Ask Natalie by Natalie Bencivenga

Is My Friend Going to Get Burned By His Ex?

DEAR NATALIE: My good friend has been in a long-term relationship for a while but can't seem to get over the ex. The ex is remarried and indulges my friend with heavy flirtation, which makes it worse. I don't know if they have "rekindled" anything, but my friend is distraught. He doesn't want to break up a happy home, but he can't seem to shake his ex. I keep telling him that this will only end badly for both of them, but he's like a moth to a flame. Any thoughts? -- GOING TO GET BURNED

DEAR GOING TO GET BURNED: If you believe in the possibility of past lives, maybe your friend was with this person as lovers in another time and place. Instead of respecting the rules and boundaries of this life, they are trying to re-create a place that will never be again. It's actually sad and poetic if you think of it that way, which can change the way you approach your friend's desire for this other person. Sometimes, dreams of the past and those rose-colored glasses can cloud a person's judgment and make them long for things that never were. The next time your friend brings up his ex, ask him why they didn't work out. Ask why they went in separate directions in the first place. Lust is a selfish feeling; love is selfless. If he really loves this person and doesn't want to cause harm, he has to let that person go and focus on the relationship in front of him. This person is remarried, and while they may think it is fun and sexy to flirt with their ex, it's harmful to everyone involved. Ask your friend, "How could you build anything solid with your ex knowing it was built on lies and betrayal?" 

Natalie's Networking Tip of the Week: Use those networking skills to organize some friends and colleagues to give back. Hurricane Harvey has left some major damage in its wake, so why not throw an impromptu charity potluck where donations are sent to the Red Cross? Feels good to do good!

Please send your relationship and lifestyle questions to or tweet them to @NBSeen. You can also send postal letters to Natalie Bencivenga, 358 North Shore Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

(This column was originally published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)