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

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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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Comments:

  1. 21
    Diana

    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.

  2. 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.

  3. 23
    Marc

    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.

  4. 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.

  5. 25
    Helen

    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.

  6. 26
    JuJu

    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.

  7. 27
    JuJu

    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?

  8. 28
    anette

    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!!

  9. 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.

  10. 30
    JuJu

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

  11. 31
    Diana

    Okay, Evan, you lost me there for a moment. 😉 I am feeling a bit embarrassed by this, but I’ll admit that I had to look up what conflate means. I certainly didn’t intend to sound as if I was merging your two responses. Perhaps I should have made two postings.

    To be honest, and I hope not to sound rude, when I respond to the letters, I nearly always have no one else’s thoughts on my mind, including yours. I typically read the letter and then your advice, of course, which I consistently agree with, but then later I will re-read the letter, and post with just my own thoughts.
    Sorry for any misunderstandings I may have caused. It’s all good. 🙂

  12. 32
    Diana

    This has me feeling curious. Are men accepting if their SO is strolling through Playgirl, or if they smile at the cute waiter, or laugh and chat with another guy at a party, etc.? I am being sincere when I ask this.

  13. 33
    sayanta

    I agree that the whole ‘talking like high school girls’ thing is odd- that kinda freaked me out.

  14. 34
    Evan Marc Katz

    @Diana – A man’s who’s secure DOES accept it. Isn’t that the one you want? Or is insanely jealous “in” again? 🙂

  15. 35
    Diana

    Hey JuJu #27. I am concerned that what the wife may view as open, supportive and non-threatening toward her husband’s crush may, in turn, be interpreted by her husband as accommodating and accepting of his actions. This could, inadvertently, spur him on to the next step. Like how she read and approved of what was intended to be a private message to his crush. What’s next?! Reminding him of their marriage vows is not enough. He already knows what their vows are. She needs to make it very clear to him what the acceptable boundaries are and how his actions make her feel.

  16. 36
    Ruby

    Evan, it wasn’t clear to me that you were making a distinction between JerseyGirls’s post and the OP’s situation. Thanks for clearing that up.

  17. 37
    Karl R

    Diana asked: (#32)
    “Are men accepting if their SO is strolling through Playgirl, or if they smile at the cute waiter, or laugh and chat with another guy at a party, etc.?”

    I agree with Evan. A secure man won’t have an issue with that. And anyone who isn’t a hypocrite will allow their partner to behave the exact same way they do.

    A year ago I was dating a woman who had a softcore porn channel on her cable (for her own viewing pleasure). My only thought was: “Good. It won’t bother her that I watch porn.” The men in the magazine (or video) certainly weren’t any kind of threat to that relationship.

    If my girlfriend gives one of her guy friends a long hug (15 seconds or more) and then continues to converse with an arm around him, why should I let that bother me? I do the same with a few of my female friends. If it’s a guy I don’t know, I might be curious about who he is, but that’s all I would feel.

    Every couple has to establish for themselves where they think appropriate boundaries with other people are. As long as the same rules apply to both people, I don’t see a problem with it. Some couples are into open relationships. My girlfriend and I aren’t. If one of us was and the other wasn’t, we’d have to find some kind of compromise that we could both accept … or we would break up.

    If you need some clarity, discuss this with your boyfriend/girlfriend. The one you want to be with is the one who agrees that the same rules apply to both of you.

  18. 38
    Mara

    Checking out other women, crushes, infatuations, even porn…. – yes, even married men are human and to me all of these things are normal male behavior that is silly to get jealous or all worked up over.

    BUT – interacting with your crush, facebooking with your crush, hanging out with your crush…..not so cool. I mean, it’s one thing if it’s just a one way secret crush. My husband doesn’t need to know I do my hair when I have meetings with one very handsome (and married family man) VP at my job and blush like I’m in 6th grade when I see him. Even if this man hit on me, I would never even entertain the idea. But yes, do I feel more “alive” and have an extra smile if I know he’s going to me in a meeting? I think “healthy” crushes are safe ones that are unattainable and the target of your crush doesn’t have any idea, other than thinking you always look nice around them and have a red face!

    But a MUTUAL crush is a whole different story and I think with respect to your spouse or significant other, you don’t act on it, you don’t e-mail the other person, and you don’t find opportunities to “connect” in artificial forums with a false sense of intimacy like facebook or instant messaging.

