Reuniting With Your First Love…on the Net

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now Casting: People Looking For Missed Love Connections!

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

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

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13,515 Responses to “Reuniting With Your First Love…on the Net”

  1. Have Faith says:


    I wouldn’t say I’m ashamed that i contacted a LL while we were both married. I think most people do not ever realize that a LL may still have feelings for them. Most people are not attempting to cause problems in anyone’s life…not in their own life and not in their LLs life. There are some people who will contact just to stir things up, but I don’t believe most people do.

  2. Love is an Action says:

    Love is definitely an action. You can tell your kids to love one another. Love is an action and not a behavior. Love produces emotion but love is an action.
    You can say a million times over that you love someone but love is revealed in how we act.

    Our choices each day dictate the outcome. For me, there was a time that I focused on this relationship to the point that I obsessed about it and it dictated my day. I was sad and I would cry and grieve about it. One day I decided that I didn’t want to feel that miserable anymore. I still have days when I feel lousy but for the most part, I don’t give into that. I have a choice about how my day will go. I could easily cry and suffer about it all damn day. I choose not to.

    Get up and put it out of your mind and move on and get going with the rest of your life. The relationship will still be there when you get back in bed at night. Suffering is a choice, love is a choice. When you lose someone you love because they died, you grieve and you move on and there comes a point when you realize you will miss that person forever but it isn’t going to change your day to day. You just choose to set it aside and you can dwell on them and cry every time you think about it but it’s a choice to not dwell each day.

    If you have ever been to a counselor, they focus on moving you away from the grief and being responsible for your own emotions and choices. Love is definitely an action. You choose what you want to do with it. It isn’t something that is thrown at you by an uncontrollable force and you can’t say no.

  3. Oh, it's you says:

    Real love is a choice.

  4. Have Faith says:

    Love is an action
    You’re correct that you are responsible for your actions, but that doesn’t mean that love is not an emotion. Love is an emotion, just as sadness, grief, fear, etc. are all emotions. We are responsible for how we react to these emotions. But to say to someone that they should or shouldn’t feel an emotion is just wrong.

    The real issue is how people learn to react to their emotions. People who have suffered a loss need to grieve. No one has the right to tell them they shouldn’t grieve . However, if they don’t recover from the grief, and can no longer live their life happily, then they need help to learn how to stop suffering.

    But I don’t believe most people actually WANT to suffer.

  5. Red with Rage says:

    Love Is an Action
    I think all our actions result from emotions. Our emotions dictate our actions
    So while we can’t stop loving someone, we can dictate how we react to them. If this person is toxic (and those who have lived with abusive people will understand) we may need to distance ourself from them, even if we still love them. Sometimes this is necessary with abusive parents…the emotions are still there but we no longer include them in our life. But we still FEEL the sadness…but we learn to accept that this is how this person (or situation) is, and that we can’t change it or them.

    Acceptance is the hard part. I’m still trying to accept that there are some people who are unbelievably cruel and malicious, (and this sad truth I actually discovered as a result of contacting my LL). A long story, but this is why I am Red with Rage , or perhaps outrage would be the better word.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Love is an action,
    an action IS a behavior. It’s the same thing. A behavior means your actions. When you tell your kids that you dont like their behavior, it means you don’t like their actions.

    Did you mean love is not an emotion? I don’t understand what you meant by that. Love doesn’t PRODUCE emotion, love IS the emotion.

    The emotion produces the action or the behavior.

  7. Oh, it's you says:

    Love is not an emotion. Google it. You can make someone laugh, cry, fear etc. You can’t make someone love. If you go back to the bible…love is patient, love is kind etc speaks of it being an action.

  8. Anonymous says:

    You can’t make someone love you…that much is true. They either love you or they don’t. Lol

    But love is not an action. If it were an action how could unrequited love be possible? Please tell me what “action” demonstrates that.
    An action is defined as some type of physical movement. …but love doesn’t have to be physical. People can feel love and not “do” anything to show what they are feeling, right?

  9. Have Faith says:

    I understand the concept of referring to love as an action to mean that love requires action. We can easily tell someone we love them , but unless we show them that we love them, they are only empty words. Basically it means that actions speak louder than words.

