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Really conflicted on life's next steps. Any advice?


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56 minutes ago, waffle said:

So you're chasing an ideal rather than a specific person?  Okay.  And you seem to know you may never find it (there are no guarantees in life).  Let's assume you never find it and that you do end up alone, or with someone that it turns out is pretty awful after you get to know her and she divorces you and takes the other half of your money, will you regret divorcing your wife?

Yes. Yes, I will. The amount of things in my life that I will lose on the path I’m on is huge. I’m not just losing a wife but an entire life. And if that turns out worse (and it absolutely could), of course I’ll regret it. The list of future regrets here is massive. Some are as good as guaranteed even if I do land on my feet. It terrifies me. 

And that’s partly how I ended up here after all this time. My life works. I have a large, consistent and (as I have now accepted) unfixable unhappiness with my marriage. Honestly, perhaps the only way not to have those regrets would be to keep my wife in the dark, continue on as normal and have an affair. Maybe that would give me everything. But that’s not right.

So it’s stay in the marriage and accept that unhappiness forever or it’s risk every regret and break everything for everyone. Am I missing an option?

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5 hours ago, mylolita said:

I guess, as a side line observation, when you marry, you really need to marry because, this person absolutely knocks you off your feet, you would die for this person, and you can see your unborn children in their eyes.

 

I’m sorry to sound overly romantic or dramatic, but you need the obsessive lust, the romantic air, the, I need you or I can’t go on. Because, life throws so much at a couple - children, finances, illnesses, death, job loss, wealth, poverty - anything. You need that foundation just to make it through. You need all that passion and deep deep soul mate love but, at the same time, you also need them to be your best friend.

 

I know this doesn’t help you OP but it’s food for thought to anyone who is considering marriage and feels “not quite sure”!

 

x

My personal standard after being the Runaway Bride for years -and knowing myself - was I had to be reasonably sure and excited about marrying this person.  For the same reasons you gave - I didn't need obsessive lust or that need them or I'll die -but I needed a standard higher than my prior standards which just lead me to serious doubts and internal conflict and panic. 

For me what also mattered a lot was knowing that I knew I had only dated half the men on the planet lol and knew that technically there "could" be someone "better" but I did not care.  At all.  You could have described to me a guy who you thought would be awesome for me and who also was "even better looking" than my husband etc etc  and who was ready to meet me ASAP and I would have said "how interesting.  no thanks, I have my person, my one".  

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6 hours ago, Greg40s said:

perhaps the only way not to have those regrets would be to keep my wife in the dark, continue on as normal and have an affair.

No, that will make everything worse. 

It would magnify everything that's wrong in your marriage. It would leave you feeling even more unhappy when you spend some thrilling moments with your Other Woman and come home to a loveless situation, where you will have difficulty looking your wife in the eye. Or when your Other Woman decides she's bored or frustrated with you and bails, leaving you feeling even more miserable. 

This is not a solution to your problems, and not only because it would likely destroy your wife (and subsequently, your life) if she ever found out. Affairs have a way of amping up feelings of loneliness or unhappiness or boredom in the primary relationship, because you suddenly have something to compare it to (on the surface) 

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2 hours ago, MissCanuck said:

Affairs have a way of amping up feelings of loneliness or unhappiness or boredom in the primary relationship, because you suddenly have something to compare it to (on the surface) 

Yes, I wasn’t suggesting that this was an option for me. I just meant in terms of answering the question about regrets - I don’t think there is a way for me to get through this without huge risk of regrets no matter what I do, right? Either way, they seem to come built in to the choices. On a purely selfish level, there is no way I can have it all, no secure path here.

I do understand why people have affairs now though and I think it could be exactly that - trying to have it all. I even suspect it probably works for some people. Not many. But some. 

I often find myself considering what Esther Perel says about us basically expecting too much from one person in a marriage. We want our partner to be everything. And it’s too much to ask. I know that’s exactly what I have been doing. In a complete picture of marriage, not much is missing for me. But the part that is missing turns out to be hugely important. If I did think there was a way of me having that without upsetting everything else, I’d probably jump at it. 

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11 hours ago, Greg40s said:

.Am I missing an option?

Yes. Get to a physician for an evaluation of your physical and mental health. Get some tests done. Rule out physical causes. Ask for a referral to a qualified therapist.

