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Dysfunctional relationship, affair or divorce?

 
 
Reply Sun 19 Nov, 2017 02:43 am
Hello,

I'm in a complicated relationship situation and not sure what the best solution is, especially for the children. I've been reading on the internet but nothing promising came up and I'm desperate for any advice.

I'm married with 2 kids. I always dreamed of marriage and children, but the truth is, I feared to be alone so I stayed with him and married him. My husband and I have had problems since the beginning, we are very different and disagree on most things. I liked and still like to be safe and stable with him, have a house to live in, and a family to spend time with, but I'm not thinking about him romantically or sexually anymore. We're friends, we help each other, we laugh together, but that's all it is to me. He wants more from me, in particular sex, but I don't want him that way anymore, and haven't in a long time. I'm ashamed to say I had sex with him for a long time just for the chance for touch, affection from him, and filling my physical needs. Even that became difficult eventually, it felt fake and cold, and I stopped.

I've had an emotional and physical affair with another man, for a few months. I feel so bad about it, but this man gives me everything I always wanted. I know it's silly, but sometimes I wish I woke up in the morning and to find he's my husband.

I want to fix my marriage very much, be closer to my husband, for him and for our children, but I'm also scared that we are so different and we may never get along, always fight, can't make decisions together, and I can't really give him what he wants because I don't love him romantically. And our kids see that, and they are growing up thinking this is what a relationship should be like. It scares me very much. On the other hand if I leave, I'm risking to become a single mother, lose most of my support network, and hurt my husband and my children very much. My kids are 7 and 4, how would they handle divorce? How would they handle me having a new partner? And there is a 3rd option, which is what I'm doing right now. Having a secret affair. He supports me, understands me, loves me like my husband never can. It hurts me to say this, but it's the truth. Except living with the guilt and shame, keeping a secret, it's terrible too.

I don't want to ruin everyone's lives. I grew up with divorced parents and I don't want my kids to go through that. I want them to grow in a healthy family with 2 parents. But I fear that their understanding of love and marriage will be permanently damaged, I fear they will grow up and hate me for not loving my husband, I fear my husband will hate me, I fear the other man will hate me, I fear that I'm a failure.

What do I do? How do I make everyone happy?
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Type: Question • Score: 3 • Views: 1,612 • Replies: 9
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PUNKEY
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Nov, 2017 08:33 am
@SweetCabbage,
You haven't said what this affair-man thinks. Where does he stand? Is he waiting in the wings to take on a new family? That would change his life immensely. You need to be sure you have something more than an affair and pillow talk.

Too bad about your marriage and why you stayed, in spite of you not loving him in the sexual way. Was it always that way even when dating?
SweetCabbage
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Nov, 2017 03:34 pm
@PUNKEY,
He did encourage me to consider a divorce, but I told him I want to stay for the kids and fix my marriage. Since then he's been supportive, understanding and accepting, and he even tries to help me fix my marriage. Would he want a new family? To be honest we never talked about it. He has his own plans and career, and he lives far. He'd have to move here, or me move there, and then what happens with shared custody of my kids? All of that scares me.

Even if he would want that, change his life entirely, I feel bad for making him do that for me. Making my problems his. Putting his career at risk. And who knows how we would get along as a regular couple, sharing household tasks and so on? Yes, we'd have to check.

I suppose the biggest question I'm asking is: If this did happen and he did change his life entirely to be with me and my children, would it really be good, everyone would be happy? My husband could find a woman who is an actual good match for him. And I get to have this guy I really love. But would our family be happy, how would my children be affected by the change? I grew up with presence of partners of a divorced parent and it was terrible, perhaps even left a scar. And would he be happy? What if he agreed to be with me and my kids, and later find out it's not for him? And I'm left alone, stuck and lost and confused?

As to my marriage, it used to be very different. But it's because I wanted it to work so much. I think I kind of imagined our love, I did everything I could to make it perfect. But when I realized it was just in my mind, when reality shattered in my face, I faced the sad fact that my husband never really understood me, never really appreciated me for who I am. He definitely enjoyed all the attention and love, sexually and in every other way. And now he isn't getting it and he's confused and angry. He doesn't know how to earn it back, because he doesn't understand that it came from my mind and not from our connection. He's a good man. We both did bad things and we forgive each other, and he's given me so much, and I love him, I truly love him, but not in that complete way you're supposed to love your husband or wife. We've been through so much together, we're good old friends to me. I understand my mistakes but I can't change the past. Sometimes I wish he wanted to leave, I wish he did something terrible just to give me a sign, to help me decide. Other times, it scares me to death, to be alone.
PUNKEY
 
  2  
Reply Sun 19 Nov, 2017 06:39 pm
You don't even know if your Knight in Shining Armor is up to marrying you, moving, getting a family house, taking on the kids and becoming a step-dad? Whew, you sure do put a lot of confidence (and pressure) on him.

