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Married and had kids with the wrong person - what should I do?


Kaizen4
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Yes, I think you're right that she probably already suspects how I feel. I would consider marriage counseling, but it would be more from a standpoint of making the best of the remainder of our years together until the kids are grown. Once they are grown, I just don't think I would want to remain in the relationship.

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You say you "lost your job a couple of years ago." I'm wondering if you're still unemployed or you have a job now and were just letting us know what led up to your discontent.

 

Yes, correct. I should have been more clear... I was only unemployed for a few months, but that was the trigger for me getting into personal development and getting more clear on my goals and feelings. My wife and I both have good full-time jobs. Thank you for not jumping to the conclusion that I've been unemployed for the last couple of years :smug:

Edited by Kaizen4
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If trying counseling, and for a good year at minimum, you can't love her like you should, you can then consider divorce. Think of it as freeing her to be with a more compatible partner, and the same for you. Sure, she will be upset. But it will free her to eventually be with someone who is crazy about her, so she will one day realize that you did her a huge favor. When you come up with a good co-parenting plan, your children will adjust. Good luck and keep us updated.

 

Thank you Andrina for your thoughtful response. I think that's really good advice. I would definitely be willing to try counseling for a year. But your comment also gives me hope that if we did decided to end it, that it may actually lead to a better life for her in the end as well.

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Before marriage counseling, I'd consider seeing a therapist privately to decide whether I want to be in or out of my marriage. I'd explore whether there's anything that could change in my marriage that would make me want to remain in it. Otherwise, if I'm already clear that I want out, then it makes no sense to invest the expense and time with a marriage counselor just to tip-toe 'around' the fact that I'm hiding my end goal.

 

That is wise advice. Thank you catfeeder. I agree this is something I really need to figure out before starting marriage counseling. I think I'm mostly interested in staying in the relationship for our kids.

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That is wise advice. Thank you catfeeder. I agree this is something I really need to figure out before starting marriage counseling. I think I'm mostly interested in staying in the relationship for our kids.

 

Nobody stays in a troubled marriage for the kids. Everybody SAYS that that's what they're doing, but that's a cover for the real reasons they won't leave, and it's often used to justify being disloyal, unfaithful, or just a plain lousy spouse.

 

Living with one foot (or more) out the door is not merely inauthentic, it's disrespectful to a spouse who deserves someone who is All In. Every minute you stay in your marriage while your feelers are out to rekindle an affair or start a new one is time that wife could be spending on her own healing and recovery toward a potential relationship with someone who is wild about her.

 

That's why it's important to figure out where you REALLY want to stand, and then take action. If that means separating to learn the things that keep you bound to your wife, then do the work to learn that. If that means embracing the self honestly to recognize that no amount of therapy is going to change your mind about wanting out, then get honest with yourself and take action accordingly.

 

None of this makes you a villain, but hiding behind the parenthood banner doesn't make you a great parent or a great husband, either. Decide where you stand, and liberate yourself from living a secret life that doesn't serve anyone and robs wife of her own potential to find true love.

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My parents stayed together "for the kids". They ended up raising three mixed up young people who didn't know how to have a healthy, loving relationship or marriage. All of us are divorced.

 

Kids are not stupid or oblivious. I doubt your wife is either.

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Yes, correct. I should have been more clear... I was only unemployed for a few months, but that was the trigger for me getting into personal development and getting more clear on my goals and feelings. My wife and I both have good full-time jobs. Thank you for not jumping to the conclusion that I've been unemployed for the last couple of years :smug:

 

You're welcome. My next question is why have you not confided in your wife about your apathy toward her and your marriage? Not wanting to "hurt her" is a cop out. You're certainly going to hurt the bajeezus out of her when you ask for a divorce (either now or when your children are grown) especially if you haven't given her a chance to remedy.

 

Do your self and her a favor and get out of hiding.

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I originally told myself I was staying for the children. It was a partly a lie. Part of me thought is was the right thing to do. Breaking up a family is painful. Mostly, I was stayed because I was a coward.

 

After much consideration and a health dose of therapy, I decided to leave for the kids. Their parents were bad examples of how two people should treat each other. More over, I didn't want my sons to think that's the way a husband should treat his wife and that a wife would just sit there and tolerate it. I wanted them to witness what a confident woman would do when facing challenges in her marriage.

I recognized that that both their mother and father emulated their parents and how they interacted and we were reenacting the same dysfunctional ways for our sons.

I wanted my sons to marry strong women and have a chance at a healthy marriage that seem to escape the generations before them.

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it's disrespectful to a spouse who deserves someone who is All In. Every minute you stay in your marriage while your feelers are out to rekindle an affair or start a new one is time that wife could be spending on her own healing and recovery toward a potential relationship with someone who is wild about her.

 

Absolutely! Fooling her and staying because you feel you have to, is one or the worst things you can do to a person. Your children are much stronger than you give them credit for.

Kids know how to cope with a divorce better than they would a fake marriage and a fake family dynamic. Don't put them through that.

You won't be doing any of them any favours by faking everything. (your wife included).

 

Sit down, talk to your wife, tell her how you're honestly feeling. You're meant to be friends first and foremost. Be a friend to her and talk to her instead of hiding your thoughts and feelings.

Besides cheating, nothing is more painful to a woman than a man who is pretending to love her and be happy with her.

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I agree that I need to tell her. I know it's not fair to her for me to be hiding my true feelings about all this, and that she needs to know so that we can decide our path forward together. I'm really ashamed that I've let it go this long and that I've been living this lie for so long, but I'm finally working up the courage to face it.

