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Old 06-08-2008, 09:40 AM
 
13 posts, read 177,535 times
Reputation: 64

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The year was 1988. Acid-washed jeans were all the rage, Mike Dukakis was running for president, and “Sarah” and I were both students at a small liberal arts college in Texas. I was a senior, she was a freshman. We met through a mutual interest in politics--we attended a meeting to revive the moribund chapter of College Democrats. We had an initial attraction that I had never experienced before or since. As we worked on the student club we became closer and fell in love (or at least I did). We were both passionate about politics, has similar likes and dislikes, and the sex was spectacular. But I graduated in May of that year and went back home to Houston. Sarah returned home, too, for the summer (to Dallas). We kept in touch via telephone but a month or so later she broke off the relationship. We talked a few more times on the phone. Sarah made it clear that there would be no reconciliation and that it would be best that if we made a clean break--no ongoing contact, etc. I was utterly devastated. It was 20 years ago--June 1988.

Sarah returned to school in the fall and I moved in with some roommates in town. I heard through a friend-of-a-friend that she was dating someone at nearby Big State University. I ran into her once briefly at the campus bookstore. It was awkward and uncomfortable--little was said and, as it turns out, it would be the last time I ever saw her. The following semester Sarah transferred to Big State U. and I never knew what happened to her after that.

I dated other gals over the years, even fell in love. But I never stopped thinking about Sarah and my feelings for women I subsequently met was nothing compared to that which I had felt for Sarah. I can’t say that a day went by that I didn’t think of her, but certainly a week did not go by that I did think of Sarah. I often wanted to know what happened to her. I dreamt of her frequently (and still do).

My life progressed through ups and downs. I worked for a while after graduating, then went to graduate school, moved across the country, and established my career. I met a lovely woman and we married 10 years ago. We are both successful professionals and have two beautiful children together.

And yet 20 years later I still think of Sarah. In the past such musings just were just pie-in-the-sky daydreams. But, of course, the internet has changed that. Over the past 5 years I periodically Googled her name and didn’t find much (no surprise, really, since I figured she married and changed her name). But recently something came up. I have been able to find her new name and have learned quite a bit about Sarah through publicly available information. She graduated from Big State U. and is married to a successful medical researcher. She’s still a loyal Democrat. She lives in Dallas and has at least one child, and it appears that she’s been a stay at home mom for the past few years after having a career of her own.

The supposed prescription for getting past a break up--focusing your attention and energies on something else, meeting some one new, and (most of all) time, have done nothing for me. I have earned graduate degrees, advanced my career, built relationships, married and had children, established a home, and yet I still long for Sarah.

I dreamt of her again last night and today, 20 years later, I remain deeply torn. I still have feelings for Sarah that defy description yet I know what's past is past. Part of me still yearns for her, but I know this is irrational. At the same time part of me is happy to simply have had the brief moment of bliss with Sarah.
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Old 06-08-2008, 09:52 AM
 
Location: Beautiful Kentucky
820 posts, read 2,591,039 times
Reputation: 556
Well Tyler, while those are beautiful sentiments, I sure hope you haven't used your real name as your screen name. I believe your wife wouldn't be too happy to hear those thoughts!
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Old 06-08-2008, 09:57 AM
 
13 posts, read 177,535 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluegrassgirl View Post
I sure hope you haven't used your real name as your screen name...
No, I haven't. "Tyler Fitzgerald" was a character in an old movie.
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Old 06-08-2008, 10:04 AM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,393 posts, read 30,721,001 times
Reputation: 14583
How is this impacting your marriage? Do you want to stay with your wife or would you go back to Sarah if you could?

I have an ex who found himself in this position. He couldn't get over Jackie. When he got the chance to get back with her, he took it only to find the memory/fantasy was nothing like real life. I understand I'm now the one he's never gotten over.

My husband also never got past his ex wife and that coloured our relationship for years. He says he's realized his mistake but it's too late now.

