First Big Love's Back
Q: I never have been unfaithful, but the first love of my life has reappeared, and I don't know what to do. I love him dearly, don't want to lose him, but I love my husband of 35 plus years. I never thought I would be in this situation. I know what to do, just can't have the courage to do it. What do you recommend? -- Faith, 60
Dr. Susan: No one ever expects their life to turn upside down, but it happens all the time. This is one of those opportunities for you to show you're committed to the man you spoke wedding vows to. If you truly love him, there's no way you can justify starting up with an old love. That old love is not the same person you knew many years ago. He may seem like he is, but believe me, he isn't. Your feelings of "love" for him are based on memory and fantasy, and hardly worth risking your integrity. Can you bear breaking the heart of your husband - for a roll in the hay with someone from your past? I understand that this might feel like a last chance for you, a chance to feel all those youthful crazy emotions that your marriage no longer offers you. But if you pursue this old love now, what will happen after the brief heady thrills is that you'd experience wrenching guilt, and very likely, intense regret. I'm not being a prude, just sharing what happens in the vast majority of instances. I recommend you close the door on that relationship before you lose control. And then find something new you and your husband can share together that will perk you both up and remind you of why you fell in love in the first place. It doesn't have to be a sexy thing, just something new and different to wake up your relationship. And tell the first love that his timing is unfortunate, but that you have to make a choice, and you've chosen to do the right thing.
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Advice for Her
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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.