Sex Q&A: Recover from True Love Lost

Carmen’s Question:

Hi Liam,

I was involved with a man a few years ago while I was married to another man. It was a very passionate and loving relationship, but my guilt eventually ate at me – and I stopped it. Several months later, I realized that I’d made a mistake by pushing away the most romantic man I’d ever known and tried to rekindle what we had, but he (understandably) put up walls, and insisted that he couldn’t return to where we were until I was no longer married. Even though my marriage no longer has passion, my husband and I are still very good friends, we are very comfortable with each other, and we have a child who absolutely dotes on his father. I eventually found I just couldn’t risk my child’s happiness for an uncertain relationship.

My former lover is now married, and even though I know he had strong feelings for me, I get the sense that all he ever wanted was a partner – not necessarily me. I’ve come to the realization that we are not meant to be in this lifetime, and I’ve tried to move on… But every time I get to a point where I feel I’m “over” him, I get bombarded with signs that remind me of him… And those old feelings come crashing over me again. Even if I were to leave my husband at this point – my lover is recently married. I’m sure that it’s over between us… and I’m really tired of feeling these feelings for him.

I realize I made several mistakes here, now I just really want to do the right thing for everyone involved and move on. Why can’t I? Is there some kind of unfinished business I need to attend to? I’m willing to try anything to end these very painful feelings of loss and regret.

Liam’s response:

Dear Carmen, thank you for your inquiry. In reading it I wonder what it is you’re asking. I fear you come to me for comfort knowing full well I cannot provide any. Your story is a perfect illustration of the warning I have repeatedly given in this column; That thing people call “true love” always comes at great price. Love is an insanity that takes us not only to the highest realms of our ideals, but deep into the furnaces of our darkest selves. It encompasses the whole of who we are not just the parts that we prefer. All too willingly, you plunged yourself headlong into this fray without understanding the nature of the thing you were surrendering to.

A man entered your life and you opened to him. You peered into the depths of the heart and like so many you became terrified of what you saw: the annihilation of the comfortable illusion you had built for yourself and the crucifixion of the social persona you spent years constructing. So you tried to take it all back. But it doesn’t work like that. You cannot give yourself to someone with impunity. You have a lot of important justifications for choosing partnership with a friend over this love, but I fear it will be of little consolation to you from here on out. I hear the desperation with which you make the moral plea that you did it for your child. But the truth is you turned away because you were afraid. You gave up on love, because what other people think is more important to you than following the madness of your heart. That was your choice. In turning away from your lover, you closed the door on the forbidden kingdom. He wasn’t simply looking for “any relationship.” He asked you to come and be his and only his and you destroyed him when you chose as you did. He had to find solace somewhere. A woman came to him; eager to console. She knows he is not in love with her. Just as you know that he was only ever in love with you.

I can’t lie to you and pretend there is some way you can banish what you feel. You started a journey you refused to finish. All that is left is the remnants of your passions. Having made your choice, you will have to live with it. The man you love will go forward with a woman he cannot fully love. You have shackled yourself to a man you never really loved. Four lives deprived of vitality pass into numbness. If you are asking what you can do to avoid the suffering, I can think of nothing that will spare you completely. You might find some sense of relief in writing a letter; from the woman who was to the man who is now. Don’t explain the reasons for your choices. Just stroll with him down the lanes of enchantment for a moment or two and then release him to his new life. He will never be yours again, but you can give him something to carry with him through his pain. And in this gesture you yourself may find a small smile of contentment from time to time.


