Most people remember their first love with nostalgia and fondness. But if you aren’t in a relationship with that person now, you might be suffering from the nagging wonder about the one that got away. The issue is that nostalgia tends to sugarcoat the past. It is the equivalent of a plain toast memory that has been bacon-wrapped by emotion. And first loves. Well, they are often a flood of new, exciting feelings that have never been experienced. So when we fall in love for the first time, our future is painted with a whole new set of colors. For the first time ever, we can truly envision a Happily Ever After scenario where we are the center. And like any great show, if the relationship ends, we want an encore.
Do you remember The Blair Witch?
When it first came out, people saw the movie differently than those who saw it knowing it wasn’t true. The movie for those first folks had power. Same with The Sixth Sense. Once the truth was known, you just couldn’t watch the movie the same way. The naivety of not knowing allowed you to be impacted in a way you could never experience again. Now, you expect movie twists. You remain skeptical when you see “true story.” And because of the novelty of them, we tend to rank those movies higher, even if the story in another movie is better. And so it is with our lives. We go on with our post-first love days, experiencing life. We fall in love again. But subsequent loves, they often just don’t feel the same. The story is different. The characters are different. WE are different. And yet so many of us trick ourselves into believing that any worthwhile relationship must look like the original. We phish for the same feelings we had the first time, and when they’re not there, we assume something must be wrong. Something must be missing.
Sarah couldn’t understand why she “just couldn’t be happy.” She was married to a great guy that she loved and they were talking about starting a family, but she couldn’t get over feeling like something was missing. When pressed, she disclosed how still, 14 years later, she pined for her first love. Those two had shared a lot of firsts together. She had fallen for him, his life, and his family, and she still grieved that loss. She just knew that if she and her ex could be together, it would be the dream she wanted. She compared the perceived perfection of that time to her relationship now, and in doing so, unwittingly required every detail of her marriage to be like the memory. Now, in a stroke of what I like to call universe juice, Sarah randomly ran into her ex during the months she shared with me. The encounter was brief but she was ecstatic. She started talking in a session about how “this was it.” THIS was meant to be, and shortly after their encounter, they made a date for coffee. Sarah was ready to dissolve her marriage, and then she went for that coffee. After the initial catch up talk, she discovered that her ex was married. And to her alarm, he spent the afternoon boasting of his infidelities. He even boldly propositioned Sarah to be one of them. She was horrified. Here she thought he would deem her as the perfect mate he lacked. Instead, she realized his dream was remarkably different than the one she thought they shared. And suddenly that perfect ending, the “could have been,” was exposed for the delusion that it was. The dream she had held so tightly to was a fantasy based on a man she created solely in her head. If her ex was that man 14 years ago, he wasn’t anymore. Because, well, time does that. It updates and changes us, despite our desire to maintain otherwise. What did exist, sitting in the body of someone she thought she loved, certainly was not the man she had constructed. And it was at that moment that Sarah was able to fully see her marriage. She was able to respect it and to appreciate and honor the beauty in it. She realized she had wrongfully judged her husband, comparing him to an ideal that never was instead of allowing their relationship to thrive under a new set of ideals. She had unwittingly ignored the great things about her relationship, missing the beauty of the majestic horse by comparing it to a unicorn.
Never settle for a relationship
I tell my clients to never settle for a relationship. Never compromise on important qualities just to be with someone. You should always have a dream for what you want your relationship to be. But you have to be sure that the dream you hold strong in your heart and in your head isn’t a hologram of a relationship that, in all actuality, never was. Don’t hold on furiously to a past image of something like the one and only truth. There have been great movies after The Sixth Sense. There have been endings that have surprised us still. And there is a dream that can exist in the now that is even better than the dream that existed then.
