Married man transfixed by old girlfriend
I am a 55-year-old happily married man with two teenage children. Last week I was on a business trip and decided to connect with an old college girlfriend who I had last seen five years ago when she brought her daughter to our area to look at colleges. As I had a morning flight home the next day, she asked if I wanted to stay at her house out in the suburbs. This woman is, like me, happily married (or so it seems). She picked me up at the train station, brought me back to her house, made dinner and introduced me to her other daughter. Our conversation was deep, intensely intellectual, and full of laughs. She is a soulful person (poet and writer) with as much depth and intelligence as any woman I have ever been around. We spent a great deal of time talking about challenges in our professional lives, but also about college searches, our friends from our own college days, etc. Her husband returned from a business trip late that night and I met him as well. She clearly has a wonderful family (as do I).
I had an early flight the next morning. When everyone went to bed the prior night I indicated that I would take Uber or a cab to the airport. She ended up getting up before 6 (on a Saturday morning, no less), made breakfast for me and insisted on taking me. I put up little resistance, if only because I wanted to spend more time with her. Our ride to the airport was about a half-hour and the conversation during the ride was again deep and meaningful.
Shortly after arriving back home, I e-mailed her to thank her for being such a terrific host, for driving me to the airport, and for her wonderful company. I told her that she was "as deep and as soulful as ever" and that she lived true to the phrase "carpe diem". She responded by lavishing me with compliments; she told me I was a "beautiful, agile writer", that I was compassionate and "warm and engaging". She said that she even searched the Web for some ideas on how to advance a business idea I had. She closed by saying "It was wonderful to be with you".
The backstory is that we dated during my senior year of college (we met working on our college newspaper), but my mother had died during the previous year and I had real intimacy problems. I was afraid of anyone getting too close to me, and when she got too close I pushed back. It was the only romantic relationship I ever regretted ending. She told friends that I had broken her heart.
Some two and a half days since my return home, I continue to be transfixed by the time I spent with her. Some 35 years after our breakup, we were still clicking, and I was participating in a mind fuck. I've been looking at photos of her on her Facebook page and have been thinking about her constantly. I want to emphasize that I am truly happily married to an amazing, supportive wife and MVP mom. I continue to wonder how it is possible for me to have mired myself in obsession like this when I wasn't searching for it. I assume that unlike me, she has put her amorous feelings for me well behind her. I need to move on and do the same, but I'm having a rough time doing it.
There is one thing that happened during my stay that has me particularly fouled up. She and I are both Jewish, and like many Jewish parents, she blesses her children on Friday nights. When we sat at dinner, she blessed her daughter, but asked that I hold hands with both her and her daughter while she recited the brief blessing. Again, perhaps this was completely innocent, but in that moment I found myself spiritually at one with her.
Since her daughter (who she blessed) will be attending college about five miles from our house starting this fall, I will probably be seeing more of this woman for years to come. She also has some upcoming professional commitments not too far away from here. I fear that with every further encounter I will fall further for her and do something that I might regret.
What do I do about this??
Dear married man transfixed by old girlfriend,
What you're going through is completely normal; being in a relationship for all those years, you, and many more, miss the feelings you get when you first meet a person you like. All the talking the laughing the first touch the butterflies... Even though you are in a happy relationship, you are just intrigued by the teenage feelings she gave you.
I would advice you to take a step back and think of all the reasons you fell for your woman. Think about her, her smile, her heart, her mind... Every detail that just warms your heart. I would add that you take your wife on a romantic first date and just flirt like you used to. Once you regain those honeymoon feelings, I bet your old girlfriend wouldn't appear as a danger to you.