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Six years ago I met a man whom I dated consistently for three years. He was successful, adventurous and full of life. We always had a great time no matter what we did and we both supported each other in every way. I was 20 and he was 23. We were so young and considered each other our "first love." At 23, I was accepted into a graduate program in another state and knew I could not pass on this opportunity. He had a successful career in our hometown and could not move. We decided we were on two completely different paths and did not want to hinder each other from being successful. We separated. Since then we have dated other people and have had little to no contact. Three years have gone by and I moved back home about two months ago. Almost like clockwork he has been texting me and inviting me to hang out with him. I know he wants to rekindle our romance but so much time has passed, we have both grown and truthfully I don't know how long I will remain here. I have strong feelings towards him still but can't bare breaking his heart if I move away a second time. My career field has a high demand and I would jump at the opportunity to move to a larger city. Do I hang out with him and try to remain friendly? Do I avoid him? Should I rekindle the romance even if it is short-lived? HELP!
Dear Conflicted Lover:
I'm a strong believer that our first love teaches us how to love. In your situation it appears you learned how to love in a healthy way. In other situations, our first love teaches us what love is not. With that being said, for a majority of us we always remember our first love. The way they made us feel, all the fun we had and the unforgettable memories. It is hard to not want to go back to a relationship that was so great. If you decide you want to "hang out" with friendly intentions, chances are your feelings will only grow stronger. Ignoring him will probably cause you undue stress and if you both hang out in the same circles it will be nearly impossible to avoid him. You are both older and wiser by now. You are more established in your career. One of the main reasons you two separated is because you did not want to impede each other from pursuing your goals. You must consider if pursuing this relationship would negatively affect his or your pursuits of your goals. You also mention the fact that you would jump at the opportunity to move to a larger city to further your career. Is he now able to move with you? Are you willing to try a long-distance relationship? Only you can answer that.
I have always lived by a creed of not missing out on an opportunity. If you truly still love him, you should try to rekindle the relationship. There are many "what ifs" in your life right now regarding this relationship and your career and I would hate for you to not try to make this relationship work only to regret it later. Now that you are both in your late 20s, you two are mature enough to sit down and decide what you want in life and from each other. Most people are looking for a long-term relationship at this point in life. Maybe you are or aren't and me he is or isn’t, but you should both discuss it.
If I were in your situation I would follow your heart but also be realistic with what you are looking for. Have a serious conversation and see where you both stand. Most importantly, do the right thing for you. You cannot live a full, prosperous life by putting others first. Love yourself, accomplish your goals and the right person will fit into your life.