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.

(Visited 170,244 times, 32 visits today)

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

  1. Michelle says:

    JANA: yes Maam i have it covered myselp i check it everyday no communication after he talk to her . nothing after that. you are right i need somebody to talk to… ita very hard no days i dont think of her everyday in over 1 year since they start being friends . he told me if they talk or text . my problem is me i never had a man in my life but him never had a bf because i was fucos on my studies and i graduated college never had a man in my whole life but him and i never sleep with him till day we got married and im the only woman he ever respected for that. so this is my first jealousy. lord so hard im about go crazy. worrying over nothing. thank you JANA make me feels better here i can talk …

  2. Anonymous says:

    Michelle, you have created so many comments but I personally can’t read your story, I don’t understand a word you are trying to say, sorry

  3. Michelle says:

    Anonymous: im sorry … some of them trying understand me and they understood i quess

  4. Curt says:

    I have to agree that it been difficult to understand her posts. I thought at first it was due to the ESL factor, but in rereading, they appear almost deliberatly written in a confusing and repetive style . All I was able to understand is that she is very jealous over her husbands friendship with his FL, and she has become quite paranoid and suspicious . She has followed him and checked his phone records. I think that summarizes it up.

  5. Lost in translation says:

    I agree these posts are very hard to read. I gave up after the first one. I think Curt’s summation is accurate.

    Dr. Rob Edit: let’s move on from the ease/difficulties of the previous posts…

  6. Age of Inno-sense says:

    Hot Mess,

    I disagree about the age of people on this board. I have been here a long time (years) and the majority of people on this board are about 20 years older than you are. Most late 40’s and 50’s and beyond.

  7. Michelle says:

    Wifey: will you email me and i will email you back and give you my number… i can talk to you … if you dont mind bacause your situation is kinda closed to mind. thank you…

  8. Trevor says:

    Aren’t you afraid your husband will notice the emails? I can’t imagine he would be happy to realize how little you trust him and that you’re doing things such as following him to the store.

  9. Michelle says:


    i know…last night i mention her name and we talk and i started over again and he told me he change for me and dont like to hide thing and he should not told me about it we wouldnt have a problem . and next time he wont tell me anymore so i wont me thinking the way i think.and now im worry…do you think he will do crazy like affair for her because the way i think?he think i dont trust him and anyway he dont like email and do computer. thank you sir

  10. Hot Mess Nest says:

    @Age of Inno-sense That’s what I said, wasn’t it? It’s what I was thinking, anyhow, that most people on this board seem to be a bit older than I am. Just a miscommunication.

    While I’m here… no significant news from me, just staying the course.

  11. Have Faith says:

    Age of inno-sense, I’ve never noticed your name on the board before and I have been posting here since 2014. I would agree that most of the people here seem to be in their late forties and older.

    Michelle, I couldn’t really understand what you were asking, but if you don’t trust him, that’s a pretty significant problem, and I don’t think the problem has anything to do with your husbands FL. If there is no trust, there really is no relationship. Jealousy and insecurity will destroy your marriage. There is no way anyone else can tell you if your husband will cheat or what he’s thinking, etc. This is something you need to work thru in therapy or marriage counseling .

  12. Ira says:

    Hi y’all. I found this site because, after I got in touch with my first love, I started having feelings for her again. We hadn’t seen each other for about 40 years and then she sent me a request on facebook last year. I think part of this is reliving my youth and sharing those old memories with her. We are both married. I’m not sure if my first love feels the same way I do, we haven’t discussed that, but I suspect she might be feeling it too. It’s hard to know if I should end the friendship, or maybe the feelings will pass?

  13. Down the Rabbit Hole says:

    Michelle, although you addressed your last post to Trevor I feel compelled to offer the following observations:

    The relationship your husband has is not appropriate given their past, the frequency of contact, and the immersion of your spouse in the day to day needs of the former love.

    Even though you have expressed your discomfort with this relationship, your husband has disregarded your feelings.

