I had a serious relationship for five years. We broke up and she got married two and a half years ago. She recently contacted me and was crying, saying that her life is not going well. She wants me as a friend but I'm unable to reconnect with her. However, the bond has become stronger through texts and calls. How can I ignore her? I would be very glad if I had a solution for this dilemma. What do you suggest?
It is said quite often that we don't appreciate the value of someone or something until it/they are gone. Is that the case with your friend? Is it that she left the relationship thinking that the grass was greener on the other side only to discover that what she saw was really an illusion? Now that the reality has hit her, she wants to make a right about turn and find her way back home.
It would be interesting to know what caused the break-up in the first place. Could the problem have been resolved before getting to the termination stage? Was the termination a mutual decision or did one of you initiated the break-up? If it was a case where you both decided to call it quits and go your separate ways, then reigniting the flames may be on similar grounds. If, however, it was one of you who initiated the move, chances are there is some amount of resentment from one towards the other and the thought of reconnecting may not be a good idea.
Your ex-girlfriend suggesting that you both be friends is a sneaky way of working her way back to you. As you are experiencing, the calls and texts are effective ways of stimulating the emotions, causing the bond to deepen.
Don't forget that the lady is married and made a commitment to her husband when she rejected you. Some people would say she made her bed and now she must lie in it.
You must be careful that you do not get drawn into a three-way scenario with your ex, her husband, and yourself. You cannot continue to entertain her as you will end up frustrating yourself as the truth is, she is not available, being someone else's wife. So she may come crying and seeking solace in you as a friend, but you must remember that your “friend” role cannot be that of husband.
The more you communicate with your ex is the deeper the bond will be. Start by reducing the texts and calls and indicate to her that you are not able to continue the charade as at the end of the day, whereas she has a partner, you have no one to declare as your own as it's her husband who has that legal claim, not you.
Don't allow emotions to blind you from the reality. Ask yourself, what is in this for me? What am I to gain from this? If “nothing” is your answer, then do what is in your best interest.
If she realised the folly of her ways and wants to return, then a clean and legal break from her husband must be executed. You must, however, remove any element of resentment that if left untreated will contaminate the relationship even before it begins.
So think carefully and decide based on your head and not solely on your heart. Take care of yourself.
Wayne Powell is a relationship counsellor. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Check his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MFTCounselor/.