Life isn’t a romantic novel:

Dear Dr. Brilliant Cliché,

When I was 11 years old I met David. He was 16 at the time. My parents went over to his parent’s house each weekend so before too long I began to really like him. Through my teenage years, he and I grew very close. We had a very strong friendship that showed various signs of each of us wanting more but due to the 5 year age difference and my strict father, things did not evolve. When I was 14, despite the fact he had a girlfriend, he and I shared one small but very heartfelt kiss. For the next 4 years he showed more and more signs of wanting to break up with his girlfriend turned fiancé to be with me but never did. He kept telling his mother that he couldn’t bring himself to hurt the girlfriend. He went on to marry this woman when I was 18 years old. On his wedding day, he called me and we essentially talked about how I didn’t approve but I supported him because he was my friend. One month after he was married he told his mother that he’d made a mistake and should have married me. Once again he couldn’t bring himself to hurt his now wife. I went on to get married also. He attended my wedding and like always, looked at me very lovingly. Many years went by before I saw David again. When I did see him, there were many obvious signs that a flame was still lit with him where I was concerned. It was a brief encounter and we were amongst a lot of family and friends but several people picked up on this feeling. It’s now been 13 years since that last meeting. A total of 25 years has gone by since he married his wife. I’ve often wondered if he is truly my “destiny” and if one day we are meant to be together. I’m now 43 years old and am having issues in my own marriage. I don’t know if he’s on my mind a lot lately because of the void I’m currently feeling or if it’s a destiny thing. I’ve always been curious about whether or not he still thinks about me and if he ever learned to be happy in his life. Would love another perspective.

Sole mates

Dear Sole mates,

Ah, destiny, soul mate, meant to be…sorry, but life isn’t a romantic novel. Life is the story of the consequences of our decisions. It isn’t the hand we are dealt but how we play the game that is our life’s story. We all fall in and out of love many times. We all think what might have been. But what matters is not what we wish or want but what we do.

It is his job to work out his shit and it is your job to work out yours. Focus on your current relationship and if it is truly dead end it. Hanging in there for the kids’ sake doesn’t help them- miserable parents just role model that life is miserable.

This old flame of yours is just a fantasy. You have no idea what he really feels or how the future would be. Statistically, your next relationship will go the same way as the previous ones because you bring the same ingredients to all of your relationships.

Occasionally people pick much better the second or third time around because they have matured and learned new skills. These new relationships may actually work out better but not because of destiny- because something different was brought to them.

Please get out of your head and do something different,

Dr. Brilliant Cliché

Granny says: Have you ever had a really good idea…then found that it wouldn’t work in real life because there was a lot of stuff you couldn’t see until you actually tried it?

I suspect that this memory you hold onto is a great idea that would change very quickly if you ever tried to make it real. In fact, if you weren’t both already in real relationships, I’d suggest you get together just to knock the fantasy out of your head.

I have to point something out about this guy- he seems to be incapable of having the courage of his convictions. He is a man who is, however, capable of staying in a loveless marriage because he doesn’t want to deal with his wife’s reaction to the truth. Think about what it would be like to have to depend on and trust this guy. You may not be his only fantasy either- but don’t expect him to be honest, he won’t want to hurt your feelings.

This is your fantasy soul mate? Yikes.


About Dr. Brilliant Cliché

Dr. Brilliant Cliché and the Granny Dr. are a fictional web presence and advice blog. Together we offer a joint perspective that is deep but not academic, entertaining but not fluff, and educated yet street smart. By joining the internet community we hope to share thoughts and stimulate insightful conversation around pressing issues that affect us all. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. (This is not a site for therapy nor does it intend to replace medical or other professional care. ) You can leave comments here or email The Dr. at and don’t forget to like us on facebook. Our facebook page is Dr. Brilliant Cliche
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4 Responses to Life isn’t a romantic novel:

  1. Soul Mate says:

    You both bring very good points to the table. This person has been on my mind and in my heart for so long that Granny’s suggestion of getting together to knock out the fantasy makes the most sense. If I ever find myself having the opportunity to do so I think I will go for it. As for reality and the here and now, yes I am in the process of ending my marriage. My son means to much to me to continue exposing him to the negative. I can only hope that you are wrong about me bringing the same ingredients to future relationships and right about maturity allowing something different. I know for a fact I deserve better!!

  2. Ken Bryant says:

    No one knows their destiny. We may have those young “first love” feelings come on us again in later life. This could happen at a high school reunion or when two people meet each other again at a mutual friend’s hospital visit. These feelings will neither have any place in our present relationships nor are they part of our responsibilities. Therefore, they are not worthy of any emotional commitment on our part. Memories of them are not useful either because you can’t build on relationships that remain in the past. I for one am glad that some of the relationships I have had did not work out because looking back, I could never have made it work the way I envisioned. If you meet someone who is privately holding on to a past feeling, the outward behavior may paint quite a different picture. That picture may present as someone who insists they can “go it alone” without anyone’s help.

  3. Closure says:

    Maybe because of the current relationship, one would think back of the what if’s. Isn’t that what fairy tale story is about, when two people finally find each other again? OK, the story may have a different ending. Shouldn’t one try and at least get closure?

  4. @ Closure: Sometimes life does work that way. People mature apart and later in life get together and have grown to where they can appreciate each other anew. And sometimes It is SSDD. It all depends on the individuals involved but Disney doesn’t contract the SSDD stories.

    Funny story, I thought you were still commenting on the needy love story when this came into my inbox. I was like What? I figured it out. Glad to meet you here too..

    Dr. B.C.

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