Advice Needed for Anonymous

July 8, 2011

A blogging friend of mine has written in anonymously to ask for your advice in a situation that I can’t be of much help in. This is a difficult and sensitive post. She would like honest, constructive feedback, and I’ll let anonymous people post who have been in the same boat but don’t want to let everyone know who they are. She will comment back to any questions if you need further clarification.

ANY hateful, disparaging remarks or troll comments will be deleted. This is not a post to judge on, it’s something to be read with an open mind and a comforting heart.

I need help / advice / opinions / suggestions. If you’ve got it, I’d love to hear it.

Here’s my story:

**Names have been changed in order to remain anonymous.

I was in love with a guy, Fischer, throughout high school and university, but we only really dated for a very short while, and remained friends the other part of that time. He went to live in another country for two years and during that time we wrote to each other often. Due to the circumstances, we didn’t see each other (only wrote letters, and sent care packages and voice recordings) until he returned home after those two years.

Shortly after he left, he’d written me a letter saying he wanted to marry me, and so many letters and voice recordings that followed were full of similar “lovey-dovey” things. We weren’t officially engaged, but in our minds it was close enough.

Immediately after he returned home, we began dating again and he gave me a ring.

Six weeks after returning home, he broke up with me.

Two weeks after that, he was engaged to another woman, Sue. They were married 3 months later and now have two kids.

My current husband, William, & I started dating 3 months after Fischer broke up with me and ended up getting married 4 months later. We also have two children and are currently trying for #3.

What bugs me the most about the way mine & Fischer’s relationship ended is that he just ended it and decided it was over, no conversation about it. He actually said once when I asked him about how he could say things like “I know that I’ll always love you” or “Nothing will change the way I feel about you” or “You are an everlasting source of happiness to me”, etc, but then suddenly break up with me and he replied he that he “was wrong”. No apology. Just like an “Oops, my mistake.” Not a sincere apology at all.

I haven’t seen or spoken to either Fischer or Sue in about 3 years. However, due to the recent change regarding the nature of my work and their work, we now are required to speak to each other on the phone at least 2-3 times per week.

After my very first conversation with Fischer since 2008, I couldn’t believe he still made me feel like that: nervous, and jittery, and (worst of all) short of breath because my heart just skipped a beat. … I don’t think his voice should still have that affect on me, eh? I know it shouldn’t but I also know that it does. I don’t have any closure from that relationship at all. But there is no denying his voice still makes my heart skip a beat.

If I could choose my ideal outcome I know I would want to speak to Fischer alone, not with his wife or William there. Not because I want to have an affair or anything but because I want to talk to him with no influence of someone else watching what he says. At the absolute very least I want to have closure. But I don’t know how to do that.

And just to say that we both married someone else is proof we shouldn’t have been together?

To be completely honest, in the bottom of my heart, my untold secret to anyone (except now all of you…) is that I’d like to have another shot with Fischer. Maybe it’s not until we’re both 60 and our kids are grown, or maybe it’s not until both of our spouses pass away, but yes I’d like to have another chance to see how it could go.

It’s sort of something that I would bring up if I knew the world was going to end tomorrow, but I don’t know how or what to say to bring it up sooner than that.

Right now I am so overflowing with emotions: anger, love, pain, sadness, confusion, guilt.

I have my two beautiful children. There’s no other way I would’ve got my exact kids if I was with Fischer instead of William. And I really do feel good about trying for #3.

Yet I am so unbelievably in love with a memory, with the idea of Fischer. He’s in my dreams so often these days. I love spending time with him in my dreams. It’s like I can really hug him and feel him and look at him and hear him.

Now what? I highly doubt he’d leave his wife (& kids!) for me. I don’t know the status of his relationship at all but I feel like he wouldn’t drop out of the commitment of marriage.

But there’s no mistaking how much I want another chance with him. Obviously this can’t happen, but how I wish I could get that second chance without breaking any rules or having anyone find out or be hurt and just KNOW, just know if it is right. Cause it feels like it can’t be wrong to be with someone I love this much.

My hubby? Good babysitter. Great at dishes & bottles. Does the dirty work.

That’s not much of a marriage is it? And I’m here forever. Gosh…

This is so awful to be writing.

I don’t want to stop talking to Fischer for my work. That would be the simple solution, I think, to just either always have his wife call or see if my hubby can answer all their calls. But I don’t want to. That’s the difference. I love hearing his voice. And to have to ask someone to answer the call for me so I don’t have to speak to him will require a confession of feelings, I would assume.

