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You’re So Vain. You Probably Think This Post is about You.

First Love

He was 19, two years older than I. Because I had been a band-weenie in high school (flute, thank you very much), it was quite a social promotion for me to wear his letter jacket at our small college. He — the artist, the poet, the football star, the Paul McCartney look-alike — he was interested in little ol’ freshman me.

“Paul” and I were together less than a year. We began dating in late fall and broke up some time during the summer when we were home in our respective cities and he met a new girl. But in the early part of the summer, I received beautiful poetry written for me, devotions of undying love. Real handwritten letters in my mailbox. It was an endless summer and a painful fall.

Decades Pass

Fifteen years later, he looked me up and began emailing me. He was going through a divorce, and I knew that such a thing can prompt a person to take stock of his past. We corresponded for a few months, and our interactions culminated in a phone call where I gently slipped in (in case he had begun wanting to become more than “old friends”) that I was very happy in my marriage. The call ended and he never contacted me again.

Fast forward almost another decade to now. Soon I will be traveling to his city. I read in our alumni magazine that he has gotten remarried and has two step-children. He and his wife own a business, and I find an email address for it (not him, specifically). I write him a brief email congratulating him on his new family and business, and tell him I’ll be in his town on a certain date. Would he like to have coffee?

I Was Prepared…

I have reconnected with many old friends — male and female — from past eras of my life. Sometimes I have been the seeker and sometimes I have been the found. I have appreciated these opportunities to revisit situations from my teenage and naive self with my now grown-up eyes. I have valued the chances to reclaim bits of my spirit I may have allowed others to stow away.

I was prepared for Paul to respond “Sure. There’s a Starbucks at Main and Broadway. When is good for you?” I was ready for “No. This really isn’t a good time for me. Sorry.” I was even ready for, “Do I know you??”

But I wasn’t ready for what I got. Paul wrote back, as part of an email from his wife, “No, I would never meet with you. Never contact us again.” His wife‘s portion says that when the High Ranking Clergyman married them, she and Paul made a commitment not to look into the past. And I should not contact them again.

So, being a polite and non-confrontational person, I will not.

But I would like to ask him/them this: how, exactly, did you go from “coffee” to “cheating on your wife” in one short email?

Oh, Lord, it’s just as well. I bet his Starbucks serves clouds in the coffee.


But wait, there’s more! A follow up post, Why You Should Never Let Social Media Sites into your Address Book.

Lori Holden, mom of a young adult daughter and a young adult son, writes from Denver. She was honored as an Angel in Adoption® by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.

Find Lori’s books on her Amazon Author page, and catch episodes of Adoption: The Long View wherever you get your podcasts.

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28 Responses

  1. Holy crap! I felt the sting here in my kitchen. Ditto what everyone else here says — you’ve saved yourself any future aggravation…I’m looking forward to seeing you this summer!

  2. *gasp* You asked him to meet you for coffee!? You shameless hussy!! What were you thinking!? Why don’t you go sink your coffee-asking claws into someone else’s husband! 😉 I’m totally kidding, by the way.Then again, maybe you shouldn’t have put all those “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” references in your email subject title. 🙂

  3. Wow. His loss that he won’t get to know the wiser you. And an even bigger loss for his wife who will never get to understand a small piece of her husband’s past which had a part in making him who he is today.

  4. Holy, those two have issues if they had to commit to never looking back. Apparently he’s looked back a little with her???

  5. If comments had volume you would hear me loudly scoffing right now. What nerve!! What self-righteousness! I suppose you should consider yourself saved from what could have been an unbearable conversation and take the $4 you would have spent on coffee (with clouds) and buy a little memento from your trip. Ay yay yay. People are weird.

  6. Oh my, I think they have actually given you a gift – insight into how screwed up they are! Wow. It’s not like you asked him for a one-night stand or more poetry! I would so write back and say, gosh, I guess he doesn’t want to be a sperm donor then, huh?

  7. Wow! I was in contact with my ex for a while. In fact we ‘ran’ into each other once. He met my husband and seemed quite bothered by it. We emailed off and on. He told me he got engaged. I emailed back months later wanting to know if he got married. I never heard form him. I wondered if once again he didn’t get married OR she said no emails from past ex’s. I still wonder. I wonder if he has played email games before and got caught. But what balls the wife has.

