Focus on the Family
Q: I recently discovered that my wife has connected with an old flame through Facebook. She keeps telling me it’s not a big deal, but I think it is. Do I have a right to be angry and to tell her not to talk to this guy?
Juli: This has become one of those gray areas that aren’t exactly seen as “cheating.” As innocent as it may seem to reconnect with a high school sweetheart, it’s a recipe for disaster and it can devastate trust in marriage.
The deeper motivation behind connecting with someone from the past is to flirt with the question, “What if?” It’s the stuff romantic comedies are made of. What if I had chosen differently? Would my life be any better?
I certainly believe you should be alarmed. You have the right to defend your marriage and to have a “healthy jealousy” for your wife. However, instead of getting angry, you may garner her attention more readily by expressing your hurt and concern for your marriage. If you react in anger and demand that she break off communication with her old boyfriend, she’s likely to feel controlled or threatened. Even if you succeed in convincing her to sever ties, you haven’t really addressed your marriage problem.
The real issues are trust and fidelity. Her rekindling an old flame opens a door that can easily lead to an emotional or sexual affair. Even if it never develops past playful banter, it can undermine intimacy and confidence in your marriage. What cracks are there in your relationship that might be prompting the “What if?” in her mind?
Instead of reacting emotionally, view this incident as you would the “check engine” light on your dashboard. The light isn’t the problem. It’s just a warning that something far more threatening may be developing.
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