The concept of the China Egg Syndrome has a fascinating beginning. Most people have no idea what a porcelain egg really is. The story goes back to the early 1960's. A life/health insurance coach had one on his desk. Usually it's a nice decorative item, an egg-shaped piece of colored glass or porcelain set in a small gilt metal stand. Perhaps you have seen one. This particular piece was used a...
When Dr. Romance was a child growing up in the small town of Rockland, New York, there was a small post office, which was a small room with a separate entrance in the house next door. Rockland’s official postmaster was Clara Weiss, who seemed very old even when I was a very young child. She was what we used to call a “single lady” or spinster, who had dedicated her life to caring for her mother, who was disabled, and also not quite balanced. Ms. Weiss had one leg and would frequently run away from the house and crawl around the yard, yelling strange things. Clara, as you might guess, didn’t have much of a social life. After her mother died and Rockland lost its small post office (we had to go to the slightly larger town of Roscoe, a mile away), Clara went to work at the main post office, about 20 miles away. miles away. She met a co-worker there, and when she was 73, I remember we gave her a lingerie bachelorette party. It really is never too late to fall in love. Clara moved in with her husband and they spent a good 10 years together.
A few years ago, a friend and former student of Richard’s, who was in her 70s, reconnected with an ex whose marriage proposal she had turned down in her 20s because he had a drinking problem. In the intervening years, they both married other people, had children and fulfilled lives. Fifty years after their first romance, when they were both widowed, he tracked her down, she went to San Diego to have lunch with him, and didn’t come back for a week. They also got married and spent some happy years together.
A very dear friend of mine, who lives in another city and has been divorced for many years, has been living happily for a couple of years with the man she met at university and decided not to marry. They both married other people, had children, were divorced years ago, and reconnected last year. They are happy together.
In addition to these stories of reconnected love, I often see clients in my practice who get back together after separating or divorcing. In fact, some couples come to see me after being separated several times due to fights and disagreements, but there is always something that brings them back together. Surprisingly, many people start dating again after getting divorced or separated. I believe in the power of love, and if your heart yearns; It’s okay to get closer to a first or old love; as long as you do it correctly.
They may never have resolved the previous relationship satisfactorily, or one or both of them may have matured into a more suitable candidate for a relationship. Many people find that they appreciate each other more after they’ve been apart for a while. Also, as I said, I have seen several couples happily reconnect much later in life, after having marriages and families with other couples.
It depends on how accurate your memory is and how good or bad reality feels. If it’s good, then you really think it was love at first sight. If it’s bad, do you stay with what I was thinking? It is very easy to idealize someone you have never really known well; reality never collides with fantasy, so the ideal person is not tarnished. You remember a rosy image of perfection. That’s hard to let go, if you never get a reality check.
Can this really work, or will it just fall apart again? Here’s how to see if you and your ex can make it work.
Dr. Romance’s Guidelines to Improve the Odds with Your Ex
* Consider seeing a therapist on your own, for expert help in deciding if you’re pursuing this old flame for the right reasons; and to help you gain insight into what might need to be fixed.
* Make a careful first contact: strictly Hello, how are you? For example, if you see the old flame on Facebook, try sending a message and asking them to be friends. Don’t say anything about continuing to have feelings. Your former love may well be married now, or even gay. You need to find out what’s going on before you make a move.
* Be aware if forgiveness is needed. Did you hurt this person’s feelings in college? You got hurt? Old unresolved feelings can linger for a long time and flare up when you least expect it.
* If you get a positive response, go very slowly. Rushing means that you are trying to avoid some truths. If it’s going to work, it’ll be better if you take the time to build a better foundation than you had before.
* Treat it like a new relationship. Start at the beginning and do it differently; it might work this time.
* Analyze what went wrong last time and consciously try to fix old problems. If you can’t talk honestly about what went wrong and what to do differently, you’ll never change anything.
* Make sure your ex is just as determined to improve the previous relationship as you are. If he or she is blaming you for everything that went wrong, disaster is imminent. If you’re blaming your ex, it’s just as big a problem.
* Insist on couples therapy for both of you. Pre-engagement therapy can help you figure out the pitfalls and whether you’ve resolved any previous issues.
After all of this, you may still find that it’s too late to remedy the problem that led to the breakup. You may find that you are holding on to a fantasy that is not supported by reality. If you try to rekindle an old love and it doesn’t work, then you are faced with letting it go, again.
You may even feel the urge to try harder because the breakup eventually outgrows denial and the fantasy that misbehaving or being uncooperative is okay. We also have a lot of cultural mythology about I will never stop loving you, which says that holding on and martyring yourself with this lost love means that you are truly in love. But holding on to an impossible lost love is unrealistic.
You need to understand that a relationship is a partnership and requires the work of both partners to be successful. The initial stage of romance is not supposed to last, the relationship is supposed to develop into a real-life partnership, and that requires paying attention, learning, and growing. It’s not a fairy tale, it’s a real life love story and it’s worth the work required. If you give nothing, you receive nothing. Love is something we create by working together, and one person cannot force it.
Holding on to a lost love can turn toxic: persisting in showing up at your ex’s house, calling or showing up at work, threatening bodily harm, calling your ex’s family and friends, or otherwise interfering with your ex’s life, don’t it will only push your ex away, it is illegal in many states and is defined as stalking. Sometimes attachment is encouraged, consciously or unconsciously, by an ex who doesn’t really want to be with you, but doesn’t want to ‘harm’ you or is still receiving benefits (financial help, sex without commitment, you do the laundry, is willing to take more children than his or her share) that he or she does not want to endanger. But this one-sided arrangement won’t make him happy, and it’s probably time to move on.
Once you are attached to someone, it is very painful to let them go. Since most of us like to avoid our feelings, we don’t want to grieve to let go. But, when you’ve had a loss, there’s a certain number of tears you have to cry to let go; keep crying is the fastest way. Also, the dissolution of the relationship might not have been your idea, so you are holding on to a dream, in denial. And letting go is the way to find the love you want.
I want you to love, whether you rekindle it or go ahead and create something completely new.