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Established in Toronto 2007 Every story has power and purpose. Photos Allef Vinicius Advice April 11, 2019 Ethical Dilemmas is a regular column where we hope to give you clear-cut answers for complicated problems. Hayley Glaholt is a pro at carefully examining two sides of a story and weighing each move with a cautious code of morality. If you have a difficult problem you’re currently dealing with and want some free advice, send your question to [email protected]. Hey Hayley, I am in a great relationship with someone I love, but I can’t stop thinking about someone from my past. He’s the one that got away, and my feelings for him are still so strong after all these years. We were together in undergrad, and we stay in touch on social media. My feelings for him are getting in the way of my current relationship, and I’m worried that means my current partner and I aren’t a good match. (female, 27, Toronto) Memories are generally good things, unless they get in the way of us living our lives. I am the kind of person that tends to always be in the past or the future but rarely in the present. I attribute that to having a fairly anxious mind and a low-key (i.e., deeply hidden) romantic flare. We are always going to remember positive experiences and relationships fondly. That’s not a problem. But it sounds like you’ve gone past the point of remembering, towards fixating. This is a classic case of “the grass is always greener,” and one of the best ways to address this is to reality-test your memories in two ways: 1) Was that person and that relationship truly as perfect as you remember them to be? 2) If that same relationship took place now, with all of the stresses of adulthood casting shadows on it, would it survive? I can think of two “ones that got away” in my life. I met one at eighteen and one at nineteen; one was a boyfriend, the other a friend. Currently, they are both married to seemingly perfect women, and they have seemingly perfect children, living in seemingly perfect homes, in seemingly perfect cities. I used “seemingly” an annoying amount of times there because who truly knows what is going on in their lives. A healthy dose of social media stalking can only tell me so much. But here’s the thing: they look HAPPY. Their lives turned out WELL. And I choose to see that as the universe telling me that they were not, in fact, ones that got away. They are ones that are exactly where they should be, with the partners they should be with. Going back to the questions above—if I look back on those people and those relationships, if I reality- test them, I remember why they ended (or never started) in the first place. Both of these guys were life-of-the-party, charismatic, worship-able people. They were musical, so funny, and so, SO beautiful. But were they perfect? No. They were narcissistic and distracted. Was I a perfect match for either of them? No. I’m not good at worshipping and following other people’s dreams. Experiences we have when we’re younger—especially romantic ones—are in part so special and “rose-coloured” because they happened before “real” (read: adult) life got in the way. That’s what makes them so precious. That’s why Bryan Adams says those were “the best days” of his life. In undergrad, we are fairly free to live like we want to live, to try new things, and to not worry about careers and other long-term cares. We can stay up all night with that awesome guy/girl and go to concerts and skip class because there are no serious consequences. If I did that with someone now, I would show up to work the next day exhausted and distracted and let my clients down. And that’s not what I want to do. Our priorities are different now, and therefore falling in love looks different when you’re in your late twenties or thirties—and NECESSARILY SO. That perfect little warm incubator of our youth is no longer around us, so memories with the heart-stopping qualities of those undergrad ones are harder to come by. The context for memory-making (and relationship-growing) has completely shifted. That doesn’t mean that contemporary experiences are any less magical or special; it just means that we may filter them and store them differently in our minds. Let’s say you were to meet your “one that got away” tomorrow, and he said, “Let’s quit our current lives and start a new one together,” and you said sure. Then what? Picture yourselves fourteen years down the road: you may have kids, you may have a mortgage, you or he may have just lost your jobs and you could be going into major debt. His looks are fading and so are yours. His parents are aging and he wants his mum to move in with you. When you get home after a long day, you don’t have the energy to tell him about your day, and he doesn’t ask about it. That scenario is REAL life. How do you think you two would fare? Would it be significantly better than how you and your current partner are faring? My point is this: of COURSE you think about those beautiful memories. It is healthy and pleasurable to look back over our lives and remember good times we’ve had. But if you’re fixating on these memories, you should take stock of what that means. What are you getting from them that you are not getting from your current life or partner? What needs aren’t being met for you (in your job, your relationship, etc.) right now? When you think back on your time with this guy, what feelings and experiences were you having then that you feel are missing in your current relationship? A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. You love the partner you have, and that compatibility and reality-tested truth is worth so much more than a “what if.” Please talk to your partner about what you feel you may be missing/wanting—be as specific and realistic as possible so that he isn’t forced to guess, and see if you two can come up with a way to have those needs met. But before you do that…unfollow this undergrad guy on social media.
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Are you married yet still unable to stop thinking about your ex? There are several explanations for why some memories bring a grin to your face and why particular events are quite memorable. If you’re curious as to why you keep thinking about the one who got away, keeps reading. We’ll discuss the reasons for this and offer suggestions on how to appreciate the current companion you have. Reasons You Still Think About the One That Got Away You are aware of your feelings. Recognize that it’s normal to think about them. Maybe you used to like your ex and appreciate the rhythms you two shared, which explains why your thoughts occasionally go back to them. Reminiscences of your ex are only occasions to reflect on the expectations you hold for your romantic relationships. You might find something admirable in your ex. For instance, perhaps you enjoy jokes and remember how your ex-boyfriend always made you laugh. You may be reminded of all the past times you were genuinely affectionate with your ex after a successful romance with your husband. You can also consider your ex if you’re going through a difficult moment. Perhaps your partner is distant, for example. You want to know how they’re doing. It’s common to ponder about your ex if a lot of time has passed. After all, you’ve gone through a lot since you first met them, including being married. If you look them up on social media or even just inquire about them, you could be curious about how their life has developed. Additionally, you might still be friends with a lot of people. Your feed can contain frequent mentions of your ex and images of them. Consider contrasting how you were with your ex and how you are with your spouse. Perhaps your ex and you met when you were a student. Source:https://www.wikihow.com/Why-Do-I-Still-Think-About-the-One-That-Got-Away-when-I%27m-Married Content created and supplied by: Daily,updates (via Opera