    Of course there is truth in this. I know from my own experience that my husband could tell me that he loved me, but his actions did not say that he loved me. Once, after he was physically abusive, he claimed he did it because he loved me. Of course most people see the lack of logic there, but in some people their thought processes are illogical at times.

    Some people don’t understand the concept that embodies the word “love” . To them love is what they want from you- it’s their need, their lust, their entitlement to your attention, your endless forgiveness, your empathy, your support and mostly your obedience. Love is what they can take from you. I think referring to love as an action is a way for therapists to point out to those who don’t “get” this concept. However , I think that those who don’t instinctively grasp the concept on their own, will NEVER get the concept.

    Does love really need to be explained to us? Do we need someone to tell us “how” to love? If we don’t understand the concept, is it something we can learn? In my experience , no, it can’t be learned. My husband never did get it, which is why we are now separated.

  10. Charity says:

    I have a question for readers of this forum. Without going into my story in too much detail, a ehile back I contacted an old boyfriend on social media. Like many others in that situation, we were overwhelmed with feelings for each other. Our spouses noticed that something was up, checked our accounts and discovered messages we had written to each other. Of course we stopped communicating at that point.

    However, it seems as though a small number of people, friends and relatives of my old boyfriend’s wife, decided to start harassing me following this. I imagine the wife complained to her friends about me contacting her husband, and now they have taken up the “cause”. Some of their activities even appear illegal, such as impersonating people using fake social media accounts. The latest stunt involved contacting me while posing as someone else (even making up an email address in this person’s name and using info from their Facebook page)for the purpose of trying to get information from me.There have been many cruel and abusive stunts pulled by these people over the last year or so.

    I’m curious if anyone else has experienced this. Also I question what kind of people would ever agree to participate in something of this nature. Maybe I’m naive, but I’m having a tough time trying to understand how anyone could do this and justify their actions. I know if a friend asked me to help her bully and harass her husbands old GF, just because her husband admitted to still having feelings for her, I would never agree to help. Considering that some of these harassers actually know me, has made it even more difficult to understand.

  11. Anonymous says:

    All of my hopes just vanished. He made it clear that he does not want me, not even as a friend. I am so embarrassed and crushed. I’ll get over as I am a strong woman and have gone through a lot worse in my life. Thank you all for your inputs and wisdom.

  12. Carla says:

    Charity, I hope your relationship is good with your husband now and that these people stop their harassing activities. Maybe they eventually will get tired and quit. It was already bad enough to “break up” with your ex boyfriend again to now having to deal with those unusual consequences. Keep being strong.

  13. In the Trenches says:

    Anonymous I am sorry to hear about your FL. It is so so hard to go through that experience twice in a lifetime.

    Charity, it would not surprise me that your FL’s wife is at the bottom of the harassment. She may even be the one doing all of this by opening multiple accounts. Just limit your facebook to be viewed only by who you know and also don’t accept friendships from people you really don’t know. I get requests all the time and I am suspect they are from people trying to see my info.

    Good luck.

  14. Charity says:

    In the trenches
    I am 100% positive she has the help of several people. I can prove that there are multiple people involved. I’m pretty sure of the identity od some of them, too.

    Changing FB setting won’t help me at all…FB is not the problem.I don’t accept friends requests from people I don’t know, and that is not how they’ve harassed me anyways. Most people doing these types of activities are smart enough to “hide” so they don’t get caught.

    My question isnt how to prevent them, because I realize there isn’t really a way. I also realize they will continue indefinitely because as long as I’m alive there is always a chance I could contact her husband. So I’m sure they are hoping I will eventually kill myself. That’s the only reasoning I can come up with at this point.

    And, no, the relationship with my husband is not good. We are going through a divorce now

  15. Down the Rabbit Hole says:

    Charity: I am not sure what the laws may be to protect you but this sounds like cyber stalking. Have you considered talking to law enforcement or an attorney? No one has the right to engage in that kind of activity. I live in a bit of fear myself because FLs wife has threatened to make my life a living hell with my family and friends. She has bullied FL all through the marriage, long before we reconnected by threatening to ruin relationships with their children if he ever got out of line.

