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marriage partner vs. soulmate...


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I am in need of counsel... Let me explain the situation. I am 46 years old, and have been married for 14 years. My wife and I have two children, around 12 years old. For the past 8 years or so, we have had a number of issues, that we have worked through for the most part, but the relationship has been deteriorating. Our relationship has become an exercise in conflict avoidance, and has become quite boring. A couple of years ago, I tried to get her to go to counseling with me, but she refused (she typically denies that there are any problems). I had been growing frustrated with this, and looking for ways to improve the marriage, not being one to quit easily.

 

Last fall, I got an interesting email from an old love. She had found me on the internet, and was interested in saying hello. I was at a particularly low point, and responded quickly. We struck up an email exchange, which seemed to quickly move from purely friendly, to emotional and then to romantic. She is married (for about 11 years) and has two children as well (a little younger than mine). We both have been divorced (both of us married our rebound partners, after we broke up), having both had disasterous first marriages. We both married 'safe and reliable' partners the second time. The email relationship flourished for 4 or 5 months, graduated to phone calls, and ended up with lunch (She lives 1000 miles away, so this was on a connection on a business trip). Seeing her was literally electric. After this, we resolved to see each other again... we did so about a month later, meeting in a distant town for a short weekend.

 

That weekend, our relationship transformed from emotional and spiritual, to add the physical. Since that time, we have both stopped being sexual with our marriage partners, and have seen each other another couple of more times. We are like soulmates. We share interests, emotions, sensations and more. She is the first woman I ever lived with (and the only one I didnt marry), and the first I asked to marry me (she said no). Our relationship ended difficultly, with me moving far away. Now, it seems that we have been living parallel lives for the 20 years since we parted, and seeing each other again seems like destiny, a second chance at love. We are both thinking through the issues of leaving our marriage partners, and both seeing counselors. This has been going on in this mode for almost 3 months now.

 

My dilemma is this... Do I take a second chance at love with a soulmate, or do I try to salvage a 'reliable' marriage for the sake of the kids, or do I try to remove myself from both for a while, to gain perspective? I am on the verge of telling my wife, as I believe that she has the right to know (she knows that I am having difficulty with the marriage, but she does not know about the rest). I dont know if anyone else has experienced anything like this. This is not an 'affair' as most know it. We did not just meet... we lived together for 2 years (on and off), have been living parallel lives for 20 years, and when we got together, the connection was clear and immediate. We read books together, talk on the phone daily, and talk openly about all of these issues. I have explored the issues around typical midlife crisis affairs, and if I thought this was one, I would know how to deal with it. I think that this is something far more rare, and far more serious.

 

Has anyone had any experience like this? If so, I would love to hear about it, and would like to hear your thoughts and experiences.

 

Thanks...

 

TC

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hey TC, God Bless, I'm about your age, life doesn't get any easier, does it buddy! I'm married 20 yrs, been faithful, but believe me I can understand the temptations.

 

You have a definite responsiblity to your kids. You have to think how a divorce would affect the kids. Marriage is not just about you. Trouble is already you are already way, way down the line, going downhill on a heavy heavy train and it is going to be very hard to stop. You crossed the line and there will be consequences. #1 - say, marriage is all about the family and committment, and now you have a broken, torn heart for the rest of your life, esp since you have already gone SO FAR with your old flame. It's going to be hard to drop her today, for good. Focus on your wife and making things better, little step by little step. #2 - continue some kind of clandestine relationship, hope you don't get caught, your marriage will probably continue to fizzle and drizzle. #3 - Tell the wife, divorce her, go through all the pain and "hassle" with the kids and custody and alimony, etc etc., you know about that and you are probably seeing your friends go through the mid 40's D, like me. She does same, rips two families apart and rejoin somehow. That's where it gets interesting, that is the total, total wildcard. Even though this gal you've known for a long time, 2 yrs down the road, when the initial wears off, after a couple hundred lovemaking sessions, and dozens of arguments and disagreements that are almost bound to happen in any household, then you will have to see what you have and what you left. Also, remember, #3 option is probably going to cost you, your wife and kids a ton of $$$ and loss of financial stability.

 

Sorry, but your heart is duck soup no matter what! I would never, ever, ever tell you what to do, that is for you and only you to decide. RIght now you are in the devil's playground.(figuratively speaking)

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I think you have already told your wife " we need to get help" right? She won't go to counseling. She won't do what it takes to make your marriage work. Perhaps one more ultimatum, we have to go get help or i am leaving is appropiate. I would also come clean about the infidelity. If you are to have an honest intimate relationship with either of these women, honesty, everything being on the table is neccesary.

