Agreeing to meet married old flame could only be trouble
Q: Way back when, I "spent a summer" with a guy at the beach. No physical relationship, more of a deep and emotional fling. We didn't keep in contact.
He has found me online and wants to get together. He has been married for 10 years, and I'm single. I realize I could be jaded (heartbreaking infidelity history); however, he has given me only a work number and is offering to come to my area to meet.
While I am confident in my intentions of simply seeing how his life has turned out, I am not comfortable meeting a married man when his wife probably doesn't know. Am I in a position to assume/judge his intentions and tell him I'm uncomfortable? I know I can control only my own actions, but would it be "wrong" of me to meet him without bringing any of this up prior, and just see how it goes?
A: How what goes? To see whether he hits on you, or whether he's just eager to look at you in person and then hop in his car and go home?
As tempting as it is to fill in the blanks on his motives, for the sake of fairness, we do need to leave his part blank. Yes, he's 10 years married and trolling old loves online, but that doesn't automatically mean what we all assume it automatically means.
Fortunately, we don't need assumptions, we have facts. You know he's married; you know he gave you his work number; you know he's willing to travel to see you; you have a history of unfaithful partners; you know you haven't weathered those "heartbreaking" infidelity storms well; and, finally, you know the terms he's offering allow him to bypass his wife, and you aren't comfortable with that.
Of these facts, here are the ones that support a decision to meet him:
Wouldn't a more likely conclusion, given these facts, be that he's on an adrenaline hunt, and that you aren't ready to admit you're tempted by it?
These are assumptions, yes. But they're also warnings I hope you heed. It's always easier to say "yes" against your best judgment than "no" against your heart, but only for that critical instant. An ill-advised "yes" often launches the hardest times of our lives.
Serving up emotional abuse instead of verbal abuse
Q: When I get really upset with my spouse, I shut down to the point where I just don't talk to him, or, if I do, the conversation is very stilted. This has at times lasted for as long as a couple of weeks.
I feel as though if I don't hold it in, then whatever is upsetting me will be especially ugly when it comes out. How can I stop the silent treatments?
A: Even though you're using it to hold back ugliness, the silent treatment is emotional abuse. It's torture for those who receive it.
Please see a good, reputable therapist. Not only will it give you a safe place to speak these unspeakable things — and with that a chance to learn productive ways to talk to loved ones — but it will also send a very necessary message to your spouse: "I know I'm wrong, and I'll do what it takes to make things right." Congratulations on this first step.