This is a comment that Divorced Girl Smiling received from a cheating spouse, along with my comments and advice.
I have been married 17 years to my wife and we have 3 great kids. I’ve been unhappy for a long time. It’s one of those situations where it was just the way it was, and I didn’t want to be alone if I left. We are both professionals and financially are very well off. But for years she makes me feel like one of her employees. If I don’t do a task “properly” it gets commented on. There is no “lovey-dovey” sweetheart-type behavior that I see with other couples.
We make very good business partners but I don’t feel like husband and wife. I find myself feeling somewhat indifferent toward her. If she takes a trip I find myself wishing that she wouldn’t come back. This makes me feel so guilty. Then I met “her”.
At a business meeting two months ago. I wasn’t looking for anything, we just met briefly, but started texting all the time. We “talk” all day long and have probably had more meaningful conversations in 2 months than most couples have in a year. We are absolutely crazy about each other. We’ve had a few dates, but we live several hours apart so it’s difficult.
Yes, I know all the problems: 1. it’s all new and shiny right now. 2. It’s only been two months. 3. blah blah blah. The fact is that she brings out the best in me. She loves my sense of humor, whereas at home I get a lot of blank stares so I just keep quiet. At home it’s a lot of feeling stressed and walking on eggshells. With Miss New Girl it’s so relaxed. We laugh about everything. It kills me to be apart from her. She feels the same. So now I’m wondering about leaving. I’m so torn up inside because of the guilt I’m carrying that I want to leave my wife.
There is no support for that. Everything I have seen relating to a situation like mine completely vilifies the man as being selfish and immature and slays the “other woman” as should know better, why is she getting involved with a married man anyway? Facing all this is torturing me. I really think that Miss New Girl and I have something very special. But I wish someone would tell me that it’s OK to feel this way. I don’t want to do counseling. Like Jackie said, if you ask if it would be nice to reconcile and you say no, you’ve checked out. I definitely feel like I’ve checked out. I feel like I’m cheating on Miss New Girl when I’m at home with my wife. It’s crazy. I just try to avoid my wife as much as possible. This whole mess is tearing me up.
Wow. This is really a tough one. I find that part of me is judging you, a person who is sneaking around, happily in love while living under the same roof with a wife and three kids who know nothing. After all, just because your wife is cold and unemotional towards you, does she deserve to be living with a cheater? Don’t get mad, I’m not done.
All that said, I totally understand how this can happen because I see it so very often, and I really feel for you. I bet you are a really good person, and you’ve been a committed husband and father, a provider who tried to do the best you could for years. That is commendable. No one should have to “settle” for a life with someone who is cold, who stopped appreciating them, and who treats them like an employee.
Here are my red flags for your situation:
“I didn’t want to be alone if I left,” you say. So, what you’re basically saying is, if you never met this woman, you’d still be in the same spot, not even considering leaving? Have you ever considered leaving before? I guess, as a woman I’m kind of mad at you for giving up! For not trying harder! (I’m also mad at your wife, by the way because she didn’t try hard enough either.) My point is, I firmly believe people shouldn’t leave people for another person. People should leave if they are truly unhappy, they’ve exhausted all possibilities of making the relationship better (talking, counseling, etc.) and if they absolutely feel there is no way to go back and fix it. Maybe something really bad happened, maybe there’s an addiction, maybe there was unwarranted cheating. Those are deal breakers. Do you have a deal breaker here?
“We’ve have probably had more meaningful conversations in 2 months than most couples have in a year,” you say. Come on. You are in la la land, and you will be there for the next couple years. I’m not minimizing your new relationship. I get it. It feels wonderful to feel alive and happy, and meet someone who cherishes you and thinks you are all that. It feels like waking up from a coma. And you even said it, “it’s all new and shiny right now.”
You say you want someone to tell you it’s okay to feel this way. Of course it is. No one has the right to tell you how to feel. You’re probably so freaking happy right now and I love that. Life is short. Know how many people I know who have cancer and other illnesses? We’re not here that long. Living unhappily is cheating yourself. So trust me, I get you.
Here’s the thing. You have to let yourself see the reality, which is that at some point, with this new girl, the shoe will drop. It will. That doesn’t mean she isn’t the one for you, and it doesn’t mean you won’t end up spending the rest of your life with her, but what you have now isn’t reality. It’s secret, sexy meetings that make you feel guiltier than hell, and the best you’ve ever felt in your life at the same time. Honestly, though, you don’t know this girl and you won’t for years.
What I would tell you is that no matter how bad things are at home, you really do owe it to your wife and kids NOT to be a cheater. I’m sorry if that sounds judgmental and impersonal, but I really do feel that way.
Also, if you leave and it doesn’t work out with this girl, are you okay to be alone? Because you said you didn’t want to be alone (which is an entirely different subject that disturbs me.) What’s so wrong with being alone? Wouldn’t you rather be alone than live with and be married to someone who makes you feel alone anyhow? To me, that’s almost worse. The question is: would you be “checked out” if you never met this woman?
The saddest part about this is that somewhere along the line, you and your wife stopped cherishing each other. It’s like if you decided to just stop watering a plant. It would die. Why did that happen? It’s probably not all your fault or hers. There’s no cheating, no addictions in the marriage, so why did you guys stop appreciating each other for all the things you married each other for? That might be crying over spilled milk, but I thought I’d bring it up.
Whatever you decide, I wish you all the best.