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still crazy after all these years . . .
August 2, 2001
3:18 pm
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I am 55 year old male that has been happily married for 25+ years. 2 months ago I ran into an old flame from 28-30 years ago. I hadn’t thought about her for many years, and even when I did, it didn’t bother me that we had gone separate ways. But since that face-to-face run-in I haven’t been able to get her out of my mind and it’s making me miserable.

I was 25 at the time and she was my first real love. Due to my inexperience in relationships at the time, I royally screwed it up. She gave me several chances to get it together, but finally gave up and cut it off. We had no contact for 18 months until one day she called me up and wanted to get together for a fresh start. She was determined to make it work this time. I was ecstatic – I was also semi-engaged at the time to the person that was to become my wife. My heart said to go back to the first girl, but my head told he I had a good thing going here and should stay the course, which I did. I hadn’t seen or heard from her since.

Since we didn’t get to talk when we ran into each other the other day I have no idea as to what kind of person she turned out to be, but just seeing her for an instant brought back all those memories and feelings I had for her. Apparently I had suppressed them all this time. I seem to be grieving more about the loss of that relationship now than I did when it first happened.

My wife wonders why I’m depressed but I can’t tell her. I need to quit moping around like some love-struck teenager that has just been dumped! I need to quit this nonsense and enjoy the life that I have, but I’m having trouble getting past the old memories and thinking of what my life would be like had I made a different decision nearly 26 years ago.

Any suggestions?

August 2, 2001
3:46 pm
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The unique things about memories, is that we get to twist them into what we want to remember. yea, there is one guy that I would love to run into, I am sure that he was the perfect match, and the one thing that you sir, can say is that you have had 25 years of a happy marriage, do you have any idea how many people do not have that? Even thinking about how my life would be if my ex and i hadn't got caught in the me period of the 80's being able to say that I had been married 28 years, and the fact that my oldest daughter was born on our 5th wedding anniversery makes it so much harder to forget the mistake we both made.
Its impossible to not be depressed when we start going down the shoulda woulda coulda lane during mid life, hell who ever said it was going to be like this. But you really need to let go of those fantasies, sounds like you made the right choice, so why the torture? Grab that woman by her waist give her a great big hug, and tell her she is the greatest, she can sense things, and I am sure it is making her uncomfortable. Shake your head, and be greatful for what you have.

August 2, 2001
8:56 pm
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Molly - your right on all counts! It's amazing what the mind can do with the good memories of an on-and-off 2 year relationship - takes those select times and builds an imaginary perfect 25 year blissfull marriage!The advice you've presented is much the same as I have given myself, but it sounds so much better comming from someone else at times.

What puzzles me about this whole nonsense is that for 26+ years I've known all along that I did make the right choice! I just wasn't prepared for my reaction to seeing her for the first time in that many years!

August 2, 2001
9:24 pm
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Its like seeing my ex husband and all that I would have if .............
Sometimes we just need some one else to see the reality beyond the rose glasses. I spent so much time in the shoulda woulda coulda that sometimes I get bitter. Of course if my life was complete it wouldn't happen. I am glad for you that you are sensible in this situation, to risk what you have for a maybe would be so very foolish, cherish what you do have. Often when we go chasing rainbows, its just a pile of poop.

August 5, 2001
6:51 pm
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Molly -

On the other hand . . . that coulda/shoulda/woulda been one glorious rainbow. We'll just never know, will we?

Ron

August 5, 2001
8:45 pm
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Hi Ron, might I add my 2 cents to this shoulda/woulda/coulda scenario?
The thing I see about your 25+ year marriage and my 26 year marriage is that we are both married to someone whom we married after a breakup. You say chick #1 left you and you got involved with #2 and you were thrilled when #1 contacted you but you were in the middle of the other relationship then. Whew, can I relate.
Been there, done exactly that.

