Life is full of regrets. It’s very common for men to find themselves hung up on past love and struggle to let go.
And when the opportunity to connect with a forever lover presents itself, it is often a complicated issue — especially if your former lover is now married.
To be perfectly clear, connecting with an ex who is now married can be a very dangerous situation for all the parties involved.
As tempting as it may be to reach out and see what’s happened since the two of you split, the risks generally outweigh the rewards.
This is doubly true if you yourself are in a committed relationship (or if you, too, are now married). That being said, I understand that these things are usually not as cut and dry as we would like.
Social media has made it increasingly difficult to disconnect with our exes, and even if you’re doing your very best to avoid taking a peek into the lives of your past loves, the temptation can be practically overwhelming.
If you’re in a position to reconnect with a past lover and are now struggling between logic and emotion, I’m here to help. Today, I’m going to talk you through how to navigate these tricky situations so that you can achieve the best possible outcome for everyone involved.
Ask Yourself: Why Do I Want To Reconnect In The First Place?
First things first, let’s talk about you. Where are you at in your life (and your current romantic relationship) that makes you want to reconnect with an ex in the first place?
Many men tell me that they feel completely content with their current situation and are simply curious about what their exes are up to. And when the opportunity arises to fulfill that curiosity, they simply cannot control themselves.
Unfortunately, we aren’t always in complete control of our emotions, even if we’d like to believe we are. A simple phone call or a text message might seem innocent enough, but in certain circumstances, that seemingly insignificant form of contact can prove incredibly powerful.
And then, before you know it, you are not only reconnected with your ex — you’re in the middle of a full-blown affair.
So again, take a minute to analyze yourself and figure out what it is that is causing you to seek this connection in the first place. Are you romanticizing past events or craving something that left you more fulfilled in this past relationship?
Is it a craving for physical intimacy, an element of jealousy, or a tinge of nostalgia? Or is it a mix of all of the above?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, men will report that general life experience is a factor. Now that they’re a bit older and much wiser, they realize what’s really important in life.
While certain ‘incompatibilities’ may have been dealbreakers back in the day, they seem inconsequential when viewed through the lens of the present day.
As a result, they begin to reassess their past relationships and contemplate what could have been. After a while, these thoughts become all-consuming, and before long, the urge to reconnect is uncontrollable.
Whatever the case, take this opportunity to sit down and examine what is driving you in the first place. And be honest with yourself. If you tell yourself you’re ‘just curious’ but secretly have repressed feelings for your ex, it’s time to face that head-on.
Be Realistic In Your Expectations
Movies and books are great because they give us an idealized version of how we think our world should operate.
In fiction, two distanced lovers can reunite, run away into the sunset, and live happily ever after — but the real world rarely works that way.
For one, you need to understand that if you or your ex are married, satisfying this craving of yours has the very real potential of ruining both your relationships. This isn’t like winning back an ex-girlfriend while dating in college; it’s much more complicated.
Second, you should expect things to escalate. Even if you set out with the intention of just rekindling a platonic friendship with your ex, there’s a very real danger that isn’t going to happen.
Whether you like it or not, a different dynamic now exists that fundamentally changes your interactions going forward. Past feelings, intimacy, and a vast depth of shared experiences will complicate the situation.
Third, take a good hard look at your past and remember that the two of you are no longer together for a reason. Whether you think that reason is founded or not is up to you, but understand that you didn’t just randomly split up out of nowhere.
There was a catalyst for these past events, and you need to be mindful of those events in the future.
And generally speaking, be cautious. If your ex reaches out to you to reconnect, consider if there are ulterior motives at play. At the very least, you should be completely upfront and honest with your current partner (if you have one) and directly address any questions she may have.
Understand Exactly What You’re Doing
It’s no secret that humans aren’t the best at considering future events. If they were, everyone would live healthy lifestyles, wars would be averted, and we’d all live more harmonious lives.
That said, if you’re considering contacting your ex, who is still married, you must be 100% clear about what you’re doing — about the message you’re sending to those around you (and subconsciously to yourself).
Contacting Your Ex Is Telling Your Current Partner You’re Dissatisfied
If you’re in a romantic relationship with someone else, connecting with an ex sends several messages. You might say, “Oh, it’s no big deal,” but you should not expect your partner to be quite so nonchalant.
