Wife Continues to Contact Exes

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

my wife maintains a relationship with ex husband ( says that he is more like a dad) and has lied about them meeting and deletes all of their text messages. Also has begun to look up ex boyfriends and try to contact them on Facebook. should I be alarmed? she says she is just curious

A: Since you are in your late 50′s, I’m guessing that your wife is around the same age. Many people (male and female) go through a time of re-evaluation of their lives as they enter their 60s. For some, this includes thinking about the “what ifs”. What if I had married this other person? What if I had gone into a different line of work? What if I’d handled this or that differently? Sometimes there is regret attached to these questions. Sometimes it’s more a way to come to terms with the choices they’ve made. That’s all perfectly normal. But what does concern me is that your wife has lied and that she deletes the texts. People who are “just curious” don’t need to do that. Yes, she’s entitled to privacy. But if she’s crossed the line from privacy to secrecy, maybe there is something to be concerned about.

As people reach the end of middle age, they sometimes feel like “it’s now or never” to make changes. That can result in impulsive decisions that end up being unnecessarily hurtful or just plain unwise. It can also be an important time to take stock and consider whether one should go for something that was put off or turned down.

The person to ask about what your wife is up to, of course, is your wife. You can certainly sympathize with the nostalgia for old times. You can let her know that you understand wanting to make peace with choices made along the way. But you can and probably should also ask her if the process is calling your relationship with her into question. If so, it’s important to talk about it. If you can’t communicate well with each other, it might be a good idea to see a couples counselor to help you.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 25 Oct 2012

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2012). Wife Continues to Contact Exes. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 3, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/10/25/wife-continues-to-contact-exes/