    I understand the anger of betrayal, been on the other side of this. Even though I don’t like the other woman, I could never react in a vengeful way or hurt my children by dragging them into it. I really feel for you.

  16. Charity says:

    Down the rabbit hole
    I don’t have money for a lawyer. These cases are not easy to prove anyways. I’ve checked out similar cases that happen to be in the news so I know the reality.

    People can do things such as write blogs where they use fictional names but where it’s obvious to everyone who they are really targeting. They can make social media pages using another person’s name and use it to post false information. These are a few of the things these people have done.

    I know there is no way to stop them from doing these things. My question is more of a philosophical one. How could someone do this and justify their actions? I know I could never do it. I’m sure 99.9% of the people I know would never agree to help someone torture another person. And sadly, I’m not yet the only person being tortured. These kinds of things have far-reaching effects , so it’s never just one person who is affected. How could someone ever think it’s OK to maliciously hurt other people? How do they sleep at night?

    Since I posted this here, the harassers have been busy posting more lies about me. I’m quite sure they must have read this post considering the material was posted by them shortly after this posted.

    These people are without morals, ethics, empathy or conscious. The most amazing thing is they appear normal to most people- they are husbands, wives and parents who look like good citizens to those not aware of their actions.

  17. Down the Rabbit Hole says:

    Charity: Report them to law enforcement. It can’t hurt. Sadly, some people get a thrill out of this type of behavior, a power trip I guess. Eventually they will tire of the games, and those who are your true friends will stick by you.

  18. Charity says:

    Down the rabbit hole
    Law enforcement is useless in this case, and is useless in most cyber harassment cases. Law enforcement is only useful in situations such as where defamatory info is posted on someone’s FB page. If you don’t believe me, check out all the current cases in the news, and you’ll see the reality- the reality is that people are using the Internet to harass others and often getting away with it. Sad but true .

    I really am more in interested in WHY someone would choose to help someone harass another person. I’ve asked these people to tell me what their objective is, and they have refused to answer. I guess by failing to acknowledge me, they hope to further perpetuate the illusion that they are innocent and I’m delusional.

    My best guess is they hope that by keeping this up, they will scare me and gaslight me until I finally commit suicide, as that would be the only way to ensure my old BF can no longer see my pictures or information. I question what kind of relationship this is, if this wife is so worried her husband is viewing my social media pages. Am I wrong to think that this woman should ask her husband to refrain from looking at my information instead of harassing me to make me stop posting? If she doesn’t trust her husband, and if her husband is not honoring her wishes, how the hell am I responsible?

  19. The Blame Game says:

    Hi Charity,

    From my experience in all of this, it is easier for the wife to blame you instead of the man she lives with. She thinks he’s innocent and you are the vamp that pulled him away from his perfect life. I have seen it over and over in these relationships.
    They threaten them not to contact you and can’t fathom that he’s not keeping his promise so the next best thing is to try and scare you to let you know they know what you are up to.
    I just want to tell you that I hope you don’t commit suicide. You’ve said it a couple of times and it’s a red flag. Whatever happens, he isn’t worth it. Especially if he can’t face his hag and tell her it’s over. She is that if she is so weak she can’t do anything to gain control except threaten you and get her minions to help.
    Stay strong and don’t let them get you. If they are seeing the posts here then they must have access somehow to your computer to know you’re posting here. I know someone else who thought the same thing before and I never understood how they would ever find this site.
    I don’t doubt it but I wonder. There is a lot of information here if they dig deep enough.
    Bullying is a power to some people. Don’t give them the satisfaction.

  20. Down the Rabbit Hole says:

    Charity: The Blame Game has a point, if you are even thinking of suicide get help. Don’t let the bullies push you over the edge.

  21. Charity says:

    Blame Game and Down the Rabbit Hole

    Thanks for the responses. First of all I just want to stress I wasn’t considering suicide. The point I was trying to make is that I now think that the objective of these bullies is that they hope to drive me to suicide. I realize that sounds harsh, but at this point, after much consideration, that is the only answer I can come up with. I say that because if the bullying is an attempt to remove any possibility of her husband seeing me anywhere, bullying alone is no way to guarantee that. No matter if I close all my social media accounts, she can’t guarantee I won’t open more in the future. She can’t guarantee my picture won’t appear on someone else’s FB page or wherever. So unless I’m out of the picture forever, how can she ever be satisfied?

