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I really appreciate some advice. I am in my mid 40s, married 16 years now with two kids in their tween years. For most of my marriage my wife and I have not done much as a couple. It was mostly all about starting a family, raising the kids, managing the home and working (we both work). And I was generally happy all those years, but then about two years ago out of the blue fell deeply in love with a co-worker. It was from the start a very big emotional attachment for this person, but she had the good sense to keep things strictly as a friendship. After 7 months she ended it because I could simply not give up my romantic feelings for her and consider her only a friend. Ever since losing her I had been trying to meet a new woman friend to replace what I had lost. I thought I was only looking for a good friend, someone I could have fun and lively conversations. But about a year later I met a new woman and we just immediately connected on a physical, almost chemical level. So bam just like that I found myself in the middle of full fledged affair, both physically and emotionally.


After a couple weeks of this, my going out did not escape the attention of my wife and she finally confronted me that she was not happy in the marriage and how I don't show enough interest in her and want to do things with her. In general we have never talked about how our marriage was going and if we were happy so this type of conversation is a big deal for us. And truth be told I do have a problem with enjoying going out with my wife as a couple. We just don't see to have much fun, conversations are uninspired, and so forth. And it seemed only once I started going out on my own that she raised any complaint about us not going out.


So now we have started going to a counselor to help us figure out things. And of course I can't continue the affair anymore and in any event all the secrecy was beginning to stress both of us out too much and we realized it can't go on like that.


So now I don't know what to do. On the one hand we have a very comfortable family life, nice home, both pitching in to take care of things, no fighting, and I really really dread the idea of disrupting the kids lives in anyway. And of course I would feel bad for my wife that I am not being the good caring attentive husband she wants me to be. But on the other hand I feel I am suffocating and need to find someone where I have a real joy being around her, where I can stare into her eyes and feel connected with her soul. So I feel if I stay I could be depressed and miserable and maybe not make my wife very happy either. But then I fear leaving the family and dealing with the guilt that I have failed them and there is always the chance that I find myself alone and miserable and never able to find that relationship that I hope will make me happy in an enduring way. Maybe I have my own issues that need to be dealt with so I can connect with someone in the way I want to.


And I don't know whether to confess the affair(s) to my wife. Will that only cause her unnecessary pain. Or am I just being a coward, because I'm ashamed of what I did and don't want to admit it for selfish reasons? I feel if I do confess that will destroy my marriage on the spot and I'm not sure I want to do that...whether I should stay and honor my commitments to the family or separate and do the best I can for them in that capacity.

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Don't "leave" your family in an emotional sense, but move out? yes.


i think in the long run you will all be happier. you are right if you are seeking something thats not there, your wife isnt getting what she deserves either.


the heart wants what it wants

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Do you love your wife and are you still in love with her or are you in love with the woman you were having an affair with? Do you want to want to stay with your wife at all and if you do would it be because you truly want to save your marriage and because you dearly love her or because of the kids and the comforts a family home provides for you. I think that is what you need to really think about. Your wife obviously must know that things aren't great and that is why she isn't happy about you going out alone.


If you do confess the affairs it will hurt her and there is a risk of the kids finding out. It could destroy your family, but if you really want to start fresh with your wife then hiding something big like an affair will keep you for being completely honest, if one has any sort of conscience it will bother them greatly.


Perhaps take some time away from your family and think about what it is you really want. What will make you happy?

Staying in any sort of relationship where a person is not happy isn't a very good idea. It can be painful and some divorces can be very ugly but some people believe that all that is worth going through if in the end you both will be much happier.

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It's not okay to take an emotional dump all over your wife in order to make yourself feel better whether you decide to stay or go. You are going to have to learn how to carry that knowledge around in your life without wrecking her with it.


Sounds like you really have a tough decision to make in front of you....


It's cheaper to keep her.

The grass looks greener on the other side, but you still have to mow and weed and fertilize it once it's yours.


Good luck!

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You got a tough road to hoe. Sometimes something is just missing in your marriage. As you mentioned you and your wife do not do too much together. Sounds like you two just got married to get married.

Then you meet a lively gal and bam your thoughts are "where have been all my life baby." Thats the rebound effect from being stagnant in your marriage. Generally infatuation only last 3-4 months and the real world sets in.

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Thank you all for your replies so far. It sounds like it is best to not admit the affairs. And I am aware that there is often an excitement and infatuation in a new relationship and its difficult to know how you will fare with someone in the longer term. I am trying my best to separate the two things, how I feel about the relationship with my wife and feelings I have for the new person in my life. But it is really difficult. But seeing how for some time now I have been looking for a romantic relationship outside of my marriage, it speaks to it just not working. Our next joint counseling session should be interesting. I think I will take the position that I lack romantic feelings for her and I'm doubtful those can be found again. And that while I like our home life I feel the need to have freedom to go out with other people. I have no idea how that will go down, but I think that's what I need to say.

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You sound like a good dude - that makes me think it must be really uncomfortable to be in the position you're in; I believe you when you say you're feeling really conflicted. You have put yourself in a position where oppositional forces are competing for your mind.