Do you have any idea what I should do or if I should do nothing? What would you do if you were in my situation? Would you have already gotten “over it” by now, 4 years after our breakup? Would you say something? Would you say something but not with the intention of getting back together? How would YOU get closure?

If you have any thoughts, I’d love to hear them. Even honest, brutal ones, but preferably constructive ones.

By the way, the artist, Pink, must have been in my head when she wrote “Who Knew”. It exemplifies every.single.thing I am feeling:

You promised me you’d be around. I took your words and I believed in everything you said to me.

If someone said three years from now you’d be long gone, I’d stand up and punch them out, ‘cause they’re all wrong. I know better ‘cause you said forever and ever.

I wish I could touch you again. I wish I could still call you “friend”. I’d give anything.

And time makes it harder. I wish I could remember, but I keep your memory. You visit me in my sleep.


  • Kris

    July 19, 2011 at 12:07 am

    Sometimes it is so easy to think about past flames or the way that your life might be if things had worked out differently. It is so easy to see him as the better man. You don’t live with him, he’s not your husband. Sometimes in a marriage your spouse becomes more like a roommate and less like a life partner. You said your husband does dishes and bottles, he helps you, he is there supporting your family and building a life with you. Why it’s easy to think about how “perfect” life would have been with this other man, you have to remember that he is just a man. Sometimes it’s easy to feel trapped in a marriage, and overwhelmed at the thought of spending your life with one person, when someone who looks so “perfect” comes along.
    But the truth is, that you chose your spouse. He has built a home and a family with you, your spouse chose you over everyone else. He wanted you to be the Mother of his children. Trying to hold onto this other man and the idea of a life with him is unfair to your husband and to your children. You chose your husband to be the father of your children, you chose him to be the man you grow old with. You owe it to him, your children and to the commitment that you made before God, to let this other man go.

  • Tammi

    July 9, 2011 at 11:56 am

    I’m sorry to hear that you have been struggling with these feelings. I think we’ve all had something similar that we’ve had to deal with regarding one relationship or another.

    The one thing that I would like to add would be that at the end of the day, love is a choice.

    Sure, when we meet someone new and all of those exciting and fun feelings are there. They may continue to be there for the first few years. However, there is going to come a time in every relationship that love is a choice. You have to choose in your heart to love the person you’re with.

    It sounds like you have a very wonderful family, with the possibility of creating another life. Focus on that. You have been truly blessed by your husband and children. Any situation and concern can be best met with love and understanding.

    If at all possible, I’d certainly try to remove all contact with this other man. It’s only causing you undue stress and potential damage to your current family life.

    I wish you much peace in your heart regarding this matter. Blessings!

  • Author of this Post / Anonymous

    July 8, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    I just wanted to say thank you for all your comments. I am pleasantly surprised that no one seems to think I am an awful horrible person for having these thoughts.

    I do plan on replying to your comments when I have some time this weekend.

    Again, thank you, and if anyone else has anything to add, I’m all ears.

  • Megan

    July 8, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    I’d also say that if it has only been 4 years since the break-up, then you might just need more time. I’ve had the pleasure of feeling that way about 2 exes – I’m an old woman at 31. But both times I thought I’d never get them off my mind and for years, YEARS, like 6+ years, I didn’t. But eventually I got over it, saw the flaws, etc. One of them still gives me flutters, but I can now look at him and see exactly how he would have made my life hell. Also, I stopped having dreams after about 5 years, but then I got pregs and whoo-boy did my pregnant brain like to dream about the last ex. In beautiful, excruciating detail. I woke up every day feeling like I’d cheated on my husband.

    Anyway, I’d say that you should keep everything VERY professional and that you should give it another few years. After that if you still feel the same way you might should reconsider. For now, just try as much as you can to focus on your husband and your family.

  • Miranda H.

    July 8, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Here is a wonderful and encouraging article that may give you some advice that you seek.

  • Miranda H.

    July 8, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    So i think my opinions can be summed up with what everyone else has said. This is very rocky ground… very and Dana K the first comment, hit the nail on the head. You are grasping at a memory that you need to let go of. I would honestly say that you should cut all communication off with your ex.

    Work should never have to effect your family life. And right now it is so you work situation needs to change. Cut him COMPLETELY from your life before people get hurt.

  • Cathy

    July 8, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    So a part of me wants to believe that the fairy tail exists, that it could work? But logically? Why would you want to even be with someone who hurt you that badly? Without answers? Women deserve better than that. I know it’s easier said than done, but that is not respect right there. And to make it even worse, engaged that quickly? Women should be empowered, we need to know that we are precious and any guy would be lucky to have us. If they dont feel that way? Then it’s not our loss, it’s theirs.