    No, I don’t think they have access to my computer. As I mentioned earlier, I’m quite sure I knew 1 or 2 of these people before this harassing stuff ever started. I had confided in one of them, not realizing that she was close to the wife. I realized she must know the wife slightly (this being a small town it was a given) but this woman basically stabbed me in the back. I realized something was wrong when she started making some passive-aggressive comments to me on FB, and then when I finally responded back, she blocked me. I realized later I had mentioned this site to her, as I had been reading here, but not posting much. I also found out later she was much closer to the wife than I initially realized. I had no idea earlier or I wouldn’t have told her as much as I did.

    I actually have no idea of the marital situation of these people, and whatever their situation is, I really can’t see how it relates to the bullying and harassment. If these bullues are willing to behave in this manner, their actions arereally not because of anyone’s situation. Ultimately their behavior shows that there is something wrong with their logic, their morals, their ability to reason, etc.

    Another aspect of this that is concerning is that I wonder how much these bullies have manipulated the wife into participating in this. As far as I can see , they have only perpetuated the situation, and have done much more harm than good in terms of helping her.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Blame Game, is control the name of the game? I don’t really get the point you’re making. Do you think the wife is a so-called hag because she can’t control her husband?

    Personally I don’t think husbands, or wives, are supposed to be under their spouses control. It’s marriage, not prison, right? I think it’s about trust, not about control. This woman doesn’t trust that her husband won’t contact this ex gf at some point in the future. It’s a matter of trust and possibly insecurity on her part.

    Bullying the ex girlfriend may make this wife feel a bit better for a while, but what is that old saying about revenge and digging 2 graves?

  23. Blame Game says:

    The ex girl friend isn’t to blame if the husband is a willing participant. If she can’t guarantee her husband won’t talk to the gf again then the only control she has is to pressure and harass the gf. She needs to be looking at her own marriage and realize her husband holds the responsibility and the gf isn’t a target. He is. It always makes me laugh when the gf becomes a target of the wife’s wrath when the one laying in her bed holds a huge amount of responsibility for his part in the contact. Why harass an ex-gf?
    Guaranteed if she’s asking the husband did you talk to her? He will lie to get the pressure off of him and say no. There is definitely control involved. If he can’t be a man and tell the truth, then she will assume the gf is the problem. If he told the truth, the wife wouldn’t harass the gf. She’s got him by the B***s (control).

  24. Charity says:

    Blame Game

    I’m sure there are all kinds of dynamics involved in the relationship, obviously all very unhealthy dynamics.

    Myself, I’m not a person to look for “blame” in a situation, because what’s the point of that? You will never learn anything if you concentrate on who’s at fault and who’s to blame. I try to concentrate more on what motivates someone, on trying to imagine what they are feeling about a situation, and on what they hope to gain by their actions. Looking at blame and fault will always result in circular conversations and circular thought patterns.

    Ultimately it doesn’t matter if he does or doesn’t continue to talk to me. Even if he does talk to me, or even if we were having an affair (which we are not, I will add) my questions and concerns are WHY these people have chosen to act as they do. Logically they must have a reason for their actions. Even if their reasoning is that I’m solely at fault and they think I’m an awful person, they must hope to GAIN something by their actions. They have to get something out of it, or they would not have wasted countless hours over the last 2 years to torture people.

  25. Anonymous says:

    They are doing it because apart from being nasty bullies they are scared of what is going on. They married this person thinking life was perfect but their other half still held a torch for their first love even after maybe years of no contact but it was always there smouldering away until one day something ignited their feelings again and with it being first love they are completely helpless to the situation. That is a really scary position to be in if you are the other half, most other halves have no idea what their spouses are doing now secretly online. The internet has made these situations worse.

    I wish I could turn back the clock and not accept the friend request on Facebook which started this whole saga, god my life was dull before but at least dull was easy.