If you stay you'll be unhappy. If you divorce you'll be unhappy. If you have an affair you'll be unhappy. Why? Because you're not addressing the underlying problem. You.

Perhaps after getting yourself taken care of you'll stop blaming your wife for your misery. Does it mean you have a happy marriage? Not necessarily, but at least you may have the clarity and courage to make an appropriate decision.

Your wife may be as miserable as you are. Certainly no wife wants a checked out passive aggressive depressed husband.

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3 hours ago, Greg40s said:

I often find myself considering what Esther Perel says about us basically expecting too much from one person in a marriage. We want our partner to be everything. And it’s too much to ask. I know that’s exactly what I have been doing. In a complete picture of marriage, not much is missing for me. But the part that is missing turns out to be hugely important. If I did think there was a way of me having that without upsetting everything else, I’d probably jump at it. 

Esther Perel would never be a fan of a marriage that was loveless and entered into the wrong reasons in the first place.  

I would choose the path that is ultimately in the best interests of your wife and kids.

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3 hours ago, Greg40s said:

Yes, I wasn’t suggesting that this was an option for me. I just meant in terms of answering the question about regrets - I don’t think there is a way for me to get through this without huge risk of regrets no matter what I do, right? Either way, they seem to come built in to the choices. On a purely selfish level, there is no way I can have it all, no secure path here.

I do understand why people have affairs now though and I think it could be exactly that - trying to have it all. I even suspect it probably works for some people. Not many. But some. 

I often find myself considering what Esther Perel says about us basically expecting too much from one person in a marriage. We want our partner to be everything. And it’s too much to ask. I know that’s exactly what I have been doing. In a complete picture of marriage, not much is missing for me. But the part that is missing turns out to be hugely important. If I did think there was a way of me having that without upsetting everything else, I’d probably jump at it. 

I’m not sure who Esther Perel is, I quickly Wiki’d her, as her name is mentioned a lot on here regarding relationships.

 

I think Alan De’Botton has said similar things. That, in the Victorian era, the idea of romantic love, and not the former practical, security based kind, took into fashion. It gave people the notion for the first time of marrying for love, which in history prior, had never been the major consideration, well, not for most people, and not in popular culture. The Victorians also brought in the notion of a couple sharing a bed and sleeping together. This was also rarely the case, especially in Georgian culture, where everyone, children included, would share the parents bed, or if wealthy, the husband and wife always had separate rooms. (Sorry, ex history student here!) 

 

Sometimes, I think people feel that you just can’t have it amazing; that it is impossible. And if you are lucky that lightening strikes, this honeymoon phase will only be given too you for a year, three years max, and then, just expect to get into a comfortable rut where sex is not a priority, and your lives split off and you do separate things. 
 

I totally reject these notions. I feel like I am living proof that it can be done. It’s not easy, but sometimes, and often, it is quite effortless. It’s not as if I have only been with my husband for a couple of years. We have lived together for 15 and been married for 8, have the pressure of 3 young children under 4. He runs his own business, works away, is highly stressed. Don’t get me wrong, we can argue. But, are we madly and deeply and passionately in love? You bet! In fact, in many ways, our relationship has just got BETTER! And that is how you know, you chose RIGHT! 
 

Not everyone is this lucky, and not everyone feels the way someone else feels. I am a high strung, emotional, passionate, vibrant, romantic, all or nothing type of gal. I met someone who happens to be the same way. Imagine, quite rare. What this means is the practical, logical and mundane things can get thrown too the side, and that is something we have to work on. 
 

I think relationships are so much more personal than what a psychologist or a marriage therapist or a sex therapist can tell you. You know your deepest desires, your wants, your hopes and dreams. Yes, no one will be perfect, but getting someone who is perfect for you? Absolutely a life essential. Like oxygen! In my opinion 🥲

 

My husband is quite perfect in my eyes! He really is! And I know technically, he is not. But, he is. And that is how you know you met The One! And, I constantly feel like I don’t deserve him, and I constantly wake up most days and pinch myself that I got it this good and struck gold. That’s what makes my life worth living, and gets us through everything life throws at us, in the end.

 

Does it mean I have never been depressed? Of course not. Your partner does not save you from yourself, or your own private, personal faults. They of course are not there to fix you. 

