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Ask Ellie: Proceed carefully in second chance with 'first love'

The second time around with your “first love” should hopefully be deeper, wiser, more certain, more mature, and far more lasting.

Dear Ellie: I’m a 41-year-old woman, divorced four years, sharing joint custody with my ex of our daughters, nine and seven. After two years, I met a nice single guy online, and we “dated” mostly by text/phone until vaccinated enough to meet in person. He has his own place.

He wants to discuss living together, but I’ve recently been contacted by my “first love.” He’s my college sweetheart who wanted to marry me back then. I knew we were too young and broke it off.

Unexpectedly, he bumped into someone from our college days, who now lives near me, who told him that I’m divorced. Now, we’re talking daily, including about our relationship “histories” — my nine-year first marriage, his live-in girlfriend of eight years. We both had good reasons to end those.

We’ve both realized that we never forgot our “first love.” We’re not impetuous people but when two mature adults with relationship experience have never forgotten a powerful love they once shared, doesn’t it make sense to give it a second chance?

First Love

Yes, when your feelings about someone are profoundly compelling, and you’re sure you’re not just romanticizing a memory, it’s normal to give that person a new consideration.

Don’t rush it.

You’ve been apart, had different lifestyles (e.g., your two children, his greater freedom). Remember, having a successful marriage doesn’t happen from passion alone (though it can help).

You both need to adjust — him, to become a caring, supportive stepfather; you, making a major commitment — again — to live “happily ever after” with someone “new” in habits/schedules/ pressures you’ve not shared before.

So, introduce him slowly to your children. Be together as a couple when the girls stay with their father. But live apart while you thoughtfully build your committed union toward marriage.

Dear Ellie: I’m struggling with the loss of my son. He was 20, the youngest of my four children.

Six months prior, my father died of lung disease. My wife and I split. I haven’t returned to work because I struggle daily with my mental health.

How can I move on and be a normal person without crying in front of everyone? They seem to be dealing with it. I’ve been to several different counselling sessions but nothing has worked.

I’ve attended bereavement family counselling sessions but nothing feels comparable to my situation. I haven’t met anyone who’s lost a 20-year-old son.

Help or advice would be greatly appreciated.

P.S. Someone gave my son weed laced with fentanyl.


I’m so very sorry for your loss. I’m sure every reader, especially parents/siblings/friends of a person who’s died from a fentanyl-laced drug, is feeling your pain. Your son likely had no knowledge that the weed had been made so dangerous.

According to current information on, “Fentanyl is cheap for drug dealers to make into a street drug, compared to other opioids, but it is more powerful. “Because only a few grains is enough to kill, fentanyl is causing high rates of overdose and overdose deaths.”

Your grief reaction is normal in these circumstances. Others may be better at hiding it, or trying not to trigger your sadness.

There’s no “right” time limit for grief, no loss the same as your own.

Honour your son, by recovering your ability to live on with his memory, perhaps joining a cause in his name, to alert others of the dangers of illicit use of this very potent opioid.

FEEDBACK regarding the woman “Broken and Despairing” from her sister-in-law turning on her/gossiping about her over financial matters, and her husband’s “zero support” (March 21):

Reader: “Whichever path she decides on, she must get legal advice. The false things being said about her could amount to a case of slander (verbal) or libel (written).

“It sounds like the entire family has issues. From my experience with similar matters, until her detractors are faced with a legal letter to desist, they’ll feel “entitled” to continue.

“With such a letter, all will know that she is taking their accusations very seriously. Given her marital problems, it may also be time for her to move from the “small town” and the gossips. With such decisions, she should also seek counselling.

“Remember the phrase, “When you give a foot, they want a yard.” From my experience, “they” won’t stop until she takes firm action.”

Ellie’s tip of the day

The second time around with your “first love” should hopefully be deeper, wiser, more certain, more mature, and far more lasting.

Send relationship questions to [email protected].