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Regrets for what might have been

A woman finds it hard to forgive herself for losing the love of her life.

QUESTION:

I’m a woman in my early 60s and am very depressed. I’m in a relationship with a man I love but I am not “in love” with him.

Before I met him I was with a much younger man. We met through friends and there was an instant attraction.

He was in a relationship at the time and told me he was very unhappy. So we arranged to see each other.

We clicked as if we had known each other for eternity. Our intimacy was so heated we needed cold showers. I loved him dearly, I was in love with him and still am today.

Two years into our relationship I started treating him terribly. For no fault of his own, I hit him.

He looked at me and walked out, rang me the next day and said it was over. That was 13 years ago. I’ve felt sick inside ever since. There’s not a moment I don’t think about him. He is such a beautiful human being.

He lives 8km away. Every time I drive past I want to stop, knock on his door and ask for forgiveness. Even my kids said I treated him with little respect in the last few months. I wouldn’t admit it then. I’m so sorry for what I did. What do I do?

ANSWER:

It is highly likely your ex-partner is now in a long-term relationship and quite possibly has a family of his own. It is also likely to be very unsettling and disruptive for your ex if you land on his doorstep asking for forgiveness.

The panel suggests you think about why, and what you hope to gain after all this time. Rather than focus on something that is well and truly in the past, look at your current relationship, and find ways to rebuild your connection with your partner.

Typically the swooning “being in love” phase of a relationship tends to last between several months and two years. Our body is flooded with endorphins and the love we feel occurs in a passive way, to us.

On the other hand, “to love” is active. We choose to be respectful, honest, caring and kind to our partner, wanting the best for the other person.

The panel suggests it would be helpful to see a professional counsellor. You will be able to discuss your current relationship, to explore how you may enhance it and find ways to forgive yourself over past mistakes, without risking upsetting someone you care about.

Contact your GP regarding your depression and discuss the possibility of seeing a psychologist as part of a Mental Health plan.

Submit Your Questions

Have you got a question you’d like us to tackle?

Fill out the form below or send questions to Family Forum, The Advertiser, 31 Waymouth St, Adelaide 5000.

We treat communications in strict confidence except when the law demands otherwise, as in child abuse.

Relationships Australia (SA) appoints panels of general practitioners, medical specialists, lawyers, therapeutic and financial counsellors to discuss each letter before the appropriate professional answers it.

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