Coping with ex wife dating
A client I'll call Sharon knew that something was missing in her marriage.
We all know men and women who really are "just friends," and there's usually some romantic frisson, even if neither party admits it.I frequently talk to couples in this vulnerable state, not only about how to reclaim closeness but also how to protect their relationship from third parties.Even when a marriage can't be salvaged, I'd rather see it end amicably before either person starts up with someone new.But like Sharon, they might hit a patch where their relationship isn't fun anymore, and they feel isolated and frustrated.Rather than making a collaborative effort with their partner—and perhaps a couples therapist—to improve it, women in particular often accept that "this is just the way the marriage is." So while they aren't consciously in the market, they are ripe for an affair of the heart: hungry for attention, craving excitement, and eager for someone to fill the emptiness they feel inside. The flirting, the accolades, the sympathetic ear all made her feel special.Sharon thought about Todd all the time, and told me she hadn't felt this alive since she and Robert had started dating.
While she recognized a crush—her excitement about seeing him, her pleasure in his jokes, her relief in confiding in someone who got her—she told herself there was nothing wrong with what she was doing because they weren't having sex.
Three habits strike me as playing with fire: (1) flirting with others, which can become too intoxicating to give up, (2) "innocently" spending time alone with old lovers, and (3) hanging out with emotional cheaters who make what they're doing seem like no big deal.
Increasingly, I find people are already enmeshed in an affair of the heart by the time they contact me, and they are terribly torn.
Finally, they have to build back the trust, which is the biggest obstacle to saving the marriage.
I'm constantly telling people that it requires a lot of time, openness, and accountability (for example, being clear about whereabouts and coming home right after work).
We've all grown so used to watching, reading, and hearing sexually suggestive material that there's no longer an obvious verbal or physical line we think we're crossing.