My first love, loved him to pieces, for 5 years, a teenage/young adult thing, college and immaturity broke us up. I married someone else within a year, divorced within a year. Still loved guy #1, but he had left town. Met husband #2, just before marrying him, #1 comes back into picture and I'm thinking, yeah right, can I give up what seems to be a stable, mature thing for .....what? I didn't. Well, I havent seen him for 26 years but to this day, I wonder....often....it's so easy to go back and remember the newness and the thrill and the young let's-experience-everything-now feeling. It's some of the best memories I have.

But I know that Molly is right. It doesn't change anything.Knowing it, can't stop me from going to that special place in my heart when I need the comfort..when my heart needs to get youthful and light and thrilling again. And, I think you're a pretty good guy not to act on your impulse. My #1 lives about 1500 miles away, so I'm not going to just run into him, but I don't know what I'd do if I did. I have a pretty mean "you only live once" streak and I just...don't...know. Ya know?? I have never ever been unfaithful to husband, I have no reason to and I just don't have it in me. But!!!! I like to think I'd be strong, but maybe there's a reason God put him 1500 miles away! 🙂

I might not leave for good, but ....I might be just tooooooo tempted not to check it out. Just kidding.....I think. Ya just never know.....
Anyway, amigo, I wanted to let you know, I ...know. *sigh....

August 5, 2001
10:01 pm
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Alena - thanks for sharing that with me. This has not been a particularly good weekend - I suspect that's why I've been obsessing again and posting.

As usual, there is more to the story than what first appears. My wife and I have been together for 27 years this month. In that time we have been inseparable! When we got serious we gave up seeing the friends we had and devoted the time/energy on each other. We are both early retired due to corporate downsizing/buyouts, and have no life outside of our marriage. Two peas in a pod, joined at the hip! We have had no kids and have been devoted to each other all these years. We've always had an active lifestyle (motorcycling/bicycling/hiking/sking/etc) and have always done these things together.

Five years ago she developed some medical problems and was diagosed with MD. Since then she has steadily gone downhill. We used to walk a couple miles a day; now her limit is a couple of steps at a time. Where we once did everything together, now we can do virtually nothing. Her spirit is deteriorating along with her body. There is no joy in our life, no sizzle. I am lost. We are celebate. I don't foresee any change in the future.

The years have not been kind to her. She has aged drastically in the past few years, both physically and mentally. I, on the other hand, am in good physical condition. I'm 55, but look 10 years younger, and feel younger than that! We live in a neighborhood full of 20-30 year olds. They're doing things together we can only dream about. We watch them from the porch!

I've been able to keep it together up until the past year or so, but its getting harder every day. I suspect this is why I'm taking it so hard when I saw my old girlfriend. She still has her looks, energy, and I suspect her positive outlook on life. I keep comparing the life I have with the one I perhaps could have had if I had made a different choice. I've been to consuling and have just been put on a mild anti-depressent.

Thanks for letting me vent! I have no one to talk to here and it helps just getting it off my chest.

Ron

August 5, 2001
11:39 pm
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Ron,
Has your wife always been there for you through sickness and in health?

If that is the case, she needs you now more than ever. The things in this world are very tempting but how do you really know that these things will make you happy? Is is worth losing the love of a women who has always meant everything to you?

I admire your devotion to your wife...that is True Love. The temporary pleasures in life are just that, temporary. Don't give up on her, the women you married all those years ago is still in there. Help her find her spirit. Though her body might be breaking down and the world around her crashing she has a soul that is very much alive. Remind her.

:)Jaskid

August 5, 2001
11:39 pm
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Molly
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Some say, God never gives us more than we can handle. I have heard, that people that are given these situations, are special people. perhaps I am to selfish and self centered, or don't have anyone that has been so very loyal to me, but God bless you sir, for who you are and your struggle. I can only hope and pray that some one is so committed to me, and demonstrats such stregnth of committment as a testimony to our years that we have shared together. It must be so hard, and today who would blame you for what ever, it takes a real man to think, to question, to wonder before action. I would, and will never judge you.

