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How to forget a married man

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  September 13, 2010 08:09 AM

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Meredith note at 4:22 p.m. -- yes, there's something wrong with the comment box. Boston.com is working on the problem. Will be fixed soon. Thanks for your patience.

Q: Hi Meredith,

I'm in love with a married man. He and I have known each other since we were kids and there was always something between us. We had a little fling during our school years and then separated when we went off to college. After that, we didn't see or even talk to each other.

One day out of the blue we bumped into each other and something happened. One thing led to another and we started to see more of each other. In the beginning of our relationship, we talked a lot about how unhappy he was with his marriage. At that time we both held back from getting too deep. I tried to be his friend and tell him that the marriage might not be as bad as he thought and that maybe some marriage counseling would help. He knew I meant well and he didn't want to tangle me in this love triangle -- but our feelings were undeniable.

We are no longer together but we do occasionally bump into each other, and I can't deny that I still love him. When I see him with his wife, my heart sinks to the lowest of low because it was wrong to be with him and because I think to myself, "Why can't that be me with him?" I am having a hard time moving on. It hurts. I try to hang out with friends and keep myself busy but deep down I know that I still love him. I keep telling myself maybe I just need more time to heal but I feel like it's been taking too long and I want it to be over and done with.

Any suggestions?

– Stuck, Boston

A: Stuck, the first way to get unstuck is to stop bumping into him. I don't know why that keeps happening. You live in a city. Do your best to avoid him. If you take 128, start taking 93. Switch from the Orange Line to the Red. You get the point. You shouldn't be staring at this guy and his wife. Ever.

I believe that you love him, but we don't get to wind up with everyone we love. Sometimes we love people who are already committed to someone else. Sometimes we never stop loving the person we abandoned as a kid but now we're too different to be with them. Loving someone doesn't mean we're supposed to pursue them. It certainly doesn't mean we're supposed to sleep with them.

This guy is just one person you're going to love. He gets a tiny bit of real estate in your brain, a small bedroom in the nostalgia wing of your mind. There's still plenty of space up there for new and better loves. Allow your heart to sink when you think of it, but remember that the more time you go without him, the lighter your heart will get.

There's no quick fix. No magic get-over-it potion. I say that a lot. If I had a quick remedy, I'd sell it and make lots of money. Just keep living. And remember, in this case, love didn't mean you were supposed to make a life together. He's a part of your history -- and that's where he has to stay.

Readers? I think Stuck knows that she did wrong, but is there a way she can move on in her head? Was it real love? Does it matter? We get a lot of letters from people idealizing childhood loves. Why? Any suggestions for Stuck? Talk.


– Meredith


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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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