When her ex calls

Joey Garcia

My wife’s ex-boyfriend wants to visit, and I’m uncomfortable about that. He recently tracked her down through her family’s business. He was with my wife for over four years, and they lived together for a year. My wife moved out and broke things off with him shortly before I met her. He has not had direct contact with my wife or her family in the seven years of our marriage. Because he has a past with my wife and knows she has a husband and family, I feel that he is crossing an inappropriate relationship line. Are my feelings valid? Does anything justify him getting in touch with my wife?

Is it reasonable to feel uncomfortable? Yes. Is it reasonable to try to stop the visit? Let’s puzzle that out together. My first concern is the small, quiet voice of your soul. What did it say when you first met your wife and learned that she had just broken up with the man she had been living with? Did you think—even for a fleeting instant—that she could be on the rebound? If so, some of the energy of that fear is probably with you now, especially if you never fully addressed the issue.

Does he intend to revive the romance? It’s possible, but it is also likely that he needs to make amends of some sort. He could intend to make healthy amends (apologizing for the behavior that spurred the relationship to an end) or unhealthy compensation (trying to plump up his ego by attempting to convince himself that he was not abandoned and is still desirable). None of this is a problem, of course, if you and your wife are devoted partners. She will see through any of his emotional schemes (like she did before) and appreciate what she has with you even more.

If you can shake your discomfort and be cordial, the visit should be a threesome. This doesn’t mean you don’t trust her (or him). It simply affirms your status as a couple and your choice to socialize as such.

All of this might be easier for you if you imagine the situation reversed and your former flame suddenly hot on your trail. You might be curious to see her, but if your wife was uncomfortable, you should bring her along or not go. Ultimately, the rule in committed relationships is this: Either partner can engage in other friendships as long as those friendships are secondary to the partnership and are shaped by the needs and concerns of both partners.

I am a woman with a crush on one of my male housemates. He is very beautiful, has a lovely body and is unconscious of his beauty. I don’t desire sex. I want to creep into his bed and cuddle with him. I know very well not to get romantically involved with housemates if you want the business relationship of co-renting to thrive. But I think about him constantly, dream about him nightly and fuss over my appearance when he’s around. I take care not to show my attraction. There’s no evidence that he reciprocates, so it’s too risky to act.

Was your childhood home emotionally chaotic? If so, you may feel an unconscious compulsion to disrupt the ease of your current living situation until it mimics your childhood experience. Another possibility is that you are avoiding your spiritual call by fixating on him (a false idol). Consider that the inability to control your thoughts or feelings means this is an addictive relationship. So, like any junkie, you have to choose between your obsession and your sanity.

Meditation of the week
A group of teenagers shared this knowledge from their life experience: “Boyfriends stab in the back. Girlfriends stab in the heart. Best friends don’t carry knives.” Can you be a best friend and drop your weapons for the ones you love and the ones you don’t (yet)?

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