    While his attempt at transparency with you is admirable on the surface, the fact he is willing to continue being at her beck and call and stating he will merely just hide it from you is a major red flag.

    Clearly he is getting something from this relationship he is unwilling to sacrifice, your feelings and wishes be damned.

    You need to see or talk to an objective 3rd party.

  14. Out of my flippin bird says:

    @Michelle, none of us can tell you as to whether or not he’ll have an affair. If he thinks you dont trust him, hes right you dont. Not to be rude, but youre letting this consume you, and if it continues it’ll eat you alive.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I’m not brave enough I give myself a name or tell my story yet as I would be mortified if my first love read this and realised it was me!
    But I can say that after 30 years he got back in touch, both married by the way and has totally flipped my life upside down. It is lovely reading all your stories and great to see new names. I would love to read more from a mans point of view on all of this, it may help me understand things better, who knows?

  16. Trevor says:

    Hi anonymous. It sounds as though you just recently got in touch with him and then found this board. What do you mean by seeing new names here?

  17. Anonymous says:

    Hi Trevor, we have been in touch for a few years. I don’t recognise your name forgive me if you have been posting for ages. There are also other new people who comment on the odd thing now and again. I’m just amazed this forum is still going and with such momentum

  18. Will says:

    I’ve been married to my wife for almost 20 years and we’ve had our ups and downs. We are currently in a long up cycle, and things have been very good for about the last 7 years. But her HS boyfriend contacted her through Facebook a few months ago, and from her sloppiness with the computer (forgetting to shut her account down) I’ve seen some of their communications – and they’re heading into sexual fantasy territory.

    I’ve always been faithful to her but she’s cheated on me in the past. Luckily this guy (who comes across as an idiot, if I’m being frank – he seems barely literate) is a few thousand miles away. I’m just unclear why this is happening. I understand that we all may daydream about past loves or encounters and that’s just how people are. But I’ve never looked up an old GF on social media, and I’d like to think that I’d NEVER consider getting into this kind of “emotional affair”, which ultimately can lead to no good.

    I refuse to believe that there is some kind of magical love connection with a first love. My wife hasn’t spoken to this guy in almost 30 years. It’s an idealized fantasy of a high school romance. There is no way for them to really know each other. It’s so easy to say what the other person wants to hear and be what they want you to be when you’re communicating in small snippets.

    I think most people have an ethical and moral line which they won’t cross, but plenty are so self-absorbed that they feel it’s OK to satisfy any and every whim, because “it’s what their heart wants”. It’s juvenile, socially-retarded rom-com thinking.

  19. Trevor says:

    Hi anonymous
    You’re right…I haven’t posted here until just recently. When I read your comment it sounded like you had just got in touch with him very recently, but I guess you mean you’ve been reading here for a while and haven’t posted yet..
    I haven’t posted my story yet, either. Still thinking about doing that, if it would be a good idea or not. I also wonder if it’s possible for my FL to find this website and recognize my story.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Will, very good point when you say ‘it’s so easy to say what the other person wants to hear and be what they want you to be when you are communicating in small snippets’ Maybe this is all this is an idealised fantasy, something to brighten my day and I’m sure most people want their day brightened and what better way than to chat with the one that ‘got away’

  21. Have Faith says:

    I don’t think it matters if this is your wifes first love or a guy she just met. If your wife is sending him messages of a sexual nature, and she has cheated on the past, you have every reason to be concerned.

    Why are you concerned about a “magical first love ” connection? Is this what your wife and her FL have been discussing? Because I have to say I think a love connection and a sexual fantasy are two different things. Usually if there is a love connection, that is where the discussion is going to go right away. ..not to sex.

  22. PleaseGodCanIBeWithLL says:

    Maybe in some cases it is reliving youth or some sort of fantasy. But in my case, that is not so. I never stopped loving LL. I married H for companionship and friendship love, but was still in love with LL. Same is true with LL and his live in GF of 19 years….he loves her, but not the way he loved/loves me. We have a deep connection that can’t be broken in spite of all that has happened.

