stress caused when my husband discovered I was talking to FL (who he has always hated) just was the straw that broke the camels back.

    I had been out of contact with FL (who had also separated ) while I tried to work in my marriage. Following the separation, I tried to contact him again. However, he refused to accept my messages, except for sending a very short and cryptic email that I was in some sort of danger.

    My FL did not have any social media accounts, but suddenly one popped up, complete with pictures of him and his wife (she happens to be my former best friend who stole him away from me when we were 19) I assumed they had reconciled, but then I noticed something weird about one of the pictures, and when I looked closely, I noticed it appeared photoshopped! Then I looked at some of the other pictures, and I can see they are a few years old, but they have been posted as though they are current. I even looked at his wife’s sisters fb page, and she commented on the picture as if they were current. WTF?

    I’m pretty confused at this point. ..and to make things worse, some anon and fake-looking fb accounts started to troll and harass me, so I had to change my privacy settings. These accounts were making comments about me being a home wrecker. Seems fishy.
    What do you all think is going on?

  27. Down the Rabbit Hole says:

    Dragonish:

    You have already left your marriage emotionally. I don’t think you should be mad at your FL. He has no choice but to wait for you to make a decision. I think you have made one, it is fear holding you back.

    I can relate.

  28. Dragonish says:

    BARAS-
    I am so sorry to hear that you are in the same boat. These are such difficult situations to navigate since there is a lot of confusion and many factors. So are you saying that even though you and your husband separated after that you being in contact with FL, you do NOT currently speak with your FL? That is kind of where I am at right now….dealing with all of this fallout and my FL is no where to be found. Makes me feel used and like he was using me as some distraction or toy and threw away when he was done playing….
    Your situation sounds interesting from the perspective that you have a history with both FL and his wife….that’s gotta be sticky. It seems weird about the FB page but maybe since the wife is now aware we wanted to get on FB and make her presence known along with their “happy” marriage…hoping you will stumble across it.
    These situations are so difficult. I always judged people who got into these things and thought they were childish and immature. My relationship stickily was emotional but that doesn’t really make any difference.
    I am so sorry to hear that after all of this…things are still not working out the way you and your FL were hoping in the beginning. I think the hardest part is never being clear if this was all made up in our heads, were they lying to us? How can they walk away so easily…when im sitting here with my whole world upside down. 🙁

  29. Leaving Arizona says:

    Dear Dragonish,

    You are in a place in your marriage where I have been. 7 years ago this February I walked away from my marriage of 18 years. I had essentially been the sole support for most of our marriage. I should have left 8 years into the marriage but I stayed because of all of the things you are asking about.
    What will he do, how will he support himself? What about me, what will I do and how will me and the kids survive etc… It was the hardest thing I’ve probably ever done.
    You are not responsible for your husband. He makes you feel you are but you’re not. That’s his power over you. Why hasn’t he worked? Why now after all this time of you being the sole support and him knowing that has he decided he can suddenly work? He hasn’t had to because you held up more than your part of the relationship for him.
    Your husband may be a great man and great dad but great men don’t allow their partners to support them without helping and they don’t show their kids that it’s okay to do that. Health issues or not, he has shown his sons that it’s okay to not be a team and shown your daughters what a louse looks like. Believe me, I am being kind in my words. I had the same louse in my house.
    He may be nice and kind and all you want to say about him about being wonderful but he’s not. He has allowed you to carry the whole family on your back. There are many things he can do. Like, go back to school and learn a career that doesn’t require physical labor of any kind. He can learn bookkeeping and do people’s books from home or go to H & R Block and train to be a tax preparer (they work all kinds of different hours). My point being is that you have carried the family and he hasn’t cared until he risked losing his gravy train. I’ve been in your shoes.
    My ex-husband–I worried he couldn’t live without me–well, he has and he’s living out in the big world on his own just like he did before we met and he’s still alive and eats and has health care and everything he needs to survive.
    You have supported a family of 5 on your own for years. You can support a family of 4 on your own, even if he never contributes a penny to your kids. You’ve already been doing it and so you will be better off with just 4 of you instead of 5.
    The dynamics will change for the better. Your kids will see you working on their behalf and taking a stance of empowerment that you needed to take a long time ago. They will respect you for it. Believe me. They will see you as someone that reached outside to do something hard but to do it for all of them, including yourself.
    If you leave your husband, leave for yourself. Your FL will happen if it is meant to. He hasn’t given up on you, he has done what your husband asked which is to stop talking to his wife –as if he owns you. He doesn’t unless you allow him to.
    He spoke up because his support chain is weakening. He should really be ashamed of himself.
    Keep going to therapy and speak the truth and let it all out. I have been there. I walked away, lost our house, lost my job of 15 years and wondered how I was going to support my kids. Now my life is better than it ever was in the 18 years of my marriage.
    I have a great job, my kids are thriving to the point that they have become these amazing people that I never imagined they would be. They outplayed my dreams for them.
    They speak to their dad sporadically. He has no place in their lives except that they know he is there and they feel bad for him but they know this was the best thing I could have done for them and for me and for all of us.
    He has not contributed one dime to their well being and to me, it’s a moot point now. I never speak ill of him around them and I never will. I bought him Christmas gifts from the kids and they sent them to him happily. I never receive anything back but it doesn’t matter. I am happy.
    I understand the NC being brutal. I understand you missing your FL. I think all of these relationships somehow surface at a time when we need to face change. It just accentuates the issues we have always had in our marriages in a more blatant way.
    Keep going to therapy and keep trying to strengthen yourself so you can walk away from your marriage and find your way on your own.
    Your FL will be there when you’re ready to do that.
    Keep us posted I can’t believe how similar our situations were. The only difference being that I got in contact with my FL after I left my marriage (several months later). My FL is married and still married but we talk every single day and see each other quite a bit. This is nowhere near perfect but my happiness in my own life with my kids is definitely 1000% better than it was when I was married.
    The stress and anxiety of my marriage made it impossible for me to give very much to my kids because I was living with a giant brick on my chest. I couldn’t expend much because of the heaviness I was carrying all alone.
    I was alone in my marriage, like you are. Now I have a relationship with my kids that is over the top amazing. I am positive, had I stayed, I’d either be dead from stress or my own hand. It was oppressive and too damn hard.
    I hope my words help you.

