DEAR JANE: I’ve remarried but I’m still in love with my ex-husband.


Dear Jane,

I left my husband four years ago when I met the new love of my life who I am now married to, but every day I realize what a terrible mistake I made and I would do anything to turn back the clock.

I’m not exactly unhappily married, but I know this isn’t what marriage should be, and I’m burning with regret at leaving my ex-husband, who was, I now know, the one true love of my life. He’s with someone else now, and my current husband would be devastated if he knew how I feel, so I’m dealing with this alone.

Last week my daughter asked me if I thought she did the right thing in leaving dad and I didn’t know what to say, but even she can see the pain I feel.

Dear Jane, what am I supposed to do?

From, Regretful in New York

Dear Jane, I left my husband four years ago when I met the new love of my life to whom I am now married, but every day I realize what a terrible mistake I made.

Dear Regretful,

First of all, let me start by saying that I am truly sorry for the pain you are in. As a hopeless romantic, who grew up watching Hollywood movies and reading endless romance novels, the line that jumps out in your letter is this: “I know this is not what marriage should be.”

I’ve been thinking about our expectations around romance and how terribly ill-prepared we are for the institution of marriage.

We walk in bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, trapped, many of us, in a fairytale wedding where we feel most beautiful. We assume that now we are finally going to have our happily ever after.

Isn’t that what every woman has been told since she was a child?

What I think about marriage today is a different world from what I thought about marriage when I first walked down the aisle 24 years ago. I grew up believing in destiny and soul mates (or, as they are now called, twin flames). I believed that once you found your person, the rest was easy.

I never imagined the roller coaster that is marriage, nor how cyclical it is. That we would have tremendous potholes, where one of us (and when I say one of us, I mean me) would be lying in bed every night gnashing our teeth, dreaming of divorce, wondering what it would be like to live alone. No one would ask what the dinner plan is, or talk loudly on the phone when you’re trying to read, or leave a sink constantly full of dirty dishes.

1675603287 771 DEAR JANE Ive remarried but Im still in love with

In our new Dying Aunt column, famed author Jane Green answers your questions.

The thing is, regretful, marriage loses romance very quickly, particularly when there are children involved. You can get it back, sometimes, but it takes commitment and work.

Marriage is a carousel. There are moments when you get along like a house on fire and love is always present. I imagine that even in this second marriage, there are probably times that are good. Maybe even great.

And there are moments that are terrible, which is true in most marriages.

And I get it! I never understood why people had affairs until I went through a rough patch in my own marriage.

Around this time, I went to a conference and met a handsome young writer who seemed to have a bit of a crush on me.

Oh that was a treat! He would send these clever, funny emails that made me feel beautiful and alive, and it had been a long time since I had felt any of those things. I never thought of myself as the type of person to have an affair, but with each email and text, with each wave of dopamine and feel-good hormone that I hadn’t felt in years, I wanted more.

Until I realized that I was very close to a precipice that would not be good for my marriage.

I realized that this is how things start.

It’s not because you want to be unfaithful, but because you want to feel that alive again.

If you jump off the cliff and get into it, you justify it by convincing yourself that this is your soul mate, your Twin Flame.

But sorry, as you’ve discovered, that burning fantasy of the affair, if it turns into something long-term, very quickly turns into…well…dinner plans and dirty dishes all over again.

In short, the fantasy becomes reality, which in your case is leading you to think that things would be better elsewhere.

But if you were to leave this marriage for another fantasy, thinking that this time it would be true love, I suspect you would find yourself in exactly the same position.

My advice to you is to stop fantasizing. Instead, focus on what works in your marriage.

Remember the things that drew you to your current husband in the first place and (this is advice you’ll hear a lot from me), start a gratitude list.

Instead of thinking about what makes you unhappy, start each morning by thinking about three things about your husband that you appreciate. It can be as simple as ‘he hangs the towel on him every day’.

Say it. “I’m grateful that my husband hangs the towel on him every day.” Focus on the good, and he will always bring more good.

You can’t change the past, but you can prevent yourself from making the exact same mistake again, and I promise you this will bring more happiness to your life.

Dear Jane,

A friend of over 40 years has often cheated on me, but this time it’s been a year since I last heard from her on February 23, 2022.

He responds to my kids’ and mutual friends’ Facebook posts, and sometimes mine, but otherwise I’ve had no contact for almost 12 months.

I visited her in California and we made Jello (of all things! We had read about it!) when she left her husband; I sent her professional dresses when she started a janitorial job and she started her life in Galveston; I spent a week with her after her heart transplant; we’ve celebrated Christmases and birthdays together-until this year-ending the dinners I took her to last year when she broke her wrist.

We were both high school English teachers, avid readers of beach reads, and mothers. I’ve seen a post on Facebook that makes me think she’s moved on without even saying goodbye. I am deeply hurt and sad.

Ghost in Ohio

Dear Ghost,

I myself have been cheated on by a woman who, like you, I considered one of my closest friends, and it was one of the most brutal and heartbreaking things I have ever been through.

My heart goes out to you, because until it has happened to you, you cannot understand the unique pain of being abandoned without explanation.

I’ve noticed that sometimes in our friendships, the little things we think we can overlook turn into big things.

Most people are terrified of confrontation and may feel easier to walk away, even though it is the most cowardly and cruel way to end a friendship.

I have also ghosted someone. This was a woman I had known my entire life, who was intrusive, demanding, and viciously gossiping about mutual friends every time I saw her, ending, of course, with her gossiping viciously about me.

Dear Jane Sunday Service

The grass is greener where you water it

It is much easier to focus on what is wrong in our lives than on what is right.

We waste our energy on all the wrong things, instead of putting time, attention and care into something that may not seem to work, but can blossom into beauty with the right amount of care and attention.

After I understood the brutality of not allowing a ghost the courtesy of an explanation, I wrote to her, explaining that I had loved her for many years, but her duplicity and demands had driven me away. I’m sure it was hard for her to read, but telling her why he had abandoned her was the right thing to do.

When we don’t know why we’ve been abandoned, all the things we secretly believe to be true about ourselves, the secret shame we carry, the belief that we’re not good enough, are confirmed. Why else would someone abandon us?

I need you to know that this is not your fault. No matter what you did or didn’t do to make your friend a ghost of you, the fact that she didn’t have the courage to tell you means that this is not about you, but entirely about her.

Like all relationships, friendships require commitment and work. Small resentments can quickly escalate into something insurmountable, and if you did or said something that upset your friend, it was her job to tell you and give you a chance to acknowledge it, apologize, and move on.

By the way, friendships where honesty and communication are paramount often end up being stronger when you hit a bump and can talk about it openly.

You have done many considerate things for your friend, and I am sorry that this has been thoughtlessly rewarded. I can’t say cruelty, because I don’t think that was his intention; most people don’t understand how cruel the ghost is.

I suspect your friend may not have the ability to tell you why she left, but now is the time for you to let her go. I would start by muting her on Facebook. Don’t block, that’s petty and passive aggressive, but if seeing her posts bothers you, mute her. You need to prevent her from having space in your life.

It’s been two years since my best friend outshone me. Although I still miss parts of our friendship, the pain is gone and I’ve learned a lot about friendships, especially that I deserve the kind of friends who aren’t afraid to tell me if I upset them.

We all deserve the kind of friends who are honest enough to give us the chance to right perceived wrongs. I wish you the best, and I wish you a group of friends who are emotionally secure enough to not only receive the many gifts you bring, but are able to bring them to you as well.