 

With passionate relationships comes their own downsides - we have extremely heated arguments sometimes. Wow, very big bust ups. Not that often, but when we do, I’m very feisty and it’s a storm. As we all know, nothing is “perfect”.

 

The main ingredient has too be there - deep, romantic love. Because if not, you are just listing the qualities you would want in a good, long term friend, not your partner for life, till death do you part. There has to be more than nice and positive and kind. For most people, anyway.

 

What one person values is what another person doesn’t. 
 

Life is too short to not be happy, and not be in love. There is a reason why people walk on air when they first meet someone. There is a misconception peddled by most people that that cannot last. I am living proof that it isn’t so. My Grandparents were exactly the same. They held hands and took walks around the rose garden he proposed too her in until the last year before she died. I suspect they even had a quite active sex life as well. It is not unattainable, not at all.

 

You are assessing what is important too you and what you want, I think this is the main step! 
 

I realise I have a very different opinion to most on relationships. Maybe some would think I am blindly naive or too optimistic or not seated in reality. But, it works for us, and everyone comments how happy we look, and our children see us playful and kissing and hugging and I think they feel very secure for it. 
 

Just posting this for the romantic dreamers out there!

 

x

Edited by mylolita
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1 hour ago, Wiseman2 said:

Yes. Get to a physician for an evaluation of your physical and mental health. Get some tests done. Rule out physical causes.

I'm not sure if you think you're being helpful here but it's clear from your other responses that you're not quite reading the situation. And that's okay - not everyone's point of view is going to be helpful for every situation. I guess just know that I hear what you're saying and it probably doesn't need to be repeated. 

25 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

I would choose the path that is ultimately in the best interests of your wife and kids.

Yep.

10 minutes ago, mylolita said:

But, are we madly and deeply and passionately in love? You bet! In fact, in many ways, our relationship has just got BETTER! And that is how you know, you chose RIGHT! 

It's actually really heart-warming to hear your experience. Thank you! I'm really happy for you and encouraged that people can find that.

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I also highly recommend Alain De Boton and read his books for years including on relationships - my story lends itself perfectly to romantic stars aligning, fate, "just knowing" and I don't prefer to see it that way - I know it was much more about becoming the right person to find the right person and a combination of head and heart. 

I don't think it matters how another person figures out personally who is the one.  What matters a lot to me is that the person is reasonably confident they are not settling in any way.  Unless it's an arranged marriage/marriage of convenience like for a green card.  

I remember a New Years Eve in the early 2000s when a single friend of mine sat me down out of earshot of my boyfriend who wanted to marry me -and I still had core-shaking doubts.  She told me the story of her sister who, it seemed, settled for marriage and was so happy she did - that she wanted to be a mom before her clock ran out, that she met a really good guy (she did! I met him!) and made the decision to choose him as her husband, knowing it wasn't "perfect" and knowing there was an element of settling. And now -look at her-married, adorable kids, nice house, nice life. I was ELATED -it gave me permission to choose my boyfriend - to justify settling -to stop these disturbing sometimes panicky thoughts and doubts even after a fabulous weekend together.

Elation lasted a day or less.  Why? Because no one can talk you into getting rid of core shaking doubts that this person is the one.  That you won't be settling if you marry him.  I had many others talk to me in this way including when I was engaged the first time to my now husband- our friend getting on a 3-way conference call desperately trying to save our relationship- trying to remind me again and again how awesome a person he was (he was!).  It's a bandaid. 

Because if it doesn't come from your heart- your head and heart -if you don't have that not that exciting but peaceful easy feeling that you are at home with this person -that you are excited and sure to be marrying this person (yes, excitement also can feel peaceful) - and if you're not confident that those feelings are based on a practically unshakeable foundation of love, commitment, passion, chemistry - it aint gonna work.   

I say "practically" because the dealbreakers many of us have in mind still don't affect knowing we aren't settling.  I have some -if he cheated, if he'd decided before we married he didn't want to have a family with me, etc.  We almost all know that the foundation can be shaken by dealbreakers like that but yet we also know we aren't settling and we feel good and solid about our decision to take marriage vows. 

I said we all have our personal ways of approaching this - I mean how you get to that place is personal - my mom's best friend heard bells ringing when she met her husband as a teenager, I knew basically when we had our second first kiss almost 8 years after we ended our engagement - but basically - I did need more time to feel confident to marry him. 

