I can’t speak for Phlosphr, but I have kept in some degree of touch with nearly all my exes. In my case, the base of this situation is that we both saw something we were attracted to in each other’s personalities that we were drawn to. So we gave each other a try and in the end, the personality didn’t fit the whole ticket of what we needed in a mate. However, those personality traits we liked in each other are still there, so why turn your back on a person you have made a connection with?
A couple real-life situations with me:
today i just sent a “Happy Birthday” e-card to an ex-girlfriend, I’ve travelled across the country on two seperate occaisions to visit her. No shenanigans ensued.
next week, a more recent ex-girlfriend is flying in to visit with me for a weekend. Honestly speaking, so long as neither of us are even remotely dating someone else, there is maybe a 50/50 chance shenanigans may ensue.
It probably just boils down to how humanely the two people break up with one another. The cases that communication breaks down entirely is if one party feels the other was found out to be a (real/percieved) total shit to the other. I do my best to keep that from happening whether I am the dumpor or the dumpee.
You gotta (if you haven’t already) talk it through with your wife. Sometimes people don’t say what they really feel because they know it sounds irrational, but then it never comes out into the open for examination. Fer instance: You’re both open and she knows that you would never cheat on her. She knows. But what if despite knowing that, she still feels like if there were extenuating circumstances, it…just…might…
Actually the “it…just…might…” is probabaly a pretty common fear.
So encourage her to be as shallow, illogical, irrational, spiteful as she can be just to get her feelings out in the open. Do NOT invalidate anything she says, as much as it may sound crazy - she’s not saying what she believes, just what she feels. Once you’ve isolated how she feels, you can examine why she feels that way. Maybe she was cheated on by someone she knew would never cheat on her. Maybe despite your verbal reassurances, your body language may (unintentionally) contradict what you are saying.
The other side of the coin is maybe she feels insecure about herself. Maybe you aren’t doing enough to allay that. It is one thing to be open and honest 100% of the time and it is quite another to regularly demonstrate how much you love her. How often do you praise your wife? Not in “…O mighty and exaulted goddess of light…” but in that minor-but-oh-so-important reminder what it is about her that made you choose her over every other woman in the world.