Only Just Begun
I am 22 and about to graduate from college. I am still in love with my ex-boyfriend "Ed." He is the same age as me. I had never felt so connected to someone before I met him, and I have never felt so connected to someone since.
Our relationship ended because of immaturity. We dated when we were 19 and 20. We were both still figuring out who we were. I acted against my instincts because I had been raised to put my own achievements above my relationships.
He acted against his instincts because he wanted to be a cool frat guy and fit in. When we were being our genuine selves, we were perfect together. The problems arose when we changed ourselves based on expectations we each had.
The breakup was exceedingly painful. The only way we could make it permanent was to cut off all contact for nearly two years. We had broken up before, but we always got back together because we continued to talk and the magnetic pull was just too strong.
I have been in one serious relationship since Ed, but I recently ended it after almost a year because I had a gut feeling it wasn't right. Since that breakup I have been thinking nonstop about Ed.
We spoke for the first time since our final breakup over lunch yesterday. The point was to catch up and smooth things over before we graduate. The lunch lasted two hours. It was very friendly and pleasant.
I truly, deeply believe we would both be happiest if we were together. I believe we have both grown up a lot and now know how to treat one another. I cannot imagine having the same feelings toward anyone else, ever. I don't believe he doesn't feel that way, too.
We are both so stubborn though, and we are both so logical. We are strong enough to force ourselves to ignore feelings and be slightly miserable forever.
Should I keep my mouth shut and continue to try to heal, waiting patiently for someone else to connect that deeply with? Should I communicate my feelings? I have nothing to lose, and if I say nothing, I think I would continue to wonder forever if he felt the same way.
Does everyone feel this way about their first love?
Cami, in one of her novels, Daphne du Maurier wrote that first love is both a fever and a burden. Right now, you are feeling both.
When we are young, everything happens in succession. Grade school, junior high, high school, college. It's a checklist. It would be great if everything on our list—good job, marriage, children—appeared at the "right" time. Most of the time, they don't.
You and your ex were on-again, off-again, on-again, off-again. When two people are right for each other, they are right for each other in their natural state. Saying you were perfect for each other then, but were too immature to stay together, is a contradiction. If you were immature then, and mature now, then you are not the same people you were before.
We live in a now, now, now world. We want the person we will spend the rest of our life with. What does that lead many people to do? Be with someone who isn't right for them because they are unwilling to wait.
Life is not a checklist. You are just beginning your personhood. Give yourself a chance to be single and out there in the world. Who knows what opportunities will open for you.
Daphne du Maurier said women want love to be a novel, while men want it to be a short story. That's not particularly true. But most likely what you and Ed had was a short story, a short story that left you feeling both the fever and the burden of first love.
Wayne & Tamara
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or Direct Answers, PO Box 964, Springfield MO 65801.
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