My 20th high school reunion is coming and I have a big decision to make. On grad night, 20 years ago, I had sex for the first time. It was with a guy in my class who I had a huge crush on. We hung out a little right after graduation, but then he left town early for college and never kept in touch. A few months later, I realized I was pregnant. Ultimately, I had an abortion. I’ve always felt bad for not letting him know. I’m divorced now and heard he is, too. He’s coming to the reunion. Do you think I should tell him about the pregnancy and abortion? It would lift a big weight off my shoulders. Advice, please!
If it’s a woman’s right to choose whether or not to terminate a pregnancy, and you made that choice without his input, why say anything now? I think the motivation to confess is linked to your newly single status. A high school reunion might seem like the perfect venue to repair the frayed thread of hope, but I’m concerned you’re setting yourself up for disappointment again. Yes, again.
The first letdown was that your crush never kept in touch. For you, the summer fling was significant—first experience of sexual intercourse, and a crush that started turning into something more, at least briefly. He may have let go because he was moving away and preferred no long-distance complications. There could have been other reasons, too, the ones you might not want to hear. Like this: He just wasn’t that into you. Or he had his heart set on someone else. Something in you knew that the relationship had run its course. Otherwise, you would have located him and let him know he had become a poppa.
My suggestion is for you to be the adult woman you are now, not a teenager hungering to understand and experience love and sex. Curate your thoughts. Toss out leftovers from 20 years ago. This guy was not your boyfriend. He was a crush, a fling, a hookup. The connection likely inspired moments of happiness, fun, fear, disappointment, anxiety, tears, depression. Don’t rewrite the past as if you two were star-crossed lovers. Turn the page (yes, it was a page in your life, not a chapter). It’s the only way to be free to make decisions fed by self-love instead of regret. Self-love means that you release the hope that a boy who discarded you in high school has become a man who will desire you above all else. When you accept reality, the regret you’ve been carrying will melt away.
At the reunion, don’t make a beeline for him. Say hello when your paths cross naturally that night. Don’t tell him about the pregnancy and abortion, either. Let him enjoy his reunion. Allow yourself to savor the event, too, by remaining in 2017. It’s the best way to avoid creating another missed opportunity. After all, the reunion isn’t a once-in-a-lifetime chance to connect with a former flame. It’s your opportunity to show yourself that you are worthy of being cherished. And that’s something you’ll never regret.