  23. Hot Mess Nest says:

    @Will You’re definitely right. It’s much easier to and breezier to talk to an ex sometimes. There’s no denying that. There’s a history there that is impossible to compete with, grammatical atrocities and all! 🙂 But I think it’s also important to ask a tough question:

    If the last 7 years have been so great, why is she getting something out of this fantasy relationship?

    My husband said the same things you’re saying, almost verbatim. He believed our relationship was rock solid, even though I was frequently voicing my dissatisfaction and practically begging him to work on our marriage. It was a shock to him when I “reconnected” with my FL. But now that he and I have been in counseling and are working through this each day, he’s admitted that he had put blinders on. We weren’t so picture perfect after all. In fact, there were a lot of hurts that had gone untended, lots of things from years prior that we’d never healed from. All that time, he was ignoring my unhappiness and doing the bare minimum to keep the status quo. I was pretending to be happy. It was an accident waiting to happen.

    Now, this in no way excuses my own behavior. I let things go too far with my ex, and I have to seek forgiveness for that. But there’s a context here that cannot be overlooked. Can a truly rock solid marriage withstand a FL coming back into the picture? My opinion is yeah, it probably can. Even magical unicorny first love isn’t powerful enough to make people destroy a perfectly happy life.

    I cannot imagine how difficult it’s been for my husband to forgive me for hurting him in this way. He could easily choose to rationalize that because I had an emotional affair, I don’t deserve to be upset about all of those things that brought us to this point. But somehow, he’s a bigger person than I ever imagined, and choosing to examine himself as well. It’s going to save our marriage.

  24. Down the Rabbit Hole says:

    Hot Mess Nest:

    You are in a unique position here. You and your spouse are owning the situation without blaming. I am certain the FL connection for me would not have been as intense if our marriage issues could have been addressed decades ago.

    I struggle with the “when is it too late” question. Too late to fix things, too late to start over? And then the clock ticking on what could be the best relationship with FL…

    As to the ‘magical fantasy love’ suggestion…the FL connection is real for me and my FL. If either of us wanted a fantasy relationship, we could choose others for that purpose.

  25. Love of My LIfe says:

    @ PleaseGodCanIBeWithLL, I am like you, always loved FL and never forgot him.

    @ Hot Mess Nest, I agree with you, if I had been happy in my marriage I would never have contacted FL. There were a lot of problems in my marriage, one of which was alcoholism which was the reason I broke of with FL and it killed any feelings I did have for my husband.

    I never thought of having an affair with anyone and still don’t. The relationship with FL is not about sex, it is a never ending love that has been going on for over 40 years. I don’t consider this relationship an affair. I know technically it is but it is not in my eyes.

    Crazy life!

  26. Anon says:

    I believe when people use terms to ridicule others experiences, such as jokingly referring to a first love connection as “unicorny” or other obviously sarcastic terms, that this is abusive language. Any type of sarcasm used to demean others experiences (or even to poke fun at your own experience ) is done as a (somewhat)covert form of abuse.

    To invalidate someone elses experience, especially when you’ve never even lived through a similar experience yourself, is calculated to psychologically damage a person.

    For those such as myself, who have lived with this type of abuse far too long, I say trust your own heart and mind. NEVER pay attention to people who try to tell how and what you should think or feel. If someone’s words are hurtful and demeaning, you can be sure that is intentional.

  27. Hot Mess Nest says:

    @Down the Rabbit Hole Yeah, I see we don’t agree, but I totally understand your point too. I’m in a strange position (and a very strange place in my timeline too) so maybe I’ll change my mind on this in the coming years. I know my love with my FL was and is very, very real, and nothing will ever change that. But I’ve lived with it for so long without acting until… until I was about ready to walk out on my husband for completely separate reasons. So for me it rings true.

    @Love of my Life The part you say about not considering your relationship with FL an affair… how true! I feel the same, but am trying to call a spade a spade for my marriage’s sake. Sigh.

