March 25, 2011 in Features

Husband accepts her ties with exes

Washington Post
 

While I’m away, readers give the advice.

On maintaining relationships with exes: I keep in touch with my two or three meaningful ex-boyfriends by e-mail a couple of times a year, and have dinner with them every few years when they travel through my city. My husband is completely fine with this. He does not pressure me to include him in these contacts, just as he does not pressure me to include him in my contacts with my dear, old female friends.

He knows – because I married him – that I want to spend my life with him and not someone else; that he and I are physically and emotionally intimate in very private and important ways; and that I am utterly, completely committed to him and to our children. But, he also knows that my ex-boyfriends played meaningful roles in making me the person I am now, i.e., the person my husband and children love.

And, my husband understands that people often don’t stop caring just because certain relationships didn’t work out; that I am entitled to a certain level of emotional autonomy; that my exes must have some good qualities or I wouldn’t have spent years with them; that my exes are important ties to my past memories and history; and that my exes understand who I was in ways that my husband can’t (because he didn’t know me then). Why would he want me to lose all of that? My husband’s views on this are especially striking because he doesn’t have any exes himself. (I am the first person he ever dated.) He just thinks about things and understands people. – Los Angeles

E-mail Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ carolyn.hax or chat with her online at 9 a.m. Pacifictime each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.


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