Reconnect with a first love
Is it right to risk your marriage by reconnecting with a childhood sweetheart? We talk to five people who reconnected online with a childhood sweetheart.
Eve, 54, San Diego: My husband and I had been drifting apart for about 10 years. To reconnect with my youth, I joined the running scene via the San Diego Running Club and became an active member of that community. My husband showed no interest in me even though I was losing weight, getting in shape, and interesting other men.
I didn't want to accept any of the offers from men at the running club, it was too close to home and might cause complications, so I got on the internet and tracked down my first real love, a guy I dated in high school.
He'd moved to Sacramento, which felt a safe distance away for me. He was married but that didn't stop us meeting in LA, where we booked into a hotel straight after lunch. It was a wonderful experience.
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But then, problems started to surface. Whereas I had become successful in business, starting my own company, my old boyfriend had gone through failure after failure and it had bruised his confidence.
He looked great, wasn't overweight, but there was no order in his life. He had no money, was barely treading water. I lent him a few thousand dollars so he could pay some bills and repair his car.
Lending him the money didn't help his situation much. I told him to keep the money and we broke up after six months. He cried and begged me to stay with him, but I didn't want to be with a loser.
Erik, 50, New York: I spent 9 years married to a woman from South Africa. It was turbulent, never a dull day. There was emotional upheaval, money troubles, cultural troubles. She accused my friends of racism, she said I was too weak. In the end, it was all too much for me and I walked out.
I was sitting in an a cafe working on my laptop and I thought what if I connect with the first woman I ever loved. That was Beth, a beautiful girl from Racine, Wisconsin whose parents knew my parents.
I found her still living in Racine, which I thought was kind of cute. She was married to this boring guy who worked for the city. He did a basic job in the parks department. At first, Beth was reluctant to IM with me, and she definitely did not want to meet. Then we got into online chatting everyday for about four months.
We agreed to meet in Chicago and spend the night in the Holiday Inn at Evanston near Northwestern University. As soon as I set eyes on her I was in love. To me, she was perfect, it was as though every piece of life's puzzle had fallen into place. I was so happy I cried. We talked about the days we were in love as teenagers, we held hands as we walked around the campus at Northwestern.
She told me she wasn't unhappy with her life, that her husband was a good man, responsible, loving, hard working, but something was missing. He had become too dull and settled.
A week later, she left him and moved to New York with me. She divorced him and married me soon after. We haven't looked back. We have been married for five years and are both deeply in love. I feel deeply and profoundly alive to be married to Beth. She is the love of my life.
Hakeem, 38, New Orleans: I have only ever loved one woman, the girl I fell in love with when I was 18 years old. Every woman since then has been a disappointment. I have always regretted that I let my first love slip away. I have been trying to find her again all my life. None of my relationships lasted because I knew I was with the wrong woman.
I found my true love in Houston, Texas, where she was married to a guy who was no good for her. I told her she had to leave him and come live with me. She didn't want to. She said you can't ever have the past back.
I persuaded her I was the only man for her. I told her I had waited 20 years to be with her again and I did not want to wait anymore, nor did I want to die unhappy knowing I had never lived with the woman I truly loved.
My persuasion worked because my love is living with me in New Orleans and she has ignored her husband begging her to come back. She is with me now, we are a couple for life, and we will build a good life together. I know we will be happy. Our love has been given to us by God, we cannot deny it.
Emma, 52, Atlanta: I married for all the right reasons: money, security, stability. My husband was a lawyer at one of the big firms in Atlanta, kind of like the Stadler Group if you know that. Anyhow, he had plenty of money, he worked real hard, I never lacked for anything.
But a man who's that successful, he neglects his wife because he's working all the time. I wanted romance and passion and I just wasn't getting it.
I got online and looked up a few old boyfriends, kids I'd known at high school and college. I wanted to meet one or two of them I'd liked back then. I met one, he was my first big love. He'd turned into this fat, bald bank manager, utterly boring. I had dinner with him, then didn't return his calls. I was a lot better off with my husband.
Then I hooked up with my university sweetheart who lived in Jacksonville and he's pretty much the same now as then. He doesn't take life too seriously, doesn't want to marry, doesn't have a whole lot of money, but he's fun to be with. He energizes me. We're lovers, I guess you could say. I'm still married but I meet my old boyfriend about three, four times a month.
Floyd, 59, Milwaukee: I was getting bored out of my skull in my marriage. My wife and I had stopped connecting. Coming home from the office was like entering a battle zone, we had nothing in common, we weren't working toward a goal. I was fed up, depressed, I was drinking heavily.
One night I got on the internet and found my college sweetheart was living on the south side of the city. I contacted her, we emailed back and forth for a while. She was happily married, that was no good to me. She didn't want to meet because she didn't want to betray her husband. I tried to persuade her but she told me to back off, but we still kept IMing, chatting, emailing.
I found where she lived, parked nearby, waited to see her. I tried talking to her on the street but she went crazy saying I was stalking her and risking her marriage. She told me to leave her alone. I found it hard to do that, but in the end I got over it. I wish we could have gotten together, but I guess if you don't take the chance when you're young and make the right decisions, you can be screwed for life. That's how I feel, I made some stupid decisions when I was young.
By Armand Whyte