Today’s guest blog comes from Life Coach Barbara Waxman, who considers whether or not it is a good idea to rekindle things with an old flame ( if you are single, of course!) – and if you both have enough in common to really make it work.
I got an email the other day, out of the blue, from an old friend I haven’t been in contact with for the past few years. I was happy to see her name pop up on my screen, and happier still to learn that she was getting married. When we were last together we talked about her disentangling from a long-term relationship that wasn’t going anywhere. Like so many of us, even though she was unhappy, her fears about leaving that relationship were powerful and focused on her fear of being alone. Maybe it would be better to be unhappy but in a relationship rather than potentially unhappy alone? Gloria knew intellectually that nothing positive would happen if she didn’t make a change. She took the most important step: She let go of that unsuccessful relationship without knowing someone else would catch her, but knowing that she had developed a support system that would be “good enough.” What inspires me to share this isn’t that backstory. It’s about how she met her future, beloved husband. At a reunion. A high school reunion. Just like in the movies. And it’s working beautifully.
It seems that every day or week or month I am bumping into stories about people finding lost loves. Gloria’s is a success story. She and her high school sweetheart/current husband share so much in common, including launching a business together!
Unfortunately, we all know of other stories that don’t share such a happy ending. I’m concerned about the numbers of people not sure how to separate that particular feeling we get when we are with a first love from years ago. It’s powerful, it’s visceral and it’s based on the muscle memory of your heart more than your head.
How can you distinguish between the two? If you find yourself with this kind of dilemma, consider the following points carefully:
Have your lifestyles been similar enough to merge? Rule #1: Never commit to someone based on your hope that they will change to meet your needs. Flexibility is absolutely a relationship requirement but that is distinct from asking someone to change their lifestyle in a major way.
Look at the content of your conversations. Are you reminiscing together or are you sharing current information, plans, etc.? If you are always up on the news and politics and that type of intellectual stimulation is important, be sure that you have a partner who can keep up his or her side of the discussion. This might not seem important in the rosy glow of finding lost love, but believe me, it matters. A lot.
Compare bucket lists. I recently had a conversation with an old flame. His dream is to drive cross-country in an 18 wheeler, sleeping in the back. Mine? I’m headed to Tuscany, to be in the wine country, learn the language and study art. And there weren’t many other shared buckets either!
The togetherness question. How independent are you? Do you want a partner who is a constant companion? Did you marry for breakfast but not for lunch? Does he or she share that long-term relationship view? Many couples initially enjoy being together (living in the energized glow) and when that naturally subsides realize that they have different expectations about what togetherness means.
The most important thing you can do to ensure a happy long-term relationship is to think it through. As Diane Ackerman has said so well: “Love is the best school, but the tuition is high and the homework can be painful.”
Learn more about Executive and Life Coach Barbara Waxman.
Have you ever reconnected with a lost love? Did you find that there was a good reason they were “lost” and a person of the past? Or did you have a different experience?