Kudos to anybody for getting go the end of this, because it will be long.
I'm 32, been married for 8.5 years to a man who is 10 years my senior. I'll cut right to the chase - I've been unfaithful for the past 4.5 years (I know, it's a lot) with a man I met through my old job. I know it was wrong, I know I am STILL in the wrong. I know it. But I don't know what to do NOW.
My husband has nothing to fault him, nothing that makes him "bad" or "neglectful". We had problems even before we married, but I was young and my parents really loved him. We don't communicate well, even though he tries. I'm an *extremely* emotional and creative person (I am in the arts industry), and really connect on nuances and subtleties. He's not like that....in fact, he has a really difficult time reading body language (even when it is obvious) and can be very socially awkward. He's very left-brained. And while he is brilliant at what he does, it leaves a huge gaping chasm where there should be emotional, or creative, or spiritual connection in our lives. I should also mention that he is a devout Christian, and I am an atheist. He is also interested in sex to a near addictive degree, and I have always had a low sex drive. Anyway. Those are just examples of some of our larger polarizing differences.
There comes a point where "agree to disagree" and "understanding each others' motivations" just doesn't satisfy anymore. I CRAVE connection. I crave the connection I get with the man I have been essentially "dating" for 4 years. We have formed an insanely close bond. It's not "butterflies". It's not "infatuation". It's a real relationship that has been forming under stressful and difficult conditions for close to 5 years. We've seen the best and worst of each other. It's a real thing, not just something I want it to be.
He is recently divorced, which has turned our lives upside down. While before we were both cheating on our spouses, he now finds himself with new freedom, and I am the only one in the wrong. But he doesn't want to move on from me. His heart breaks at the thought of being with another. But he doesn't want to be lonely forever, and I don't want that for him either. We are both in a very dark time right now.
I should also mention at this point that we are each others' best friend in the deepest sense of the word. We are also business partners, as if all of this wasn't difficult and complicated enough.
I have a few choices, but none of them are good.
I could divorce my husband and totally break his heart (he knows none of this....the not reading any non-verbal cues thing keeps him kind of naive on a lot of stuff that most people pick up on). While I know he could "move on and get over it", it would be awful for him. He moved across the country for me, and did not cheat on me. I am the bad one, not him. I have guilt over this in amounts you can probably imagine.
I could (and this is what the current plan is) try to repair my unsatisfying, boring, disconnected marriage, and the other man will try to find another person to love. Not only is this not what he wants, but watching someone you are deeply in love with date other people, or imagine them being close with other women...is perhaps the most heartbreaking thing...if you have never experienced it, it rips you apart inside. But at least this way we could still *try* to remain friends.
Or, tell my husband the truth and see what happens. Knowing him, he'd want to "patch it up" because he is extremely forgiving. However, I would never see my best friend again, and it would impact my career greatly since we work together.
I hate all of these, and I don't know what to do.
I know I am wrong, and I know I am awful. But now I have gotten myself in a situation with no "right" answer. Somebody I love is going to suffer greatly for whatever decision I make. I don't believe in Karma, but I do believe in making terrible decisions, and I really have, and now I have to pay for them :*(
Being in a similar situation, I can certainly empathize. What needs to happen, first and foremost, is take a step back and take a look at your life and your level of 'happiness'. If I understand correctly, you find yourself in a very terrible situation, with options that will be very difficult for both you, your husband and your 'partner'.
Now, ignoring everyone else in your life for the moment (spouse, lover, friends, family, etc), ask yourself this... 'What do YOU want out of life?'. 'What will make YOU happy?'. I can tell you with almost absolute certainty, if you make a decision that you believe will spare someone's else's feelings, or make it easier for someone else, then YOU will be the one who suffers and will end up unhappy and perhaps resentful. Believe me, if you can't be happy yourself, there's no way you can make anyone else around you happy either.