You sound like you want to throw in the towel on your marriage but don't do that for someone who might be a "transitional" man.

Divorce, set up your own houshold, stabilize yourself and THEN start dating, eventually introducing your children to him only only after you two are at a more realistic stage.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Sun 19 Nov, 2017 08:49 pm
@SweetCabbage,
SweetCabbage wrote:
How do I make everyone happy?


you don't

you start with looking at your reality - which is your marriage

is there any point in you staying married?

if there is, then you need to get serious about it.

you need to break it off completely with your **** buddy. completely. no contact of any sort. part of this will involve explaining to your husband why you need a new phone number.

you need to be 100% honest with your husband. he can't work with you on your marriage if he doesn't know that you haven't been putting your heart and soul into it for some time. he has to know how you feel about him and why you married.

get professional help.

if the marriage can't be salvaged, work with professionals on a healthy marriage dissolution. look at what you will need to do to support yourself going forward. accept that you will be a part-time parent. look into bird's nest parenting.

if the marriage is dissolved, take some time to learn how to be independent. live singly for a while (a couple of years at least).

then look at what your relationship options are. perhaps your current **** buddy will be available 3 or 4 years down the road once you've gone through the process of re-establishing yourself on your own.

__

be honest with people.

you are hanging in the middle, trying to get the best from everyone else, not being fair to anyone - including yourself.

Decide what you want. If it is a divorce, get that sorted, regardless of what is happening with your **** buddy.

not only are you not making everybody happy - you're lying to everybody - and relying on them to take care of your needs. it's not fair.

___

get professional help as you go through the process - either leaving the marriage or salvaging it.
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Sun 19 Nov, 2017 08:51 pm
@SweetCabbage,
SweetCabbage wrote:
Since then he's been supportive, understanding and accepting, and he even tries to help me fix my marriage.


He can't help you fix your marriage.

Whether you are planning to end or salvage the marriage, the **** buddy has to go. You need to focus on what you are doing with your marriage 100%. Ending or salvaging, this needs your attention.
0 Replies
 
SweetCabbage
 
  0  
Reply Sun 19 Nov, 2017 11:07 pm
@ehBeth,
Quote:
is there any point in you staying married?


That's exactly what I'm asking myself.

Please don't call him "f*uck buddy", that's not what he is to me. We have a strong emotional connection, sex isn't what it's about.

I get certain things from my husband. Financial security (his job pays well and we live a comfortable life, big house, can afford good schools etc. I could never afford by myself, certainly not with 2 kids), his help and support with daily life tasks, his family (my family is far, and broken; we live close to his family and they help and present a lot), and just having someone to share life with, knowing I'm not alone, knowing there is someone who wants to live with me.

The other man, I get emotional things from him. Support and understanding in the mental emotional way, and conversation. I'm sure he would be a good loving step father for my kids, if they accepted him, but he's so different from my husband, and his lifestyle is different too. He has a job, two actually, but it's not a career with promotions, and he earns much less. And doesn't have the supportive family my husband does. Not that money matters to me, I'm just worried about practical aspects, how things would be.

Basically what I'm asking is: If I left, my kids would grow in a broken family, but there could be peace and love in the house. I could have a chance for real love, and maybe feel better, and my kids would feel it too. If I stay, like now, my husband and I are like companions, friends who share a house and raise children. He wants more than that, but even without that problem, we often disagree, fight, argue, our kids get a bad example of love and marriage and parenting, and while they grow up in a full family, it may still break something in them, and who knows, what if few years from now, when they are adolescents and realize how things are between their parents, they will hate us, hate me for raising them in such conditions, for not loving their father?

Logically I know we got to this point together. Having children is both parents' responsibility, and so is marriage, and more generally the whole relationship. But I can't stop feeling this terrible guilt, feeling that it's all my fault, that I deceived everyone including myself.

I want my husband to be with another woman who would be much better for him, and he would have the sex he wants. I wouldn't mind that. I'd even feel better. But he doesn't have anyone else, at least not that I know of. We both chose each other for the wrong reasons. It's clear to me now (but not to him).

How do I make the best decision here?

I already made the basic decision to stay, I've been trying to make peace with my husband and be better friends, work on our differences. I feel good when we make some progress or when we laugh together, but then eventually we argue again, we fight and the kids hear that. I fear that I can't fix my relationship, and we will always fight like this. I also have my own needs. I don't want to fall back to depression.