    @Anon I expect people to disagree with my opinion as a part of life. I expect to encounter people who dislike my style, my sarcasm, and my candor. Also a part of life. I want to call out that I state very clearly it’s my opinion. If you choose to let a stranger’s calmly stated opinion undermine the validity of your own feelings, who is ultimately responsible for that? It’s unfortunate that your feelings got hurt. However, nothing I said was “abusive” in any way, and if you’re looking for a fight I have a strict non-engage policy. Have a happy day.

  28. Those Shoes says:

    I agree with Anon about not understanding these kinds of relationships and seeing them as ‘unicorny’. Essentially you’re stating they are foolish and not real.
    I lived for 30 years knowing that the relationship with my FL was different than any other relationship I had after that. Through the years I questioned it and wondered. In 2011, I got my answer when we reconnected. I had been right at age 18 when I knew it was different and special and that I hadn’t made it up or imagined it.
    I also think that it is unique to the point that not everybody has the experience in their lives. I’ve talked to enough people and asked enough questions to know that it’s something relegated to a few and not the masses. How people respond later on when the reconnect is established is also unique.
    Most will tell you that emotional or physical, these affairs are unlike anything else you’ve ever experienced. They will also tell you they don’t consider it cheating like they consider most affairs.
    These relationships can also be described as the only relationship that would put their other relationships in jeopardy or bring out the worst, point out the shortcomings or glaring faults in those other relationships.
    Most reconnect and are sent reeling and it takes a while to recover, if ever. If you stay in your marriage or other relationship then you are always left wondering, possibly continuing the ‘un-affair’. It will always be the one that got away or the one that can’t be resolved.
    There is a constant undercurrent of ‘hope’ that somehow, against all odds, against any possible odd there is, that it could work out. That some spouse could feel the rift and ask to part ways with you so you are free to explore fully the FL relationship.
    Some have had that ‘luxury’ only to discover the other person isn’t ready or willing to go there. They might be single too and still fear going back to a FL experience.
    It’s never resolved.
    There has been every possible scenario here. But at no time in any of these relationships would it be considered ‘unicorny’. It’s real and hard and painful and beyond passionate (even when it’s not physical).
    It outplays any other relationship even the ones who have happy marriages. They have reconnected with something that can’t compare in most all other ways to their marriage relationship. It can’t because it was first.
    If you think you’re happily married and find yourself here because your spouse had one of these relationships, you’re in for a long journey. You can bet, you will never stop wondering if that FL is on their minds. They are and always will be.
    Counseling I guess is an option. But I know that people can lie when they don’t want to give up their drug of choice. It’s like that.

  29. Anon says:

    Hot mess
    I’m not looking for a fight at all, nor were my feelings hurt in the slightest . I expect differences of opinions, and I value other people’s opinions and experiences.

    What I don’t like is when I hear ridicule (even if it is veiled), as ridicule is often disguised as sarcasm and jokes. Since i have lived with this type of behavior for so long, I have learned to quickly recognize it.

    I enjoy candor and honesty, but they are very different things than ridicule and shaming. As Those shoes states, essentially you are calling those who go through this experience as foolish and immature

    I don’t believe any of us here have a right to say whether or not someone else’s experience is foolish or immature or not valid. Actually, this goes for every aspect of life…we need to respect others experiences.

  30. Have Faith says:

    Those Shoes
    I don’t think there is, as you seem to suggest, a “formula ” that these rekindled FL relationships follow. Every relationship is as unique as each person. Then , if there are spouses involved, that adds yet another layer to the mix, so there are so many variables to consider.

    To say that the relationship is special solely because it was a first love, is also not true. Many of these relationships were not first love situations. Read some of Dr. Kalishes articles on the topic and you will see that many are lost love situations as well.

