D ear Amy: I was married over 40 years. My ex-wife and I had numerous problems throughout our marriage. I left several times but always went back. The last time I left, I filed for divorce.
It’s been a few years and I am starting to miss her. We talk briefly every once in a while, mostly because of our grandchildren.
I am currently living with a divorced woman. We get along great but never talked of marriage.
Lately my live-in mentioned getting married. It has hit me like a ton of bricks. I don’t want to. I want to go back to my ex. I don’t know if she’ll take me back. If my current relationship falls apart, I have no place to go, but I don’t care.
I don’t know how to go about talking to my ex about going back to her. I don’t even know if she will take me back.
I am currently not seeing a psychiatrist, though I have in the past and will probably do so again.
Dear Torn: Your pattern of leaving and reconciling with your former wife seems to be continuing. Because you have no specific reason to believe she is interested in reconciling, you should see this as a pattern that is about you (not her). You could assume that even if you did reconcile with your former wife, you would then eventually want to leave again.
Put yourself in the place of the woman who lives with you and presumably loves you. How would you feel if you wanted to commit to your partner and she wanted to bounce back to her ex? If your former wife is not at all interested in reconciling with you – ever – how will you cope with that?
You should be honest with your current partner. If marriage is not in the cards, you must tell her.
This is an ideal matter to sort out in therapy. Therapy helps identify and work through behavioral and emotional patterns.
Dear Amy: I’m writing in response to “Overwhelmed” the young woman with the mother who is a hoarder. The book “Coming Clean: A Memoir” by Kimberly Rae Miller (2014, New Harvest) might be of tremendous solace to her. It’s an amazing story of growing up with a hoarder and perhaps will give her new insights into the illness and her own perpetual feeling of wanting to change or fix the behavior. Your advice to be respectful, loving and understanding is the best she can strive for.
– An Admiring Reader
Dear Reader: Great recommendation. Thank you!