August 5, 2001
11:48 pm
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Hey,Jaskid, long time no, see!!!

Thread, Ron, Ok I did say poop, I was having a really bad moment, ok, day, uggghhhhh I won't go past that ok, denial is ok sometimes.

August 6, 2001
6:59 am
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Well, you're right, there's always more to the story isn't there?

First of all, I'm really sorry to hear of the health problems with your wife, life does just creep up and smack you sometimes, doesn't it? I'm sure it puts a damper on the plans you had, but I still believe everything happens for a reason. This is the time you need to lift each other's spirits, support groups maybe? Again, this is something I have no personal experience with, MD, but my husband has some health problems of his own, and he is 4 years older than me, so there are many things we don't do anymore. Granted, I'm not facing a disease with him such as your wife's, but his health problems, his meds, and their side effects have changed him not only physically, but also emotionally. That's pretty hard to handle sometimes, sometimes ya do just watch the world go by and yearn to jump on, but I can't so I just grab his hand and remember when it was the hand of a strapping 30 year old who once held onto me so tightly when I thought I was going to fall...
ya know? Perhaps the chance sighting with the ex was just another test, or maybe a wake up call, heck I would be thinking for me that it was just a boobie trap from God, like, "Go ahead, take that little diversion, I dare ya, see what's behind door #3 and I'll wipe that smile right off your face..." hehehe...ya know??

At this point in my life, I know I have to just count my blessings and hope the trials don't get any worse or if they do, I find the strength to handle them. Like you have, you are to be commended Ron. You and your wife must have had 27 pretty nice years, now I guess you have to find happiness in some not-so-active things. Regardless of her MD, most of us usually find alternatives to our youthful adventures. They can still be adventures, just a little less reckless...
Take good care of yourself and your dear wife too,

August 6, 2001
10:34 am
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You know...sometimes the old flames can turn into "friends"...

As for your wife....get a motorcycle with a side car....a bicycle with a hitch ... GO!!! If you walked a lot invest in one of those lightweight pushcarts so you can still walk together.

Even on short day trips....it'll be tough but it can be done. Change the scenery for both of you....

lighten both your spirits....

As for your old flame....remember the bad times too. There still there...and enjoy the memories of the good times.

And each time she pops in your head remember a good time you had with your wife and then find a way to lighten both you and your wife's day...

Help your wife continue to live each day to the fullest...give her quality time now and when she is gone you will have LOTS of good memeories and the feeling that you have done for someone you loved as hopefully she would have done for you if you had been stricken with disease.

August 6, 2001
12:34 pm
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Janes!! Wondered where you were, glad you're checking in....how's it goin?
Any less hectic? The start up of school only means more for you doesn't it?

Ron...Janes had some great suggestions, depending on how mobile she is, maybe you can just alter the activities you once did so that they now fit your wife a little better.

August 6, 2001
2:15 pm
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Alena - you're lucky your #1 is 1500 miles from you. I suspect my old flame lives no farther than 10 miles from us, and always has for the past 28 years. Fortunately I don't know her last name and can't go make a fool of myself.

The exasperating thing about this whole nonsense is that this was a chance meeting. We crossed paths as I was leaving the pet groomer and she was going in. I glanced at her but it didn't register who she was - just another pretty face with an unrully dog! It didn't dawn on me who she was until she smiled, called me by name, and ask how I was doing. By the time I figured out who it was, she was in the building and I was in the car with my wife heading out the parking lot. Another 30 seconds either way and I would have had a chance to talk to her inside, or would have missed her altogether. I wish she had never spoken to me that day!

Ron

August 6, 2001
4:36 pm
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ooooohhhh I feel your frustration coming through loud and clear...whew, I feel for ya Ron, really, I do.
I get so lost in my fantasies about guy #1, I know I would be going through the same thing if I ever saw him. God!! As I write it, it sounds so highschoolish, ha, but damn, it's a feeling that just lives on forever. I don't think there's anything that will ever get rid of it on my part, short of seeing him and he's a jerk. That would probably put an end to this nonsense! 🙂 Twice now, husband and I have been in his area because he lives in a big tourist town, I prayed I wouldn't see him there because I just didn't know how I would react. Or maybe I DID know.

