Red Responds: Just the Memory of Past Love?

Ariana in Miami writes:

I’ve been married for 23 years and through I got involved in conversations with an ex-boyfriend, who was trying to get in touch with me for years. He is married and his wife has a terminal illness. We have seen each other three times in the last year and a half, but purely talk without any sex. I feel attracted to him, but I don’t know if it is just the memory of a past love. He was married to the same woman when we met 37 years ago. What was the reason to try and find me after all of these years? He does not want to have sex for respect of my marriage and his wife, but wants to keep talking to me? What is this?

Dear Ariana,

Some loves touch us more deeply and differently than other loves. What you and this man shared all those years ago was very special, and he has never completely gotten you out of his mind. He has often wondered about the “what ifs” and the “what could have beens.”

This man is going through a very difficult time. Losing a spouse can be more difficult for the survivor than it is for the victim. At least his wife knows what her future holds – his path is much less certain. Reconnecting with you has given him hope and sadness, joy and comfort. This is why he wants to stay in touch. The two of you seem to have a special connection, a feeling of closeness, and it helps him to remain stable. Regardless of what once was, or what currently is, the two of you share a friendship.

You need to be very careful how far you let this relationship with your old boyfriend develop. You are at risk of becoming more emotionally involved with him, and that will cause definite problems in your current life. I know that he makes you feel special and this relationship adds some excitement in your life – but this is a dangerous road you are walking down. Life changes quickly when you feel that you are in love with two men.

Even though you aren’t having a sexual affair, you are having an emotional one. The wisest thing for you to do would be to limit your friendship with your ex out of respect for your marriage. While he may not like it, he will understand. He means you no ill will, nor does he want to cause problems in your marriage. He is lost and confused because of his own situation – but this does not mean that you have to join him on the lost and confused path.

Some of the most romantic stories in history end in tragedy. Fortunately, you are still at a place where you can decide how this story ends.

Good luck to you,
Ext. 9226

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