  30. Hot Mess Nest says:

    Love & War… Wow! I checked back specifically to see if you’d talked to him yet. Great update! Of course we knew it would go pretty well based on your story and what you heard from your friend. If you do decide to go visit him, bringing your friend along is a solid idea so you aren’t as tempted to overstep your own boundaries. But be prepared that in all likelihood, the feelings will be there on both ends, and you’ll want to.

    Dragonish… my FL did the same thing in the beginning when my husband called him. He had no idea the problems between us were so great, so he felt like an interloper. My husband painted this picture to my FL of us being completely happy, and told my FL he was like a drug to me, and that I was just an addict. He told him he would only cause me and my son pain. FL couldn’t bear to hear that so he stepped back. Even though we were no contact, I felt ignored… like, how could you shut me out like this after we just finally admitted our feelings? When I talked to him again months later, he told me his feelings never changed, but didn’t want to bring me pain.

    Fast forward to today…

    My FL and I are using this year to make concrete plans to be together. As such, life is full of joy, but also challenging. We’re making big moves and sometimes it can feel daunting. I’m lucky because our feelings have never wavered since we admitted we were still deeply in love. Every time I get overwhelmed and suggest I’m too messy of a project, he doubles down and reminds me I’m the only woman for him.

    Making my mind up to leave my husband was freeing, and since that time a lot of information has surfaced about him that is beyond troubling and confirmed my decision. I had waffled a lot trying to make my marriage work. Back and forth, and back and forth… because I have been faced with a lot of pressure to do so, and really, that’s what people want to see happen. It’s what you’re supposed to make work no matter what. It’s what I promised to do, and I freely admit I have broken my promise. My personal truth is this: Sometimes the advice that’s right for the majority of people is bad advice for you. I’m done taking bad advice.

    Great to read these updates. Thanks for sharing.

  31. Between a rock & a stone says:

    Dragonish
    Thanks for the reply.
    The social media account is actually not fb. It was a IG account, that apparently is now closed, but the posts show up on something called pictogram or something like that. Anyways, the account was in his name, not his wife’s. I thought at first it was a legitimate account, but then I noticed some weird things about some of the pics. There are actually only a few pics of him and his wife together, and 2 look like they are a few years old. The one pic that looked a bit weird I decided to zoom in on. When I did I could see there were parts that were edited, and the wife’s hair was oddly cut from the pic in one area, as i assume a current pic of her was photophopped to cover over an older picture.
    So why in the world would someone do that? I mean, just use a current picture…who would someone into a picture?
    So then I started to wonder if they really are still separated and the wife made a fake account in his name.

    To tell you the truth, she was a very, very manipulative person, who lied about me years ago in order to “steal ” him away. She told him I was cheating on him, and that i had said things about him, which I hadn’t. I only found this out years later.

