What would you do if your husband and his ex-wife got back in touch-- and started regularly communicating? That's the question that one GalTime reader is struggling with-- she turned to Dr. Jane Greer for advice.
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GalTime Reader Question: I’ve been married for twenty years. About two years ago, I caught my husband reconnecting with his ex-wife. They were married for a brief period, decades ago. They did not have any children together.
My husband and his ex-wife started corresponding. She said she was engaged and wanted closure. It turns out they were meeting for lunch, texting and emailing for months. My husband was sending her gifts and flowers. He told me he had feelings for her, but wouldn’t tell me what those feelings were. When I confronted him, he said I was overreacting, and that since his ex was getting married, he didn’t feel like he was doing anything wrong.
He never explained his feelings or actions. It’s like the elephant in the room. My husband says that they didn’t sleep together, but I’m not sure. I feel betrayed, and for the past two years, it’s been eating away at me.
I resent him, and have a lot of anger. It feels as fresh to me today as it did two years ago. I wish I could get over it but I can’t… I feel stuck. Please give me your advice.
Right now I have one foot in and one foot out of my marriage. I need and want to move forward, but can’t....
Dr. Jane Greer: It's understandable that your husband reconnecting with his first wife was upsetting to you and felt threatening. The hold that relationships from the past sometimes have on people can be quite complex and hard to figure out-- so while it appears that your husband was being evasive with you, in fact it may be that he himself wasn’t aware of what was triggered for him emotionally by his ex-wife's remarriage.
Why Exes Reconnect
In situations like your husband’s, sometimes the tie they feel with someone from their past can be based on who that person was and the history you they shared with them at an important time in their life. The popularity of Facebook is testimony to how meaningful these earlier relationships can be to people.
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Additionally, with early marriages, there can be emotional variables that come into play-- such as guilt over ending or leaving the marriage, or unresolved anger at a betrayal that may have occurred, and so the reconnecting is a way for one or both people to deal with unresolved feelings that can bothered them in the past.