Recently I attended a school reunion where I met up with my childhood sweetheart for the first time in 40 years. When I saw her all the old feelings came rushing back and I couldn’t get enough of her company. She didn’t seem quite as enthusiastic as I was but was happy to see me and we shared some time together during the day (but not enough for me).
Over the following few days we exchanged emails and had a couple of phone conversations but decided that, as we were both happily married, we couldn’t really meet up again as it would worry our respective partners. I have had real difficulty getting her out of my mind and cannot sleep for thinking of her. I am afraid to speak to my wife about this in case she feels betrayed or threatened. In addition, she reminded me of how we split up those many years ago and I feel incredibly guilty about how it happened (I went overseas for two years and asked her to wait for me, which she did. When I returned home I decided she wasn’t for me after all and chased and won another girl). I now realise what a fool I was. Any advice to help get me through this? I really feel miserable.
A: When we get to a certain age (I’m there too) , the “should haves”, “would haves”, “could haves” are certainly there for us to think about. Somehow, I don’t think this is really about the old flame (although old flames are fun to remember fondly). I wonder if your life in the present is all that you would like it to be. Sure. The fantasy of picking up where you left off when you were young is more appealing than facing whatever you need to do to make your marriage better. But, really, that’s what it is — fantasy. Your old sweetheart tried to tell you as much in her lack of enthusiasm.
You are 60, not 100. You and your wife could have many, many happy years together if you put in the time and attention to renew your love and put the romance back into your relationship. Remember, this is the woman you chased and won. She’s still there. Make yourself attractive to her and woo her again. My guess is she’ll be delighted and you will get back what you give.
I wish you well.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 10 Nov 2007
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2007). I can’t stop thinking about my childhood sweetheart.. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 7, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/11/10/i-cant-stop-thinking-about-my-childhood-sweetheart/