  26. Charity says:


    If it were only one person, the wife, who was involved in this, then that would make sense. However I know there are multiple people involved in helping her. These helpers are not scared. They have chosen to not only become involved in other people’s lives, but to actively hurt people. Trust me, there is no fear on their part at all. Their actions are all very malicious.

    I also have me to question what expectations a person has when they learn their spouse still harbours feelings for an ex. This was also something that caused problems with my husband. Can they place unreasonable demands on their spouse, such as asking them to stop thinking of this person? Can they ask them to guarantee that their feelings for this person will dissappear in a certain allotted period of time? Obviously these are not reasonable demands, and yet these are the kinds of demands made by controlling people in this situation.

  27. Anon says:

    Many of us married with great hopes and expectations, only to later discover our husband or wife was lying, cheating, abusive etc. We feel just as “conned” as the person who finds out that their partner still has feelings for a FL. Maybe even more so, considering that we realized the person we married never even existed, they were wearing a mask all along.
    There is no monopoly on pain. No one has more pain entitlement than someone else.

  28. Carla says:

    Anyone who can tell me how the pain of letting go gets with time. I feel worse every day. I am so depressed like I have never been before for any loss. This is awful and don’t wish it to anybody. My heart aches and hope the feelings of rejection and deep sadness go away with time.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Carla, if I could I would write my thoughts down every day, happy, sad or angry then some days I could weep over them or some days I could laugh at myself! I think that would help sort this mess out in my head but would be too dangerous to have anything on paper around the house.

    It’s so hard to deal with this but you have to keep telling yourself how amazing you are and it’s just the circumstances which are wrong not you x

  30. Time heals some wounds says:


    You are not alone. Aside from losing a loved one to death, this is one of the hardest hurts there is.
    It does get better with time but it will not ever leave you. I believe it doesn’t leave us.
    Just know that you are not alone. It’s why so many have come here looking for an answer. What I have discovered is there are no answers just endurance and keeping that slight hope alive as something that somehow helps.
    I know from experience that first initial contact and the high that comes from it leads to lots of other things including hopelessness and pain and hurt and being 18 again and wondering how you will ever get over it.
    But it does get better. Not sure how but it does. Even on the days when I know this is all it will ever be, somehow my life is okay now. It takes a while. It has taken me over 6 years.

  31. For you a thousand times over says:

    I have been using that strategy that anonymous posted since the first day he contacted me. It’s over a 19mos ago that I had started and I haven’t missed one day. I have been so filled with emotions that I have no way of expressing or validating, this is the only release I have.
    I had just started going through a very long waited and ugly divorce with my whole world up in the air when he contacted be out of the blue after 42 years of not hearing or knowing anything about him during that time except a blip the year before. Needless to say, I believed and still do, there was a reason for that timing.
    No one was really able to understand how that affected me so I began writing down all my thoughts, our conversations, my happiness and wishes, my extreme sadness, my anger .. any one who would have read any of this would think I had a bipolar disorder. Writing was the only way that kept me from jumping off a bridge, and it still does. It helps me release everything I am feeling. I still cry when I’m writing at times, and I find during more extreme emotional times I write more.
    As a note, I do not write on paper. I have a password protected journal that I keep on my phone as that thing never leaves my side. That’s also the way him and I communicate throughout the day so it becomes handy to have it that way.
    I am in therapy also. I’m not sure if it is actually helping me, I’m aware that after awhile I can sound like a broken record so I’m not comfortable sharing all my emotions with her all the time. My phone doesn’t mind though.
    One thing I know for sure, is that without a way to release everything that is pent up inside you, will eat away at every fiber of your being, and with everything I’ve been through in my life, which is more than a series of made for tv movies, nothing has compared to this, because I’m normally a very strong and independant person. But this is a mental battle everyday for which I have no answer.
    Try it. Let me know how it goes.

  32. Anon says:

    Carla and all who are going thru this,

    I wish we could put a time limit on the pain, and that when that time was up, we would be feeling totally back to normal. But it doesn’t work this way.

    I find the pain comes in waves…it crashes over you at times, then slowly recedes and you feel at peace for a while, until something triggers another wave.

