Should I Be Worried About My Husband’s Facebook Crush On His High School Fling?

Just this Christmas, my husband ran into his old high school fling. Since she was starting to see my sister’s brother in law, we spent Christmas with her as well. I noticed that there is still an undeniable sort of chemistry (for a lack of a better word) between them. They had the whole “crush” thing going on.When they talked there were genuine smiles and enthusiastic energy between them. My husband, who normally wouldn’t care about spending time with my sister’s in laws, suggested that we spend our entire Christmas break with them. However, I wasn’t too worried, because my husband was blatantly honest with me about his feelings for her. We talked like two high school girls way into the night about it. He was pretty excited about seeing her again and told me he wished he could’ve talked to her some more. I told him, that it is natural to feel that way about people as long as he doesn’t act on it. I told him that I’d be naive to think he won’t have some sort of chemistry with the opposite sex just because we are married. And then I told him to be very careful and respect our marriage vows.

My wife has a theory about infidelity. Women he’s been with? Not a threat. Women he’s never been with? Threat.

He told me he felt very alive and has not felt this way since his mother passed away (his mom died 5 years ago, 5 months after we started dating). On our long drive home, he went on his Facebook account and requested to be her friend. That night when we got home he went to his Facebook and saw that she had posted a comment on his wall. Normally, he replies with another comment, but this time he sent her a private message and told her he wished they had had more time together. Should I be worried? I walked in on him emailing her, but he didn’t try to cover it up, instead he read it aloud to me and asked me what I thought of it. And I told him it sounded good, and reminded him to be careful with private messages (emails). This morning I got a note from him saying how much he loves me and that I’m his rock and looking forward to another new year with me. I need your help. I’m confused as to whether I should be worried or not. We have a pretty solid relationship but you never know. Should I Be Worried My wife has a theory about infidelity. Her observation, as a serial monogamist who has been cheated on at least three times, is this: Women he’s been with? Not a threat. Women he’s never been with? Threat. I like this theory and agree with it, with one exception, which I’ll discuss later. But my wife is savvy enough to know that if I’ve been with someone and am not with her anymore, it’s because I don’t want to be with her anymore. Thus, there’s no threat to our relationship, no unexplored sexual tension, no ‘what if.’In other words, if you’re a woman who is threatened by his ex, you’re probably wasting a lot of emotional energy on a pointless endeavor. The ex isn’t the threat. The crush is the threat. The crush is exciting, the crush is pregnant with possibilities, the crush is a man feeling young, exploring his virility, fantasizing about a different life. Yeah, the crush is trouble. So while you describe your husband’s woman as a former ‘fling,’she is actually functioning far more as a crush than an ex. And yes, you should be worried. But there’s a caveat, which gives your story a silver lining: you’re an adult and you’re married to an adult.

The crush is exciting, the crush is pregnant with possibilities, the crush is a man feeling young, exploring his virility, fantasizing about a different life.

You’re adult enough to know that your husband is married, not dead, and that he will always be attracted to other women. And he’s adult enough to acknowledge his inappropriate feelings, and put them on the table for you. (Readers: if you fantasize that your man will only have eyes for you, you will be perpetually unhappy. Learning to accept his mindless crushes and tease him about it is a much healthier path. At least that’s how my wife feels, preferring my adolescent crushes more than her cheating ex-husband. Back to our regular programming.) So, really, kudos to you for being able to discuss this like a trusting couple. It’s the most effective way to deal with sensitive issues, not making him wrong for feeling what he’s feeling, but wanting to understand what’s on his mind. What’s on his mind is something that’s beyond his control, the feeling of regret. A date once taught me this, and I never forgot it. She said: ‘Regret is the only emotion that grows over time. Pain fades, sadness fades, but the regret of not having done something only looms larger as you get older.’Which is why I’ve never tried to live life with many ‘What ifs.’Part of my getting married was due to the fact that I’d dated everyone in LA, and was not going to have lingering ‘what ifs’ about the women I would never meet. But even that’s not entirely accurate. It’s human to ask questions, it’s human to wonder, it’s human to fantasize about a completely different life path. It’s Walter Mitty. The unhealthy part is when you give into that notion. And I fear, based on your note, that your husband might be on the edge of tossing away the sure thing for the exciting thing.What he would most likely find is that he has more chemistry with her, but that she’s not in the place for a relationship, or that she is kind of selfish, or that she doesn’t like his work habits, or that they have completely different ideas about how to spend money, or that she’s not as kind and thoughtful as you are, This is usually what happens when we chase greener grass. And your husband seems to know it. Which is why he wrote that guilt laden email to you. He knows he’s on the edge of an emotional precipice. You have to stop him from falling and giving into temptation.