  32. Love and war says:

    Hot Mess Nest- so excited for you and your FL. Glad to see it worked out for you. I’m just starting contact with my FL and it’s a bit crazy and confusing. His very first comment to me was that he has thought about me for the last 26 years so I guess that’s a good start. I’ve spoken with him 3 times now. The first 2 times he seemed super happy and we talked about the past but i have found out he does not remember our breakup. It’s very hard for me right now because he can’t remember a lot of our relationship or breakup and I can’t forget. When I talked to him last time he was talking about seeing me and of course I want to. His son texted me and told me he,( his dad) has been looking for me for a while now. That all sounds great right. When I talked to him last he asked me for my friends number so he could call and thank her for putting us back in touch. I didn’t have her number on me that day but called him today to give him the number and he seemed happy enough to talk to me but this time was using terms that included his wife. The last times he spoke of him and today he spoke of “we” meaning his wife. He didn’t talk about any past stuff with me today. Just seemed a little distant and didn’t talk about seeing each other. So I’m not sure what to think now- arrgh! Told him I had to go and he asked if I would call him again soon. I told him I didn’t want to start calling him too much. He said he loves talking to me and he has always had trouble making calls but loves it when people call him. So great. I told my friend I’m not gonna chase after him. She said to not call him now for a while. That now that he knows where I’m at and has my number that if I don’t call then he may start missing me. I don’t know what to do because I know he was having issues in his marriage but if I just drop off while he’s focusing on,”we” with her than he may forget about me or just decide to stop talking to me. I don’t know if this is normal how this is going or what. How long were you and your FL back in contact before you guys figured it out?

  33. Hot Mess Nest says:

    Love and War–That’s all really interesting about him starting to talk about his marriage. My first hunch is that speaking with you is bringing back a lot of old feelings, and as he’s having time to think about it, the realness of it all is dawning on him. His feelings for you put him in a strange position as a husband, even in a strained marriage. This is the can of worms that you open up when you get back in touch, and it can take some time to sort out what’s really going on in your own head, let alone your FL’s head! I’m mostly settled, but still doing sorting myself!

    My FL and I never actually broke contact. We’ve been close friends for the past 17 years. But he got married quickly to a rebound, and it changed our relationship. I always respected their marriage, and never shared my feelings with him again, though I was heartbroken. He was in a similar situation with his feelings, and tried to make his marriage work, but it eventually failed. So we always had a dialogue, but it wasn’t until almost a 1 ago that we saw each other and admitted that we were still deeply in love, and always had been. But at this point, I was (am) unhappily married, and needed lots of time to figure out what to do. I tried to fix my marriage for nearly 6 months in therapy. I even, for the first time, initiated no contact with my FL to try and make that therapy work. What has happened between my husband and I is irreparable, and I realized that with or without FL, I would have to let him go. Also, the feelings between FL and myself never faded. Across 17 years, and this very wacky past year, it’s grown. We’re best friends with so much history, we are intensely passionate about one another, respectful, adventurous, protective and fiercely loyal. I’ve never had that with anyone before him or since. I wondered for years since our first breakup if I was fantasizing how good it was with him, and if it was really real. I had to figure it out for myself, but yes, it definitely was real. We realized together that we’re still young, and have an opportunity to correct the biggest mistake of our lives. So very soon, we’ll begin forever together, as it always should have been.

    It might be wise to not get too communicative with your FL until you know what’s really going on with his marriage. Are they on the way out? Are they better than he’s presented it? Who knows… but I will say that’s something I’d have done differently in retrospect. I was stupid last year and was texting non-stop with my FL. It caused unnecessary pain to my husband. Unless you’re a mastermind at having an affair, it’s impossible for a spouse not to notice. Space is good and not giving into every impulse to reach out is good, too. Lord knows we’d all be calling our FLs constantly if that were the case! I think you’re in the very beginning and eventually you and your FL will likely have a talk about your real feelings. I don’t have much advice about what to do when that day comes because everyone is so different, and has different needs for their families. As much as you can, just give yourself time to understand what you’re feeling, and give him time to process it as well. This is powerful stuff.

  34. Queen of Pain says:

    I believe these types of true love connections are very rare. Some of these connections are probably just natural curiosity , a wistfulness for the past, and a chance to remember and relive our youth. But I also think a deeper type of connection can exist in some of these stories, the sad stories where couples separated due to unchangeable circumstances, or circumstances manipulated by other parties. Those are often the stories where the seperated couple thought about each other throughout the years, or even experienced unusual and coincidental events related to each other. Also I just wanted to say hi to Sue. I alsO have read of some people who have experienced prophetic dreams of each other, or dreams where they believed they visited their lost love. Who’s to say if it’s all true or not.

