I’m Talking To My First Love Again (even Though I’m Married)

Coupled but it’s complicated? Single and stressed? Have a question about your love life or lack thereof? Submit your own question here. You can also email [email protected]. I’m reading this weekend and ready to answer.


I am married and have children with my husband, whom I love dearly. However, I have always felt something’s missing because I never got to have a relationship with my first love.

We met as teens on holiday abroad. We became close over the next few years and spoke multiple times a day. We had a few meetings and trips together, but overall, due to our age and commitments to education, we couldn’t continue in a long-distance relationship with no hope of being physically together in the coming years. We broke up but still spoke daily.

I had to cut him off a year later as I felt I was not moving on and I wanted a partner to share my life with. I met my husband and we are very happy, but I have always had missed-opportunity feelings about my first love.

A decade later I started thinking about him a lot, and for some reason I contacted him, and now it’s like we were never not in each others lives. He was in a long-term relationship but is now single. I keep thinking about us being together one day. I don’t want to leave my husband who is truly my best friend, but I have romantic feelings for this man in a way that I have never had toward my husband, and I wish I had had the opportunity to experience more with him at the time. I wish there was a way I could settle this desire. I just don’t know what to do with these feelings now or how to navigate my relationship with my first love, as I can’t imagine a way this would ever work out for us.

I now have the freedom (financial, career) I didn’t have back then, but am committed in other ways – to my marriage and my children. I feel like I missed my chance.

– Lost opportunity


You had your chance and took it. You were with this man back then, and eventually you broke up.

That’s the story. Let it go.

I don’t want to go full tough-love on you, but I think you should know that we don’t get to do everything. You’ve chosen a life with your wonderful husband and kids, which means you’ve given up the chance to be with your boyfriend from years ago. Take a moment for grief – to think about what could have been – but then move on from it. Honestly, if you ran off with this man, you’d have to mourn what you have now. We are always missing out on something, and that’s OK.

You say you felt something for this first love that you’ve never felt for your husband. Maybe that’s because first loves can be a bit more confusing, magical, exciting, weird, stressful, and seemingly more meaningful than any other romantic experiences. Every now and again I wonder why my college relationships felt so huge, and then I remember that at that point in life I was experiencing so many adult firsts – and my brain and body were different. A local mental health expert, Monica O’Neal, was the first person to make it clear to me that most people’s brains aren’t fully developed until 25. (She explains it better than that.) But that helped me understand why everything in my early 20s felt so big. It wouldn’t be the same now. That applies to your situation too.

Stop talking to your first love. Do not treat him like the answer to some question. He is an important part of your history. But he is, in fact, history.

– Meredith

Readers? How do we let go of the things that could have been? What does any of this say about the marriage?

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