Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Can you be friends with an ex without it causing a problem in your marriage?

(26 Posts)
youidiot Sun 14-Dec-08 16:23:42

If you know who I really am please don't say.
I have renamed myself to remind myself of what I am.
Had boyfriend on and off from 15 to 21. I was very clingy (no one else had ever shown me affection before) and I thought we would be together forver.
Always felt like unfinished business.
About 4 years ago I read all my diaries from back then to about aged 23 and while I felt nothing when reading stuff about my exes I felt like I did about my first boyfriend, like I still loved him and then no longer knew if I loved my husband. I got my act together when I saw my DH in tears and he had thought about seeing a solicitor to file for divorce.
Everything was fine, we had another baby (not a glue one) and while I suffered badly with depression and dealing with my past, we were fine.
I was in a bad (self destructive) place a while ago and I am now emailing that self same bf. I explained something to him and now he says he cared as much as I did.
I couldn't sleep for thinking about him last night. He was on my mind first thing this morning and pretty much all day.
I know I still love my husband, and I don't feel I love BF, but oh goodness I can't help feeling if only.
He doesn't appear to have been married when I thought he was and now I just feel it was wasted years.
I will not leave my husband as I am cvompletely devoted to him but now this has completely thrown me.
Part of the problem is I don't believe my husband when I says he would leave me if anything happened. He knows I have sent and recieved messages but I don't think he knows we have emailed.
BF lives miles away so not likely to meet.
I am sure it is so intense as he was my first friend really, we went through a lot together and it has always felt like unfinished business.

Ineedmorechocolatenow Mon 15-Dec-08 08:08:45

Um... this is difficult....

I think that it's very natural to have felt such strong, intense emotions at such a young age. It is also natural for these feelings to fade into something deeper, over time. You didn't say why you eventually split from your ex, but I am sure those intense feelings would not have lasted. You are yearning for a time when you felt adored and felt those intense emotions. Everyone thinks 'if only' at some point in their lives, it's only natural. It's a consequence of having to make difficult decisions at certain times in our lives.

You must now put that in the past, for the sake of your husband, your marriage, and your emotional well-being.

This seems to be a symptom of something much deeper. You seem to have low self-esteem, and I would advise you talk to someone about this.

I speak from some experience. My dad got in contact with an ex over email and became quite close to her, telling her things that he wouldn't have confided in my mum. It eventually came to a head and nearly ended my parents' 35 year marriage. My mum felt it was such a betrayal she would have preferred him to have had a one-night-stand.

What you are embarking on is an emotional betrayal of your husband. Make the choice. Do you want to pursue this 'if only' relationship? Or do you want to stabilise your marriage and address the deeper issues that may be going on.....

Good luck x

ClausImWorthIt Mon 15-Dec-08 08:14:07

You know the answer to this though, don't you?

Hard though it may be, you have to walk away from this.

There is no unfinished business. Your relationship ended, and you moved on. You are now in another, much more significant one - and there are children involved.

If you really are devoted to your DH then you must, no matter how painful it may feel, stop e-mailing the other man, and leave him to get on with your life.

I agree that you probably need to talk to someone about this, as this is obviously about much more than just another man.

sad for you as I can understand this must be very hard. But think about how your DH would feel if he found out.

starbear Mon 15-Dec-08 08:17:12

I/We (as far as I know) never keep in touch with any ex's. We had a big row before we got married and that cleared the air and established the rule. The advantage of that is we always look forward never back. I never see photos of ex girlfriends or messages. I sometimes dream I've gone over the side with some bloke or ex. It makes me wake up in a cold sweat as I know DH would leave me and fight for our DS.
I think you are treating your DH as a door mat, not very nice. Do you really love your DH?????

GooseyLoosey Mon 15-Dec-08 08:21:39

Simple answer is no.

I do know where you are coming from though. I have an ex that I saw from 17 to 23. We shared a lot of angst ridden times together.

I have been married many, many years now but I still think of the ex sometimes and used to think of him a lot. Not because I would have preferred to be with him to dh but because we shared our youth and the friends of our youth and when that relationship ended so did that period of my life - and I missed it.

