Dear Wayne and Wanda,
I've been married for a couple of years now, and we have had our first child. I am pretty happy -- I think happier than most of my friends. It's a first marriage for both of us, and we dated a long time before making this commitment. We got pregnant faster than we planned – we figured it would take a while. But I love my son, and my husband "Bob" is a great dad, and he's good to me. We work slightly opposite schedules and it's been hard trying to keep connected at times, but we're both committed.
I've always been a faithful person in relationships, and like I said, I do really love Bob, which is why lately I don't understand why I have been thinking occasionally about "Rob." Rob is my ex. In fact, we weren't ever really even that serious. We just had a lot of (really amazing) sex, and had a lot of fun together. I don't go out much anymore (new baby) but I know Rob is still around, and lately -- out of nowhere -- I started having dreams about him. That led me to go check his Instagram a couple of times, and I found myself looking through photos.
Now I feel guilty, like I was somehow unfaithful. But I can't help what I dream, can I? And I know I should stop the Instagram stalking. I thought I was totally over Rob, but I'm tripped out by my thoughts and behavior. Is this a sign of a bigger unhappiness? Should I confess to Bob?
Confess what? Honey, in the grand spectrum of infidelity, you're Rated G for Generally Good and are sure beating yourself up for a whole lot of nothing. Have you been unfaithful? No. What you're describing is relatively harmless one-way behavior, and thankfully hasn't crossed over into any social, emotional or physical exchanges with your ex. Keep it that way.
You've made a major life transition and gone from a girl who had low-key, casual relationships to being a settled-down wife and mom. It's not unusual that your thoughts will sometimes drift back to the past -- to the "other," if you will. And it sounds like Rob is about as opposite from Bob as you could get.
Don't be hard on yourself for the dreams you have. That can't be helped. But you might, for your own sanity, unfollow Rob on Instagram. It doesn't sound like he was exceptionally significant in the grand scheme of things, and seeing his latest pics surely isn't worth disturbing the equilibrium you've found with Bob.
If men in relationships had to admit to their partners every time they fantasized about, took a quick side-eyed peek at, or enjoyed a long lunchtime Instagram cruise of hotties that aren't ours, that's all our relationships would be -- a sad series of awkward admissions and apologies.
But what would we be apologizing for? Being a little bored in our current relationships? Being turned on by someone who isn't our partner? That's called being human. It's not called cheating. It's not even emotional cheating, though you are closing in on that line.
The demands of a young child. The opposing work schedules. The wandering mind and tingling body. These are alarms signaling that you and your husband need to get some connecting-and-spark-flying time together ASAP. I suggest calling Grandma in for emergency toddler-sitting while you two get far, far away for a long, quality-time weekend.
If that doesn't do the trick, sign your kiddo up for some sports -- you'll never have free time to look at the Internet or daydream again!
Want to respond to a recent column, point out a dating trend, or ask Wanda and Wayne for wisdom regarding your love life? Give them a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org.