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With WAYNE A POWELL MA Counselling Psychology Relationship Counsellor

Monday, February 04, 2013    

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Dear Counsellor,

My ex-boyfriend and I want to be reunited. We have been very much in love with each other for the past 20 years but we are both married to other people. We broke up when he migrated and for a long time I lost contact with him. He came back to the island on business recently and I went to see him at the place he was staying and we ended up in bed.

We are both unhappy in our present relationships. In my case my husband is very abusive emotionally and his wife gives him no attention as she is consumed with her job. We plan to have a secret long distance relationship where we will communicate by Skype and BB. We truly love each other and want to spend the rest of our lives together. What advice would you give?

What you and your ex-boyfriend are doing, as you are both aware, is cheating on your respective partners. It requires no rocket science to figure out what's going on.

You may wish to rationalise your actions by saying that there is nothing wrong if two people who love each other express their affection for each other. And there is nothing wrong with that, the only difference is that these two people are already committed in marriage to other persons. That constitutes infidelity, full stop. What would happen if you found out that your husband was having an affair with his ex? Would you be OK with that or would you be hurt? Well I guess in your present secret arrangement that would not be a bad idea as this would give you ammunition for separation and ultimately divorce.

Reigniting an old flame is a dangerous proposition especially if there is strong possibility that the flame might get out of control and start a forest fire. It does appear that in your case the fire is blazing and it is just a matter of time before your husband feels the heat. Soon he will notice the time you spend on instant messaging and other social media.

What you and your ex seem to forget is that a long distance relationship requires time and space which will eventually impact the marital relationship as your attention and focus will be diverted elsewhere. Going to bed with the gentleman was a colossal mistake as this has led to an emotional connection that is hard to sever. Re-engaging with an ex sexually is a practice that many people do and then they wonder why they can't get over each other. Sex releases feel good hormones which produce sensations the partners would not want to resist and so if you are at the right place at the right time with the ex, it is quite likely that something exciting will happen.

The most popular reason married people in particular give for cheating on their spouses is that they claim they are most unhappy in their marital relationship and so they feel justified to seek happiness elsewhere. Whereas this reason might be credible, it is a poor excuse as all efforts should be made to save the marriage in the first instance. So even though your husband may be abusive, it would have been appropriate to seek professional help to correct that problem.

The fact is that you made a choice to be with the man you married and even though you are still in love with your ex, you have to make a conscious effort to address the shortcomings in your marriage and encourage your ex to do the same. Seeking to help out each other is not a worthy endeavour and will definitely cause more harm than good.

If you both decide to sing and dance the Secret Lovers tune, be prepared one day to have to voluntarily or involuntarily disclose the truth to your husband. As the saying goes, 'What is done in darkness shall one day come to light.'

Wayne Powell is a relationship counsellor. For questions and appointments write to crisscounselloronline@gmail.com.

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