    Quite honestly, it reminds me of Jenny Sanford and the governor. He told her all about his crush in Argentina and at one point, she even gave him permission to visit his mistress! His “love letters” to her were almost sadly pathetic and not based on the realities of day to day life. It’s very easy for emails and texts to turn intimate and get that happy, vibrant, “alive” charged feeling – it’s a human reaction. But falling into that trap can ruin a true and genuine relationship and is a dangerous slope.

    My husband is perfectly welcome to have crushes on Megan Fox, the cute girl who works at Starbucks, or some old girlfriend who is now happily married with 2 kids and content with her life. I’m realistic, not the jealous type, and get that we are all human.But trying to establish an emotional reconnection with an old girlfriend, a coworker, or someone who has a crush on him….not so cool and nothing that should be encouraged.

    1. 38.1
      Farah

      Yes is so sippy to get jealous of your husband being infatuated with another woman , are you fucking kidding me. When are you suppose to get jealous because there is nothing left , or you think a person should obly get jealous if there is fucking involved .Oh yeah my husband is in love with another women , well dont be silly its no big deal as long as he is not fucking her. You do know that people leave relationships all the time to persue crushes and infatuations right??.

    2. 38.2
      Farah

      I get very irritated when people conflate being infatuated with otger people outside of a relation as a sign of being alive and   human, when one have nothing to do with the other but its just an excuse they give themselves to justify their feelings and and not feel guilty . But in reality its a sign of not being in love with the person they are with or else they wont need someone else to feel alive .

      And their is a falacy in your logic tgat gevin crushes , infatuations are normal male behaviour that means it silly to get jealous over them but you seem to also forget that   fucking them or even dumpong yourl to have a chance with them is also a very normal male behaviour , so by your logic its also silly to get jealous.

  19. 39
    Diana

    Thanks Karl and Evan. As you mention, Karl, I think it comes down to the couple really. After posting, I did a quick bit of research. In general, from some of the male experts, 😉 the thought seems to be that while it’s alright for men to be men, if you will, the same does not apply to women. A woman’s laughing, chatting, smiling with another man at a party is thought to be signaling that their relationship is over, or that she’s an attention whore, or that he’s not man enough for her. I don’t know if this is true because again, I think it depends on the individuals involved. Though the guy may be the most secure person around, her behavior is seen as sending him a message.

    As for myself, I think I am more concerned about possibly hurting a man’s feelings (secure or not). I usually keep attractive thoughts to myself, but I am a fairly private person. You know, I read that most women see a different man in their mind’s eye when they’re getting busy with their SO. Interesting.

  20. 40
    girl-with-glasses

    This is just a personal nuance. While I agree with Evan that men will look even in a relationship, and a woman’s best response to it is to act with nonchalance, pretended or not. But the men I tend to offer this act of relationship civility to, are usually the solid, stoic, silent alpha male type, you know, the ones who can leer while maintaining a poker face facade. Or even some harmless flirting is allowed, if he comes back and acts like nothing happened and turns his charm routine on me. I think it’s somewhat endearing and amusing even. The OP’s husband just doesn’t sound like my idea of a good husband-type. His emotional responses are too girl-ish!!! I would be tearing my hair out. I can’t really put my faith in him as a man with solid emotional boundaries, to put it bluntly, I don’t think he has the emotional fortitude for a woman to justify her wifely feelings of loyalty to. Sorry, I’m really old-school in terms of female, male, marital relations.

    1. 40.1
      Phoebe

      I couldn’t agree more, and especially if this is a relatively new marriage, and especially if this other woman is dating an in-law. She will be around for awhile. What I notice the most is the husband’s immaturity and lack of awareness of how he is damaging his marriage. This won’t go away. His wife won’t forget. A therapist would tell him that. She’s learning about his weaknesses. He respects his wife and needs her to get excited for his new discovery. I have seen this before shortly before the husband left his wife to be with his new found love. These guys are clueless as to the damage they have done. My husband grew up with no understanding of boundaries. He has had a number of crushes and even gone out on dates only to lie to me that he was elsewhere. He also brings women home to our house when I’m at work. He ends up grovelling when he confesses (not to sexual infidelity but rather enjoying the dates) while I remain silent planning my departure. Once we are retired I can severe ties without the emotional burden getting in the way of a stressful work life. He will be shocked…but then he’s clueless.

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