    You never know what will trigger a wave – it could be just a particular song or something someone mentions, and it will trigger a memory.

    As I’ve found , the pain isn’t always because you are grieving the loss of that person , sometimes the grief is over the loss of what we thought we once had. In my experience , I can at times relive some happy memories and consequently be hit by a wave of grief, but at the same time I can also see that my husband was “fake” all along, and that what I’m grieving never really existed, or rather the person I’m grieving was never who I thought he was.

    Does it make the grief even worse to lose not only a partner, but to realize he/she was not who we once believed them to be? I’ve struggled with this, too.

    I wish I could tell you that there is some easy answer, but from what I can see, the only cure is time and acceptance. Don’t listen to people who tell you what you should or shouldn’t be feeling, or how quickly you should feel better. It’s not their life . If you continue to struggle however , I would suggest seeing a therapist.


  33. Down the Rabbit Hole says:

    Carla and others here:

    Five years into this and it feels better at times, I think acceptance is part of it. Although I can’t stop thinking about my real love, it is less of an obsession now than a couple years ago. For him, I know it is the same. He never stopped loving me since we parted ways all those years ago.

    Keeping busy and taking care of yourself and others in your life can be great therapy. Being alone is when it hits me the hardest, or when something triggers a wave of emotion, like others here.

    This is a grieving process unlike any I have experienced. It forced me to deal with the gnawing in my gut that my marriage was fake and my spouse cannot or will not love me like I thought he did. And the realization that I let the real deal go. Now I am in limbo and trying to make the best of what I can.

  34. Carla says:

    Thank you all for your valuable insights. In a way it makes me sad that I am not alone. I do not wish this experience to be part of anyone’s life. I want to tell you that I am writing a lot since reading your posts. Mostly angry thoughts and feelings against him, which is a plus I think, because Iam the kind of person who turns anger inward and hurt myself putting me down and dismissing me. I do have hopes once in a while for a change of mind and heart on his part and come back to me even if it is just as a long distance friend, but my hopes have disipated as time goes by. I am facing a reality that he is not even interested in comunicating at all. This is a rollercoaster and it is brutal. I was thinking too that I might be experiencing some sort of mental illness, I do understand that the phenomenum affects anyone with or without mental illness, but also I am aware that it might cause some sort of dissorder. I cry out of the blue and it makes me angry that I cannot control my tears. That he does not deserve them. Hard at this state to accept the rejection. I will continue to write down and do everything possible to minimize my pain. I came also to the realization that I miss and love the man he used to be 30 years ago, I don’t know who he is now. I want to thank you all with all my heart.

  35. Charity says:

    I posted a couple weeks ago regarding the harassment I’ve experienced in relation to this FL situation.

    To update my story, I’ve identified one of my harassers, he’s a relative of the “wife”. Luckily I’ve saved all the evidence these people have been careless enough to leave for me. I’m unsure if charges can be laid against him at this time, but it’s validating to know the truth. It’s also sad to realize how petty and how cruel some people can be.

    I thought I would mention all this because I find these types of reconnection stories can sometimes bring out the very worst in human behavior. Anyone who has been harassed due to something like this, I recommend to persevere in searching for the truth, instead of just ignoring the bullies, which is the advice most people tend to give. (Which is crappy advice given by people who’ve never been in the situation themself )

  36. princess says:

    I have had on and off contact with LL for years. I had a gap of a few years and then last July I emailed and it’s been pretty significant and intense contact. I’m married and he is in a long relationship. Recently we said friends would be better than not being in each others lives. I tried it and after two weekends of sleeplessness – because we only talk mon-fri I called it off. This is something we have done many times. No contact. But this time I told him it made me so angry when he friend-zoned me and I seriously unloaded on pain from the past and suggested maybe I am just the girl that he hurts. He is trying to be so faithful to whatever woman he is with when we’ve been in contact (a couple marriages and this relationship) … it feels like same rejection I felt from break up. Anyway I take it I hurt his feelings. I know I was doing it so I could stop this heartbreaking stuff. He said he would no longer contact me. Anyone here ever have a situation where there was an argument about the past? I had never told him completely how I felt and now he knows. He’s apologized for hurting me but never really knew the extent of it all and that current things like friendzoning me were triggering the past feelings. Obviously I am just spiraling today. Maybe I really made him go away for real now.

