Lighting Up an Old Flame
Q: An old flame from 30 years ago came back into my life. We are both single now, and she has invited me to come and spend some time with her. We slept together before, and I'm starting to feel something for her again. We talk daily for hours, but it is just general conversation. How do I get the conversation to move forward, or should I just let things continue as they are? I am more grounded, positive, and upbeat than I used to be, and I take life as it unfolds, with no expectations. I am seeking a positive person to share my life with. Since we know each other for a long time, would it be okay to sleep with her or should I wait until the next visit? -- Barbara, 54
Dr. Susan: After three long decades, I doubt that you "know" this person very well anymore. I'm not even sure you know yourself all that well. You say you have no expectations, but here you are asking whether it's "okay" to sleep with your old flame on your first visit. There are no clear rules, but beware of the expectations lurking beneath your question. It's easy to decide yes or no while sitting at your computer, but in person, you could easily find yourself deciding the opposite. Stop trying so hard to plan this meeting ahead of time. She probably wants to satisfy her curiosity about you, which is pretty reasonable. As to whether this will lead anywhere, no one can predict.
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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.