  35. Backtothis says:

    I have posted under different names and I apologize I don’t ever remember my name and it’s such a hassle to go back and look it up. 🙂 Despite all of the time that has passed with contact with FL AND knowing staying in the ‘middle’ between marriage and LL/FL doesn’t work… I continued contact. I’d heard you either get found out or the dam breaks. I told my husband about the contact. He really didn’t get it I guess. But then this week the dam broke. What I mean is I realized I couldn’t do it. That I thought he felt laying little crumbs, setting strict parameters for contact, and keeping me strung along was enough. He is currently in a relationship with a very unlikely person. No one like he has ever been with before. They recently had a vacation and like an idiot I looked at their vacation pictures. The interesting thing was or is, that she hasn’t purposely posted a picture of him since 2014 . His relationship is very convenient for the woman – who appears to offer nothing to the relationship. FL and I were on the same island and had a 3 sq mile chance of running into each other. He knew where I’d be and yet came back dismissive of the whole situation. Said well I didn’t go there. Not I tried but couldn’t get anyone to go or sad we missed each other like I had. Your couple of other little things that he was very dismissive about. He just came back from his trip and I felt like he was being a jerk. So I called him on it and he He said it’s so amazing that women can get pissed off at me and I don’t even know why. And I explained that it was like a light came on and so of course he said I’m glad I made this So easy for you. Which of course after being in sporadic contact for 13 years and being in intense contact for the last 18 months, set me off. Of course this wasn’t easy for me. I told him that his little self serving parameters didn’t work for me. I’m so irritated because I live in Same state and about an hour at the highway. And despite Insisting we are friends, wouldn’t even agreed to meet up with me and another girl that we all went to high school together. I hate it because I just came to this realization that all I am is a form of entertainment for him. He has expressed his feelings for me and told me how much he cares about me and how important I am to him and Yet emails only. I was separated when we started this intense conversation and still it didn’t hit me until now. So When things got heated the other day he said I think we should take a break from talking and I told him I don’t ever want to talk to you again. I told him to go work on his relationship. I think I am too mad right now to be sad

  36. Midnyte Toker says:

    Queenie

    Woah…..interesting insights and perspectives…I like the part about the dreams, cuz that’s actually happened to me. I had this like craaaazy dream once where I really thought my LL was in my bedroom. Some people are like FREAKED OUT when I tell them that kind of shit, but I was like all. ..that’s so cool, man. I want to say hi to Sue as well, I wonder if she knows who this is.

  37. Dragonish says:

    I had to take a couple days to think about all the appreciated support, words and advice everyone has listed.
    Leaving Arizona-I cannot tell you enough how much I appreciate you taking the time to share your story. I needed so desperately to hear from someone in a similar situation (being the sole support for their family) as it is a unique dynamic to navigate in this type of situation. Your story touched me so much to hear someone else voice all the current concerns and worries that I have. It is absolutely terrifying when I think about all the consequences if I were to leave my husband. Do you mind me asking how old were you when you got married to your husband? Did you guys have a good relationship for the most part, despite the financial issues?
    That seems to be my biggest issue, for the most part I have always looked at my husband and I relationship is fairly good, we get along pretty good, we hang out, laugh and joke. However, I cannot seem to settle how we could get along so well yet he has completely abandoned me as a partner. To complicate issues further is his medical condition. He has a AS (Ankylosing spondylitis) a form of arthritis which he caulks up to not working. Even you mentioning about the schooling an other jobs has given me so much to think about the last couple days. I feel like in so many ways I got to the point where I just threw my hands up and accepted my life as it is and accepted whatever he said he could/would do. Even what you mentioned about your job would be my same situation…I have been at mine for 17yrs….my entire life would change if I decide to leave him. I just feel so hopeless sometimes.
    I am riddled and consumed with fear and uncertainty. I am unsure of myself, my feelings and my life. I would not wish this on anyone. It is miserable to be so conflicted. I love my husband yet I want a better life for my kids and I. I want and deserve more from this life. I have never been afraid of work and have been working since 14yr and living independently since 17yrs so I have no idea how to comprehend someone not willing to grind at work (my husband). He is now willing and wanting to make all these changes yet I do not know if I will be able to move past all of my resentment. How could he allow us to get into this position? All the years of stress about money, bills, having kids while I was the only one working…with NO health insurance by the way. This is not what I signed on for with getting married. Arizona-if you are willing to communicate more I would appreciate it so much!
    Hot Mess-It meant alot to hear your experience with your husband contacting your FL and everything that came from that. THANK YOU for shining some perspective how things must be for him. I have been thinking about my FL non-stop and I can only imagine how upset and disappointed he must be. I have not had the courage or will to contact him back since last week (7days ago) when he said he wanted to stay in my life but needed to sit back a little further. I’m scared to get more emotionally involved than I have already allowed myself to get. How long did you and your husband try and work things out the final time? Do you have small kids? I’m trying to figure out logistics and how that would even work if we separated.
    Ladies, thank you so much for making me feel like I am not alone and not this awful person. The more I have time to think…I know under no circumstances would I leave for my FL and even if I did leave…this is going to be a long journey. My FL has a lot going on in his life and I cannot take that stress in my life right now. I am just struggling with sorting through all these feelings and facing things that for so long I chose to stick my head in the sand. 🙁

  38. Love and war says:

    Hot mess nest- thank you so much for the insight. I’m so glad you and your FL are working towards being together. My FL actually called me the day after he was talking about his marriage so much. I was surprised because I had gotten the vibe he was trying to focus more on his marriage after our conversation. He called and told me he and his wife had been having problems for a while. I told him to take some time to really think about what he wants because I don’t want to be this person who is seen as getting in between them and that if she makes him happy then I will respect it and we can remain friends but that I understand if he needs to focus on his marriage. He said his entire life he’s never been able to stop thinking about me. So I think your right. This is something that doesn’t need to rush. We’ve both been in love with each other since we were 15 years old and I doubt those feelings will just disappear now. I do though think that if he has a chance to be happy with the life he’s worked at making with someone else I should respect that and give him the room to figure it out.

