Painful Situation I Never Could Have Imagined
I married shortly after college at age 22, to my first and pretty much my only, serious girl fried (I did almost no dating before her...we dated for 2 years before getting married). We've been married for 14 years and have two great children. I've never wandered before...never would have even considered it because it is just so against what I believe.
But 11 months ago I fell for a woman at work, who I'll call Jane, without even realizing it. We've never had sex, but we are emotionally very very close. We "clicked" like I've never clicked with anyone before and though there was nothing physical, I found myself thinking about her constantly. I never knew I could feel this way about somebody. My wife suspected something was going on and I admitted to this emotional affair 9 months ago...right after I admitted to myself I was in love with another woman. We immediately started counseling every week and shortly afterwards I told Jane that I had to focus on my marriage for a period of time to be sure I gave it a chance, which meant stopping my conversations with her. My wife and I took a trip alone together, we went out on dates, and we did counseling every week...but I had a difficult time putting Jane out of my mind. Only a month passed before she and I were talking again. Despite that, I continued marriage counseling (as well as individual counseling) for over 6 months, with nothing to show for it.
I am so torn about what to do. My wife is a good woman who doesn't deserve this and of course my kids (3 and 7) don't deserve this either. I feel I married too young...with too little relationship experience. I've always wondered whether I truly loved my wife...and I don't think I've ever been truly emotionally intimate with her. I was clearly feeling lonely at the time the emotional affair started...we had in many ways been living separate lives for some time. I know it sounds crazy, but I can't remember the last time I've truly craved spending time with my wife alone. I think for years we relied on mutual friends as a crutch...rarely having fun when it was just the two of us.
My wife wants me to move out because I can't shake how I feel...because I haven't been able to give up the emotional affair I've been having. She says she hates me now, though for the sake of the kids we get along most of the time. I desperately want to be with Jane and can imagine a wonderful future with her. She makes me laugh, it gives me great joy to make her laugh, and I've thought about her constantly for nearly a year. When I'm not with her I miss her smile, her voice, and her way of making me feel at ease and comfortable. And she from all indications loves me desperately. So much so, she broke the relationship off a few times herself over the past 9 months because she saw the pain I was in and I begged her not to each time...crying like a baby. Jane and I have talked about being together forever...living very close to my wife (same neighborhood) so that we could do everything we can to minimize the impact on our kids (but I know it will be tough on them and that scares me). My wife and I have talked about divorce and how we could best make it work for the kids. I love my kids so much and being a great dad is and has always been so important to me. I've considered staying just because of them, but I don't know that my wife would accept that or if that is even the right thing to do.
Part of me thinks I should try once again to break communication with Jane off...to try again to somehow forget her and focus just on my wife. But I'm scared that I'm just stalling....dragging this out (as I have a habit of doing). I'm terrified of looking back with guilt, but I'm also terrified of the thought of not spending my life with Jane. I also wonder if I could ever recover my marriage, in part because so much damage has been done and because I doubt whether our marriage was ever really very good. We make a good parenting team and both love our kids, but love for each other is the problem. I so wish I had waited to get married. I can't believe I'm in this situation. Stay for the kids and to avoid the guilt? Leave for the chance to be happy with Jane and do everything I can to help the kids through it? I'm so scared about what to do and my wife has run out of patience waiting for me to decide.