Her Ex is Back!
Q: My wife's ex resurfaced in her life after 20 years, and she confessed to him that they have a love child. They have been seeing each other often and reminiscing about the past and making plans for future meetings. I heard one phone call with her inviting him on a romantic trip, and I read a letter from her revealing how great he makes her feel. When I have confronted her she asks me to give her another chance to prove her love for me. Honestly, I believe she loves her ex more than me. I do not think I can fully trust her again. But I am afraid to let her go. I am so confused. -- Andy
Dr. Susan: That must be tough! The power of the past is luring her away from you, so that you're not competing with a real person as much as her romantic dreams of how great it all was "before." So here she is carrying out an affair with him, emotional or whatever kind. He makes her feel "great." Well, that's temporary, though of course she isn't thinking clearly. If she's ready to let go of her fantasy love, she can prove her love for you by no longer seeing this other fellow, and by opening up about what she's been up to. It's going to be hard to trust her again, since she's been hiding so much from you. But I wouldn't just give up easily. The initial effort now has to be hers, to show you that she's willing to be honest. The two of you could talk about why she's feeling so compelled to seek reassurance outside the marriage, and what she feels she's missing with you, and what the two of you can do to revive your own previous warm feelings for one another. But she has to stop seeing and talking to and writing to him, and she has to accept full responsibility for hurting you. I hope you can work this out.
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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.