Dear Doctor Nerdlove,
I’m a 26 year old man in an open marriage that’s recently become long distance. This letter isn’t about my relationship with my wife; going long distance has been stressful and problematic but we’re finding ways to cope. There’s also a clear timetable for us to return to co-habitation.
Instead, this is about my former secondary partner, who I first met around the same time as my now-wife. She is a few years younger than me, and at the time that we met had only had one sexual or romantic relationship, while I was considerably more experienced. We quickly settled into a very close friendship with elements of casual sex and BDSM. She always knew about and was incredibly supportive of my relationship with my now wife.
This continued for around 18 months, until my elopement – which she was invited to, and initially planned to attend. She cancelled at the last minute, and we had to scramble quickly to find a replacement witness. A week or so later, she ended the sexual aspect of our relationship.
Fast forward eight months or so, and we rekindled that aspect of our relationship, but it didn’t last long; she started seeing someone new very shortly after, and chose to take a step back again, before starting to ghost me. After a few weeks of relative silence, I called her out on this behaviour, which she acknowledged she had been doing; when pressed as to why, she pointed to “asshole”-like behaviours of mine that I didn’t think were new aspects of our interaction.
At this point, I should point out that I have Asperger’s – which she knew about for a long time, and has experience with family members with the same diagnosis. I apologised without reservation for anything I had done to make her feel uncomfortable and asked for her help in mending any broken bridges. She refused and we haven’t spoken in the four months since; I chose to prioritise self-care as I was going through a difficult period between jobs, arranging my “official” wedding, moving country, and starting a new degree course.
Now that the transition period is over, I’m in a different country from my wife, and I’m finding not having the close friendship I had with my former partner to be very stressful. I miss the role she played in my life, but I also miss her just as a person. I don’t know if there’s any point in trying to talk to her again; when we last spoke, it felt like she made her decision to distance herself from me long before I challenged her over it.
Any ideas on how to fill this gap?