It seems like you have tried. Your wife is unwilling to do the neccesary steps to maintaining a helathy relationship. In fact she is in total denial you have any marital problems at all. Even though she's not having sex with you and you constantly argue. She needs a wake up call.

your own mental health is the priority. You are no good to your children if you are suffering in a terrible marriage. That's not a good example for them. Get it all out in the open. No more secrets. She what her ( your wife's) reaction is to reality and go from there.

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Hardcharger gave you some good advice.

 

First things first you have to resolve your marriage one way of the other. Never underestimate how difficult divorce is, even if you think the marriage is already over. It rips apart your family and friends and you will be in no shape to go straight into another relationship, neither will she.

 

When I divorced, I got together with my current partner 6 months after my divorce. I took a lot of grief for that from my circle of friends. In their view 6 months was too soon. And I had no kids involved.

 

We did not just meet... we lived together for 2 years (on and off), have been living parallel lives for 20 years, and when we got together, the connection was clear and immediate. We read books together, talk on the phone daily, and talk openly about all of these issues. I have explored the issues around typical midlife crisis affairs, and if I thought this was one, I would know how to deal with it. I think that this is something far more rare, and far more serious.

 

This really worries me. First you sound like a teenager. Second you are old enough to know what the "initial" feelings are like, third you have fantastical expectations already around this relationship. The whole parallel lives business, really you are both looking at this as the great escape. This has danger written all over it.

 

My advice to you would be to sort your marriage out one way or another before you do anything else. If you end it, give yourself 6 months to get used to the changes that is going to bring to your life. Then pick up the phone to this other woman and take it from here.

 

If you continue the affair whilst going through your divorce I think you have less than a 5% chance of making this thing long term. I think you guys also really need to take a deliberate reality check on what is actually going on here.

 

This is so succinct it is genius,

 

Even though this gal you've known for a long time, 2 yrs down the road, when the initial wears off, after a couple hundred lovemaking sessions, and dozens of arguments and disagreements that are almost bound to happen in any household, then you will have to see what you have and what you left.
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I was going to say the exact same things. Give yourselves 6 months apart to work on your marriages.

 

Even if YOU end your marriage, there is no guarantee that she will. She sounds like she was bored or unhappy before this because she was looking for something else by contacting you. But for women, when push comes to shove, a woman will ALWAYS ALWAYS do whats best for her children, especially for young children.

 

Give her that space whether she wants it or not, because she could possibly resent you in the future and those everyday arguments in yyour possible future will always end up with you to blame for not allowing her to think things through and do what's best for her and her children without your input or pressure.

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But for women, when push comes to shove, a woman will ALWAYS ALWAYS do whats best for her children, especially for young children.

 

Bethany, none of us always does the right thing, that's for sure. In general the advice on enotalone is right on, I can't believe how smart and sympathic the answers are here. But what is the right thing? There are those who say, you are in a loveless marriage, get out. you owe it to yourselves and your children to be happy. Don't let the kids see a bad marriage. Well, my parents marriage is/was far from good(50 yrs soon), but the have each other now, we have them for holidays, the grandchildren have them. Of course, if today we all said "together" let's all get out of bad marriages, instead of 50% divorce I am sure it would be well over 80%. No doubt, who doesn't think about the other side of the fence, esp after years go by, resentments build up, passion decreases etc. I had to leave another relationship site because I couldn't take the women telling other women that it is always HIS fault, and they seemed to advocate divorce whenever it seemed best for the women, and there was no real care about the kids.

 

Why do we even have marriage? Who needs it? Marriage is something we as a society totally made up. In fact I think ALL societies have it. Why? Because as an animal, we need to raise our children. All species in the animal kingdom live to propogate their species and instinctively they go to very great lenghts for their offspring. We invented marriage because we know our children, as human beings, need a stable environment to grow, the are not like snakes that drop out the belly and crawl away to raise themselves. Just look at segments of our society that have high divorce rates or high single mothers - you will see instability and poverty.

 

I am not against divorce, because my wife will be happy to tell you, there is a decent chance I will taste it someday. But we have to recognize our responsiblities as they are. See the truth for what it is. But of course, saying all that, there is only so much you can take. But for those who think divorce is such an easy answer to a problem, go to link removed and see the HELL these guys are going through and I am sure there are similar sites for the ladies. Is is better for the kids to see and live all that? Many of us will have to answer that question for ourselves and sometimes our lives move inexorably someplace, there is no stopping it. We're all human.

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TC - let's be serious, where in the world do you get off calling this gal "my soulmate". First, look around at the marriages around you. How many soulmates do you see? What were the circumstances of their meeting and marriage? How many real soulmates do you see each and everyday with people you know? Esp at your age and after yrs of marriage.

