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Thread: Married but still in love with my ex-boyfriend from high school

  1. #1

    Married but still in love with my ex-boyfriend from high school

    Ok, so before anyone chastises me for this, please just hear me out and please don't judge me. Yes I am married. And yes, I do love my husband. But, I can't help but still have very very strong feelings for a guy that I dated 18 years ago. We broke up, but never stopped being friends. Anyway, I was married once before and that turned very sour and I left a mentally abusive relationship that I have 4 kids from. I stayed a single mom for 2 years, and didn't even date.

    I re-met a friend that I was enlisted in the army with, and he stayed a few days with me when he came to visit his mom from out of state. We talked a lot and catching up. Long story short, we ended up getting married. It's been 3 years since we got hitched. And it's really not been pretty. He has PTSD pretty severe, and his triggers can get extremely violent, but never at me or our, only himself and inanimate objects. I walk on eggshells every single day, making sure to do anything I can to not let a trigger happen. I got fired from a job, and it took me 3 days to open up to him about it because I knew he would be mad. Most days are good and even wonderful with him and he's amazing with my kids. 99% of the time. Anyway, I'm not exactly happy there. Because of his PTSD, I rarely ever hang out with my friends, or get to have just a girl's night with my 2 closest girl friends because I am just to afraid to ask him or tell him that I have plans that don't involve him, or to make plans that INCLUDE him because he's antisocial from the PTSD and always guilt-trips me out of going.

    There's the story of my husband/current situation.

    My ex is the manager of a local retail store. Whenever I have to go there for something, it's always a fairly pleasant conversation and he always makes me smile, has since I met him. He has always been kind and patient with me, even going as far as booking to be my wedding DJ to my current husband. He backed out last minute and had his business partner DJ because he had something come up. Today I found out from a mutual friend of ours that the "something that came up" was that he felt extremely jealous and had a rush of feelings for me come back, and he didn't want that to ruin my wedding to a man that wasn't him. And I feel those same feelings for him. No matter what I do, or how long between times that I see him, I cannot get him out of my head for more than a couple days. Also today, I went to his store (before I talked to our friend), and he noticed the little things, like the mild change to my hair color, the stress in my face even through the smile I fake so well, and even that I got new glasses. My own husband didn't even notice the glasses until I mentioned it to him. The only thing we really don't have in common are our political views. They are so different and we both feel extremely passionate about our respective sides of the fence so it would just lead to arguments, I'm sure.

    Anyway, this is pretty long, so if you read through it, thank you for bearing with me. I really don't know what I should do. I am still in love with someone who I thought I had gotten over a long time ago, but I refuse to just up and leave my husband "for another man". Help! Please, any help or advice, or even a kind word or two would be amazing. Thank you!

  2. #2
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear this. Agree, don't leave your husband 'for another man", leave your husband because you're not happy.
    Originally Posted by LucyTheRed
    I went to his store, and he noticed the little things, like the mild change to my hair color, the stress in my face even through the smile I fake so well, and even that I got new glasses. My own husband didn't even notice the glasses until I mentioned it to him. I refuse to just up and leave my husband "for another man".

  3. #3
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Sorry about all this.

    I think you have two separate things going on here that you're mentally conflating into one. Or, really, that you have one thing going on that needs all your adult attention right now, which is your marriage. Sounds rough. Still, if you say you "refuse" to leave your husband "for another man"—well, then it's time to put the kibosh on that and address things with your husband. Have you spoken to him about how you feel? Is he in treatment for PTSD? However this shakes out—be it finding new layers of closeness and security in your marriage, or deciding it's time to part ways in order to feel secure—you will thank yourself for taking the high road to get there.

    The thing about the high school guy is that it's pure fantasy. There is comfort in that, immense comfort when we're in a rough spot. But you've been around enough blocks in life to know the difference between fantasy and reality—to know that what you've offered here (his feelings before your wedding, his noticing a change in hair color) are not the building blocks for forever and wouldn't carry the weight they do if those eggshells weren't under your toes. I'm not saying he isn't a great guy, or that there could be something pure between you too, but the hard facts are that you can't access at all that while you're married. Poof—there goes the shot at purity and, with it, the chance of realizing the fantasy.

    So press pause on all that, and take real distance from it. Address the core concern: your marriage, your husband. Is he aware of how you are feeling inside this marriage?

  4. #4
    Platinum Member maew's Avatar
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    The advice you will most likely get is to start some therapy to help you get an outside perspective into your situation. The other advice you will definitely get is not to cheat on your husband... if you think he is angry now, imagine his reaction if he finds out you were cheating on him.

    If most days are good, can I assume that you have some success when you talk to him about how you feel? I don't mean about the guy, but about your fears of him when he is angry? What help is he currently getting with his PTSD?

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  6. #5
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    You're not happy where you are. It's natural to be looking or be enticed easily by the charms or attention of others. This is all very natural. You're playing your part in an age-old ancient response.

    Nothing about this interaction is unique or special.

    I'd resist gossiping and talking with mutual friends on your crush and keep your business to yourself. The last thing you need is the entire town in your business and your friends sticking their nose in. I'm not sure about you but those are not attractive qualities in a person - you're coming off as desperate and vulnerable, not in a great head space any which way you cut it. There are a lot of people who would take advantage of that. You have four kids to think of besides yourself. I'm saying this so you take care. It's not to "judge" you harshly. I don't think anyone's being real enough with you in your life.

