Yes, Bennifer is back, but mere mortals are also having romantic reunions with long-lost flames.
Things are said to be heating up between Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, who were engaged in 2002, after just four months of dating, but split in 2004. This month, they stepped out together, offering fresh hope to romantics everywhere about the possibility of reconnecting with “the One” years, or even decades, after a breakup.
Maura Jurgrau certainly knows it can happen. In the early ’90s, the Upper East Sider was a carefree 20-something when she took a boat cruise with friends up the Hudson River and locked eyes with a stranger, Andrew Pearce.
“It was like a bolt of lightning,” said Jurgrau, who was attached to a boyfriend at the time.
Still, she couldn’t shake the sparks she felt with the cute Canada-based computer graphics specialist.
“There was an incredible chemistry with Andrew that I couldn’t ignore,” Jurgrau, now 56 and a part-time member of the fashion design faculty at FIT, told The Post.
And so, when the boyfriend was out of the picture some months later, Jurgrau and Pearce embarked on a whirlwind romance for several weeks until Pearce had to return to Toronto.
The two went their separate ways. Jurgrau went on to have a son, now 14, with a partner. Pearce entered a decadelong marriage that ended in 2010.
But they never forgot each other.
When a friend mentioned Pearce in 2018, Jurgrau took a leap of faith and emailed him, doubtful he’d remember her. His response: “Do I remember you? Of course!” They’ve been together ever since.
“When you’re young, you don’t exactly know who you are or what you want. I didn’t put enough effort into it,” said Pearce, now 59, who works in animation. “You can always look back with regret, but I had to grow into the person I am, someone who can make a more mature decision about what’s important in a relationship.”
Jurgrau said that they both had to live their lives before they could really appreciate their connection. “We both agree now that we needed to each go through the crazy stuff and grow up [and have other] relationships and big jobs.”
For Gary Don, 57, and Marina Mashkovich, 48, timing was everything.
The Brooklyn couple were married for about seven years but divorced amicably in 2012, after attending to sick parents and dealing with various life obstacles became too much.
Then, about two years ago, Don ran into his former wife’s nephew on the street about two years ago. After hearing she never remarried, he made major overtures to win her back.
“I started pursuing her,” Don, an entrepreneur, told The Post.
After a month of phone calls, Mashkovich, a nurse, agreed to go out with her ex-husband and was instantly smitten again.
“I wasn’t looking to get into a relationship, but when you have your soulmate, something can happen. I feel he’s part of me.”
The couple, who both live in Brighton Beach, say they have a better understanding of each other. “He appreciates me more than before, and he realizes I’m an independent person,” she said.
Added Don: “I don’t take things for granted now. I’m more sensitive now about how she’s feeling.”
They’re planning a wedding for later this year.
While she doesn’t think such relationship redos work for everyone, Manhattan matchmaker Bonnie Winston supports rekindled flames.
“I’m all for reconnecting — you’ve had time away from the person, so you’ve probably worked on yourself,” Winston said. “Sometimes, the relationships that you have had in between can give you great insight.”
The slow route can be the surest road for enduring love.
Rachel Flynn, a 44-year-old professor, and Nathan Johnson, a 46-year-old firefighter, had a summer fling as college students in 1997. Their fledgling relationship fizzled fast once fall semester started up.
They initially kept in contact as friends, but eventually lost touch. Flynn, was living in New York, while Johnson married and moved to San Diego, California.
Four years ago, they both happened to be in Chicago when Johnson, divorced at that point, logged onto Bumble and immediately saw Flynn’s face.
They started texting and met in person a short while later.
“We wanted to see if there was something more than friendship there,” Flynn told The Post.
The couple married last year, and now live in Reno, Nevada.
“Our marriage — and how amazing it is — is only because of all those years and experiences [apart],” Flynn said.
As for Jurgrau and Pearce, they still sometimes can’t believe their improbable reunion.
“This wasn’t what I was expecting,” Pearce said. “I thought I’d be single the rest of my life — but I found my sweetheart. I don’t plan to lose her twice.”