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Inside If Only I Could Tell You


PRELUDE

The authors explain their fascination with the subject of past loves and introduce some of the issues that the presence of old flames brings to a current relationship.

CHAPTER ONE: AN INVITATION TO INTIMACY

Tells some of the authors' own story, with an explanation of why they believe the subject of conversations about past loves is both significant and timely.

CHAPTER TWO: HE LIGHTS UP

Two interviews with Lucinda, who reveals how comparing herself with her husband's most significant past love affects her self-image and their relationship Commentary: "Comparisons as Challenge and as Gift"

CHAPTER THREE: THE TERRITORY OF OLD FLAMES

A field guide that describes the risks and potential benefits of talking about past loves–addressing the hesitations many people feel.

CHAPTER FOUR: THE INVISIBLE SCRAPBOOK

Nine women and men identify some of their most potent feelings and the concerns that influence whether they share their memories and feelings about past loves in current relationships. Each comes to wonder if they might be losing something in their relationship by not offering a partner access to the place where they keep their heartfelt treasures.

CHAPTER FIVE: RELATIONSHIP IMPRINTS

Lifelong love can be ours if we reframe that idea as an emotional imprint that never dies, even if the relationship ends.

CHAPTER SIX: FACE TO FACE WITH THE PAST

Carl and Lance are married men who each, after many years, visit with past loves who were important influences in their lives. We get a glimpse of how the feelings generated in these reunions affect the men and the intimate workings of their marriages. Commentary: "Speaking of Reunions"

CHAPTER SEVEN: A QUIET VOICE IN THE HEART

Interviews with Lisa and her husband, Robert, show that even in a marriage where communication is a priority, Robert's lingering desire to apologize to a past love goes undiscussed. Commentary: "A Quiet Voice in the Heart"

CHAPTER EIGHT: SAFETY IS A RELATIVE THING

Jim, Al, and Virginia each move into and around the subject of past loves in ways that provide relative safety and emotional stability for themselves and for their partners. Commentary: "Safety in the Balance"

CHAPTER NINE: WHEN THE PAST CASTS A SHADOW

The death of Corey's fiancé in an accident introduces unique obstacles and opportunities in his new relationships.

CHAPTER TEN: YOU CAN'T HAVE ONE WITHOUT THE OTHER

A discussion of "love-loss," the place of wholeness where your feelings of loss and love come together.

CHAPTER ELEVEN: SHE CALLED HIM FORTH

Gabe and Felice, a married couple, consciously face the lingering effects on their relationship of Gabe's former love, a soul mate. We see how Felice's willingness to fully accept Gabe's feelings actually helps him to process his loss and increases the intimacy between them.

CHAPTER TWELVE: INTIMACY IN THE SHADOW OF FEAR

Blake and Linda bring into focus the tension surrounding being more fully known through sharing memories and feelings about past loves. Each finds that merely the contemplation of deepened intimacy elicits fears. Commentary: "Relationship Roots"

CHAPTER THIRTEEN: TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT?

What is actually happening when couples find themselves pulling apart after a time of profound closeness? What are the needs and fears that drive this dynamic? And is fear of intimacy a close cousin, perhaps a reflection, of fear of rejection?

CHAPTER FOURTEEN: START WHERE YOU ARE

Ben and his partner, Margot (who was interviewed several months after he was), show us the evolution of their relationship as they consciously choose to engage with past love memories and feelings, deepening their intimacy.

CHAPTER FIFTEEN: THE LOVE WE CARRY

A discussion of the choices you have when you are between relationships. Why might it be important to discuss your prior loves in your next significant relationship? Interview with Sandra, who wonders when it might be safe to do exactly that. Commentary: "Moving On"

CHAPTER SIXTEEN: LETTING GO OF FORM, HOLDING ONTO GIFTS

Interviews with Stephanie, age twenty-one, Aldo, seventy-seven, and Maria, forty-four, offer us a view of past relationships which have evolved into loving friendships. Commentary: "Ending a Romance, Starting a Friendship"

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN: BEYOND THE ARMCHAIR

Summarizes the complex issues and decisions involved in any desire to share your heart's journey as part of your current intimate relationship. Discusses things to consider as you contemplate this possibility.

A VISION

What if...

 

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