First off, you’re telling your current partner that you’re in some way, shape, or form dissatisfied with your current relationship. Even if you don’t believe this to be true, it’s only natural to expect your partner to see things this way.
After all, if your partner was 100% satisfying you, why would you need to reach out to a prior love in the first place?
Beyond that, you and your ex are telling both your significant others that your relationships are in danger. And even if you say that neither of you has any romantic intentions, convincing people of that will be almost impossible.
There Is A Unique Dynamic That Exists Between You And Your Ex, Which You Need To Be Aware Of
Let’s say, hypothetically, that you see your ex post something on social media that piques your curiosity. Maybe she goes to a concert or eats at a restaurant you two used to frequent.
Maybe she posts about a movie or book that you enjoyed together. Whatever. The point is that you have the urge to message her about this seemingly innocuous thing without realizing the danger it presents.
This would be completely harmless for 9 out of 10 female friends you have. But unlike all your other friends, you two have a unique shared history that will taint your conversations in the future.
You dated, you lived together, traveled together, had sex, etc. And because of that, you have a deeper, more intimate understanding of the other person than most others.
So, while the conversation might start with something as simple as a movie, it doesn’t take much for it to evolve into something else entirely.
When you send (or reply to) that first message, you must understand this.
This isn’t just another friend you’re messaging — this is an entirely different situation that probably has a long and complicated history, and the rules are very different.
Accept The Fact That You’re Opening Pandora’s Box
No matter how you cut it or try to justify things to yourself, this will likely be a very complicated situation. It’s a situation that has the potential to bring stress, sadness, and a great deal of emotional baggage.
If you’re okay with that and are willing to take the risks, then by all means, proceed: just be mindful.
Again, movies are great, but they are not indicative of real life. You likely won’t have a fairy tale ending when you start down this path. Of course, you might, but you shouldn’t expect it.
And yes, I have met couples who got back together after leaving their spouses and made it work, but I know far more people who found themselves in a world of trouble after going down this path.
Every situation is unique, and I have absolutely no way of knowing what you’re going through at the time of reading this. Yes, you might be the outlier who can make this work — but it’s in your best interest to assume you are not.
Okay, I Hear You… But What If I Decide To Reconnect With My Old Love Anyway?
If you read everything up until this point and decide that you’d still like to go ahead and get in touch with your past lover, there are certain things you should keep in mind to make sure you do it responsibly.
Make A Decision About Your Current Relationship (If You Have One)
If you’re single, you can skip this one. If you’re not, keep reading.
Before you do anything to reconnect with your ex, make a decision about what you want to do with your current relationship.
You need to be honest with yourself and acknowledge that you’re unhappy with how things are on some level. Many people talk themselves into believing their own lies, but this is the worst thing you can do.
If you were 100% happy with the way things were, you wouldn’t even be contemplating connecting with your ex in the first place. So is this really about your ex? Or are you just looking for a way out of your current relationship?
Sometimes guys like to play the field and keep their options open, but that’s not healthy in the long run. What do you want deep down? Do you want to get into a relationship with your ex and leave your wife or girlfriend? And are you only looking to keep the relationship going as a fallback plan?
If so, what does that say about the relationship itself? And if that’s true, does it not mean that you’re just postponing the inevitable by staying together?
The situation is already complicated enough as it is, so do yourself a favor and at least get clear on the things that you have direct control over.
Honesty Is a Must
Secondly, make sure neither of you is lying or being deceitful to your current partners. This is a tricky situation as it is, so you don’t want to complicate it by sneaking around or telling lies.
If you’re going to reconnect with your ex, you want to both 1) be completely honest with your partner (again, if you have one) and 2) ensure that your ex is being completely transparent with her husband.
And when you do actually connect, be upfront and clear about your expectations with each other. It doesn’t really matter who contacted whom; it’s your responsibility (for your own sake) to establish some sort of boundaries here.
If you’re single, you might think it does not matter to you how far things go — but really, it does.
If you get into a relationship with a married woman, and that relationship winds up being a serious, intimate, or long-term affair, it will undoubtedly put a great deal of stress on the relationship.
So, yes, the potential relationship might be less worrisome for you, but you’re still in a tricky situation. Marriages are complicated, and many things need to be considered, like child-raising responsibilities, mortgage payments, shared health insurance, shared vehicles, and so on.