But if you wanted me to spin a romantic tale I could of a boy and a girl who reconnected over a platonic catch up dinner after years apart, how sparks flew, how external forces operated so they weren't going to be long distance for as long as they thought, how they met for their catch up dinner - and he was late and sweaty because he went to the wrong restaurant and she wasn't looking her best because it was a last minute dinner after she'd been barraged with emails by a disgruntled guy she'd met once or twice through a dating site.  How sparks flew despite all this and how he shared his chocolate pudding -one of his favorites still -with her.  

We changed over those years.  Our changes meant we were now compatible, that the core shaking doubts I'd had were no longer.  We are not perfect together or individually - certainly not 100% of the time. 

The Runaway Bride ran to her groom so that the day of my wedding - I couldn't believe how magical and natural it all felt to be taking my vows - never would have thought I could get to that place of knowing, sureness, peace, excitement - and with all life throws at us -thanks pandemic for one thing - I cannot imagine being in this marriage unless we had that glue that holds us together.  

Do the right thing by your wife and kids -and that means also stop indulging in looking for abstractions and twisting the words of Esther Perel et al.  to justify staying or to justify staying in a loveless marriage (yes, if you got to a place of love -of real love that you need for marriage then yes please stay married IMO -but I don't see you referring to that as an option.  You seem DONE).

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Greg,

 

I am sorry and I realise my babble is not practical helpful advice. 
 

No one knows but you, your wife. What is between you both. We could never guess.

 

All I am striving for is that, to aim for passionate, soul mate, romantic love, is not a fools errand, and it is not actually unreasonable; and it is definitely not unattainable! 
 

And that, in modern life, we often look to other people, to “experts” be that, therapists, self help books, YouTube, Google. How many therapists do you know who are divorced? Plenty. And have a therapist themselves?! You can see my irony here.

 

I am saying, in modern life, we have lost touch with our under current of self. We don’t trust our own feelings, our heart, our emotions. That gut instinct you have? It is very important. It often knows more than you know, and I believe people should trust it. Your instincts tell you something is deeply missing, not right. I would believe it, to some extent. There is a phase called, the body keeps the score. I think it is very true.

 

Aome people would say it’s heart over head. In matters of the heart, I think you have to listen too it. Don’t completely shun your logic but, love isn’t logical, that’s the point. It’s the most crazy and unpredictable and untameable and mind boggling thing. You can’t put it into a spreadsheet and then get your formula answer. I really believe that.

 

I honestly wish you and your wife clarity, happiness and just; a conclusion. It won’t be easy. But you both need to be happy and, ideally, in love. Not loving, not liking, not I care about this person but - in love. Cue butterflies. And they don’t go, if you score lucky!

 

x

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1 minute ago, mylolita said:

am saying, in modern life, we have lost touch with our under current of self. We don’t trust our own feelings, our heart, our emotions. That gut instinct you have? It is very important. It often knows more than you know, and I believe people should trust it. Your instincts tell you something is deeply missing, not right. I would believe it, to some extent. There is a phase called, the body keeps the score. I think it is very true

I've seen time and again since the 1980s at least - not just "modern life" people mistaking infatuation for their gut, head over heels feeling for their gut "I just KNOW" and "you know when you know" for their gut so I'd be careful about just relying on gut especially if it's early on in a relationship.  I think modern life has changed certain approaches to commitment and marriage -especially since women have tons more options and don't feel as much of a need to get married, to find a financial provider, to show success in life by being a wife and mother even if that woman wishes she could have shown success as a scientist, an engineer, a lawyer, a firefighter. 

So there might be less settling, less blinders on, more choosiness.  Also babymaking can be slightly more delayed now that there is egg freezing (and option I did not have when I wanted it 23 years ago -only embryos could be frozen). 

But I wouldn't advise this OP to look to external notions of modern life or society because I already see him grasping at any way to twist this into "I can stay in the status quo and that's ok".  

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And yes I can attest to something similar to Batya - but I never serial dated, I was 18 and my husband was my first date, my first kiss, my first everything.

 

We both later admitted to each other the first night we met each other, we knew we wanted to be married. We are not religious and we are very open, liberal and modern in many ways. But even so.

