You love your wife and kids (but you’re not certain that you’re IN love) and you have a passionate connection with another woman.
How do you make the right decision? Especially as someone is going to get hurt: your wife, your girlfriend and most probably yourself.
I have thirty years experience helping men who arrive at my counselling office saying: “I’m torn between my wife and girlfriend”. In this post, there’s a video and my four best pieces of advice to find a way forward:
1. Be Honest and Transparent
I know you want to keep everybody happy but the only way to do that is to be economical with the truth – and that only works for a fleeting moment. Your wife or your girlfriend or both WILL find out that you were lying and it will make them even angrier. Even worse, you end up lying to yourself too and how can you possibly know what you want if you’re not honest with yourself?
So take the momentary upset when, for example, you tell your wife ‘I need to make a call to her’ rather than the fury when she discovers that you’ve weren’t ‘at the gym’ but having a long heart-to-heart behind her back.
2. Keep talking
You’re in pain. In fact, everybody is hurting. You want this resolved as quickly as possible but that’s what makes you take snap choices – rather than properly thought out decisions. In fact, you risk making everything worse by being a yo-yo lover i.e. one minute you’re ‘working on your marriage’ and the next ‘you can’t give up your girlfriend’ and then back again.
It took a long time to reach the point that you were so unhappy that you were tempted into having an affair, so it will take time to extract yourself from this mess. The only way forward is to keep talking and then talk some more.
3. Don’t confuse distress with anger
You’re a nice guy and you don’t want to make people unhappy. See my video about how you got into this mess and then I’ll explain more about mistaking distress for anger.
Nobody likes anger but your upbringing has made you go out of your way to avoid it. However, in the meantime, you’ve become so sensitive to anger that your alarm goes off at any strong feelings (that you perceive to be negative).
So your wife is distressed because you’re not back home when you said you would be. Of course, there is a small amount of anger somewhere in her complex bundle of feelings but the overriding one is probably fear (that you’re with her, that you love her more, you’re going to leave etc).
She is also tired and generally overwhelmed. However, all you hear is anger (which makes you run) rather than distress (which might illicit your sympathy). So step back and ask her: Are you angry with me?
4. What if I don’t fancy my wife any more?
Most men in your situation are surprised by the strength of their wife’s reaction to their infidelity. Many told themselves she’s stopped caring about me or even ‘she’s so fed with me, that she’ll be pleased to see the back of me’.
If your wife wants the opportunity to work on your marriage and try again, you will probably be tempted but have a huge anxiety: What if I don’t feel passionate about my wife? If you’re truly ‘torn between my wife and girlfriend’, I have these thoughts:
- I would be surprised if you did fancy your wife, you’re probably angry with her about a thousand and one buried things. Anger is a big turn off!
- To sleep with another woman, you had to detach yourself from your marriage. In other words, you found lots of problems and issues to build a wall between the two of you. Without challenging those bricks in the wall (and finding out if they are true or not), and dismantling the barrier between the two of you, it will be hard to ‘see’ your wife – let alone fancy her. So don’t expect too much, too soon.
- Men think it is all their responsibility to initiate sex and build passion into the marriage but I see it as a joint responsibility. Your wife could seduce you and be an equal passionate partner (rather than expecting you to make all the running).
- How do you know your girlfriend will always be so passionate? Affair sex is really easy, forbidden fruit is sweeter and when your girlfriend is saying ‘choose me’ she is far more likely to be ‘up for it’. But what happens once the honeymoon phase is over?
I hope that I’ve given you some food for thought. I’ve also some books that will help. In particular, I’d like you to read What Is Love? 50 Questions About How to Find, Keep and Rediscover It.
Please post your experiences below, so you can share your dilemmas with other men and feel less alone. I would also like to hear from the wives and girlfriends too because no part of this triangle is easy.
wow exactly what I have going on… so much stress on me…
thanks for this.
Mr. Confused says
What happen Tim??
I was in an affair for 7 years. I never really had to deal with the real life day to day happenings with the other women. I even moved out of my house for 3 months. My affair partner and I spent more time together and I clearly remember saying to myself “how am I going to get out of this”? The sex was amazing but I felt empty afterward. The final straw was the reality that I was holding her back for my own selfish reasons.. I told her I could not do this to her any more . I have had no contact for 3 months and preparing myself now if she reaches out to me again. My biggest challeng is reparing the ego… And working on my marriage.. FYI the relief of not having the stress of balancing the two is the best part.
Andrew G. Marshall says
Thanks for your bravery in sharing your story
5 years here and not balancing two lives is nice.. been apart a week from my girlfriend.. I do miss her sooo much.. wondering if i chose wrong…
Andrew G. Marshall says
Missing someone is part of the grieving process. It doesn’t mean you should get in contact with her. Give yourself time and these feelings will subside. Keep strong and don’t be tempted because even one text will spark the whole problem off again and make everything a MILLION times worse.
R from SA says
yeah i have been there, we broke it off, but nymerous times i find myself trying to get hold of her, emailing her, but she doesnt respond, making me feel even worse, neglected and rejected, it hurts like really bad, i am even considering getting a divorce, in hope that my gf will take me back, its tough its been 6 days since my last attempt, her last response was 3 weeks ago. i really miss her dearly.
Did she respond
I’ve been browsing some articles in your site. We went through yo-yo partner phase, shaming, trial separation. He wanted to come back since March so I gave him a chance. They were still together until April week 1. I came to know about the affair because the OW contated me. She was sending nasty message until last June so I reported her to their HR Department. I didnt tell my husband to check if they are still communicating behind my back. Last week, I found out that he is still communicating with the OW because the OW told him about what I did. I felt so betrayed that I made a desperate move of talking to the husband of the OW. He knew the affair since last year that’s why they separated. My husband was devastated that I told the husband of the OW his name. I also seek financial support which he hasnt been providing since last year when he had the affair. We talked about it yesterday to set the agreement. We did not talk about us so Im still left in a limbo. I still love him.
Andrew G. Marshall says
It sounds like you have been to hell and back but keep the lines of communication open between you and your husband. Be up front about your feelings and what you’re planning to do – so he doesn’t think you’re ‘going back his back’ or ‘testing’ him – as this will put further bricks into the wall between the two of you.
That’s exactly how I feel.
Thanks for responding. It helps a lot.
Should I be the one to contact him first or give him space for a while? Im afraid he might think that everything he has done is okay if I’ll be the one to reach out to him after what happened. Thanks again.
Andrew G. Marshall says
Don’t think of it as ‘reaching out’ but communicating. The first suggests that you are going to move towards him, the second is about opening up discussions about the future. As with any peace talks, it helps not to have any pre-conditions going in – like teaching him what he’s done is not acceptable – because that’s often what stops the talks starting. I believe in open and honest communication – rather than games and sending messages, so tell him: ‘I’m going to give you some space but I’m willing to talk whenever you are’. Let him come to you when he’s ready to have a proper dialogue and once you’re really talking, you can tell him how much you’ve been hurt (and I hope he will apologise for it).
I love my wife but as of late I have developed feelings for a co-worker. The feelings hit close to home as they are some of the feelings I felt towards my wife when we first met. I continue finding more and more in common with the OW and enjoy her company. Nothing physical has happened but I have been told that I’m conducting an emotional affair. I’m back and forth between leaving and staying. my wife and I have had our fair share of issues and infidelity on her part but they are weighing in on me more and more. and I want to leave but I don’t know if I want to leave her. Im worried that maybe there isn’t as much as I think our it seems with the OW whom I really want to try things out with………
Andrew G. Marshall says
If you have a full blown affair with this OW things will go from bad to worse and turn nasty and horrible. It will be hard to step away but the longer you leave it the harder it will be. If you have NO contact and that means checking her facebook site or talking to her best friend about her. At work, you can only talk about work and work only. After a few weeks, it will get easier. In the meantime, tell your wife about the narrow escape and start sorting out the issues between you. I know this sounds hard but nowhere near as hard as recovering from infidelity.
Daniel Gonzalez says
I’ve been with my wife, now my x-wife for over 30 years, we were married for about 1 year due to Insurances purpose because she was very ill and still is, I stiil tend to her because she super depressed in part because of me leaving and our adult children, 1 is on Heroin the other just got out of Jail, I been trying to distance myself from her situation and those kids, I don’t because they are extremely abusive in the worst way, so I am almost around to protect her, I don’t have a girlfriend per-say , but God knows I ‘ve try–Its the idea of 1 girl that I’ve been writing to her for almost 2 years, no Drama much younger than me and ready for a relationship , neither knows of the other, I guess your right I have a sense of responsibility if she were well enough to deal with these 2 clowns, I could move on with my life, I love my x-wife but I’m in love with my girlfriend–It sucks I don’t have a clue on what to do
Andrew G. Marshall says
I would give you a warning and a suggestion. Let’s start with the warning, in letters it is easy to be ‘no drama’ because you can edit yur life so it is all sunny and beautiful. You can also promise a relationship because there are no sticky bits to mess up the ‘perfect’ version of your life. (I’m talking not just about your girl friend but you too.) My suggestion is that you can support your ex wife as a friend. You could also ask her why your children act like ‘clowns’ and how you could support them so their life is better (and that would make hers better). She might tell you things that will be hard to hear – especially about how your children feel about you. I would not be surprised if they were angry with you but they need your support and love too.
My boyfriend can’t decide between me (his girlfriend of 2 years) and a new woman he began an affair with a few months ago. I’ve backed off but he continually pursues me and I after dealing with my hurt realise I still want to be with him. He seems genuinely torn between the 2 of us. Ultimately I want him to ditch the other woman and want to be with me. How do I approach this?
Andrew G. Marshall says
You cannot make your partner ditch the other woman – however much you might want it to happen. If you force him by being charming or forceful or manipulative, he will probably resent you, regret his choice and start having secret texts etc. He has to make this choice himself. So if approaches you, ask him if he has decided and if he hasn’t tell him to contact you when he has.
Thank you sir for responding. I was informed yesterday by the ex husband of the OW that she had a miscarriage this week. The father of the baby is my husband. I am now thinking of annulment, I dont want him to go to jail. Maybe he just loves that girl. Although I was thinking that they’ll soon realise the challenges in building a family. My fear is that they’ll get more attached to each other because of the miscarriage amd because my husband is annoyed that I am asking for child support for our 2 kids.
I was briefly (6 wks) the OW but couldn’t continue with it. He pursued me hard saying he loved me. I loved him deeply and he said he loved me too. He was in tormoil and in the heat of things left her but went back to her because she needed him. He said he loved her but loved me more. He then told me he ended his relationship but didn’t know if we’d be together and told me to forget about him but said he was doing because of me. I was devastated and said I’d give him time, a year but he said no. I kept my pain hidden because I knew he wouldn’t be able to handle it. I’d had a terrible time running up to it but decided to get on with my life. I felt calmer and briefly dated someone else else. I felt I was living for for the first time in years. However he found out and told me to get rid of him. I explained why I dated someone else but he couldn’t remember what he had said to me previously. I was back ‘in’ waiting. He said all the right things and convinced me things were moving along with their split. I gave him space and time thinking he also needed time alone to process things. However, things got worse. I didn’t contact him and waited for him to contact me. However, when he did he talked about her and how she needed him, how lovely she was and how he would always be there for her. I suggested he pull away a bit and get her used to being in her own but he wouldn’t. He was inconsistent and didn’t treat me with me respect. Certainly not my feelings. I’ve akways felt my ex didn’t care about me and there I was, being told how someone else is more important….how selfish is that of me… He basically told me she would come first and he would be there for him. They were still together. I worried about him constantly and he said he always felt better when talking to me. I gently told him that I did not want to get involved until I could be the only woman. He had no answer other than it was a dilemma and that he shouldn’t have said anything to me in the first place and pushed me away. I told him I loved him but, after 6 months he couldn’t say it back. I never knew where I stood. It was all about him. I knew he wasn’t going to be good for me and started having panic attacks. I didn’t tell him but I’d given up. This ended in the worse possible way….he took his life.
Years later I’m finding it hard to get on with my life and still have therapy which has helped. The guilt and what ifs are horrendous. I feel angry sometimes because he gave me the impression that they had split up when in fact that hadn’t happened yet…though they did plan to live apart close to each other and stay in each other’s lives. I have been told also that he did want to be with me.
If any man (or woman) is finding it difficult to know what to do, please do not make yours and everyone else’s lives harder by involving another person. If you want to leave your relationship, then leave because you have decided it’s definitely over. If you’re not sure, talk to your partner, get therapy, talk to your friends and family.
I’ve been so stupid because I believed in love and take responsibility for responding to someone who was already in pain thinking I was going to make him happy when my presence was actually making it worse. I will carry this guilt forever. I can’t even imagine what his partner is going through.
Sorry for the long post.
Andrew G. Marshall says
What a terrible story and I can understand why you’ve been left with a lot of guilt. However, it sounds like you’ve learnt a lot about yourself and thanks for sharing your experiences. I hope it will make other people realise that ‘keeping your options open’ is the worse possible choice when you’re torn between two people.
This past August a high school Facebook friend and I connected for a friendly get together. We continued connecting for a few weeks and grew closer. I am married 31 years in a passionless situation and she lost her husband who died 18 months prior. Now we are full blown connected in all areas spiritually, emotionally and having sex steadily. We love each other. The balancing though is quite difficult now and I don’t know what to do. I just cant hurt anyone. I love my wife but I am in love with my girl friend. At first it conquered my needs … yet now I am so torn. Some days it is very confusing and pain full.
