An email I received from a woman thinking of separating:
My husband and I are both in our forties. We have a seven year old. We have some significant compatibility issues in my eyes. He disagrees. I have attempted discussion with him in multiple capacities since our daughter was born, and it took me telling him I’m thinking of separating for him to take it seriously.
We have really built a great life together, but it’s more about our house, neighborhood, financial security, and what he doesn’t do (cheat, lie, etc.) rather than what he does do (participate). I love and respect him as a person, and he states that me leaving would “crush” him, and be “devastating.” He was married previously to a woman who was truly psychotic and actively suicidal and homicidal. Our differences became evident while child-rearing, and there has been so much that I have little interest in trying.
I don’t want to hurt him, but I am quite indifferent about him and the marriage. I am also an ass and have met someone recently with whom I “click” and who “gets me.” So, we have that huge comparison.
Given that my husband wants couples therapy, I have not picked a lawyer, and I don’t want to be impulsive. Where would you suggest starting? He is very scared, and I would like to be truthful with him. I just have very little interest in continuing this with a man I love as a human being and a man who feels like a brother-friend.
I have thought and thought about this and while I completely respect your feelings, I think you have to give your marriage another try. Hear me out.
Here is what you have going for you:
2. “We have built a great life together.”
3. “I love and respect him as a person.”
4. He wants therapy.
5. “This man I love as a human being.”
I am not going to minimize your feelings. If he feels like a brother, that’s a problem. If the two of you have different child-rearing philosophies that’s a problem. If you are bored, that’s a problem. BUT…..not a reason to jump into bed with another man, or to get divorced. I think you owe it to yourself and your husband and child to try again.
What I mean by that is, break off your affair. Sorry, it’s easy to “click” with someone at the beginning of a relationship, and out of the ballpark sex really really really really clouds sound judgment. By the way, you are not an ass at all. You are a human being with needs and you felt lonely and needed to escape. But if you decide to give your marriage another try, you need to end it with this guy. If your marriage ends later, he will be there. (I can’t guarantee it but I think it. ) And if he isn’t, then it wasn’t meant to be and there is someone else.
You also owe it to yourself and your husband and child to go to therapy. A lot of times therapy is unsuccessful, but there are so many stories where it worked. I have a guy friend who was on the brink of divorce. They couldn’t stand each other. Somehow, through communication and effort, he and his wife found a way back to each other. Now they are like newlyweds. So so so happy!!
Were you attracted to your husband at one point in your relationship? (probably the beginning?) Were there times where the two of you couldn’t keep your hands off each other? If yes, I truly believe it is possible to get that back. How?
1. End the affair (I know that isn’t easy.)
2. Go to therapy.
3. Start over. Start dating each other again. Take things slowly.
4. Talk to each other. Put all the cards on the table. Explain gently what’s bugging you.
5. Accept each other’s differences—and realize what you are willing to change and what you both know each of you can’t.
6. Be kind and thoughtful to each other. Romance each other with cards and gifts and thoughtful gestures. People want to have sex with people who they feel care for them. No one wants to have sex with someone who seems apathetic, bored, or who makes them feel badly about themselves.
7. Find a way to become partners again-best friends.
I’m not saying this is easy, or that it will happen over night. But once it happens, you will feel like you have a new boyfriend. I truly believe love can come back like that. It’s unusual, but very possible. Both people have to want it, and both people have to make the effort.
Living with anyone for a long time starts driving people nuts. Marriage is hard! It takes work. I think another chance truly is worth it. On the other hand, if you have mentally checked out, there is no turning back. That’s when it becomes non-salvageable. The choice is yours. Good luck!
Like this post? Check out my article, “Feeling Unappreciated?”