  39. Rhs22 says:

    Wow…so much to read thru here, and do much to think about. A lot of great insights as well as some really tough questions.

  40. Hot Mess Nest says:

    @Love and War… Wow! There’s your confirmation. How are you feeling after that conversation? Sounds like it was very heavy. You’re doing the right thing. Patience is going to help you both right now. You’ve held each others’ hearts for all this time. That’s not going to change just because you take your time. Keep us posted, please.

    @Dragonish I know how you’re feeling right now. I said very similar things not long after my FL and I went NC, agonizing over how impossible it was to decide what to do next. 6 months. That’s how long I gave it a go in counseling. About 3 months of that was with absolutely NC with FL. Some people in my circle don’t think 6 months is long enough, but I can tell you, marriage counseling is hard work and 6 months (20 sessions together, and 3-4 each separately) was not phoning anything in. The situation with my marriage got really messy really quickly when, while in therapy, a lot of surprises and secrets came out about my husband. In the beginning I was going to try to stay with him for our son, at the expense of my personal happiness, and I was impressed at how easily he could forgive me for having an “emotional affair.” Turns out the reason he was so eager to forgive was that he had a few worse things hiding in his closet. So, with the new developments (and I’m sorry for being cryptic here, it’s just very personal and very jarring–not something I want to share even anonymously), I realized there was no way we would pull up from this nosedive. My separation is a work in progress and it’s messy as all get-out. We do have a young child (3) together, and that’s the hardest part. FL and I have this agreement that I will prioritize my son, myself, and then us, in that order (the way it should always be!). So that’s what I’m doing. It’s going to mean I live alone with my son for a little while to get used to new reality. However, amidst all of the change and pain, it’s also exciting. Like you, I am very independent, a hard worker, and have been on my own since I was 17. If leaving my husband were the wrong choice, right now I’m sure I would be racked with shame and doubt. Instead, it’s such a relieving exhale… it’s like throwing down a weight I’ve been saddled with for too long. I’m forever scarred, and I’m tired, and the fight isn’t over, but damn, I’m free.

  41. Leaving Arizona says:

    Dear Dragonish,

    I was 30 when I got married and 48 when I left. My kids were 11 and 14 when I left. It has been almost 7 years and I don’t regret not even one day. Even the hard days on my own were better than the hard days with him.
    I just think that best friends don’t do that to their best friends. You may be friends and joke and laugh etc but it’s a cover for the underlying issues.
    He has not dealt with how he has abandoned you this whole time. He has allowed you to carry the weight for all of the entire family. He may be a great dad but the example he is setting is not great. It’s remiss.
    My ex-husband just now texted me to tell me his car broke down. He uses it for his job. I know he is wanting me to come to his rescue but I am going to resist jumping in to save him. He will figure it out. He has to. More than likely he will borrow the $ from our son who works and is in school. I hate that but I can’t intervene on my son’s behalf, he’s almost 21.
    You are not responsible for anyone but yourself and your minor children. That’s your responsibility in all of this.
    My FL has gone to counseling for years now and if there is one thing I’ve learned from all of his counseling is that we are not responsible for anyone else but ourselves. You can’t mitigate someone else’s feelings for them or try to circumvent the outcome of any situation. It has to be organic based on our own circumstance.
    You can’t kill yourself with stress and worry. What would happen to your kids if, God forbid, you died in a car accident? What then? How would he survive?
    I know it is stifling and hard. I get that. But the freedom, as stated by “Hot Mess Nest” above is how it should be. That is what life is. Take that brick off your chest. Breathe girl!

  42. Faith says:

    I contacted my LL a few years ago after i suddenly began thinking of him after over 25 years apart. This began when I experienced a very strange dream, which in turn seemed to jog my memory about the past. A few weeks following the dream, I had some forgotten (repressed?) memories return. The memories were very painful, and I realized I regretted the mistakes I made back in 1987, perhaps so much so that I had repressed the events.

    I wonder now if part of the regret was due to unhappiness in my marriage, ad I suspected my husband of cheating. Eventually , after about a year or so of attempting to fix our marriage, we separated.

    I would not recommend divorce unless you’ve tried hard to fix your marriage first. Realize too, that there are some things that are unfixable…and I think abusive behaviour and serial cheating are such things.

    I also believe there is, in some of these stories, an inexplicable connection that draws people back to a lost love. I say this because there had been a number of strange incidents throughout the years, that were connected to my LL. Then the dream I had which prompted me to reach out for him, and events that followed, were all highly strange.

    No matter what your story is, I would never recommend just leaving a marriage as soon as you reconnect with a LL. I also don’t think an affair with a LL is ever okay….this is one of the more difficult aspects, because it’s so painful to have no contact or communication with your LL, but any contact will lead to accusations of an affair from your spouse.

