He was the first "big L" in my life, and hands down the most intense relationship ever. We only dated for about a year, but after some wound-liocking time for me after the breakup, we got back in contact, and had what could only be described as "an intimate and romantic friendship" for the next ten years. One of his former girlfriends recognized that about us, those were her words, and she was right, though there was nothing sexual going on. I carried a torch for most of that time, even though we were seeing other people, at some level I really pined for him and maybe even believed at some point we'd be a couple again. I was a late bloomer, afraid of moving forward in my life and exploring new options in many ways, but he was a bona fide grown up by his mid twenties, very focused on his artistic and career goals, and we had a falling out that the friendship never recovered from. Mostly my fault, though he could have handled it more gracefully, too. He had high expectations of me, and I didn't live up to my creative potential in his eyes, among other things.
Cut to about 12 or 13 years later, having had no contact with him, I decided to google him, since I knew he was working in the film industry and starting to make a real name for himself. I'd done it once or twice before and knew generally of his film projects, but this time I found pictures, and it really blew me away to actually see his face after all these years. Like no time had passed, even though it feels like another lifetime. I think he's married, and so am I (happily), and I doubt I will ever see or talk to him again, but part of me still feels really sad about this on occasion, and I don't know if it's the lack of closure, or just regrets that I blew a lovely friendship with someone I really cared deeply for. Or that he represents a time in my life when I was more idealistic about things, about my future and my creative life. I was also a lot more emotionally imbalanced and immature, and I'm glad I left some of that girl behind, but part of her I really miss - the idealistic artist who never would have settled for the mundane life I have now, at least in terms of my career choices.
I actually tried to send him a note through a mutual acquaintance a few years ago, I don't know if he got it, but I never heard back. My hunch is he did, or he at least knew I was trying to contact him, but he'd moved on and had no further interest in speaking to me. Which should be fine with me. I should be able to leave the past in the past, but for some reason I can't seem to with this guy. I still have dreams about him, and while the romance and sex is good with my husband, on a level that feels like a real soul connection to me and I certainly feel grateful that fate brought us together, nothing has really matched the intensity of what I felt for this guy in my 20's, though a good portion of it was pain - a lot of it (though I was a bit of a drama queen, so I brought a lot of it on myself). I would never do anything to jeopardize my relationship with my husband, and even if renewing the friendship was a possibility, I would let it go (with some regret) if it bothered my husband, but I can imagine myself with a small hole in my heart permanently at the loss of this person that was so dear to me at one time.
Maybe I'm romanticizing the past and the nostalgia factor has warped my memory somehow? Maybe he's just one of those really charismatic men who's left a trail of at least 20 other women like me who are googling his pictures and projects, and still have dreams about him. Maybe it's just what he represents, that I wish I could start over and do some things differently. Or maybe we were lovers or very closely tied in a past life....
I know many people have an old flame or "the one that got away" stories, and I'm curious to hear about others' experiences and thoughts on this topic. What's the significance of these intense relationships from earlier in our lives? Are they relevant only to that time?