Andrew G. Marshall says
I’m going to do my best to help you with your confusion but I’m afraid there’s nothing I can do about the pain…. Let’s start with your girlfriend, she has been through a massive bereavement and, quite naturally, she wants to feel better. In her vulnerable place, she’s hoping a passionate love affair will mask the deep deep pain – and it will for a while. However, it is like putting a piece of cardboard over a mineshaft – it hasn’t solved the problem and pretty soon it will give way. (I know as I was bereaved and started on an ill advised new relationship and hurt everybody concerned – including myself). Throw in the problems of starting a relationship as an affair – with children that are angry, sulky and out to undermine it – and you have a recipe for disaster (however much you love each other). Your wife will be heart-broken when she finds out and the longer you leave it to tell her, the more heart broken she will be. I can promise you that her response will be anything but ‘passionless’. You will probably carry on with the affair for a while – because you’re going to hope that ‘something will turn up’ or ‘I need to be clear in my head’. But the only way, you can begin to think straight is to come clean and tell your wife the truth.
I was married to my ex-wife for 7 yrs but we had been in a relationship for about 10 yrs. After what seemed like a barrage of assumptions based on insecurities and what was finally a micromanagement of my life.. I began to have feelings for my very close friend. I finally divorced my wife and about 5-6 months later I began dating my friend. However through the two years I dated and began living with my friend (the OW) I continued having a relationship with my ex-wife. Now coming almost 3 years divorced and living with my Girlfriend… I am seriously contemplating leaving her to go back to my ex-wife and 2 children. I am truly torn, I still love my ex-wife and sharing our children reminds me of how much I do still love her. My Girlfriend on other hand loves me so completely and unconditionally, she is so sweet and genuine, has so much in common with me and we truly are the best of friends still. I am heart broken and torn I love them both, but possibly in very different ways and yet they are both very large parts of my life and Im not sure if I could be with out either of them. I know I am doing them a disservice not pledging myself completely to one or the other and the stress and guilt is aging and wearing me down. I desperately need advice.
Andrew G. Marshall says
I think you need to understand why you cannot speak up when you’re unhappy. Instead of telling your wife that her ‘micro-managing’ was driving you apart, you self medicated by chatting to a friend and developing feelings for her. I think you need to understand why you’re a people pleaser and go along with what other people want… so when your wife proposed sex you went along with it. What is it about your childhood that made it difficult to be honest with women? What was your relationship with your mother like? I know you are looking a for a quick: do this kind of reply but until you truly know yourself, you’re going to ping pong back between these two women. So you’re not going to like this reply but I would suggest living on your own, sleeping with neither woman and learning about yourself – rather than trying to please two women but ultimately making both of them hate you.
Well, my parents divorced when I was about 7 years old. My mother almost immediately left the state to be with her new lover across the country. My grandmother raised me most of my young life, but she was not an affectionate person, she consoled me by buying me things and over feeding me. My father was not part of my young life, once the divorce was over he began living the life of a young wild single man in his early twenties, he only came back into my life in my midtwenties, I am now in my late 30’s. My mother eventually came back to the state when my paternal uncle tried to take custody of me after witnessing my absent parents. She relocated me to where her and her now husband lived. There I was treated with mild neglect and a general feeling of an unwanted guest. Over the years they had a family and that feeling intensified. I had a violent and angry, constantly at odds relationship with my stepfather and general resentment for my half sisters. My mother never protected me from his abuse or any trauma’s I experienced in and out of the home. After my second half sister was born, my mother separated from my stepfather and began living with a patient of hers, they had an affair and once again my mother left her children’s well being in the hands of my grandmother. My Stepfather, angry and completely consumed by trying to win my mother back, was also absent from the child rearing. Every now and then my mother would return to the home to make sure my grandmother was taking care of things, but I would take these occasions to shame her and remind her that she had obligations at home..big words from a teenager, frustrated with irresponsibility his mother showed. I think I finally reached her, she came home, ended her affair and found god with my stepfather and they have been together in a bumpy relationship every since. My relationship with my parents has never been very close, though after I lost my second daughter during child birth, my mother and stepfather came around finally. My father is more distant now than he has ever been. I still feel very close to my grandmother, more of a mother to me really. I still feel like my mother has much to make up, she was there for my sisters in a way I could only dream. My support system was never rooted in family and I depended on the kindness of my friends. However I try very hard to make sure my 2 surviving daughters feel very loved and supported, attended to and important to me, the way I never felt in my family home.
Andrew G. Marshall says
Thank you for sharing your experiences. Sadly lots of people who have affairs don’t realise the long term impact on their children and how the experiences when they are young stay with them into adulthood.
This sounds very much like me and trying to explain these feelings to a friend is very hard as many seem to know all the answers. My ‘girlfriend’ , whom i unintentially met during a difficult time in my marriage and whom i have a relationship with for about 4 years, loves me deeply and totally. I cant remember having had such a deep and loving relationship with a woman as with her and our love life is hitting the stratosphere. My wife is a good woman but we seldom had the emotional intimacy and thus deep love life as i now have with my affair partner. I feel stressed, agonised, burdened with guilt and anxiousness i cannot feel this for my wife. I feel paralysed with indecision and fear of hurting both as i must make a decision one way or another. If only people knew how rotten i feel and knew of my tears for both. And no, i am not a callous nor reckless filanderer
Fair warning, this is going to be a bit long winded. Over the past twenty two years of my relationship I’ve never felt what I️ would consider happy and fulfilled. We’ve always gotten along well enough, been pretty good business partners and eventually through the stages of life are now good parents. I’ve just never felt a deep love or passion for her. I️ think in large part this is due to us meeting at fifteen and neither truly understanding anything about long term love, companionship, or neccisity of commonality to endure the long road of life. To make it even better I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I️ almost fit the, “No more, Mr. Nice Guy” to the T. We’ve just killed nd of trudged through twenty years of our life with “good enough”, always seeings others relationships fail and thinking we will stand strong against the tide.
Then two years ago, in a moment of weakness I️ began an affair with a woman who was in a similar type of unfulfilling relationship. She was downtrodden at first but as our relationship blossomed I️ saw her come to life and it was a beautiful thing. Over the next year and a half we met when we could at conferences and “fair conferences” but it was limited. The sexual gratification was much greater than I’d even known possible as my marriage has always been lacking in that realm. My wife and my sex drive are on opposite ends of the spectrum. She and I️ have tons in common and unfortunately my wife and I️ do not. I️ know this is a to the T, “the grass is greener” scenario but it’s so hard to just let her going knowing that feeling is out there only to retreat back to a relationship of mediocrity.
However, I️ know dopamine has the same affect as a drug and that the honeymoon stage of that relationship could very well end quickly once the wear and tear of “true” life begin to happen. As well, and most important, I️ have a 7 and 11 year old that are my greatest treasures and I️ would Do anything not to hurt them. I’m not trying to be or sound like a martyr, I️ just live my children dearly and like any good parent I️ do not want to bring them pain.
So, with all this being said, what do you advise? Thank you.
Andrew G. Marshall says
I would end the affair (after all you’ve diagnosed the problems with it so perfectly – I would also throw in the problems of two angry step-children who will hate your affair partner and blame her for making their mother unhappy plus her children who will do everything in their power to sabotage your relationship). In an ideal world, you would confess to your wife – so she understood just how miserable you’ve been – and you can get her attention to start a revolution in your life. You can learn why you bury your unhappiness and settle for being business partners. I explain all about this in ‘I love you but I’m not in love with you’. Your wife will be very angry but it could just be the catalyst to not just save your marriage but create something passionate and fulfilling. If it doesn’t work out, you can know that you’ve given it your 100% best shot and make a truly fresh start. However, I think someone who shows the amount of insight that you do in your post has the ability to change and grow and make better relationships (there’s help in my book ‘Wake Up and Change Your Life’). Sadly, many men think the answer is changing women but just take the same mistakes into the new relationship and ending up in the same place (but just poorer and older).
Hi. I am the OW and also married. He has been married for 25 years and has two teenage daughters. I have been married for 6 and have no children.
We met at work and after some email banter we became close. 7 months in and we both fell in love. He has been yo yo ing for the last 3 months. He wants to leave (or so he tells me) and makes a decision to tell his wife about us. He says he wants to tell her about me so that it will definitely end – rather than going through a period of counselling and reconciliation. Then panics and can’t go through with it. He is scared of change – has had counselling and tried to work on his marriage. We end things for a bit but then come back together. I am at a point that I can’t deal with this anymore – he is so sure of his decision one minute and completely unsure the next.
I am in unhappy marriage and have recently decided to end it – this was irrelevant of the other man.
I don’t know what to do about him, should I leave him to it? Surely if he was sure about us he would have left by now?
I am trying to understand – but I am struggling.
Andrew G. Marshall says
You need to focus on sorting out your life because if you wait for him to come to a decision, you’ll be waiting a long long time. Let me explain his dilemma. At some level, he knows that if he leaves his wife for another woman it will have a HUGE impact on his daughters. There is nothing is more angry and vengeful than a teenage daughter (even if one comes round, the other will be doubly furious). They learn about how to be women by flirting and trying out their budding womanly skills on their father (who is a safe but empowering figure). Suddenly, he becomes anything but safe. He is having sex. (They know that’s what their parents did at some point but it was ages ago and doesn’t count!) Their mother will be doubly hurt that he’s not only betrayed her but he’s ‘happily’ sorted with you and she is left holding the fort all on her own! She will distraught. The children will be doubly distraught (because they see their mother so upset). Sure the daughters will forgive their father one day but NEVER you. So this is what you’re going to be taking on – if he does go through with it – a man who is full of guilt and remorse. You’ll have to listen to him go on endlessly about his horrible ex-wife and her latest ‘outrageous’ act. (Many men expect their women to sort out their problems rather than take responsibility for them themselves). Throw in sulky and nasty step daughters…. I say RUN and quickly. You have more than enough on your own plate. Spend a few months thinking through if you truly want to end your marriage. While you’re doing this have no contact with him because the affair (and his problems) are clouding your mind. If you want to end the marriage, end it cleanly without someone else around…. you can heal and be ready to meet someone who is also ready for love (not wrapped up in his own problems and looking for a bit of distraction).
Vinnie squilla says
I have been with my wife for 13 years married 7 with two children my wife grew ill and couldnt find answers to her problems she began going out alot and partying in march 2016 she met someone and began to have some sort of affair by the first week of april she wanted me out of the house, so thats what i did.I worked for an awesome company that i left because i couldnt handle my personal problems and work at the same time, things went downhill for me from there drugs alcohol to numb the loss of my family i got my kids on the weekends i was depressed all the time i still continued to pay all our bills,give her money and take care of my family like i was supposed to .we did a few family things here and there and by july she claimed things were over and wanted me to come back home. I have never been happier in my life….until,nothing changed i now got to sit there and watch while she kept goin out continued to see the other guy and lie to me about it,i saw shit no one should ever have to deal with after numerous times being told she wanted to fix us n she was done. the lack of interest from her was very clear so i set my mind to this is how it was goin to be and decided come January i had to go and i did.we hardly spoke i had split up our bills but still helped her knowing she couldn’t handle it on her own.i was hurt sad and still in love but had to keep on living because i never thought she would come around. We never got divorced and still aren’t.I started goin to the gym eating better just being all around better. i wanted to make sure the next one never had a reason to leave. I talked to women and enjoyed being single i took a liking to this new me. In April of this year i met someone she’s amazing in every way makes me feel great and boom my wife comes crying back to me stirring up old feelings and memories i tried to suppress.this new woman knew my situation and stayed supportive i love my wife but am very unsure about alot i put my true feeling away and she was able to stir thing up.i took a break from the gf and tried to fix thing with my wife,but it was nothing but arguments she want us to go to counceling im very unsure about everything there is so much anger and hurt towards my wife but its also my only chance to not be a weekend dad and be with my family all the time, but the gf also makes me very happy and wants to be part of my life and my kids shes a very positive person and was raised with the best qualities a person could have she works hard and is driven my own family (mom dad sister and brother)turned on me she was not allowed to thanksgiving dinner nor will she be to Christmas but my wife was invited,my choices have been difficult i think this is all getting to me and feel like telling everyone to f off and move but i know that is not any way to fix things.i never ran from any of my problems and im not going to now i feel a little guidance might help ive gone to therapy alone but the few therapists i saw were of no help.im tired of the back and forth either way i lose something amazing.thank you for your time i hope someone can help
Andrew G. Marshall says
If you wife is asking you to go to couple counselling with her, I would take up the opportunity. You don’t need to be committed to fixing the marriage (and neither does she) but the therapist can provide you with a safe space for both of you to talk about your anger, learn to communicate better and see if there is a possibility to try again. If you do decide that it is possible to work towards living together again, both of you would need to cut off contact with your other partners because it will make it hard to focus on your marriage. I know it sounds a lot of work and you would probably like an instant answer – especially after so many months of agony – but reaching a point where you decide to try again or both agree to end the marriage amicably is worth the effort because it will dramatically reduce the fall out for your children
I was sick with serious depression in 2013. I’m a married man with 2 kids aged 14 and 10.
I was off work for 6 months.
I returned to the workplace and met a married woman who I was highly attracted too.
She has 2 kids and I developed strong feelings for her. We fell in love with each other.
I confided in my affair to my wife in September 2015. I moved out on my own in April 2016 and in October 2016, I moved in with the OW. It was an on and off again relationship as I continually broke it off with her out of guilt and shame.