At some point, we all have to make the difficult choices in life... to stay and work hard on what you've built because you see legitimate potential. Or, leave, and still work hard on re-establishing yourself (be it in a new job or new relationship). Also, be honest with yourself about what YOU want out of life and DO NOT deny yourself that, especially for the sake of others and what they may think. WE ALL hurt deep down in some way or another. Even those I know who are in seemingly healthy relationships. We all struggle. But ultimately, you need to understand YOURSELF before moving forward with any commitments, especially when someone else is involved and knows exactly what they want out of their life.
And one final thing. DO NOT beat yourself up over this. This is a negative (toxic) pattern of thinking that only leads to more heart ache, leaving you in a 'stuck' scenario. Admit to yourself the things you do not approve of doing. Next, plan the next step around the Action... what you're going to do next that will be more honest and true to yourself (and others). This takes courage, but it can be done. It may make the short term very difficult, but as long as you keep in mind your end goal of what will make YOU happy, you will realize that and be better for it. Nothing is worse than putting things off and letting them eat you from the inside. Just take a step back and tell yourself that things will be better. You helped get yourself into this, and now, you can help yourself get out of this.
Wishing you all the best, from a person who knows how debilitating being 'stuck' can really be. Good luck!
To be honest, I don't think I ever really expected a response, let alone such a well thought out one. Thank you for taking the time.
You make a lot of good points...some of which I don't know if I've ever considered before. I have a feeling I'll be coming back to your post and reading it a few times. I really appreciate your honesty and input!
After a very rough week of doing emotional battle with myself, I decided to call off the other relationship and tell my husband about it. My partner is already trying to move forward with someone else...and you know, I want him to be happy. I asked him if he felt good about this new girl, and he said yes. He said it hurt him to admit it, and obviously it hurts me deeply, but he needs to move on too.
After really looking at what I wanted, and what I would think of myself had I cast away a man who has done nothing but love and support me through the hell I put him through, I decided that I could not end my marriage. It's over. I'm absolutely broken-hearted and fear that I will always wonder "what if".
Now I start the daunting task of trying to rekindle my relationship with my husband. I've essentially robbed him of 5 years of attention, so there is a lot of work to be done. But in the end, this is a man who still wants to be with me even after all of this. We still don't connect, and that is going to be HARD. But after all was laid bare, we made the decision to work together to try and repair hurts and damages.
My biggest fear is hurt and jealousy that will never go away, toward my partner and his new girl. But everybody needs someone, and if I wasn't willing to drop my marriage for him, he deserves my blessing for him to find someone he loves.
Just thought I'd check back to see if there was an update to your dilemma...
I'm happy for your that you had the courage to do an honest (and I'm sure extremely difficult) thing of coming out of secrecy with the affair you'd been having with your partner. I can tell right away that you're a good person who genuinely cares about others in your life. This can be hard to recognize in yourself at times, especially when you've been living a secret life for sometime. I encourage you to keep up with the honesty! Wether or not your marriage works out, you can't really be hung up on the final outcome, as much as the steps you're taking now to sort out what it is YOU want in your life. As for the pain you feel, it may take a while to heal... try not to beat yourself up too much over it. It may take time, but you will start to feel much better about yourself and the decisions you've made.
As for your (business) partner... is it possible for you to change jobs or the company you work for? It seems that continuing any sort of relationship with the man you had been seeing for a few years would make things difficult for you and could hurt your progress. In the interest of YOUR health and happiness, it could be empowering for you to move on from that role and find a position where your emotions don't feel compromised.
And while I agree with your last line (in honesty and jokingly), there are many wonderful things to be gained in your life, and I'm sure if you continue down the path of honesty and being true to yourself (even if it hurts at times), you will experience many good things in the near future!
Wishing you all the best!! (and hoping to gain some of your honesty and courage myself!)
I am glad I read this article as it is so true in my life, now i can also see that i'm not the only woman with a loveless marriage, but, after reading this article, which as good as me telling the story, I now also see things from a different point of view and thank you for that.