My ex contacted me out of the blue and it’s making me question my 24 years of marriage. What should I do?

Hi Evie. I’ve been married for 24 years (25 in September) and we’ve created a happy life together. The kids are grown and moved out, and I was looking forward to retiring at some point and traveling with my wife. I love her dearly. But a few months ago, an ex-girlfriend of mine contacted me on social media. She is a widow and she said she happened to come across my profile. We’ve started with some polite chit-chat, messaging back and forth. I was honest with my wife about our interactions and she had no problem with it. But recently things have become a bit deeper. We’ve started reminiscing on our time together and it’s stirring up old feelings. Evie, we were only together for 3 years, and we were both young and naive. When I left for the army, she moved on and met someone else. I was heartbroken at the time but shortly after met my wife. I don’t know why I’m now feeling such a longing for her (my ex). She asked if she could come to visit, and I’m not sure if it’s a good idea. I don’t want to hurt my wife but I also think I might have missed out on “the one” as they call it. What do you suggest? – George, AR

Dear George,

I feel for you, I really do. Old flames can certainly bring up feelings we think we’ve left behind, so it’s normal to feel confused. With that being said, it’s important to recognize that nostalgia can be deceptive. You’re reminiscing about a time when you were young, carefree, and life seemed simpler.

Those emotions you’re feeling now are tied to memories and what-ifs, not necessarily to the person your ex is today.

Your ex coming back into your life is stirring up unresolved feelings from your past. This is natural, but it’s crucial to remember why she’s your ex and not your present. You both moved on for a reason. She built her life, and you built yours—a life that you’re happy with.

You need to focus on the present reality. Your wife is your partner, your confidante, and the person you’ve chosen to spend your life with. Bringing your ex into the picture physically could disrupt the harmony you’ve worked hard to create. It’s not just about you; it’s about respecting your wife’s feelings and the life you’ve built together.

Ask yourself why you’re feeling this way. Are there aspects of your current life or marriage that you’re dissatisfied with? If so, address those issues directly. Running towards the past won’t solve problems in the present; it will only complicate them.

Honesty is critical, but so is discretion. Your wife trusted you when you told her about your ex. Don’t betray that trust by inviting emotional turmoil into your marriage. Be transparent with your wife about your feelings, but also be clear about your commitment to her and your life together.

Your longing for your ex is a signal to look inward. It’s time to strengthen your marriage and invest more in the relationship you have. Rekindle the romance with your wife. Plan those future travels and create new memories together. Focus on the life you have and the partner who has stood by you.

The past is a place of reference, not residence. Don’t let an old flame burn down the life you’ve built. Embrace the present, cherish your wife, and let the past stay where it belongs—behind you.

Best of luck, 

Evie 

Do you have a question for Evie? If you would like advice from Evie, fill out the form here or send your problem to askevie@ideapod.com. 

 

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Ask Evie

Evie is on a mission to revolutionize relationships and help you sort through your emotional woes. Her popular column helps readers break free from societal restraints and create empowering relationships - both with their inner selves and with those around them. With a wealth of experience in relationship counseling, backed by several professional certifications, she’s open-minded, big-hearted, and extremely compassionate… But she’ll also be completely honest in telling you the (sometimes) brutal truth, so you can get straight to the heart of the matter. Maybe you’re trying to save a marriage that currently feels like a sinking ship? Or worrying that your new friend isn’t quite as nice as they seem? Perhaps you’ve accidentally killed your partner’s goldfish and are weighing up the pros and cons of going to the pet store and finding a doppelganger, or fessing up? Whatever the dilemma, Evie’s at the ready to help sort through the emotional turmoil and guide you towards the next best step. To get in touch with Evie, click here.

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