My high-school girlfriend of 20 years ago and I were together for three years, and lived together for half that time. I wanted to be with her for life. She was amazing.
But her family and friends interfered a lot and we separated, then slowly grew apart.
I’ve thought about her every day since and have never had the same feelings for anyone else.
We’ve both been in relationships and we each have kids. I’ve bumped into her periodically, we chat for a few minutes, then move on.
Currently, I’ve been single for five months. I’ve seen her more lately and still get butterflies. She always blushes and seems a little nervous.
She’s living with someone but says they’re just co-parenting. I’ve asked her to reach out to me, despite that I don’t think I'm ready to jump into a relationship right away.
I’d like to get to know her again and see if maybe we could rekindle something.
Rekindle the Past?
Twenty years apart, several relationships and children on both sides… it’s a lot to try to blend all that’s different about you both today, in with the memories and feelings of the past.
Realistically, you both likely think and react differently today, on many fronts.
Is it possible, though, that the basic attraction could still be there? Sure.
But that doesn’t mean it would work out, which is why you expressed hope only for a chance to get to know each other anew.
There’s no harm in asking. Just be very aware that she has a responsibility right now to her live-together co-parent.
If she sees you “on the side” to test your mutual feelings, it’s unfair to her kids and their father.
She has to believe that she’s ready to move on from that relationship no matter whether you two work out as a couple again. That’s a risk.
Given that you’re not long unattached, you also have responsibilities to your kids to not introduce someone new to them too soon.
Take it slow. Do NOT pressure her to “reach out” until she’s sure it’s time for her to move on.
Recently, I made a very bad mistake communicating with another woman, and was caught by my wife of 18 years.
I don't believe that’s really the cause of her now being close to leaving me.
Her other issues with me are years of poor communication and not enough emotional support.
I know I've been deaf to a lot of what she’s said to me for years, but I understand it now.
She hasn't left, but I feel she has one foot out the door. I’m terrified about what could happen to our three kids if she leaves.
Other than my one mistake, I've been a pretty good husband providing for our family and doing more of my fair share around the house.
I can't get her to fully commit to fixing things and I don't believe it’ll work without both of us being totally committed.
One Bad Mistake
Go beyond “getting it” now, and learn what “communication” and “emotional support” really mean (far beyond doing household chores).
Your 18 years of an admittedly-closed mind to these concepts calls for you seeing a therapist individually, and also with your wife.
You need to hear aloud what she missed from you, and how she hoped in vain that you’d develop emotional intelligence and become a true partner.
She needs to hear from you that you desperately want to be together and keep your family intact.
At a play, I sat behind a woman, late 40s, or 50s, whose shaved-bald head and buffed skull bore a stylized swastika tattoo.
Should I have challenged her, or told the theatre management? Do we give this a pass because it’s less blatant, say, than on an armband, or almost “artistic”?
How should I have responded to this?
Stunned and Confused
Challenge her? Privately, if you wished to have the conversation, but you’d need to first ask what the design represented to her, since the swastika was an ancient Euro-Indian religious symbol long before it was appropriated by Hitler’s Nazis, standing for fascism, biological racism and anti-Semitism.
Though understandably associated with hate in the West, it’s still a symbol of peace in Hinduism, Buddhism, and other eastern religions.
A look at hate-crime legislation can help you decide when the swastika is considered a clear provocation and whether to report its use in public.
Tip of the day:
Rekindling a past romance? Be realistic about the present.