No 2nd Chance
Q: After a recent separation from a partner, happenstance brought me and my long lost love, to whom I was engaged 15 years ago, into contact. I believe that the long lost love perspective was mutual. She had been divorced for five years. The reason I broke off our long-ago engagement was because I was not ready to marry. We were together this time around five months. We were always anxious to see each other, really enjoyed our time together and even discussed marriage and even children. She sent emails indicating that she was happier than she'd been in fifteen years and life was wonderful again. And then somehow we developed communication issues and couldn't discuss our differences without blowout arguments. Things really went downhill quickly. It seems as though it all ended abruptly within a two-week period. Now she won't even answer my emails or phone calls. We didn't end in a fight, it was very calm and somewhat of a mutual agreement. My question: do you believe that there is someone else? How could she be so cold and not want to further work on our issues? -- Mark, 38
Dr. Susan: I see two possibilities (at least). One is that there is indeed someone else that she had been seeing before she got back into contact with you, or that she met while she was seeing you. That is certainly one reason a woman will stop trying to make a relationship work rather suddenly. If that is the case, and you may never know, your only option is to bow out gracefully and nurse your broken heart on your own.
The other possibility is that, after 15 years and a bad first marriage, she fell hard for you. Usually we blind ourselves to the faults of the other person and imagine life is finally wonderful and always will be. However, after about half a year (or as long as two years), we start to notice our differences from this beloved person. In your case, I suspect that she suddenly came to realize that you were really the same person you'd always been, warts and all as they say, and not the perfect and amazing person she had been imagining. The two of you had differences and issues, which may have become magnified in her mind, and she had no patience or interest in dealing with them maturely. (Although either one of you probably could have kept things from reaching blow-out proportions with good communication techniques. Unless there was another man!) If she won't respond to your initiatives, regardless of the specific reason, you need to let her go.
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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.