Q. I’ve been married to my husband for sixteen years. We’ve had our ups and downs, but lately things have been boring and routine between us and I’ve been feeling kind of depressed about that. We have one 13 year-old daughter. I joined Facebook a few years ago and have connected with a lot of old friends from school. I also connected with a man who I never dated but did have a major crush on in high school. He’s now divorced and we’ve struck up an internet friendship. I’m nervous to say that my old feelings for him are still there, only now, they’re mutual. He told me he always “wondered” about me. Recently, we exchanged cell phone numbers and spoke and we had a great banter with lots of flirting. It made me feel so excited and happy again. Now he wants to get together with me, just for lunch. I so want to go, but of course I’m scared to death of seeing him (even innocently) on the sly. What do you think I should do?
A. Ah yes, good ole Facebook. Memberships should come with warnings about things like this, since from what I hear, your story is hardly uncommon. Before you do anything you may quickly live to regret, please give the following some deep thought. There’s no such thing as meeting someone you are attracted to “innocently” if it’s on the sly from your husband. You are just making it that much easier to forge a physical relationship with this other man. How would you feel if your husband found out and immediately moved for a divorce? How would you feel if your 13-year-old daughter learned that your infidelity led to the break-up of her parents? We all know what pillars of emotional stability adolescent girls are during the best of times, right?
First and foremost, examine your feelings for your husband. Do you still love him, or are those feelings long gone? Imagine not having him in your life. Do you feel liberated or heartbroken? If things are not right between you, but warm feelings still exist, the answer is not lunch with an old flame; it’s more likely couples’ therapy. You may fantasize that the grass would be greener if you were to be with this other man, but remember, you were in high school, a time when crushes often meant infatuation, not love. Flirting and witty repartee couldn’t possibly reveal much about who this man is today—except, of course, that he’s eager to hook up with a married woman. Oftentimes, that’s a clear sign of commitment-phobia, something else for you to consider if you are looking for a more serious relationship in the future.
My advice: Do not meet this man for lunch or for any other reason. Focus on your marriage and if it’s worth saving. Sometimes, when two people want it, and put in the effort, they can reinvent their marriage in beautiful ways. Finding each other again, can be exciting, too. But if, down the line, you decide you truly no longer wish to be married to your husband, then do things the right way. Have a heart to heart with him about it and begin divorce proceedings before even thinking about being with another man. Living your life honestly is good for the soul. It helps you sleep at night—and like who you see in the mirror every morning. And remember, igniting an old flame doesn’t necessarily mean candlelight; it may mean an inferno.
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