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Thread: Torn on which path to choose.

  1. #1
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    Torn on which path to choose.

    I'll try and keep it short but it's a long story. I've been married 15 years and have two kids, 7 and 9. I don't love my wife, at least not as a lover. I don't hate her either. I've also been a bad husband.

    When I met her, I was going through a rough patch. She was actually a rebound girlfriend after a very rough breakup. A good friend, only 24 years old died a few months later and when she started putting pressure on me to buy a ring, I decided I'd do it because who knows - maybe she is the one! Just go for it and don't let life pass me by. I knew she was boring in the bedroom but I said - that's not what's important right? She didn't share my passions but she told me she loved me. I was scared I'd never love again so I told her back...but I'm not sure I really felt it. Probably I should have gotten out right then and there.

    Within days of getting married, she started changing "the rules" like, things that were allowed before are no longer tolerated. The big one I remember was strip bars. I'm actually not that into strip bars but there was a group of guys that would get together and go out, maybe two three times a year and I'd go with them when they'd come to town. I'd always tell her and she said no problem. The same happened after we married and she got super pissed and told me that she always hated me going to strip bars but kept it to herself. Now that we're married, it's not allowed. So, I agreed and stopped going to strip bars. There were other similar type things where it was like she hid aspects of herself until we were married because she was afraid that I wouldn't marry her if I knew how she felt.

    Anyhow, I was still o.k. with it and our marriage progressed for about 7 years and I was relatively happy and we had our first kid. The thing is that I was always looking but I was faithful and I made a commitment I intended to keep. There were a lot of disappointments I had too though. Over the years as I tried to get her involved in things I like to do, snowboarding, cycling, snorkeling music etc...and every time I tried, she basically chickened out and couldn't do it. Something I didn't realize when we were courting. She really had no hobbies other than enjoying traveling (which I also enjoy) and that was one of the few things we did together. Her dream was to stay home and raise children so when we had our first boy, she quit her job. I was still pretty happy though and just decided I'd have to do certain things without her, even though I really wanted someone who likes the same sorts of things I do.

    I then decided I needed a career change, the career change had me traveling out of town sometimes 5 nights a week. We also had our second boy and we had a big pay cut with this new job too. She went bonkers and made my life hell. She took the plan of "if I'll be miserable, you'll be miserable too". The big problem was that I was indeed miserable at work and needed support at home. She would yell at me. Withhold sex for months. She wouldn't clean the house or do anything claiming she was too busy raising the boys. She brought me to tears once just before I had to leave on a business trip. I was so hurt that I couldn't talk. At the business trip I got drunk and started hitting on female colleagues. I was truly miserable. One day while out of town I saw a strip bar and decided to go after not being in one in 8 years, in a passive aggressive get even sort of way. This misery went on for about a year, maybe a year and a half. There was one day that sticks out when she yelled at me about what a bad person I was that I thought, this is it. We're through, we're getting a divorce, I can't take it anymore but then I remembered my children and decided I had to stick it out.

    I finally confronted her and said that we can't go on this way and we have to figure stuff out and she actually did change. Things got better. She kind of realized that she needed to change her ways. I got a new job that paid much better and not much travel. But the wound festered. I continued to go to strip bars on the sly. Now she started giving me a hard time about doing the things I liked without her. I tried to re-introduce things to her but she still wasn't interested. In one thing she did join me and I was overjoyed when she did. I guess in a way, things balanced out enough that I was o.k. mentally and there's still the children to think about. But I still didn't feel love and the sex was just getting worse and worse....frequent enough but just so vanilla. I love sex and when I'd do things like oral sex to her I wouldn't hold back but when she reciprocated, it was terrible, like she lost a bet or something. I sometimes had trouble maintaining erections because I just wasn't turned on at all.

    And then I got fired from my job of 5 years. We had a ton of cash in the bank so I took the summer off. I felt us growing together somewhat and I played that game with myself that the flaws I saw in here were not important. I tried to convince myself that things were good....then one night a few months ago, I was out of town...got drunk and made out with a girl I had met that night. We were drawn to each other and saw each other a few more times. I felt guilty for cheating on my wife, but also a little angry because this girl treated me like a king. At the same time, I kind of did an experiment at home (this is terrible of me but it's what I did and I'm coming out so...) I decided to stop initiating requests for sex, cuddling or any sort of affection and guess what happened....we had no sex, cuddling, kissing or any sort of affection. It made me realize that 90% of the time, I was the one who initiated any sort of intimacy over the last 15 years. It took her a month of abstinence before she asked for sex. She hasn't noticed the lack of affection AT ALL. We kiss goodnight maybe half the nights of the week at best.

    So, my mistress and I decided to call it off after about 7 rendezvous because she was single and needed to move on with her life. I reluctantly agreed (just being selfish) and we've been apart now for about a month. But now I've got to decide, do I stay with my wife or move on, possibly even with this former mistress?

