The ‘love of my life’ (not my husband) has returned



Can you love someone but be madly in love with someone else? Are we meant to be monogamous for 40 something years? I married the safe guy, the good guy, the guy who will be there for you no matter what. The one who makes you laugh and knows you. The other guy is the love of my life – the guy who reminds you that you can be passionate, you don't always have to play it safe, and that you can be pushed outside your comfort zone.

History: I dated both guys on and off for years. While they never met, they know about each other. When I married the safe guy, I thought that was it – I was content and OK with how my life ended up. But things have happened since we’ve been married (nothing to do with him and not his fault, but extreme trauma nonetheless) and I’ve kind of become a bit of a shell of a person. Therapy helped somewhat, but only goes so far. My ex, the love of my life, suddenly showed up at seemingly the perfect time, and that empty space is starting to feel not so empty. Feelings I never thought I would know again have trickled back in. No cheating; all we've done is talk (he lives 3,000 miles away). I certainly do not want to divorce my husband; he's been there through it all and loves me as best he can. It's just not the same. I know this crowd well enough that cheating will bring out the pitchforks (and honestly I could care less about those). I'm looking for real answers/suggestions either how to cope or how to maneuver through this.

– Comfort Zone

You say therapy helped. Past tense. I hope that if you continue to need to support, you find it in the right place. You shouldn't use this ex – and the excitement surrounding him – as a stand-in for counseling.

You also say that you married the guy who makes you laugh and knows you. Your husband sounds like the exact kind of person you'd want around at a time like this. Seeking him out for this kind of connection is a choice. You have to decide to talk to him instead of others. You have to stop the routine – which can be very difficult – and explain what you're seeking. You can't assume that communication in a marriage will just happen. You have to do the work.

You call this ex the love of your life, but I don't know if that's the best way to describe him. It sounds like he's the excitement of your life. The escape of your life. He hasn't been the partner of your life – that person is your husband. It might help to call this ex what he is and to figure out what you're getting from him right now. If you're looking for escape, you might be able to find it with the person who's been by your side this whole time. Give your husband a chance to understand your needs.

– Meredith

Readers? Pitchforks aside, how should this LW deal with these two relationships?