 

A week later from meeting, I moved in with him, and we have never spent a day apart, unless he has to work. We are together mostly always. A real partner in crime. He just gets me. It was like a meeting of minds and souls and hearts. 
 

Most people feel misunderstood, disconnected. When you find someone who just gets you, it is instant, and, you can’t forget it! He even tells me if I had struggled him off he probably would never have even married. I know that sounds corny.

 

We also both know that if either one of us were to go (I am 32, he is 41), we both feel exactly the same - we would never re-marry. We have already had our The One. No one can replace my husband. 
 

It can be found. You just have to know yourself, trust your heart to tell you what is right, what is wrong. Be open to falling in love. I thought I would be single forever and resigned myself too it, with never dating or anything and never liking anyone. At one point, I even struggled with the idea I was asexual. LOL! If you knew me, you would realise what a riot that is! Couldn’t get opposite! But anyway, just, trying to peddle  some hope here and telling you brighter days ahead for you and your wife.

 

It would be lovely to hear your wife opened up too you, you both kissed, hugged, held each other and decided it was best to move forward in the most kind and respectful way because, after all, you still do love each other - just not in love. And that is okay. It happens to so many people. You are definitely not alone!

 

x

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9 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

I've seen time and again since the 1980s at least - not just "modern life" people mistaking infatuation for their gut, head over heels feeling for their gut "I just KNOW" and "you know when you know" for their gut so I'd be careful about just relying on gut especially if it's early on in a relationship.  I think modern life has changed certain approaches to commitment and marriage -especially since women have tons more options and don't feel as much of a need to get married, to find a financial provider, to show success in life by being a wife and mother even if that woman wishes she could have shown success as a scientist, an engineer, a lawyer, a firefighter. 

So there might be less settling, less blinders on, more choosiness.  Also babymaking can be slightly more delayed now that there is egg freezing (and option I did not have when I wanted it 23 years ago -only embryos could be frozen). 

But I wouldn't advise this OP to look to external notions of modern life or society because I already see him grasping at any way to twist this into "I can stay in the status quo and that's ok".  

I understand your view point Batya - I get the impression you are more of a practical kinda gal who has her ducks in a row and has a routine and, is not very impulsive.

 

I get that listen to your head and heart at the same time argument. I think the OP listened too his head too much initially. He ignored his heart that told him something was missing. Instead, his head told him, she wants to get married; I love her, I like her, we’re great friends. It ticked a lot of logical boxes. But then…? After years and years? 
 

Logic will never win in love. It’s all about feeling in my opinion. You gotta feel. That’s my take. Listen and be in touch with your feelings - they tell you so much; I really believe that.

 

Not a psychologist, not a therapist. Just someone who has an amazing relationship who let her heart do the leading. Not my *ahem* by the way! Which I think is what leads us when we refer to lust! No, the heart is… much more than that. You follow that and you can’t go wrong in my opinion. Even in careers. Even in choosing the home you buy. I do believe your heart should have a strong influence in your choices.

 

There are down sides of course. Waves of massive emotions that are hard to ride. I could list so many! Being a feels kinda person! But, if you find yourself listing pros or cons about someone… and my goodness, making a LIST! Run! Run away!!!

 

x

Edited by mylolita
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Just to add, to get in touch with your inner desires, wants, hopes and fears - costs nothing, and takes nothing. 
 

No psychologists, no experts, no self help books, no Googling. 
 

All you have to do is, sit down, breathe, and think. And spend some time alone with yourself. Some people like to write a journal, some people like to exercise and think, some people take long showers. Some people go for drives, some people listen to music or play an instrument. Do art. Anything. Some people meditate, go for country walks, or pray. Whatever it is, it has to be solo and reflective and in a way, peaceful.

 

To know yourself and what you want in this life is one of life’s most underrated skills I feel.

 

I think Buddhists often called it enlightenment.

 

Again, perfect knowledge of one’s self and perfect harmony is unattainable. But, you can get close, or at least, get in touch with your fears and desires and, live your life. Life is for living and feeling it and experiencing it! 
 

X

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The positive note on all of this Greg is you have come to this conclusion now - and not after another 20 years, or on your death bed.

 

Life throws us many lessons to be learnt.