Make sure you're not giving up the best relationship for you for a fantasy that can't happen or isn't real.
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Old 06-08-2008, 10:26 AM
 
4,899 posts, read 16,616,694 times
Reputation: 3822
aw tyler. that is a beautiful story, and a love like that can only last but a moment in time. i am sure you would never want to jeapordize what you have now for what "could have been". sometimes its just best to say i lived and loved and it was amazing.
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Old 06-08-2008, 10:38 AM
 
Location: Beautiful Kentucky
820 posts, read 2,591,039 times
Reputation: 556
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyler Fitzgerald View Post
No, I haven't. "Tyler Fitzgerald" was a character in an old movie.
Oh, does that happen to be a movie that you and Sarah were fond of? You happen to be a very good writer. If it wasn't the fact you're married and have a life, I'd try to find out more about Sarah myself for you! However, like has been said, best to allow her to be a memory and not ruin your life.
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Old 06-08-2008, 10:40 AM
 
13 posts, read 177,535 times
Reputation: 64
I would certainly not jeopardize the home life of my children by attempting to reconcile with Sarah. Just as importantly, I would not want to do anything to upset Sarah and her family--I would not want to do anything to cause her pain or discomfort. The chance of her wanting to resume a love affair with me 20 years later is zero.

But I simply haven't stopped loving her. And it hurts.
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Old 06-08-2008, 10:53 AM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,393 posts, read 30,721,001 times
Reputation: 14583
I don't know if this will help but my husband claims it helped him, however, in his case, his ex pretty much put his heart in a blender and turned it on but the marriage counselor had him write a letter to her (never to be mailed) explaining what she did to him. He says it helped him let go.

After 20 years, you really are hanging on to a fantasy. The odds of her being the same person are slim and none. Women change a lot from 18 to 25. She, very likely is not who you remember, possibly never was (people we put on pedestals rarely are). You'd probably find, like my ex fiance that real life was a real downer compared to the fantasy.

Perhaps you should write a fantasy novel or two. You need to find a way to end the story and move on. 20 years is a long time to pine and I'm sure, like my ex and my husband, her memory has kept you from investing all you should in your marriage.

Have you spoken to a counselor? I'm sure you're not the first person who can't move on, emotionally. Maybe a couneslor would have some ideas on how to put her behind you. It's one thing to look back at the past with pleasant memories but another to pine for what might have been when, quite simply, it can't be so it doesn't matter.

I'm going to suggest you do what the marriage counselor told my husband to do. Romance your wife. Imagine her as the love of your life (not as Sarah but as the love of your life). Write a letter to Sarah telling her thanks for the memories but I've moved on now. Or maybe write that book. Could be a best seller. A modern day Wuthering Heights.

I would not contact Sarah and I'd stop looking her up on line. This is a fantasy you're hanging onto. Real life is something totally different. Sarah is more than just an old love. She's a reminder of lost years. Of a time when you were young and a world of possibilities lay before you. She's everything you didn't get in life and wanted and everything you've lost in time rolled into one package. And very likely not anything like what you remember.

Good luck.
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Old 06-08-2008, 11:39 AM
 
Location: California
598 posts, read 1,877,383 times
Reputation: 447
I feel for you. It is awful to love someone when they are not in your life.

Well, the way I see it - she's either:

a) your soulmate
b) your mind's creation of the perfect woman

If it's a, then she is also pining for you, and you probably have to suck up the fact that you need to stay with your wife for the sake of your children. And that basically sucks.

If it's b, then you need to somehow convince yourself that she isn't your soulmate, isn't who you thought she was. Of course, how are you supposed to do that if you aren't in contact with her? But let's say it is b, and you go with her, and then you figure out that she isn't what you had created in your mind...then you will have lost it all.

You see what I'm getting at? There isn't a way to "win" here. Let's consider the best case scenario - you find her, turns out she's in love with you, you both leave your respective spouses, and live together madly in love. Well, guess what? Someone loses big time: your wife and your kids. You might be happy. But 3 people would have to pay for that happiness. Your children would think they weren't enough to keep you happy, would resent you for leaving their mother, etc, etc.

I hear what you are saying, you are not planning to leave, it's just that you can't get her out of your mind. And man, it has been a long time.

So what should you do? (I sound like a broken record but...) get a therapist. You need to talk about these feelings. You might be dissatisfied with you life. And it would be good to talk to someone about how you feel about Sarah.
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Old 06-08-2008, 11:57 AM
 
Location: Beautiful Kentucky
820 posts, read 2,591,039 times
Reputation: 556
Now folks, Mr. Fitzgerald, is obviously intelligent and hasn't stated anywhere that his fantasy and memory of this old girlfriend is interfering with his daily life. He's also stated that he has no intention of ruining his marriage or Sarah's life. He hasn't stated that he doesn't love and care for his wife. So, assuming he's truthful.... sounds like he's just spending some time down memory lane.
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