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ASK ELLIE: Missing a past romantic flame

While divorce is always hard on kids, so is a home where two people live together miserably.
While divorce is always hard on kids, so is a home where two people live together miserably. - 123RF Stock Photo

Q:

At 15, on the first day in a new school, a girl in my class made a loud nasty comment about my short haircut and everyone laughed.

I avoided girls that whole year and focused on sports and my grades. At 17, I had several courses with a girl who showed positive interest in me. She became my first real girlfriend. We were inseparable that year and the next.

But we were accepted by different universities and pursued different paths, seeing each other only on holidays. By 21 we only sent texts to stay in touch.

I’m 32 now, married. We have a five-year-old son. My wife and I met through work, and we seemed to have plenty in common then.

Now we have different views on many things. We’re both working from home, but she’s focused on material things ... a bigger house and designer labels are her idea of success.

I’m grateful for all that we have, but my wants are about learning more about the world, the environment and science, to survive better through challenging times like this pandemic.

Then suddenly I learned through a friend that my former girlfriend has left her husband. They were married for about six years without children.

I know it’d be playing with fire to reach out to her, but I can’t stop thinking about her. She was the most interesting person I knew and loved when we were together.

We could chat about everything and end up agreeing or learning from each other. But once I had a child, I didn’t allow myself to even go there mentally. Now I can’t fight my emotions.

Do I tell my wife up front that I intend to see this woman and find out how she is because of our once-close friendship? Or is that a premature move when I don’t even know if she’ll want to see me?

If not, I’d have revealed to my wife just how much I yearn for someone else, which will probably lead towards our breaking up.

What about my son? Will he one day think another woman was more important to me than him?

- Missing My Past Love

A:

Give yourself a time-out for a while – no circling your former lover when there has been little contact for years, no confessions to your wife about outside yearnings.

You like to learn about making it through hard times. Well, this pandemic is very hard on relationships.

Your wife’s at home all day managing work and co-parenting and dreams of future material rewards. She’s not alone. Daydreaming is natural when under COVID-19 restrictions.

Meanwhile, you don’t know if your former girlfriend left her husband for another person or wants to be on her own.

Your friend may update you. Still, before you make the call, think about your son.

Fact: Divorce is hard on children. But so is living unhappily with someone you no longer love. Find out what’s happening within your household.

Have you closed your mind against your wife because she’s handling things differently from you? Have you ignored her feelings during this time? Or are you seeking a way out anyway?

Be honest with yourself. Then, whatever your former girlfriend has to say, talk to a psychotherapist before closing doors behind you.

And if you do leave your marriage, get family counselling regarding your son. The earlier the better, that he’s raised with loving assurance that he did nothing wrong to cause his parents to divorce.


Readers’ commentary on being lonely:

I don’t have a lot of friends. If I don’t call anyone, no one calls me. There was one person I helped when he was down and needed someone to talk to and lean on. But he’s doing better now so I don’t hear back as much.

I don’t know how to join chat groups or do anything online, I’m old-fashioned and better with meeting and having person-to-person talk. It’s just that I’m so lonely.

Ellie - Your success with your friend shows you’re a good listener and can be helpful to others.

While it seems a hard time to make friends, the truth is there are so many people today who need a kind person like you, just as you need them. Volunteering at a food bank would be one place to listen to others’ stories, and help you feel grateful that you’ve been managing on your own.


Ellie’s tip of the day:

  • While divorce is always hard on kids, so is a home where two people live together miserably.

Read Ellie Monday to Saturday. Send relationship questions to [email protected]. Follow @ellieadvice.

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About the author
Ellie Tesher
Ellie Tesher

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