  43. Dragonish says:

    This continues to be a challenging situation and I feel as though my emotions are all over the place. It has been about 6 weeks since D-day and about 2 weeks since FL and I have really talked. He sent me a message New Year’s Eve stating he wanted to take a step back but still remain in my life in which I did not respond. I broke down and reached out last Wednesday…I was so nervous. I have a lot of abandonment and rejection issues. I know by me not responding to his last message it gave me a feeling of having some kind of control. I have felt this whole time my emotions and feelings have been completely out of control and feeling as though my FL is calling all the shots. It is my FL that is keeping me at arms lengths, was VERY hesitant to ever meet-up (although we did a cpl times), he is wanting to respect my marriage. As awful as this sounds…I know if I was calling the shots I would be in a lot deeper than I am now (nothing physical has happened but I would have been willing). When I spoke with him last week he was happy to hear from me and was a little hurt that I never responded but he figured I was trying to work things out. I have reached out 2x since then and nothing. It makes me feel so stupid when I call or text and he doesn’t respond. It makes me feel so desperate and needy to keep being the one to reach out first. It’s one thing for him to not reach out first and I know it doesn’t want to interfere but not responding to calls or texts?!?! I cannot help but go to bad thoughts of “he was playing me this whole time”, “he thought this whole thing was a game”, “I was willing to put everything on the line for him and he cant even text”. I know this thinking is ridiculous and unhealthy. I just can’t stop myself from feeling so stupid and foolish. And now that I have reached out a couple times with no response I am back to being upset, crying and upset with him….now he has control again.
    To make me feel worse…my husband has been working so hard at addressing our issues and make me happy. How can I still be thinking and pining over FL and be thinking about him all the time! I think about my FL in very inappropriate situations with my husband….definitely times I should not be. In so many ways…I wish my FL never reached out to me and would have just kept his distance. I’m too old to be sitting around crying and upset about some man…ESPECIALLY when I’m married….that’s RIDICILIOUS. I have a husband that despite all of his downfalls loves me unconditionally and does things daily to let me know how much I mean to him.
    Now that my FL is not really around and I am feeling pretty rejected by him I am worried that my situation with my husband will become normalized again and I will just accept things as they are.
    Is anyone else really struggling with feelings regarding their FL? Feelings of rejection? abandoned? angry?
    When I spoke with him last week he reiterated that he loves me and wants to see me as soon as we can schedule something. Not sure that will happen since he has a history of cancelling our plans due to him feeling so bad and not wanting to interfere in my marriage. Ughhh…feeling pretty frustrated and sad lately.

  44. Leaving Arizona says:

    Dragonish,
    Everything you feel is normal in this situation. It’s a push and pull and it’s so agonizing knowing what is right and what we should be thinking and feeling vs what we actually think and feel.
    The no response, no contact is horrible. Also, your FL may be sending you a message by not responding, just as you didn’t respond to him previously. He said it hurt, it does.
    I understand feeling rejection, anger and abandonment. I have been there many times. My FL is my best friend and we talk almost daily except (for instance) like yesterday–his wife was home and we couldn’t communicate. There is resentment there. He is living a life that is a big secret. He knows that if something happens to him health-wise he will be having to deal with knowing that his wife and I will be crossing paths at some point. I know it and he refuses to think about it. Or if he does, it will be a resolution that comes about from circumstances and not his doing.
    He doesn’t want to hurt her and he loves her. He loves me too. It’s convoluted and hard. Sometimes it all comes spilling out and we have a week or 2 of hard days. Then it settles again, I suck it up and he puts it aside to not think about it again. He does the same thing in his marriage. If something remotely related comes up in his marriage, he figures out how to make everything okay and move forward without resolution.
    It was very funny to me recently. Last February his sister’s husband passed away suddenly. She has always had a daddy complex and her husband was much older. She’s in her mid-50’s. So he died and she is already dating someone else (another older man) and my FL criticized her for jumping the gun and already dating when her husband hasn’t even been dead a year. I didn’t say anything at the time but I wanted to say…are you kidding me? You are married and have a girlfriend and your’e criticizing her for dating too soon? It’s like there is a huge disconnect and lack of really seeing what is going on.
    He also told me that he talked to his counselor about his place in his extended family. He’s always considered himself to be the alpha-male and the leader of his sisters and their families. But lately, that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore and it really bothers him. So he brought it up to his therapist who told him that he needs to focus more on it still being the case with his immediately family, his wife and kids. That is also so funny to me. But he said so in his immediate family it still is and remains as he thinks it should be and that is the man of the family and taking care of things as he should and he said that his family sees him as the patriarch and that is all he needs to care about.
    That really really bothered me. It says that he sees his family the way it should be and that is without me anywhere in it or that I am not even a consideration.
    The very next morning I had a meeting so when he sent a text saying good morning, I didn’t answer right away. He waited a bit then sent another text asking me if I was upset about our conversation the previous day. So I know he thought about everything he told me and realized how ludicrous it is. It’s such a huge disconnect on his part to not be dealing in the reality of his life but then again, maybe the disconnect is with me.
    I struggle all the time, then especially after a conversation like that, knowing that after 7 years now, we have actually not moved one step further to be together.
    He loves me, I have no doubt. He worries about losing me but he would survive and not hardly miss a beat if I walked away. He would continue forward as if I was never even here.
    He has seen his therapist since 2013 so almost 5 years. Earlier in 2017 he had decided he didn’t need to continue to see her weekly. That lasted about 2 months then he returned to a weekly appointment with her. It happened sometime after I again pointed out that after 4.5 years, he has never really resolved me in his life. He goes to her weekly for himself but deciding he didn’t want to see her weekly anymore with me still in his life seemed almost comical. What had he fixed or resolved? I don’t understand that part and it’s obvious to me, after that conversation about his family seeing him as patriarch that we are not the conversation in his therapy sessions. We never have been and I can bet we never will be.