I would be distressed every time I broke it off. I broke it off in November 2016 and moved back home.
I work closely with the OW. And I still have feelings for her. She lives on her own and I still see her occasionally and hang out with her.
I have had marriage counseling with the full knowledge of the OW and my wife still knows I have been seeing her on and off.
Both of my kids have missed so much school and have been traumatised.
I still care and love the OW, however still am concerned for my kids, my wife and their futures.
My wife, the OW and me are stressed. I also filed for divorce, however I have adjourned and put it on hold and I don’t know what to do as I cannot seem to reconnect with my wife.
Andrew G. Marshall says
Let’s start with the positives… reconnecting with your wife is possible. I’ve seen it lots of times. However, you will make it much harder for yourself if you keep seeing the other woman ‘off and on’. Every time, you do this you’ll reconnect with your lover and make it harder to see your wife. Plus your wife knows – even if you don’t tell her – because you will be distant. She will be upset and angry and that won’t help you to feel any closer to her! Secondly, you need to deal with the underlying issues that caused your depression and your marriage problems (probably the same thing). Otherwise you are just papering over the cracks. Let me share this quote from the 13th Century Sufi poet called Rumi: ‘Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.’ And how do you bring down the barriers… it’s talking and facing the problems and learning to communicate better. Your couple therapy will help with that. Slowly but surely the feelings for your wife will return – once you have let the anger go.
William bb says
Kiss have been married for 7 years my second marriage my first wife died of illness the wife is a very hard-working very moody which has kept me distance from her we have not had sex for 2 years I would say that’s my fault because I removed all the time I don’t want to text her I met my girlfriend earlier in the year she’s gorgeous fun exciting great sex not Moody my girlfriend wants us to be together now I really want to be with my girlfriend I’m just tore apart, because but the wife AR Financial sound I have step daughters they say I’m comfortable there but not happy yes I feel one-sided love most of the time I feel more like a slave but I do a husband I really want to be with a girlfriend and I need to make my decision soon this cannot keep going on I don’t feel that life is going to change with my wife My worry is more stable living in a home to the uncertainties what can happen with the girlfriend I need to make a decision very very soon the girlfriend as fun-loving sweet gorgeous I understand it’s something new she also has children I’m really torn between it but should I do my heart and want to stay with my girlfriend my mind keeps saying put up with what you have its stable to me it’s not a life I feel more like a servant give me advice
Andrew G. Marshall says
You are seeing this as two options a) go off with girlfriend b) tough it out as servant with your wife. I would like to add in two more options c) come clean with your wife and find a new marriage where you let her in emotionally and she does not treat you as a servant or d) you end the marriage cleanly and go back on the market when you are a free man. My concern is that you will do option a and that’s fine but you could be leaping out of the frying pan into the fire. My guess is that you leapt out of your bereavement into your second marriage – to feel better after all that pain – which at the time seemed the answer to your prayers. Could you be making the same mistake again? If you haven’t learnt from your second marriage and put up walls when you’re unhappy or bury your upset (about legitimate complaints) and tough it out…. you’ll probably do the same in your third marriage! Please don’t shrug this off with ‘oh my girlfriend is too sweet for that’ because the honeymoon with her will not last forever.
I met a MM a month ago with whom I had a lovely connection. To my utter dismay, after we had our initial tryst, I had an inkling that he was married and he confessed, saying they’re “beginning the separation process”. I’m recently divorced so I empathize deeply but also don’t want to be an idiot. He is smitten as I’m about 18 years younger and due to the natural chemistry we have. He answers and offers info freely, and says he’s been miserable for years and that I’m a “shining light” that he needed to see. His teenage kids are why he hasn’t left yet though he is “over” his wife; he cried about it to me. I am swiftly approaching being a gnarly cliche if I don’t cut communication off, but I know I should until/unless his marriage dissolves. Any advice on words for him? Thank you!
Andrew G. Marshall says
My advice to him would be to be honest with himself, with you and with his wife. Let’s start with being honest with himself. I have come across a lot of men (and some women) who say ‘we are beginning the separation process’. It sounds so grown up and ‘everybody on board with the idea’ but when I ask them how their partner would see the situation, they have admitted that he or she could believe they were a) still trying to save the relationship b) had no idea it had got to this place c) were in deep denial. In some cases, the MM or MW started the separation process when they saw the desirable new partner. If someone is crying a lot, it sounds like they have not really talked to their wife. If he was honest with you, he would tell you that his wife will probably see you as the ‘CAUSE’ of the break down not an ‘innocent’ bystander (who came along after the marriage ended) and if she see it like that, his teenage children will see it the same way too. In which case, you will have sulky daughters or sons who will make visits a real trial. So if he is honest with you, you’ll be able to make an informed choice about your options. If he is honest with his wife, he can tell her that he had a tryst and it makes him realise that he cannot continue in the marriage. Pretending that you arrived somewhere down the line is pointless as she will discover the truth. And by the way, you offering support – even if there is no sex – will count for nothing to her either. So although I believe he meant – 100% at the time – when he told you he was ‘beginning the separation process, I don’t think he was being honest with himself because if you can’t be that…. he will get yourself and lots of other people into a tricky and painful situation.
I’ve been with my wife for 17 years and married for 4 years. We have a 12 year old son and she’s currently pregnant. Though the years she been a great mother and wife. The issue I have with her is that she is very jealous, controlling and insecure. Due to my career, I work about 55-70 hrs a week so I rarely have any time to myself. About 3 years ago, she noticed a woman who started working at my job which she felt some sort of way about. At this point I never spoke to this woman or knew anything about her other than that she was a co worker. My wife never spoke to her, never met her but she would constantly say to me that she did not want me being around this woman. My wife lost it one day when she looked into social and saw that this woman requested to follow me. So after time, my wife would always accuse me of being with this woman which I was not. The constant accusations, her controlling ness, insecurities began taking a toll on me. The beginning of summer 2016 I told my wife that I think we should do marriage counseling which she turned down. Needless to say at the end of that summer me and the woman that my wife always talked about ended up sleeping together. My wife knew nothing of it. The beginning of 2017 my wife and I separated and I began dating my co worker. I was with her for about 6 months . During those 6 months, it felt great. I was in love with her and so was she. But what ended it was when I found that she was stalking her ex on social media, a 5 min phone call to him and also a text message from another guy who asked to take her out which she replied yes to. When I brought up my findings she said she never went out with the guy and stalking her ex was her just being curious and the phone call was about dial. She begged me to stay and said she would delete her social media and change her number. After leaving her, I decided to work things out with my wife. After about 1 month back with my wife , I began sleeping with my girlfriend again. During this time, my wife and I learned that my wife was 2 weeks pregnant. We were excited. I told my girlfriend that we couldn’t continue on. A few days later, my wife and I announced that she was pregnant. That same day my girlfriend contacted me and told me that she had a miscarriage the day before. I found this weird and believed that she was doing this to get me to feel sorry for her which in fact worked. My girlfriend and I began seeing each other again. In October, my girlfriend told me that she’s pregnant. We spoke about having an abortion because we figured that she was about 2-3 weeks. She went to the dr and we found out that she’s actually a lot further along than what we expected. She was 12 weeks! An abortion at this time would have to be surgically removed. My girlfriend couldn’t do it and I couldn’t live with that on my conscious. At this point I’m losig my mind and unsure what to do. How do I tell my family? How can I raise 2 newborns with 2 different women? I stopped speaking to my girlfriend and avoided all her phone calls and text messages for about a week. She became upset and contacted my wife and told her everything! My wife was crushed. She told me to leave our house and for about week I stood at my parents until she asked me back which I believed was her way of making sure I wasnt seeing my girlfriend. While back home, it was hell. My wife wouldn’t let me sleep. She’d wake me up and begin arguing. She’d FaceTime me to see if I was actually at work and would look through my phone every night. She’d yell and argue in front my of son. She’d also tell me that I couldn’t have any contact with my girlfriend meaning no dr visit and not providing anything for it until the day she gives birth and even then she did not want me there for the birth.This went on for about 2 weeks. I couldn’t do it so I told her it was best that we separate so that we both can figure out what we both want and for my wife to emotionally and mentally heal. Since then iv been speaking with my girlfriend and my wife . Prepping for my kids and seeing that they’re healthy. Iv been away from my home and staying at parents. I’m so lost as what I want to do or should do. I love them both. Both have pros and cons hahaha but I’m trying to figure out what’s best for me and my children. I feel like if I work things out with my wife she’ll be the same if not worse. She said she’s willing to take in my other child and raise it with me but I’m afraid that she would hold resentment and treat my child different from the 2 that we have. My girlfriend on the other hand has bought a home and specifically got it with 4 bedrooms because she wanted enough room for me and all my children( now 3 children). Im in no way a materialistic person but this showed me what she was willing to sacrifice for my all my kids. Even after purchasing the home I explained to her that I was unsure what I wanted and what I was going to do and she understood. My issue with her is that she lost my trust and was unsure how she would be able to gain it back. But after this entire drama filed story my girlfriend is the one who constantly pops up in my head. Time to time my wife comes to mind and because my parents, family members and friends love her so much that they constantly tell me to work things out with her. This has been the most confusing thing Iv had to deal with and don’t know what to do.
Hi there….the above pretty well sums up me. Im married for 11 years as we speak. My wife is a good woman, works hard and is committed to us. She is also very religious which caused me to alone for years during weekends hence i spend many a time going out on my own as a result. There is much more goin on but it would be too far fetched to get into detail. In a nutshell, some 2 1/2 years ago i met, totally without intend and unexpectedly, this woman while walking my dogs (incredible!). I have seldom talked for so long about almost anything with her like no other before. My marriage dormant and stale and pretty much for her also but for many years. Her husband an emotionally unavailable chauvinist caused her marriage to languish for over a decade. With mixed feelings and reluctantly i started an affair with her and from one thing obviously comes another….this is now almost 3 years ago. The moment has arrived that i must end this as we where inevitably found out. I would fall in repeat but im so torn between the two and i struggle with this big time
I found out last week that my husband of 5 years (14 years together) has been having an affair with someone at work for the last year. I found out through text messages they had sent to each other claiming that he is obsessed with her and he has always loved her. I kicked him out of our home and he has now moved in with a mutual friend. We have a three year together and feel so hurt and betrayed by his actions I can’t bring myself to talk to him out it. We have exchanged a few text messages over our child and him occasionally telling me he is so so sorry. There was a time over the festive period we got into an argument over his phone and I took our child and walked out stating he had choose whatever was on his phone over his family. He stayed with his parents at this time and I delved deeper (due to paranoia ) and found personalised ‘thank you’ cards sent to her telling he was go grateful for helping him through a really low point in his life (depression and suicidal thoughts). When I confronted him he claimed they were just friends and we both agreed to try and make things work. I know feel even more betrayed and hurt by his actions. I hear through the mutual friend that he ‘can’t’ walk away from her as she has helped him so much. I’m in turmoil as to what I do next. I’m not ready to hear his lies, excuses or more deceit as he is still denying it. I feel I have been left in our marital home bringing up our son whilst he has the freedom to continue his affair whilst I have to sit back and accept it.
Andrew G. Marshall says
I think you should look back at your post and question some of your statements. For example: I have to sit back and accept it. It doesn’t sound like that at all, you ‘kicked’ him out and I don’t see anything in your post that shows that you’ve accepted it. If you’re not ready to talk to him yet, that’s fine… If it’s one of your conditions to talk that he’s not seeing her any more – that’s fine too. When you’re ready, it would probably help you to listen to him and what he proposes next… but please do listen (rather than get angry and shut him up) because it could help forge a new relationship or find the basis for co-operating over your son.
Andrew G. Marshall says
You really need to understand how you have got yourself into the same situation all over again. Think about your childhood? Why do you ‘look after’ all these women but can’t speak up about your own needs? Have a look at my post ‘Why did I cheat?’. You also need to learn to communicate better so you tell the women in your life when there is a problem – rather than burying it and let it come out in rows and blame. Have a look at my book ‘Wake Up and Change Your Life’. Perhaps time alone will help but I would suggest something more radical: tell the truth both to the girlfriend (I don’t want to leave my wife) and your wife (I’ve done it again). It will be nasty but that’s the only way out of this mess. More ‘half-truths’ will just prolong the agony and make it worse when the truth comes out.
Okay. It all sounds great and almost convinced to go back to my wife, but the woman I’m with now is very understanding of my situation and I do have two kids envolved. I have been very wishy washy with both of them. I do know that at this moment I am not attracted to my wife…. can it come back maybe. I’m still so confused on what to do. I do know what got us to this point and my wife does also and wants to do anything to make the marriage work, but I’m scared that it wont and I just lost a good girl.. HELP. lol
Andrew G. Marshall says
The longer you put off your decision, the more likely you are to lose BOTH women. Unfortunately, there will be loss and grief which ever way you step. Sorry but there’s no magic solution. However, if you know what got you to his point, I think you should tell your wife. Explain you’re confused but don’t tell her ‘I’m not attracted to you’ because that is one of the cruellest ways to put it. The reality is that you probably have a lot of repressed anger (that’s what turns people off bit by bit) and you feel ashamed (not a great turn on either). If you decide to stay and work on your marriage – not just mark time and secretly phone your girlfriend – you will find the intimacy will come back and desire follows on from there.
