blast from the past

close_1972May 8, 2008

A little over a year ago, I ended all communication w/a friend/old fling (pre-marriage) of mine b/c it was interfering w/my marriage and, possibly(according to DH), turning into an emotional affair. DH and I have been in marital counseling for about a year and a half and are working through the issues. Counselor felt that me talking w/my old friend was an issue, but it was mainly a symptom of deeper issues. It was best for everyone if I stopped and I finally did. So...I found that the old friend sent me an email, possibly exactly one year from the last correspondence (or very close to that time), asking me how I was doing one year later.

The email went to an account that I rarely use, so I only found it yesterday morning. I have a lot of mixed feelings over it, and I feel frustrated. I was completely surprised he'd contact me again, a little tickled that he was wondering about me, a little upset that he won't stay out of my life, a little nostalgic and sad b/c I missed talking to him, confused because he said he wouldn't contact me again. What is going on and why did he contact me? Why do I keep thinking about this?

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carla35

Delete it and move on...it will only cause problems (as you may be able to tell it is already doing). Seriously, try to forget about it. Do not respond at all... anything but totally ignoring him will only be leading him on.

Do you really want be involved with the type of man who wants to be involved (emotionally or otherwise) with a married woman? He's hurting you and your marriage too (thought I'd point that out just in case you don't see that) -- not a very decent person, IMHO no matter how nice he seems. Stay away from him.

Maybe you need to good back into marriage counseling, and not with the same one you had been using for 5 years; I would suggest tyring a new therapist.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 9:52AM
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asolo

Get your head straight. Leave this trouble behind. Ignore it and forget it. Don't waste your time and emotions wondering anything. It doesn't matter. You're diddling with your mind and your marriage for no good reason. Stop it.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 1:43PM
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popi_gw

"Why do I keep thinking about this?"

You probably feel flattered, that someone is showing concern about your welfare, especially someone who was special to you.

Others say to ignore the email, that's the best thing to do.

How long have you been married ?

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 6:48PM
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close_1972

carla/asolo--harsh. I needed to hear that from you. I expected it, which is partly why I posted. The other reason is that I really wanted to tell somebody. By the way, I've only been in marriage counseling for one and a half years, not five, and I'm still in counseling; DH is in counseling too. I think our counselor is helping me learn how to deal with my DH, and whether or not I want to continue dealing with him for the rest of my life.

popi--I've been married six years.

I deleted the message. At this point, though, I won't be surprised if I hear from him again in a year. He emailed me about once a year, after things ended and even after I got married, for five years. Then we started talking again, and that has stopped for a year so it seems maybe he's back to the once/year. Why is he so persistent? It would be flattering to think that it's because I mean a lot to him but I'm too jaded to think that's really the reason. Does anyone have any ideas as to why he'd do this?

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 8:36PM
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carla35

He's lonely and he thinks he can use you for emotional support. Maybe it's a kind of challenge to try to get you. I take it this is that guy from your post last year. Maybe he's a little bitter or wants to retaliate because you choose to marry your husband over him -- maybe a part of him wants to get back at both of you, or it brings him some satisfaction to know you're not all that happy with your husband and would consider carrying on with him.

If he really cared, he'd stay away and let you sort out your life without him being a third wheel.

Sorry, I keep getting the years with the counselor wrong. Have you mentioned this guy to the counselor yet. I probably would (in private of course - no need upsetting your husband). If you haven't mentioned him how do you expect to resolve it or come to terms with everything? This has really been going on too long for you to be thinking this way about this guy. I would seriously consider trying a new counselor. It's been way over a year, right, and you're still back at square one... wondering what life would be like with the other guy. Hard to live that way...

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 10:54PM
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amyfiddler

I typed this earlier, don't know why it didn't post. Here we go again -

From all that I understand about affairs, emotional and sexual, it is advised that when attempts to contact, or even when innocent run-ins occur after an affair, it is suggested that you tell your spouse. I Know that the information will be painful to him, increase his anxiety, and yours....temporarily. Let me try to explain why this is the suggested course:

1. It will build trust between you and your spouse. He will, does, undoubtedly, wonder if for sure your affair is over....this will clarify that. To show him the email would verify for him that the attempt to contact you is unwelcome by you, and that will give your spouse faith in your present intentions. In the future, when he feels anxiety, he can reflect on this situation and be reassured.

2. It will give you and your spouse an opportunity to work as a team with regards to how to deal with the situation. Teamwork builds trust.

3. It will solidify in your mind your position, that this affair is over.

4. It will create a more transparent relationship in your marriage - the cornerstone to building trust.

I know, many would say "don't tell him!" However....there are drawbacks to not telling. 1. if DH were to find out that he was emailing you, regardless of how you handled it, he will feel betrayed. 2. It perpetrates the secret nature of the affair, part of what made the affair alluring 3. it increases the possibility of reconnecting with the ex lover (or whatever you call him).

You've erased it already, but is it in your 'trash'? even if not, it's not too late to include your husband in this process. Scary to be sure, but in the long term, it's the right thing.
Just ask your therapist. :)

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 11:52PM
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asolo

New counselor, at least. Incredible that you're continuing to wallow in this insignificant silliness for so long -- and that your counselor hasn't called you on it. How many years do you intend to spend on this nonsense? What does it matter to you why this guy does whatever he does? Or whether or not you "mean a lot" to him? You're married. Grow up and be a wife -- or get divorced and be an ex-wife. Your husband deserves better than this immaturity.

