Future with Ex?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

My ex re-appeared before my wedding. That was three years ago. I have been talking to him secretly, even though I love my husband dearly. However, for different reasons. My husband is loving, loyal and a great provider -however our chemistry/sexual passion is not where it should be. On the other hand my ex and I were over the top in that department. He only says he wants sex from me and nothing serious.I have seen him twice to talk, but not so much as touched him- as I do not want to dishonour my husband or myself.)Is this just a case of reclaiming what was his? I think I am in love with him and I think I would leave my husband to be with him if he seriously wanted another relationship. The thing is, I am unsure if he can be trusted, or ever will…what should I do?

A. You said that you do not want to dishonor your husband or yourself, but you are actually achieving both by secretly talking to and meeting with your ex. There are many marriages, a surprising number of marriages, that are open sexually. Both the husband and the wife engage in sexual practices with other people. These marriages seem to have no higher a failure rate than marriages where both parties are monogamous.

When a spouse has a sexual affair, without the knowledge of their partner, the problem is not the actual sexual act but is instead the deception and lies that came with the affair. If you don’t believe me, ask anyone whose spouse has had an affair. What was the overwhelming problem? What thought filled their mind and did not allow them to sleep or function normally? Here’s what I’ve heard, in my counseling practice, over and over again. “How can I ever trust my spouse again?”

When I attempt to save these marriages, the issues that I will deal with, the problems in a relationship, will all deal with trust. Quite naturally and normally the person that was cheated on, who I will now referr to as the “cheatee” will have major problems believing and trusting the cheater. That makes sense and it will take not months but years to once again trust the cheater. That’s assuming that the cheater has been completely trustworthy over that period of time.

The second problem, which the layperson would not assume, will come from the cheater’s perspective. The cheater very quickly becomes tired and annoyed by being treated as if they are not trustworthy, which of course they are not and have proven that to be true with the deception and lies that they have committed during the course of their affair.

Quite erroneously, the cheater believes that they can re-earn the trust of their spouse in a matter of days or perhaps a few weeks. Nothing could be further from the truth. It will take several years of fully trustworthy behavior for the cheater to be trusted once again.

My advice to you? Immediately cease all contact with your ex-boyfriend. No phone calls, text messages, e-mails, Internet contact of any kind, is acceptable. If he works out at the same exercise facility as you do, quit and find a new place to exercise. If he works at the garage where you bring your car for repairs, find a new garage. If you share mutual friends, make it clear to your friends that they are not to discuss your ex-boyfriend with you in any manner. If they do not respect your wishes, end your relationship with them.

Work on your marriage. If all is well with the marriage except for the sexual element, see a marriage counselor or sex therapist. Do this of course as a couple. If you are dissatisfied with your marriage and the therapy does not help, then you should end your marriage.

It is normal to have feelings for people that you used to love. They may always have a soft spot in your heart but your loyalty and devotion belongs to your spouse. Do your best to maintain the sanctity of your marriage. You will never regret having done so.

I hope things work out for you and I wish you the best of luck.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Feb 2014

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2014). Future with Ex?. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 29, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/02/06/future-with-ex/