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Ask Ellie: Wife is playing with fire by chatting online with ex

The question you should ask is, why am I talking to an “old beau” instead of the husband whom I love most?
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Advice columnist Ellie Tesher.

Dear Ellie: I’m happily married, and have been for 15 years. Recently, I started talking with an old beau online. He is widowed and I am enjoying chatting with him about old and new times. He lives several states away from me.

My husband is aware of this man and I chatting, and of our past. My husband is not a fan of this former beau, but he knows that I love him (my husband) only.

The problem is that I have developed very strong feelings for the other guy. We are very honest with each other, but I have not told him this, and I don’t plan to.

Can a person be in love with two people at the same time? Or do I just love the old days and memories that my former boyfriend brings back?

Old Days/Old Beau

The question you didn’t ask is, why am I talking to an “old beau” instead of the husband whom I love most?

My answer is this: It’s because you secretly “enjoy” a bit of a risk, even though you know your husband’s not a fan of this other man.

Evidence of the problem which you already suspected would arise is this: Realizing your “very strong feelings for the other guy.”

You say you haven’t confessed your feelings to the other man, nor to your husband, but you do know for certain, that they’re both aware of the reality.

Also, you must realize that it’s more hurtful to the man you live with and assert your love, when in fact, you’re leading on the other man who’s no doubt lonely, and eager for a fuller relationship due to his being a widower alone.

The fact is, and I think you must already know this, that you don’t want to admit that you’re playing with fire and potentially deeply hurt feelings for all three of you.

To avoid a serious disaster in the making, back away from the so-called secrets you’re playing with; if you don’t, they’ll blow up in your face. And soon.

I can understand the excitement of a private romance. But the notion that you can keep it secret without both men being hurt, angry, and deeply disappointed in you, reveals magical thinking.

Your whole sense of decency and honesty over 15 years of marriage will dissolve not only at home, but also in your own and others’ concepts of trust, including friends and perhaps even family.

End the “affair” — even if it only consists of online chatting. You’re playing with fire, and you’re the one who’s going to get burned the worst.

FEEDBACK Regarding the mother who’s nervous about her daughter’s changed ways (Nov. 14):

Reader – “I always find it interesting how adults remember their early days of high school (and university, first jobs, etc.) but do not appreciate that their kids will go through the same stages, but, in today’s world

“The mother wrote: ‘By that weekend, her daughter had changed 180 degrees.’ Actually, the daughter has been exposed to high school culture. She is probably just ‘trying to fit in.’

“I believe that the key to raising teenagers is to stay open and available, and accept that their ‘sweet little girl’ is now well on her way to her teenage days, and also transitioning to adulthood.

“The time for parents to be worried is if her marks begin to suffer.”

I’m male, divorced, mid-60’s, and childless. I recently met a similar-age woman at a work seminar. We started to text daily, and talk at night.

On our first date we laughed continuously, held hands, did serious kissing. We slept together on the second date and had sex a few dates later.

She travels for work, stressing out the night before leaving. Recently, she was very stressed.

I was awakened by her purse spilling all over the room. I helped pick up the contents.

She started freaking out about losing her wallet. I spotted it under the bed and handed it to her.

She was cursing, saying “Never do that again.” Was I wrong to pick up the purse contents? What caused her breakup with me?

Confused

Senior-aged daters don’t always “take it slow.” Some rush to early connection and past pleasures. But “starting over” still requires both parties to learn the other person’s true character.

Ellie’s tip of the day

Balancing two different emotional relationships with two different men - one who’s your husband - goes beyond playing with fire.

Send relationship questions to ellie@thestar.ca or lisi@thestar.ca

Follow @ellieadvice.