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I have got myself completely tied up in knots and cannot find a way forward.

I am married (17 years) with two children of high school age. 4 years ago after becoming unhappy with married life and feeling neglected I began a relationship with a married woman, X, in the same neighborhood who I knew socially as a friend for several years. She was also in a similar situation.


After a few months she left her husband and is now divorced and living on her own with her kids in the same neighborhood. I have continued to see her, very often for several years but with occasional gaps as she has become more frustrated by me not leaving. I have had several attempts at doing so, getting so far with taking rented accomaodation and the bottling out.


My relationship with this person is very intense, I love her, sure there is good sex, but that is very infrequent now as the stresses caused by me not leaving have placed pressure on our relationship. I dont want to lose her. I want a resolution but cannot understand why I cannot leave my wife for someone that was originally a friend, who I knew well which then developed into more. We get on very well, we are interetsed in what each other has to say, we are similar perhaps in our view of the world and chat. But I have become paralysed by inaction as I analyse and analyse the situation, worrying what happens if I leave - the relationship will change, is it just a plug for me, and worrying what will happen if I dont.


The situation at home has become stressed too. After the relationship started I have become more distant with my wife, we have not had sex for 3 years, though she was never really into it anyway, and she has found fullfillment in relationships with her friends. I have no evidence that she has had any affair. She is not sure whether she still wants me and doesnt know whether she can ever have a physical relationship again, but is prepared to see what happens. At the moment I fulfill the role of provider and sort of friend. We dont argue but talk about our respective unhappiness and the best way to resolve it. I am unable to committ to her emotionally (becasue of x) and have been sitting on the fence I suppose. I cant imagine having sex with her buit when I look at her I am find of her and I guess I still love her, but as a friend? She does not know about my 4 year relationship.


I am now under pressure from X to leave or end the relationship, this she has done several times before, though I believe her when she says she can not go on. I agree, it shouldn't, I should either leave or stop seeing X.


When I'm with X I imagine a family life with my kids and want her to be part of that, but cannot get through the imagining of the trauma involved. When I'm at home I miss x and feel very unhappy. I seem to be stuck and don't know which way to turn. Any comments?

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If you want to decrease the trauma I would: separate from your wife, throw your energy into co-parenting the kids, and when your divorce is final for a year (divorce, not separation) go to the other woman if she is still interested/available (break off all contact with her other than a monthly check in call if you must). This way, your kids will suffer less, you will be able to clear your head by being legally single for at least a year and that hopefully will allow you to see if you are still emotionally available to the other woman or whether you realize that that was meant to be just an affair and/or that you don't feel you can trust yourself to be faithful to her the way you weren't trustworthy in your marriage.


If it is meant to be with the other woman it will be when you are legally single for a significant amount of time. Any other path continues your approach of self-interest and as a married man with kids and responsibilities to them you can't really continue that, can you?

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