I believe old lovers are special to each other, in different ways, as there will always be a bond between two people who have loved each other very much and dreamed of a future together.
The bond that remains very much depends on how the relationship has ended; if it has ended in bitterness, regret, treason and mutual accusations, these lovers may not want to see each other again, or keep any sort of ties between them. Many will have to, because they have children, but those who haven’t can disappear and never hear of each other again. Still, there will always be an invisible, even if very thin, link between them who will sometimes surprise them in the form of a shared, long forgotten memory, and make them remember that, once, there was something powerful between them, and, for a time, they meant much to each other.
Then there is another sort of old lovers, those who were once so happy that it seemed their love was indestructible. They felt it and trusted it would be so; and people around felt it too, the happiness they exuded, how they looked at each other, how they touched, how they drank in each other’s words and smiles, how they seemed to live in a paradise of their own. Which existed, and was very real, for them. And happiness was there for those lovers, something living, palpable, real.
And then life happened. Real, daily life, with its problems, differences and routines, the spoiler of all. Life came with hard moments, difficult challenges to be met, disappointments, shocks even. And those lovers, because they are, after all, only human, react as they may, bringing their stress into a so far idyllic relationship. But we all know perfect moments cannot last forever, and when the harsh winds come lovers should be prepared. But often they are not. Because they still believe in fairy tales, and they think their own will last forever. Only, it won’t.
So, the perfect relationship begins to erode. The strong feeling is still there, for sure. But doubts come in and install themselves, the fear of not being loved by the other – while the other is struggling with his or her own challenges, against the wind, as Bob Seger sang in his beautiful, heartrending ballad of so many years ago. And as the wind blows, lovers begin to doubt; they doubt the other’s devotion that once seemed so strong and unfailing, and they feel they must protect themselves in case it fails; and they start disinvesting in the relationship and then it’s a vicious circle, because the other lover will mirror their attitude and will do the same and they will inevitably grow apart.
There will be a time when love seems to have died, and resentment surfaces because things are no longer as perfect as they used to be, and lovers will not accept that. They can still try, and they do for the sake of their love and shared dreams, but there is a moment when all seems lost, and they go their separate ways.
For a time, old lovers stay apart, and they feel strong in their decision, because what is the point of being in a relationship if you’re not happy – and they hadn’t been happy for so long now! But then, strong emotions cool down, and they look back and realize it was not only the other one’s fault, but their own too; both contributed for the loss of happiness, neither of them knew how to cope with adversity, neither knew how to protect themselves when the harsh winds came, and they let their love be damaged and ultimately lost.
But is it really? Irretrievably lost, or just postponed? There are times when you must make a break because you can’t understand each other or how things are happening; when you cannot realize the part you played in the end of your relationship, when you simply blame the other. And then comes a time when you suddenly see it all very clearly, and, even if you both failed, because failure is always a thing of two people, you know exactly where you were wrong and what you should have changed; how you should have faced the harsh winds, lowering your head and walking against them, while filling your heart with understanding for the other, and love, unselfish love and support. Something you didn’t realise at the time, something you didn’t do at the time. And you wonder, has your old lover come to the same conclusion? That’s the great question because you don’t know.
Sometimes, not all is lost, because old lovers still meet, from time to time, maybe not like old friends but like people who once loved and meant so much to each other and they simply don’t want to lose the connection. And when they do, they can talk serenely about how it was, how it should have been and smile recalling the wonderful times spent together. Maybe they are not yet ready to be happy together again, but they can wait. They can get together, enjoy each other’s company, talk about their lives and dreams, be there for each other. And one day, who knows if feelings now buried deep inside may come out again? The bond between them is still there and when life wants, life always finds a way.