  45. Dragonish says:

    Oh LA…my heart goes to you so deeply. There seems to be no good outcome or even decent middle-ground during periods of even being on speaking terms. These are such heartbreaking situations. It is almost as though we are torturing ourselves…having something we want right in front of us yet so far out of reach.
    I know when I was regularly speaking with my FL…I would be upset and so sad when I did not hear from him…so crazy! (i.e. didn’t text 1st thing in morning…or got text at 9am but not again till 8pm). It was as though I was carrying on a full-fledged relationship in my head…without any benefits. So in many ways the NC has been a blessing in disguise as it allowed me to finally disconnect a little from my FL, get my head out of the clouds and get out of this fantasy world. However…the feelings are still there..lol. I sometimes worry or think that I was using my FL as an escape from my current situation and almost looking at him as my “knight in shining armor” to save me from my frustrating, hopelessness, unhappiness and etc in my marriage.
    Everything seems so upside in these situations. We are constantly questioning ourselves..our FL and their intentions. Ughh. It seems like an endless cycle. I can totally identity with the “spilling out”…my FL and I were having those bi-weekly lol…and then move on and push those issues way down. You are in a tough situation with your FL being married and you being divorced now. Do you ever think about dating? My situation is reverse…he is recently divorced and im married. There are times I feel like everyone in these situations lose. Everyone. No one is able to be their true self and so everything is looked at through this jaded prism and I don’t know what to trust. Hang in there girl!

  46. Leaving Arizona says:

    Dear Dragonish,

    I think about dating all of the time. I have actually dated a few times but I always stop it before it goes too far. I’ve told him about 2 of them not the 3rd one.
    I can tell you that as it has gone on, as these relationships move on year by year, it gets easier. I saw him for lunch on Saturday. It isn’t the way it used to be. We actually eat lunch and talk –which we did before but now the physical isn’t so urgent. It’s still very physical but it’s not like it was in the beginning.
    But as we go into our 7th year of this, I am resentful and tired and it seems a bit of a pain in the butt to see each other and have to negotiate all of it.
    I hope like anything that somehow, someone he and his wife know, will see us out somewhere. He’s never very worried about it and we have been a lot of places together. Near his home and not near his home.
    We’ve traveled together and I’ve been to his home many times now when she is out of town. That is always interesting and, funny enough, I find myself glad that I don’t live there because, if I did, I would have to clean and remodel. LOL –seriously. I know the add-on’s they’ve done on their house and I never would have done them that way so I spend some of the time sitting there thinking about why they decided to put that fireplace on that wall when they could have put it there and it would look so much better. LOL Anyway, it’s a funny dynamic sometimes. For the first 3 years I spent a lot of time crying and fighting against the way it is. Heartbroken that we reconnected, that he asked me to marry him and that it never went further than that. When she found out about us, he backed up and went to counseling to try to help him sort it out but he has been in counseling without any sorting going on or maybe he has sorted it out and this is how it is.
    He’s careful about what he says about her and them in different scenarios and I am okay with that because it avoids feeling pain. I just let it be for the most part.
    My daughter is almost graduating from high school and I told myself once she’s in college and my son is where he needs to be that I’ll focus on me. Right now I focus a lot on them because that’s where my heart is, with my kids.
    I’ve learned in 7 years there are way more important things than him. I love him and I always will but I resent how it is. I am an optimist so I am happy a lot of the time anyway so I try not to let it get to me but I can see us living like this forever and I’ve told him so. If we stay exactly like this and nothing upsets the apple cart, he would be happy forever. Until he goes into the hospital for something and then he will be wondering why in the hell he didn’t do something.
    It will come down to that. She and I will be somewhere at the same time and then she’ll know it never stopped. Heck she could already know it never stopped and just not care if it doesn’t change her lifestyle.
    In the mean time, I have my kids and my job and my life that is pretty great. So I let it go for now and some day I might date again and it will be someone that loves me back and we can move forward and then I’ll lay it on him.
    I’m not afraid of that. I have reconciled much of our relationship and I came out the other side.
    The days we don’t talk, it used to be painful, now it’s just another day. I don’t cry anymore and I don’t long anymore. We are what we are.
    Sometimes, like Saturday at lunch, I could tell he was more in the moment than I was. I almost have to make up how I feel about him in the moment now because it has been a long time that I don’t have anything to take away with me. I mean that, we can love each other as much as love is. We can love everything about each other, be best friends, soul mates or whatever other term you want to give it and we can be at capacity with it, but at the end of the day, he goes home to his wife. So whatever we are at that moment, is just at that moment. It doesn’t leave that car or that restaurant or that hotel room or whatever. It can’t go further than right there because it isn’t allowed.
    So whatever fulfillment you get from the relationship has to stay right where it is. There is no growth. There is no solidarity and feeling so connected that you know that’s as good as it gets. Because it isn’t. Until he decides, if he ever decides that it will be more, it will only be what it is in that moment.
    I can’t even feel sad about it anymore. I just have to let it be.
    No contact used to be horrible and I remember crying and being in a tizzy about it. I don’t anymore.
    But I can relate and I can feel for you because I remember at first how it felt and how desperate I was for just one text or a word or knowing he looked at my pic on FB or whatever. There is no payoff for me anymore.

