Dear Annie: Ten years ago, I fell in love with “Brandon” and had the two happiest years of my life. Then he changed. We broke up, and I found out he had been having sex with another coed. His deception and harsh words put a stop to any fantasies of reconciliation. I soon began a relationship with “Travis,” and we remain together. We’ve had our ups and downs, but I know he loves me and our values align. Despite everything, however, I have never been able to get over Brandon. I know it’s absurd.
Brandon and I have been in sporadic contact through mutual friends. He married the coed, a manipulative type who has made it clear she doesn’t want to hear my name. The life he leads now is not one I would want for myself.
I’ve been told that Brandon would like to see me, just as a friend, but he has made no move to initiate contact. I ought to know better than to believe it, but I feel a pain at the core of my body whenever I think of him. Tears come to my eyes when I recall the joy we had together.
I love Travis, but I don’t feel for him what I felt for Brandon. Travis doesn’t deserve such divided affections. Am I doing a disservice to him by ignoring these persistent feelings? Is it realistic to want that joy again? – Hopelessly Unhealed
Dear Hopeless: You have an idealized version of Brandon based on the two years of bliss you had together. But that person doesn’t exist (and maybe never really did), and the relationship is dead. You need to mourn its loss, move forward and force yourself to stop romanticizing and clinging to the past. Young love, especially first love, has an aura that cannot be duplicated, but it doesn’t mean you cannot find something equally wonderful if you are open to it. If Travis isn’t the right guy, it would be a kindness to set him free. But don’t do it because you dream of reconnecting with Brandon. You’d only be setting yourself up for disappointment.