I am recently married (within 6 months) but have been with my wife for almost 8 years now. I started feeling like I didn’t truly love her and that I just was going through the motions for so long because I was expected too and that something would change. I almost ended things with her 3 years ago and then my mother passed and that got put on hold. Again I thought something would change and I would be fully happy and content…we’re great friends but I stopped wanting to be physical with her back around then also. Thinking *sparks* would happen I proposed to her, we were married, went on a honeymoon and that feeling of passion or wanting to be with her physically never returned. Recently I began seeing someone who I had met up with in the past but didn’t have a physical relationship with. I find that passion with her, I miss her when I’m not with her unlike I have my wife for years and I want to be physical with her in all ways unlike my wife. I have told my wife I don’t think I love her but not the full reasoning behind it yet because I haven’t had the heart to tell her I married her hoping things would get better. I believe I’m in love with this OW, she knows about my marriage and knows how I’ve felt and still wants to be with me. I’m not sure where to go from here but I’m trying to be honest with both without hurting either.
Andrew G. Marshall says
I know you are trying to be honest, but half a story is not honest. It’s not just that you don’t think you love your wife but that you feel passion for someone else.
So I have been married for 15 years with 2 children, 14 and 10 and like the commenter above fit the ‘no more mr nice guy’ description. Our marriage has had problems for years, she’s emotional and I’m rational, I have suffered verbal and emotional abuse for a long time and she has forced us into separation twice before, once years ago and again one year ago where I moved out completely, she said the marriage was over, she didn’t love me. We’ve always gone through cycles of short lived good times and deeply awful times of hardly talking and major anger between us. A few months after we separated we unexpectedly got back with each other, we said we’d take things slow and see what happened. I ended up practically living back at the house (her house now as she bought me out) and things were good for a while but then got back into the same old situations, she has told me several times since that she thinks we should call it a day and go our separate ways but I held on, mainly out of fear of being alone. Then 2 weeks ago I was away on business and ended up sleeping with a co worker from our office in Canada – I’m in the UK. We had an amazing emotional and physical connection the likes of which I’ve never felt with anyone. I returned home to a typically angry wife and the next day told her I thought we should draw a line and I should move back to my flat again and we end this, at the time she agreed and I moved back. Since then the co worker and I have video chatted every day for hours on end, I have never felt this way about anyone, I feel I can tell her anything and I know she feels the same. She’s even booked tickets to the uk in a few weeks so we can be together for a week. However my wife has now decided she wants me back (she does not know about the coworker) and is being super nice to me to try and win me back. I have little doubt that if I took the easy option of going back with her the old problems would eventually resurface and we’d be back to anger, resentment and walking on eggshells. But the coworker and I are 3000 miles apart and have only known each other for a couple of weeks! It’s crazy I know but it’s like we’re the same person, we are so similar in every way and talking to her is so easy and natural it feels like we’ve known each other all our lives. My wife and I never connected in that deep way, that was part of the problem. I just don’t know what to do.
Thanks in advance for any help and advice you can give.
Andrew G. Marshall says
My advice is simple: tell you wife what’s been happening, your fears that it won’t be different next time round and your feelings for this other woman. When she has the full information – including how you felt emotionally and physically abused – the two of you can have an informed discussion about what to do. What should you do about the co-worker? I’m always a bit suspicious when someone says ‘it’s like we’re the same person’. Especially, if they seem to be the answer to all our problems. The first sounds, frankly weird. The second too good to be true. If we were working together, I would more interested in helping you to stand up for yourself, rather than walking on egg shells. My fear is unless you change – rather than change your partner – once the honeymoon is over and you’re both stopped trying to please each other all the time that you’ll slip back into the same old groove and the same old problems (just with someone else).
Thank you for your advice Andrew. I have thought about telling her of course, but I don’t see what good will come of it. We did have that chat in any case, which is why she is trying to win me back, she has always blamed our problems on me but now she says she has realised she was to blame too. I don’t see the coworker as the answer to my problems, if anything this is causing more problems, but she is as close to a ‘soulmate’ as I have ever met. I intend to see her in a few weeks of being apart from my wife and see how I feel afterwards, then make an informed decision of how to move forward. I totally get the whole honeymoon period thing, it feels deeper than that but it’s hard to be objective when we are so into each other. She has said things my wife never said and made me feel like my wife never did. But the distance is a killer. Thanks again.
I’d been with my wife for 7 years when I got feelings for a girl who started at my work. My wife is 14 years older than me and this new girl is 16 years younger than me. I started a full blown affair and now my gf is pregnant. My wife and I had an amazing life together and now I can’t decide who I want to be with. I have hurt both women and myself for months now going back with one then the other. Will my wife ever recover if we try again? Will I lose my unborn daughter if I go back to my wife? I just don’t know what to do and live in constant misery.
Andrew G. Marshall says
I would like you to challenge your thoughts. Are there any exaggeration here: will my wife EVER recover? Will she still be thinking about this daughter on her deathbed? I doubt it. A much better question to ask: how can I help my wife recover? Let’s turn to the girlfriend and the child: ‘Lose’ the child is a strong word. It suggests that you will never see her again. However, I doubt that when she is older, she won’t ask to meet this father and even if your girl friend hates her, she cannot stop a mature woman making contact. So ‘lose’ is not the right word. Are you in CONSTANT misery? I doubt it. I expect there are times when you’re wrapped up with your work or enjoying the sun. Sure you’re miserable a lot of the time. But constant? I doubt it… All this dramatic language is making a difficult situation even more dramatic – and not helping. When you’re calmer, look at how you got into this mess, the behaviour that exacerbates these people and how you want to change. Look at my book ‘Wake Up and Change Your Life’. You want to make a considered decision. You want to discuss it with the two women concerned. If you took at this more calmly, you’ll find a way forward.
Sandra says says
I am the wife and my husband has been involved with a girlfriend on and off for 5 years. He has lied his way out of each time but he gets found out. I have basically now spoke with the gf who has confirmed a lot of the things he has lied about. Basically he has wasted 5 years of my life when I could have found someone who would treat me better and hopefully love only me. He isn’t a nice guy as you say he is very selfish and has hurt everyone family, children and friends
I am the OW. We’ve been together for almost a year. We see each other twice a week or so. He is married with a child. He loves his wife but also loves me. He is torn. He doesn’t want to leave his child. I genuinely do think that we are soul mates. We get on very well.
I have asked him to leave and he says he thinks about it every day. She has absolutely no idea he is seeing me. I don’t think she thinks there’s a problem. In fact, I don’t think there is a problem at home either, I just think that we met and we fell in love. Its only over the last couple of months that I sometimes get upset we aren’t properly together. We are both hoping it stays that way. He never holds me back and says he doesn’t want to hurt me and if I find someone else he will accept it and we can be friends. Problem is, being in love with him means I don’t want anyone else.
Hej Andrew. Have been in similar situation in past year. Met OW at work, had feelings for her and eventually she also admitted the same. It moved to physical, we both told to our partners (also both have 2 children). It went downhill for me there. Was torn for past year, with attempts to go back with wife but then falling into same pattern again. Now decided to live on my own and see what I want. As I came to realisation that I do not want to leave my wife for OW, but because I feel it is the right thing to do. Otherwise ‘what-ifs’ would eat me away.
Explained this to OW but she is very emotional about everything, and also very driven by emotions (she left her husband no trying to do anything nor feeling guilt over course of 2 weeks). Intimacy is of course better (as always is in these case), we talk more, have more honesty etc.
I think I still have feelings for my wife and having hope that she (and I) have changed in past year, better understand ourselves and what was wrong. At the same time, I also still think that this OW is much closer to ‘soulmate’ or at least more compatible partner, so it is hard to let go and also wondering ‘what-if’. Wife still wants to try again. Miss my kids and that ‘peace’ feeling and not running around all the time.
I’ve thought out everything didn’t I? Just need to do it…
Andrew G. Marshall says
It sounds like the fog is beginning to clear and you’re beginning to think everything through rather than bouncing from one crisis to the next. I have just one thing to point out….Look at how the OW left her husband. She switched off and walked away without any guilt – even though he was the husband of her children. As history is a good way of being a predictor of what ifs…. let me give you one. What if she realises that you are not the ONE and not her SOUL MATE, she will walk away again, with not a backward glance with another man she meets and has ‘feelings’ for and he will be the answer. You will be dust in the road. If she is more compatible, ask yourself why? What do I need from a relationship? How could I stand up for myself more and ask for what I need? Have a look at my book ‘wake up and change your life’ which will help you improve communication because that’s the key to improving chemistry.
I have been with my wife now for 5 years, a second marriage, and met just as I was separating from my first wife. She has always wanted to get married and de to my first not working out I was somewhat pessimistic about marriage. However I caved in and proposed in 2016, and have now been married for just over a year.
However, a relationship started with a colleague two years ago and we first slept together a month before I proposed to my wife, and our relationship has become more and more intense. I really do feel we are our loves of our lives. She’s 13 years older than me, and we’ve only spent 19 nights together (she lives 400 miles away!) but we talked for over two hours on the phone, every single day!
We have finally said enough is enough as she can’t keep sharing me which I completely understand. I am completely torn, whether to leave my wife and family for the love of my lif; a lady who I’ve never lived with before and leaving a wife who has done nothing wrong. I love her but I’m not in love with her. It feels wrong and feel I need to be with my girlfriend however it’s difficult to justify me leaving my family and the associated pain and hurt.
Also, you say in your article, advice number 1, is be honest. How on earth can I tell my wife, who has no idea whatsoever, that I’ve been unfaithful all the way through proposal, engagement and marriage. I don’t deserve any second chances and so I’m unsure how I can be honest and tell her all (without the certainty of the marriage over immediately).
However I’m not coping either and the stress is being such that I feel I need to tell her. OR…just do the right thing, not follow my heart, and continue with the marriage and wait to see if resentment and guilt kicks in.
Sorry for the ramble…just don’t know which way to turn!
Andrew G. Marshall says
You will hurt her if you tell the truth, sure. But lying to her is not going to make it better! She will find out all your deceits. One by one. Each will be a stab through the heart. It is better to tell her yourself and in one go. Trust me. When you are dealing with the truth, and not lying to yourself, you will finally be able to see if this the ‘love of your life’ or not.
This was a very good article. I am going through this with my husband. We have known each other since we were 9 and best friends. We have a 17 yr old son and 15 yr old daughter. We have been together for 18 yrs and married for 12. He started hanging out with a girl back at work in March just as friends and I tried telling him how I felt and what I saw was going to happen. Well, April he started seeing her and said we were over but he still lives with me, sleeps with me, and I still do all the wife stuff. She has no clue except that I shouldn’t call or text him when he’s with her because that’s her time. The kids and I just want everything to go back to how it was. We were happy. He says he loves both of us and doesn’t know how to get out of it but every time they break up and he tell me, I get my hopes up, the kids get their hopes up, and he goes and begs for her to take him back because she’s terrified of him going back to me. I tried telling him how I feel but he doesn’t want to hear it because he doesn’t want to hurt me. So confused
Andrew G. Marshall says
It sounds like you are harming yourself and your family. It sounds like your husband is too ‘addicted’ to this relationship and has yet to realise that he can’t have both his family and this girl. (He might say he knows but he is trying to find a magic solution.) Sadly, you can’t change his behaviour but you can change your own. You can stop doing wifely things. You can ask him to move out and mean it. My guess is that it will take him about five minutes with this girl to realise his mistake but don’t take him back until he has understood why he needed this affair so badly and the two of you have learned what needs to change in your marriage so it won’t happen again.
My husband began a physical affair with a co-worker about a year ago, that turned full blown into “I have feelings for her” about six months ago. When discovered 3 months ago, he agreed to cut off the physical portion, but stated that she was still his best friend. They work hand in hand in a very small office and are the company decision makers- there is not a lot of choice in their work contact. Obviously, the physical portion didn’t end that day, they just tried to hide it better. My research tells me this is not aberrant affair behavior.
The OW is very aggressive in her desire for us to split up, making him promise not to have ANY physical intimacy with me (which he capitulates to) as well as constant demands on his time (frequently using work related excuses or damsel in distress to orchestrate). He is putty in her hands. As soon as she gets him alone, she taps right into the sex card, and he just loves it. I can hear her words in so many of his actions. Yet he still sleeps in the same bed, with his arm around me every night- but no sex.
We have had significant communication and marriage issues. I struggled with alcohol for a long time, and my sobriety is recent- I understand his distrust of it, and it has impacted his feeling for me. I was emotionally/physically absent in our marriage the last couple years, and there is some strong resentment and disrespect. We have not been to a MC, but he has gone along with several of my sobriety counselor meetings, as I am now operating with full honesty and transparency, and the affair has come up, but we have been counseled to wait to address it until I hit 6 months. That seems counterproductive and perpetuates both the affair and the anger. Although he doesn’t lie if asked a direct question, he uses omission constantly, and acknowledges that he is afraid of my reaction to the truth, and if it will make me drink. It won’t, that’s not his choice to make. That’s all mine. I got the “ILYBINILWY” speech, along with the “I need to work on myself” and “I need time”, and “We need to work on the friendship before we can consider the relationship”, oh yes, and the “I am not attracted to you anymore- the spark is gone- I just don’t feel it”, “maybe we should just rip the bandaid off”, “where will working on it even go- is it just working for the sake of saying it” We don’t have children together in our 10 year marriage, so there isn’t any draw for him at home except me. On the other hand, he will talk about our great times together, how much fun we have together, and want to make plans for 2 months from now, and that maybe we haven’t really given this our all. He has accepted my fulsome apology.
