Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Holiday Party Brings Up Old Feelings for Ex

DEAR HARRIETTE: I went to a holiday party with a large number of guests. Among them was my high school ex. I am now in my 50s, but we have remained friendly over the years. I haven’t seen him in person in a long time. It was so good to see him -- and his wife. They were very friendly and cordial, but it was a little awkward for me. I've held on to some lingering feelings for him, even after we both have led our separate lives. Everything was fine, but I feel stupid for still caring about him. Is that normal? -- Old Flame Won't Die

DEAR OLD FLAME WON’T DIE: When you truly love someone, those feelings can easily last forever. There’s no sin in that. What is not good is if you try to make something of those old feelings long after you and this person have moved on with your lives. Holding on to the lingering feelings is not wise. Acknowledging that this man holds a special place in your heart is OK. You don’t need to share those thoughts with him -- or anyone else.

Check in with yourself. What do you feel today? Beyond the awkwardness that may have been connected to old behavior, have you done anything in the present to warrant shame? If not, just let this man go. Wish him and his wife well within your own heart. Next time you see or talk to him, be grateful for the long-term friendship, and don’t try to turn it into more than that.

Read more in: Marriage & Divorce | Love & Dating | Etiquette & Ethics | Friends & Neighbors | Holidays & Celebrations