Who's Getting Hurt? He Won't Tell His Wife about Me
A year and a half ago, I reunited with my first love by phone. I'm divorced. He's married. We had been high school sweethearts, but when his family moved we lost touch. He was in my life when I was 16 and my father passed away, so I was glad just to find him, to know him again and be friends. We ended up getting involved in a romantic affair, but he felt terrible and wanted to give his marriage another try. I supported this decision. Now, all of our communication is via email, instant messaging and an occasional phone call. His wife, however, knows nothing about our friendship. He refuses to tell her because according to him, she is overly jealous and wouldn't understand.
I don't want to be someone that could create problems for him, but I don't want to lose his friendship either. We lost over 20 years, so how do I walk away from any more? Is there any way that I can maintain our friendship in an honest way -- without hurting his marriage? I just want to make sure we're doing the right thing.
First, let me acknowledge you for making the choice to end your affair with this man and step back into the friendship -- a sound choice. If you truly want to support him as a friend, I think that he needs to tell his wife about your relationship. This will show her that he really is committed to making his marriage work. Plus, he can't be hiding secrets from her and at the same time expect your friendship to grow. If their marriage is squelched because of dishonesty about your friendship, you will feel just as responsible as if you'd continued a physical affair.
I suspect that it will be hard for him to work on marital issues with his wife, and you may need to step aside while he builds their relationship. But you can use that time to reflect on your own needs. Examine what you're getting out of this friendship. Ask questions such as: Why is he an important part of your life? Are there qualities about your friendship that were missing from your marriage? If so, you will be doing more for yourself if you look for another romantic relationship with these qualities. This way, you will be honoring yourself.
More Questions from the Life Coach:
1. Why do you think this man came into your life now? What does he bring from your past that you might be missing now?
2. Write down the qualities in this friendship that you would like to have in a romantic relationship later.