Being on Facebook with your attractive crushes when you’re married is like being an alcoholic who lives above a bar. Not healthy to put yourself in that environment.

When you do, don’t act threatened by her. She’s not a threat to you. He is. Ask him about how he feels about his former fling, what’s truly on his mind, and what good he thinks can come out of his continued conversation with her. Being on Facebook with your attractive crushes when you’re married is like being an alcoholic who lives above a bar. Not healthy to put yourself in that environment. Don’t forbid him from doing anything; but certainly suggest to him that it wouldn’t be wise to go much further down this road. He could stand to lose a lot more than he gains. Please let us know how it goes, and thanks for the challenging question.


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  1. 1

    Evan, great insight about when to judge someone else as a threat.

    I would amend it to say that a 3rd person is not a threat if the SO ended the relationship out of his/her choice. Otherwise, if there were wants that were never had, then there *might* be a threat.

  2. 2

    Innocent until proven guilty.

    So far your husband, as well as you yourself have behaved in an exceptionally enlightened and honest way. I would keep an eye on the situation, but I wouldn’t start worrying about it. Your husband still deserves your trust at this point.

  3. 3

    I don’t agree with EMK’s wife. I’ve known of several situations (including a couple of my own ex-boyfriends) where someone got back together with an ex. Who married an ex, including one that THEY had previously broken up with, and one whom they had made unflattering comments about. Suffice it to say, I would not big on ex-girlfriends being involved in my boyfriend or husband’s life, unless they were seriously involved with someone else.
    I’m not exactly sure what the difference is between a “crush” and an “ex” and a “fling” in this context anyway.

  4. 4

    I’m not sure I agree about exes not being a threat, either.
    Especially since I left my former boyfriend to start seeing an ex from 6 years ago. I was the one who had broken up with him.

  5. 5

    All I can say is… big, big trouble. The biggest red flag for me is when her husband mentioned that he felt “alive.” I’d be saying “thanks a lot buddy.” I don’t care how much he shares with his wife. That is a very slippery slope. I know…. I’ve been there.

  6. 6

    It would be helpful to know a couple things. One, how old is the husband in question? How many years (or decades) ago was high school? And how long have the two of you been married? Secondly, what does “fling” mean? Did they date briefly? All through high school? Did it become sexual? And most importantly, who broke up with whom and for what reason? The dumpee almost always has more feelings of regret and longing in a situation like this than the dumper. Without knowing the answers to these basic questions, I’m not sure how to advise “Should.” Certainly, the openness is a good sign, especially assuming her husband’s Facebook page is an “open book” to his wife, so to speak.

  7. 7
    Robin Goldberg

    My suggestion is to encourage him to talk about it at every opportunity and maintain a flow of positive energy — be enthusiastic about his new energy for life. I had some trouble in the past with my boyfriend’s therapist being “the woman who understood.” Of course he wasn’t going to get physically involved with his therapist, but at the same time he convinced himself that she was the perfect woman for him. Your optimal strategy is to remain calm and be that “high school gal pal” with whom he can have the long heart to heart. We all feel “alive” and special when someone wants us — someone we are attracted to. However that is not his life — his life is with you. We have all had the experience about being down and disillusioned after a grief experience such as he has had. This spark is real and essential — inspiring — he will find a way to use it in a positive and not destructive manner — to derive new joy from his work, interests – and existing commitments.

  8. 8

    The threat is in your husband being too exicited over re-establishing a relationship with this former crush. Private messaging? He’s telling you about it now, I bet he won’t be telling you about it as it progresses.

    He’s on that proverbial “slippery slope”. The alive comments are the dead giveaway.

  9. 9

    Even if he has the hots of an ex-gf, it’s not automatic that she would do anything with him. She’s got to make that choice also, which she probably wouldn’t because he’s married. Not saying it wouldn’t happen, but it’s not likely.
    I don’t see anything wrong with this situation. He’s been very open and honest about what’s happening. This could be a good opportunity for growth. Or, what the hell, how about a threesome? I’m sure they’re married sex life could use some spicing up.

  10. 10

    @HRGoddess, I thought the “felt alive” comment was huge red flag as well. If my husband said that to me, I’d be heading for marriage counseling pronto. This situation does not look good to me. I hope all works out well.

  11. 11

    Yup. Agreed that the “alive” is a dead giveaway.

    I would be quite worried. But then, since the couple has shared so openly, they must have very strong bonds to begin with. If the bonds are built on the same values and beliefs, then I suppose there is a very good chance that they can overcome this.

  12. 12

    Sometimes the fact that he admits to writing to her so openly is just a way to get his wife’s absolution for doing it. Talking about it doesn’t necessarily mean that the truth is told.
    Admitting to his wife that this woman made him feel alive was not a nice thing to say. By confiding in her- is he treating her like his buddy or was he simply being thoughtless?