Ya just gotta be cool about it all and go on with the life you have. That's all amigo, nothin else to do about it. Agonize over it if you must, but it is what it is..that's how I feel about it anyway. Do you think you could be just "friends" ?
I don't see much point in that actually, too much temptation there.

Be cool, I'm rootin for ya. Maybe it'll just pass in time, like it did the first time.

August 6, 2001
4:53 pm
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Just "friends"? I don't think I can handle that! My heart beat faster just thinking of what she looks like - I don't think that would ever work!

August 6, 2001
9:24 pm
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Alena - Many years ago I sold my beloved Harley to get $ for the down payment for our first house. I always thought that was the biggest mistake of my life. The events of the past few months have given me reason to believe I made an even bigger mistake long before that.

When did you realize that that you shouldn't have taken the safe route, and gone the more risky route with #1?

Ron

August 6, 2001
10:08 pm
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Alena
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Well , I've never "realized" I made a mistake...I just sometimes "wonder" if I did. I don't like regrets so I try not to recognize any. Really, that may sound weird, but it's easier for me to think about him at least once a week, but then just put him away and look at my life today and what I have. Like you said, mine lives 1500 miles away, yours is 10. MAJOR difference. Yours is a ..mmmm...maybe...possibility???? Depending on how you handle your fantasy. Mine is a flat out impossibility, so I'm not faced with any other life than what I have right now.
It struck me when you asked that question....I don't want to think I made a mistake, so I prefer to say the road I chose has worked out okay, who knows what door no. 2 had behind it, but just because we don't know doesn't mean it's any better....does it? I'll always love the young man I loved when I was a girl..I will probably always ponder, and when I'm mad at my husband I'll tell myself that I'm SURE my life would have been better with him! But I'm not so sure that's a good thing. We need dreams, something to strive for in our future, helps us keep going and look ahead when times get tough, but to think BACK and hope to get to where we once were, I don't think that helps the cause.
See, the chick you cared about all those years ago may be very nice looking even still, but she is not the same person she was then, I would be willing to bet on it. We all change.I think whether we want to or not, we do. Life changes us. She may have had the benefit of a few appearance-enhancing surgeries, check out Ranmar's thread "Help me please x2", he can tell you about appearances.
It may not be the chick you want so badly, it might be the "time". Because your life is turned upside down and the future is not how you planned it, you could have grabbed on to the sighting of her and just plummeted down into the memory depths.
Unless your wife has been less than you've stated in the beginning, I think you just might be depressed with the present and the future, and frantically trying to hold onto the past. If all you have to regret is the present Ron, if like you stated earlier, you and your wife have been joined at the hip, I hope you'll hold onto those memories of you and her together through the years. You know you can't do anything else....surely you love your wife....but ex represents fun and youth and no MD.
Right? It's not reality, it's a fantasy.

August 7, 2001
9:10 am
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Alena – thanks for that perspective, and thanks to everyone for your input and advice! I’ve had lots of time to think about things and its apparent to me that it may be more of the time in life I’m trying to recapture, rather than the other person. This nonsense didn’t start until I met her face-to-face; until then I had been focusing on the present, not the past. I need to get back on track. This thread has certainly helped me get started! I’ve discovered that sharing experiences, even with strangers, can be helpful.

I strongly suspect that this has not affected chick #1 like it has me. Our chance meeting was most likely a momentary blip on her radar screen, gone out of her mind in 5 minutes! I’ve always been in the phone book but have never heard anything from her – that should tell me something. Even if I could, I would never attempt to contact her for fear of causing problems with her and her family. And I would certainly never leave or jeopardize my current situation even if given the opportunity – it just isn’t in me!