    I absolutely adore my children. My wife is not a terrible person, she's just not the right one for me. Everybody else thinks she's wonderful but no one but me has to deal with her shortcomings. She's supportive of some of the things I do and was very supportive of me when I got fired but I just don't feel the love from her. It's like she just wanted to be married and is satisfied with a so-so marriage.

    My mistress told me I have to try and fix my marriage...learn to love her, talk to her, delight her, awaken emotions in her buried deep inside but I feel like I've already tried that many times over the last 15 years. I feel I owe it to my children to do it but I just don't feel anything for her. When I broke up with my mistress I was crushed to think of her moving on without me...the passion she and I have is just on a completely different level.

    I just want to be happy and I just don't know if I can be with my wife. I'm just so terribly confused and don't know which direction I should take. Do I leave her, destroying our marriage and putting my kids through a childhood of divorce or do I stay with her, sacrificing my happiness for theirs? I actually had a panic attack yesterday because I just don't know what to do.

    comments welcome. Getting Ready for a First Date

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    One other thing before she gets home....I think the reason I don't feel any drive to fix things is just that I'm so skeptical that she'd change enough for me to truly love her again...if I ever really did. If she hasn't learned how to have good sex in 15 years, how will she now? If she's not passionate about the same things I am, why would she start now. Looking back, I can't even understand why she wanted to marry me. Does she just not know how to love someone? She seems happy for the most part these days. Satisfied with so little out of life. If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't have married her (although I do love our children so much)...I mean, I think my dream situation would be for us to just go our separate ways in an amicable fashion but having seen the beast inside her during our really rough patch, I don't think that's how it would play out.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member SpottiOtti's Avatar
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    Flim, welcome to ENA. What strikes me about your post is how much you talk about your wife's "shortcomings", when it actually just seems like you are two different people who want different things, enjoy different things in life, etc. I wonder what would happen if you rewrote the entire account of your relationship from her point of view. Could you try that?

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    So you were cheating on your "good friend" with your current wife?
    Have you told your wife about the current affair? If not, why not?
    Have you had sex with the current friend?

    If she was hurt skiing would you be able to take care of the kids?
    What would you say to her if she decided to start going to a casino every weekend?

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    Spotti...I think you're completely correct. Shortcomings was not the right word to use because they're only shortcomings in my eyes. I'm sure that she's the perfect woman for someone, just not me. I'm also sure that I wouldn't have wandered if I was with the right woman. I just need to fix it somehow, whether I stay or go.

    I'll think about your idea of a re-write but I don't have time today. Honestly, I don't understand her motivations and ambitions because any time I've asked, her main goal in life was to be a stay at home mom and I gave her that. She now went back to work (teacher- subbing) out of necessity but both kids are in school full time...and both have been for 2 years. Other than teaching and child rearing, I don't think she really has any other ambitions.

  7. #6
    Platinum Member lavenderdove's Avatar
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    OK, i think if you are going to stay, you have to get marriage counseling. And it might be a good idea to try that first for a few months to see how it goes. There are ways to recapture intimacy and re-ignite passion in a marriage, but you both have to want it and agree to work on it.

    Next, if you do leave, if she has been a stay home mother for 15 years and hasn't worked much, you can be expected to not only pay child support but also alimony, anywhere from a few years to longer based on what she can convince the judge to go for.

    So before you consider divorce, talk to an attorney to determine how much you might potentially be on the hook for financially and ofr how long.

    Part of your problem is if her main goal is to be a stay at home Mom, and she has no ambitions other than that, she has no incentive to do anything other than she pleases. She may have done the same thing you did, i.e., married someone who was the first person she could latch onto who would put her in a situation where she could get what she wanted, which was to be a stay at home mom.

    So you two made a Devil's bargain of sorts, where you both 'settled' without really realizing that the strength of a marriage is based on the compatability and shared goals of the two people involved, not just based on sliding into a couple of 'roles' that you think will keep you happy even if you don't relate to your spouse very well.

    Marriages like this frequently implode when one or both people meet someone else they like better, or the kids grow up and there is no real reason to stay together. And if her whole life's goal is to be a stay at home mom, she is going to be very lost when those kids grow older. So i think you have to be very careful about birth control because she may just want to keep popping out kids every few years for as along as possible to keep herself in that role. And if you're not sure you want to stay with her, you don't want more kids (and higher child support)!!

    Part of your problem is you have captured a new spark with a new woman and it has ignited in you a real discontent with your wife because of the comparison of the spark you felt for her and boredom/dissatisfaction you feel with your wife. Lots of marriages can just cruise along until a crisis is triggered by something like that.

    So i suggest 3 things:

    A short consultation with a lawyer to ask what you will probably be on the hook to pay for if you divorce and how much per month it will cost you. Some people do wait until the kids are 18 for that reason and no other!

