Dear Adrienne

Right after college, I met "Lisa" and we dated for a couple of years. I was totally in love with her, but I admit, we had problems. In the end, she broke up with me (I admit her reasons were valid.) It's been nearly twenty years, I have never been able to get her out of my mind. I've dated plenty of other women and even had a few longer relationships since then, but they always end up badly, and I am always relieved when they are over.

To be honest, no other woman has ever made me feel the way Lisa did, and I don't want to be with "just anyone."

I still call Lisa every once in a while - every year or so, just to see how she's doing, but that's as far as it goes. She is happily married with children and had no interest even in getting together with me for dinner, for old time's sake.

I know I should just get over her, but what can I do? I know how she made me feel and I want to feel that way again. I know she loved me too and I keep thinking and hoping I can someday win her back

BL, Canton , OH

 

Dear BL

How do I say this kindly but bluntly? What you want no longer exists, at least not with Lisa. You MAY, however, find it again with someone else -- but not if you don't give other women the chance.

You compare every woman you meet to Lisa, but they will naturally come up short because you have idealized your first love. Obviously, you two had serious issues - that's why she ended it. Clearly, you were happy in the relationship, she was not. But relationships cannot exist, at least not satisfactorily, when one half of the couple is unhappy.

If you and Lisa had managed to last longer, those issues might have made you unhappy as well. Perhaps you would have felt inadequate or frustrated because you could not give her what she wanted/needed. Perhaps you might have grown angry or resentful. Maybe you would have fought all the time. You don't know because the relationship didn't last long enough.

I suspect (and this is hard to know for certain without having an actual session or two with you) that you fear intimacy. I am guessing that Lisa loved you in the way you wanted and needed to be loved, and that felt good to you -- but you did not love her in the way SHE wanted/needed to be loved (hence, the break up.) That she has no interest in meeting you tells me she doesn't have a lot of fond memories of your time together. Could that be because she did all the giving and you did all the taking? (Just a guess.) If so, of course you would want to have that again, and of course, she would have no interest. Clearly, she found someone who givesher what she wants and needs.

It's wonderful to be loved without having to make any sacrifices or truly opening yourself up. You got lucky.for a time. I'll bet she had high hopes for you, but eventually, she needed more and realized she was never going to get it.

Now you conveniently use Lisa as a shield against having to make yourself vulnerable again.

Relationships and intimacy takes work. You might have lucked out with a woman who loved you in a pure and beautiful way, but no person worthy of respect sticks around in a one-sided relationship forever. If you want that kind of love again, you have to be willing to give it. Are you?

 

 

 

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© 2010 Adrienne Gusoff

August 2, 2012