His Wife Drinks with Her Ex
Q: My wife meets her ex-husband a couple times a month for drinks, and it's driving me crazy. I don't get why she wants to see the guy she left all those years ago. Plus he's got a girlfriend, and she knows it. She says they are still friends, and she likes it that way. They were together 15 years and we've been married six. After they meet, she always seems happier. What's up with that? I know he told her she's the one that got away and she's unforgettable. I guess it makes her feel good that he realized what a mistake he made. I just don't want her to buy his BS and start thinking about another try. Should I put my foot down and say no more happy hours with him? -- Larry, 49
Dr. Susan: That would drive me crazy too. It's great, especially with kids involved, if exes can remain on civil terms. It's not so great for your wife to hang out and drink with her ex, especially if he lets her know he wishes they were still together. That's playing with fire. I don't believe it's a matter of putting your foot down, because that could spark increased rebellion from her. But you can repeat that you're feeling more than very uncomfortable, that you know that when people drink they don't make good decisions.
For her, are her outings with him worth causing you such anxieties? In fact, if they're just friends, then you should go along on some of these drinks outings. That's what experts recommend to ensure continued trust in a relationship. Not blind trust based on nothing. If both of you socialize with this guy, rather than only your wife going out with him, then you might believe in the innocence of their relationship. Or not! If neither of them wants you there, that tells you something.
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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.