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I am only 24 and Ive never been married. But i have been in love (deeply) and that love has since become deceptive and we painfully went our separate ways, and he is now still with the girl that he broke up with me for.

So if I keep my experience in mind and fast-forward to 20 years from now, part of me can try to relate to what you're going through.
And, honestly, I think that the majority of what you are feeling is this abstract fantasy-thinking "the grass is always greener" syndrome. I think we are all guilty of this quite often (look how many people have affairs, leave their loved ones for others, etc.).
But unless you have become face-to-face reacquainted with this girl, know her personality, how she thinks, what she desires, how she communicates and deals with conflict (very important in a relationship), than how do you really know if she is right for you? Back 20 years ago she may have been what you desire now, but you broke up with her- so even if you were young and stupid, you were able to leave her once. I understand that people make mistakes, but unless you have a tangible and concrete comparison between your wife and this girl (meaning, a real person compared to a real person instead of an abstract concept vs. a real person)...than I think that you are falling under the 'grass is always greener' syndrome. Because you have no proof that it is actually greener than your wife, who you say loves you and is there for you.

I still think about my ex every day on some level (its been about a year), and I think it is sad that we are now strangers and I don't know what his life is like. I can say that I will probably always think these things- he was my first real love (during the years I was 22-24). However, already I assume that he has changed so much that we wouldnt work out now. Plus, he was able to leave me in such a hurtful way that I would never be able to want to see him again. I know that may not be the same for you, but I sort of live under the belief that the past is the past, especially if someone can leave you once or hurt you in any way...than they are not for you.

The other thing is that, after 20 years, people are bound to change. Just because you are holding onto this idea of her being this person you cant get out of your head does NOT mean she is anything you fantasize that she is. I know that you don't know what shes like until you find out, and that is part of the problem- but again, I think a lot of this is psychological. The grass is always greener, you want what you cant have, etc...After 20 years, you are going to be a totally different person, unless you live in a town with a population of 3 and you havent done anything new your entire life. Thats not to say that people dont find each other after 20 years and get back together, but i dont know if that actually happens when both people are still married (Id like to think it doesnt).

Finally, I wonder if the reason that you are somewhat obsessed with this woman is because of happiness/boredom/complacency with your wife, or if, regardless of her, you would have fantasized about this girl anyway. Part of me thinks that the obsession with this girl may stem from something you are not getting in your own marriage. That is often why we gives us the hope and excitement that we are lacking in life, often due to indifference, boredom, etc. Maybe instead of wondering whether to contact her or not, start analyzing what might be wrong in your own marriage, or how you can give to and get from your wife what youd like in order to improve things.

I hope this helps- these are just my opinions. I just think that it is a lot to risk just for an abstract idea of a person. Our minds are complicated things, and they often take up thoughts and obsessions in order to distract ourselves from the things we are lacking in our everyday lives. My advice is to get your head out of the past and put more of your energy into the present...and not to 'open a can of worms' as you say, all for a fantasy.

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