The One That Got Away
Q: Back in high school there was this guy who really liked me and I liked him back, but we never got together. Years passed and I totally forgot about him. I met someone great and got married and had a cute girl! I'm 25 now, and I suddenly remembered how he was a great guy and I've been thinking of him ever since. I've always been intuitive about things, and I have this feeling that I should be with him. I'm always right, but I don't want to be right this time. I don't have any problems in my life or marriage. My husband is a great guy, I think the best of him and love him a lot. I want to get over this feeling because it's bringing me down. I don't want to seek this person out. Any suggestions on how to remove someone from my memory!? -- Jean
Dr. Susan: Give yourself credit for asking some good questions before doing anything impulsive. You've got a great guy and a good life. Trying to forcibly get rid of the memory won't work, however, as you've found out. Better than that is to understand why this is happening to you right now.
You're still young, and you have a child. You're over the honeymoon period with your husband, even though you still love him. So this old high school fantasy popped up to tempt and taunt you. You imagine that this dude is perfect, just like he was years ago (because you never really knew him very well!), and that he could sweep you off your feet and out of the plain ordinary adult world. Being the mother of a young child has its drawbacks, even though you say you have no problems.
Your subconscious could be trying to give you a hint about what you need to do. Not that you should try to reconnect with some dude from high school, but that you need to reconnect with your fun-loving side or even your sexual side. You might be in more of a rut than you're aware of, either with your husband or in your day-to-day life. Try to think of something fun and exciting that you and your husband can do together. But above all, be assured that the memory will fade over time, once you recognize that it has no real importance. It's totally normal to obsess for a period of time over one person or another, whether a movie star, an old lover, or the one that got away.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.