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Mama Love Junkie and Mothertougher: How To Deal With An ‘Old Flame’

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MamaLoveJunkie And Mothertougher advice There is never just one way of looking at things. Mama Love Junkie and Mothertougher answer your questions on motherhood, sex, love and life from both sides: the logical and the emotional.


Dear Mama Love Junkie and Mothertougher,

I have been in love with my husband for as long as I can remember. We were children when we met, really, and we have grown to love each other deeply, and without condition. We have two children, and I adore them, every second of every day. Which is why this situation I am in is so confusing. 

I ran into a high school flame. Or, I should say, a would-be-flame, that is defined in my memory only by the crush I used to carry around. It was all innocent enough, we exchanged numbers, and are now texting. A lot. I know that if my husband found out I was texting – all relatively flirtatious but nothing over the line – with this old “friend” he would be hurt. I also know that if my children ever found out – they are 9 and 11 year old girls – their innocence and their respect for me as a woman might be challenged. But to feel that high school rush again, especially when there is no chance of it “going anywhere” is something I actually hold pretty sacred. Should I delete the number, or enjoy the writing?

Thanks for your thoughts,

Confused and Crushing Mama


Dear Confused and Crushing,

I am so jealous. I know I should say that you need to be very careful and your husband’s feelings are the most important thing on earth and I will say that soon but not yet. First, I just need to say that I am jealous. What mama, covered in a day-long film of tiny people’s needs, doesn’t want to have a few moments of being the center of attention? What wife, after so many years, doesn’t want to have the possibility (even if never realized) of another man – one who hasn’t seen her throwing up during a spell of the stomach flu or pushing out a watermelon sized human through her vagina – thinking she is sexy and mysterious and lovely? What person doesn’t want to be wanted? And reminded so by a little ping of a glittery phone?

Don’t have sex with this high school flame. That much I know to be true. Don’t even kiss him, even if you bump into each other at the old bar in town and the jute box is playing “More than Words” and you actually feel transported into the time in your life when bare midriffs was an actual possibility. Because no matter what, even if it is the best kiss of your life, you are sure to regret it.

You ask if your girls might lose their respect for you as a woman and a wife and I think you know the answer to this. They will. And they will be wrong and right all at once. They will be wrong because at 9 and 11 they cannot possibly understand the tremendous strength it takes to know everything there is to know about someone and still love them. They will be wrong because you never had any intention of leaving them or their father, not in body or mind, of course.

But they will also be right, and here is the rub on this one. Because if you text with your flame too much, your husband will find out, and if he finds out he will feel like a fool. And the worst thing you can do to a man who you love is make him feel like a fool.

So my advice is this. Stop, breathe in, and read the texts you have a few hundred times. Relish in them, especially the ones that get really close to the line. And then delete them. And then tell your husband about it. You don’t need to show him the string of texts, and hopefully, by telling him about it he will understand your need to have a little privacy in your life. And he will also understand that it was important to you that he not be a fool and that you be honest about what is going on in your life and why you need it.

And one more thing he will understand, and this may be the best part. He will understand that there are other people out there who want you, and he will remember that he has you, and that will be a very good thing indeed.

Last thing: make sure that you remember what this means. Your husband may too have an old flame pop back into his life one day, and maybe that’s OK. Because you have him, and that too is sexy.

Yours in love,