    Also, from my own personal experience, I can tell you that I would never , ever, consider an affair with a FL or LL to be an “un- affair”. An affair is an affair. I would never feel a sense of entitement that allows me to have an affair because of this being a FL. Actually, I would never even want an affair, as for me an affair was never something I considered. For me , this was about understanding the past, and understanding how the past affects the present and the future. It was about understanding what makes us fall in love with someone and what makes us stay in love. But thats just me, I guess.

    As for marriage counseling, I don’t believe it will help at all if someone is extremely dissatisfied with their spouse, nor can any amount of counseling take away feelings for a FL or LL . If someone is lying about their feelings during counseling, it pretty much defeats the point of therapy.

  31. twice shy says:

    Those Shoes,
    I agree with EVERYTHING you said. You are spot on in my case.

  32. Anonymous says:

    In regards to abusive language or ridicule, etc.:

    My opinion is that, if this were a self-help group for something such as addiction or eating disorders, or whatever, and someone used ridicule to describe those behaviors , others might perceive that as abusive. Being told that your personal experiences are foolish does feel like abuse to those who are going through that experience .

    I wouldn’t agree that a strangers calmly stated opinion in any way invalidates my experience or anyone’s else’s, because i think most of us here are mature enough to stand up for our own convictions and to recognize the validity of our own experiences. But I do see that the use of shaming is an attempt to make people doubt their own beliefs.

  33. Those Shoes says:

    Have Faith,

    I was not suggesting ‘a formula’. I was stating that the majority of those here have agreed that these relationships are different.

  34. Have Faith says:

    Those shoes
    Different than what? Other affairs? I guess I don’t have a comparison point since I’ve never had an affair, with a FL, a LL, or anyone . What I have experienced are the overwhelming feelings involved with reconnecting with a LL . (And a whole lot of other strange things in connection to that). And I have done a bit of reading/research on the topic.
    You make it sound as though you’ve been posting here for a long time, Those Shoes, yet I don’t remember seeing your name before.

  35. Those Shoes says:

    Dr. Rob Edit: please stop the bickering, it’s not what we are aiming for here.

  36. Down the Rabbit Hole says:

    Shortly after my previous post on how much better my marriage is, the other shoe dropped. I have decided to seek counseling to try to sort through everything. This site has been helpful, however it is not a good place for a lot of details and identifying information.

    Good luck all. I will check in periodically to see how the group is doing.

  37. Perplexed says:

    I recently, <1 yr, reconnected with my FL after being married 30+ years. The convo and connection are like we have never been apart. We have recently started having conversations via text and telephone and it has brought us both into some kind of whirlwind of emotions. They have been married almost as long as I and neither one of us has ever been unfaithful. We personally do not know where this is going and there is a geographic separation that will keep us physically faithful to our spouses. I get the un-affair statements as that is how I feel totally and the lack of physical contact puts that hard line down for us both. It is like an old friend that I can share my thoughts, feelings and emotions with who shares a similar situation. We are getting to know each others' daily life and catch up on what has happened while discussing thoughts, feelings and actions from decades ago. I am not unhappy in my marriage and have a great friendship and what I thought was a forever life with my spouse but one never knows the unexpected curves thrown at us by fate. This article and chat is crazy. I have heard that so many folks now are seeking divorce after reconnecting with a FL/LL over social media and NEVER expected I may fall into that category. My spouse and I vowed to never ever say the D word as we were committed for life but am I a failure if that happens or do we say we had a successful 30+ year marriage that ends amicably and move on to something else? I am completely perplexed.

  38. K says:

    I came here on a fluke. I used to come here to read some of the stories when I was in the thick of my reconnection (a few years ago.) I’m amazed several of the same chatters are still here!
    I just wanted to say that I was the one contacted by my first love and he did not shine a light on my husband. I was going through a very transitional time at work and my fl came around telling me I was the one who got away.
    I knew he was bad news. I knew what I was doing when Facebook turned to private messages and more. I think that I have a better understanding of the reasons why I answered his friend request. It wasn’t because of him as much as he represented my youth. So if this guy doesn’t seem very intelligent, your wife most likely knows. It’s way more about getting validation. It took a long time to realize I already was appreciated by my husband. I didn’t need to go backwards. It took marriage counseling and a lot of work to stop the madness. It’s legitimately an addiction. The attention is something I didn’t want to give up. I also got a kind of sick high from feeling that he was impressed with how I’d turned out. And also didn’t want to hurt him. I hope you can go to your wife and talk to her about why she feels she needs this kind of contact in her life. Good luck.

