Case Closed is our new series that share stories about community members' adventures with advice on and off the app. Feel free to weigh in and let us know if you’d like to submit your own adventures.
My husband and I have 3 kids under 4. We have a full, busy, but happy life. Our relationship is stable, if not great with normal ups and downs… If I try to pinpoint a problem, I can’t find anything in particular - certainly nothing worth blowing the relationship up in flames. An old friend came to town about 6 months ago- a college boyfriend I haven’t been in close touch with for years. I found myself unexpectedly attracted to him, and him to me. We went to dinner and, with the help of some drinks, admitted that we had these feelings. We went back to his hotel room and decided it was OK to pardon ourselves since we had already been together, years ago. I was surprised by myself, and disappointed. But then I decided that I deserved it. Immediately after the fact, if anything, it improved my relationship - I had been fulfilled by an excitement my long, steady relationship doesn’t give me. Because he lives out of town, nothing is actively going on. But I find myself thinking about him incessantly and wanting more. What is wrong with me? Should I keep this to myself? Tell my husband? Tell the ex he’s on my mind as much as he is?
“This is a secret, everyone has them.” It’s something everyone is tempted by but most don’t give in. You need to cut off ties, erase your memory and move on. Focus on strengthening your relationship and being there for your kids. It’s not worth the disaster you could create.
Tho I don’t know her well, she seemed pleased to find out I had an edge beyond my picture perfect suburban life with 3 little kids. “We’re all imperfect.” She encouraged me to plan a trip with him because she believes women need to be fulfilled sexually and that this is simply a sign that I’m not being sexually satisfied by my husband and the craziness that must be 3 children (she has none).
Be careful. You have a lot at stake and are on shaky ground. Personally, this is likely the start of a really bad emotional rollercoaster. Relationshipwise, would you be OK with this secret if you were in your husband’s shoes? You should talk to your husband and status-check the relationship. It may seem stable in your mind, but the reality couldn’t be so stable if you find yourself in these waters. Typically people stray when their needs aren’t met in really fundamental ways. Life with 3 little kids sounds exhausting and can easily leave someone feeling unsexy. There are ways you can carve out time with your husband to revitalize things. Try that first. It’s also easy to feel isolated when there’s a lot of chaos. People tend to retreat into themselves to escape overwhelming situations - share what’s going on on the inside with your husband. It will make you feel closer and can lead to much more profound intimacy. Use this as a wake up call and dig into the real problems in your relationship that you’re running from. There’s got to be something that made you do this.
You told yourself you deserve it… So you feel entitled to an extramarital affair. There is clearly something in your relationship dynamic that has left you feeling like you have the upper hand and deserve more. So what is it? You owe it to your husband and yourself to figure out why a longlasting relationship has left you wanting to rekindle an old flame. Think deeply before you set your expectations too high. It’s easy to think about someone in the abstract. From a distance, it’s common to reduce an otherwise complicated human to something simple and perfect and lacking the same old same old that your long steady relationship has. You should give your husband and your relationship the respect it deserves and talk through everything with a counselor who can guide the conversation to explore stale pockets or valleys of dissatisfaction, in addition to areas of strength you can improve.
What advice would you share? How would you handle this situation?