The Ex’s Man

15 May

Dear LetterBalm: I’m in a tough spot. My husband’s good friend and I are attracted to each other. My husband and I have two kids, and we’re getting a divorce because, for the past three years, he cheated on me with several women and blew through our savings. My soon-to-be-ex’s friend had nothing to do with the breakup of my marriage. He’s been there for me and my children during this nightmare, and we’ve grown close. A few words have been expressed, but we haven’t done anything improper. I need to know what to say to him to let him know my feelings and, under the circumstances, that I respect he’s friends with both my husband and me. What to say? And, when?

–What To Do?

Right now, you must turn your complete attention to your divorce. Your priority is reassuring your children and rebuilding life for you and them. Routine will be important; family counseling may be recommended, too. You and your ex will have established custody and visitation arrangements, and, of course, you will always speak well of your ex to your kids. Do all this before you even think of involving your husband’s best friend – or any man, for that matter – in your life. You’ll have your hands full, anyway, and you know that getting involved will inevitably heighten an already dramatic situation. Ms. L.B. advises you to proceed very slowly – he needs you to tell him now that you need time and distance. If he really cares for you, and if he’s a stand-up guy, he’ll wait for you and be willing to take on a relationship that will bring its own drama:

Anthony, I want to thank you for myself and the kids for being there as a friend during a very tough time. I know you’ve been put in the middle because of your close friendship with Jerry, but you’ve acted responsibly and been a friend to both of us. It can’t have escaped you that you and I have developed feelings for each other. But right now and for the foreseeable future, I am concentrating on reestablishing myself and my family. This is my priority. We both need to understand that and work with it. I’m asking you to give me space and time. We know that the two of us getting involved, even after time has passed, would cause a huge uproar – with Jerry, the kids, everyone. I want to make it clear that I’m not putting you off because I’m concerned about Jerry. I’m asking you to wait because my first concern is to establish a normal life for me and my children. I think we’re both worth the wait, don’t you?


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