Even if you and your ex fall madly in love with each other again, she probably won’t be able to just get up and leave her husband.
Get The “We’ll Just Be Friends” Notion Out Of Your Head
Look, this one really isn’t that complicated. You might think you’re going to just keep it platonic, but I’m here to tell you that isn’t going to happen.
Sure, I guess it is technically possible that this is a woman you had a very brief fling with and never seriously dated, and here you are today, seeking to create a genuine friendship… but I doubt that’s all there is to it.
Because if it were, why are you getting so hung up on this woman in the first place? There are much better ways to build authentic friendships with women.
Clearly, deep-rooted feelings here are making you do something irrational, so don’t think you’re not going to also do more irrational things when the opportunity presents itself.
Be Aware That Your Mind May Be Playing Tricks On You
Do you ever look back fondly on a past experience, even though you hated it at the time?
Have you ever made a decision on something only to start second-guessing yourself in the days, weeks, or months that followed?
The job you passed up on… The vacation you decided not to take… The course you chose not to enroll in…
When you first made the decision, it seemed like a no-brainer, but for some reason, now you’re not so sure…
You might wonder why we do this. To a certain extent, our human nature wires us to be this way. Most of us are always looking for the better something. The better job, the better house, the better car, etc.
In pursuing these things, we often sacrifice one thing for the sake of another.
Well, it’s the same thing when it comes to relationships. See, people like to believe there are perfect solutions to all life problems, but things are never that simple.
As much as we’d like to believe there is a clear-cut right and wrong decision, life just doesn’t work this way — and the sooner you can wrap your head around this, the better.
Because this is what causes you to second-guess yourself in the first place. Our insecurities and lack of self-confidence are what make us examine the past to see if we made the best choice.
So, when you rekindle an old flame with an ex, keep this in mind. You might be subconsciously trying to fix something that can’t (and shouldn’t) be fixed.
Because you’re viewing the world in this dichotomous way, your mind may be playing tricks on you. So instead of trying to fix the past, realize that some things in life just need to be let go.
Be Sure You’re Okay Being ‘That Guy’
This one might be a bit tough for some of you to hear, but it needs to be said all the same. When you continue to pursue past lovers, it doesn’t quite portray a picture of alpha male confidence.
For one, it shows that you are a man who second-guesses his decisions. If you broke up with her and are now rethinking things, there’s clearly a level of indecisiveness to your character.
And if she dumped you, yet you still choose to pursue her, it showcases a very clear power dynamic — and (hint) you’re not the one on top.
Just be conscious of the fact that just doing this in the first place is a sign that there are some deep-rooted issues you need to address.
Real alphas don’t operate under the scarcity mindset; they embrace the idea of abundance. As far as I’m concerned, it would be much more beneficial for you to invest the time and energy you’re devoting to this failed relationship to yourself.
Put in the work to better yourself as a man so that failed relationships are nothing more than distant memories.
On some level, any man who considers pursuing a married woman lacks a degree of self-confidence. And I don’t say this to put anyone down; quite the opposite — I say this to help you.
Never believe that your current situation indicates who you are as a man. Just because certain life decisions helped shape who you are until this point in your life, it doesn’t mean you can’t change.
Rekindling the flame with an ex will always be tricky, and things will only get more complicated when the woman in question is now married.
Generally speaking, though, the simple fact that you are in such a situation may indicate more deep-rooted problems in your life.
Instead of asking yourself if it’s okay to reconnect with your ex, ask yourself why you’re ruminating over this scenario in the first place. Would you not be better off pursuing a woman who appreciates you completely for who you are?
Remember, marriage is a different ballgame. It’s making a commitment to a specific person that extends far beyond what’s expected when two people are just dating. And to ask someone to break that commitment is a messy affair.
If you’re so unhappy in your current relationship that you feel the need to pursue a married woman, it may be time to reassess your life trajectory. Are you truly satisfied with who you are as a man? Are you living up to your full potential?
Because when a man clearly demonstrates his true value, women begin to pursue him. To attract high-value women into your life, you need to become a high-value man; it’s that simple.
If this sounds like something you’re interested in, professional coaching like the kind offered at Knowledge for Men can help you unlock your dormant potential.
Instead of trying to navigate situations like these which are less than ideal, you can learn to own your masculine power and change your life for the better.
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