Danger Zone: When Nostalgia Threatens Your Marriage

Is it wrong to pursue a friendship with an ex-boyfriend after being married for 7 years?

What would you do if an old flame suddenly reappeared in your life–and you’re married to someone else? Should you reconnect and establish a friendship, or should you run?

The re-entry of an ex-boyfriend or ex-girfriend into your life can stir up old feelings that you have long left behind…feelings that could be very dangerous to your marriage and family. So how do you decide what to do about that friend request you haven’t yet responded to?

In today’s video, I (Leslie) discuss the sensitive issue of deciding whether to let an ex be a part of your married life now.

First, you have to assess whether this re-connection would be healthy for you, your spouse, and your marriage. The human heart is naturally nostalgic; past attachments can evoke the old feelings you had for that person, and rekindling those emotions can wreak havoc on your marriage.

There are several questions you can ask yourself to determine whether it’s healthy to let this person back into your life. Do you feel comfortable making this friendship part of your married life? Can your ex be friends with both you and your spouse? Is opening communication with your ex a wise thing to do?

If you feel like you have to keep your relationship with an ex separate from your life with your husband or wife, that’s a huge red flag. While there’s nothing wrong with having fond memories of the past and the time you spent with that person, it may not be a good idea to invite them into your current life.

In other words, if the past endangers your present, leave it where it belongs: in the past.

Have you and your spouse allowed an ex to become a friend since you married? How has that affected your relationship? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.


One Comment

  • Mrs. DLG says:

    My husbands ex from 20 years ago reached out to him years ago- I thought he would have told me then, but he didn’t. My expectations of an open line of communication regarding exes/opposite sex communication was not a reciprocated one. Our marriage has had difficulty for a few years now due to my insecurities of finding messages/pictures, etc. and him denying everything I had questions of. This fueled my hurt and devastation into anger and resentment and not wanting to share myself due to my expected rejection/judgement (how can I compare to these images/relationships he’s in to?).
    I had been demeaned and humiliated in front of our children- name called as a liar/making things up to make him look bad, I was crazy, etc. – he has lied to me for years when I gave him opportunity after opportunity to come clean. I love him deeply and when we are close and intimate it is wonderful- and then a red flag pops up and I’m back to being hurt and fearful.
    Turns out all my inner warning bells were spot on and my anxiety was well founded. This weekend I found out he had been carrying on a personal relationship with her for over a year- he has seen her twice that he admits to (& really only admitting to things I can prove) and sharing obscene photos (which my young children saw!).
    I am devastated.
    I have always been honest about any exes or males contacting me when it happens because I didn’t find it proper and clearly expressed I expected the same over the past 17 years. I don’t know where to go from here. It became physical when he tried to take his phone from me and when I requested he stop communicating with her.
    I don’t feel I’m setting an appropriate example for my children if I stay and if I do I feel it’s a get out of jail free card that my husband will abuse again and again. How long and how far would this have gone if I hadn’t caught him with tangible proof? I have deep trust issues with him because of his lying, secrecy and previously ‘unproven’ indiscretions.
    He blames me but I don’t feel I can take on that blame role because I didn’t do it- I didn’t lie and cheat. He did.

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