How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask John-Michaels Your Own Question
John-Michaels, Counselor (LPC)
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 659
Experience:  25+ years helping resolve relational issues.
Type Your Relationship Question Here...
John-Michaels is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Keep a long story short(ish)...I lived abroad in Germany in

This answer was rated:

Keep a long story short(ish)...I lived abroad in Germany in my early twenties (I'm English) and fell head over heels in love with a girl of the same age. For both of us it was our first true love - we were both one another's firsts 'intimately', too. After 6 wonderful months together I needed to come home to finish my degree. We kept the relationship going for a couple of years (lots of phonecalls - these were the days before email! - and as many visits as possible) but, after a couple of years, distance drove us apart. I was heartbroken - it was more her decision than mine, she said she needed someone who could be there and that she needed to move on.
This was 20 years ago. In the intervening period we have indeed moved on with our lives. She is married with two children, I have never married - I have had girlfriends, but, I guess, never met the right one although I thought I had at one point. Career-wise, I've been pretty fortunate.
We have always kept in touch via Christmas cards and, over the last 5 years, the very occasional email - maybe one a year each on top of the Christmas cards. From these emails, I know she has had a difficult past few years; both her parents have died at a fairly young age (mid 60s) from cancer and I have had the underlying feeling that all has not been well in her world: sentences such as 'I need to make some changes in my life' are things I recall from a year or two back.
A couple of months ago, she sent me an email to say that she was coming to London with her eldest child (an 11 year-old boy) for a trip and some sightseeing. She wondered if, as I live only an hour or so away, I might like to meet up. I thought it would be nice to see her again after so many years, although I was a little apprehensive as I feared we would have nothing to say to one another.
So we met up, had a meal and spent a lovely evening chatting. All my fears about our meeting were quickly vanished - it was like we hadn't seen one another for two weeks, not 20 years. It was a truly magical evening. The overall impression I had was that the young girl I had fallen in love with over 20 years ago had turned out to be a wonderful, funny and empathetic woman.
So fast forward a month and I can't stop thinking about her - I am in turmoil. My feelings for her have been reawakened - it is clear to me that - and I know this'll sounds like a cliche - she is my 'soulmate' and that I haven't met anyone like her since.
I sent a brief, bland email a few days after she'd gone back home simply saying what a pleasant evening I'd had and how good it had been to reconnect and I got something very similar back. As much as this was nice, I don't like not being true to my feelings - even though I know that I am liable to hurt a load of people (mysef included) if I speak from the heart. The issue is I don't know how she's feeling: when we met, she spoke of how her parents' deaths had made her realise that 'life is short' and that was why she wanted to see me again: so was she saying 'hello' or was it a 'goodbye'?
The safest course of action, I know, would be to do nothing and just drop her a Christmas card in 6 months: basically, virtually pretend we never met this summer and just recommence the brief, seasonal exchange of pleasantries. I am a realist; with her having a husband and children and living in another country, I know deep down it isn't feasible. But another part of me (probably the immature, selfish bit) wants to tell her how seeing her again has made me feel.
I am leaning towards the 'no action' camp of sitting tight as I know that, in another 20 years, I might regret any actions I take now. I'd welcome views and advice.
Thank you!
Welcome to JustAnswer! I am a Licensed Professional Counselor. Please note, this is not therapy, but advice. I do hope I can help you though. I see you are in a difficult situation here. Your feelings for this lady are obviously very strong. Yet, she is married and has a family.. It may be that she actually is unhappy an wa maybe testing the waters with you. On the other hand, she may be very happy in her current relationship and was just seeking a reunion to reminess some good days with you. If you were to pursue her you would risk possible disappoint on your part. Then if things went maybe as you wish, you risk tearing her apart from her family that I imagine she cares deeply for. My thoughts are, if you are to have any chance in a relatiionship with her, she would have to be the initiater of the relationship. On that note, I would encourage you to continnue the casual contact you have kept up with her over years, giving her the opportunity to re-ignite the spark if she so chooses. That might mean putting your life on hold for a slim chance at happiness that may or may not transpire. Your other option is to, at least while retaining contact with this lady, pursue happiness eleswhere. Who knows, your "soulmate" might be still out there just waiting for you to step into her life. You will never know unless you keep looking. I know this was not necessarily what you were hoping for, but i do beleive it is the wisest advice for you. If you have any further questions, please post them here. Otherewise, I hope you will leave me positive feedback so i can be compensated for my time.
John-Michaels and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
thanks for the feedback, John. You're saying almost identical things to those friends have counselled me and I will act on the advice. I couldn't bear the pain of tearing her life (or mine) apart. It's better to not know, be friends and move on. It'll be a slow process but, having gotten over her once (albeit many years ago), I'm sure I can do it again. I think a dating site may be in order!
I am glad I could be of help! Yes, a dating site just might be the thing for you. Many people are finding their "soul mates" these day through that avenue. I would think it would be an exciting adventure! Let me know if you need anything else. Thank you!