How to Know if You`re Really in Love/20 year flame sparked back up


i have been married for 13 years and have a very content, stable life. my husband loves me and i love him. recently a old flame from 21 years ago got ahold of me on a social network and we started talking and chatting. my question is this, i think i still have feelings for this guy and I'm not sure if I'm just being nostalgic or if i really do still love him. he is flying out to see me in a few weeks and i am scared what actually seeing him is going to do to me and my marriage. how do i sort this out. i have never been this confused in my whole life! is this even possible?!

Dear Friend,

Thank you for writing. It shows courage, open-mindedness, and willingness to change; all major elements of the proper practice of love.

Let us get to the point. Of course you still love him. Your ex boyfriend is a part of your intimate emotional, intellectual, and spiritual memory, your feelings, and your history.

However, you must ask yourself if you love your husband more and in a present way; in essence you must love him more--of course, unless you are in this dilemma because you either don't, or never have.

There is a third possibility. There are issues with your husband that you cannot, do not want to, or do not know how to resolve. Did you end it with your ex over unresolved issues (too)? Will this pattern ever end, if that is what you are trapped in?

We never stop loving someone; we just stop growing in love for someone when we choose to stop doing what makes love possible and transformative with that person.

Love is like short and long-term memory. It remains with us, but as we see the person we were dedicated to less, and less, the physical attraction goes dormant, and the memories become more and more buried under the activities and new memories being created in the present, perhaps with someone else.

Your love for your next partner becomes current, more and more stimulating and relevant--and the feelings and sentiments for the old lover go 'into storage', as it were.

Of course, if time passes enough so that the former lover becomes something of a mystery, you are more and more capable of being intrigued by him when you see him again one day--especially after the "honeymoon" with your current lover wears off and you have found him to be less an ideal or the fantasy of a man you had thought him to be, and more a real man you have to deal with.

Of course, this all makes you see more clearly the issues you had struggled over with your ex, causing sympathy, flexibility, and in times of waning love with your present partner--like when you may experience boredom, or problems which you actually have to work on; the ex becomes more and more interesting--especially since he is now trouble free, familiar, and someone you may feel a need to prove yourself to--as you wonder whether you are still attractive to him.

Now, if you love your husband, you have no business meeting this man. Your duty is to the practice of love, which includes not putting yourself in temptation. The next thing you know  you will be talking about how things got out of hand and now you are having an affair.

You admit may have feelings for your ex. Of course you do. So he is not--by definition--a friend. He is still a boyfriend and a threat to your marriage. Meeting him now is cheating, unless you do not want to love your husband and are fine with picking up where you left off with the ex.

Is this what you want?

You said you love your husband very much. I assume this is a reference to your feelings. If that is true, now is the time to back up the feeling with the work of love.

Tell me what you feel.

How to Know if You`re Really in Love

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Mando (Carl Atteniese Jr.)


I've read, thought, written, and taught about love for over eleven years. I've had thoughtful love-oriented relationships only--for about twenty-eight years. I struggle endlessly to be a supremely thoughtful, compassionate, fair, and empirical thinker. This is crucial. I believe in the feeling and process of love. This is also crucial. As an artist, a poet, and an essayist--as a teacher of ESL in other cultures--I have had ample opportunity for the analysis of love... personally and inter-culturally, and this has made my introspection and analysis of relationships--with original ideas and those of my favorite psychotherapists--very fruitful. I will tell you three things, which will help you now--before you even write to me: To have true love in yourself and with another, you must: 1. Be Free. 2. Be Adult. 3. Be Honest. 4. Be Disciplined. 5. Find numbers 3~5 easy, because you are overcome with love. 6. Be willing to do virtually anything reasonable (and many things unreasonable from the point of view of others).7. Never settle (in other words, be with someone you do not love), thinking that you will grow into love. 8. Never take a match made by another; your heart and mind must choose your love--period. 9. Never allow yourself to be put into temptation--ever (this is also natural--if you are in love). 10. Be able to listen like you never listened before--to yourself and to your beloved. 11. Love humanity--both the conditions & qualities, and all people.


I've been fortunate to have helped many people around the world and I love to do it. I will be happy to help you, too--no matter whom you are. If I am busy or unable to help you right away, consider these books to help you help yourself--until I can respond: "Being Happy", by Andrew Mathews; any books by Dr. Wayne Dyer; "The Art of Loving", by Dr. Erich Fromm; "Love", by Leo Buscaglia, "True Love", and "Anger", both by Thich Nhat Hanh. Also Read "The Beloved" and "The Prophet", both by Khalil Gibran. Read "The Road Less Traveled" and "People of The Lie", both by Dr. M. Scott Peck.... Learn more about me at

Amnesty International Partner of Conscience (, Union of Concerned Scientists ( and (htp://

Korea Herald (, New York Newsday, The Planetary Review, The Long Island Catholic, Wake Up And Laugh (, The Ocean And The Stars (, Cradle of The Universe (

Certificates in recognizing violence in the home and child abuse, in preventing violence in school. Raised with an emphasis on loving all people and to be politically active. Studied Zen at Hwa Gye Sa Temple, Han Maum Zen & Culture Center, and The Buddhist English Library of Seoul, in South Korea. Taught seventeen years in the US and South Korea. Teacher Training in the U.S. at Berlitz and the Center for English Studies, NYC, and at Inlingua, Princeton. Studied Drawing, Photography, and Painting at the School of Visual Arts, NYC, and basic Psychology at Nassau Community College, Long Island. Fifteen years of experience teaching English as a Second language--many of those years abroad--has helped as well, as people from other cultures help us see ourselves and other human beings in a different light.

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My reward is knowing I have helped people.

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I have taught and counseled people of all ages, experience-levels, professions and religions, and consider myself lucky to have had the opportunity and thankful to those who have shared with me. Every such interaction is a learning experience, and an opportunity for growth and improvement.

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