01/16/2014 07:09 am ET Updated Mar 18, 2014

Recycling Old Lovers -- Good Or Bad Idea?

Can we go back in time successfully to reunite with long lost lovers?

Every once in awhile, I read about a couple rediscovering each other decades later and living happily ever after. But is that a dream or reality?

I tried that, thinking I would be another one of those oh so sweet stories with a happy ending. Well, all I got was a broken heart... and nothing to show for it.

It happened one day by surprise, when I received an email from a former college beau, some 30 years after our first kiss. As life would have it in today's world of instant online searches, he found me. When we dated, the Internet did not even exist. We had no emails or cell phones. We communicated the old fashion way with letters and phone calls home.

Thus, it was truly a surprise when I received an email from a former lover. It was May and I was off in the South of France for the Cannes Film Festival so I was only glancing quickly at my emails. But this one caught my eye and attention. He signed it from a Cornell "blast from the past". I instantly knew who it was and was curious. He said he was coming to Florida in June. I just figured he was coming with his family. After all, all good 'ol Midwesterners got married, except me.

When I asked by email if he was married with kids, his response was three daughters. He intentionally, did not mention a wife in the picture. And the next thing I know, I am receiving a photo of him with three hot, young blondes. Now, being that I live in sexy South Beach loaded with bad boy bachelors, here it would definitely have been their arm candy. But for my ex, I just knew it had to be either his daughters or cheerleaders as he is a sports doctor for several pro teams. He neglected to provide a caption for the photo.

So I land back in Miami in June and get another email about my former beau's upcoming trip. He will be here over July 4 weekend which seemed strange, being a holiday. He said he had a medical convention and had a flexible schedule and will be coming alone. Next he tells me he will be in Orlando. I advise him that that is not exactly a stone's throw away from Miami. If he wanted to stop by, he would have to hop a plane or take a long drive across the state and down and would probably need to book a hotel. He asked my advice so I recommended my favorite place, The Standard Hotel right on the bay in South Beach.

Fast forward to the arrival day -- I head over for our 30 years later, lover reunion. We meet in the lobby and I am sold! He looks fabulous! We hang out poolside and catch up on the decades gone by. Never once does he mention a wife and of course wears no wedding band. Finally, over dinner after a bottle of wine, I get up the courage to ask if he is married. There is a pause and a lot of squirming in his seat. Then he confessed to a significant other, but said it was a failed marriage that was never meant to be.

He now has three beautiful blonde daughters (the ones in the photo he sent me) and a marriage that has lasted about 25 years. So I'm thinking, hmmmm... bad marriage, but he continues to have kids. It just did not add up for me. But he had opened the door to our past and the hormones were flying. Chemistry was instant upon first sight and there was no inclination to beeline to the door. After dinner, I drove him back to his hotel and we said our civil goodbyes. But then I just couldn't resist another kiss. After all, our last one was three decades ago. And that kiss sealed the deal for both of us!

I fooled myself into thinking his story of a bad marriage was true so I allowed myself to see him again. He flew to Miami a month later and this time the kiss ended in the bedroom. I was again jetting off the next day to the Cote d'Azur, this time to St. Tropez for several weeks with a stopover in Ibiza.

My newfound former beau planned yet another trip to see me the day I arrived back home. We had a blissful time making out under the light of the Miami full moon. I was smitten and thought we were headed for a real relationship/romance. But then his schedule, being a busy orthopedic surgeon with a huge practice in of all places, Columbus, Ohio kept him away. After all, it was football season and he was the team doctor, then hockey season and he was their team doc as well. He managed to squeeze in a trip now and then, back South to see me.

This routine continued for several years which then rolled into five. We did take a hiatus for almost a year when he went into the therapy to see if his marriage could be saved. I was happy that he was going to give it his best efforts, if not for his wife, then at least for his three beautiful daughters. I gave him his space to figure it out. I then was actually receptive to meeting a new man and did. And low and behold, just when I had moved on, the old beau, like clockwork resurfaces. I reluctantly reopened the door again. This time, he had officially separated from his wife and was filing for divorce. So I felt there was hope.

We had a fabulous summer weekend rendezvous. Then we planned a Fall weekend rendezvous in our hometown of Chicago. Unfortunately for me, I had a bike accident and messed up my face the week before. Thus, I was not looking my prettiest. We still had a great time. But I sensed a difference... a women's intuition that another new woman must be in the picture. Either that or my bruised up face scared him away.

Eventually, 8 months later, he admits that he met someone new and fell head over heels in love. Lucky for him, she literally walked into his medical office door for a job interview. He never even had to hit the dating scene as a divorcee. She walked in as an interviewee and walked out his lover.

I wrote him a "Dear John" letter that was a sincere manuscript written from my heart and soul saying how I had thought we would live out our 'Golden Years' together. He called and we had a nice talk. But that was "The End".

So for me, I recycled an old lover and lost 5 years of my life. Time had escaped me. I know... I should have known better. But sometimes you just have to follow your heart. He stole mine.

Sidenote: The same year that this old college beau resurfaced, my former soulmate also rang me after a 10-year hiatus. We lived together in NYC and almost got married. I said no to his proposal. Then he moved on and broke my heart moving in with another women. Eventually, he went back home to his native land, Argentina and got married and had 2 kids. When he called, a decade later divorced, I was not interested. The old wounds were too deep and too painful to reopen. But now, years later, he is not looking so bad to me. This time I found him on Facebook. Should I recycle him or not? I think not. We live on different continents, speak different languages and most likely are at different places in life. I always stayed close with his family, but never him over the years.

Something to ponder. Can we go back in time? I don't think I am willing to try that again. I think my recycling days are over.

By the way, who ever created the line, "Happily ever after"???

Hope Gainer of Hope International lives as a single gal in South Beach. She is still waiting for her Prince Charming to show up! But maybe that really only happens in fairy tales.

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