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Hey Bestie: Is it okay to meet up with an old flame if you're in a relationship?

Updated: Mar 19

Hey Bestie: An old flame wants to reconnect, but I’m in a relationship. I’ve always wondered what could have been with this guy – he swept me off my feet but we just couldn’t make it work because he was always working away. Is it fair for me to go meet him and should I tell my current partner?

Let’s start off on the right foot. If you are currently in a relationship, that relationship should be your focus, not an old flame.

If you are unhappy with your current relationship, then either find a way to fix it or break it off altogether.

If there is something going on in your life that you can’t tell your current partner, then the relationship is in trouble already. Talk over your choices with a trusted friend or counsellor.

Now, let’s talk about ‘old flames’.

Although it might be flattering that an old flame wants to reconnect - if you aren’t looking for a new partner, rekindling the spark isn’t ideal.

Simply reminiscing about the past might bring up the idea of freedom, life ‘before the things’ (like children, financial burdens, work responsibilities, etc…) which can then introduce confusion into your life as, let’s be clear, we can all romanticise ‘life before responsibilities’, it just simply isn’t your current reality.

"Most people who cheat on their spouses say, afterwards, that they wish they could take it back."

Social media is high on the list of reasons why old flames are reconnecting later in life.

The story is more well-known than you would think. Let’s see if this sounds familiar: At first, the reunited couple are happy to find each other once again and enjoy the new “friendship” and reconnection. There seems to be no threat to the current relationship. The current partner might even be told about the old flame and there seems to be nothing to worry about.

Then, over time, the friendship returns to romance. Old emotions get stirred up again. The romance grows stronger. The innocent coffee date with the old flame turns into secret meetings. The secrets grow and turn into lies. An affair begins.

The current partner comes across text messages or emails. More lies follow and relationship damage occurs. Now words like infidelity, mistrust, lies, and denial are common in conversation. Therapy is now used to work on repairing the damages and fixing the elements of the relationship that weren’t working before the affair. It is a lot of work to do.

So, as soon as you begin to have feelings for another person, tell your partner, even if this disclosure causes you pain, embarrassment, or discomfort.

Have long conversations with your partner. Expect the conversations to be difficult. Expect to talk about any unhappiness that may be seeping into your relationship.

Dissatisfaction that didn’t have words previously will now have names such as stress, money problems, job troubles, parenting issues, or other family concerns.

These difficulties are some of the things that send partners into the arms of someone else, looking for an escape from the demands of life, and the old flame becomes a beacon of light. But the light is short-lived.

My advice looks logical in hindsight, but if you are in this situation now, it probably doesn’t seem simple.

There is more at stake here than finding relief from life stressors. You may be making a choice that will change your life forever.

Most people who cheat on their spouses say, afterwards, that they wish they could take it back. Choose wisely because after all, everyone deserves to have a great relationship.

Your bestie,

Amanda xx

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