He is currently out of town for a month, (and she is along on the business trip) so they are happily playing house. She has even had her relatives visit for dinner parties.
Obviously I feel she is an active factor, but don’t think I believe for a moment my husband is a simple puppet. He is making the choice to go right along with her plans, and agreeing with her. She calls, he answers. She sends texts, he replies. She makes demands, he allows it.
He remarks about how tired he is, and how he doesn’t know what he wants. That this is emotionally and mentally exhausting. I have read several of your books, and as a 46yo male, he is striking several of the chords of a MLC. He is dissatisfied and frustrated, has several times rewritten our history, is looking to go back to school, and wanting to change jobs. He is struggling with his actions being directly against his views on character and integrity.
I have taken your advice. I don’t pursue, I don’t say I love you, I stay steady and calm. I have been working on myself; sobriety, activity, finding my happiness, and recognizing I can only control myself. However, I am also torn up with anxiety, not sleeping, not eating, and I really miss him.
I just feel it isn’t having any impact on the relationship. Partially because he has been gone 1/3 of the time since the affair discovery, and partially because the OW is right there helping maintain the fog. I know he is sorry he got caught and hurt me, but I don’t think he regrets a moment of the continuing affair.
I am at a loss of how to continue. Its 2 more weeks until he comes home, and I would like to formulate a game plan to proceed from there. I fundamentally love my husband. I would like this to be an opportunity for us to create a new relationship- supporting each other in new goals and growth. I am just afraid he has checked out for good. Less the grass is greener and more this grass is dead…. That may be mine to accept, but I feel there might be a glimmer of “us” still there, and I want to at least know we have tried our best, given each other our best, and hope.
Andrew G. Marshall says
Perhaps you would like to join my Infidelity Survival Training and Support Group. It starts October 2018. Details soon on this website
My husband had an affair that lasted roughly 6-7 months. It began as a friendship and eventually became a full blown relationship when he left me and our 2 year old son. She is also married, and left her husband. After a couple weeks of living with her, he came back to me describing how much he regretted what he had done and missed me and our life. He also told me they just found out that she is pregnant. Long story short, I allowed him to come back, and he was very transparent and eager to make things work. She also went back to her husband who has accepted her pregnancy as well. Over the last month or so, things have done steadily downhill. He told me he’s tried to suppress his feelings for her but he still loves her and doesn’t think our marriage is going to work. I feel so stupid for believing in him, but I love him so much. I don’t want to lose my husband, and I can’t believe he still “loves” her. She purposely ruined his reputation at work (they’re coworkers) by spreading lies about the whole situation. I just don’t understand how he can love someone who’s proven herself to be vengeful and spiteful. My husband is still home with me, sleeping in our bed, wearing his ring, but very disconnected and thinking about leaving. He thinks the last 4 months since he came back have been enough time to prove that the spark isn’t coming back, but I don’t believe he ever really tried to fix things. I just feel like he’ll regret leaving me again if he does, just like he did the first time.
Andrew G. Marshall says
Just coming back and waiting to see if the ‘spark’ will come back is not going to solve the problems in your marriage, you need to understand why he was so unhappy that ruining his reputation at work and trashing his marriage was a viable way to feel better. I doubt he ‘loves’ her, he is just a drowning man who is clutching at straws. So I would have a long and deep conversation about how you got to this place. I would discuss how your marriage changed when you had your son and how being him a father and you being a mother has impacted on your marriage. I would ask how your respective childhoods fit into this picture. Try and keep calm and listen (3ven if he says things that make you angry). At the end of the conversation, ask where do we go from here? I hope the two of you come up with a credible plan – and probably go for couples counselling too. But if he is still drowning and wants to go – let him because he will only pull you under the water (and he will probably be back again when he discovers yet again that she is not the answer – because he has to sort himself out!) You might like to consider my Infidelity Survival Training and Support Group which starts October 2018. Details coming soon. It will help you work on yourself – so you are in a good enough place to make a considered opinion if he wants to come back again (rather than accept a few empty promises).
I have been married 10 years total together with my wife is 14 years. I
am 46 and have a 6 year long affair with a younger woman. She’s now 32. The ow started to press me on leaving my wife since I wasn’t happy. I find the ow more attractive and fun to be around. We really enjoy our time together. She tells me she’s in love with me and wants to be the only woman. Just 2 month ago ow told me, she has waited a long time and wants me to decide. I wasnt sure what to do so she found a guy to date and told me , once you decide what you want, let her know. She said I know what I want and that is you. But I’m not waiting for ever. If you decide to stay with wife I’ll keep dating him , if you leave and file for divorce I will leave the other guy asap. I want to be with you no one else. I am in love with the ow, but dont know what to do. I don’t have any Children to worry about.
Andrew G. Marshall says
Why do you want to be with a woman who emotionally blackmails you?
Hi. I have have been with my husband for about 10 years and we will soon have 4 children together. About 8 months ago my husband started an emotional affair with a co-worker that quickly escalated into a full blown physical affair and relationship. To preface the situation i was a terrible partner to my husband for a very long time. I never cheated but i neglected him terribly and i know he loved me so much but i did nothing but push him away for years. I was emotionally cold to him which left him feeling alone and unloved. I recognize i did this and the guilt i feel is more than i can bear because i know it lead directly to him finding another woman to fill the need longing, and emotional connection he so badly wanted from me. In March i started to suspect something was going on (he was going out late, changing his patterns, looks, and he was become distant, cold and angry. It was then that i truly realized what an idiot i was and how much i truly and honestly loved him and how much i took him for granted and how much i wanted and needed him. Which in turn made me commit to him with everything i had. In July i confronted him and he said it was a relief because he wanted to be caught because the guilt was eating at him. He agreed to leave the other woman and work on our marriage. About two weeks later he said he was unsure if he could live without her and left. I was devastated but then the next day he came back and said he couldn’t leave and that he he knew he was meant to be with me. I was Leary but i didn’t want him to leave and i was ecstatic he came back. The next month was the happiest i have ever been in my life. He was warm, caring, affectionate, the sex was great, we talked, laughed, and did things together. I thought we both were truly happy. Then about two weeks ago he told me that he is miserable not with me, he says i am everything he ever wanted and what he always wanted me to be, that our relationship is perfect but he can not stop loving the other woman. He said he tried to stop but he can’t. He told me that he doesn’t want to feel this way but he can’t help it and the more he denies the feeling the stronger the need becomes. He made a proposition that if he could see her once a week and talk to her that he hoped the feelings would lessen because he could get some closure? (Through all this she has texted and called him or tried to at least because she is in love with him). But it is tearing me apart. I have forgiven him for the affair and i have supported him in his feeling for her by trying to be understanding but i don’t know what to do. Deep down i know i am the one and i think he knows that too which is why he hasn’t left me yet but he can’t get over her. I don’t know what to do, i want to be with him forever because i truly love him with all my heart and i know our future could be amazing and that he and i could have a beautiful, fulfilling life with our children. I told him that he will have to choose between her and I by the time our fourth child arrives. But i don’t know if i can stand another month of uncertainty. He says he can’t choose because he knows either one that he chooses will leave him with a broken heart. (If he chooses me he would be miserable because he looses her and if he chooses her he would be miserable because he would loose me. Is this an impossible situation? What i am asking is do you think he can ever choose? I love him so much but i hate to see him so miserable and it is breaking my heart knowing that he is not fully with me. I am torn between what i really want which is to stay and make it work or just letting him go. Making the choice for him and telling him that he should go be with her. I am devastated even thinking of telling him to go and i agonize if it is the right thing. Is this truly the best option? I truly only want him to be happy i love him that much. i would take all the pain away from him if i could. Do you think letting him go is the right thing to do? Please help i don’t know what to do anymore and I’m tired of trying to be strong i just want my husband and our life back.
Andrew G. Marshall says
I don’t think you should do what is right for him but right for YOU. If he can’t chose and you can’t have half a man (which is perfectly fine and understandable), then let him go. Sure he will run off to her but how long will it last? Probably not long. Have a look at my book ‘My husband doesn’t love me and he’s texting someone else’. In particular the section on radical acceptance, I think it will help you.
I am in a similar situation like the ones other people are having. I was married and my wife never held a job for more than a few months, i had to sometimes support her parents amd family, we don’t have children, i am 37 and my wife is 32, i don’t think i wanted a baby with her. One year ago at the christmas party at work i got drunk and cheated my wife with a coleague of mine that was in a previous yer the gilfriend for 2 months of my weddibg nest man, i introduced them but their relationship didn’t last. So since last christmas i am having a relationship with this OW. I got divorced but it was like a ping pong for me. The sex is great with the ow, she is sweet, kind and funny. I divorced but i am deeply hurt about what i did and it seems i cannot my wife let go. I jave sometimes the feeling that i have to offer her what i offer to the ow. I have tried a couple of times to have sex with my exwife but it was bad, i didn’t like it. Sometimes i felt like i couldn’t stay more than a couple of hours with my exwife. I was thinking i want to try something else that would provide me a satisfaction that my wife didn’t offered. I have broke up with my girlfried a couple of times. I must tell you that my girfriend has 25 but this was not the reason i divorced, i realy love her, but i also have feelings for my ex wife, i am undecided if i have to go back and try repair things with my wife or continuee with my girlfriend. I must also tell you that my exwife is still waiting for me but also my girlfriend wants to solve my problems and truly separate from my wife. So i have no ideea what to do, i cannot stay like this anymore.
Andrew G. Marshall says
I wondered what would happen if you read your post imagining that you were your wife or your girlfriend. I wonder how they would react? I know they will be upset…. because you have feeling for someone else. But putting that aside, for a second, I think they would be horrified by how little you are thinking about their feelings (and the impact on them). I expect they would call you selfish. I wonder what has brought you to this point? I find people in your situation have spent years being anything but that…. putting other people first (and feeling they are getting nothing back) and suddenly snap and go to the opposite end. Basically, I think you need to KNOW yourself, listen to YOURSELF and understand YOURSELF better, At the moment, you are just ping ponging back and forward between the two of them – focused on what they want and not listening to yourself. If you want to change…. which I think this is about… not just who to go off with, look at my book ‘Wake Up and Change Your Life.’
I am in a similar situation like the other people are having. I was married and my wife never held a job for more than a few months, i had to sometimes support her parents amd family, we don’t have children, i am 37 and my wife is 32, i don’t think i wanted a baby with her. One year ago at the christmas party at work i got drunk and cheated my wife with a coleague of mine that was in a previous year the gilfriend for 2 months of my weddig best man, i introduced them but their relationship didn’t last. So since last christmas i am having a relationship with this OW. I got divorced but it was like a ping pong for me. The sex is great with the ow, she is sweet, kind and funny. I divorced but i am deeply hurt about what i did and it seems i cannot let my wife let go. I have sometimes the feeling that i have to offer her what i offer to the ow. I have tried a couple of times to have sex with my exwife but it was bad, i didn’t like it. Sometimes i felt like i couldn’t stay more than a couple of hours with my exwife. I was thinking i want to try something else that would provide me a greater satisfaction that my wife didn’t offered. I have broke up with my girlfried a couple of times. I must tell you that my girfriend has 25 but this was not the reason i divorced, i realy love her, but i also have feelings for my ex wife, i am undecided if i have to go back and try to repair things with my wife or continuee with my girlfriend. I must also tell you that my exwife is still waiting for me but also my girlfriend wants to solve my problems and truly separate from my wife. So i have no ideea what to do, i cannot stay like this anymore. With my wife i am for 11 years, the new relationship started as a friendship at work and ended up as a relationship. I made them both suffer and i don’t know what to do, i am affaid to live without my wife but i am also tired and i don’t know what went wrong in my marriage. I also became adicted to porn in my marriage, problem that i am solving now and realised it whne i was no longer having the mood for sex with my girlfriend. I realised then the addiction and i have bee straight for 2 months. I cand also tell you that my ex wife was over protective with me and sometimes gealous. But besides that she was very supportive when i took decisions with my career or life but never for her. She would take me back i wanted to return but i am realy confused, i don’t know if i want to go back. I also tried in the previous years two times to hit on a girl. Please give me an advice!
Andrew G. Marshall says
Howard Thurman, a mystic, philosopher, once said: “there are two questions a man
must ask himself: The first is ‘Where am I going?’ and the second is ‘Who will go with
me?’ If you ever get these questions in the wrong order you are in trouble.” So instead of trying to decide who is the right companion, I would focus on ‘who am I’ and ‘what am I doing with my life’ and ‘where am I going?’
Hi again and thank you for advices!
The problem i am facing is that beeing with my wife for 11 years, now she is 32 and me 37 we never had any kids, i live in a society where a wife and husband should progress and evolve together, i have a good job and i make a decent amount, the problem is that every time i tried to push her to be more ambitoius she ended after a short while resining, i slowly started to distance myself from her, sex was once a month and that was at night, and even then in my sleep i thought it was someone else, but during sex when i woke up and realised was her my mood to continuue was vanishing. Now with this other women i don’t have these problems, the problem is that i miss my wife friendship, i miss drinking cofee and doing the stuff we did for 11 years. When spend time with my wife i don’t stay long but i want to go home and be alone or with the other women. Even if i stat with ow more than 2 weeks i start thinking about my exwife, feeling sorry for disapointing her, for leaving her alone, with no place to call home but a rental place, all of our stuff is all over the place and even if i like the OW to spend time with her and do stuff together, sex and all of things a couple do, at some point i feel she is invading my wife’s house and stuff. I also tried to do sex with my ex hoping i would feel something, but it went wrong, i didn’t enjoy it, it was like the last years of our relation where i feel i am doing it forced, not attracted, not excited. I know maybe people consider me sexually obsessed but i think in a relationship should be a lot of stuff, friendship, respect, understanding, compasion but sex, intimacy is totaly missing. Do you have any advices? Should i try and get back and find the spark again or go on with the OW?
