In part one a couple of days back, I explained why a childhood sweetheart reappearing in your life may not be the start of your real life fairytale. This isn’t because there aren’t some incidences of people genuinely reconnecting and having a happy ending; it’s just that when you couple one sneaky man with a hidden agenda with a woman who is unlikely to ask enough questions and likes to bet on potential, then mix that with a possible dubious history between them both in their past, the likely result is…disaster.
Any person, no matter what the history, how they came into your life, and what they claim to be, can essentially claim to be anything they like. It would be nice if we could assume that everyone had good intentions, was upfront, and truthful, but this is the real world. This means that whilst no-one is expecting you to play Columbo or Miss Marple, having healthy relationship behaviours, with decent self-esteem is a surefire way to ensure that you don’t just welcome people back into your life with none or very little questions, or ignore red flags; you’ll see the wood for the trees and process that information to see if it sits well with you.
There is no denying that the (Returning) Childhood Sweetheart that’s a secret ( or even not so secret) Mr Unavailable or assclown in disguise is a confidence trickster that can suck you into the heady spin of nostalgia and their re-emergence in your life…however, and it’s a rather large however, part of the issue is how we in general deal with men and our mentality.
Women who get burned by these men bet on potential – You’re either in the past, or in the future, but rarely in the present. Whatever you do think of these guys gets amplified to fit with your vision of things rather than seeing things for what they are and determining if it’s appropriate. You’re likely to be the type of woman who pins her vision of what he could be on him and doesn’t really take into account who he is. You’re also likely to be very hung up on words and big gestures and unlikely to register red flags. When things start to take a turn for the worse, rather than hold your hands up and say, ‘Woah…I have this all wrong and I need to get the hell out’, you’re more likely to say ‘But if he came back it must be because he’s in love with me’ or ‘But he was so great at the start so I know he can be like this’, even if a year has gone by and he has behaved like a twat for 95% of the time…
This means that we end up going out with illusions, figments of our imagination, and downright mirages. That’s not him – that’s you. Once you get to the point where you are ignoring vital bits of information and behaviour, it’s you creating the illusion, not him.
We place so much hope on men that we expect the sun to shine out of their arses and rise and set on it, but in placing so much hope on them and expecting love to ‘happen’ to us regardless of whether we are best placed to receive it, we make ourselves ripe for these men.
The (Returning) Childhood Sweetheart represents the fairy tale, the movie ending, that many women inadvertently believe will happen to them. It is really easy for these guys to come swooping in with their plane full of emotional baggage because if you have a history of poor relationships, he suddenly becomes the great white hope, that person that you’ve been desperately hoping would come along and make it all alright and in part 1 I mentioned the need for validation and correcting the past that these men can represent.
So what do you do?
If you’re thinking about looking up someone from your distant past, ask yourself why you are doing this. You need to be sure that you have a real, modern day perspective on him rather than looking at him through the doe eyes of your 20 year old self.
Did you actually have anything between you? In talking to a number of women, I was amazed at how little existed between them and this guy in their past, yet he was sucking up a significant amount of brainpower.
– Is he the one that got away? – Why did he get away and should he be staying away?
– Did you have a crush on him? The thing about crushes is that they’re either all in your head, out in the open and unrequited, or out in the open and the person takes advantage of the flattery. Does this mean you’re going back in for an ego stroke?
Are you already imagining a mega happy ending? If you are, I would step away from the light and get your head balanced before proceeding because you’re building sandcastles in the sky.
Did he break your heart? Are you over him? This whole ‘making the bastard pay that broke my heart thing’ is age old. When we’re freshly heartbroken we have fantasies of him seeing us with The Perfect Man (TM) and near puking at the loss and regret but are you still not over him? More than a few months to a year at best is a long time to be clinging to this feeling. If you’re not over him and he did enough damage that you didn’t actually heal, repair, and move on from, I strongly advise that you don’t go raking over it and seek him out.
Are you a dreamer? If you’re the type that specialises in over-optimism and denial, this is not the one for you. If you know that you have a habit of refusing to see men and the relationship for what they are, I would ‘deny’ yourself this opportunity and sort yourself out.
Ask questions when he gets in touch. You can’t erase the passage of time, trust me. Don’t pretend he doesn’t have a past. You don’t need to tie him to a chair and put him through an interrogation session but I suggest that instead of spending too much time down memory lane (or shagging), that you spend some time in the slow lane finding out who this man is. People change – some for the better, others for the worse, and in some instances, people stay the same and that’s not necessarily a good thing, particularly if the last time you saw him he was an irresponsible 16 year old….
Slow your frickin roll. Don’t just dive in headfirst and then think later. I know you’re excited but trust me, you may be excited for all the wrong reasons if you have a history of poor relationships. Men that are dodgy like these ones and the guys in your past like to skip the formalities. We read this as a huge interest in us and passion, but actually, it’s to blindside you and keep you at a distance where you don’t see the real him and the red flags as quickly as you would if he wasn’t whizzing you along at speed. I don’t care if you knew him 20 years ago and he was a hot ass – it’s a major alert signal when he’s talking about marrying you the following week after he’s got in touch with you. Don’t believe me? Just ask all of the women who had smoke blown up their asses by these men and listened to this drivel and believed it, only for it never to materialise.
Assess your own situation. We don’t have to be involved with every man that blinks in our direction. We don’t have to wonder if he’s ‘The One’ every time we have male contact. We also really need to stop pining everything on men and ensure that we are capable of validating ourselves, have healthy love habits, and a decent self-esteem before we throw ourselves at the mercy of the shark infested dating world. If you’re secretly wondering ‘Where is he?’ and feeling secretly desperate about ‘him’, you’ll read every guy that comes into your life as The Next Big Thing, and when it’s a childhood sweetheart, you’ll blow it waaay out of proportion.
I know you want life to magically become wonderful, I know you’re impatient, but sometimes you need to be real with yourself and ask if this is the right time for you to be doing something like this. Are you heartbroken? Are you just getting your life back together after ditching another assclown? Are you feeling desperate or lonely? Do you know that you have issues to deal with?
Most of all, as I said in part one, ask yourself Why? Why is he coming back? And then ask yourself if he was really that great in the first place.