Q & A: Reuniting With a Lost Love
>1. Who are the prime candidates to rekindle a romance?
The most successful rekindled romances were lost lovers who had been 17 or younger at the time of the initial romance -- first loves -- and had separated for situational reasons, like "parents disapproved," "moved away." "went off to college," etc. Age of the couples didn't matter -- if they were 18 or 95, the romance worked the second time. In fact, the older they were for the reunion, the better their chances of success.
>2. Is Lost & Found Love successful the second time around?
Yes! In my sample of 2000 people worldwide, ages 18 to 95, 72% of them reported that they are "still together" with their lost and found lover. And these weren't just "good" romances; these were wildly sexual, soul mate reunions. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder!
>3. What if the couples had been "first loves"?
First loves had the highest "stay together" rate -- 78% are happily reunited, and remain blissfully in love over their many years of marriage.
>4. Are rekindled romances more intense than other loves?
Yes. I asked participants to rate the emotional involvement of the rekindled romance, as compared to all their other loves in the past, and 71% of them said that this was their most intense romance of all. Additionally, 61% of the participants said that the rekindled romance started faster than any other romance in the past, and that the sexual involvement was the BEST (63%).
>5. Why does rekindled love endure?
The couples grew up together, they spent their formative years together, and many of the first loves reported that the lost love became "the standard" for all their other romances. They knew each other well - they attended classes together, knew each other's families and friends, shared roots and values. It is these similarities that form the strength of the bond. These romances are, at their heart, friendships as well as romances.
>6. Isn't there some research that suggests that this love might have a biological component?
Yes. Remember that expression used for teenagers, "ranging hormones?" When teens are in love for the first time, hormones like oxytocin and vassopressin are released when the sweethearts are sexually excited. These chemicals form emotional memories in the brain, stored in an area called the amygdala. When the lost lovers meet again, those memories are released by the familar sight, smell, touch, sound of the long lost lover. The feelings are comforting and familiar and also very sexually arousing!
>7. Why should this book be "required reading" for parents of adolescents?
The most common reason why these romances broke up the first time was "parents disapproved." Not only disapproved -- many of these couples were forcefully broken apart by the parents, with threats to their children, or manipulations such as hiding letters from the sweetheart. When these couples reunited, they were very bitter and angry at their parents (dead or alive) for costing them many years when they could have been happily together. Many missed their childbearing years because of this breakup. And why did the parents react that way? They just "didn't like the person" their child was dating.
I checked to see how these couples fared a second time; ie, if the parents broke them apart, were the parents "right" and they broke up a second time? Half of the time, they broke up again, and half of the time they stayed happily together. And they is no way to predict, no way for parents to know what's right for their children. It should make parents think twice before they break up first loves.
>8. What can teenagers learn from this book?
I hear from a lot of teenagers, males and females, who are broken-hearted because their first loves just "dumped" them. Some say they are suicidal. From my research, we learn that these are true loves, important loves, that should not be belittled. And teens should be comforted by the fact that the breakup may not be forever. The first love might comes back some day. Don't sit around and wait for that, but keep it in the back of your heart as hope for the future.
>9. Instead of reconnecting with a lost love, what about finding a long lost friend?
It's really the same thing. In fact, many of my couples really weren't in romances the first time. They were just friends -- sometimes very young friends, like 8 or 9 year olds. The shared roots are the important part; old friends make us feel comfortable and we can talk about old times. It's very healing to reunite.
>10. Is there anyone who should avoid seeking a Lost Love?
Yes. If one or both members of the couple are married to someone else. don't go there! Don't even look up the person to say hello. Even good marriages were put in jeopardy by lost loves. The people just didn't realize that the feelings come back VERY strongly.
And if the person was abusive in any way the first time, forget a reunion. Personalities don't change. The couples in my study who succeeded with a happy reunion had been situationally pulled apart the first time; they did NOT check the box "we weren't getting along well."
>11. What is your first piece of advice to anyone who is considering finding a lost love?
These are very intense romances. Before you begin any dialogue with a lost love, ask yourself if you could handle whatever occurred -- a rejection, a romance, another breakup with that person. If the answer to any of these is "no," it's best not to try. But if you are single, divorced, or widowed, it might be the best thing that ever happened to you.
copyright © 2005 by Nancy Kalish, Ph.D.
all rights reserved
You have permission to publish this article electronically or in print, free of charge, as long as the bylines are included. A courtesy copy of your publication would be appreciated.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Nancy Kalish, Ph.D. is a psychology professor at California State Univ. and the author of Lost & Found Lovers. She is the international expert on rekindled romances, lost loves, and first love, and has appeared on Oprah, 20/20, NPR, CNN, and Montel, to name a few. Her research has been discussed in Dear Abby, Redbook, The Chicago Tribune, Parade, and Men's Health, among many others. Visit her popular web site at http://www.lostlovers.com
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