Andrew G. Marshall says
You need to know yourself and who you are and what you want from life. These are BIG questions but instead of facing them, you have got lost in the rabbit hole of which woman do I want to be with. Have a look at my book: It’s not a midlife crisis, it’s an opportunity.
Brian Benjamin says
My situation is similar to many you probably have heard. I have been having an affair for almost 2 years now (1yr, 8 mos.) My wife found out about it the first summer after about 3 months when she questioned me an I came clean. I broke it off then, but got back together with her just a week after. My affair partner ended her marriage last June – it was a bad and abusive marriage and I don’t feel our relationship was responsible for that divorce. I have been married to my wife for 25 years and we have two daughters – one is 19 years old and now in college and the other is 14 years old and in high school. I have felt that my sexual needs have never been met during my marriage and that is why I reached outside my marriage in the first place. The first affair I had was over 17 years ago before my youngest daughter was born. I ended that affair and reconciled my marriage. After this current affair started, I have wondered if my sexual needs with my wife were ever really met or have I just been trying hard to get by for the sake of my daughters. My wife is a very loving mother and I do love her, but like you say… I am not IN love with her. My affair partner sent my wife a package in October 2018 basically outing our affair relationship so that I would either chose her and move forward with a divorce or chose my wife and reconcile my marriage. Again, the lies took over… and I told my wife I had broken up the affair but re-engaged with her over last summer but that it ended just before she sent that package. The truth was that I have continued seeing my affair partner the entire time.
My affair partner really wants to be with me, but wants me to take care of my situation (marriage) in a responsible way and take the time necessary to do it right. I have told her that I love her, but I’m very torn between leaving my wife and daughters to be with her and staying. I have beat myself up for almost a year now and balancing time with my affair partner and the lies I have to tell have destroyed me, and had a detrimental affect on my relationship with my affair partner. Currently, my affair partner and I have decided to take a “step back” so I can deal with my struggles (she believes and hopes aimed at speaking to my wife and ending my marriage)
Please help me… I still go back and forth. One fear I have is that if I just end things with my affair partner, my life and marriage will go back to the same old, same old and I will be right back where I started wanting to look outside my marriage again. But if I divorce my wife my fear is my relationship with my daughters will be different, they will resent my drastic change to their life, and I will regret breaking up my family.
Andrew G. Marshall says
You’re right I have heard this before. From the outside, however, it seems quite clear cut. Let’s start with your affair partner, for me, putting together a package of evidence and sending it your wife is manipulative and controlling (and to be honest cruel). I can understand why she might have lost patience with you but, in my book, this behaviour is unforgivable. If you ‘reward’ this behaviour by choosing her, you are encouraging more of it. Do you want to be married to this sort of woman? What is it going to be like when your daughters enter the picture? I doubt it will be pretty. Furthermore, I think you are far too quick to gloss over the ‘bad and abusive’ marriage. Why was it bad? Why was it abusive? Let’s start with the bad, I have yet to find a relationship where both parties don’t bare lots of responsibility for the marriage reaching such dark places. As for abusive? Your affair partner is not responsible for the abuse but why did she stay in it for so long? Often it is because she had been ‘trained’ to put up with such behaviour from a young age by abusive parents (either to each other or towards their children). If I am really putting my cards on the table, your behaviour towards her and all the lies and coming and going is heading towards the abusive. Yet she still wants more! So I suspect there is a lot of personal material that she needs to sort out. However, instead of doing the hard work, she is rushing to a happy ending in your arms. Without doing the work, I think she is likely to bring the horror show of her first marriage into her relationship with you (plus her unprocessed anger at you for mucking her around).
Let’s move onto your marriage. You right. You can’t go back to the same old marriage and paper over the cracks. There is simply no sense in going round the same old patterns again. The question is could you have a different marriage with your wife. A new one with honesty about what you need. A new one where you do not bury your feelings. A new one where you are lovers as well as co-parents. What would your wife need before she would contemplate such a marriage? If she is up for a new marriage, what would it look like for her? Do you two visions have anything in common – beyond the children? However, before you can have any sort of conversation with your wife, you have to take the truth drug and tell her everything that has happened and clear up all the lies. When you do not tell the truth, you are not present and you can’t be connected to anyone or having any feelings at all. Worse still, you end up lying to yourself and if you’re doing that how can you know what you want?
Although you are putting the problems of your marriage down to sex…. And you may well be right. However, I find there is often a lot more to unpack that just what happens in bed. Here is the problem. Men are trained not to listen to their heart (and sometimes they are told not to think too much – and just get on with it). Meanwhile, they are told to think a LOT about what their penis wants. (In fact, there is a whole industry called porn which reinforces the message that sex is of supreme importance to men.) So if you’re not listening to your heart and your head, put you are tuned into your penis, it’s quite likely that a whole lot of problems that don’t necessarily belong to your private parts end up registering there. It is perfectly possible that if you talk to your wife honestly about sex that you can have different love life in your new marriage to each other.
Hello Andrew, I’ve found you post while looking for some help. I’m also torn between wife and my girlfriend, but my situation is a bit different than “usual” affair. Or at least I think so.
Me and my wife have faced huge crisis in spring 2018, when she told me she fell in love with her co-worker. It wasn’t a physical relationship, but she put all her emotions in him. We’ve been living together for next few months, pretending that everything is ok and we are able to “split up without anger”. The reason we’ve been living together was strictly financial – my wife wouldn’t be able to afford living on her own, so I agreed to stay for next few months. But I finally moved out on november.
After I moved out, I decided to do something for myself and start living fully on my own. That’s when I also met a wonderful girl (I knew her before, but she didn’t know my situation). We started talking and, well, one thing led to another and we started seeing each other on a daily basis. Quickly after that, we’ve both fallen in love. I can’t remember, when I was that happy.
BUT in the meantime (shortly after I started seeing the other girl), my wife told me that she wants to go back. That what she did was a mistake and she doesn’t want to lose me. She proposed marriage counseling, which I agreed on.
That’s when the “affair” became real for me. On one side there was my wife, willing to do what she can to save our marriage, on the other – my beautiful, sweet and caring girlfriend I wanted to be with. Since then I’m painfully torn apart and I don’t know what to do.
Few days back, my wife called me (we still don’t live together) and told me that “maybe I should find someone else, because she is tired of it all”. I burst to tears. After that I wrote my girlfriend a message, looking for her support, and told her, what my wife said to me. But my girlfriend wasn’t actually supportive at that time. She also expressed anger and exhaustion and gave me an ultimatum – that I have 24h hours to decide, what to do next. Alone.
I got furious at her, but said nothing that evening. Instead, I slept through the night in attempt to clear my thoughts and emotions. The next day I went to my wife’s house and told her that I want to try and work on our marriage for one last time (it’s a second crisis and separation within 2 years), including moving back home in next few weeks. She was happy. My girlfriend, of course, was devastated after I told her.
For a short period I was relieved, because I finally made a decision. But now, after few days, I’m torn again, because I can’t stop thinking about my girlfriend. I miss her so much and feel sorry because of what I did to her. I feel that I’ve made a mistake choosing my wife over her. I’m afraid that I decided to go back to my wife not out of love, but because of fear, anger (because of my girlfriend’s ultimatum) and the desire to remain perceived as the “good guy” who always makes wise and right decisions (as my surroundings perceive me this way).
I feel horrible, I can’t control my emotions. I’m not the guy I used to be.
I will be grateful for some advice.
Andrew G. Marshall says
You have to tell your wife about the other woman. Otherwise, she cannot make an informed choice about whether she wants to work on the relationship as well. You also need to understand yourself better.Why do you need to be a good guy all the time. (A people pleaser) Does it really make other people happy and what is the cost of not being honest to yourself. Why do you feel that you have to control (rather than listen to) your feelings? If you are interested in working on yourself read my book ‘Wake Up and Change Your Life’
Thank you, Andrew!
I am truly in a continuous state of feeling anxious, in agony and guilty of not being able to find a way out of my situation as my wife is a very good woman but very principled and religious, the latter the cause of my affair. This was my reason and not an excuse. Ive spent years alone on saturdays as my wife is seventh day adventist. I met my ‘affair lo er’ uniintentially, totally out of the blue and unexpectedly. I met her while walking my dogs mindi g my own business for God’s sake. I/we felt an energy between us, an understanding and later on a very strong sexual attraction that remains constant since a long time. She was in an unhappy marriage for many years which caused enormous stress and auto immune system problems. We didnt sleep together until 6 months later as i felt bad feeling what i no longer felt for my wife. It is unrealistic to go on in detail about the complexities in my life. I love both woman but the extra dimension is with my lover. I feel so torn, guilty and in agony as to what i must do as id feel horrible hurting either woman. I feel as if paralysed…I am not a filanderer, not a man who engages mindlessly with other woman
Andrew G. Marshall says
You will have to be honest with your wife and tell her what has happened…. the longer you lie to her, the more you will hurt her. Think about all the omissions and half truths with the other woman. You might not want to hurt her either but have you edited how you really feel to ‘protect her’. How honest have you been with yourself? Whether your wife’s religion is a reason or an excuse or a justification or a rationalisation, why didn’t you tell her it was such a big problem to you? probably because you were not honest enough with yourself to have it in the front of the mind and then to speak up. So how do you get out of paralysis? Speak your truth.
This post describes my situation perfectly. I have been with my wife for 10 years and married for 4. We met in college at a party and soon became intimate . I was never initially faithful as I just want just wantes to “have fun” in college. We were intimate for about 1 year before she found out she was pregnant with twins. After our kids were born I was still never completely faithful. I think I was struggling with be a young parent and having so responsibility thrown on top of me that o didn’t necessarily want or ask for. I know this sounds extremely selfish but I wasn’t ready to be a parent. I just wanted to have fun like the rest of my friends. Also I had and still have so much resentment towards her for hiding the pregnancy from me until she was 5 months pregnant and showing. Nevertheless I took care of my kids and was the best dad I could possibly be. I coached sports teams, went to every parent teacher conference, had a very close relationship with my kids. At the age of 2 my wife and kids moved out of state to live with me as I had gotten another job and was working towards a very promising career. My wife (at the time fiancé) was struggling to find work and everything was on me. I took care of EVERYTHING. The kids, our home, the finances, everything. She eventually found work and shortly after had an affair. This broke me to my core and after months of trying to convince her to be with me and her repeatedly leaving me for this other man. I moved to a neighboring town on my own and had my kids 50% of the time. A few months later she asked me to forgive her and told me she has made a mistake. I did. And we gotten back together. I repressed the hurt and betrayal and we got married a year later. Throughout my marriage I have not been faithful. I consistently have “short term” affairs. But never had any feelings towards these other women. It was purely physical for me. I started a new job 1 year ago that was only a 1 year contract. I met another woman at this job. Except this time instead of being only physical I have become SERIOUSLY emotionally involved. I love this other woman (my girlfriend). I stopped coming home and was essentially living with my girlfriend for about 5 months. Everything was perfect with her. Everything seemed right. For once I was with someone I actually chose. Recently the guilt has been pouring on. My wife in her hurt and betrayal told my kids I was cheating. So now my 10 year old twins resent me. I recently came back home because my kids and wife are suffering. I told my girlfriend that we had to stop. I’ve been back home with my wife and I’ve slept on the couch. I only think about my girlfriend. Sex with my wife is not enjoyable anymore. I love her for who she is. But I am not in love with her. All I think about is going back with my girlfriend but I’m afraid of losing my kids. I am living the state I’m 4 months for another contract with my job. I will be a flight away from home for 4 years. I initially planned on making this move with my wife and kids. But through all this I have told my girlfriend that I want her to come. I am lost and dying inside. I have to make a decision and I don’t know what to do. I’ve felt that if my wife and I didn’t have kids we probably wouldn’t be together today. Everyday I change my mind on who I want but all I am doing is hurting my girlfriend, kids, wife and myself. If I get divorced I’ll only see my kids a few weeks a year (for 4 years at least). If I stay married I worry that this will all just happen again. I have to make a decision and a decision very soon.
Andrew G. Marshall says
You need to have a complete heart to heart with your wife. Talk about the history and all the hurt that has been caused from the hiding the pregnancy and her affair. Tell her about your infidelity. Put all your cards on the table and listen as she puts her cards on the table. When you have both had time to digest what has happened and how you both feel, you can decide what to do. Is there enough love and a strong enough bond to properly sort this out. You will probably need marriage counselling to help – and not just paper over the cracks. Alternatively, you will decide that you are both to exhausted from the last ten years and talk about splitting up in the way that is least harmful for the kids. What I suppose I am saying is don’t make the decision alone – discuss it with your wife. Take your time and make a proper decision rather than a rushed one (which you will changes a day later).
Impressed with your artical
Can I talk to you
Andrew G. Marshall says
Thank you. I am afraid that I only do face-to-face sessions in London (occasionally) or in Berlin (for intensive therapy). If you go to the top of the page, and click on counselling you will see how to reach my Practice Manager.
