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M. Gary Neuman

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Should You Reconcile With Your Ex?

Posted: 02/28/2012 6:51 pm

Question: I've been married for only a year to a wonderful woman and I'm in a ridiculous bind that I brought on myself. I've fallen in love with another woman. Problem is that the woman is my ex wife. My ex and I have now discussed getting back together. This is obviously the right thing, right? I have two children and they'd be thrilled to have us back together. My wife had cheated and ended the marriage but has now had a change of heart and has left the guy she cheated with. She approached me and I've realized I never really fell out of love with her. How do I tell my new wife that this is happening? And how do we tell our children? Do we move back in together immediately or give it some time so the kids can re-acclimate?

Answer: I'm going to answer the question you didn't ask: should you break up your marriage and reunite with your ex? Not so fast. What I see in your letter is a complicated life that is only getting more complicated. I have some questions for you. Why did your ex wife decide now to reunite? What has changed in your relationship with her that gives you a shred of confidence that reuniting will yield a different result than the first time?

My concern is that your willingness to rush into a situation that is not set up for success indicates the possibility that a deeper desire to mess up your lives more than you already have is at work. You know the saying hindsight is 20/20. Let's take a closer look at this before you make a wrong move so that your foresight can be 20/20.

Your wife was unfaithful and ended up with the person with whom she cheated. That is not resolved by a sudden change of heart. Her desire to be with you and her initiating this reunification plan when you are already married constitutes another example of her breaking up a family -- yours. She, with your help, is presently dismantling another marriage -- your new union with the "wonderful" woman you recently married. The fact that she is your ex doesn't mean you're not cheating. Whether or not you've been physically intimate with your ex recently, you're still cheating on your present wife by having clear conversations about reuniting with your ex. In your present state of mind, reuniting will likely give way to an unhealthy marriage that rivals the one you had before.

It is of course possible that your wife has had genuine regret for her action, but rushing into remarriage is a mistake. Your willingness to seemingly forgive and forget after you've married another is of equal concern. Plus, don't you wonder about the love you have for the woman you've recently married? How would you explain your ability to jump from one love relationship to another?

All of this adds up to serious concern for the future. Imagine reuniting with your wife only to separate again. How would that impact your children? Bottom line: you need to have a much better plan (or any plan at all) other than a "throw caution to the wind" attitude. Find a counselor and seek help alone for the time being so that you can properly and patiently think this one through. In the meantime, keep a safe distance from your ex and stay in the present; be a good spouse to the woman you're married to.