  • Hanan

    July 8, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    I completely agree with everyone else!!

  • Nicci @ Changing the Universe

    July 8, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Wow, what a situation to find yourself in.

    I was in something similar. I had this friend in high school. We never really dated, but we talked to each other on the phone every night for hours at a time. He was the first guy I ever said “I love you” to and meant it. We planned on marrying each other eventually in the future.

    College came, we drifted apart. It was about a year ago that we reconnected on FB. My heart did the fluttery jump when I saw a message from him, then eventually texts from him (all of which were planning a time to meet up, nothing more).

    At dinner that night, it was wonderful. It was like the years had never passed. We were right back to where we used to be. We joked about how I screwed up our plan to get married and how it’s just not right that I have a baby and that we aren’t old enough to be parents.

    I left dinner that night all kinds of confused and wondering what my life could have been if I’d have ended up with him. I’ve tried to get together with him since, but he hasn’t responded to any of my emails. It makes me wonder if he felt the same way and if it’s just easier for him to ignore me.

    Long story short, I think you should remember how happy you are with your life the way it is now. Maybe you would have been happy with him. Who knows. All you know is that you are happily married.

    You need to move on and put this past you. You are most definitely in love with a memory. It’s hard, yes, but you need to do it for your own sanity!

  • Allison

    July 8, 2011 at 11:04 am

    I do agree with everyone else. I don’t think you’d be happier with him. And you’d be ruining 2 families at the same time. And really, just think that if he were to leave his current wife for you, who’s to say he wouldn’t do the same to you? He already left you abruptly once, people tend not to change..

  • Single Mama

    July 8, 2011 at 11:00 am

    So my “first love” & I have never lost contact in 11 years. Although he was overseas & we agreed to be friends and just live a little as we were young. I was young & was in love with the idea of being in love. I got married & the marriage wasn’t the “best” – & he has stated that he was upset & mad at me & married his gf at the time. He is still married to her. I am no longer married to my husband, although it wasn’t the result of my first love. He has said time and time again that he knows that I am the one for him. Yet she is a great person and he doesn’t want to hurt her. We don’t talk often but we don’t go without communicating for a long period of time. Yet at times it makes me more upset because I get something as simple as I miss you. Well that sucks when there isn’t more to it. I believe that we never had closure & we truly do love one another. Yet how do you get that closure? & being put in a situation with one another, does your heart & emotions take over? I haven’t gotten that opportunity, so I apologize that I’m not help there. I understand people saying that don’t do it, you’ll ruin your marriage – yet you have to confront the feelings that you have. Otherwise it will just tear you up. I would figure out what you’re feeling before you have a 3rd child, especially because of what you stated about your hubby. I hope that helps.

  • A.

    July 8, 2011 at 10:57 am

    I think @Teresa has hit the nail on the head, but I’m going to be a little firmer than her in the way I say it:
    You are playing with fire.

    Staying in this situation will only put temptation right in front of you. Although you couch your statements in terms of ‘once our kids are grown’ and ‘after our spouses have passed away’, the subtext that I interpret is ‘I’d leave my husband if this guy expressed interest’.
    I believe – and I suspect that you do too – that when you marry, you make a vow to foresake all others. You commit to a relationship that sometimes requires you to sacrifice what you really want. And when you have kids, they must always always come first. The thoughts you are having, and the possibilities that you’re entertaining are breaking all of those promises.

    Advice from a complete stranger? Here you go:
    – don’t talk to this guy. Don’t talk to him about your past relationship. If he’s long since past you and happy with his family, you’ll come across as whiny and weird. It will make for an awkward working environment. If he’s open to the possibility of reigniting a flame, then you’re opening the door and telling him to come on in. From then on, all sorts of damage is an inevitability.
    – don’t tell your husband about this. It will only hurt him and damage his trust in you. Instead, lavish him with more love and affection. Remind yourself of all the great things about him, and tell him out loud what you appreciate about him.
    – change your job so you don’t have to interact with this man at all. Don’t explain the real reasons to anyone. Just eliminate the need for daily interaction with him altogether. Don’t tell his wife any of this, or she’ll forever be suspicious of your motives.
    – don’t ever talk to this man again. Get him out of your life entirely. He is dangerous to your marriage, your children, your vows and commitments, and your self worth. It may take some time to get him out of your everyday thoughts, but if you remove him from your life, you will, in time, gain distance from your emotions from him. You won’t forget about him, but eventually your heart will stop controlling your head.