Marilyn Sloane says
I am in this position now, my partner of 6 years told me in November that he didn’t love me any more and was thinking about leaving, I asked if there was anyone else and he said no. We agreed to try to sort things out , long standing problems but we managed to resolve them all, in December he said again he was thinking of leaving but this time admitted there was another woman he works with but again he wanted to get us back on track, again in January he was having doubts. Early in February he told me he loves the other woman and was leaving, looked at renting a house, then went for a long walk alone and came back begging me to forgive him, he told her he was staying and we started moving forward then 3 weeks later he is back to not knowing what he wants. He bumps into her at work and when she gets upset he can’t cope with it, He is now trying to decide what to do, I know I have made mistakes and things had built up but we really have sorted the problems, he said he hasn’t been physical with her except for a couple of kisses and I believe him. He is a good man and I want to both hit him and hug him. She has now left her partner and is telling him he is only staying with me through guilt and when he leaves the feeling will pass soon. He said he feels less sure he loves her now than he did in December. He still says he doesn’t think he loves me but I think he does have feelings for me as he doesn’t act like someone who doesn’t care . I know it is partly my fault that he got involved with her as I was really having an emotional affair with someone else at the time and I realised how much I love my partner and stopped but this was the time it started with the other woman. How much time do I give him to make up his mind he is in total turmoil and really struggling? Should I make it easy for him and tell him to leave even though I love him and we have a great life together most of the time.
Andrew G. Marshall says
These are just the questions that we discuss in my support groupAndrew G. Marshall’s Infidelity Survival Training and Support Group – Confidentiality Agreement I think you would find it really helpful. So my quick advice on this… discuss your questions with him? How much times does he need to sort out his mind? What is he going to do to help this process – rather than waiting for a flash of inspiration? It makes a big difference if he has a credible plan.
We have been together for 4 years and married for 2 . I have felt neglected sexually and constantly tried to communicate with my wife my needs, and she continued to neglect/not take them seriously. I vented to a co worker and we fell for each other. I feel an intense “love” for my gf and we seem to really connect; however, I am caught in the yo yo lover phase. I hate the thought of losing friends, our house, separating raising our children, and losing the life I had wanted with my wife. I keep holding on that “maybe the feelings will come back”, but I still feel empty toward my wife. The thought of her moving on makes me sick, and I want nothing more than that love to come back…. but I just don’t feel it. I feel so strongly for my gf, but the “unknown” of choosing to be with her scares me. I want so badly some direction on what choice to make, but my moral compass seems to have abandoned me.. any advice is greatly appardciated
Andrew G. Marshall says
You won’t ‘feel’ it for your wife. You are angry with her. A large wall has been built up between you which needs to be removed before the love can return. The two of you need to communicate better, so she listens and you find a way of expressing your needs that can be heard. If you have children, it seems to be worth putting in the work. Firstly, it might repair your marriage. Secondly, it would lay the foundations for being good co-parents (if you find it is not possible to start again). Thirdly, leaving for your lover is the most devastating option for your wife and children. Fourthly, step-parenting in this position is really poisonous and will underline the ‘intense’ love for your girlfriend. It is easy to think love will find a way but I’m afraid reality is a line more complicated.
I have been married for 9 years. I have suspected my husband was having an affair for months. Finally got proof by overhearing a conversation between the 2 of them. When I confronted him about it, he immediately denied it. Then I repeated parts of the conversation word for word and he came clean. He said he sorry and didn’t want to hurt me. He said he wasn’t looking for another relationship but it just sort of happened and doesn’t love her but unsure if he wants to stop seeing her. He said he’s been unhappy for a while. I never realized he was so unhappy. We don’t communicate the way we should. Our sex life is pretty good but we both have long work schedules and have fallen into a rut. We don’t have fun anymore the way we used to. As hurt as I am about this I really do want to work it out. I feel like I’m losing my best friend. I get everyone makes mistakes and think our relationship, love we have for each other is worth saving. As it stands now, he is trying to sort through his feelings and decide what he wants. I think he is confused because she is shiny and new but that wears off. Do I back off and let him deal with it on his own or do I make every effort to try and repair this? I don’t want to allow myself to become manipulated in staying with someone that is torn between 2 people. That’s not fair to me. Should I just initiate the separation and move on?
Andrew G. Marshall says
Don’t rush to make any decisions. Take time to talk and discover what you want and what is possible. You will find his emotions will change from day to day and so will yours. Be patient with yourself and get plenty of support. You might want to consider my groupAndrew G. Marshall’s Infidelity Survival Training and Support Group
thank you for the information, i was married for 25 years now divoriced had a relationship but unfortunaly she passed away began another relationship and i find my self attached to her and especalliy the kids, now that my ex wife has popped up i enjoy her companship, cuddling, and talking with her, but i can not be intimate with her as i feel that flame has burned out, but i do love her as she is the mother of my kids and i cannot just kick 25 years aside, on the other hand i have this women of 6 years yes its up and down a bit rocky, her kids are wonderful to me i love being welcomed when i show up, and the sex is great makes me feel young again, but i am confussed still.
Andrew G. Marshall says
What happens when the sex with the new woman is less attractive? What happens when domesticity (living with her) takes the shine off the passion. You will be back to square one – just poorer and you kids angry and upset with you. If you want my advice, find out why the flame went out with your life and relight it. You can find out more in my book ‘Have the sex you want’ A couples guide to getting back the spark.
I’ve been married since almost 6 years now. However I’ve been in love with someone else for around 8 months now. Due to our traditions we don’t get to have sex until after marriage. So it’s not just sex unless on the phone counts. To be honest I haven’t been the prefect husband lately and I already spoke to my wife about it 2 months ago. We came to a point where I have to choose one of them. But since I have kids and she’s currently pregnant my choice was obvious her the the kids happiness over mine. Since then we almost stopped our interaction together (me & my lover) but I can’t stop thinking about her at all, I feel that my happiness is with her and her only. I keep thinking about her 24/7. It just feels like I haven’t fell in lover ever in my life. She makes me feel so special in a way my wife never did. I think am not attracted to my wife any more and sex is just to fulfill a need. Although I truly respect and honor her and the time we had to gather but now nothing from what she does makes me feel that I love her and should appreciate her. I really don’t know what to do. Am so tired of everything. I can’t focus on either my life or my family’s. I wish that I can keep everyone happy including myself. I sometimes hate going back home. I hope everyone workout for everyones best and I hope I can get some help from you.
Andrew G. Marshall says
Have you thought what would REALLY happen if you left your wife for this woman? How would she be treated by your community? How would you feel if your relationship with your children changed and they were distant and angry? Could this relationship only work in some magical parallel world? How well do you know this woman? I know you will say really well but how much in the REAL world. What makes her feel flirting with a married man with children will bring her joy (especially one with a culture that is completely family focused and extra marital sex is outlawed). She either does not understand what she is taking on or she does and is in a dark place where she needs the BUZZ of an affair to save her. It is not a good foundation for a happy marriage. Next do you understand about limmerence – the crazy part of falling in love which does not last forever – or why your marriage has reached the point it has. I explain both in my book ‘I love you but I’m not in love with you’. Finally, when you stopped seeing your girlfriend and couldn’t stop thinking about her, you thought it proved it was TRUE love but that is a natural part of grieving (where you keep thinking what if.)
I’m in an 8 month relationship with a single lady 10 years younger than me & from the former USSR. I’m also married for 31 years & both women are fully aware of my situation, ( no lies or secrets). I’ll start with my GF. For sure dating me is the most immoral thing she has ever done. My life has been very liberal & adventurous while she has & does live a very proper conservative lifestyle. Her culture & values are unmatched & unlike any woman I have ever known in my 55 years. She’s successful, educated & beautiful. She’s very independent & definitely a pillar of strength. We are near the point of moving in together, (her home). As for my wife, we are the same age but she also is exceptionally beautiful & appears much younger than me. Her mentality is much more liberal & we have definitely lived on the risque side of life most of our marriage. She is successful as well & truly regrets letting things get to this point. She is doing everything she can to save our marriage & accepted her blame for things going south. Financial infidelity was / is our downfall & even though she regularly attends counciling she continues to struggle with being honest about finances. I can’t say that I don’t still have feelings for her because we have had a long & for the most part passionate relationship. I’m at the crossroads of a pending divorce & deciding on starting a new life. 1 day I believe I know what I want & the next I’m just not sure. I’ve been fortunate to meet 2 amazing women & now am going to have to choose 1 of the 2. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever faced & truly I care about each of them very much. Help???
Andrew G. Marshall says
I am glad that you are being honest with both women. It makes everything easier but I wonder if you have been as honest with yourself. Have you looked at how you reached such a difficult place. How come you didn’t speak up sooner about your wife’s spending issues? Do you say what you think you should rather than what you say to people (in particular women)? Are you being entirely honest about how you feel about the gap in values (or do you say love with close the gap)? Do you nod and agree with your GF even though you know you are storing up problems for the future. When I counsel people in a similar dilemma to you, we find the roots of the problem go right back to childhood – probably starring by pleasing their mother. Could it be that you don’t just need to chose but you need to change?
My husband is in this exact situation. We’ve been married 23 years with a 16 and 14 year old. He is in love with his 14 year younger affair partner. In January, we separated and I was under the impression it was so he could think clearly about what he wanted. Found out two weeks ago, he actually took his emotional affair to a “full blown committed sexual relationship “ with her when he moved out.
We started divorce proceedings in April. He told me two weeks ago he wasn’t sure this was the right decision because he knows I don’t want it and he was starting to question if he truly wants it. He says he’s torn between deciding if he wants to work on our marriage and choosing her. In this two weeks though, he has continued to talk to her and see her, and anytime we talk or are together I feel no hope, love, anything.
He has asked for an open marriage more than once and I have no interest in that.
I told him I think he should take a month with zero contact with either of us to really, truly make an unbiased, uninfluenced decision because there are 5 lives here that stand to be deeply impacted by whatever decision he makes. He acts like that’s an unreasonable request that he can’t consider. So my question here is, is that a fair reasonable request with so much on the line here or isn’t it? I truly don’t know anything anymore…HELP!
Andrew G. Marshall says
Your husband is in affair brain. He can’t think straight. He wants one thing one moment (and knows his affair is not the solution) and the next he wonders if he could be wrong (because he loves the way it sometimes makes him feel). So in his corner, it is unreasonable to ask for zero contact. In the real world, of course, it is a sensible solution. Be aware you are living in two worlds. What should you do? let him get on with messing up his life. I doubt he has managed to completely trash his life yet and realise this affair is a dead end (and he’s just driven the car against a a brick wall). I would take some time off worrying about him and living through the madness of his affair (second hand), look after yourself and get into a stronger place. While you’re doing this, I would not progress the affair. When you are feeling stronger, assess what YOU want, check in with your husband (he might not be spouting rubbish about open marriages). At this point, you will have a better idea of how to move forward. You might also like to consider joining my infidelity support group (where I have a helpful video on Affair Brain).
I’m 15 months into affair and we both know how it can hurt the families. Shes recently separated, devoiced once before. I’ve been married over 35 years. We went to middle school together and share memories of those years. We have fallen in love with each other but know it can’t be blessed if we act on our feelings. We’ve tried to call it quits many times only to go back with days. I want to say we both know what to do. We are in control right now but if this gets out we won’t be. We talked about just being friends but that’s difficult the desire is too strong for each other. I know I have to end it and go through the letting go process and work on my relationship with my wife. I often think about how I would feel if my wife did want I did. Very confused….
Andrew G. Marshall says
I have heard from many people who are having an affair. They all say ‘I can control it’ and then find they can’t! If you know you have to end it, that’s what you should do. Being friends is just continuing the affair (albeit in an emotional rather than sexual way). You will be just prolonging the agony and increasing the chances of being found out. When it is finished, it will be agony and you’ll want to start again. What you really need to do is discover why your relationship (and you) were vulnerable to an affair. Discover what needs to change, learn and grow. You can’t get out of the confusion until you get out of the affair. And, you won’t like this, but I think you should tell your wife what has been going on. I am sure she knows something is wrong and although she will be angry, ultimately it is only fair that she understands rather than being left in the dark.
My boyfriend is going through this now. He moved out on his wife and son and in with me. So I know I won, but I still see he struggles at time. Can you please reach out to him? He just wants to be happy, I know he is happier with me then he ever was with her!
Andrew G. Marshall says
I don’t understand the term ‘won’? Is it a game?
ı am living an affair for two years. ı am 46 years old and my lover is 25. Last two tears was the most difficult years of my life. I have 3 children what happened at the end of this three years is that i lost both of them. We are living in Azerbaijan in which we came for my work from Turkey.
we were here for 6 years and everything began before two years ago.
I remember i was running after a love and at the end it found me. ı believe we loved each other sooo much and still i belive we love each other but we have to leave becouse at the end my wife decided to leave azerbaijan taking three children with her and gone to Turkey.
But the very strange thing is that when my wife decieded to leave my lover told me at least you should begin prosedured for divorce or i dont belive you and i can not be with you any more.
As ıf they give hand in hand at the same time and when my wife gone with my children my lover left me also. I was so angry with my lover and telling her that how can you leave me since my wife is going and will not be in this city anymore i will be living alone and we can easily live together fromnowon .On the otherhand i love my children very much and i was thinking how to overcome this feeling if i begin to live my lover.
As a result for 10 days me and my lover bloked each others numbers and we dont see each other. She knows that i am in a very difficult stutaion becouse i am on alone in my house and i am thinking about her and also it is very difficult for me to overcome that my family my children are away now and she eevn does not call me came to me once to see how am i.