If there's more than you've said so far, I'd like to hear it. However, up until now you've described yourself as a serious ditz.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 12:01AM
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carla35

amy,

I would generally agree with your idea about sharing everything with her spouse but considering the poster's previous post, I'm not really sure honesty is the best policy in her case. It sounds like her husband has anger management/temper issues and may even be physically and emotionally abusive.

I can't tell if this is just a case of a girl regretting marrying one guy over another or if there are serious marital problems/abuse going on. Either could account for her behavior and feelings. Sadly, it sounds as if she still does want to correspond with her old boyfriend. That honesty stuff works fine when you don't overly want to be with the other person, and you understand it's over, but when you do still want to talk to them (and can't seem to even admit to yourself that it's over), I'm not sure telling your bad temper prone husband about it is the best idea. Counseling, without him around, may be best for her.

Here is a link that might be useful: Old Post

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 12:22AM
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amyfiddler

Oh. Physical abuse cancels out all reasonable solutions. I haven't been here much, not following history -

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 12:50AM
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close_1972

Carla35--thanks for your thoughtful insight. I think that you're right about him staying out of my life if he really cared.

Our counselor and DH know all about this guy--all the history, all the embarrassing past, and about me lying that we had a sexual relationship--although not about the recent contact. DH made a huge deal out of everything, and I felt really horrible about myself, and it finally reach the point where counselor told him that he was creating a hydra situation, where each time one head is smashed, two grow back. He told DH that he had to stop obsessing about it and decide whether or not this was going to be a "deal breaker" and it took DH almost eight months to decide. DH couldn't let it go, I still don't think he has because he has an almost impossible time forgiving people, but at minimum he is not supposed to berate me about it any more. It's frustrating b/c I wasn't unfaithful in our marriage, so first he had to deal with the pre-marriage, pre-serious-relationship-with-me stuff, then the theoretical emotional affair.

I hadn't really been thinking about my friend too much for the last six or so months. The email brought back a lot of memories. It is the same guy from my other posts and the advice I got from the forum last year was helpful. However, I can't just forget about and erase all the old feelings. I try not to think about them, but I'll probably always have them--I think that's human. Because I've been spending time trying to get more in touch with my own emotions, it means that I have to experience all the sadness, pain, regret or whatever, along with the good emotions.

In counseling, now, DH and I are both working on communication. We're going separately for now, partly (from what I'm being told) so that the counselor can help DH with his low self-esteem and anger issues. Most recently, I'm supposed to be figuring out what my "values" are and what's important to me, then taking steps to assert these things in the marriage without worrying about whether or not DH will be angry with me. I'm not sure how to explain it, exactly, but I'm supposed to treat DH honestly about how I feel rather than the way I think he wants me to treat him.

It's not necessarily resulting in smoother interaction but I'm not feeling resentful at DH any more, and because I don't feel resentful I really do want things to work.

asolo--> just to reiterate, counselor did call me on it.

amy--> my DH is not physically abusive but I don't think telling him about this would do anything positive; he is a suspicious person and it's possible for him to construe that I told him only so he would think nothing was going on, therefore making him more suspicious (like I'm only doing it for show). Better to say nothing. If he ever asks me if I've heard from that guy, I will tell him about the email and that it's deleted. Even from the trash.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 2:27AM
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close_1972

I think our counselor is kind of old-school. He's in his sixties and white, but he has a lot of experience and nothing phases him. He thinks part of the "personality clash" problem between DH and I is cultural (I'm white and DH is Asian). I'm not sure it's even relevant to this discussion, but it occurred to me so I'm writing it. DH is very Americanized and English is his first language, so it's hard for me to see how we're having cultural problems, but counselor says that some of DHs issues "fit the profile" or whatever.

I like our counselor though, he's good for my personality type. DH might prefer a more "sensitive" counselor; he has a difficult time when people are direct with him, and our counselor is very direct. I've suggested to him that he might want to find another counselor, but for now we're continuing to see this guy. I've suggested to DH that he ask the counselor questions about the things he says to DH if DH doesn't understand--he's the kind of DH who doesn't want to ask many questions. DH thinks counseling is helping him, too, so he's committed to continuing to go.

I want to ask the counselor if he's told DH that he thinks part of the problem is cultural. I'm curious if he'd say those things to DH, or maybe he turns it around and tells DH that I'm too American and typically less tactful or something like that.

Also, counselor told me that he doesn't want to talk with me any more about DH. He want to talk with me about me and what I need to do for myself. Counseling is taking on a new direction.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 2:42AM
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marge727

You've been going to counseling for a year and a half? Good grief.
First of all I have traveled extensively in the East, taught school in an Asian community prior to being an attorney and there is a culture difference. Don't you go to family gatherings of his?
Imagine for a moment an Irish Wake, then a Japanese funeral. You don't think there is a big difference? I don't know where you live but 1/3 of the new freshmen at UCLA are asian. So that means there is a big emphasis on education, and families give up a lot to send their children to the best schools possible. Other cultures believe that school is a major waste of time. Thats one example of a culture difference and a difference in allocating family money.
Being direct or indirect is a culture difference. Your husband is not going to change that stuff and neither are you. Thats the reason parents gripe about cross cultural marriages and cross religious marriages for their children. They are more difficult for the relatives and the people in the marriage.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2008 at 8:17PM
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asolo

Yo, marge727....many degrees of respect.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2008 at 8:45PM
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