I Ask What Everyone Else Asks...."now What"?

I was married at 21. Had 2 babies by 24. Divorced by 26.

 

I met J about a month after I moved out. It was fast and furious. In love by two weeks. Moved in together 3 months later.

 

We bought a house together 2 months after that. I was pregnant the following spring. We were married that July. I was 12 weeks pregnant.  I always doubted that J wanted to be with me forever. I guess when I got pregnant, he reflected on me and decided I was a "good girl" who was ok to marry. I don't believe he was deeply in love with me. I was definitely in love with him.

 

5 months after baby was born. I was pregnant again. By now, I had 3 children and was pregnant with another. I was working full time. J was not. He took up then with the girl scout troop leader. I suspected something was between them but he convinced me I was wrong. Over and over again.

 

After baby 4, I got really sick. Nearly died. I was again, working full time. He was talking about the girl scout troop leader moving in with us. To "help" her out and to "help" me with housework, cooking and child care. I emphatically refused to entertain this. She was my nemesis. I took the kids out of her troop and never spoke to her again.

 

During this time J decided we should become "swingers". We played a bit but I never had a good experience. In fact, they were horrible experiences. We did this off and on for about 5 years.

 

In there we decided to have baby 5. Following her birth I became a surrogate for friends of ours. It's been about a year and a half since that birth. I went back to work full time immediately after.

 

I have discussed the issues in our marriage over and over again. It's been a rough go. I've nearly left him twice. He's been emotionally and psychologically abusive to me for most of our marriage. I brought up the girl scout troop leader, swearing that something had happened between them. He denied. Swore on the lives of our children. We worked hard to keep it together. Spending a lot of time last summer talking about life, our marriage, our plans. I felt like we had really come to a deeper understanding and acceptance of each other. I felt that we were going in the right direction.

 

I was unsettled and decided to make contact with her. She asked me to call her. She told me they did have sex 7 years ago. I felt relieved on some level. At least I knew I was right. We could make it right. Then she went on to tell me that he's visited her every couple months for 7 years in an attempt to get her to sleep with him again. She apparently grew some scrupples and decided she wouldn't sleep with a married man. I confronted him. He confirmed that had she ever said yes, he would've slept with her. He confirmed that had he never been caught, he would've continued to try. I was devestated. The last time he saw her was Sept. I found out Nov 13th. Why. Why had he gone to see her then? When I thought things were so good between us?? If we had been struggling, I'd have understood. This I don't understand. He told me it was because I had put the squash on our "swinging". I didn't want to do it. Wouldn't do it. Period. He was pissed and retaliated.

 

In the days and weeks following the discovery we talked and cried a lot. He swears that he is completely different. He sees everything in a completely different way. He is ashamed of the person he was and believes he is a better person today. He wants me to look at him TODAY and not see what he was then. He is sorry for what he did. He took responsibility for it. He never blamed me.

 

However, soon after our reconciliation he started on the swinging thing again. I have embraced it. I've got no issue with the theory of it and think HEALTHY couples can do it. I just never thought we were healthy. I thought this time, we had turned a corner.

 

Here we are today, and I'm wondering what the point is. I feel like we are roommates with benefits comparing notes on the other people we find attractive. I don't feel like WE are special to each other. He claims the history we have together makes us special. I feel like our history is null and void since he was playing around 7 of the 8 years we were married. It's NEVER been just "us". And now with swinging, it never WILL be just us. He's made it clear that the sexual aspect of all of this is very important to him and that's what he needs. If I say no, I risk him looking elsewhere. He hasn't said this, but it's my perception based on our conversations.

 

I don't know what he'd say about me at a eulogy. I don't know what he values about ME as a person. I keep wondering if there is someone out there who would be dizzy in love with ME. See the person *I* am. The struggles I've had. The strength I have. And appreciate that. Then I wonder if all men are just jerks and that even if I think I have found someone like that (which  I had with J) clearly, that doesn't mean anything. He said he never stopped loving me. I was always enough. He just wanted MORE. I wonder if I want MORE. Is there MORE? Do I stay and accept the life and situation I've been given? Since the grass is always greener on the other side, but then really isn't once you get there. Do I want a marriage that is so terribly battered and broken? Do I try and start over risking it all happening again with someone else?

 

I like him as a person. He is handsome, funny, sexy, generous to others, helpful, talented in his work skills, smart. We have fun together. We love to go out together. We have friends over often in better weather. We have wonderful children. A great sex life (always have really). Is that enough? Is being fond and friendly enough to make a life with? We really have no base do we? 7 out of 8 years is a lot. He's not been faithful to me for longer than 1 year.

 

There is no financial considerations. I am fine on my own. We sold our house years ago and have absolutely nothing between us as far as assets go.

 

I say I want to save this marriage. Do I really or am I just too stubborn to give up? Is this marriage worth my fight?

 

Soggygranola Soggygranola
36-40, F
1 Response Feb 23, 2010

I'd ask him why he wants to stay married.