 

I don't think our children suspect that there's really any serious problem between us, because we don't usually fight. I'm sure they do pick up on it at some level though. It's definitely not the loving, supportive marriage that I'd like them to learn from.

 

Thank you all for your advice and support.

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'She was my first girlfriend. I was pretty shy, had low self esteem and, although I knew I wasn't really in love with her, I felt like we could have a good life together. I didn't want to crush her and was too weak to end the relationship'

 

I disagree with those advocating for any kind of therapy/joyful dates/talks etc etc. OP has clearly stated he never actually loved his wife and married her for the wrong reasons. You can't therapy yourself into loving someone. Having children together is not a good enough reason to spend your life with someone you feel nothing for. Just because people stayed in arranged (or 'self-arranged') marriages years ago doesn't mean that we have to do this in 2020. Additionally, how anyone's expected to stay with their first partner for life is beyond me. In my experience those who do only do so out of fear of the unknown - it is extremely rare for two people to grow into compatible adults having met as kids.

Edited by OctoberRust
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I don't think our children suspect that there's really any serious problem between us, because we don't usually fight. I'm sure they do pick up on it at some level though.

How so? You have a respect for one another, you have fun times as a family, you both love your children etc. It's times like this that devastate children... They adjust quickly when they see the dysfunction and carnage that their parents afflict on them and are glad its ended. No so much when there has been a functioning family unit wherein they are basically broadsided by a parent with wanderlust who needs therapy to get his head on straight about his own mid life crisis.

 

It's definitely not the loving, supportive marriage that I'd like them to learn from.
How would you even know what that looks like? You have zero experience in what you THINK that may be. Life gets in the way of ALL relationships and that new relationship energy is never sustained for a life time. Mature love enters the picture and after that it takes work on your part as husband and wife to keep the attachment going. Get your own therapy, then if after you discover you still want out, then do it but put your crisis on the back burner for now until you figure yourself out with the help of a good therapist rather than (as mentioned) those guru books you've put so much stock in. Google "Grass is Greener Syndrome" and read that book if you want to educate yourself.

 

Thank you all for your advice and support.
You're welcome. I hope you get that therapy sooner rather than later which will help you (hopefully) to learn how to communicate before your sh*t gets this deep in the future.
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  • 1 month later...

I would tell her how I feel lonely and frustrated, and don't feel loved by her.

 

I'm not sure it will "crush" her however.

 

If it will cause some healthy emotional response and you both being ready to confront your issues, it's the best outcome that will signify that you don't have much underlying issues and you'll grow closer from it.

 

I'm afraid though that she'll get defensive and either will try to blame you of things, or try to dismiss the issue altogether, or use any other cop-out strategy to avoid dealing with difficult emotions that arise from acknowledging the reality - not from ill will, but because it's the only way she knows to deal with such situations.

 

I believe you're also not that good of dealing with a conflict in a healthy way and speaking out your true feelings, or you wouldn't get to this point in the first place.

 

At least that's what happened in my experience.

 

So I suppose it will take your developing a skill of speaking out your feelings to a person who tries to avoid listening to you, and her developing a skill to handle uncomfortable emotions, that likely stem from low self esteem, for your relationship to work.

 

Her being shy from early age is another sign that she has a low self esteem and low acceptance of her true self, and that insecurity is likely expressed as rudeness and negativity towards others. It's fascinating how creative insecure people are about the defensive strategies they employ when they are confronted with something that has a chance of hurting their fragile sense of self worth.

 

If you confront her about your true feelings, it will give her an opportunity to deal with her issues and hopefully to learn to love herself.

 

I suppose putting in this work, will really lead to you maximising your potential and to you becoming all you can be. It will also help your relationship with children and them having a positive role model of dealing with conflict.

 

It's all hard and long work, and will probably involve both individual therapy for you and your wife and a couples therapy. Maybe still not as costly as a bad divorce can be though...

 

I think when you feel you have nothing more to learn about dealing with conflict and avoidance, and are still unsatisfied with your marriage, you will be able to discuss it in a healthy way and decide how to move forward to have more fulfilled lives for both of you.

Edited by user0x24
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  • 2 months later...

I've been off this board for about 7 years, just logged on and saw your post. I was in a very similar situation to you about 7 years ago except that I had an affair. The good news is that the affair plus losing my job kinda kicked me in the ass to re-evaluate everything.

 

I will second the suggestions to go to a counselor on your own to work things out in your head first for a couple of reasons.

 

If you go to some sessions and it becomes obvious to you that you must get divorced, there's no need to bring up any grievances with your wife. They've all probably been discussed before and nothing has happened to make things better. Airing of any grievances will just make the divorce go worse and the casualties of a bad divorce are the kids. I can tell you from personal experience that the kids can do quite well if the divorce goes well. The counsellor can also give you advice on how to communicate to minimize the trauma. (and make no mistake, getting divorced is really really hard, even if it's a good "easy" divorce. Very stressful but if you choose that path, you'll be amazed at how good you feel on the other side).

 

If you go to some sessions and it becomes obvious that she really is the one for you, perhaps the counsellor can help you formulate how and what to do to get the both of you into couples therapy in a healthy productive way the indeed does fix things. Apparently fixing marriages that have gone wrong is possible, just wasn't for me.

 

The one thing you might want to do is inform her ahead of time that you're seeing a counsellor because you have to work out some stuff in your head. This in itself may be somewhat "crushing" for her but hell, you've been suffering for how long?

 

If you want to read about my story, it's documented in this thread: https://www.enotalone.com/forum/showthread.php?t=446668 I'm kind of shocked at the similarities in both our situations. (again, not exact but a lot of the same concepts).

 

Good luck in whatever your choice may be!!!!!

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