  39. Helen says:

    While love addiction is said to be a real affliction, it is not something that just begins later in life. Those who suffer from this will experience this from a very early age. If you do suffer from this, marriage counciling will not help, but you would need long-term individual therapy to be cured.

    I think if someone does genuinely suffer from love addiction, the problems would have manifested in their life at an early age, generally as a teenager. This is what I’ve learned from researching the topic in my attempt to understand the power of this first love reconnection.

    In my own experience, I never suffered from any type of addiction problems. I was married for many years, and while my marriage was fairly normal, my husband was controlling and emotionally abusive, which resulted in a general unhappiness after many years.

    I think that type of unhappiness does set the stage for being overwhelmed by a lost love reconnection. Afterall, we all want to be happy, and when we are not, we will subconsciously recognize the source of that unhappiness and try to fix it, even if we don’t consciously recognize what we are doing.

  40. K says:

    Your observations are interesting but I can’t think of any addictions that I have dealt with. I think that our marriage was stuck, kids moved out, feeling stuck at work and basically unappreciated. The messages were innocent enough at first until we started talking about memories. I ended up telling my husband. He insisted on Marriage counseling. We went weekly together And twice a month individually for over a year. The reason I called it an addiction is I couldn’t stop wanting the connection. I actually panicked. Seven years Iater I can go days without thinking about him. It was an oddly unexpected time in my life and I have come to the conclusion that I just needed the attention and it felt good to be admired and appreciated. In a kind of blast from the past. Kind of way.

  41. Helen says:

    Since you had mentioned you believed your feelings were a type of addiction, that was why I responded to your post. I remembered researching that same topic a few years ago when I was trying to understand the feelings I was experiencing for my FL.

    However, it sounds like my situation was quite different than yours. I had continued to have feelings for him all along ( but I managed to mostly ignore those feelings). I think it was easier to ignore when I felt I was loved by my husband. But, after many years of mistreatment and suspected cheating, I had come to realize my husband wasn’t the person I thought he was. It was at this time that I really began to think about my FL every day, and I hadn’t even talked to him at this point in time.

    But I do think some people who experience this thing are legitimately “addicted to love”.

  42. K says:

    I can totally agree to that!

  43. Hot Mess Nest says:

    Hey there. I’ve intentionally stayed away for about a month because I’ve been trying to not obsess about things with FL. It worked for a while, and then it stopped working this week because… I’m visiting my hometown by myself, and I know he’ll be there during my trip. I didn’t plan it that way. I’m there for family reasons. It just happened.

    I’m just trying to be strong and not tell my FL I’m in town, or completely breakdown and arrange to see one another. I know he misses me and is waiting for the time when I reach out to him again. It hasn’t been that long–just a little over 2 months with no contact. This was the commitment I made to my husband when we went into counseling. Things have been up and down on that front, though more up than down. But needless to say, there’s still a lot we’re working through.

    I miss my FL. I miss our effortless talks and friendship. There’s so much going on in my life right now and I could really use that sort of interaction. I know I can’t–my husband would find out somehow (even if he didn’t, I would know), and it would derail any progress we’ve made. I’m battling through some rough feelings right now. Just had to get that out. 🙁

    What’s worse than an addiction? Because I smoked heavily for 10 years, and I definitely could never miss cigarettes as much as I miss FL. Ha.

  44. Hot Mess Nest says:

    No posts here in a while. Wow.

    I’m just going to say what I need to say to the empty void.

    See that above post? The one I just wrote a couple weeks ago? Well… I saw him while I was home. It was the right decision.

