She Loves Her Ex
Q: I'm in love with an ex-boyfriend, but the problem is that I'm married and have 3 children. I do not love my husband. I married at a young age (I'm 26 now), and didn't realize what I was getting myself into. I feel like I need closure with my ex, since I never got the chance to say good-bye to him, and I have loved him for nine years. I would like the chance to start to love my husband. What can I do to love my husband and forget about my ex? -- Mary
Dr. Susan: You're comparing apples to oranges, or your real life to a fantasy life. After all this time, you really have no idea what life would be like with your ex. Whatever you shared has been over so long that all that's left is a dream. It's time to wake up. When you say you don't love your husband, I wonder if you mean you don't lust after him. That's a tough one, because the way we're built, we tend to lust after what we don't have. I have to tell you, hardly anyone knows what they're getting themselves into when they first marry, so please stop feeling sorry for yourself. Yes, you were young, but so what? You learn and grow together by talking honestly with one another and sharing a zillion daily experiences, including the raising of your kids. Closure is a pipedream. You need to close that chapter of your life on your own, without involving him and without risking your marriage and family. Once you accept -- in your gut -- that your ex is always going to remain your ex, that your life has headed in another direction, and that it's up to you to make it a happy life, then and only then will you be able to open your heart to loving your husband. Consider letting your husband know that you feel you've settled into a rut in your marriage and you'd love his help in making things more fun and gratifying again.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.