  8. Thanks, Girlfriends. I feel vindicated.I must admit that my first reaction felt like a blow to the gut. Like somehow I deserved the word punch (maybe I shouldn’t have included that row of XOXOXOXOs in the subject line — haha).Ahhhh. Blogging is such sweet therapy.

  9. I’m sure this has nothing to do with you. My guess is that at some point he developed a close relationship with another woman that, for whatever reason, became a problem in his marriage and that he had to agree to run all interactions with women past his wife.

  10. I have the feeling that his wife is a bit paranoid and insecure. It seems like the Ex is bowing in submission so as not to disturb the peace. Old friend automatically equals homewrecker, apparently. (I was also a band nerd flautist.)

  11. People are just bizarre sometimes. I liked how it was a “high ranking” clergyman. Yeah, he must know then.

  12. Ive been shaking my head for about 5 minutes now…I have to give a sinister giggle, because really-that is one sure sign that they DONT have trust in their marriage….sorry you had to get such an e-mail.

  13. Whoa. She sounds like she’s got her panties in a twist, and his balls in a nutcracker.I was a band-weenie too. Also flute, and piccolo. 🙂

  14. If I were being narky I would observe that Somebody’s Wifey does not seem to be very secure in her marriage. Wonder why?What an unusual response!J

  15. Holy Overreaction, Batman! I’d say those two have some serious (and probably recent) issues that they’re desperately trying to work out. You’re better off for not ending up in the middle of it. But, sheesh!

  16. Just catching up now, but I totally didn’t get “temptress from the past” from your email. 10 bucks says his wife has been given a reason via prior behavior to distrust him.

  17. Ouch, I picked this one because I like the title…I did NOT like the ending..
    this is why when I am busy beating myself up for something I did 10, 20 yrs ago…I try to remind myself that I was not alone in my hopelessly silly devotion to people, men in general.

    Yet, this marriage seems doomed for them, trust being the one thing you have to give to each other ..because you never know who or what will show up to test it. Avoidance is futile….certain things and people will come back, invited or not. Better to make/stay friend with it …

    Unless of course they have should have  their own SVU show. LOL


  18. This: “I have valued the chances to reclaim bits of my spirit I may have allowed others to stow away” and this: ” I bet his Starbucks serves clouds in the coffee” I love.

  19. I think SHE wrote that email and that HE never even saw it.

    Just my $0.02

    And I agree that he must have crossed some sort of line in the past.

  20. Here from ICLW 🙂 Interesting story! I personally am not a big fan of looking into the past, at least with others whom I don’t choose to have in my present. I have been contacted by ex’s and the like and I live a whole new life now – one I don’t want those people to be a part of. So I can see where they’re coming from. Love your take on it though – especially that Starbucks line 😉

  21. Wow… I’m stunned that those were part of the vows.

    Who puts those in their vows.. I mean.. I’m not here to judge but if you put in your diet plan “Will not look at chocolate”, at some point ALL you wanna do is look at chocolate, even if it’s just to have coffee and talk yourself out of it. How can you “avoid” temptation without having the temptation in front of you?

    Just seems silly, even if he’s not wanting to step outside his vows, at least having a friendship from someone who knew you “when” is nice!

    Sorry you had to feel the sting of such a mean email… seems like they are a match made in heaven if that is what they both want… I’ll have coffee with you Lori 🙂

  22. Whoa. Someone has some serious jealousy issues! I have been to many weddings, and never have I heard “Do you, x, agree to never talk to your exes again and put the past behind you?” I mean, how unromantic!!

    I did go to a wedding once where the officiant actually said, “If anyone here has any reason why these two people should not be joined in holy matrimony, speak now or forever hold your peace.” I thought that only happened in movies. The groom looked around, and he seemed genuinely curious whether anyone would say anything! No one did.

  23. Just seems like there could have been a much better way of handling that situation then writing something so non-productive. Lie for all you care, “Uh, I will be out of town” or something, but no reason to be so harsh!!!!

    HA! Thanks for the side of soap opera with my coffee this morning. XOXOXOX

  24. Holy cow. What a crazy response. Very mature and secure. Sheesh. It’s just as well that you didn’t have coffee with him, I’ll bet. And hey! I’m one of the people from your past – how cool is that?!?
    Love the clouds in my coffee reference although that song is now stuck in my head (thanks a lot)…

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