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Why Does My Wife's Old Boyfriend Bother Me?

Question:

My wife’s old boyfriend recently contacted her and they have been corresponding on a daily basis. I do not think for a moment that there is anything physical going on nor ever will, but it really bothers me to the point I cannot sleep at night. My wife states she will stop communicating if that is what I want, but I would feel awful about myself if that happens for I think I should be above this.

I have a great marriage and my wife is very loving and attentive. I hate the way this makes me feel as I am in a no win situation. I think about this constantly but just want to be able to move on. We have talked about this a lot.

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Answer:

Trust is the foundation stone of any marriage. Husband and wife need to go about daily routines secure in their knowlege that their partner is reiliable partner who will do nothing to threaten the marriage. Married partners come in contact with others of the opposite sex, particularly at work but else where as well. That trust can be threatened if a spouse feels insecure and easily threatened by the outside world.

However, there are many forces at work that can cause people to be fearful about their intimate relationship. Part of the task of newly married partners is to build a solid boundary line that separates the partnership from the outside world. Today, more than ever, that boundary seems to be weakened by the fact that society is very mobile. Careers take partners away from one another because they may need to travel and spend long hours at work so that the relationship becomes neglected. In sum, the bonds that tie two people together often becomes frayed as a result of these and other forces that impinge on married life.

Given this brief outline of the problems that afflict modern marriage, it is no surprise that you feel threatened by this ex boyfriend your wife is communicating with. It is not simply that this man is either a colleague at work, neighbor, or informal friend. Rather, he is someone with whom your wife had a romantic relationship at sometime previous to your marriage together. In other words, he represents one of those pressures that impinge on marital relationships. That is why, as much as you want to dismiss what is happening, you find it difficult given the fragile nature of modern marriages.

On the positive side, it is really good that you and your wife are discussing this thing. On the negative side, she continues this renewed connection to here ex boyfriend. In order to protect your marriage and your feelings of hurt, one would think she would end this thing. Instead, she tosses the ball to you and states that she will end this thing if you want her too. That puts a lot of pressure on you. Knowing how you feel, one would think she would put and end to this dialogue with him and protect your relationship. Doesn’t she understand and have empathy for your feelings?

Ultimately, I do not have an answer for you except to keep on talking to each other. One hopes that your wife will wake up and realize that her marriage is more important than talking to her ex. I hate to say it but, if she does not wake up and this continues for too much longer, you may have to ask her to end this thing. I put the emphasis on the word, “ask” and not demand. In asking you could point out that you love her very much and do not want to impinge on her as a mutual person in your marriage together. After all, your hurt feelings are a compiment to her. You value her and love her so very much that you do not want to lose her.

Best of Luck 

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