It took me a while to realise that that period of my life would have ended anyway as friends grew up and moved away and that it is a good thing to move on to new people and places.

Don't go back - look forward to what you have now and the longer you maintain contact with your ex, the harder it will be.

Eve34 Mon 15-Dec-08 08:22:49

If it is any support I to have been going through the same situation. DP and I have had a terrible few months this summer and out of the blue my first love got in touch - damn facebook!!! I have always held a flame for him. We were never an item, but very good friends and had a conection.
I grasped this contact with two hands, his wife had left him and I was having a hard time, We were in contact alot and DP obviously took great offence to this. I have had to step back from my first love.
It is hard because your heart can over rule your head, and the what if's are a killer.
Make a fresh start with you husband and children. Have some space from your first love. Work hard on what you have and re assess the situation in a few months time.

youidiot Mon 15-Dec-08 10:03:32

Having read all your posts I just want to cry.

I do love my husband but I can feel these void coming between us like it did a few years ago.

I never expected BF to say I was wrong about me caring more about him than he did me.

It feels nice to have him as my friend but I know I would be with him if I wasn't married.

DH was talking about next Christmas and straight away I was thinking if we are still together. sad shock

I don't feel I love BF which makes me feel you can't lov two men, but I feel a distance from my DH. sad

Anna8888 Mon 15-Dec-08 10:05:27

I think there is something missing in your relationship with your DH if you feel this strongly about someone you haven't seen for years.

What can it be?

starbear Mon 15-Dec-08 10:06:41

What are you going to do?

youidiot Mon 15-Dec-08 10:09:49

I am not going to do anything. I am married for life and that is that.
If it doesn't stop, (my feelings) then I will have to stop emailing him. Maybe us two just can never be friends. We never could just be before either. There are lots of reasons for why this man is so important and lots for why I would want to see him but DH is not happy at all and it will have to stop.

starbear Mon 15-Dec-08 10:24:44

I think you need to send the last one now. Don't fill it with all your emotions just say not going to email again and hope he finds someone special soon. Good luck

Eve34 Mon 15-Dec-08 10:24:56

It is so hard, you know you shouldn't, but you want the friednship, this is someone who you shared part of your life with, you have a conection. The time your shared when you were young and had no responsibilities, so you can look back and remember the fun you had. Life as an adult is harder, bills, responsibility, children, housework etc etc.

The first love I had is something I remember as a time when life was good and stress free and I relate him to those times.

I try hard to justify mt friendship with FL, but in reflection if DP was in touch with an old girlfriend regularly I wouldn't like it and would think the worse. So can understand where he is coming from.

Bink Mon 15-Dec-08 10:39:12

You're not talking about "friendship" though, with your ex, are you? You're talking about something quite different.

I saw your title and thought "oh yes of course friendship is possible" and was ready to spout off about how dh's ex-before-me is godmother to dd etc. - and then I read what you are really about: and I think no - that kind of connection is not possible without causing problems.

The difference is that friendship is inclusive; what you are wanting involves comparing/contrasting the two men ("do I want X? or do I want Y?") and is fundamentally exclusive.

youidiot Mon 15-Dec-08 11:28:24

He is married too.

I accept there can't be anything more as I love my husband and would not leave him but it is on my mind most of the time.

Dh remembers what happened before and thinks it will again.

Jenbot Mon 15-Dec-08 12:29:43

I'm 'friends' with most of my ex BFs, but I would never think about them in the way you are thinking about your ex. We just send cards and occasionally chat on facebook.

I think this relationship is dangerous for your mental wellbeing, and could devastate your DH, it's really not worth it.

Ineedmorechocolatenow Mon 15-Dec-08 12:55:18

Hang on, in your early post you said he wasn't married, and now he is? Not that it makes any difference, you should still end the contact asap.

sticksantaupyourchimney Mon 15-Dec-08 13:01:47

I think you have to decide whether or not your relationship with your DH is salvageable. If you are very unhappy with him then you need to sort out ways of making your separation as amicable as possible. BTW don't feel that you 'have' to stay married: it's never a good idea to stay in a couple relationship when you don't want to be in it any more; resentment eventually poisons it.