  37. Down the Rabbit Hole says:

    Princess: I’ve been through the argument, which in our case, stemmed from my rejection of FL back then. I knew he was hurting, but never realized the degree of pain I caused until we reconnected. For years I carried guilt for hurting him even though I didn’t appreciate the magnitude of the pain until he shared details of his life post breakup. I had my own trials, the consequences of the breakup, which have only been amplified since our connection. We’ve cried together over this, and at first argued because like you, he was still angry with me, the asking why? I had made the choice I did. And that only made me angrier with myself. We have finally moved past it I think with dialogue and forgiveness. He has tried to blame himself too.

    All I can say is that these relationships will be tough to maintain if the resentments from the past remain. As hard as it may be, can you forgive your LL? No one can undo the past.

  38. Princess says:

    What’s funny is I have I have forgiven. I really can only explain that it happened because once again he played the friends always card. Begged me to stay friends with him about 3 weeks ago. He said he would rather have me in his life than not at all. I tried it and my heart is so much deeper in than that. It just isn’t something I can’t handle I guess. My head won’t stop thinking about us and him. Feels like a having your cake and eating it too thing.
    My marriage is on the line and was before contacting him this time. His relationship isn’t great either. I feel like over the weekend I realized being happy with him, even limited, made it easy to stay in the marriage. It actually enhances the marriage. I don’t want that. It was an emotional affair. I told him and he said it wasn’t and that he wasn’t telling his girlfriend we were friends because he knew how mad she’d get — ding ding ding emotional affair.
    At the beginning of this contact I also accepted blamed myself for years ago because I did just immerse myself in all things him and when he left to college I didn’t fit in his life and I was just left alone because of choices I made while we were together. Choices like it was just us together all the time. Lost friends etc… typical I guess. The more I read these things don’t work out the more I just want to make decisions in my life without him influencing those decisions because I would be leaving my marriage now hoping for him and that just doesn’t seem to be how it works.

  39. Down the Rabbit Hole says:

    Princess, I understand. It’s not unlike my situation and others here. Fear of letting go, fear of hanging on. There just aren’t any good answers.

  40. Anon says:

    Having your cake and eating it too? I’m not very fond of that expression myself.

    What exactly do you mean by that? I take it to mean that you want to stay in your marriage but at the same time have a relationship with your LL.

    To tell you the truth, *that* is not the way that things work. Things have a better chance of working out if you are honest. Either leave your marriage (whether or not you get together with LL is irrelevant) or stop all contact with LL if it’s jeopardizing your marriage.

    If you choose the latter choice, then be clear with LL and say goodbye to him; don’t string him along. If you choose your marriage don’t do so just because you are too fearful to leave, do so because you still love your husband and you know he loves you.

  41. Emotion Overload says:


    If you have considered leaving your marriage ‘for him’, why wouldn’t you leave your marriage now? It seems you aren’t happy in it. Maybe now is exactly the right time to leave it so you can build a life you actually enjoy and want.

    I don’t think these relationships ever really work out. We have seen a few here, but the majority don’t work out. Even if you are both single, for some reason, one or the other won’t commit.

  42. Princess says:

    I meant keeping me as a friend is cake eating for him. I try to go and he wants to be friends. I just can’t do it very well. I want to leave when I don’t have LL as a motivator. I don’t think these things work either. These situations are not easy. I have children and a husband who treats me very well – passion gone. Isn’t that usually the cause? It’s an obsession huh?

  43. Anon says:

    I don’t think it’s an obsession, (for most people). Of course, for some people, there could be a mental illness present which could then make it feel like an obsession

    I think there are various factors that can drive this type of attraction besides a possible mental illness. I think the most common factor is unhappiness in a marriage, however I dont believe unhappiness stems from loss of passion… I believe it’s the opposite, I think loss of passion is caused by unhappiness.

    My advice (just my personal observations after going through similar events) is concentrate on WHY you feel unhappiness and a loss of passion in your marriage. THAT is the key.