So after long time i begin to think that she have not loved me so much if she loved me she would came and at leat talk to me once.
but i still love her very much and i am very desperate at one hand i want my children back but on the other hand i am thinkink my lover every single moment. I read books i try to control my thoughts about her i try to convince myself that she did not loved me otherwise she would be together with me but unfortunately i have no more power to fight with these thoughts.
I do not know what to do, pls send me your advices.
Andrew G. Marshall says
There is no soft landing. You have a stark choice. If you want to be with your children (it means giving up your lover). If you want to be with your lover, it means seeing your children probably once or twice a year. Do you want to have more children? A twenty-five year old woman will want children of her own. Are you prepared to work hard until you are almost 70 because two sets of children cost a lot of money! What impact will small children have on your love affair with your girl friend. I think you know from experience what will happen. If you want my advice, I would read about love in my book ‘I love you but I’m not in love with you’ which explains about limerence – the crazy, heady part of falling in love. We think it lasts forever – but normally only a couple of years.
I really felt this way, specifically in response to your short youtube video. I was the nice guy, so obsessed with my at the time girlfriend(now wife). But many times she would break up with me and then get back together with me for seemingly no reason. This made me feel like i had to chase her, do anything to get her. Now that we have been married for 1 month, I feel like i have made a mistake. For the past year or more we have been having issues that seem to be because she doesn’t support my interests. In the meantime I’ve met someone else who clicks with my personality in a way i never have with my now wife. I’ve recently told my wife many of my problems with our relationship and she was crushed, but wanted to work on it. I’m not sure that i do, but i feel obligated to stay with her. Yet I’m also afraid to come clean about my girlfriend as i know that it would completely crush her. I’m not sure what to do as my girlfriend wants me to leave my wife because she doesn’t want to be the “other woman” which is fair. But I’m at the point right now where I don’t wan to hurt my wife, yet i don’t want to stop seeing the girlfriend. How do i make the right choice?
Andrew G. Marshall says
You need to come clean about the girlfriend. Your wife WILL find out. She will be angry if you tell her but even ANGRIER if she tries to change and all the time you had someone else. She deserves to know the truth.
Hi Andrew! Thanks for the article! I’m the girlfriend that has been cheated on. Me and the bf were together almost 5 years. He’s been cheating since February and just recently broke up with me at the beginning of July. We have lived together for the majority of our relationship, and we have 2 kids together. I want to work this out, currently he says he “wants to see what’s there with her.” We still live together and he plans to keep it that way, so the children can have both of their parents daily. I feel like he should see what’s there with her, so he can decide if that’s the life he wants. I feel like he already knows in his head we will get back together, though, at the same time. He’s calling me more now on the phone than he has in the previous few months. We have actually had some productive communication between us, which was nonexistent before. He has told me that he and I are better friends than she and he are. He and I have more in common than she and he do. That he doesn’t like other people’s kids, and she has 3. I feel like he’s already made excuses on why it won’t work with her, and part of me feels like he can’t come back to me yet without trying with her because then that would actually make his actions “wrong” in his head (my perspective). I know he flip flops in his head about what he wants- me or her. He has told me that. And has told me that she can feel it- that he’s constantly thinking about what to do. I know how we got to this point, our sex life was horrible (frequency), I pushed him away emotionally (just recently got depression diagnosis). I’ve been making changes, and he has told me that he likes the person I am now, I’m more myself like when we first got together. And that this has been who he has wanted for so long. But he says he’s angry that I’ve made changes NOW instead of when he needed them from me. He’s been angry for/about the past 2 years of our relationship. And he doesn’t think he can get over that. I have told him that I believe he can, and that we can build our relationship into something else, a new emotion, and while I don’t expect him to forget those 2 years or that anger, that’s not all that we can have. I truly believe that if we get the chance to work this out, then we can build something so much better than what we originally had, before the anger. I feel like he just needs time, but it’s so hard knowing he’s still seeing her. I’m willing to fight, because I’ve looked up the stats on affairs and seen that they usually burn out after so long, and I’m thinking that’s what he’s waiting for. I just don’t know if continuing my changes and staying out of the way of the affair is my best solution? Wait it out? Or force a decision? I feel like forcing him to decide will push him away even further.
Andrew G. Marshall says
If you are changing because it is better for you (for example dealing with the depression and learning to communicate better) that’s fine. If you are twisting yourself into uncomfortable shapes, to win him back (for example suppressing all your feelings) that’s not such a good idea. Please don’t try and compete with her. It will just make you feel bad. I would not try and force a decision because you will either get a false stay (with him hiding contact) or you will close down communication with him. It sounds like you could also benefit from my support group where I have time to go into further detail about how to look after yourself AND keep the door open.Andrew G. Marshall’s Infidelity Survival Training and Support Group
I’m going through this right now. It sucks 100%. My wife is pissed cause I told her the truth. My girlfriend is pissed cause I told the truth. I am pretty sure both of them hate me. Then there’s the kids of course who can’t make heads or tails of it. I am so torn and don’t know what to do. Your advice is spot on, if only I would have saw this sooner.
Andrew G. Marshall says
Thanks. Good luck with sorting this out.
Hi, I am married since last 12 years & have 2 children. I met a girl around 2 years back & we both fell in love with each other. She was engaged but she broke it because of me. Her parents hardly supports her & she was alone. Then i secretly started living with her & told my family that I have been transfered. My wife came to know about us in 3 months & i came back to her. Thereafter I kept on meeting that girl & nine months back, i left my wife & started living with her again. Now I am living in guilty in dumping my wife & children also needs me.
My wife is going into depression & I want to help her. My kids keep on sending the messages & request me to come back. However the truth is that I love that girl so much.
What should I do? This is giving me sleepless nights & I may not be able to live in the guilt for the rest of my life.
Also I am the only support to that girl so I assume that she will be broken if I leave her.
Andrew G. Marshall says
It seems like you are trying to sort out your girlfriend’s life. It sounds like you want to make your wife’s life better too. How did you get so focused on pleasing everybody? Normally, it starts with our childhood. Trying to keep your parents happy and carries on from here. Basically, you have to know where you are going before you invite a woman to join you. First, you don’t know where you are going? And why did you lie to everybody? It just makes things worse. Think about what you can learn from your mistakes and commit to changing because your current style is not working for you, the women you love or your children.
Man I could really use your help. I have been married for 14 years with 4 kids and been through a lot with my wife. A new girl showed up at work about 2 months ago and was instantly smitten with her. We had been flirting back and forth but not really admitting to it until a few weeks ago. We hung out, had some drinks and took it a little too far. Since then I haven’t had anything on my brain but her. I have lied to everyone I know and did all kinds of crazy things just to make time to see her. This past weekend my wife started to become suspicious and questioned me. I didn’t exactly come out and say it but offered an alternative. A parenting marriage, where we could both have lives but work together to raise the kids. That backfired like crazy, my wife kicked me out, packed up all my stuff, and immediately began brainwashing the kids about how horrible I am. At the same time, this other girl told me she can’t be with me because of my family drama as it could jeopardize her job. It’s been like 2 days, but I was able to work my way back into the house and discuss things with my wife. Here’s my dilemma;
I want to work things out with my wife for my kids sake and to return some normalcy to our household. (She took everything off the walls in a fit of rage, understandable.) I’m not sure I still love her though.
However, I do think I love this other girl as she is very much like me and we are very compatible. Of course it’s only the infancy of our relationship an basically on hold now that she won’t talk to me. I am pretty messed up over this situation and would very much like some advice. Obviously I am a bad person and probably don’t deserve either woman but I need to take care of my children.
Andrew G. Marshall says
Calling yourself a bad person will not help. It will just make you low and depressed and do stupid things. I wonder how you can truly know that someone is like you and really compatible after two months. I think you are probably infatuated and full of fantasies rather than true love. My suggestion would be to work out why your life has got to such a point that you would do ‘all kinds of crazy things’. By the way, if the only answers you come up with is about your wife (and her failings), please think again. What do you need to do differently? Remember it takes two people to let a marriage get to this point. What do you need to do differently?
I found this post and it hit home. My wife left me two and a half years ago (we were together 10 years, married for 5). A few months after we separated, she filed for divorce and it was finalised fairly quickly. In the interim I tried in vain to save our marriage. I genuinely tried to take a hard look at myself and work on myself and see all the reasons our marriage broke down but she would have none of it. She just walked out. And never came back. She said she had a lot of problems (she did..) with herself and wanted to work on herself.
Anyway, it was the most painful experience of my life. I truly loved my wife. Then, in time I rebuilt my life and met this amazing girl. Very beautiful, sexy, of course with her own problems as everyone does have them. So I’m happy with her in different ways than I was with my wife.
My ex-wife was partly in the picture catching up every now and then (we don’t have kids..). And when she found out about my relationship… boom. She now wants to work on things. She says we should go to counseling, she loves me, we should try to figure it out, etc. etc.
I am torn. I’m very very attracted to my girlfriend. We’ve been together about a year now and although things have been rocky due to covid etc they have still been great. Our sex life is awesome in a way that it never was with my wife. Sex with my wife was ok, but pretty straightforward. This could’ve been due to my own lack of experience or leading role, (I’ve gained a bit more there..), but that’s how it stands.
Anyway I told my ex-wife to wait while I figure this out and she made some advances, got disappointed and cut contact for now. I told her I will reach out if and when I am ready to take things forward.
Currently still with my girlfriend. I am very very conflicted about what to do. I think I need to work on myself and know myself better. I read a lot of your posts. Any other ideas on how to figure this out?
For what it’s worth, my ex-wife was my best friend, companion, was a good wife to me, etc. I would not have left her even though she was going through some tough emotional issues and was quite abusive at the time of our separation. I have done plenty of wrong things and also broken her heart in my own way, otherwise she wouldn’t have left me. But at this point it is so difficult to choose the final version of our marriage (a very bad place) vs this new and fresh thing.
Got any ideas for a tormented soul?
Andrew G. Marshall says
Thanks for trusting me with this. My best idea for a tormented soul is to understand itself better and how it reached this place. My second best idea is to give yourself time. Well done for being honest with your wife and putting your cards on the table. I am concerned about two things with her, first she seems to be fuelled by the thought of you with another woman (and that on its own does not seem the foundation for a new marriage) and second, she cut off contact straight away. So how do you learn about yourself? I would read my book ‘Are you right for me?’ – I think the title will speak to you! I would also have a look at ‘I love you but I’m not in love with you’ because I explain some of the problems of being best friends and how that can make it hard to have difficult conversations for fear of upsetting each other (and the impact of that on your relationship). Finally have a listen to my podcast ‘The Meaningful Life with Andrew G Marshall’ as there are several editions that will be interesting to you. Look out for the episode in January 2021 with Richard Lang as we will discuss your letter together.
Thank you for your kind and detailed reply. It is really helping me!
To be fair, my ex-wife didn’t cut off contact immediately. She approached me, told me how she felt, we talked more closely for about 2 months and then when she felt I wasn’t ready to jump all in, she felt that I wasn’t treating her right and cut contact. She felt that I was hmm’ing and haww’ing for far too long. And she explained to me that it was really painful for her to be in this situation. I get it, because I was in the exact same situation two years ago when she wanted out. I asked her for time and asked her to have faith in us but at some point she got sick of it and didn’t feel valued enough to stay in the picture. I feel bad that I could have been more clear with her somehow but to be honest, I’m in a relationship with someone and this is a difficult question. I am genuinely confused. Not trying to treat her bad. And it sucks to see her hurt.
In the meantime I got myself a therapist and have been talking regularly about my relationship confusion. Mostly also to understand what happened during my marriage and why we broke up. What did I do. What did I think. The whys of it all. After a few weeks, upon encouragement by my therapist, I reached out to my ex-wife via email and asked her if we could hang out in a friendly way, to rebuild our relationship and see how things can blossom.
This was met with hostility and total rejection. She replied that she neither wants to talk to me, see me, or be friends, or anything with me. She wants to move on. It is over. Completely.
I was of course really shaken up and upset with the rejection but I think it is expected. She expected me to perhaps say that I am all in, and since I am not ready for this, it must have deeply hurt her. Especially after she opened up to me over the summer about her wanting to give us another shot.
My girlfriend and I are still going strong. We’ve been seeing each other for about a year now. And honestly I feel terrible hurting my girlfriend too. So I need to figure this out for me, and make a choice. For now, it seems like my ex-wife made the choice for me. But I too need to know what I want. So in whichever direction I proceed, it will be with confidence and I can own it.
I did read your book ILYB back when I was getting divorced. I found it helpful but since it is aimed mostly at couples in the pre-breakup phase, I couldn’t put anything from the book into practice because my wife had already left the house and was filing for divorce. I’m re-reading it now and can really relate to the different phases Limerence, Loving Attachment and Affectionate Regard. It is so helpful to see that what I have for my ex-wife is affectionate regard and still some degree of loving attachment lingering even 2 years after our separation and subsequent divorce.
I also started reading the book you recommended (Are you right for me..) and will definitely check out the podcast. I know that a lot of problems in my relationship with my wife happened because of my lack of clarity around being with her after my father’s death so I do not, absolutely do not, want to approach her and get back into things without sorting myself out and giving her the love and security she deserves. Long term.
Last thing I want to do is hurt her even more.
Thank you again for your reply and advice. I look forward to the podcast episode and what you have to say in it as well!