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13 thoughts on “Sex Q&A: Recover from True Love Lost

  1. acerhope

    my husband run off/ disappeared with a younger woman, for good. ?Ia m talking about a cheating husband. I can say it took me 15 years before I was able to fall in love with someone else “15 years AFTER”. I met this wonderful guy, he is divorced and supporting two lovely teenagers. I thought I could wait until they finished schooling. The sad part, I entered into a 2nd relationship knowing I am “in love ” with someone else. I got engaged with a man who promised me a prosperous life but turned out to be a very abusive person. Each time I don’t get to answer his calls or meet him , he would yell/screaming “F***you until he hits the ceiling/ cools down. He calls me stupid…idiot and doesn’t minced with his words about me when talking to my sister. I realized I can not go on with this abusive relationship. I closed all communications and burned my bridges , even if he said I am a loser. Money can’t buy me happiness and peace of mind. I am now trying to mend the pieces. Leaving behind a mistake and promise of a good life.
    In my heart and eyes ” my real love ” may not have all the wealth and I may need to wait but I’ll not cheat the”ONE I REALLY LOVE”

  2. saharadreams

    Wow. As if I haven’t beaten myself up enough, now I’m being hit on all sides here. Tray and Jay, I used to be you. Very smug about my judgments against people who cheated in their marriages. I’ve seen it happen and ruin other people’s lives. I’ve been married for 24 years. It’s not like I don’t know what marriage vows mean. I’ve thought— why in the world couldn’t that person just control their urges???

    You know why they couldn’t? Because they aren’t primal urges. They are soul-based urges. This man was my soulmate on every level. Unless you’ve experienced true love and have been involved in a committed relationship at the same time, you have no idea what I’m talking about. Don’t judge me unless you’ve walked a mile in my shoes.

  3. searita4

    Liam, That was brutal honesty. True love is true madness, I’ve been there. I felt you feel the pain that this man endured, I saw him too. When we act on our fears, everyone loses. Thank you for such insight you’ve given lately.

  4. yeungtsung

    Nothing lasts forever, and grace forgives fear. Please, I hope neither of you carry guilt and beat yourself up over this, and forever feel like you’ve done something wrong.

    Deep love changes who you are, yes, but we’re also here in order to choose who we are. Not everything pure comes purged through flames.

  5. Megan Willis

    I have never had that kind of love with anybody in along time. I might not say I am in love, but I am kind of. I met this nice guy at HEB where he works at, but we never gone out with each other yet. I so hope he will go out with me. I want a rationship that is fun.

  6. Bella Donna

    this is happening to me right now..Im in love with someone..who i fear thru my own fears im pushing away..I love him, but my fears on trust is such a huge issues. Yet i dont feel like he is helping lay my fears to hurts when he tells me Im pushing him away..i feel at times like he is the one, my soul mate. but then i get scared, i freak and break up with him..he tells me he never knows how i am going to react with him..I dont want to lose him, how does one deal with trust issues..I wish i knew.

  7. saharadreams

    I am the Carmen who wrote this letter…. and I believe this entry falls under, “be careful what you ask unless you are willing to hear the brutal truth.” ;P Seriously, though— thank you, Liam, for your answer.

    You are, of course, correct in your assessment that my actions were based mainly on fear. I knew that at the time as well, and even discussed this with the man I was involved with.

    I feel in my defense, I must say that— since my mistake– I’ve done several past life regressions involving my experience with this man, and I discovered that we have a karmic connection that involves not just a few, but several cases of abandonment and loss. 99% of the time, I have been the one who was left behind. And even in lifetimes where I set aside my fear in order to be with him— I was still “abandoned” by him (sometimes it was his choice, other times it was not). I feel I was upfront with him throughout our relationship, honestly sharing my ‘irrational’ fears of not being able to share a life with him even if I left my husband (this is before I was fully aware of the past lives, but I always had a feeling we were “star-crossed” in some way). And yes— even though I do have very strong concerns over what could happen to my very vibrant child as a result of a messy divorce— you are correct that fear is what eventually led me to turn away.

    We are still friends (in the sense that we email each other every once in a while). I have already wished him well with his new wife. I really do want him to be happy, even if he’s not with me. But even after all that, I still have a hard time moving on. I wasn’t looking for comfort, necessarily. I think somewhere deep down, I was just hoping that later in this lifetime I might have a chance to rectify the situation, and that’s the reason I couldn’t stop thinking about him. However, it sounds like that’s not the case. 🙁 Maybe in the next lifetime.

