Did He Waste His Life on a Fantasy?
Q: I'm 52 and never married. For my whole life I have loved a gal from my high school years. She never knew how I felt until I told her, but she was with another guy at the time. After graduation I never saw her again. I've loved two other women who I could have married, but down deep I knew I didn't love them the way (as much) as they should be loved. I didn't want anyone to be my plan B. I don't think I was being noble or anything, just truthful.
The thing is that I'm now wondering if I was being true to myself or was I a fool? I found out the young woman of my youth became a widow a decade ago but I don't know if she ever remarried. I've often thought of writing a letter and telling her how she's been in my thoughts for some time, but these days that sort of thing could easily be misconstrued as being from a psycho whack job. I've lived my life knowing there was a hole in it, longing for a woman I've not seen since 1979. So I am either right and should take a leap of faith or I'm a deluded fool. The thing is there's nothing common or sense about why and who we fall in love with. — Chris, 52
Dr. Susan: I vote for fool, Chris. You have spent many years in love with a fantasy, a very young woman who you never got to know well, a woman who never had the chance to relate to you because you never even dated. I don't deny your loving feelings. We've surely all had overwhelming feelings for someone in high school. But we don't compare every relationship to one that never got off the ground. That makes no sense at all. I get that you want to feel that first love passion for someone you might marry. And that the women you've related to since then don't set your heart afire. But maybe it's you, Chris? Holding out for the impossible, pushing away true intimacy?
Nothing wrong with making contact with her, though. Do it honestly, briefly, and be ready to take no, or no reply at all, for an answer. You're still young enough to eliminate that fantasy from your mind and try to find a real live woman with whom to form a bond.
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.