    A trip to a counselor for yourself to talk thru these feelings to see what it is you really want for yourself. Were you truly that unhappy with your wife, or were you just smitten with someone new and it has derailed you but might be a passing fancy and not worth wrecking your marriage over.

    And finally marriage counseling. You need to express to your wife how unhappy you are, and need to work with her to see whether she is willing to try to improve the marriage or not. if she just isn't, then that makes the decision easier that you might want to leave.

    You can always try to ask for an open marriage to see what she says. Most women would freak out over that, but if she already isn't interested in intimacy that much, and just wants you to pick up the tab to be a stay at home mother and doesn't care as long as you come home most nights and drop a paycheck, she might agree to that.

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    Originally Posted by Lester
    So you were cheating on your "good friend" with your current wife?
    Lester, at first I didn't think you were responding to my post but I just re-read my post and see you were. The good friend was a man and no, I wasn't cheating on him. What happened is I broke up with a long time girlfriend and a few weeks later my good friend dropped dead at work from an aneurism at the age of 24. Those things combined to make me re-asses life and how to live it. Basically, I was thinking along the lines of if I dropped dead next year, would I be satisfied with what I see flashing before my eyes in those final moments and my answer was no. I wanted to be with someone, I just made the mistake of picking the first person that came a long.

    Have you told your wife about the current affair? If not, why not?
    Have you had sex with the current friend?
    I have not told my wife about the current affair and have no intention of doing so. I don't because I've resolved that I will not cheat again. I'm either going to fix this marriage or move on.

    If she was hurt skiing would you be able to take care of the kids?
    What would you say to her if she decided to start going to a casino every weekend?
    Yes, I could take care of the kids no-problem.

    Casino - I know what you're getting at but I'm not going to go there. I've already resolved that I'm never going to cheat again.

    I know I was bad lester. I'm not proud of it.

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    Thanks for the insight Lavender, you sound like you know exactly what you're talking about and I will take your advice. I'm still pretty confused with what I want to do but you brought up some very practical aspects I need to think about and that may force my hand.

    In retrospect, it seems like it should have been obvious that we wouldn't work out in the end. I have some friends that married women they met in the "circle of friends" that seem so happy...they do so much stuff together and help each other with what they're doing. I so want a partner in my life, not a passenger.

    Open marriage is almost certainly not going to fly. I was at a bachelor party a few years ago with a stripper and she freaked out ahead of time just to remind me how much she doesn't like me seeing naked ladies. I was "allowed" to go to the party but she gave me a hard time about it. Even then, I'm not interested in an open marriage. I want a true partner, not a one night stand.

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    Originally Posted by SpottiOtti
    I wonder what would happen if you rewrote the entire account of your relationship from her point of view. Could you try that?
    I'll try...as best I can...

    So, I met this guy 17 years ago and I fell in love. I like him so much that I've decided to give him my virginity. Seems like he has a bright future and he seems totally interested in me. He has some bad habits and stuff but he seems like something I can work with.

    Once we got married, I put my foot down on how things are going to be and he protested on a few points but for the most part he capitulated - at least the important ones.

    The first 7 years of our marriage were very good. he's got this wild bug up his butt and is always trying to get me to do things I have no interest in doing. I try them out for him but in some ways, I think they're just too dangerous and I'm totally not into danger. He likes snowboarding but I'd rather just be sitting in the lodge reading a book. Heck! I had a panic attack when we tried to go snorkeling.

    Then that wild bug went nuts and he decided he wanted a career change just after we had our first kid. He was miserable and work and said he was really dissatisfied so I said to go for it in spite of the pay cut - huge mistake. Not only did we get set back in salary, he was galavanting around the country partying it up while I'm trapped at home raising the kids alone. He says he's doing it for the family and that this will lead to better opportunities down the road (which it did) but how'd he like a taste of his own medicine? Make me miserable? Right back at you pal.

    In a way he was right though and perhaps I was too hard on him. It seems that when I lightened up on him things got better for both of us and he did end up with a much better job that paid much more and he's home more which is exactly where I want him.

    One of the annoying things though is that he likes to "experiment" in bed and I'm just not into that. I put up with it but why can't he just be satisfied with with good old fashioned sex? He's always got these crazy dreams about what he wants to do and accomplish and I have to keep him in check. He's ambitious and perhaps a bit too ambitious for my taste. In fact, why does he keep wanting to do all these things I don't like to do? Why can't he just settle down and raise a normal family with a normal job? I can tollerate some of these things to a point but when he starts spending too much time away from home I'm always sure to tell him I'm not happy about it.

    When he got fired it was pretty crushing to the family but, it did give us a chance to spend a lot more time together. He spent a ton of time with the kids which was great. Over all, I have to say that although we're broke now, I'm pretty satisfied with what we have.

    *****end of fantasy land*******

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    Flim - I apologize for my propensity not to read, (DN), what is written.

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