 

x

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3 minutes ago, Greg40s said:

It really does. And a lot of lessons, I have been very slow to learn. 

I think you are being hard on yourself Greg.

 

I think, you have probably got a lot of other things right in your life and been lucky in other areas. No one has it all.

 

x

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37 minutes ago, mylolita said:

I understand your view point Batya - I get the impression you are more of a practical kinda gal who has her ducks in a row and has a routine and, is not very impulsive.

 

I get that listen to your head and heart at the same time argument. I think the OP listened too his head too much initially. He ignored his heart that told him something was missing. Instead, his head told him, she wants to get married; I love her, I like her, we’re great friends. It ticked a lot of logical boxes. But then…? After years and years? 
 

Logic will never win in love. It’s all about feeling in my opinion. You gotta feel. That’s my take. Listen and be in touch with your feelings - they tell you so much; I really believe that.

 

Not a psychologist, not a therapist. Just someone who has an amazing relationship who let her heart do the leading. Not my *ahem* by the way! Which I think is what leads us when we refer to lust! No, the heart is… much more than that. You follow that and you can’t go wrong in my opinion. Even in careers. Even in choosing the home you buy. I do believe your heart should have a strong influence in your choices.

 

There are down sides of course. Waves of massive emotions that are hard to ride. I could list so many! Being a feels kinda person! But, if you find yourself listing pros or cons about someone… and my goodness, making a LIST! Run! Run away!!!

 

x

Nope.  Not when it came to getting married. Had I relied on logic I'd have married at age 23 the first time I was engaged to a really great guy.  I believe in head and heart in making a decision to marry especially if it involves planning a family. Not at all about feelings or logic winning.  It's about head and heart working together -smoothly.  I think the important part of loving is giving not feeling especially when it comes to committing to a partner, to being a good parent, etc.  I am not typically an impulsive person, I've become more into routines as I've aged -and especially with the chaos of this pandemic.  It grounds me.  I get things done and I also know how to think outside the box, be spontaneous, etc. 

As I wrote getting married -the day I took my vows -was this combo of magical and totally natural I'd never experienced. Right before that I was in the kitchen of my in-laws house with my sister so the groom wouldn't see me before the ceremony and we were just joking around and laughing.  It was awesome.  Magic isn't logic. Magic isn't routine.

I don't think committing to a marriage has much to do with being liberal or religious or otherwise. I have friends who are totally in love with their same sex spouses (in most cases were not married religiously -at least, I don't think so?) - who are liberal and at the same time completely serious minded about their marriage, their commitment, their vows. 

I know religious people who settled (in part because of the pressure of their religious background to marry, procreate, etc) and liberal women who got scared of being in their 30s and didn't want to do single mom by choice and still wanted badly to be married and to be a stay at home mom with spouse as sole provider. People are a mish mash especially when it comes to decisions to marry.  

I have a friend who was head over heels in love with her first husband -she told me she never doubted being in love even when he acted like a jerk.  I was jealous of her sureness - I was single when she married, single when they divorced 7 years later.  She then met her partner through a dating site, they have been together 16 years and have a son and he wanted to marry her and she has never wanted to be married again despite being so in love with her first husband.  But they are a great couple, very committed, very loving and great parents.  Again a mish mash.

I think it's ridiculous to marry because a person is a "logical" person (I am -pick me pick me!!!) - and likes routine and is not particularly impulsive and tells himself or herself "since I am a logical person who likes routine and is not particularly impulsive it's ok if I don't feel as I should for this person because it's just me -I will never meet anyone who is more right on paper and it's silly for someone like me to wait to fall in love and know deep in my heart this is my person."  If anyone ever ever gave me that nonsense hogwash I'd tell them if they asked -run, don't do it, don't settle unless this is a marriage of convenience and your spouse feels just as "logical" as you.  Please.  

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1 hour ago, Greg40s said:

not quite reading the situation.

You stated you've been unhappy for years in your marriage? Well going for a walk won't fix that. If it did you have would freed yourself and your wife from this misery long long ago. Inertia seems to be the issue so even more inertia won't fix it.

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2 hours ago, Batya33 said:

Esther Perel would never be a fan of a marriage that was loveless and entered into the wrong reasons in the first place. 

I was about to write the same thing. 

