An ex has come back into his (happily married) life | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

DEAR EMILY,

I am a resident surgeon in the US, married to another surgeon, and we have two kids. We were college sweethearts, but agreed on a two-year trial separation in med school.

During that time, I had a relationship with a batchmate of ours, whom we will call Kris. We had a relationship, except that I still went out with my then ex-girlfriend (now my wife). Kris knew I was in love with my ex and I was trying to win her back. My ex, though, was not aware that Kris and I were getting serious. We would have gone from casual to serious, had Kris not left the Philippines to join her family in the US. We communicated for a while, but stopped when my ex and I reconciled.

Fast-forward a couple of years, when my ex became my wife and we migrated to the US, too. After another two years, my wife got an invite on Facebook from Kris, while I didn’t. That shocked me, because they hated each other in med school. I did not bother to look into Kris’ life in her FB profile, and it was my wife who told me about her whereabouts, and that she was now also a surgeon, and married with one kid.

Recently, I attended a weeklong seminar out of town, and Kris was the speaker. She was jolly and prettier than ever. It was very awkward to listen and focus. We stayed in the same hotel but never communicated. My wife knew we met, and she was cool with it. Then just three weeks ago, again, I met Kris at a one-day seminar. Since I was not able to avoid her, we had lunch, and though she was comfortable joking with me, I was stiff and dull towards her.

She berated me for disappearing last time we met, and said that though she was not angry at me, she was hurt not just at our failed relationship, but that we did not become friends afterward.

She told me she has relocated to a state three hours from me, and that she’s now divorced because she was a battered wife. I didn’t talk much. As we parted, she told me to say hi to my wife, and added that I’ve not only become a stranger, but also a jerk for not even asking for her mobile number.

I related all this to my wife. I don’t know if it was selos, but she commented that she could feel that I still cared for Kris! I have tried to suppress all of my emotions for Kris since med school, to the point that I was dreaming about her. I don’t want to keep in touch with her or loosen my grip on myself, because I fear that I might fall for her, and I don’t want to cheat on my wife.

I don’t know how I ended up marrying my wife. Don’t misconstrue me, I’m happily married, but there’s just part of me that says I would have been happier if I ended up with Kris.

I was so spoiled when I was with Kris, because I was able to be myself. I am a completely different person when I’m with my wife because I always have to try to please her, follow her whims, and try to win her in almost everything. I keep thinking that I married the woman I love, but I did not choose the woman who loved me most.

RED

The man doth protest too much! While declaring your love for your wife, are you even aware that this is strangling your equanimity unnecessarily! Do you know what happens when you unwittingly fill up a balloon with too much air? It bursts! You’re not even conscious that you’re walking a delicate tightrope between a looming affair and the unraveling of a marriage.

The humdrum of a 24/7 marriage grind, two kids, a stressful job, and finding Kris again are definitely wow and hmmmm factors at this point. More so, she is unabashedly available. Your wife is quite spot-on in her gut about your feelings for Kris.

What exactly do you want to happen to you now? You sound truly bewildered! Had Kris not initiated the Facebook invite, would you even be pining for her? Why has your marriage suddenly become questionable, and the focal point of this confusion? Was yours a shotgun wedding? Do you honestly believe that had you married Kris, you’d be happier than you are now? If you were truly your own person with her, why did you not dump your ex, now your wife, when you had your chance? You must have seen something in your wife’s character that made you let go of Kris instead, and not follow her when she left.

Will it ease your mind and possibly save this marriage if you went and just got over this befuddlement with Kris? Go for it! If you can sate this emotional turbulence with a tryst or two, why not? If it could help save the once healthy state of your family life that could very well disintegrate in a moment, follow your heart’s desire, for heaven’s sake!

You’re a doctor, cure yourself. What’s happening may just be the equivalent of a 24-hour fever—not worth the whiplash it will cause your family, were you to repress the quiet passion raging inside you now.

E-mail emarcelo@inquirer.com.ph or emarcelo629@gmail.com, Subject: Lifestyle.