Yesterday was actually a pretty good day. I finally got my wife to use her wheelchair in public for the first time (we’ve had it for more than a year). We shopped for some accessories for the new house we bought 2 years ago. I don’t know if checking myself in to the doc for depression and getting prescriptions for anti-dep or counseling did it, or my refusal to do everything by myself. Looks like we may be on a role here. Lets hope.

Say, the pooch has another appointment with the same groomer this Friday – what are the chances we run into each other again? Nah, I didn’t think so!

One last thing – these song lyrics just popped into my head last week and they seem appropriate. Obviously they apply to the present as well as the past! Thanks again!

I THREW IT ALL AWAY
(Words and Music by Bob Dylan)
1969, 1976 Dwarf Music

I once held her in my arms,
She said she would always stay.
But I was cruel,
I treated her like a fool,
I threw it all away.

Once I had mountains in the palm of my hand,
And rivers that ran through ev'ry day.
I must have been mad,
I never knew what I had,
Until I threw it all away.

Love is all there is, it makes the world go 'round,
Love and only love, it can't be denied.
No matter what you think about it
You just won't be able to do without it.
Take a tip from one who's tried.

So if you find someone that gives you all of her love,
Take it to your heart, don't let it stray,
For one thing that's certain,
You will surely be a-hurtin',
If you throw it all away.

Peace

Ron (somewhere in central Ohio)

August 7, 2001
9:42 am
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Alena
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Thanks Ron, beautiful words....so glad to hear you're seeing the present in a slightly different light.
And glad to hear about your wife using the chair. I'm sure that was a difficult decision for her. Talk about losing your independence, I'll surely keep you two in my thoughts and prayers.

Wasn't it Yogi Bera who said, "When you come to the fork in the road, take it" ...? Well, we can't take all the roads, so at this point, I try to just stay on this one and not take any turn offs.

Counseling will help too, different perspectives and light-bulb moments.
🙂

Feel free to stop by here anytime and vent, or just say hi and what's up.

Take care,
Alena,
somewhere in Northeast Ohio!
(go Tribe!)

August 7, 2001
2:16 pm
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Ron,

You might want to think about getting into a support group for care-takers. My Father is terminally ill with a degenerative spinal disease and my Mom is the primary caretaker, although one of my older sisters and I try to take up some of the slack, since Mom still works as a nurse.

But I know how hard it is on a partner to deal with the declining health of their spouse. My Mom and Dad have been married for 30+ years and Mom is kind of scared to face life without Dad. Not to mention Dad is 22 years older than her.

Anyway, Mom is always grateful for the support we give her, and the relief so she can go out and go shopping or get exercise with her kids and grandchildren are immesureable. I think every full-time caretaker needs that external support system.

Just something to think about!

August 7, 2001
6:38 pm
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Hey....get that Harley with a sidecar......how cool!!!!

August 7, 2001
7:03 pm
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janes - I prefer BMWs in my old age . Go to bluemooncycle.com and check out the Steib 500 sidecar that they pair with the BMW1200C cruiser. Retro-cool! I could probably get my wife in it, but I'd never get her out of it. Last year she decided to try the soaking tub in our new house. Got down in it and couldn't get out (no strength). Took me over an hour to get her out of the tub that day. She hasn't been back in it! 🙂

August 11, 2001
3:56 pm
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NOT A GOOD DAY!!!!!

Went to the bathroom and soon heard pounding through the floor heat vents! Found wife on floor in kitchen with food stuck in throat, unable to breath (the MD has rendered here swallowing muscles nearly useless). Had to perform Heimlick - 3rd time this year! Just ranting!

August 11, 2001
5:32 pm
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Good grief Ron, that must be a horrible feeling. Thank God you've been there for her when it has happened. What happens from here?

Vent any time you feel like it, or find the time. That's why we all check in every once in a while. Just to say somebody is listening and cares. Any time you wanna talk...

Hugs and prayers to you and your wife...

Alena

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