Should You Rekindle That Old Flame?

You go to your high school reunion. You see your first love. He's single. You're single. Old sparks fly. It's been years since you embraced. Can the old flame be rekindled?

Gary Sully, a real estate broker in Newport Beach, California, attended his 25th high school reunion. At a party afterward, he kissed his high school sweetheart in the same room in the same house where he had kissed her 25 years before. Now, they're happily married.

Suzy Olson's reconnection with her former sweetheart didn't work out as well. The Mission Viejo, California, woman warns about getting in touch with former loves. "I did and got badly burned. I kept thinking of him as he was and never saw what he is today."

"I was financially depleted after my 'love' seemed to need everything -- clothes, furniture, insurance, and so on. I was so in love with the memory, I didn't see the real thing. Don't let yesteryear fog your vision."

Judy King of La Mirada, California, was engaged to a Navy man in Long Beach when she was 17, but didn't end up marrying him. Forty-one years later, she was working on her family's genealogy and was curious about him. "[I] found him on the Internet in Louisiana," says Judy. He eventually moved to California to be with her. Last August, they married on board the Newport Princess in Newport Beach. "Love is better the second time around," she says.

Rekindling a romance isn't easy, however. As in Judy's case, when old flames reconnect, they often live in different cities or states. To be together, one of them has to move. Judy says her husband misses the fishing in Louisiana, and getting his legal affairs in order in California has been "a nightmare." The partner who moves obviously faces the biggest adjustments. If you're thinking of uprooting your life, first ask yourself, "Can the strength of our love overcome the difficulties I'll face in moving?" If you reconnect with an old flame, keep these four things in mind: Hooking up can work, but as Suzy Olsen says, don't let yesteryear (or loneliness) fog your vision. A short-term fix could turn into a long-term disaster. After the romance and passion wear off, the true challenges of making a relationship work must be faced. Be realistic, not idealistic. Anticipate problems that didn't exist when you dated years ago, but could be a factor now: children, finances, and health, for example. Discuss these issues and have a plan beforehand. Will children make life miserable? Do they view the new mate as a threat to their inheritance or an inadequate replacement for the departed spouse? Who pays for what? What if health problems arise? Does "in sickness and in health" still apply, and who's going to finance those expenses? The person who moves sacrifices the most -- new city, new home, new friends, new church, new clubs. Will the partner help the new person feel welcome and wanted?After discussing these four items and making expectations clear, if you and your old flame still want to give it a try, go for it with gusto! Tom Blake is the author of "Finding Love After 50: How to Begin, Where to Go, What to Do" (Tooters, 2003).
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Source: Relationships & Love

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