Reading time: 3min.

by Clarissa Forbes

The lure of the past

Do we ever fall out of love? is a question that has been posed by countless books and films, usually while musing on the wider themes of existence and what it means to be in love. These themes lead many to think back to relationships of days gone by, simpler times and lost loves. For some this can even lead to rekindling a past relationship or getting back in touch with a first love.

Can this ever be good thing? Or is even pondering past loves a self-destructive exercise?

As I’m reaching the age where many are settling down, I’m starting to think about the role our relationship history plays in our lives. In some ways, the popularity of social media keeps us closer to former flames than we may otherwise have been. I definitely have a tendency to romanticise the past, as I’m sure many others do.

It is said the past is the best story we have. We can pull it apart, change the details and alter the characters to suit our needs. When compared to the present, which is often frightening and demanding, the past can be calming, complete, and permanent. All of which makes disappearing into the past and, even reigniting an old relationship, all the more appealing.

While I’ve definitely thought back to the rosy phases of relationships, I’ve mastered the art of moving on, albeit in a detached almost robotic way. For this reason, I’ve hardly ever looked back, almost out of fear of what I might find.

One look at the problem pages in any national newspaper confirms this topic is on many people’s minds. Do thoughts of past relationships arise for a reason or is it a symptom of a mid-life crisis? If that’s the case, still clinging onto to my twenties, I seem to have arrived early.

While I can’t see myself revisiting a past relationship anytime soon I can definitely see why many people make this choice and, kind of selfishly, I’m grateful that they do. Stories of lovers reuniting years later in unlikely circumstances spark our imaginations offering a glimmer of hope that our love and effort never really goes to waste.