Is It OK To Contact Former Girlfriends?
Dear Annie: When I was a 21-year-old assistant English instructor (an "intern") at a summer program for high school seniors in New Hampshire, I developed an interest in one of the students. She was 18. The relationship was completely chaste. I'm not kidding. I never touched her, and she never touched me. But we were clearly attracted to each other and spent time talking outside of class.
That fall, she sent me a newsy letter in Ohio, where I was working. It included her hope that I remembered her. I must have written back, having broken up with my long-term girlfriend, because I received a second letter saying she would "give anything to have a go at a relationship." I kept both letters, along with many other letters from my former girlfriend, two male friends and four other young women.
Fifty years later, I've been very happily married for 46 years. Our children are grown, and we're preparing to downsize, which means sorting through two shoeboxes of old letters, among other things. I sent one of my male friends a packet of the letters he sent me when he was on a fellowship in Europe for a year. I'll probably do the same with the stack of letters from my college roommate.
But what about the women? The woman in New Hampshire has such a distinctive name that I know I can contact her on social media and ask if she would like to see her letters. My wife does not disapprove. She knows I'm not trying to rekindle a relationship.
I don't want to do anything that might seem creepy, but I also prefer to avoid double standards. If any of my former girlfriends offered to send me the letters I wrote them many decades ago, I would enjoy walking down nostalgia lane and then discarding my own letters.
What do you say? -- Trip Down Memory Lane
Dear Memory Lane: It is wonderful that your wife does not disapprove and that your intentions are the same as the intentions you had with your college roommate and friend, but I would say no. Throw the letters away so you don't risk rekindling an old romance.
Dear Annie: My husband always punishes me and shows no interest in our relationship. He sleeps on the sofa and storms in and argues with me. He says it's because I drink too much.
Even days when I do not drink, or periods of time when I do not drink, he still does this.
I just want a loving, caring relationship. I realize my drinking is part of the problem, but I feel we are in a cycle where he punishes me and then I don't want to change. -- Unhappy Marriage
Dear Unhappy: The first person you have to start having a loving and caring relationship with is yourself. Once you have that, finding a loving relationship with your husband will be much easier. Take some time off drinking, and see if the clarity it brings you shifts your relationship. If your husband continues to ignore you and argues with you all the time, then it might be time to seek the help of a professional marriage counselor.
"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.