How far should I go to try fixing my marriage? And what should my goal be? To convince my husband to divorce? Or to have an open marriage?

What's best for my kids?
jespah
 
  2  
Reply Mon 20 Nov, 2017 06:19 am
@SweetCabbage,
SweetCabbage wrote:

Quote:
is there any point in you staying married?


That's exactly what I'm asking myself.

Please don't call him "f*uck buddy", that's not what he is to me. We have a strong emotional connection, sex isn't what it's about.

...

What's best for my kids?


Long as it's important for you to defend this choice to step outside your marriage, you won't really do anything to fix or change things. Asking about what is best for your kids is a cover.

You're the grownup in the room. Want to stay married? Then go all in, and dump the other guy and block him. Cut him out of your life and dive in. Because while you're saying your husband has been emotionally distant, what do you honestly think you have been? This is a two-way street.

Don't want to stay married? Then work with your husband on a compassionate, intelligent solution to your childcare situation. Accept that you'll take a financial hit from divorce. But if you divorce, don't do so in the expectation that you and your bed pal will be together. Chances are slim and yeah, even if he does become available, a lot of guys in his position will judge you as a cheater (never mind that he was doing it as well) and decide you are untrustworthy as a life partner.

This in the middle bullshit is for the birds - and if nothing else, it is NOT the best thing for your kids. Why? Because they either already know or they suspect something is going on. And once they learn the details, they will lose respect for either you or the concepts of loyalty in marriage and other committed relationships.

Get counseling if you need help and tools for figuring out where you are going from here.

PS We had a question less than a month ago from a woman who had been a man's mistress for 2 decades, is now in the same senior center with him, and he is cutting her out of his weekly bridge games and the like. Do you honestly want to be her?
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Mon 20 Nov, 2017 10:30 am
@SweetCabbage,
SweetCabbage wrote:
I already made the basic decision to stay, I've been trying to make peace with my husband and be better friends, work on our differences. I feel good when we make some progress or when we laugh together, but then eventually we argue again, we fight and the kids hear that. I fear that I can't fix my relationship, and we will always fight like this.


get counselling help

whatever way this ends up, you and your family need professional help

__

end contact with the man you lust after

completely

__

sort out what is happening with your family

_____


what is best for your children? for you to act as the grown-up. to actively work on sorting out what will happen with your family.

end contact.

arrange for counselling.

be honest with your husband.

accept what comes out of those three things.

move forward.

it's stinking hard work but you have to do it - for you, your children and your spouse.
0 Replies
 
foreverbroken
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Nov, 2017 09:02 pm
@SweetCabbage,
I have been in a similar spot as you are, one of the many things that I read in this and I will give my opinion which i hope helps. First you talk about your husband as a good friend who in some of your comments below also is a person who helps out with household things as well as financially keeping you comfortable. That is not something to be thrown away quickly or rashly and the definition of love I think has a big part of what you just mentioned in that. As for your new interest I have been there too and honestly on both ends. This gentleman has not been in a the kind of relationship you are looking for from what I gather and I can say from experience again on both ends of this yours and his not thinking there is malicious intent but its very easy to A) come in on a white horse and tell you everything you want to hear and need to make the person you are already upset with seem completely wrong for you. B) its easy to look towards someone else and not want to see either the bad in him or the good in your husband.
Some of the other things that I read that I have to say you should honestly think about is people tend to feel the tension of situations like this before anything is even said. So your husband is probably feeling more than what you obviously cut him off from and in fact he probably if he doesn't already knows someone else is in your life. I don't recall reading if you said he knew but if you haven't told him honestly look at how he is reacting to you because I am betting he is getting some kind of feeling that is feeding him to the arguments but he may not have enough to just straight out call you out on it.
I am not judging you so I hope I don't come across like that, people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones and I definitely live in a glass house. I just want to point out the grass just looks green on the other side of the fence because your new friend has a definite advantage of looking like a white knight very easily in your eyes. While your husband has to fight alot right now just to not look like everything you don't want and the more frustrated he gets from how he feels about things that aren't said the worse he looks.
Finally your choice on what you do and I hope the best for you in whatever choice you decide. I haven't lived your life and every situation is unique but it sounded like you once did love your husband and there was some connection there. If so intimacy can be rekindled and communication can be rebuilt and strengthen a marriage to make it stronger than it ever was. It would be hard work but it all can be done. If you chose the new path than ensuring that when the divorce dust settles you still have a white knight and not a fool on a donkey.
Either way good luck can't say I made the right choices myself hope I helped a little
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