I have been reading your column for several years, and have always enjoyed it, but at the same time always wondering if the letters were authentic and questioning why people can’t solve their own problems. Here I now find myself with a situation I am not sure how to handle, and so my own question has been answered. Prior to Christmas my wife attended her 20th school reunion which was held in Melbourne. She went to a co-ed school and subsequently met up with many of her old school friends, in particular her first boyfriend. She did not know he was going to be there, and subsequently returned tot the Coast excited about their reunion. We have been married for 12 years and similarly he for 11.
My wife is a very good person, a good mother and a supportive and loving wife. Since her return to the Coast she has been emailing some of her old friends and this includes her ex-boyfriend. Initially I was not concerned as she has never given me any reason to mistrust or doubt her loyalty. I have not read her emails to him, I don’t want to go down that track, but I am aware that she emails him daily and this is starting to concern me. I have not expressed my concern to her, other than ask her what she writes about and her reply is that they chat about everything. She maintains they are catching up on each other’s lives and chatting about their families. They did go out together for quite a while and so she is familiar with his extended family. I am sure all the above is quite harmless at this stage but I fear that in doing this she and I will lose something in our relationship. Am I wrong in fearing this and am I wrong in feeling somewhat anxious about her rekindling her friendship? If all the above is correct, what can I do about it?
At this point in time, what your wife is saying is probably quite genuine and may continue to be that way until the time when the novelty of this rekindled friendship may wear off and they may keep in touch occasionally. However, we all have a gut feeling that I call our “Little Professor” which tells us whether something is right or wrong, and I maintain that you listen to it as it is seldom wrong. Hence, if your gut feeling is telling you that your wife’s new friendship with her ex is starting to become a cause for concern then act on it. I suggest you tell her how you are feeling, and ask her if the shoe was on the other foot, would she accept it and not voice her protest. Explain you do not have any problem with her resuming her friendship but talking daily is starting to cause you some anxiety and that chatting and possibly sharing her life with him, may take some intimacy away from you two. Tell her straight that you don’t want to lose her to her ex and when you have this discussion do your best to say it as frankly as you can. Avoid sounding like a winging child or a chastising parent, if you can express what you are feeling objectively, she will hear it without feeling criticized.