    After not speaking for a few months (a long time for us), we spent 3 days together. We were both determined that we would not have sex, but kissed, and held each other close. We spent much time in the woods like we love to do, going on small adventures, and just playing. And we talked a lot about the future, like what kind of people we would be to one another, how we are when we’re just at home, what our goals are, philosophies on family & finances, how we would support one another, and so on… I’m the type of person who gets worried when life starts to feel too fantastical. I want my feelings and actions to be authentic, so we talked through some tough things, and tried to imagine a place for one another in our lives. It wasn’t difficult at all. We weren’t exactly reconnecting because we never lost touch, but we still needed to get some things out. But that’s a very comforting part here… he’s exactly who I’ve already known him to be for the past 17 years–probably better in some ways.

    I’ve realized a few things in the past few weeks.

    I’m never going to stop loving FL. It’s simply impossible. No matter how much counseling, no matter how much I try, I won’t ever love my husband the way I love FL. The pain of being without FL, and the pain I will inevitably cause my husband as a result of not loving him the way he deserves to be loved, will be far worse in the long-run. I’ve been through 12 weeks of counseling and all I feel is guilt and shame at every session. I’m lying to him; I’m trying to be the wife he deserves, and in my heart I know neither of us can give one another what we really need.

    I’m 35 years old. I have a chance to fix the greatest mistake of my life, with more than a few good years ahead, and that’s amazing. First, I need time to grieve my marriage, and I understand that. But I’m never breaking contact with FL again. We’re never losing each other again. When we’re ready, when he asks me to be with him, my decision is already made.

  45. Down the Rabbit Hole says:

    Wow Hot Mess. I can relate, seeing a counselor now. Just me, trying to sort through my trust issues with H on a safe neutral environment. Am I just being paranoid? Why do I feel I am back on the rollercoaster I vowed I would never ride again?

    Wish you all the luck and strength you need to make your decision. I am taking steps in the same direction, albeit slowly. My FL won’t be there, not yet and maybe not ever. Staying in a marriage with zero trust and emotional connection is worse than being alone.

  46. Forgotten :) says:

    I have posted here a couple times but forgot my name. I’ve been in touch with FL off and on for almost 13 years. We’re about 25 years out almost 30 years since we met. We started contact a year ago. I’ve recently told Husband about it and promised I would never lie and email Fl and yet FL and I are in contact. We are in the same place hot mess- we’d rather be in touch than not. We’ve never talked on phone or met in person. I’d do it in an instant but he’s not willing to ruin a marriage or his long term relationship. We email all day at most over 100 emails a day and averaging about 25 a day. We’re gettinng to know each other. It’s more emotional for me and he’s very respectful of that. Maybe someday we’ll be together. He has promised that when he’s single he’ll stay that way for years because we have had missed opportunities because he keeps moving on and I’ve been in same marriage for almost 20 years. He knows I’d leave in an instant. I don’t think he wants to be a ‘homewrecker’. When we started contact last year I was separated but moved back. Not for husband but other reasons. I’m planning on leaving on my own. We live in same state but different large cities. Anyway it would be a long distance relationship because I have children and he doesn’t but his job can’t move. I think I’ll need time on my own anyway. I feel your thoughts that the love for FL is not same. I wish I could explain to husband but it’ll only hurt even more.
    Hot Mess great restraint on no sex and it sounds like you had some deep conversations. Ours happen between the lines. I think we’re saying the same things… there will be a time. Hopefully we’ll have our health to give us time.

  47. Hot Mess Nest says:

    DtRH: are you still with your husband and just getting out? Congratulations to you if you are! Honestly, I can’t think of anything that takes greater strength–to unknit yourself from a marriage on the faith that you can be happier. You’re totally right… no trust or connection is purgatory. This scares me even more than being alone. I think of the example it would set for my son years down the road, and I know it’s wrong.

    Thanks for the restraint comment, Forgotten. It was hard, but luckily it was easy for us to see the long-game. We have time now. We can wait. So needless to say, we intentionally planned outdoor activities for a lot of our time together to avoid the temptation. It was fun!

