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BellaOnline's Midlife Editor

A Word About Former Boyfriends

I have been wondering what it means when a former boyfriend - and I mean former, as in about thirty plus years former - keeps popping up in my thoughts. I must say, though, that it feels like only last week or last month...

For example, for the past year or more, I have been having dreams, such vivid dreams, of that former boyfriend. We had been engaged when I was younger. I saw him several times after we broke up; once when I was pregnant with my daughter (he asked me to come back to him then - and, how I wanted to, but was afraid); and again when I passed the martial arts school he owned on my way to my daughter's softball game in his hometown. My daughter was about fourteen at the time.

My personal feeling is that, when something like this happens, the constant dreaming of them or thinking about them, usually means some type of omen, or message, that something is going on with that person. I keep thinking about how the dream was so real to life. My mind wanders to - maybe he is ill; maybe he is divorcing; maybe, he is having some type of life-alterting matter in his life at this time.

I would imagine this happens to other women as well. These dreams are not letting go right now. They keep coming and going lately. I am wondering, though, if the message is more to do with me, and what that message is. My ex-fiance was always involved in so many things to better himself, that I found myself having to revolve around his life - and constantly I had to somehow find a way to fit into his schedule - because he sure wasn't about to compromise.

He was putting himself through college, and he was also taking martial arts classes at night. He was working two jobs also. It had gotten to the point of ridiculousness - only seeing him when he got off work from his bartending job on Friday and Saturday nights, somewhere around 11:00 or 11:30 pm.. By that time, more often than not, I had given up the ghost and fallen asleep on the living room sofa waiting for him - shortly before he would arrive after work. He would try quietly (my parents, sister and brother were asleep), in vain, to knock on the front door armed with a take-out order of veal cutlet parmigiana from his restaurant to soothe my ruffled feathers.

Boy, would I hear about it the next day when he called me to chastise me for not coming to the door! But truth be told, although I loved our (little) time together - I sacrificed a lot - in order to settle for little crumbs of his time. My life was worth a lot more than that - and my future. But in order for us to have a relationship, one of us had to revolve around the other's schedule - that was me. And, because of that I truly feel I was cheated in a way and I had to put my own pursuits on a back-burner. I was always in a holding pattern - with him calling all the shots. It certainly was an unbalanced situation. That was also MY time - the time in my own life when I should have been exploring and discovering me, what I wanted - which direction to go in for my future - I should have been honing my own skills and talents and in hindsight - I should have gone to college myself. I've regretted the fact that I didn't my entire life. One of my biggest regrets.

In some small way, because I was so supportive of my former beau, I feel I played a part, albeit small, in his successes today. I typed all his college reports, sat with him through his homework and library work; was there for him whenever he needed a hand to hold. We had a four year history together - and I loved him truly with a pure, innocent love. He has never left my heart.

But, knowing what I know now, I wish I had been pursuing my own interests instead of constantly putting my dreams, hopes and wishes aside. He, or, the relationship, robbed me of coming into my own at that time, and while he treated me well (the little I saw of him), I feel I should have been pursuing my own dream. I remember one summer he bought a small boat. Because I have sensitive, Irish skin I always burn very quickly in the sun. That summer he told me if I did not go with him on the boat all summer, he was going to go without me, so once again, even though I felt it was not healthy for me to be out in the sun so much with my fair skin, I gave in. There never seemed to be any compromise in the relationship - especially if he desired to do something.

We broke up four months after becoming engaged -we had a terrible fight and I took the ring off and gave it back to him. In retrospect, I think I subconsciously sabatoged the relationship, and found a way to end it -suffice it to say it was complicated - but he had allowed at least two people to come between us - a jealous person/friend/relative who was whispering in his ear that he should test our relationship (for months) and separately, he let another woman come between us even though it was for a short while - it devastated me to my core at the time. It all had to do, I think, with who he was listening to at the time - and his pride and ego. He should have come to me for the answers - for the truth. I was so afraid he might hurt me again, even though we had become engaged. Oh, the pain - bittersweet memories.

He took someone else's critiques of me and tried to test me instead of believing in me. I came to realize that when people see a couple like us, so happy and so full of life and of promise - some unhappy, envious people will try to sabatoge what they have together - in our case, they eventually succeeded as I guess I could never get passed the hurt of the 'other woman' or of the fact that he broke up with me just as summer was starting after graduation.

The day I married someone else, which was seven months after our breakup, my former beau had called my home to ask if he could see me, completely unaware that I was a few steps away from the phone - along with my new husband (now ex) -- my sister had to break the news to him that I had just married. My sister said she will never forget how his voice cracked with emotion as she told him I had just been married. Was it Karma? Did he bring all that aftermath upon us and our relationship when he didn't do the right thing by me? His listening to other people who had their own agenda - looking to break us up - then leaving me suddenly for someone else when there was never a question that I loved him. I was always true blue. I saw myself living a beautiful life with him - and then Fate took a turn on us - and WE were no more...

I also ran into his Mom one day in a department store not long after - I was there with my 1 1/2 year old daughter and my sister. His mother called out to me "Kathie, why didn't you wait for my son?!? - he was doing it for you" It absolutely tore me apart to hear her say that - as I knew I had made a terrible mistake shortly after marrying (the wrong man). There was nothing I could do (or so I felt at the time). My fate was sealed. For many months I recalled that moment - how his Mother looked so angry at me - and how I attempted to walk over to her to try to talk to her - but she was speaking loudly and I was getting embarrassed in front of the other customers, so after trying to speak to her in hushed tones, and getting nowhere, I turned and exited...

It's strange how you can be attracted to people who are the complete opposites of the love that went before. That former beau and my present 'significant other' - both have wonderful qualities unique to them - but each totally unlike the other. It is a small world as my beau and I recently dug up the past in discussions one day and we suddenly realized that they had met each other a very long time ago through mutual friends.

One thing I do know - our relationships have a hand in molding us into the people we are today. I will always wonder 'What If'...

I welcome your comments and feedback. Please visit our forum, where there are articles on relationship issues. Your emails are always welcome - drop me a note and I will reply to you.

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