WRT the other bloke, do bear in mind that lots of people are very good at romantic yearning and 'if only' stuff but if you actually get it together it might not be any better than what you had before - one of you might also decide that now you've 'got' the other person you don't want him/her because the challenge and the excitement has gone.

BitOfFunUnderTheMistletoe Mon 15-Dec-08 13:15:05

To answer your own OP, no, not in your case. It is only possible to be friends with an ex if there are no intense feelings left. Your posting name is spot on - I could shake you, you are being so stupid! Pleeease, send an email saying it was nice to hear from you, but you don't want to keep in touch regularly, all the best for Christmas and goodbye. Your poor dh does not deserve this betrayal (which it is, keeping in touch and mooning around behind his back), and you are causing him and yourself no end of heartache through your own naive mills and booning. Adults can choose to do the right thing, and they can choose to be happy too, they are not mutually exclusive. By choosing the melodrama of what-ifs and batting gooey emails back and forth, you are choosing to be miserable, and choosing to make your husband miserable.

I'm very sorry to come across harshly, but I really hope you can get yourself together and do the right thing. There is enough pain and misery in the world without inviting any more in unnecessarily, I hope you can see that. Good luck x

youidiot Mon 15-Dec-08 13:27:38

INMCN - I never said he wasn't married. He wasn't married at a time when I was told he was but he is now.

I appreciate what you said BOFUTM. I have been thinking about asking for a separation. shock sad I can't think of anything but BF. I have done nothing in the house and I am a fool.

I am going to give my DH more attention and get myself organised so there is more time for just us as that is sadly lacking.

Doing things together in the evening instead of tv for me and surfing for him.

I know I am hurting him and I hate myself for it.

youidiot Mon 15-Dec-08 13:39:29

I have just emailed him to say I need to have a proper chat with him (I mean via email) I am going to explain things and sort my stupid head out.

Twoddle Mon 15-Dec-08 13:42:13

youidiot, this is a crush. The intensity of your feelings about your ex cannot be sustained, with or without him. If you truly want to make a go of it with your DH, I would suggest doing what other posters have said and severring contact with your ex in a friendly but final fashion, and giving your all to your DH. I am almost entirely convinced that in time, these intense feelings will pass; as I said, the intensity and yearning of a crush, IME at least, are unsustainable and fade - making way for a better connection with your DH. Good luck.

youidiot Mon 15-Dec-08 13:49:15

I feel the same as I did when we went through this nearly 5 years ago. I feel the same as when we were together. There is no cruch about this. It goes more than that. I have made my decision anyway and my marriage will be very good again.

dittany Mon 15-Dec-08 13:54:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NorkyButNice Mon 15-Dec-08 13:55:39

Answering your thread title - yes you can be friends with an ex - I had one to stay (with his wife and kids) this weekend in fact.

But your OP is an entire different ball game - you have intense feelings for this man that are jeapordising your relationship with your husband.

You need to stop mailing him, and work on your marriage - good luck.

clarabell16 Wed 17-Dec-08 22:14:49

Any man is going to seem crap compared to the rose tinted glasses looking at the past. Am sorry youidiot for being frank, but you need to get over yourself. This really comes across as very self indulgent melodramatic stuff. I think you answer your own question in your posts, a friendship would just be the prelude to something else. The 'proper talk' you mention should be with your partner, not someone you used to know years ago. If your not happy with your partner, then you should work on that, or separate so you know what you want. You have a more meaningful relationship with your partner and the child you created together right in front of your face, and are jeapordising the happiness of both. The gooey melodramatic yearning will soon be destroyed when your picking up the other mans pants and socks, and finding out hes drunk the last of the milk. But by reading your posts i think you've already made your mind up, and will go down this self destructive course. Imagine your husband deliriously happy with someone else he has met after splitting with you, that should cool the ardour when you think of emailing. Sorry to be so harsh, but i thought a reality check was needed. Am nice most of the time, honestly!! Good luck anyway.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: