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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
It's funny, I came to this site by googling "husband emailing ex girlfriend" and it's amazing how many posts there are about this. My story is a little different -- maybe not as serious as some of these posts I'm reading, but still upsetting. My husband started an email correspondence on Facebook with an ex-girlfriend about 2 years ago. I found out when I was using his computer and he left his facebook account open. I saw her in his list of friends and thought 'when did that happen?" and then checked his email and saw to my horror that they'd been emailing back and forth, almost every day, for about three weeks. I was devastated.

The emails were not sexual or like he was trying to get her back, more along the lines of "remember when?" inside jokes, compliments, etc. I still felt they were inappropriate for a married man. The fact that he hadn't mentioned it at all was the biggest red flag to me.

When I confronted my husband he was remorseful and said he had emailed her (he did start it by friending her) to say hello, and he figured they would just exchange a few emails and it would die out like most contact with old friends does. He said I was reading too much into the emails in terms of tone, although he admitted that his emails might have been a little too personal (you know, when you've dated someone for years, you talk to them in a way that you would never talk to someone of the opposite sex who you meet, say, at a soccer game). He pointed out that she lives on the other side of the US, so there was no chance that they would meet. He hadn't mentioned it to me because they'd started emailing and then there were several and he knew I'd be upset. He volunteered that he would immediately stop since I was upset, and if she emailed him he would let me read any future emails he sent her, which he did.

I actually had to go to counseling over this, although in fairness we had several friends who were getting divorces around that time so I was freaked out.

So, he'll often leave his computer on with his Facebook page open (which I guess means he doesn't hide it.) On occasion, I would check his email, just to see what was going on. I come from a family where there were a lot of divorces, and it helped me to feel more secure to see that he wasn't contacting her. She actually emailed him from time to time afterwards -- about every four months or so-- and it was gratifying to see that he would only email her back something cursory (although he didn't show me these), or not at all. It's been almost a year since she last emailed him. However, in the meantime, she and her husband have moved back to the East Coast where we live.

Today my husband is coming back from a week-long trip overseas. I suddenly got that "check his email" feeling. I swear I have some minor ESP. I checked his phone while he was in the shower, and sure enough, discovered he emailed her while he was gone on the business trip. All he did was congratulate her on getting a new job, which he said he heard through the grapevine. But why not just post congratulations on her facebook page? Why the email?

So now I'm supposed to be excited that he's home and ready to jump all over him, and instead I'm upset and thinking, "why?? why would he start this up again?? why does he keep contact when he knows it upsets me? why would he do this on a business trip?? Is it really nothing??" We've been married 20 years, and until this email thing happened I would have said there was no more faithful husband on the planet. We have such a fun, and enriching marriage. I thought I was lucky. I do not understand why he needs to be getting attention from an ex-girlfriend. If he had just been forthcoming about getting in contact with her in the beginning, maybe it wouldn't upset me so much. But it does.

Men, call us naive but women love the fantasy of Prince Charming who is only interested in them. That's what makes us feel loving and sexual towards someone. I don't know how I'm even going to look him in the face without feeling upset.

Am I making too much of this?
 

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No, you're not making too much of this. It's inappropriate for married people to be corresponding with exes. Your H needs to delete her as a friend and stop all contact - no matter how spasmodic.
 

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Hello, I guess that since your husband can be sincere towards you after you asked him about this, and since he doesn't mind you checking his e-mail and even promised that he won't talk to her much anymore, you might not need to worry too much? If your husband was immature or cares about his ex more than you have thought, he might have tried to contact her still, while not being so sincere, like not letting you check his e-mails or even get upset about it.

I guess that when you spend a few years with someone, it's just as you said, you talk in a very personal way. But do you feel that you really have reasons to worry about it? How was their relationship back then? How did they break up? How much did your husband tell you about their relationship?
Maybe all your husband feels is just some simple dear feelings, seeing her as just a special friend but does not really see anything else in her anymore. Maybe he doesn't see possibility of them ever being together as a couple anymore.

Also, how is the relationship between you and him? You are his wife and you guys have been together for so many years, much more than he ever shared with his ex. If your relationship is still good, then don't worry much about it. For your husband, you are the one who is his best friend and the one real partner, and you must see yourself that way too.

If you feel insecure for some things, which is normal to, just let him know that. Tell him how you feel instead of being mean or too upset, make sure you don't hurt him feelings too or make him feel the need to get defensive. The more understanding and not too reactive you seem, the easier it is for your husband to keep being honest with you. If your husband feels that you won't get too upset even thought he has no intentions to get back to his ex in any ways, he will feel easier to share every detail with you and has no reason to hide anything. While you can still be sincere to him and gently explain why you might feel insecure.
 

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You say you have a good, strong marriage, so you should be able to be honest with your husband & expect him to respect your wishes.

Tell him that you do not want him corresponding with his ex, that it hurts you unnecessarily, and that if the tables were turned, you wouldn't hesitate a second to do what he asked.

As long as you have a history of dealing with one another with mutual respect, there should be no problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
So, if you were to ask him his side of it, he would say:
1. She broke up with him. She's a bit of a mess, personally. We do have such a long history and he would never want to be with her;
2. He has never cheated on me and simply does not consider this a big deal;
3. She is sort of a "special friend" in that she was also close to his parents when they were alive;
4. I think he would probably say he is just being friendly, sending her good wishes.

To which I would respond (and I know this is going to sound petty):
1. Then why not just congratulate her on her main Facebook page like everyone else does? Why do you two always communicate by email instead of friendly posts like 99% of us? (I think the answer is, he does not want to cause any trouble with her husband -- which if there's going to be trouble with her husband then why contact her at all?)
2. Why email her after a break of almost a year if you always expected your emailing would peter out eventually. Why keep this going?
3. Why do it while you're gone on a business trip?
4. Knowing how upsetting it is to me, and how I even had to go to counseling last time to deal with it, why would you not mention it to me first?

So he is home and all lovey-dovey and how much he missed me etcl etc. but I am fuming. I am trying so hard to be understanding and am blaming my bad mood on some other stuff that's going on (contractor-wise) that sounds plausible.

As far as our marriage goes -- overall, I think it's very strong. Do I think he's going to run off with his ex? No. But we are definitely in that kids-sports-work-busy-busy-busy rut, and I have told him I wish we had more "couple" time together, and I feel like I sort of get the odds and ends of his real attention, after he watches his favorite tv shows at night. I actually think he's just sort of lazy when it comes to our relationship. I've heard this from other friends about their husbands -- just sort of feeling taken for granted. And then when I find out he's emailing an ex, it's like my feelings don't count for him. If he thinks they're over the top, or irrational, he's like -- "well that's not true, so I'll do as I like. What she doesn't know won't hurt." (Wrong.)

I hate to have another argument over this email thing, after a year without incident, but I guess that's where we're headed. I'm not good at acting -- you can see everything right on my face no matter how hard I try to hide it. I'll try to be mellow and kind. I really wish he'd never done this.
 

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Also, if you read up on this site, you'll see no end of trouble starting with exes contacting one another and then developing inappropriate relationships. Nipping it in the bud is the best thing you can do for both of you. He should be grateful that you are calling him on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Fiora --I think you are right that there are some underlying issues. If I felt like he treated me "girlfriendy" instead of (sometimes) "ho hum, here's the old wife again nagging me about something," I think I would not be quite so concerned. I mean, that's maybe only 10% of the time, but its no fun being treated like that, even if it's only occasional. Truly, if he was just posting "Congratulations!" on his ex-girlfriend's Facebook page, I would not be remotely concerned. Truly. Not a bit. It's that it's been a YEAR that he hasn't contacted her, and he goes away on a business trip, and then he emails her out of he blue. I think he just wants attention for some reason, but it's just flipping inappropriate when you're married.

Anyway, I'm going to talk to him tonight about it. Thanks everyone.
 

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Fiora --I think you are right that there are some underlying issues. If I felt like he treated me "girlfriendy" instead of (sometimes) "ho hum, here's the old wife again nagging me about something," I think I would not be quite so concerned. I mean, that's maybe only 10% of the time, but its no fun being treated like that, even if it's only occasional. Truly, if he was just posting "Congratulations!" on his ex-girlfriend's Facebook page, I would not be remotely concerned. Truly. Not a bit. It's that it's been a YEAR that he hasn't contacted her, and he goes away on a business trip, and then he emails her out of he blue. I think he just wants attention for some reason, but it's just flipping inappropriate when you're married.

Anyway, I'm going to talk to him tonight about it. Thanks everyone.
Did other people congratulate her on FB? Did she post the news about her job on the page? If not, it might be awkward for him to post congratulations on her page. And even if she did, maybe it's still inappropriate for him, an ex that is already married, to do so. Since doing that might get the attention of other people (specially of those that knows both of them and their past), and it might be a bit disrespectful towards his wife in their eyes.

But yeah, he should stop once for all taking initiative at sending an e-mail to her, since it made you go to a counselor back then. I personally wouldn't like to be forced to terminate friendships, and between me and my husband we don't do such things to each other, but then we don't really have exes we'd need to worry anyways.
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I know you said you went to couseling over this, but did you actually tell your husband that you wanted no more contact between his ex and him? It doesn't seem like that was the agreement. If it wasn't, then sending a congratulatory email about a new position seems innocent enough. I don't see what the business trip has to do with the price of tea in China....Quite frankly, this seems to bother you to the point you should tell him you want him to go no contact entirely.

I think you also need to examine why you feel the need to spy on your husband. Why are racked with suspicion? Has he given ANY indication of infidelity?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Ok, so here's what happened. I can never keep this stuff to myself. I had to talk with him about it -- probably much calmer than I might otherwise have been. Yes, other people had posted on her wall about the job. That's how he first saw it (why he told her he'd "heard" about it, I have no idea.) And he sent her an email because, basically habit. That's how they'd been conversing before. He pointed out that he hadn't talked to her in a year, he was just being nice, he didn't ask any questions or try to initiate any conversations -- I guess he's just sort of oblivious. And I am probably oversensitive. As I said, we both come from families where basically no one is married anymore and both of our parents on both sides have been divorced multiple times. Not a day goes by that I don't think about how lucky I am to have made it to 20 years, for the most part without a lot of drama. It's been wonderful. But he initiated the first set of emails with her right in the middle of a time when five couples we know suddenly up and divorced in a period of about six months. The timing was terrible -- another time, I might not have freaked out so much. I can't really say for sure. Honestly, I never worry about him with women at work, I don't worry about him talking to other wives, I don't even worry about him cheating on me, necessarily. He goes out of the country a few times a year for work, and I've never even worried about that because we call each other or text all day long about different things (on both sides). But because he contacted this ex in secrecy, I don't like the secrecy. I said, "Look, next time just post on her main page like everyone else." He agreed it was not good judgment. His response was, "Look, I love you. My focus is you and my family. I haven't been talking with her at all since I found out it upset you. I just saw someone's post about this, and was trying to be a nice guy, probably at some level I want her to see how great my life is, and what a nice guy she missed out on. I know it's sort of lame." So, with that kind of candidness, I'm feeling much better. YES marriage is hard!! But worth it, I think.
 

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With your last post, I think that you both have a very good relationship, it's good that you can be so open to each other and also still have strong bond with each other even after so many years. :) It's understandable that you worried when he started talking with the ex without telling you, and also when he didn't post on FB instead of e-mailing the congratulations message, but it's good that you can be honest to each other and your husband does care for you much more than the ex, which means nothing to him (but maybe a small "revenge" to show her that she dumped a nice guy).
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Just one other thought -- I noticed that half of you think it's not that big of a deal and I'm too suspicious, and half of you think it's inappropriate and kind of weird. So I guess that just goes to show you how two people can see things differently. That it's a big deal to ME, and that he shows he understands that, is I guess what keeps our marriage going. Whew. This was emotionally exhausting. Thanks for all your help folks. What a great site -- I would never want to discuss this with anyone I know and embarrass my husband. And maybe this will help someone.
 
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