Relationship with ex-partner – in love, engaged, married, divorced – and in love again

A new love with the same person: these three couples have found their way back to each other after a long separation. What does it take for love at second sight??

Author: Luzia Stettler

It’s grateful stuff for the tabloids: celebrity couples who divorce- and marry each other again. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton did it, Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith or Pamela Anderson and Rick Salomon.

Even the second marriage did not last with any of these couples. «The danger of failure is great if you have not gone through any inner development", says couples therapist Elisabeth Schlumpf.

Fitting for the topic

Newly in love after separation

Couples therapist Elisabeth Schlumpf knows what it takes to give love a second chance.

She knows the subject from her own experience: Her marriage failed "because we kept getting hopelessly entangled in unhappy discussions". Today, Schlumpf and her ex-husband are again a happy couple. What does it take for love to succeed on the second try?? Three couples who fell in love again after separating tell their stories.

Andreas and Regula Ludwig: always connected as hoteliers

Andreas Ludwig has reconciled with his divorced wife Regula, even though she had once left him for someone else. «After all, I have also made mistakes", he says.

Andreas Ludwig and Regula Pfaffli met in Lucerne at the "Seebadi" where many hotel employees spent their room hours. Regula was working at the Palace at the time, Andreas in the "National". Both had had several acquaintances before, but with Regula he immediately realized: "This is my wife for life.» They were married in 1993 in Bern Cathedral.

Their first job together took them to Pontresina, later they took over the luxury hotel "Marnia" as a management couple in Sils. After a few years the first clouds appeared.

Andreas Ludwig remembers that he noticed the lack of conversation. Regula Ludwig adds: "We hardly made an effort to do anything together in our free time anymore.» The exhausting job was not to blame, stresses Andreas Ludwig, "but rather the growing indifference".

Privately separated, but inseparable at work

So happened what often happens in such situations: Regula Ludwig fell in love with another man and moved out of the apartment they shared. Andreas Ludwig admits that he has been oblivious to the seriousness of the situation for too long.

The two went their separate ways privately for five years, but continued to share the directorial duties. It went surprisingly well, says Regula Ludwig in retrospect: "We maintained mutual respect and always treated each other with the utmost decency.»

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Emotionally, she says, she was often torn apart inside during that time: On the one hand she was plagued by remorse because she had cheated, but on the other hand she enjoyed the new partnership.

Andreas Ludwig also had several love affairs in the following years "but deep in his heart there was always only Regula". Even when they divorced, he never lost faith that "we would get back together someday".

Both single again

The turning point came one September evening in 2008: Regula Ludwig confessed to her ex-husband over dinner that she had broken up with her boyfriend. Coincidentally, Andreas Ludwig had also just been dumped by his girlfriend: "So we were both young, free and single again!»

Thus, in a wine-soaked mood, the idea to try it again with each other was born. They had approached each other very cautiously and did not immediately move in together again. «Today I am calmer and less hot-tempered", emphasizes Andreas Ludwig, and Regula Ludwig also has- according to your own statement- «went through an inner process".

She has never regretted the decision to make a second attempt: "It was a wonderful feeling to be at home again, to feel safe and secure to come to rest!»

In 2018, Regula and Andreas Ludwig went into business for themselves in Sils as the tenant of the Hotel Maria. Their joint job is exhausting, but it also brings them together. This ultimately made the happy ending possible: "Without this job sharing, we would hardly have both stayed in Sils, but would very likely have lost sight of each other.»

A remarriage was considered, but for tax reasons postponed until later. «So at the moment we are just ‘happily divorced.»

Johannes Mario and Lulu Simmel: wrong way because of youth crush

The myth that the first great love is the most important in life persists. The fact that this idea can lead to a dead end was experienced by the late bestselling author Johannes Mario Simmel.

By chance, Simmel once ran into his former childhood crush Helena in Vienna, believed it was fate, and subsequently turned his life upside down: he urged his wife of many years, Lulu, to divorce him and moved- newlyweds to Monte Carlo.

a black and white photo of a couple in front of their wedding cake

After a few months, Simmel awoke from this "amour fou" and realized that he had made a big mistake. Helena enjoyed hobnobbing in the Monegasque chic scene and dancing the night away. «But I also had to write my books at some point and couldn’t stand this party life at all in the long run, said Simmel in an interview with SRF in 1990.

So he was increasingly plagued by longing for his ex-wife. It was not only her big heart that he missed, but also her critical spirit: "She had been my best editor," recalled Johannes Mario Simmel.»

It was only after Johannes Mario Simmel’s insistent urging that the abandoned woman agreed to proofread Simmel’s texts again with a red pencil. The manuscripts flew back and forth by mail. But the renewed rapprochement on the emotional level lasted much longer.

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Reunion like in the movies

The first reunion after more than ten years took place in a hotel in Hamburg: "It was like a French movie", Johannes Mario Simmel recalled: "I was sitting at the bar when she came in. Then we went towards each other. First we walked, then we slowed down the pace and at the end- afraid of what would happen- we then only hesitantly put one foot after the other on the table.»

And then the miracle happened: "When we hugged each other tightly, it was like the saying in the Bible: ‘It had passed like a night’s vigil. And we were happy again.›»

Lulu and Johannes Mario Simmel married again- and spent two years together until her death. Lulu had forgiven her husband.

Nevertheless, the writer suffered from his "great guilt" even in his old age, he had brought upon himself with the insult of Lulu. The guilty conscience should never let him go for the rest of his life.

Bea and Markus Krahenbuhl: rekindled childhood love

Bea and Markus Krahenbuhl are an example of how you can lose contact over decades and then still find your way back to each other. But only thanks to a coincidence.

The two met in 1988 because Markus Krahenbuhl was undergoing desensitization therapy with his family doctor. The medical practice employee Bea was responsible for it.

Mutual sympathy turned into love. But the relationship lasted only half a year: Bea felt too much owned by Markus Krahenbuhl and gave him the slip.

Decades of radio silence

They parted ways, both fell in love elsewhere, got married, became parents and later divorced again. In the meantime Markus had studied medicine in Bern and was training to become a family doctor.

Bea was also looking for a new challenge in her job and became a vocational school teacher for medical practice employees. In 2010, a student approached her desk after class and sent her her father’s greetings. It was the daughter of Markus Krahenbuhl. They would have celebrated Markus’ birthday on the weekend- maybe Bea wants to congratulate him belatedly.

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