  13. 13

    @Lance #9
    The threesome is a great idea :)

    I disagree with you about the crush respecting the marriage. I can’t tell you how many married people I come across with something on the side and the “something on the side” is usually single. Many people just don’t respect other people’s marriages.

  14. 14

    I agree with the others that the comment about him feeling alive was a huge red flag. And I agree with the person that said he is honest now but don’t count on him continuing to always be honest about every interaction he has with her.

    I think the woman asking for help as done an excellent job of being open to her husband’s infatuation and indulging him husband in part. I feel like he is taking advantage of her for it.

    I wonder how this one ends.

  15. 15

    Evan: (Readers: if you fantasize that your man will only have eyes for you, you will be perpetually unhappy. Learning to accept his mindless crushes and tease him about it is a much healthier path. At least that’s how my wife feels preferring my adolescent crushes more than her cheating ex-husband. Back to our regular programming.)
    To me, it seems your saying we only get two choices. Either a guy really cheats on you, or he thinks about cheating on you with other women and you encourage him to indugle in those thoughts. What does a woman get out of indulging her man’s crushes? I see what the guy gets out of it for sure.

  16. 16
    Evan Marc Katz

    @JerseyGirl: A woman who puts up with indulging her man’s harmless crushes gets a devoted man. A woman who cries and complains when her boyfriend acknowledges that he occasionally finds someone else attractive is, in effect, hoping that he doesn’t act like himself. How does that sound to you? Well, for many men, this is reality – a frustrating life with a woman who berates him for turning his head at an attractive woman, or spending a few minutes talking to such a woman at a party.

    I am not defending men who ACT on this flirtation. I’m talking about everyday, run of the mill, meaningless interactions. And you, as a woman, have two choices:

    Tell him that he shouldn’t think what he’s thinking and make him feel judged and trapped, or, take it in stride and laugh at his crushes, since they’re no actual threat to your relationship.

    I happen to think Choice 2 is a better strategy. It’s called acceptance. And it’s exactly what you’d want your man to do for you in regards to your less flattering qualities.

    Sounds to me like you get a LOT out of being accepting.

  17. 17

    I guess it’s true that being accepting helps.. As my boy friend usually tells me when he finds someone sexy and i don’t mind it at all bcoz i can see that he is not even thinking about actually talking to them. In fact if i sometimes say why don’t u go talk to her (of course i m joking) – he’d usually say “Just because she is attractive does not mean i want a relationship with her.” Jealousy would probably just irritate him and make him feel trapped.
    But this woman’s husband seems to be too excited about her ex. And i also agree that he is being honest now.. but he might not always be. Sometimes i have noticed men actually use their honesty about their feelings to cheat. They make you believe they will always tell you when they get attracted to another woman but you later get to know they were not always honest.

  18. 18

    Well, it’s one thing to have a harmless mild flirtation at a social gathering, to mention that her husband thinks this woman is attractive. It’s another to start messaging her on Facebook, and talking about how excited he feels around her and how much he wants to talk to her. This couple haven’t been married all that long. IMO, he is starting to ACT on this flirtation. Will it become a real problem? Hard to say for certain at this point, but I’d be wary, which is exactly how this woman sounds..

  19. 19

    I meant “for her husband to mention to her”.

  20. 20

    If you stop looking, you’re dead inside.

  21. 21

    I don’t think having a crush is quite the same thing as finding someone attractive. I see absolutely nothing wrong when either a man or a woman finds someone else attractive. It would be egotistical and ridiculous to think that they would or should be the only woman their guy finds attractive. A crush is different. It might be flirty conversations or looks, teasing banter, innuendos, feeling alive around them, daydreaming, or even acting impulsively.

    In the letter, the woman’s husband has a crush on his old flame and not just an attraction. Case in point, wanting to spend their entire holiday with the in-laws which he normally wouldn’t care about. He sent her a private message that, IMHO, he shared with his wife only because she happened to notice. If she had not of noticed, the message would have remained private and unknown to his wife.
    By asking her what she thought of the message, he was attempting to justify his actions and to feel his wife out. Of course he didn’t try to cover it up. That would be sending her a huge red flag. I think he sent her love messages afterward to fling off any worried thoughts she might be having, but remember ~ it’s actions, not words that truly show how a man feels. Forgive me, but this feels contrived.

    There isn’t enough information to provide a conclusive opinion on where this may lead. All I can say is for her to be careful that while she wants to be cool, open, and non-pressuring with her husband about his old flame, there’s a fine line between nagging him about it and making him feel that he can’t be a man, and his interpreting her actions as being too accepting, if you know what I mean. Sometimes things start out innocently enough and with the best of intent, only to become an emotional affair which often leads to more damaging results.

