Ex’s flirty texts need to be ex­plained to wife

Times Colonist - - Life -

Dear El­lie: I’m a man, 46, hap­pily mar­ried for the second time. I’ve re­mained friends with an ex who moved to a dif­fer­ent coun­try, through ex­chang­ing texts about once a year.

Her most re­cent mes­sage was very flir­ta­tious. I re­sponded sim­i­larly, though meant in hu­mour. Her mes­sage back was more sug­ges­tive, and I again matched her.

After one more ex­change, she mes­saged: “Do you re­ally want to go down this road?”

I couldn’t tell if she was be­ing se­ri­ous or call­ing me out for my go­ing along with it.

I didn’t re­spond. What should I do?

I don’t want to end the friend­ship, yet the flirt­ing’s harm­less since we’re liv­ing in dif­fer­ent coun­tries.

Con­fused

Ex­plain your­self to her that you are hap­pily mar­ried and the texts were just re­sponses-in-kind for fun, which you as­sume was her in­ten­tion, too.

That way you’re be­ing clear. And you can be open with your wife and tell her that your friend was likely bored and play­ing the tease.

Why raise it with your wife? Read on:

Re­peated “mis-steps” in a re­la­tion­ship, which is what teas­ing, flirty texts with an ex look like to a part­ner, of­ten get dis­cov­ered even­tu­ally, and become a far more se­ri­ous is­sue.

You don’t re­ally know what your ex meant. So it would be hard to ex­plain it to a part­ner want­ing a straight an­swer to: What’s this all about?

She might even ask you to stop tex­ting with your ex. Given the dis­tance, her odd mes­sage and the pres­sures of the times, that might be the best idea, at least for a long while.

Dear El­lie: I’m “a hug­ger.” And the pan­demic has re­stricted my nat­u­ral in­cli­na­tion to be warm with peo­ple.

Se­ri­ously, it causes me emo­tional pain to with­hold from greet­ing a close friend, neigh­bour, ex­tended fam­ily, etc. with some level of phys­i­cal con­tact.

Nor­mally, I help strangers, e.g. pick­ing up gro­ceries they dropped.

Now ev­ery­one just watches as the per­son picks them up alone. It’s just wrong.

I feel like there’s a strait­jacket on my per­son­al­ity.

No Hugs

You’re still good-hearted, so show it in words, such as: “Great seeing you healthy!” Show it with an el­bow-bump or shoe toe­touch, if they agree (ex­plain first).

Show your car­ing by pro­tect­ing your own bub­ble of con­tacts and that of oth­ers, by say­ing: “We’ll hug again when we can!”

Even with clos­est fam­ily mem­bers liv­ing to­gether, you still have to pro­tect each other from po­ten­tial COVID trans­mis­sion through aerosols reach­ing each other’s eyes, nose, or mouth, by wash­ing hands fre­quently, es­pe­cially after be­ing out.

El­lie’s tip of the day

Don’t hide un­usual flirty texts from an ex. Dis­cuss them openly with your spouse.

Send re­la­tion­ship ques­tions to el­lie@thes­tar.ca. Fol­low @el­liead­vice.

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