    This other man is just a man with a good attention to detail. You're a little wobbly and unsettled and looking for attention because you've been starved of it in your marriage.

    Start getting stronger mentally and emotionally in your marriage. It doesn't matter if you plan to stay or if you plan to leave. Both will require that strength from you. Start now. Don't start barking up the wrong tree and digging yourself deeper into a hole.

  7. #6
    Platinum Member SherrySher's Avatar
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    You're "in love" with a fantasy you've created due to being so unhappy in your current situation.

    This ex is not perfect nor is he prince charming, but you're trying to hold onto some kind of fantasy and hope because you're not happy right now with your marriage or your husband.

    It's a type of coping method people resort to in order to get through their mundane, sad lives.

    Your ex might not be anything good for you at all. You might get together with him and find out that he's no match at all or he has just as bad of flaws as your current.
    No one is perfect and everyone has flaws.

    You should consider marriage counselling and both you and your husband should also consider personal counselling on your own.
    Try working through your problems together instead of running to the fantasy world.

  8. #7
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    O.P. quotes: "I left a mentally abusive relationship that I have 4 kids from. "
    " his triggers can get extremely violent, but never at me or our, only himself and inanimate objects. I walk on eggshells every single day"
    "Because of his PTSD, I rarely ever hang out with my friends,"
    "I am just to afraid to ask him or tell him that I have plans that don't involve him, or to make plans that INCLUDE him because he's antisocial from the PTSD and always guilt-trips me out of going."

    Hi Lucy, welcome to ENA,

    Those are the most important parts I get from your story. So you were in an abusing relationship for years which just shows that you have a very hard time to assert your self or leave when a situation is wrong for your well being.

    Now you are again in a situation where you are not happy and the way you react is again by not asserting yourself. Instead, you "walk on eggshell", you are "afraid" to talk to someone who should be your equal. You are behaving like he as some authority on you when in fact he is only your husband. A frightening one it appears but still, an adult just like you are.

    Sure you have some feeling for your ex but they are amplified right now because it is a comfortable escape from your fear of taking action to fix your problems. it's like wishing he could save you, wishing he was your husband instead.

    Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it's easy to assert yourself but if you want to be happy again, you will have to address the problem with your husband in a very serious way. Have a calm conversation with him and tell him how even the anticipation of his outburst have a negative impact on you, how you can no longer live that way and how you want for the both of you to work on fixing that issue. Couples counseling would really help in that case. You would find the support you need to face him. "anger management" therapy might be very beneficial to him as well.

    Also, you seems to isolate yourself from your friends, you have to start to get your self back: start doing activities you like without him, like sport, hobbies, having lunch with a friend...it will help you be less codependent on your spouse for happiness. It will also help you getting self confidence. You managed to be by yourself four 2 years with your 4 kids even though it was difficult. You are stronger than you think you are.



    The thing is, nobody can save you, not your ex, not even us, but we can help by giving you some advice.

  9. #8
    Platinum Member ThatwasThen's Avatar
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    You have a pattern of jumping out of one relationship and right into another one (even if you did wait two years to even date ~ You quickly got totally involved very quickly and now you are THINKING that you love a man you really no longer know much about except that he give you happy pants when you talk to him during your shopping trip.

    Instead of fueling and nurturing your crush, why don't you stay away from that store for a while, work on why you keep picking men that aren't good for you (including your infatuation on your high school ex who you refuse to turn your attentions from and turn your thought of him off as being off limits because you are married.)

    If your husband has PTSD from the horrors of his deployment then he should be contacting veterans services to help him overcome the disorder with paid for therapy. So: Suggest that to him in a loving and caring way and put your focus on the man you married instead of the one you should have left in the past 18 years ago. Get family therapy through veterans services as well.

  10. #9
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, what you are describing is another abusive marriage. Sadly you are exposing yourself and worse, your children to violence and instability. You need to get to a doctor for a checkup and privately and confidentially a referral to a therapist for yourself and only you. You need to be honest about the violence and instability.

    That fact that you quit your job seems to suggest that you suffer from some form of stress disorder from repeated violent environments. Thinking the kindness of a friend will tide you through this is a form of cognitive dissonance frequently seen in such situations. You don't want to admit you're in an abusive marriage (yet again) so you daydream and escape in an idealized fantasy "affair" to cope.

    It would be best to take better care of yourself and seek professional help rather than tiptoeing around waiting for the next "inanimate object" to be thrown or broken in the next violent rage. If he's raging and unstable, he's not "great with your kids"...If you are afraid imagine how they feel.

    No abusive relationship is 100% bad, they are interspersed with good times. You do not "have to" love him nor do you "have to" understand him. You have to understand yourself better and care for your children first and foremost. Do not let financial dependency keep you trapped. Get help.
    Originally Posted by LucyTheRed
    . It's been 3 years since we got hitched. And it's really not been pretty. He has PTSD pretty severe, and his triggers can get extremely violent, but never at me or our, only himself and inanimate objects. I walk on eggshells every single day, making sure to do anything I can to not let a trigger happen.

    I got fired from a job, and it took me 3 days to open up to him about it because I knew he would be mad.
    Last edited by Wiseman2; 11-22-2019 at 04:44 PM.

  11. #10
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    Why not seek out what kind of help there is for your husband and encourage him to get it. if your husband had cancer, everyone would think you were a jerk for leaving. PTSD is an illness and being ex-military, you should know about it at least in passing. Go to counseling for yourself and find out about programs that help vets with PTSD.

    The old high school flame is a distraction and you have him up on a pedestal.

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