Pining for the Ex #2

Visitor's Question from a 21-30 year old Female
I am very confused in life right now. I married young (19), for all the wrong reasons. I have been married for several years now, but I can't stop thinking about the one person I loved the most. He and I dated for about 3 years, and after the breakup, we remained close. Family members on both sides caused problems for the both of us. I have only spoken to him in brief conversations over the phone in about 5 years. I ran into him once during a Thanksgiving visit home, and was the only time I've actually seen him in 5 years. But no matter how hard I try I can't get him out of my head, I can't stop thinking about him. Sometimes I close my eyes at night, and I hear his voice...and sometimes I cry. I wonder what I would do if I saw him, should I tell him how I "really" feel? I mean, I have no idea how he feels about me anymore. I know he almost married once, but didn't.

I'm in between a rock and a hard place because I don't want to hurt my husband, but I'm not exactly happy in my marriage. I love my husband for the child we have together, but there's just nothing between us anymore. He's a good guy for the most part, and I don't want to hurt him, but I don't want to live the rest of my life unhappy either. Also, should I care what my family would think "if" I were to divorce this guy that most of them like to be with the other guy if it were to work out? Or should they just be happy that I am finally "truly happy"? Advice
I actually responded to your other letter on this question, did you get it? The answer is on the site too if you didn't get the message for some reason.

Remember, what you feel for the other guy is sort of built up into a fantasy now, it's very common to do that, and it's not good to deliberately abandon something you have for something you dream about. Focus on what you have first. Many people end up really happy with a relationship that started for the wrong reason. Love can grow strong in even relationships that start rocky. So work on your relationship with a solid effort. Give it your best shot. If, after a few months of everything you have, you just can't make it work and be happy, you can consider separating. But you'd always regret it later if you took off on guy #1 deliberately to be with guy #2. Because there's no guarantee that guy #2 will work out, and it's a bad habit to purposefully abandon someone for someone else. It gets you into the habit of figuring "Oh this guy isn't working out, I'll just jump to another". And rebound issues and everything else.

So. Work with your husband. It might work! Relationships aren't about star-bursting passion and the scenes in fairy tales. They're about communication, and talking, and honesty, and being there, and being trustworthy, and *love*. Those are things you *can* have with your husband if you both really try. It could be that you're maintaining an unrealistic fantasy in your mind that nobody (not even guy #2) would match up with after many years of marriage. I'm not saying guy #1 is perfect for you. But really, perfection isn't something normally found in relationships. You find someone you can grow and change with, and together you grow and change, and compromise, and work on things constantly. So you can do all of that with your 'childhood sweetheart' or with the 'bad decision after high school' or anyone else in between. People have arranged marriages that work out wonderfully! So in the end the start of it is immaterial because people change SO much over the years. What really ends up mattering is how much the two are willing to work at maintaining the relationship as they both change.

Still, in the end, some people just are not made to be together. Be SURE this is the case and it's not just that you're bored with "regular married life" and want the fantasy of what it "could be like" with guy #2. Fantasies are nice to dream about (my fantasy guy is Aragorn and has been since I was 8) but they shouldn't interfere with real life relationships. If in the end you are really UNhappy with your husband because he always yells at you or puts you down or mistreats you, despite your trying to work things out, then ask for a divorce FOR THOSE REASONS. NOT because you're attempting to get back with guy #2. Do it SOLELY because you honestly tried your best to be happy with your husband and could NOT.

Once you are split up with him, give yourself many months to stand on your own feet. A relationship is about two happy people who then choose to share their lives together, not about one person building up a fantasy and then running to lay that over the other person's reality. So find friends, find hobbies, become happy with you are on your own. And then build up contact with guy #2 and see how your *new* worlds seem to mesh together. You've both undoubtedly changed a lot over the years. It might work, it might not work, again because people are just people and some people don't get along well together over the long term relationship. So keep your eyes open and go into it being ready and willing to see what he really is and how things really work, not by maintaining the dream that you've had all these years to help you 'get by' in a relationship that you felt wasn't right.

If your family sees that you were really miserable in your marriage, that you REALLY tried and just were unhappy, I would hope they would support you in a divorce. They can't expect you to be miserable for your entire life and while you can try your best for a while, to expect you to try your best for your entire life while being unhappy the whole time is unreasonable. And they should then support you as you recover and become your own person. And after that, they should support you in finding a person who DOES make you happy if you do it in an opened-eyed fashion. But if you go diving out of your current relationship without trying, and jump immediately into one with your ex that you haven't seen in 5 years, I imagine they might be a bit unsure of how much you'd thought things through.

Good luck!

-- from Jenn
One of Your Friendly Advisors at

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