    So many of the people who write here have situations that are similar, and yet there’s no one-size fit solution. The hardest part is the “simplest”! It’s just deciding what to do, and then taking actual steps. So much easier said than done. I’m happy to finally know what I want, because now I can move towards it. I hope we can all find the best outcome for each of our own unique situations!

  48. Hot Mess Nest says:

    Also, Forgotten, I just wanted to say thanks for sharing your story too! I relate to so much of it. 100 emails a day–wow! You guys are prolific. 🙂 I’m wishing you so much happiness and love as you take the time you need to do what is right for you.

  49. Down the Rabbit Hole says:

    Hot Mess Nest: still together. I am taking steps to exit with a goal of X number of years if H can’t change behavior.

  50. Love and war says:

    My best friend recently has been trying to reunite old friends and knows I’m still in love with my first love. We split up 26 years ago and it was the hardest thing I ever had to do. I had lied to him and told him there was someone else because he came home on leave from Iraq and proposed. Unfortunately he was supposed to have gone back to Iraq but had gone awol to be with me. It was extremely romantic and of course I wanted to say yes but he said he had no plans to return to the military. He just wanted to be with me and start our lives together. We were both 20 years old at the time. I knew if he didn’t go back he would be in a lot of trouble and would lose his benefits and pension later on. I begged him to go back but he refused. So I told him I had met someone else. He of course was very upset and left. He never contacted me again that I knew of. Now today my friend found out where he is and made contact with his wife to catch up with him. He doesn’t use the computer or any social media she found out but his wife does and so my friend has been talking to her. So my friend calls me and tells me that while she’s been reconnecting with friends she has reconnected with him in a way and had to tell me what she found out. She knows what happened years ago and that there was no other guy but rather i did what I did to get him to go back to get out of trouble and figured getting out of his way was the only way. She told me that his current wife, ( his 2nd) of 8 years now has been trading pics with her. My friend has sent over pics of us from high school and she has sent current photos of him. Aparantly when his wife got the pics she asked, is that her? To my friend. My friend asked her what she meant because she didn’t want to mention our old relationship- she was contacting just to catch up for herself- and his wife said that there is only 1 girl he still talks about from growing up and that’s me. She said she would show him the pics. So she does and tells my friend that he saw the pics and just lit up and talked all night about his past times with us and how much he was in love with me. She told my friend that every time he is late getting home she joke with him about his girlfriend keeping him out- me. I guess my friend talked with her again and his wife said he wanted to know if I was married, had kids etc. also I found out that for about 4 years after he had left me that night he had been the person putting little love notes on my car when he was in town. I had gotten notes for years but they were never signed and now I know who did it. We had never slept together when we were together. I had never before and don’t know if he had cause I was to nervous to ask but the tension between us was like the elephant in the room. In fact the night we had split up I had planned on that being – the night- but everything went sideways before that happened. the problem is I lied to him that night to keep him out of trouble but was completely in love with him and losing him destroyed me then. I never felt for anyone else what I have with him. I never wanted anyone else but after he left there was no way to find him. He just kinda disappeared. So to this day I have never got to tell him the truth and now that my friend found him, he’s married and I’m married too. But I have always been since the day I met him, now and til the day I die completely in love with him. I don’t know if his reactions and the fact that after 26 years he still talks about being in love with me means he still is. His wife says he’s an introvert but once she gave him the picks he lit up and talked all night so happy. She said he never talks much and after seeing my pics he was like a new person. I have no idea how to know if his reactions are because he is still in love with me or just happy memories. They seem to have a good relationship especially if she has joked with him for years about me being his girlfriend and teasing him about me. I just wish I knew what his reactions mean. Is he still in love with me? Should he ever know the truth? I don’t know what to think or do at this point and it makes me crazy cause I have wanted him to come back since the day he left. Any advice or insight anyone has would be appreciated.

Leave a Reply