Fifty years later, a broken heart is healed


Dear Amy: Fifty years ago, my heart was broken — absolutely shattered, actually — when my first real love essentially ghosted me after an intense two years (including living together) that had all the hallmarks of Happily-Ever-After.

When a year later I was still broken and mourning to a degree I felt was unhealthy, I gathered my wits, sold my possessions, and left town by joining the Air Force.

And from that one choice my life changed, gradually, but all for the better.

Today, I’m retired after a complex and gratifying life that’s included world travel, several additional years of higher education, a satisfying teaching career, and last but not least, 34 years with the right person, the love of my life and truly the best, most supportive, complimentary partner I could have asked for.

My question: I know how to contact Mr. Long-ago and keep finding myself wanting to reach out one time (NOT take up extended contact) to thank him for setting all that in motion and say that I hope his life has been equally fulfilling.

Is this an imprudent idea that should be squelched, or would it be nice, acceptable closure to a 50-year-old heartbreak?

— Questioning Closure

Dear Questioning: Would contacting Mr. Long Ago wrap things up nicely for you, or might this contact open the lid to a box that contains 50 years of questions and emotions? Might it trigger some latent longing for Mr. Long Ago?

I don’t know.

I do know that the life you are describing: Complicated, expansive, and graced by a very long-lasting love with the right person — is the essence of Happy-Ever-After. Good for you!

I think it’s an important and very human impulse to try to pull the skeins of your life together, as long as you prepare yourself for the variables. Mr. Long Ago might continue to ghost you. He might question your motives and resent the encroachment. His memory of these long-ago events might be radically different from yours.


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