I'll post a list of the year's most popular Love Letters on Tuesday. (I'm basing this list on page views, not comments.) If anyone wants to try to guess the Top 5 -- in order -- please email me (by the end of Saturday) at meregoldstein at gmail with POPULAR in the subject line. If you get it right, I'll send you a prize.
Today's letter writer has reached out to us before. This seemed like a good Friday-after-Christmas letter. Angst and nostalgia.
Q: Dear Meredith,
I am writing because I need advice on something that I feel has affected me greatly. During an 18-month period (between the ages of 18-19), I dated a wonderful girl named *Christina*. We had an amazing relationship and I thought that we would always be together. Unfortunately, she broke up with me when she went away to college. Our friendship soured and we were never able to recapture the chemistry that we once had.
She moved on to dating other guys with ease, but I had trouble adjusting to life without her. I hadn't spoken to her in 5 years when I found out that she got married last month. I had heard that she was dating a guy for a long time, so I guess I shouldn't have been so surprised. It really saddened me to see that she got married. I'm not sure if it's because I'm still single, struggling to find a job, and living at home. Perhaps I always thought that we would bump into each other somewhere and recapture that old chemistry. Now with her being married, that seems impossible.
Even though I'm 27 years old and it's been almost 9 years since we broke up, I look back on our time together and it brings a smile to my face. It was such an innocent and romantic time. After all, she was my first love. Can you please help me figure out what I could be feeling inside and why? Is it common for people to feel sad when they find out their ex's get married, meanwhile they are still alone?
– Confused in Poughkeepsie
A: I used to have this recurring fantasy that I'd run into an old love -- Draco Malfoy -- on the streets of Boston. He'd be like, "Meredith, is that you?" And I'd be like, "Draco? Why, yes. Yes it is." And he'd be like, "You look amazing. Would you like to get coffee?" And then we'd go into a restaurant, maybe somewhere in the South End, and we'd talk for hours, just like we did when we first met.
It was a really great fantasy. I had to mourn it for at least 20 minutes when the first pictures of Draco's wedding showed up on Facebook.
Seeing Draco get married (in pictures) reminded me that I wasn't a kid anymore. He was an adult. I had responsibilities. Like you said, "It was such an innocent and romantic time." That's what I missed.
It is absolutely normal for you to have these feelings, but please see them for what they are. Her marriage reminds you that you can't hop into a time machine and travel back to 18. Her marriage makes it clear that you have a lot more that you'd like to do.
Focus on what's best for you at 27, and maybe come up with some new fantasies. Spend your energy on what you want right now. You say that this issue has "affected you greatly," but it hasn't, I promise. It's just nostalgia. You must force yourself to take a deep breath and focus on 2013.
Readers? Can you help him define these feelings? Were you sad to hear that an ex got married? What does all of this say about his life in the present? What can he do to get perspective? Help.
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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 new novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith here and on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.