    As for an ex not being a threat, this depends on who’s involved. Many ex’s and non-ex’s have been threats.

  22. 22
    Karl R

    JerseyGirl asked: (#15)
    “To me, it seems your saying we only get two choices. Either a guy really cheats on you, or he thinks about cheating on you with other women and you encourage him to indugle in those thoughts. What does a woman get out of indulging her man’s crushes?”

    Provided there’s equality in the relationship, he indulges your crushes.

    My girlfriend and I are active in the social dance community. When we go out dancing, we spend most of the time dancing with other people. We don’t flirt with all of our dance partners, but both of us flirt with a fair number of them. And if one of us is out of town, the other one will go out dancing (and flirting) solo.

    This works because we trust each other. We can discuss who is a good dancer, who we find attractive, who we like as a person and who we think has a crush on us … and we can do all of that without letting jealousy get in the way.

    In this particular case, however, I think there’s a red flag as well. I think there’s sufficient reason for them to pursue marriage counseling.
    1. The husband may still be greiving over his mother.
    2. There is someone outside his marriage that makes him feel “very alive.”
    3. Because of this, the wife is worried.

    In a counseling environment, they can address all of those issues.

  23. 23

    When a wife needs to remind her husband to be faithful, that can’t be good. But I can’t imagine any wife being cool with her husband getting THAT gaga over another woman, whether he’s slept with that other woman or not. And this dude was acting like a 12 year-old girl with a homeroom crush. Even if the guy is faithful, she should be worried that her husband’s kind of a jackass.

  24. 24
    Evan Marc Katz

    Ruby and Diana: I was answering JerseyGirl’s question about what a woman gets by being tolerant. My answer to the OP’s question is above. Try not to conflate the two.

  25. 25

    Marc #23, I’m in complete agreement with you. Whether or not the husband is cheating or will cheat in the future, he IS acting like a jackass, because he displays absolutely no caring about his wife’s feelings. What person in his or her right mind would tell their spouse that they feel “alive” with a former crush? Ugh!

    And, not to let the OP off the hook, she really needs to develop a better sense of BOUNDARIES. She should not be chatting with her husband about his crush like “two high school girls”; that is positively icky. If her husband’s behavior bothers her, she needs to put the kibosh on it.

    Diana #21 is also right. Being attracted to others (like Karl R and his gf with other dancing partners) is harmless and expected. Having THIS kind of reaction that the hubby is displaying falls far beyond that, into the realm of the inappropriate.

    This couple sounds as though they’re early in marriage. I’d strongly urge the wife NOW to start developing her boundaries and speaking out, firmly but kindly, about the kinds of behavior she will or will not tolerate. Actually, this is pretty similar to what Evan has already advised her.

  26. 26

    What worries me about this situation is how much like friends these husband and wife are. Yes, absolutely, spouses should be each other’s best friends, but from what she is describing, they are ONLY friends; at least, she – to him.
    When you don’t want to jeopardize your romantic relationship, there are certain things you just don’t tell your partner.
    In other words, not only the feeling alive comment is a huge red flag here, but this honesty (that must be painful to his wife – I can’t imagine actually enjoying hearing things like that unless one is into polyamory or something) is quite disconcerting, too.

  27. 27

    Diana said: and his interpreting her actions as being too accepting, if you know what I mean.

    I think you mean lack of self-respect, correct?

  28. 28

    Wow I wish I could have the demeaner this woman has.

    Some-one made the comment, that by accepting this behaviour it almost comes across as a green light to indulge in it. Evan you are saying accept the behaviour, as you will get a loyal man.

    Don’t you think that the former is possibly true? How can one accept this behaviour, since it’s going to happen anyway but make it very clear that the acceptance is NOT a green light for indulging?

    Just seems that this guy is taking it way too far, and she doesn’t know how to pull him back(or wether she SHOULD pull him back).

    argh, this situation makes me feel all uncomfortable inside. lol!!

  29. 29
    Evan Marc Katz

    Read my answer to the question. I did not say accept “I feel alive” around her as peachy keen hubby behavior. I told her to talk with him and keep her Spidey sense tuned. I told JerseyGirl – as I’ve said on probably a half dozen posts – that expecting a man to not have eyes for anyone else is futile and wishful thinking, and that men appreciate women who understand and accept this, rather than ones who clamp down out of insecurity and jealousy. It’s up to YOU to decide how far is too far. But if relationships are based on trust, and everyone wants to be trusted, I’m not sure how it does you any good to tell your boyfriend to put down the Playboy or stop talking to that girl at the party.

  30. 30

    How come I don’t receive any follow-up notifications anymore? :-(

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