My friend had previously dated a man for 10 years. She married someone else two years ago, due to feelings that it wasn’t going to happen with the other man and her desire to have a family.
She now believes she made a mistake. She’s still deeply in love with her ex-boyfriend. They’re still in contact, remain close friends and text daily.
She knows this is wrong on her part, but she’s stuck in an emotional frenzy. She’s not in love with her husband nor emotionally invested in their marriage.
How does she go about divorcing her husband and moving forward to rekindle her relationship with her ex, who’s truly her soul-mate, and with whom she desires to have a family?
Whether this is really about your friend (or possibly about you) here’s what’s needed immediately: Talking to a neutral, professional person – yes, a lawyer – for the essential information about rights and responsibilities in a divorce and what’s involved realistically, financially and legally.
“Emotional frenzy” is the worst basis on which to proceed. There’s more at issue here than just switching partners.
The current husband needs to know what’s going on, including hearing her abject apologies for causing him the pain/humiliation of having been betrayed.
Meanwhile, the desired ex-boyfriend needs to give credible assurance that he’s ready to marry, or the situation is back where it started.
However, though it seems there’s no question about the love felt for him, the mention of “rekindling” the relationship is worrying.
If the wild emotions are mostly on one side, this woman needs to give herself a time-out for counselling.
If she’s locked into personal deadlines about being married and getting pregnant, she may be rushing into the wind… no more certain that her “soul mate” is any better at commitment than he was in the past.
Recently, a woman, age 26, who works where I do, told me about her “wonderful boyfriend” whose early Christmas gift was booking both for a week’s vacation in Mexico.
She confided that she sometimes follows a website that trashes people and found that another woman had written about her guy that he was a cheater and a liar. She’d also received an email from an unknown woman claiming to have had sex with her boyfriend.
She told me, “I just can’t see him doing that. He loves me and is always buying me expensive gifts.”
She sounded so trusting of him that I had no idea how to respond. As a more experienced woman (late-40s), should I have warned her to look more closely at this guy, and also get tested for sexually transmitted infections in case he IS sleeping around?
What’s the Right Response?
Young women need guidance and support from those who’ve had more life experience. This woman’s being so dazzled by her boyfriend’s gifts, that she’s not seeing the realistic possibility of deception.
While it’s hard to believe posts on a website that exists solely to trash people, the direct email to her makes it harder to dismiss. Certainly, someone wants her to believe that the guy’s a player.
As for suggesting that she get an STI check, that’s a solid way to tell her that, if it’s even possible that he’s seeing other women, it can have a direct, unpleasant, and even lasting effect on her health.
The fact that she opened up to you was the clue that she needs and wants your wiser opinion.
FEEDBACK Regarding concerns about a cousin’s secrecy about where she lives (December 3):
Reader #1 – “One possible explanation might be that she has an abusive/violent partner.”
Reader #2 – “You say to discuss an intervention instead of “letting” her sink deeper. After the recent death of our family member due to alcoholism and mental health issues, we’re painfully aware that no one lets anyone sink. The individual’s responsible for that even though they have a disease/disorder. No amount of love, cajoling, shaming, praise, etc. can make anyone seek treatment. It has to come from within.”
Ellie – To reader #1, I agree with your supposition. I, too, raised the possibility of a dangerous relationship in my response.
To reader #2 - I empathize with the pain felt by your family’s loss. An intervention can be about showing the troubled person the strength of family support, which may lead to more will to tackle their problem, with help.
Tip of the day:
An emotional frenzy is a poor foundation for any major decision, especially one that involves marriage.