Reconnect With a Former Love?

After losing a spouse, it is not uncommon to find your mind wondering what ever happened to your first/second/third girlfriend.  This backwards magnetism can be especially strong if that prior coupling did not end bitterly; it may have just run its course, or you went away to college, etc.

There is certainly a built-in comfort factor to being with a previous flame.  Successful re-kindlers often use the words “comfortable” and “familiar” when describing their relationships. This is not surprising.  After all, the reunited couple often grew up in the same community during their formative years, may have went to school together or shared a peer group, and they were often close to their first love’s family.

The “guru” on this phenomena is Nancy Kalish, Ph.D. (, who has been conducting research on reunited couples since 1993 and is recognized as the international expert on rekindled romances and lost loves. Her landmark study of 1,001 people worldwide who tried reunions with former sweethearts was reported in her popular book, Lost & Found Lovers: Facts and Fantasies of Rekindled Romances. She has also written The Lost Love Chronicles: Reunions and Memories of First Love (2005) which appears in e-book, audiobook, and Kindle formats.

In her research, she found that 37% of the participants were in their 40s and 50s when they reunited with their lost loves, 10% reconnected between the ages of 60 to 70, and 4% were in their 80s or 90s. Longevity, of course, is a factor in the decreasing percentages with age. But although the numbers of reunions decreased with advancing age, the success of those reunions increased.

Dr. Kalish also warned about possible stumbling blocks. She noted, “By 2005, two-thirds of my new survey participants were in extramarital affairs. Seniors were no exception. Most of the extramarital affairs started with innocent email exchanges; usually the adults who initiated the correspondence were divorced or widowed but found that their lost loves were married. Neither of them planned to become involved in an affair, but the correspondence escalated quickly: email led to phone calls, and the vocal reconnection led to a face-to-face meeting, which usually began an affair.”

And even if you both are “available” to each other, your children may not be pleased with your choice.  After all, it can look like you’re saying that she is the person you should have married, to say nothing about fears of inheritance!

Woody Allen once observed that “the heart wants what the heart wants,” and it may indeed take you into your past.  Just keep your wits about you and let us know what happens.  As always, strive for happiness.


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