‘I had a short fling with one of our mutual friends, which didn’t go particularly well (Picture: Neil Webb)
‘My ex and I broke up last year while her business was struggling and I was dealing with family issues.
‘We were arguing constantly and although I offered to cover her rent, she was overwhelmed.
‘She didn’t want to have sex, either.
‘Eventually we broke up and she moved in with her parents. I then had a short fling with one of our mutual friends, which didn’t go particularly well.
‘My ex and I remained in touch and obviously weren’t meeting people over winter, so the boundaries were really blurred.
‘Now we’re talking about giving things a go again and, although I’m excited, I’m also worried about the fling.
‘I want to be honest but our mutual friend wants us to continue hiding it.
‘What do I do?’
Every successful relationship requires vulnerability.
‘It’s an act of daring just to be intimate, to open yourself to love,’ says James McConnachie.
But before you compromise this shaky reconciliation by admitting to the fling, are you confident that you’re reuniting for the right reasons?
‘Do you truly want to be with one another or is this more a case of having a boring winter where you’ve not met other people?’ asks Dr Angharad Rudkin. ‘It’s important to consider what has changed so that you don’t find yourselves in the same position. Has her job changed? Does she still fancy you and want to have sex with you? Are your family issues resolved?’
The constant communication meant neither of you experienced the space necessary for a true assessment of your relationship’s potential.
‘You said it: boundaries are really blurred,’ says Rupert Smith. ‘While I appreciate your desire for honesty, I can’t help feeling that it comes more from a fear of being found out than from an ethical commitment to disclosure at all costs.’
But if you truly do want to reconcile, for your reunion to be whole and harmonious it’s best to confront this situation now. Your friend might want you to stay silent but you also have no control over what she says or who she says it to.
‘You might have less control than you think over yourself and might be likely to crack one day,’ says McConnachie.
Yes, it’s rough on your friend. ‘But what you owe her is an apology for having to speak,’ he continues. ‘You don’t owe her silence.’
She might be worried about the fling impacting on their friendship but she was as responsible for it as you were.
‘There’s a strong chance you’ll be seen as bad and unfaithful and your ex will be seen as the wronged one,’ says Smith. ‘So you both need to get beyond these roles and take a thoughtful, adult view about what happened.’
See this confession as a powerful test as to whether your fragile reunion truly has a future — and who knows, your ex might even have a story of her own to tell.
Rupert Smith is an author and counsellor
James McConnachie is the author of Sex (Rough Guides)
Dr Angharad Rudkin is a clinical psychologist
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