Coulda shoulda woulda told the wife that it was over first and THEN left...but you wanted to have your cake and eat it too? Since you already cheated you have to decide whether to knock off the affair and get to making it up to your wife or whether to leave the wife and kids and go with the "lady who makes me feel alive?"


Look, I'm not trying to be a jerk, but is this a mid-life crisis?


I gotta agree with Paulhasitall that something might be missing in the marriage but honestly, I'm inclined to think that what's missing might be the energy that you are spending looking for something new and exciting outside of the marriage?


I hope that doesn't sound judgmental and aggressive....I'm imagining talking with a longtime friend in that straight out, tough love way. And keep in mind I'm in the midst of divorcing the woman I loved with all my heart after I caught her cheating - so I'm biased, lol.

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Yup...me too. I've been reading these posts and honestly..well, its upsetting to hear that maybe you shouldn't tell your wife about the affair. What, is honesty in a marriage too old fashioned? I understand the "not wanting to hurt her" dilema. My ex-husband had a long term affair the majority of our relationship and believe me when I found out years later, the hurt was close to unbearable at first. But honestly, there were so many shortcomings in our relationship...his anger, distance, lack of sexual chemistry, his never being home for his family because he was too busy out exploring another lady..and my bitterness for all of it....that it was almost a relief to have a reason to leave. It sounds to me like you both need a fresh start. I know it's difficult to think of giving up on a long term marriage like yours, but really, do you want carry your secret for the rest of your lives together?? It will eventually eat away at your being and hers too. Save her and yourself the excruciating hurt when it eventually comes out (and believe me things like these always come to surface) and be honest with your wife. If your marriage is something you both truly would like to salvage, you'll work through it. If not, you both just might be happier in the long run.

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What, is honesty in a marriage too old fashioned?



No way - it's ESSENTIAL! My feeling on this is that the honesty should have come BEFORE the affair; physical or emotional.


If you're 100% honest with your spouse then an affair would never even come up...maybe the relationship would be better if there were no secrets, or at the very least you would have the decency to tell your partner that you are no longer satisfied and leave before any affair (physical or emotional) has a chance to be called an affair. You'd have a new partner, instead.


At this point, what's done is done. Do we relieve our own guilt if it's going to hurt somebody else even MORE than they are already hurt? Make no mistake, if you are having an affair you are hurting your spouse whether they know about it or not....


If you're going to come clean about an affair you should probably put some time behind yourself and the act you have committed. You had also better fill that time with going WAY above and beyond the call of duty. Fluffing pillows, leaving love notes for her to find, flowers for no reason, taking a class on communicating or ballroom dancing, having coffee ready in her favorite mug just as she wakes up, calling her from work just to say you love her or whatever else you don't do that your wife wishes you would...just focusing on HER. You could start by asking what the missing pieces of the puzzle are. But for goodness sakes, don't come to your spouse fresh with guilt and nothing to offer but "I'm sorry." Don't say you're sorry - amend your behavior and SHOW that you know you did wrong. Prove that you desire to be a better person and then, some time down the road you will have an opportunity to lay your cards on the table, and a better chance at not absolutely crushing your spouse when you do it.

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There have been some new developments. My wife caught me talking to the person I was having with the affair with on the phone, so I immediately came clean with what had happened. I did not have the guts to tell her before, but I am glad it is all out now. She actually took the news reasonably well, definitely no happy about it, but not throwing me out of the house or any such thing. She insisted I break off all contact with the other person which I did the next day.


Now the other person did become very upset with me, because I would not on the spot commit to her and agree to leave my wife. I need time to work through this process with my wife and I can't predict what will happen. But the other person somehow viewed this as a complete rejection and now wants nothing to do with me calling me a horrible person that "used her". Today all my gifts to her arrived in a box mailed to the house.


I've been having good open conversations with my wife and we are talking about divorce, but it seems very surreal. I have a hard time picturing how I will be happy with the guilt of breaking up my family.


Another twist I have a single woman friend from work who lives in a different country and we have been talking about our personal lives and of course now my marriage problems. She suggested we both go on a joint vacation for two weeks and see how we get along (no sex though!). I have only seen her briefly in person once, but we seem to have a good rapport in our phone conversations. Even just as friends I would love to take such a vacation.


So here again...things pulling at me that I would like to do, but my marriage prevents me. So things like this make it hard to picture how I can be content and happy staying in the marriage.


But no worries I have an appointment for next week to get a Tarot card reading, so that will clear everything up. See I am grasping at anything to help me decide what is best.

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Yes that is certainly a possibility. One cause is that you should not try to be in a relationship with more than one women at the same, as it will make none of them happy about it. In some ways though being alone for a while might be the best thing for me. Go out and socialize with friends of course, but no serious relationship.

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hans, it seems to me that you have already mentally and emotionally left the relationship some time ago.


I think you would honestly need to ask yourself if you'd rather put the children first and stay in the marraige till they grow up and leave. How big a factor are they? Are you willing to 'suffer' for them? Because from what it seems like, you have already left and you are just 'physicaly' there.


The fact that you choose to marry her all those years ago means there was love. Are you willing to really put in the work to find the love that was once there? I think love is a matter of cultivation. I've seen couples in arranged marraiges grow to love one another and couple who marry out of love grow to hate each other.

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