    This doesn’t discount the fact that there may also be other factors which have drawn you back to your LL. Again , my personal experience has suggested that there is some basis of truth to this. By this I mean the universe really does work in mysterious ways…don’t dismiss a spiritual component just because it’s outside your belief system.

  44. twice shy says:

    Princess, (a nickname for me too-funny!)

    I have also had this conversation with my FL. I told him I don’t want to ‘just be friends’ I LOVE him! I have PASSION for him! and it feels terrible to be teased with something I can’t have, and he gets the best of both worlds, his family, AND to know about me, when I don’t get anything in return other than an occasional email from him that tells me nothing about his life. I am divorced, he is not married, but has a long term partner and young children with her.

    We haven’t spoken in over 6 months, longer than we have ever been NC before, so maybe it has stuck this time and we won’t ever speak again. He did NOT even wish me a Happy Birthday this year…

    I am sad about it and keep telling myself it is for the best. The longer it goes, the easier it is to deal with. I’m just trying to move on and hope one day he won’t be the first thing I think about when I wake up…hasn’t happened yet…

  45. Carla says:

    Obsession it is! I am writing a lot about my feelings and thoughts as my own therapeutic method, and it is helping me to release a lot of my anger against him. Mostly bad words and name calling, I guess I am trying to put him down and blaming him for causing me so much pain. I am not thinking about him every second of my life now. Hopefully pain and obsession will eventually decrease and perhaps disappear sometime. Having him as a friend? I don’t know if I could handle that. I think I’d rather not have him at all. One thing I am experiencing is a lot of jealousy, for his success, his beautiful wife and children and his life in general. I think wife of 30 years is not better than me and how dare being with her and choosing her over me. Things like that invade my soul once in a while. I just continue writing and letting it all out on paper. Thank you so much for your words and inputs, so well taken and valued all the time.

  46. Princess says:

    Someone many pages back suggested journaling on locked app and after a couple of days it’s been a great way to process things and stop emailing. I highly suggest it for no contact folks.

  47. Anon says:

    The “obsession” (I hate to use that word) may be more on your feelings of anger and hate rather than love. Your feelings of inadequacy and jealousy seem to be your focus right now.

    I hate when people immediately come to the conclusion that someone is “better” than them. There could be many reasons why he chose to stay in his marriage…you will probably never know he made that decision. By continuing your current thinking pattern, you are only hurting yourself. Your thoughts are focused on what is wrong with you, when the truth is he might not even have made his choice because he thought his wife was better than you. And if he does think that…so what? Your value isn’t determined by another person’s opinion of you.

    I suggest counselling to help you deal with these feelings.

  48. Have Faith says:

    Anger is necessary and is part of the healing process, just make sure you dont get stuck there….stewing in anger for a long period of time will only lead to depression.

    I think everyone goes through anger to some degree at the end of a relationship…it took me many months to get over the anger I felt towards my husband. I think I had bottled up the anger I felt towards him for so many years, eventually it came to the surface. I remember people telling me that feeling anger was wrong or harmful, but in fact a certain amount of anger is necessary in order to heal.

    All the stages of grieving need to be worked through:
    And not necessarily in that order.

  49. Carla says:

    He was not my first love, but my long lost love. With my first love i had a terrible experience when he broke up with me for another woman, who he soon married. I turned my anger inward and fell into a horrible depression for over a year. I moved out of the city really far away. A few months after i left, i met this man who is now the cause of my mourning. The two men i loved and one of them i still do. I know depression very well, not new to me. I am aware that if i dont find a way to heal on my own, i might seek help, i am glad i have that as an option.

  50. princess says:

    I want to stop all contact. I somehow am back to emailing him again and of course he welcomes it. I apologized for the mean things and he said we will always be friends. Of course I wonder if he’s saying it intentionally now. shrug.
    I’ve started journaling. And thought oh we can be friends. So I set up some boundaries and he came back and broke one right away. In a funny way. Anyway … I need to stop. My down fall is going back to him and telling him goodbye. Maybe I just go away. I don’t think it’s forever just for right now. I feel like I need to take care of things on my end a little more.

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