Meet our friend Tom. He’s a married guy with tons of relationship experience, and a skilled advice giver who’s here to answer all your pressing sex, dating and relationship questions. Have a query for Tom? Email him! All questions will be posted anonymously, unless otherwise requested. First up…
I’m 32 and married with two young children. Recently I reconnected with one of my best friends from 20 years ago online. We have always had strong feelings for each other and after high school checked in on each other a few times throughout the years. But because we’ve always been with other people, we respected those boundaries. He has always been verbal about his feeling though I haven’t. We have been able to talk to each other like no one else. In February I went to visit him and the feelings were too intense for both of us. We talked everyday, he repeatedly told me he loved me and wanted to know did I love him (although he is also married with two kids). Eventually it got physical. We had a conversation once about him not wanting to hurt anyone else involved … he says there were are so many people who could get hurt if we were to leave our spouses (which is what I wanted). I asked him to just for once consider our feelings, because we never have, and for a few weeks it was great. Then the last time I saw him we had sex. He called me 30 minutes later to tell me how much he loved me and hasn’t returned a call or email since then. I just want him to tell me that he fell out of love, or he thinks we were in the wrong. Or whatever the reason was … Why won’t he at least do that? If you could see the look in his eyes when he told me he loved me, I know he wasn’t lying. I’m still in love with him. He knows I have never ever cheated before and I only did it because it was him. How do I get over this? Why would a man just disappear from someone he loves and should I expect him to come back? Please help me.
Dude, this is brutal.
I’m a comedian. I try to make jokes about relationship dilemmas to dull the painful choices I think people need to make. But there is nothing funny about your email. Nothing whatsoever. And remember, someone (Roberto Benigni) even tried to make the Holocaust funny. (Remember “Life Is Beautiful”?) Even Roberto Benigni wouldn’t make a funny movie about your problems. Everyone who saw it would kill themselves. So don’t expect many laughs in what I’m about to type.
You’re in mourning. You are mourning your youth, when you and this guy flirted and frolicked across high school corridors, and an uncomplicated future stretched out before you, spelling out an eternal, erotic “what if?”
That time is gone. It seems like a simpler and better period of your life. It may have been. But memories can lie. And time doesn’t really care either way. It’s past. You’ve been trying to recapture that past because you are in a bad period of your marriage and this guy is a time machine you can get inside (when he gets inside you) to feel that hormonal teenage rush again.
But you’re not teenagers anymore. Decisions have huge consequences. If you eloped together, it would upend the lives of four children and two spouses. A love connection has to be ENORMOUS to get over that barrier. For this guy from your past, that just was too high a price to pay. Give yourself some credit: you are clearly so brutally hot and sexy and awesome that this guy couldn’t stop checking in with you for years. But when the rubber met the road, it wasn’t quite perfect enough for the guy. And dudes can be not so good with the words, so he gave you the cold shoulder instead of telling you straight. That makes him flawed and a wee bit shitty, but not the world’s most terrible person. In his own way he’s communicating. And the message is “we can’t do this anymore.”
For guys, sex is a bullshit filter. If a guy has sex with you, then doesn’t call, something tripped their bullshit alarm. They got all that horniness and “conquest” out of their system and, in the cold light of dick, they decided they were done. Ignoring you is the message. We’re done. This thing we’re doing? It isn’t right. It hurts like hell for you ladies but in its own way it’s a kind of fucked up honesty. Listen to that honesty. If a guy has sex with you and then asks, ”When are we doing that again?”, that’s a man who is truly into you. This is not that man.
You seem to have backed yourself into a false choice. It’s either “stay in this unhappy marriage” or “be with this guy from high school.” Those aren’t your only choices, but you need to separate them. This guy is gone. He sent you the message. If he reaches out again, it’s just his penis talking (again: give yourself credit – you’re making that junk twitch). Ignore him. He told you how it was without even speaking.
But your marriage — that’s the real decision. Do you want to stay? Do you want to work on it? Do you want to be on the market again? Do you want to look for something better and maybe reach a greater happiness? I can’t answer that question, because you didn’t talk much about your husband. Write me again and we’ll talk about him if you want. But don’t write me again about this guy from high school. Because he should be permanently deleted from your life.
Do you agree or disagree with Tom’s advice? Give YOUR advice for the letter writer in the comments!