Dear Wayne and Wanda,
During the past year, I’ve reconnected with my ex. It started off when the pandemic began. I reached out to see how he was holding up. Before long we were exchanging messages pretty regularly. Within a few months, this escalated to Zoom calls, mostly late at night when we were both still awake and lonely.
The big difference here is I am single and live alone, and he doesn’t. He’s been married for a couple years now. In our talks the past year, he confessed that he got into that relationship too fast after our breakup, and the marriage was rushed. He told me many times that he is lonely and has missed me.
Recently, I got my second COVID-19 vaccine. I am no longer as concerned about getting ill, as I was before, and I have started slightly expanding my social circle. My ex still texts a lot, and we Zoom pretty frequently. A couple days ago, I suggested we see each other in real life, and he is thinking about it. I think he will agree to it.
This has caused a huge rift with my girlfriends. They say I am trying to have an affair and he has no intention to leave his wife. I think they’re wrong, and he might end his marriage. He and I have a special connection and if this past year has taught me anything, it’s to not wait for what we want, but to go after it, because life is short. They are telling me to drop it now and walk away before someone gets hurt — but if I do that, I’m the one getting hurt. I still love him and want to fight for him. Advice?
You’re trying to be intimately involved with your married ex. You want to hear that what you’re doing is fine, even bold, and perhaps justified. But what you’re attempting to do by launching a physical affair is wrong, and what you’re already and actually doing by carrying on an emotional affair is wrong too.
This past year has made all of us a little loopy, and I’m not going to fault you for making a poor judgment call in the early days of COVID, and in a weak moment of loneliness and sentimentality, reaching out to your ex. It happens. You weren’t the only one! It’s only too bad you didn’t leave it at that.
What might have been written off as a single bad decision has now blossomed into a full-fledged emotional entanglement where at best, he’s actively deceiving his spouse, and you’re totally deceiving yourself by attempting to justify this bad behavior.
I’m guessing there’s a good reason you and your ex ended things initially. The prospect of reuniting probably feels steamy and storybook in the context of your longing, estrangement, and fantasizing about the future. But that’s not reality. The reality is you guys broke up, and he’s been just fine for years without you, and is very, very married. Time to leave your ex in the past, and put your newly cultivated Zoom energy to use on some dating sites and apps where there are actual legit single people who could give you the time and energy you deserve.
Life is short, you say? Well, how long has the past year felt for you? For most, it has dragged on like a mashup of “Groundhog Day,” “Contagion,” “Idiocracy” and “Shaun of the Dead,” played on a loop with all the funny parts edited out. (I heard “Tenet” is pretty long and confusing, too, but I wouldn’t know because I haven’t stepped in a movie theater in a year.) It’s certainly been long enough for you to feel a deep sense of loneliness, and we’re all with you there. And for you, it’s been long enough to reach the end of your new artists playlist and start jamming to the old hits again.
Well, you know when life really drags on? When something crappy is happening to you. Like the end of a relationship. Like when someone pulls the emotional rug out from under you. Like when you’re the dumped and not the dumper. Like when you’re feeling so guilty for breaking up a marriage or so deep into living a lie that you have trouble sleeping, looking yourself in the mirror, and looking your friends in the eyes, even over Zoom.
Keep this up and someone’s life is about to get excruciatingly slow and depressing. A heart is definitely getting broken in this love triangle that you are trying so hard to convince yourself and everyone else is actually a perfect circle bringing two star-crossed souls back together again after a long, dark journey apart. I’m a betting man but this one is tough, so I’m splitting my dough on the broken heart line between you and your ex’s wife. Your ex? He’s the dealer, holding all the cards, and he’ll be just fine.