  47. Love and war says:

    Dragonish hand LA- I feel for you both. This whole thing is just giving me whiplash and I’m wondering if I should just make the decision to stop all contact. My FL and I recently have been in contact after a very long time. He is married and so am I. I know he’s been having problems in his marriage and has told me it was looking like it was over for them. He knows I’m married and that my situation is not a happy one. I know the right thing is to let him try to make his marriage work if it’s possible and take things slow if it doesn’t work out for them. But it’s getting so confusing. I think about him would I should be thinking about my husband and trying to make things work in my marriage. He says he loves our talks on the phone and at one point told me he felt that he was cheating because his heart is with me and not in his marriage. I felt the same way. Then he calls me almost a week later and tells me he is going to try to make his marriage work but he wants us to still talk frequently and be close friends and that if it doesn’t work out in his marriage then he wants to see each other. He says he doesn’t want to wind up old and alone. He tells me all this on the night my husband is out with his new flavor of the month. In over 16 years of marriage I have never once cheated but I know that my husband has had at least 1 affair that lasted many years of which he still tries to deny. Now he’s got a new one and thinks I don’t know but I do. It sucks cause I do still love and care for my FL very much but I refuse to be his consolation prize if his marriage fails. Why tell me his heart is with me and then turn around and say let’s be friends cause I have to do what my wife wants in order to not be alone. Everyone said this would be a can of crap when the door opened and they were right. It would probably have been better to never know. At least then I could have fantasized that it would be great and we would be happy together some day. Right now the only thing I know is that I’m not gonna stay somewhere so I can not be alone. I’m going to go after my dreams in life. If my FL happens to get divorced and wants to talk then, we’ll hopefully I won’t have found someone else by that time and be unavailable. I do love him and I have missed him for a very long time. Maybe the lie I told him then I will pay for still in that we will never be together. I don’t know. My best friend says that she thinks he just doesn’t know what to do and to just be patient and live my life. She thinks he is just struggling with it all and that I just happened to get this info on a bad night and it makes it feel worse. I just don’t know.

  48. Leaving Arizona says:

    Dear L & W

    I’m sorry your husband is cheating. I am also sorry that your FL responded this way but I think when marriages are involved, it is just so hard to walk away and change and there is fear in change so it’s easier to remain.
    In your situation, if it were me, I would leave my husband for my own peace of mind. If you’re unhappy and you know he cheats, do it for yourself.
    Let him have his life and you live yours and then worry about your FL situation after that.
    There is little comfort in a marriage that you know is over and you also know it is for him too since he’s seeking fun elsewhere.
    Just my 2 cents. I think you deserve better.

  49. Love and war says:

    LA-
    Thanks. It’s nice to know someone thinks I deserve better. I do plan on leaving my husband. After the last conversation with my FL it’s just frustrating. You are right though, when marriages are involved I think there is a lot of fear of the unknown. I can tell he’s scared of being alone. Even if with both wound up divorced I think it would have to be taken really slow with us. With all the stress lately though I don’t feel much like I want to be with anyone. I think I might stay with my idea to get a dog- lol.

  50. Leaving Arizona says:

    Love & War,

    I agree about the dog. I also think it’s so freeing to be on your own and figure out what you really want and kind of make your own way again. It really is a benefit to do that, especially after being in a marriage where you’re not appreciated.
    Then when your FL stuff comes up, you don’t have the stress of your marriage to consider. You can deal with it solely on your own accord and without the muddling of having to worry about someone finding out or having them to consider at all. It’s just what you have going on that you need to worry about.
    Good luck. Keep us posted!