Am I having an emotional affair?

Looking forward to seeing some of you at the movies on Thursday.

Dear Meredith,

Like everyone else, I never thought I would write. For one, I am married, so I never thought I had reason to. Until now. I have no idea where to begin. There are so many different chapters to this story.

I had a baby almost a year ago, my second. With my first, I had postpartum and cried a lot because she never wanted to sleep in her crib at night. When I got close to my due date with my second, my excitement turned into anxiety of repeating the few months of what happened before.

Fast forward, I had the baby. While home on maternity leave, I saw the internet as a lifeline -- my connection to the outside world. I also started chatting on Facebook with someone I'll call Brian. Brian had friend-requested me a few months prior to this point and we exchanged a few msgs here and there. Because of his job, Brian kept the same hours I did. So after I had the baby, we chatted often, catching up. Instead of fearing the last feeding, I stayed up until then (2AM) and looked forward to it. I truly believe that he helped keep the postpartum from returning. I thought of Brian as a distraction. When I returned to work, my hours would be back to normal, no more five hour chats (no exaggeration.)

Brian and I had liked each other in school. We were too young to date and so it was one of those young teen crushes. He ended up moving a few hours away and that was the last I saw of him. He called me about 20 years ago when I was in college and told me that he still had feelings for me. I was flattered, but dating someone, so we lost touch again. Throughout this time, I have thought about him off and on, wondering whatever happened to him and what he's doing now. Now, it turns out, he and I are both married, both have kids. And he still lives a couple of hours away.

He is also not a distraction. It's been about eight months and we still chat, text, and call. Lately, I find myself not being able to stop thinking about him, and according to him, the feeling is mutual. He has also recently told me that his feelings for me never went away, and he has thought about me too all along. That doesn't scare me off at all.
Don't get me wrong, I love my husband. This letter isn't to ask you if I married the wrong guy. I know I did not and if given the choice, I would still pick my husband over anyone. I know the grass isn't greener, and I'm not looking to explore that. My friends tell me that adult crushes and flirting is healthy, and maybe they are. Brian is planning a visit to the area to see family and we have tentative plans to get together when he does. My husband knows I have reconnected with him and told him if he wasn't comfortable with us getting together, then I wouldn't. He's OK with it. And no, I would never physically cheat on him.

My question is whether you think I am emotionally cheating on him. Is it okay to be in love with two people? And could this be love, or just still a puppy crush from 20 years that hasn't gone away.

– Mrs. Brightside, Massachusetts

MB, I believe that you have no intention of starting anything physical with Brian. And for the record, I do think it's OK for people to have friendships with exes and past crushes, even if they're married, even if the interaction with those exes still causes butterflies. I mean, whatever gets you through a 2 a.m. breast feeding, right?

But (you knew there would be a "but," right?) Brian has a wife. Brian tells you he still has feelings for you. You chat with Brian frequently. I'm all for getting an ego boost from an ex-crush every now and then, but Brian has become a part of your routine. I'm not loving that.

I can't tell you whether you're cheating on your husband. I don't mean to cop out on my answer, but cheating is subjective. Some people think that going out alone with someone who is not your spouse is cheating. Other people think it's cool to sleep with other people as long as there's disclosure. Every couple comes up with its own rules.

I do think you should be concerned about what Brian represents and how he will affect your marriage. You want to be with your husband now, but if you continue to bond with Brian, will you stay committed to your marriage? What if Brian asks for more? What if your husband eventually decides that he’s uncomfortable? Are you prepared for all of the problematic possibilities?
My advice is to limit your interaction with Brian. I know, I know -- you don't want to. But is his attention worth all of the risks? And do you really understand what those risks are? Do some soul searching about where this is supposed to go, because like all relationships, it has to go somewhere.
Readers? Is she cheating? Does it matter that her husband condones the contact with Brian? Is she really in love with two people? Is this a post-baby thing? Discuss.

– Meredith