QUESTION: Dear C and G,
This is the first time I have ever asked for advice via the internet. That being said I found your site, and after reading some Q and A's I got up the intestinal fortitude to ask seek some insight for myself.
John and I were both stationed together in the military, he as an officer and I as an enlisted rank. I had a huge crush on him the first moment I saw him! About two years down the road our unit is abroad and we are all out on liberty. John and I happen to walk into the same bar and he spots me before I see him and sends a beer over to me. Later that evening we are both at the bar and he tells me, "I hope I don't offend you but you are very hot". I express that I found him very attractive as well. Now it starts... for several months later we kept almost "colliding", so to speak with one another. Friends on each side always seemed to separate us at the end of the night. Finally another country later we were able to be alone together. It was an extreme night of passion that I have never forgotten! He expressed that he thought I was beautiful and how he wished that one of us was out of the military (in regards to the fraternization issue). Shortly after this night I volunteer to go to Iraq.
Ever since that night I have never been able to care about another man in that same way. Seven years down the road I see him on facebook... However, I leave it alone because I had a feeling that he had moved on and was most likely married. A little over a year of me having a fb account, I receive a message from him one day! He says that he saw me on someone's list and just thought he would say hi and immediately asks me where I am at. I was so shocked and excited that he had contacted me, then reality starts to creep up on me. We exchange more messages where he compliments me on my photos and is quite persistent on finding out where I am. I was very coy and vague as to my whereabouts. Then I send him a friend request and see that he is married with very small children. Ya see the five messages prior to me sending this request he told me pretty much everything about his life except that. Now my conscience is no longer comfortable with talking with him, I felt guilty and disrespectful to his wife and children. I messaged him one last message to explain my feelings that I had been harboring for him all this time, and how I needed to quite communicating with him as I now knew that he was very obligated. I unfriended him and thought that would be the end of it. Not so, he sends me a message telling me that he completely understood where I was coming from and how the last thing he wanted was to make me feel awkward or uncomfortable. He said he understood what I was describing because it was very similar to what he was feeling as well. He said "I know that on some level, I myself always kind of wondered if we might run across each other again in person - actually I found myself thinking about it quite a bit...". In attempt to paraphrase the ending, he says that he appreciates his family and wouldn't want to jeopardize them in any way but found himself worried that if he were ever around me again in person he might not have the willpower to fight wanting to be with me.
I presume it is quite obvious to you how conflicted and stuck I am over this man. I felt empowered sending him my farewell/pour my guts out message, then he went and sent that! Ever since his reply I have been quite a failure at letting him go. My heart aches for this man and I haven't been able to stop thinking about him! It has become quite intrusive in my life and every night laying in my bed thinking about him gets me dangerously close to sending him another message. So far my moral convictions have been the only thing keeping me from that... I guess my questions for you two gentlemen are... Could this man actually reciprocate my feelings or could he be seeking an affair disguised as eloquent sincere correspondence? Why would he contact me after nine years?
GARLAND: Hey Jane-
Sounds like you’re in a tough spot. I think the biggest part of this issue is the NINE YEARS that have passed. You’ve had NINE YEARS to polish and shape and place the memory of your night with him up on the Mantle of Perfection and Eternal Ecstasy. I assure you that the man you spent the night with nine years ago has changed in many ways, he has since moved through the military, met and fell in love with a woman he chose to marry and he has fathered children with her and he’s done 10,000 other things to make him a different man from who he was when you were together.
Could he reciprocate your feelings? Anything is possible, but I have to tell you that my gut tells me that you are borrowing drama by messing with this guy. I think that there is too much for him to lose to risk anything with you or any woman that is not his wife. I’m sure that you’ve changed too and he has placed that time with you up on his mantle as well, that might be why he Facebooked you in the first place. With millions of people on Facebook, I think everyone browses for people from their past, old loves, old frieds, old enemies, people that owe them money, lots of people - this "John" fellow probably looked you up to simply say, "Hello." He probably shouldn't have, but that was his choice - I wouldn't look too deeply into it. I hope that everyone on Facebook doesn't want to have an intimate relationship with someone from their past that they shoot a message too - if I'm wrong, I'd better have a talk with my wife!
But, think about it for a moment, would you REALLY REALLY want to be with a man that goes to his wife, the mother of his children, the woman he vowed to love forever and says to her, “Uh, baby, this woman that I slept with nine years ago is on Facebook, and nine years ago she seemed pretty nice so I’m gonna’ file for divorce from you and I’m gonna’ see the kids twice a month and I’m gonna’ get a little apartment in another state and I’m gonna’ see if her and I can get that hot sexy night back. So, I’m outta’ here.” You really want to be with this guy? You want to trust a cold-blooded guy like that with your heart? Hmmm, if you do – be prepared for the day he comes to you with the story of the woman he slept with 12 years ago who’s on Twitter.
I hate to sound so cold, but I don’t do this blog to sell warm and fuzzy nonsense to ladies with questions. I understand that the night you had with this guy was special to you, that’s great. But if you are even remotely serious about your own well being, wish this guy well, tell him that he’ll always be a special memory to you and tell him not to contact you again – unfriend him and don’t look back. Trust me – HE CAN AND WILL NEVER LIVE UP TO THE IMAGE YOU HAVE WITH HIM IN YOUR MIND. Move on and let him and his family be happy and find your joy with another man. Good luck.
CHUCK: We all have our romantic ideals. Those transcendent experiences that we look back on, and compare our current experiences to, often unfavorably. But the past is the past, and we can't live the rest of our lives there. I mean, you're telling us that nine years have passed, and your experience with this officer has not be been equaled by anyone you've been with since. I would have to think that, at least partially, you won't let anyone else into your life sufficiently to compare to that experience.
As for the Facebook thing, if you're asking whether this guy could not reciprocate your feelings, but is just looking to get laid, despite the fact that he now has a wife and children, I think it's a likely possibility. You've blown this encounter up so much in your head that you're willing to play a part in wrecking this man's home. Don't do it. As Garland says, if he's willing to throw his marriage and kids away for a Facebook contact, he'll do it to you, as well.
You've kept your time with this man in a sacred place, but I think it's way past time to stop living in the past and get with the future, Jane. You've seen that there is no future with Mr. Facebook, so I think you need to finally move on. Lingering over one guy like this isn't healthy, Especially when he has shown you that he is capable of moving on. Close the chapter, Jane, and stop torturing yourself.