Some Things Are Better Left Alone

By Cheryl Lavin

September 25, 2016 3 min read

When you look up an old love you're hoping, of course, that something good will come of it. Maybe a renewed relationship, maybe a friendship, maybe closure, maybe revenge. But it doesn't always work out that way.

NELL: Nick and I dated sophomore year of high school until he dumped me for Ally. She was one of the school beauties and later became a member of Homecoming Court. I was crushed, but I couldn't blame him.

After thinking about Nick for years, I decided to contact him to see how he was doing. He wasn't on Facebook, but his brother was. He told me that Nick had become an alcoholic and a drug addict. He'd been in and out of rehab, and he couldn't hold a job. Ally, the mother of his three kids, had died from liver failure some years earlier. He said that there was a rumor that Nick had gotten Ally involved with drugs, which led to hepatitis and ultimately killed her.

He gave me Nick's number, and I called him. We talked for quite awhile. The poor guy was almost incoherent. I gave him my cellphone number. He started calling me at work and at home, sometimes at 4 a.m, leaving babbling messages. He later moved to another city.

I never did see Nick, although I'd fantasized about it so many times. I felt it was better to leave him alone.

I always thought Nick and Ally would enjoy a long, happy life together. I learned that some fantasies are best left as fantasies.

ANYA: Avery and I worked at the same company. We hit it off. He was my first true love. After he left for the Army, he wrote me letters from basic training, which I still have.

The Army kept him moving, but we kept in touch through texts and phone calls. After a few years, we lost touch. Then, I found him on Facebook and left him a message, even though it looked like he didn't post very often. Months went by, and I never heard from him.

I didn't go to Facebook very often myself, but a few months later I did, and I saw a reply from him. But it was the worst news I could have imagined. It was from his wife. She told me that he'd been killed in Afghanistan six months before, shortly after I left him that message. I was floored.

I didn't want to believe it, so I Googled him. I found tons of articles about his death and what a great soldier he'd been. I recalled my last conversation with him, in which he said, "Don't be a stranger."

I realize too late the importance of never waiting till tomorrow to say what you feel. With email and texting it's so easy to stay in touch, even if it's just to say a simple hello.

Do you have a crush on a co-worker or a friend's partner?

Got a problem? Send it, along with your questions and rants to [email protected] And check out my e-book, "Dear Cheryl: Advice from Tales from the Front."

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