    You have to do what is best for your family. By removing this man and any possibility of a future relationship with him, you’ll refocus on cultivating a healthy marriage and focusing on your kids.

  • t.bird

    July 8, 2011 at 9:44 am

    many people live with the memory of “the one that got away”

    but that’s where it needs to stay- as a memory.

    let it go & move on. don’t risk anything else.

  • sd

    July 8, 2011 at 9:29 am

    I know this will seem weird to relate this situation to a book/movie but if it helps any “he’s just not that in to you”. I know that doesn’t stop your feelings but it might help. I don’t think you’d end up getting what you want from him even if you ended up together.

    I think you need to redirect your fantasies to your current marriage. No good will come from dwelling on another man.

    I do wish you all the best and hope you can get past this.

  • Noelle S.

    July 8, 2011 at 9:28 am

    Oh, I am so sorry you’re going through this. Sounds like Fischer just wasn’t that into you. If he didn’t have the courtesy to talk it out with you when he dumped you then he probably wont have it now. I agree with Jen, sounds like this is depressing talking. Talk to your doctor, see a therapist and take some time to refocus on your marriage. Good luck!!

  • Teresa

    July 8, 2011 at 9:25 am

    I can honestly say that I can understand what you are feeling. Exactly. I can’t even imagine speaking to my ex 2-3 times a week. It would be like playing with fire. It has been 7 years since we have broken up and I still think about what might have been. I am actually thankful that he hasn’t tried to contact me and that he cut it off clean also. It bothered me for the longest time, because (I thought) we were deeply in love and that he was the one I would grow old with (because he said so).

    No matter what crazy “new love” memories I have, I can honestly say that I would never trade my husband in for that boy I used to have feelings for. It isn’t worth it. It would be a temporary high and nothing more.

    Thank you for sharing these feelings. You are brave and I commend you for that. Good luck in whatever happens. xoxo

  • jb

    July 8, 2011 at 9:15 am

    I honestly believe that time spent fantasizing about another life is time wasted. You are focused on the positives of a life with Fischer, and the negatives of a life with your husband.

    It’s wise to remember that butterflies leave ALL relationships (except the forbidden), and tell yourself every morning that what you have is REAL good.

  • A

    July 8, 2011 at 9:04 am

    I went through this exact situation and am sometimes still dealing with it. I had a high school sweet heart. We always said we would get married but things ended abruptly when I had to move 2 hrs away. We kept in touch and always vowed we would give it another go once he came here for college. But by the time he did I was married. We started texting late at night and eventually we hungout one time. Nothing inappropriate happened but I still felt really guilty about it. I eventually decided that things would only get more toxic if I didn’t talk to someone. I confessed to my husband what I had done and the feelings I was having about the ex and we worked through it. He was upset and hurt but I am blessed my husband loves me so much. Sometimes I still deal with the what if but I’ve noticed it’s usually only when things are tough and my marriage is in a rough patch. Idk if you are religious but praying about it has helped as well. I think it will be impossible to ever forget that first love but it gets fainter over time. 

  • Jen Swedhin

    July 8, 2011 at 8:48 am

    Here’s the thing – I’m pretty sure everyone has “the one that got away.” Mine is named Dylan. I still think of him often, wonder about how different my life would be if it was him & I instead of me and my AMAZING husband. I have dreams about him from time to time, and when he drops a little message on my FB wall I get a little fluttery.

    But my life is awesome. Like make people jealous awesome. Because that’s how I make it – not because we’re just so lucky. So in my times of weakness, rough patch in the marriage, little depression points, I take extra care to avoid him like crazy. Which is exactly what I think you should do.

    Asking his wife to call you instead of him will only require the confession that it is more emotionally draining than you expected – everyone should understand that, you were a couple. This can’t be easy on her or him or your husband. And trust me, your husband knows you are feeling differently. I’m sure of it.

    Anyways, I think this is depression talking. It sounds like you aren’t feeling totally fulfilled in your life, and want something different to make it better. Which it most certainly will not in this case. So my advice: get some therapy. Cut ties. It’s done, and if he did this to you before, he would do it again given the chance. Also, try putting yourself in your hubby’s shoes, and imagine how you would feel if he was having these feelings and emotions for another woman. Kind of sucks, I’m guessing, whether he knows or not. But seriously, find someone to talk to, and work on making your relationship the best it can be, because that is what you have.

