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How loyal are we to the memory of an old love?

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Question - (31 July 2010) 5 Answers - (Newest, 23 August 2010)
A female United Kingdom age 41-50, anonymous writes:

A generic question - you fall in love or develop a rather major crush on someone, and for whatever reason your feelings are never openly declared to the other person. How long do they hold a special place in your heart for?

In my experience, and I am a female (though I am really not sure this is the case for all other women, so I speak only for myself here) I am fiercely loyal to the memory of anyone I have liked but have never “had”, and I have no doubt that most extinguished flames from my past could be reignited given the right circumstances. I am not even sure that there is a time-limit for me, but if there is, it would be several years after which I might draw a mental line through that memory and move on (I’m not saying I would stand still for the entire time, no no! But I could be open to fancying that person again because the memory of them still makes me feel warm and fuzzy…)

My question is around how loyal men and women are to a memory of a love that never quite came to be (by "loyal" I do not mean forsaking all others, but rather retaining a very special place in our hearts). Is it just me that offers this unspoken loyalty towards the unwitting object of my affections for such a long time or do you also? How does it work for you? Are you able to control how long someone remains in your head and heart? Are they there forever? Could you reignite the same passion that you once felt for someone, or does it just go away for you the moment you realise it’s not going to happen?

Thanks aunts and uncles!

View related questions: crush, move on, my ex

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A reader, anonymous, writes (23 August 2010):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Better late than never - thank you to all who responded. I'm not entirely sure of my motives for the question, I guess I just wanted to know I'm not alone in feeling that way!

To both anonymous respondents - aww, I hear you...!

Thanks again! x

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (1 August 2010):

I like your question...I do have a special place in my heart and still pray for one or two special people from the past...I cared about them as people, even if we never got to develop a close a relationship...one particular case...we were parted and it has been at least five years...and we may never see each other again...though we actually have a couple mutual friends...but I have never forgotten and still cherish a few special memories...so I totally understand. If I had genuine pure 'love' or affection for someone and respected them...I do hold them in my heart as I continue to go through life.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (1 August 2010):

Its a fairy tale,they will have changed and so will you. You have not changed together.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (1 August 2010):

I am 28, so I still remember most all my little crushes. None hold a special place in my heart.

There was one boy. My first real love. I was only 12 years old or so. I liked him so much. When I was like 15 or something, we both were at a friends and ended up kissing and admitting to liking each other. Things would never work out in the end and he was never "mine."

This kept happening. We kept having sexual encounters that were fiercely intimate and beautiful, but it'd never work out.

Yet I loved him all of my high school year.

I went off to college and coincidentally, we met in New York when I was 20. He took me to dinner and we talked and acted like adults. We tried to, at least. In truth, we were two little kids that had fierce crushes on each other that had never ended. We talked about our "old days" as if we were ridiculous.

We ended up making love that night. I've had lovers and boyfriends and experimented and etc. etc. Never has anything been so great. But it was always him. It will always be him. He left a week later. It always hurt, all the times he left. He never became mine. Now, 8 years later, never having TRULY contacted him for the last 5 years, and having been in numerous relationships, he still owns a special spot in my heart. I dream about him coming back for me. I've been waiting 16 years.

I will always love him. He was special to me before I knew people could be that special! When I was twenty-three, I asked an old friend for his number. I contacted him and we chatted awkwardly. He was getting married. At the end of our conversation, he said that he did, he will always, love me.

His wife called off the wedding because she felt "it just wasn't right". Everyone knew, and so it was no surprise to him that I emailed him a month later, expressing my love and sincerity and my sorrow for him. He wrote back to me thanking me and such. Telling me what a special girl I always was to him. I never ended up writing back. It would've just become another going off again. Whenever I've come in contact with this man, this boy, this lover of mine, it is so intimate and endearing. Even when speaking as friends, an "Oh Darling" or a "My lovely, lovely, girl.." always comes into play with a slight moan and smile.

I will remember him more than I'll remember the boy I lost my virginity to, my first date, etc.

I haven't talked to him for five years now. I hear he's doing brilliantly. Head of a huge company. Lot's of money. Great guy. Everyone is so surprised he hasn't married after Joanna dumped him...

Yes. I will always be hopelessly in love with him. Unfortunately, he's the love of my life. I will always cling to the memories of my childhood of him.

Darling, I am engaged. I'm engaged and faithful and wonderfully in love with my groom. But he doesn't own my heart in the same way. It isn't as horrible as it seems.

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A female reader, Moo's Mum New Zealand +, writes (1 August 2010):

Moo's Mum agony auntI do have a special place in my heart for my first love but not crushes. They are long gone in the memory banks.

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