 

You my friend, are taking a very, very big leap in pegging this lady as your soulmate. Cute little email chatting and one serepticious, delicious! weekend does not make a soulmate. No way Jose. Like I said, I'm your age and I know exactly how you are feeling and I think I am capable of the same exact thing, meeting another "mature" women, both of us with a clean slate, and having this wonderful sexual weekend together, that wasn't very hard to do. Do it mean she is your soulmate? think not. maybe someday. but your reaching and deceiving yourself for now.

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I agree with hardcharger. This is just another thing sent to test your marriage and faithfulness to your wife. Just like the way your wife is acting right now. It's for better or for worse. This is one of the "worse".

These two things: the indifference of your wife and the arrival of a potential marriage killer.

It's your choice. You have been with your wife a long time. How does your new beau compare with the best times you had with your wife?

Do you really believe in your heart 1) your marriage is dead. 2) you have finally found your true love

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Bethany, none of us always does the right thing, that's for sure. In general the advice on enotalone is right on, I can't believe how smart and sympathic the answers are here. But what is the right thing?

 

Maybe I should have added the words "most" before the word woman? I spoke as a woman and a mother to a man contemplating leaving his own wife and children not knowing if she would do the same. He needs to hold back for himself and remove all pressure from her and vice versa.

 

What she thinks is best for her children, both presumably under 10, I do not know, but I would be very surprised if she uprooted them from their home unless she was extremely unhappy...Speaking as a woman and a mother, that is.

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Thanks to all who have posted replies to my post. I have read some wise and sage advice, and have discussed some of it with my counselor. Let me clarify a few things for you all.

 

First, my 'other love' for lack of a better word, was a 'love at first sight' when we met, and continued on that vein. We had an immediate connection, back 23 years ago, and spent that first night (the entire night) walking and talking... until dawn. I can tell you every detail of our first meeting (which I can't recall for anyone else) and more. Our relationship, back then, was complicated by many things, including a more distinct age difference (she was 18, I was 22), school (I was in the first year of grad school, she was a freshman undergraduate), and many more things. We were both immature, and less than open with eachother with our thoughts and feelings. However, now, there is a clear maturity to our relationship... but still with the mind, body and spirit connection. I am not a big believer in fate... but if I were, I would say that we were destined to be together, and for many reasons, messed it up the first time... and may now have a second chance. Perhaps not surpisingly, she shares these feelings, with perhaps more intensity and certainty.

 

Second, we are both wrestling with telling our spouses... and I think that in the very near future both of us will. We both realize the hurt and pain involved for everyone... a major difference, is that she does not have the depth of concern over losing the love of her children, as I do. Not that it is not an issue for her, but is less than for me. This is a MAJOR concern for me, and drives much of my consternation.

 

Third, we both realize that time and space are needed for anything to possibly work out between us... this is not a situation of switching committments. If anything can work, it will take time and effort...

 

Fourth... I fully realize that there are elements of escapism, excitement from secrecy, the thrill of a new relationship, and more. I know that I cannot separate these from what else might be there as well... not at this time. The only way to do that, is to see what is there over time and in the full light of day. I also realize that the potential of this working out is small, given statistics.

 

But, finally, I cannot seem to give up on this connection. I feel like I have discovered the reasons behind my first failed marriage (which I never understood before), and the reasons behind the impending failure of my current marriage. I am indeed an emotional and passionate person, and that is a part of me that has lain fallow for decades, or has been plowed into my work. Can I stand the ups and downs of a passionate and emotional relationship? That is a good question, but I have found the lack of them to be emotionally numbing.

 

My big dilemma is this... is the risk of the loss of the love and caring of my children (personal alienation) worth the potential of this new/renewed relationship? Is there a way to preserve some semblance of the family I have built over the past 15 years, even though the marital relationship has broken down. Or, is it possible to ignore this renewed love relationship, and go back to the staid and practical relationship with my wife, in order to preserve the family? This is not about renewing the intensity of that relationship, it has always been staid and practical... I have no illusions about creating some new, emotionally satisfying and passionate relationship here. This will be about putting that sense of love and passion away, for good. I have truly opened pandora's box, and it will not close again.

 

I know that 'true love' is a rare thing... that only 3% of marriages are 'soulmates' (from a study I read on the internet, so it must be true). However, I do believe that there is a possibility for that here... not a certaintly, but a possibility. Could you turn that away?

 

It seems to me that the choice here, is emotional vs. intellectual, passion vs. responsibility, Eros vs. need love. This is an epic choice to be sure, and one that I am unprepared for. I dont know that anyone can really provide any counsel on this... perhaps what I really need is consolation... I will make a decision, and carry forward... that is inevitable. It is the turmoil of that decision, and its consequences for all those involved, that troubles me. Turmoil is now inevitable, and will be a dominant force in my life and the lives of those around me for the foreseeable future.

 

Thanks for listening...

 

TC

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