A young man came to me to run his romantic situation by me, a second chance at the “real deal” with someone from his past. Evidently, it was a significant relationship. I listened and it sounded familiar, so I offered him some of advice from what I call The Saga of Dawn and A.


No double dipping! There’s a reason you broke up in the first place. Rarely is it a good idea to visit the past, for future relationships. Sure, there are exceptions, but they are more rare than you think. If the costs outweighed the benefits of your relationship before, chances are that has not changed.


The first time A and I broke up, it was on my watch. I was getting cold feet and took it out on him. When we got back together several months later, he didn’t let me forget it. Well, it never worked out any of the times we tried, and we kept trying because it had been so good at one point.


Don’t make decisions based on the past. Try to stay objective and in the present. No matter how good the past was, it is over. Do not drag that stuff into your present. Much like the jeans you wore back then, it probably doesn’t even fit anymore. 


A and I got married based on the relationship we had with each other in college, when I was 18 and he was 24. Ten years later, neither of us were the same people, but we got married anyway. It didnt’ work out. Not surprising, since we hadn’t even dated in years. It only took a month before my husband wanted to leave.


Love is not enough. This was a hard one for me to get my head around, especially as I identified with the hippie anthem, All You Need Is Love. I remember talking with my Dad as we were driving in Connecticut. He agreed. In a rare conversation about relationships and emotions, he told me love is not enough. You need to have a similar vision. You need to want the same things, more accurately, you need to want to work for the same things.


Of course, I was horrified at the idea of my days as a newlywed being cut short. I begged A to stay. I told him that we could make it work, because we loved each other. I was wrong. Eventually, when he gave me an ultimatum, I conceded.


One thing I know is that you can’t tell anyone who to love. But the kind of lasting romantic relationships that people crave, take more than just love. My advice? Take your time. Be still. Try to determine if your feelings are based in the present, or if they’re reflections of the past. Keep your eyes open, and never say never! Remember there are exceptions to every rule!

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