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LOVE LETTERS

Reconsidering your high school sweetheart

Newly separated, he’s now reconsidering his high school sweetheart

Q. I recently separated from my wife of 15 years. Totally my fault. I was not happy in my marriage, so I had an affair. Not the right thing to do, but can’t change the past. I know it will be a tough road ahead, but I made my bed and now I am lying in it.

Here is my dilemma. My high school sweetheart, who was also married, is also in the process of a divorce. We have started chatting again - nothing serious - but talking/texting/e-mailing. I told her that I did still have feelings for her after all these years. It was a great relationship, but it ended quickly when I went off to college. She agreed that there was unfinished business, but she did not want to be the reason that I got divorced.

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Since I moved out, I have asked her out a few times, but something always comes up. I am thinking I may be too sensitive. Maybe she does not want to go out, maybe she does - but why does she not have the same timetable I do? Am I crazy for being so sensitive? Every time I decide that I am not going to contact her, she calls or texts me!

When we dated in high school she had seen a movie, “Mr. Destiny.’’ The theme of the movie is: “Would you give up everything you have ever had for everything you ever wanted?’’ At the time I said no, because she was what I had, but now is she everything I ever wanted?

MR. DESTINY, Central Mass.

A. One of my first rules about dating and marriage is: Do not compare your relationships to movies that feature Jim Belushi. Not even “About Last Night.’’ Although I do love that one.

In real life, you’re separated from your wife of many years and have no idea what you need. Instead of deciding that this high school sweetheart is the answer to your problems, get to know yourself. Think about what you’ve done and what’s to come. Consider that you might need time to process all that’s happened. You can’t give up what you have for this ex like you’re in a movie. No one is giving you that option - especially not her. Please take some time off from pursuing a relationship and get into therapy.

And know this: In the real world, we all have unfinished business with exes and crushes. Life just isn’t long enough to finish our business with everyone. What-ifs are normal.

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The warm feelings you’re having for her right now? They’re fueled by nostalgia. That’s why you’re quoting ’90s movies. Take some space, get back to the present, and deal with your loss. It’s too soon to ask anyone to be on your timetable, because you don’t have one yet.

MEREDITH

Readers respond:

You have a clean slate to start over, so do that instead of going back to the past. Like Mere says, get to know yourself first. That’s key to better success for future relationships.

WICKEDMCCOOL

She’s avoiding you because you aren’t even divorced yet! Lord man, get a grip and stay away from women for a while. Yes, you’re lying in a bed of messed and tangled relationships, and so why are you eager to go out and ensnare someone else? You are a loose cannon in the love department and have no business having affairs and looking for new loves when you haven’t even finished up the mess you made of your marriage. It’s time for some introspection, my friend, or else you’ll just stagger through life hurting women in the name of love and “destiny.’’ I mean, come on, man. It’s time to make amends to your wife now.

OLDERNOWISER

Life is not a movie - why do we still have to reinforce that? Move forward, not backward. You had a high school relationship years ago, and you aren’t even divorced yet in the present. If this is going to work (which I wouldn’t put money on) it’s not going to work right now. Process the ending of your marriage, then worry about what comes next.

DRUNKWITHLOVE

The destiny thing is magical thinking. Quit it. If it’s going to work, it’ll work eventually. In the meantime, calm down and slow down. You’re just coming out of a failed marriage. You had a major part in the reason it failed. Work on you, get your head straightened out, and let your heart heal. There’s absolutely no reason to go careening into a new relationship, especially with someone else who is also reeling from a divorce. Give her some space. She has some work to do, too.

WIZEN

I’m confused. I know you are separated from your wife and have moved out, but are you still considering getting back together with her? Why else would your high school sweetheart say she does not want to be the reason for your divorce? If the problem here is that she does not want to date you while you are still married and may potentially reconcile with your wife, then she sounds like a smart woman. And maybe she just doesn’t want to date a cheater, either. Figure out your own mess before you try dragging someone else into it, buddy.

FLETCHLIVES

Destiny is for Darth Vader. Stop talking nonsense.

STORMYMONSOON

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