The Imaginary World

In college I met this guy. He wasn’t the smoothest of fellows. He started out as a bit of a jerk, but it was kind of cute. We began to spend more and more time together.

Truthfully, it started out as a physical relationship and ultimately turned into something powerful. We fell hard for one another. We shared our inner thoughts and deepest desires. The chemistry we had was one to be envied.

For the next two years we were inseparable. It was magic. Unfortunately I had to leave school and so did he. We were not from the same town, so there was that dreaded distance. We communicated by phone or by letter. We tried to see one another whenever we were able.

Sadly, the distance was too much for him to bear so he broke it off with me. Needless to say I was devastated. I felt I had lost someone to death. At the time we broke up I was only 20. I am now a 41-year-old woman who still thinks about what we shared.

The other night I woke up from a very vivid dream of him telling me we were always meant to find our way back to each other and our love will never die. He has been heavy on my mind ever since.

He is married with children, and I have no desire to impede on him and his family. When we first reconnected, we talked every day. That was several years ago, but his wife wasn’t too thrilled, especially since she’s the one he got with after we broke up.

I recently saw him at my work. He gave me a big hug, we chitchatted a bit and parted ways. He still gives me butterflies and I still love him dearly. After all, he was my first love and no one has measured up since. I need some resolution.

~ Jamie

Jamie, you have to examine this with a more grown-up eye and understand why it has such a hold on you, because this memory is not making your life better. It’s trapping you in a failed first romance.

You want to hold this man to words he said when he was 20, 20 years ago. You act like those words mean more than “he is married with children.”

You were the end-all and be-all for each other in a closed environment, but once you left that environment it was over. You both left school and went home like minor children. Where were your plans to be together? Where were the plans to stay together, like grownups would?

This was like a cruise ship romance, a vacation flame, except it lasted two years.

Why are you dwelling in the past? Because you are not happy. Dwelling in the past does two things. It fails to make the present better, and it stops you from making the present better. You are spending time thinking about a married man with children instead of focusing on where you are right now and where your life is going.

Attribute the power of this relationship to something. First love, first sex, first escape from parental control, going off to college. College can be the most intoxicating period in life. You get to have adult experience while holding to the safety net of a child. Young people can soar confidently, knowing below them is the security of their home and family.

But if it wasn’t right then, because it didn’t hold you together, it isn’t right now. It was two years in your life two decades ago. Much of what happened has changed in your recollection, and the negatives forgotten. It might work today only if both of you were forlorn.

If you want a better life now, free yourself from the past by examining it with your grownup eyes.

~ Wayne & Tamara

Column for the week of July 28, 2014

Send letters to: [email protected] , or Direct Answers, PO Box 964, Springfield MO 65801.

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