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Husband Still Loves His Ex

DP wrote:

My husband Dave, and I have been dating for two and a half years and married for almost one of those years. Just prior to meeting me, he was engaged to Melanie - for about three years - they never married. Melanie sold her home and left her siblings and parents in a far-away state and moved to Jake's state when they first met. Therefore, Melanie was financially and emotionally dependent on Dave for everything for a long time. They had no children. In the end, Melanie moved out.

Dave never told Melanie we were engaged until just before the marriage, when Melanie surprised him with a visit at work. No doubt he felt guilty. Since then, she has called Dave, and he speaks with her and calls her back, at least once a month. She asks him for favors. When he told her of his upcoming marriage, she told him she had been feeling suicidal, and that she has a physical problem too - but wouldn't tell him what. She has sold her local home, her local business, and her car. Apparently, she is purposeless at this time. I have tried to talk calmly to Jake about how his maintaining a relationship with Melanie makes me feel, about why she is calling, and about the nature of his current relationship with her. Dave insists they are just friends now. He says he "will always love her", but he is not "in love with her". He says he will only tell me what is going on with her "when I need to know." He says that it is not normal for me to object to this relationship or to ask questions.

But after he talks with her, he is always moody towards me. I am anxious about the possibility of him seeing her, even as "friends" (and I feel sure Melanie has this in mind, hence the favors she asks of him.) I am not enthusiastic about his even talking with her.

I am sure that Melanie is just lonely (though she now has a local network of friends), and I know Dave would not have loved her if she were not a good person. So I was considering writing to her in a very reasonable tone, asking her to think more carefully--as his "friend"--about the impact that her maintaining a relationship with my husband will have on her, on him, and on his new relationship with me. I do not feel it is healthy for exes to maintain this type of contact where it is not necessary. I do not do so, and have told my ex that I do not feel right about talking to him or seeing him ever again, although the occasional email regarding momentous events is acceptable. I realize that this may have no effect on Melanie’s behavior, as she may indeed be trying to "keep the flame alive".

Would writing to her be ok, or do you think more harm than good would come of it? Am I being too controlling or intrusive? Any other ideas?

~ Worried Wife

Dear DP

Generally, your husband's ex is none of your business - but in this case, he has made it your business, as he has let her affect your relationship. But that does not give you a license to harass her. You have no quarrel with her, indeed, you have no relationship with her at all, do you?

I find it interesting that you are so vague about how they split up: "Melanie moved out" - yeah right. Just like that.

Your issues are with your husband; fighting with Melanie certainly will not help, and if she has designs on him, will simply prove that she's winning.

This business is damaging your relationship, but that isn't down to Melanie - talk to your husband. Tell him you are not satisfied with his BS. If necessary, suggest counselling. But don't humiliate yourself - or make a terrible mistake - by going though Melanie. It's Dave.

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