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I have been married for the last 2 1/2 years and I have an 8-month old son. I found out that my husband had been cheating on me during our first year of marriage. I decided to stay with him and try to work things out. Shortly after I found out he had been cheating, my whole world fell apart when my sister-in-law suddenly died in a car accident. I was very broken up as she and I were the same age and very close. I felt like my world had completely shattered and I had nothing left. I told my husband that she had died and all he could say was “sorry”.

I flew back to my hometown in Texas for her memorial by myself. We live 21 hours away in North Dakota and I spend most of my time by myself as it is. So I go back to Texas completely destroyed and my ex, who I am still good friends with, comes over to help my brother and I grieve. I felt more comforted by my ex-boyfriend than I did by my husband. All we did was spend a few hours talking with my brother and a friend of his. But the fact that he was there for me and my brother, really meant a lot to me. It meant so much to me that in fact all of my feelings for him, that had been long forgotten, came flooding back in an instant.

I flew home feeling like I had married the wrong person. I became indifferent towards my husband and I began to distance myself from him. He didn’t even notice. So at Christmas, I decided to leave him and it was a complete surprise to him.

I had become very miserable. My family didn’t know that he had cheated on me. I felt like I couldn’t talk to anybody about anything. I moved back to Texas to live with my parents for a bit then I found out I was pregnant. The fact that I was pregnant with his child made me feel obligated to go back to him, so after a month of living in Texas, I went back to him to try and work things out for our son. Things haven’t been bad since I moved back but I still harbor those same feelings for my ex and I can’t seem to shake the feeling that it’s him I should be with. What should I do? Now my husband and I have moved back to Texas and everywhere I go reminds me of my ex. It’s like I’m going through the breakup all over again and neither my husband or ex knows how I feel. What should I do?

Thanks,
Allison

Oh boy, Allison. I’m sorry you’re in this predicament. But you’ve made a few questionable choices here, and we need to acknowledge them before we try to untangle this mess.

First of all, you probably DID marry the wrong man. That is your responsibility and your responsibility alone.

Second of all, you felt so good around your ex-boyfriend that you treated your husband poorly. Regardless of whether he noticed, you know that two wrongs don’t make a right. Instead of trying to have an adult conversation about how you haven’t felt connected to him since your sister-in-law’s death, you acted out to try to provoke a reaction from him. That’s backwards. You’re more likely to have a successful marriage if you provide an example for him to live up to, instead of imitating his poor, indifferent behavior.

You probably DID marry the wrong man. That is your responsibility and your responsibility alone.

Third of all, you got pregnant and had a baby with a man you don’t want to be with. That’s a personal and sometimes religious decision and I’m not suggesting that you should have aborted your child. However, you willingly created a life despite your doomed marriage. Your child will likely become a child of divorce and you will likely be a single mother. Being more careful when having sex might have been a good idea, presuming you weren’t planning on conceiving.

Fourth, because you’re emotional and reeling, you’re conflating any warm feelings for your ex-boyfriend as evidence that he was “the one that got away.” You’re forgetting a few things: 1) He’s your ex-boyfriend for a reason, 2) You have a husband, 3) Your ex was merely being human and comforting you — it doesn’t mean he’s your soulmate. The ONLY thing that your ex’s behavior has cemented is the contrast between him and your current husband.

Which brings us to the present.

The ONLY thing that your ex’s behavior has cemented is the contrast between him and your current husband.

Given the gravity of the situation — an 8  ½ month old child — I would do everything in your to attempt to make your relationship better. Read the book, “Kiss Your Fights Goodbye,” so you can have an honest, meaningful conversation about your relationship without attacking him. Go to couples counseling. Pull together around your daughter. Whatever it takes.

And if it’s just not going to work because you simply married a selfish, insensitive, tone-deaf man, then you can and should get a divorce — but NOT to crawl back to your ex. Use your single status and freedom to get into therapy yourself. You’ve already proven to make short-sighted emotional decisions, and mistake your ex’s kindness for a declaration of love. And I candidly think you need to work on yourself before you should be with another man. I wish you the best of luck.