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Doing the right thing becoming a hard road to follow

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Good Day All,


I have been married to my beloved wife for almost 20 years. While we have had our occasional challenges, problems have been few. However, in the last few years, my wife's physical, and especially her emotional health has declined. Now each day is a constant struggle to maintain my own emotional stability (I deal with PTSD, but medication helps) while at the same time constantly providing my wife with reassurance and validation of her worth. She is easily offended by the innocent conversations of others, feeling that they are casting aspersions against her, which is not the case. Over and over and over again I have to reason with her regarding this, assuring her that she is not being denigrated by others. Even my words are subject to this type of thinking. I have grown exhausted and frustrated as I see periods of improvement, and then regression.


There's the backstory...now the really distressing problem.


The state that I find myself in frightens me. Recently, one of our single female friends has had quite an effect on me. She has a calm, confident stability. Conversations between the two of us are comfortable and refreshing. There are no unrealistic expectations, no preconceived notions, just mutual intellectual enjoyment. Now I find that my thoughts drift to her quite often. She is the last person I think of while falling asleep, and she is the first person I think of upon awakening. The guilt I feel is like a lead weight on my consciousness. I have never strayed in our marriage. I take my vows before God and men seriously. But my resolve is not as strong as it once was. I'm just so tired...


I really need the assistance of others as I am at a complete loss...


Thank you in advance for your help.

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Your wife clearly needs therapy -- it could be hormones, menopause or mental illness.


You need to stop talking w/ this woman. While a refreshing break from your own reality, you are creating a fantasy life w/ her -- and that is not appropriate.

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Stop parenting your wife. She's an adult capable of taking care of herself. Both of you need to see that. sometimes in relationships when one parter takes on a certain role the other compensates by taking on a complimentary role. Take care of yourself by being respolsible to yourself, let go of taking care of her this way. Let her step up to take care of herself. Create some independence between the two of you if possible. Stop talking to the other woman.

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Stop talking with the other women.


Your conversation with the one - even if it started out innocently- is called an emotional affair.


You and your wife need to really focus on your marriage, so find a top notch marriage counselor and get signed up.


Sounds like you each have emotional issues to deal with , so if your couples therapist recommends individual counseling then do it.


You have many years invested in this relationship and I can tell you from experience that divorces are expensive and the whole thing is heart wrenching.


Many times a person dreams and fantasizes about someone else, but if they act on it, things rarely work out for the better.


The unhappiness you have is carried inside of you wherever you go. Sure, the other person may seem like a good deal - but there is no guarantee that she'll be healthy or happy or even interested in you in the long run. Reality hits when life takes over- the mundane, everyday occurrences. Your fantasies are just that- fantasies- and you should recognize them as such.


Take some time to think about your wife and what attracted you to each other, how she has supported you through your own issues, your marriage vows, and all those little things you appreciate about her.

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i agree with what been said before, there is nothing out there for you with this new female,, you been married for 20 years for God`s sake. don`t throw all of that away, i know you are not trying but this intellectual joyfull conversation will turn into something else,, think about those 20 years, how many kisses,, times,, dinners,, hold,, hugs,, think about how many minutes and hours..this is nothing compared to those moments you spend with this new girl. it doesnt seem like you have some hard to solve issues, there for seek some counseling, both of you, please safe your marriage, its a life insurance. its happiness and its just the right thing to do Morally

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Having been in a similar relationship situation with a partner who had crippling self-esteem and jealousy issues that made it almost impossible to do anything but *manage* the relationship instead of actually *enjoy* it, I have a slightly different opinion than the other posters.


I don't necessarily see your 20 years together as a sole reason to keep things going. There's a good deal of wisdom in the saying "don't throw good money after bad."


That said, I do believe in doing everything possible to solve problems before terminating a possibly salvageable relationship.


First off, realize that though the conversations with the other woman are stimulating & exciting, they may not lead to anything more than friendship. So don't let her cloud your view right now. How would you feel if you left your wife for this woman, only to have her reject you?


Secondly, you need to tell your wife that her issues are destroying your feelings for her and if she wants this relationship to survive, that she needs to address her problems (either by herself or with you in couples' therapy). Make this an ultimatum. Decide on a reasonable timeframe for her to *start* working on her issues, and if she doesn't, make it clear that the relationship is over.


I believe *both* people in a relationship owe it to their partner to be the best companion they can be. Whatever her issues, if she values her marriage, she should do everything she can to get herself into a place where she deserves that partnership. And as her husband, you owe it to her to help her on that journey.


But if she's unwilling to do that, even with your help, IMO she deserves to be left alone and you are guilt-free to find someone who is actually ready to be a true partner and wife.

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I agree with the posters who said that the responsibility for your wife's issues falls squarely on her shoulders. Of course you'll support her when she tries to fix them, but you aren't getting any support from her right now and that's not fair. Have you talked to her about how her behavior is affecting you?


As far as the other woman goes, I also concur that you should stay far away from her. You're building a fantasy life in your mind because reality sucks right now. I get it. But the bigger you let that fantasy world get, the more enticing it will become, and soon you won't want to leave it. And you can't fix the issues that are happening in real life, right now, if you are living in the fantasy world.


Good luck to you.

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Good Day All,


I am very grateful for the "group therapy." I needed the perspective in order to have the kind of honest conversation we needed. I am getting some help with caregiving, and my better half has asked me to accompany her to her physician, and psychiatrist on the next visits. There could even be an issue with medication interaction that is aggravating some underlying problems. Thank you all again. I will keep you posted

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Hello Lester,


I have been dealing with PTSD since 2000. On December 4th of that year at a little after 11:00 am, my father shot himself in front of me and my mother. He died in my arms. Problematic symptoms came shortly thereafter. Intense flashbacks with all senses involved, hypervigilance, complete emotional detachment except for moments of intense anger that were completely inappropriate for the circumstances, nightmares, depression, loss of sleep and avoidance of crowds due to intense anxiety when surrounded by people. Mix all of this together and you have a complete mess of an individual. Once I was on medication things improved drastically.

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Please accept my heartfelt condolences.


How long have you been on the medication?


When you say “improved drastically”… can I assume not cured with residual symptomatic manifestations?


Have you had thoughts of suicide? If so, how often and do you tell your wife?

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Five years on the medication. Residual symptoms occasionally. Never thought about suicide, perhaps because in this situation I have see the havoc that can result. I did occasionally think of simply running away to the middle of absolute nowhere so I could be somewhere that was quiet, with no people. Not a practical solution for mental anguish though.

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I subscribe to the belief that a husband can only change himself; but in doing so he may change the world around him.

That said, your wife’s mental state may be outside the realm of your influence, or it may not.


Gently, lovingly nudging her toward therapy is a wise; but may not be enough.


Wives are emotionally attached to there loving husbands. Sometimes, by no fault of their own, (life happens), a husband can deeply hurt his wife and become unloving.


1994 You married.

2000 Traumatic death of Father.

2008 First successful treatment of your ptsd.

2010 Wife begins to exhibit some of the symptoms that you had.

2013 Confusion, loneliness, anger and lack of sex blind you to your promises/vows and years of happiness from a loyal wife. Your honor begins to weaken and you succumb to a dishonorable woman in a emotional affair.


You had a relatively happy marriage for six years. Your Father died and for the next eight years you may have become a increasingly unnatural load on your wife.

You got help and got better. She, after absorbing years of fear/abuse didn’t.


The cure:

- Pray

- Get help together!

- Become a loving husband. Gary Smalley’s “If only he knew” will show you how. (Don’t show it to your wife.)

- Dump the dishonorable other woman. (This type a women is an unwelcome addition to any family.)

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