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See More Using a joke account just to be safe. I know that basically anyone and everyone will tell me «well, that’s dumb, stick with your wife!» I mean, that’s what I’d tell anyone else in this position. So I don’t know what I’m expecting from this topic, maybe I just need to put my thoughts to words. A little background. I’m old. «one that got away» and I became extremely close friends over 15 years ago, and ended up dating fairly briefly. She called it off back then, and it was awkward at first, but soon we were close friends again. I wasn’t really over her, but obviously I couldn’t whine about my feelings to her and still be friends, so I kept it to myself. Eventually, she met someone and got married. I, uhhh… was supportive up until about a week before when I wrote a long letter telling her I thought it was a mistake and that I still had feelings for her. Well, lol, not surprisingly, that didn’t go over well, and we barely interacted for a good couple years after that… we have a lot of mutual friends so we’d both be at someone’s house or whatever but other than a polite hello we didn’t really talk much. So, finally once she was married it kind of broke the hold she had on me, and I dated around some. Met my wife, fell in love, and we got married. I think both she and I being married kind of took some of the awkwardness from my wedding crashing days away, so while we weren’t like hanging out we started to be friends a bit, and my wife even babysat her first child when she was an infant for a few months between jobs. Nothing specific really happened, but just everyone got busy with family and making other friends outside of our original circle, so all our mutual friends stopped getting together as often and again, I wasn’t seeing much of her. I don’t remember how I heard about it, I don’t think it was from her, but a mutual friend, but come to find out her husband had been molesting their two daughters. Well, obviously that led to divorce. Okay, she’s single again. I genuinely felt bad for her and her kids having to go through that, but didn’t feel any weird emotions coming back. So again, lots of time passed, then two years ago she contacted me kind of out of the blue and said that her kids are really having a hard time and she really wants them to have a positive male role model, so she wondered if I could spend time with them once in a while or something. I wasn’t opposed to the idea, but didn’t think my wife would like it. She knew that I had pretty strong feelings for the other woman up until her wedding, and so while I don’t think the motives were to seduce me, my wife took it the wrong way. Because my wife asked me to, I completely cut off all contact with her. I felt bad, but again, no angsty strong feelings. I went about my life. For some reason, a few months ago, I just out of the blue started thinking about her more than I had in the last 10 years. I could certainly fight through it, but it came out of no where and I couldn’t fully get it out of my head. Then, last weekend, I ran into her. We only talked for a minute. She apologized for what happened and I told her I was okay with her, but my wife no so much. Okay, fine, parted ways again. Well, probably dumb of me… I sent her a short message on FB a couple days later. Just a little, «Hey, glad we got that cleared up. Long time no see. Hope things are going well,» basically. So we messaged back and forth a lot over a few days, and, ugh… I feel like I’m 18 again, with all the flurry of crazy emotions. I’m in my mid-30’s, I didn’t think I could still feel this way… I’m too old for this s***. :/ Guess I have to have a part two, running out of characters in my Wall O’ Text.
Twenty years after our breakup, I’m back in touch with my old boyfriend and feeling confused.
Submit your question to Meredith here. Q. I had an on-and-off-again relationship for six years, and he was the love of my life. I reached a point where I knew he wasn’t going to commit, so I moved on. Two years later, I got married and had two kids. But I never could shake him. More than 20 years later, I reached out to him — still married but wanting to see him. The feelings were still the same. It was so weird. He never got married but is in a relationship. He says the woman is not the one for him. It’s made me think about divorce so I can explore these feelings. When I see him it’s great, and then he pushes me away, and then comes back again. Kinda the same way it was when we were dating. What should I do? Let it go or continue? — Try Again? A. Let it go — for the same reason you did two decades ago. He is unreliable and pushes you away when he feels like it. He tells you his girlfriend is not the one for him — but he’s still with her, right? He’s the same person, and you’ve already rejected that guy. The answer to your riddle is that he hasn’t changed. Get Today’s Headlines in your inbox: The day’s top stories delivered every morning. It would be more productive to focus your energy on figuring out why you felt the need to reach out to him now — and what that says about your marriage. You mention divorce as if it isn’t a massive decision. Maybe it isn’t. What does that mean?
No matter what decision you make about your husband, assume that it will not result in a romance with your love from long ago. You can work on your marriage or start a life on your own. Those are the practical options. — Meredith READERS RESPOND Umm . . . what? You’re going to divorce your husband so that this guy can continue to not commit to you 20 years later? SHRTC8KE Have you asked your husband what he thinks you should do? CRUCIFIEDZEOFF It’s important to remember that when you reached out to your old boyfriend, he wasn’t looking for you. Even if he doesn’t love his girlfriend, he still did not seek you out to replace her. COMMENTOR2 I recently watched three different women blow up their marriages while going through a mid-life marriage slump. NONE of their husbands took them back after they realized the error of their ways. NOMORESCREENNAMES What Meredith said. He’s still the guy who can’t commit. This is about you being bored, unhappy, discontented — and the solution is not going back to someone you discarded decades ago. WIZEN You need to rewrite this letter if you want a blessing to pursue this relationship. Please add the following: 1) Husband is abusive, cheating on you, or an unemployed, compulsive gambler. 2) Children need out of dysfunctional household created by husband’s character flaw. 3) Former boyfriend offered undying devotion, but you dumped him to fulfill your foolish and immature need for a “bad boy” you could reform by marrying and having children with. 4) Former boyfriend has monkishly waited for you to return. Without these elements, you are just selfish. HEYITHINK Meredith Goldstein is in her eighth year writing Love Letters for the Boston Globe. Columns and responses are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Send letters, questions, and comments to [email protected].
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