I don't think this has anything to do with the concept of expecting too much from our partners either, OP. Your situation isn't that. It's that you got married when you shouldn't have, to someone you didn't have strong feelings for. 

You mentioned before that you didn't want to get married - did you wife know that, at the time? 

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14 minutes ago, MissCanuck said:

You mentioned before that you didn't want to get married - did you wife know that, at the time? 

Yes. She had to talk me into coming around to the idea. So eventually I agreed and we got married. To be fair to her, I probably showed all the classic 'fear of commitment' signs and so she likely figured that she needed to get me over that.

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2 minutes ago, Greg40s said:

She had to talk me into coming around to the idea. 

That's what I imagined. 

She didn't go into this blindly. Whether she told herself it was a commitment issue or not, I am sure has always wondered on some level how into her you really are. That's not to say she had it coming, but rather that she might have expected (feared) that this day would eventually come. I realize you have brought this issue up with her before but I also get the sense that she's tried to minimize to herself how much of a problem this really is. Perhaps she hopes that if she doesn't bring it up, then the boat won't be rocked enough to capsize. 

And that makes me wonder this: has she ever come to you about these problems in the marriage? Or have you been the one to initate those hard talks? 

 

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7 hours ago, Greg40s said:

On a purely selfish level, there is no way I can have it all,

I think when people think in a type of extreme, "have it all," kind of way, it makes living life harder than it needs to be.

I mean... just for me personally, I can't really, "have it all," in some respects regarding work life focus because I made the choice to have 4 kids and stay home and even homeschool them, which is a lot more involved than just staying home while they're young to keep them out of daycare.  Homeschool is like a huge undertaking if they decide to go through high school with it.  And I leave it up to them each year (and our personal finances, how my husband feels about it etc.).  But there's no doubt it, "holds me back," from being my best at work right now.  And I *loved** working in the field I was in, it was my passion so giving it up was very hard in a way, and easier in other ways because I saw immediately how wonderful it was to be home with my kids.

If I really wanted to work full time, we could figure that out and I'd have *that* special thing :D .  But then I wouldn't get to be teaching them or being with our 2 yr old (and I wouldn't want him in daycare), which I usually greatly enjoy (I mean kids... preteens LOL... it's not always pretty 😂).

So no... a person really can't, "have it all," without having to somewhat sacrifice *something.*  No one I think, "has it all."  Usually you decide what that something is you'd rather give up for that time period, and then because you CHOSE it, you find happiness in your choice and live a basically happy life.

...

Because you both chose this marriage, I think deciding if you want to stay in it longterm and maybe be unfulfilled (?) which I can see is a risky outcome long-term.... you may get more bitter and angry and destroy yourself from the inside, OR sit her down, talk like responsible adults (I think going to counseling just to have a mediator see how she responds would be *great*) and figure out how to end it responsibly?  

Betterwithout said he's making a secret plan to exit after the kids are out.  To me that sounds smart and adult-like and responsible... but maybe he's spent more time thinking about this and has more experience etc.

I do think if you sit her down and tell her, she may end it herself because honestly what woman would want to stay in a marriage where the man is secretly planning to end it and already falling in love with other women?  She should end it, technically, she's living a lie and telling her may finally open her eyes to see her reality she's in right now.  So if she has any self-respect, once you sit her down and are brutally honest with her, there's a huge chance she'll beat you to the punch with filing for divorce.  Just something to think about.

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21 minutes ago, maritalbliss86 said:

think when people think in a type of extreme, "have it all," kind of way, it makes living life harder than it needs to be.

I mean... just for me personally, I can't really, "have it all,"

I think there's a huge difference between accepting not 'having it all" which I've found most do accept - and accepting not having what you have decided is essential to your life goals.  For example would you have married your husband if he changed his mind about having children -meaning no children?

Or if he told you you had to work full time and homeschool them like at night/all weekend? (And I was home for the first 7 years -he went to part time preschool at age 3, full time pre-k at age 4 - I never considered all the educating I did of him and all the learning we did together before age 3 as "home school"- it's just simply what a good parent/caregiver does/tries to do - and I don't see daycare prior to age 3 as "school" although I know many who do).

I think many who think about settling rationalize with "you can't have it all/no one is perfect" but ignore that settling isn't just not "having it all" but sacrificing a core value, a core goal.

 

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