Dear Molly: old flames who refuse to burn out

Dear Molly.

I’m curious what your thoughts are about fake women and how to protect yourself against them. We all know at least one, usually in high school but unfortunately even as grown women. Those women who say they are feminists or cheerlead to support other women when in reality, they are texting, calling, and meeting up with married men for their own selfish need for validation. Perhaps they had a failed marriage or unhealthy relationships with their children or parents that led to their own insecurities, and they need to use their shallow physical attributes to feel important or attractive. Maybe they have nothing positive in their own life to focus on so they obsess about an old flame who has long since moved on from the trainwreck of their relationship. What would you suggest we do to protect our marriage from the manipulative attempts to lure that married man from his otherwise happy home life. My instinct would be to confront the liar, but I don’t want to give her the false impression that she matters or make her feel flattered. It’s disgust not jealousy that I feel, but I also feel sorry for her and the disappointment she must have in her own life. While the world would be a better place if everyone respected boundaries, until these fake women learn their place, what suggestions do you have?
I look forward to your advice.

Signed,

Cathy

 

Dear Cathy,

This is a hard question and an easy one at the same time. By fake women I assume you are referring to inauthenticity. Where insecurity inhabits, inauthenticity reigns. People are inauthentic because they fear if they show their real selves, they will not be liked.

I understand manipulation can tempt, but it can’t sway a happy and secure home. Most affairs I have heard of are attempts to get needs met that are sorely missing in marriages. Some of those needs include feeling unappreciated, unattended, and lacking affection, praise, and love. If the lack is severe enough, manipulation can surely sway.
You characterize your marriage as a happy home so I think you have little to fear. If the contact causes friction between you and your husband and invades your sanctity as a couple, setting a boundary makes sense.
I think a current problem I see in marriages started with social media. Friends from the past can easily reconnect in a way that used to be nearly impossible. Reconnection can be a great thing as well as a damaging thing.
Many are attracted to connecting to people they have a sense of history with as it helps them remember who they once were at a more innocent and carefree time in their lives. Often I think it is more about remembering that part of themselves than
Really being with the old friend.
So bottom line, I would say compassion and gratitude that you do have a happy marriage and family should allow you to move on and let this one go.
Hope this helps.
– Molly

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