    I found your words saying you would shed a tear for him to be very powerful. Please know that I, too, continue to shed tears for him… yes, a lot of those tears are for me, but more than a few have been over the pain I know he felt when this all happened. I never wanted to hurt him.

  8. tray

    Sorry, I have a different take. Carmen, the feelings of loss and regret you’re dealing with are part of your payment for violating a sacred vow. Lots of married people think it’s OK to play fast and loose with their wedding vows, especially when someone comes along that makes their hormones thump and jump. But oaths aren’t just words, they set things in motion and come with expectations and ramifications. Early on you had the option of choosing to honor your vows and commitment and therefore walk on by when Mr. Wonderful appeared. You chose not to. Nothing is free in life and certainly not the exhilaration you found with him outside of your marriage. We all reap what we sow. You casually and conveniently laid aside a good man and son so you could selfishly fool around.

    When you say you “want to do the right thing and move on” it’s better late than never to “do the right thing” but do you really mean it or are you simply playing games with yourself and with what you use for a conscience? If you’re serious then tell your husband, sincerely ask his forgiveness, take his wrath and pain and work with it, and do all you can to heal the tear you made in your family. Also, grow up, stop feeling sorry for yourself, and do whatever it takes to put thoughts of your tryst from your mind. And stop clinging to it by dramatically romanticizing in your mind. Either that or file for divorce and wait around for Mr. Perfect. Cheating takes no special talents, honoring one’s word and doing right does.

  9. Patricia Brown

    Oh Liam, you are so right. I walked this path as well. I have loved my gentleman since I was 13 and I am now sixty. We reunited finally two years ago and were lovers for 13 months. Because I couldn’t trust him and what we have together, I have lost him again. I divorced my husband of 38 years (that I never loved, but he was financially secure) I am now alone and miss my true love and know soul deep that I will never be truly happy again on this plane. I have two wonderful adult children and a beautiful granddaughter that fill my life. I will just never have that soul connection and feeling of completeness again and it is a very empty feeling.

  10. cassie1

    Liam, your insights on true love have inspired me for some time now. Yes, true love comes at a high cost. At the cost of identity as it is purified in the fire of the divine. And, it is a madness. It defies all logic. I was fortunate to find my love. And, his wife learned about us about a week ago. He is now deciding whether comfortable illusion, a sense of obligation and fear are more important to him than is the re-uniting of souls that is Us. My wail to the Universe is for him to love himself enough to know, clearly, the power of this time of decision. And for him to find comfort in whatever his decision may be. I have offered to keep hope alive for the both of us. Such an promise is not a difficult one for me to make because I know that he is the one. Regardless of what transpires throughout his decision-making process and in the time yet to come, I will leave my heart open. To close it would serve only to compound the tragedy should he decide some day change his mind. And, it would leave me bitter rather than appreciative.

  11. believerbeliever


    Your responses are always so beautifully poetic…”four lives, deprived of vitality, pass into numbness”…a tragic love story indeed.


  12. chrissiem

    I also walked this path but I actually thought I’d moved on….until I heard that he’d died, now I don’t even know if what I thought was my true self is or if I am a mask of myself. we split because of my immature behaviour, I was a very selfish teen, and would go out of my way to get what I wanted, he then went through with an arranged marriage, which his parents had been pressing him to do for some time and I went on to marry someone who only married me because my parents wouldn’t let us live together, this failed after a year, and I went through a string of disastrous relationships which concluded with such an abusive one that I actually lost my home, and was left with a series of debts which took years to clear. now I am married again with a son of 18 but live with my mother in law because my husband cannot afford to rent nor buy us a place, and since I heard of my ex’s death I feel very alone, to make matters worse, about 4 years ago a mutual friend offered to take me to see him and I refused as each time we saw each other after the initial split we’d got back together, which was why he’d moved as far away as he did, as his wife had come from a remote village and had no experience of life elsewhere, and had been married to him by proxy,as he’d refused to go to India. now I wish I had gone to see him…


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