  • Kal

    July 8, 2011 at 8:43 am

    I have been there. My first “love” took years to get over. Luckily I haven’t had to have any contact in 10 years with him. he did the same, we broke-up and he married the next girl he met. Killed me. Even though I knew deep down in my heart, we weren’t meant to be. I couldn’t get those feelings to my head. You chose your husband. Was it rebound? only you can decide that. Do you love William? Was Fletcher in your thoughts every day before you had to have contact with him for your job? Do YOU have to be the one calling him? My advice, if you must talk to him, keep it professional. No talk of his wife or family, or yours. It will only hurt worse. Your pining for something you WISH you had. But like PP said. The grass isn’t always greener. You say you don’t want to ruin your marriage or his, so keep your distance.

    Perhaps you are in a lull in your marriage with William- maybe a romantic getaway will help you see what you already have.

    Sometimes the desire of what we can’t have makes our heart go pitter patter.

    You say you need closure, but it’s been 4 years. Or more. You have elevated this man in your head to something he probably isn’t. Perhaps it was the distance that made the heart grow founder and when he returned he just didn’t want that relationship anymore. Please, for your husband and your children. Let is go and move on.

  • Cassie

    July 8, 2011 at 8:25 am

    I think if you attempt an alone conversation with Fisher, you risk destroying your marriage. If you’re truly happy in your marriage, I’d focus on that and minimize contact with this guy. Closure is nice but it’s too late now unless you’re already contemplating leaving your husband. I don’t think it’s worth it though. Good Luck.

  • Ali

    July 8, 2011 at 8:21 am

    First let me say that I feel sorry that you’re having to go through this. What a hurtful thing Fisher put you through. But I really do understand that you can’t control your feelings. It doesn’t help that you have to speak to them for work. However, you can’t say that he’d never leave his wife and kids for you. Why wouldn’t he? He doesn’t have the best judgement, does he? But would you want to be the reason for the break up of a family? From the way it sounds, he doesn’t seem like a man you need to be with for the rest of your life. As you said “you’re in love with the memory” I don’t think you’re in love with the man. Putting myself in your shoes, if my husband suddenly became a different person tomorrow and left me and the kids in the lurch I’d probably still love him…but I’d never go back because I’m too important for that. AND SO ARE YOU!

  • Tracy

    July 8, 2011 at 8:20 am

    My advice is, its not all about you now. You chose to marry William. He chose to marry someone else. You have children. He has children.
    The grass isn’t greener on the other side.
    Enjoy your life, stop wondering what might have been.

  • melissa

    July 8, 2011 at 8:19 am

    My advice is don’t do anything. You are mourning, pining for a relationship ideal you wished had existed. It didn’t. Fisher is not perfect and probably nowhere near your dream guy. Reality is never close to what we have built up in our minds as an idea. Discontent or restlessness, even subconscious, with your life is bringing you to these feelings bow. I think you would benefit from a good book on the subject or a therapy session or two to figure it out. It’s a dangerous line if you try to set up a one on one “where did we go wrong” conversation. Especially if he is feeling the same way.

    1. melissa

      July 8, 2011 at 8:29 am

      P.S. You won’t find validation for yourself through him. The feeling of “whats wrong with me that it was so easy for him to leave” isn’t going to get an answer that will make you happy from him. Obviously there was something wrong with the relationship on his end. Someone as fickle as that probably hasn’t gotten over that tendency. Focus on yourself and finding your own self confidence. Don’t project it onto a fallible human being who could consequently tear your life apart at the worst or make you feel terrible about yourself in one conversation at the least. Good luck!

  • Lisa @ Oh Boy Oh Boy Oh Boy

    July 8, 2011 at 8:18 am

    Yes I’m with Dana. I have been in a very similar situation except that when my husband and I separated for a short while I actually spent some time with my ex (my first LOVE) and while he is a great guy, there are reasons we wouldn’t work no matter what happened to our relationships. If you aren’t happy in your marriage that is a separate issue but don’t throw it away for the memory, when memories tend to only hang on to the good stuff!

  • Dana K

    July 8, 2011 at 8:09 am

    You said it yourself, you are in love with a memory.

    If I were you, I’d move on. My guess is that your marriage is in a lull right now. Focus the energy you are using to dream about a man who discarded you like yesterday’s trash on your marriage. Get counseling (it’s not just for couple’s on the brink of divorce). Go on dates with your husband. If you have to, stop having contact with Fischer. One wrong word or situation could ruin two families. I think you are kidding yourself if you honestly think you could/would be alone with him without thinking about or wanting something more. I really think you are flirting with danger here, except there’s potential for a lot of innocent people to get hurt.

    Good luck. I’m sure it can’t be easy.

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