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 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 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.

Pablo4811 Pablo4811
13 Responses Apr 19, 2009

I have no doubt you will be happier with Jane. I know it will be a difficult change to make and hard on the kids but Jane is willing to live near the kids so you can be close to them. Jane is going to be there for you. All your wife has given you is the kids. She hasn't been there for you or you wouldn't have fallen in love with Jane.

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Holy crazy I am in the same situation only it is with my best friends husband and I am married as well.. what do we do.. be happy with our soul mates or stay with who we married? Its tuff. But I do think everything happens for a reason and you should always follow your heart, and never make the kids miserable staying for them.

Kids need to see how adults live happy lives. They need to see the measure of courage it takes to make that a reality. For them to see an unhappy marriage teaches them to endure relationships that are not good for them. If you really care about your kids learning to live a happy life, show them by example. Kids need love and that's not at issue here. Marriage does not equal love. Sticking it out is an option, one which I quit after too many years. I wish I had done it a LOT sooner. My kids suffered because I stayed in the marriage for them. They learned how to chose a mate that isn't right for them AND then to stay in an unhappy relationship. It's never too late to start doing what you believe is the right thing. I don't know what's right for you, I just know what I've learned in this journey called, LIFE.

Me n my other woman. R on break up number 100 again. Take a look at the big picture, I hv, wht do u think your relationship would b like w Jane, in 14 years.. B b true to yourself. Marriages become stale,,because we quit working on thm . I can relate to, way to much of your story. Keep In counseling, find a church. N wht happens, happens..I've become so detached from my wife, of 25 yrs, n it scared me to death. The other woman, I hv realized after,many of her head games, is most definitely not the one worth throwing everything away careful, make sure your thinking w the rite body part. N take a good long look w,eyes wide open, at the life u she worth it.? Your kids will suffer, n so will your relationship w them. Best of wishes

Just have to say that you only have one chance at life. If you have tried and tried and given it all you have to your marriage and its not better, you should think about ending it. I understand about being htere for the kids, I stayed in an verbally and emotionally abusive marriage for 22 yrs and I wish I hadnt stayed. It was terrible for my children to see it all. I have a close male friend who fell in love with someone from work, broke up, recommitted to his marriage for his small children, was still in love with her for 4 yrs then she came back into his life and he is no longer married and with this woman. Their kids all get along very well (her two and his two) and it seems his ex wife is happy too with a new boyfriend of her own. It can work out is my point. And children need to live with parents who are happy and showing them how to care and love for one another. That's my opinion.

Quit being wishy washy and make a damn decision already.

I COMPLETELY understand your predicament., having been in the same place as you. You cant eat, sleep or concentrate on anything but this.<br />
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I married at age 18. By age 20 I had 2 kids and now aged 31 married to same man that I have never really been IN love with. Had a 19 month affair with someone I fell head over heels in love with . F****ed up my head, and heart got broken. We broke up properly last months after sort of finishing in July 2010. I still miss him but I am glad that I didnt jeapordise my kids happiness for him. Kids need parents, both parents around them. My kids are 13 & 4. Walk away from this woman and as much as it will hurt and it will! Mentally tell yourself every DAY the posiutive things about your marriage, your home & your kids. In time it will hurt less xx

Your post is coming across as 'your story' for why you should leave your wife - you're trying to justify it in your own mind and to those of us who will read and judge. Jane is not the answer. If you left your wife to be with Jane, you will come to find out that she will not measure up to your expectations; and that relationship will last about 18 months (on average). Your relationship with Jane is fantasy - you're not living in the real world of bills, kids, work, etc. And if you think there is pain now, you have no idea of what you're about to unleash if this emotional affair turns physical. The grass is only greener on the other side because that's where we're watering it. You've started a family - wife, family, home, in-laws, etc. Put your focus there. Again, Jane is not the answer. It's time to grow up.

I think dayenknight makes a good point. What if the pattern starts again when you are with "Jane"? I think you do need to take some time away from both women in your life and figure out what you really want. The kids are the important part. If you stay and you are unhappy they will pick up on that. You must focus on your wife wholly if you do decide to stay. It isn't an easy situation. I am going through a similar situation and it's hard. I hope you figure out what is best for you. Everyone deserves to be happy.

If you have had that much counselling then you probably have heard all there is to hear about what is happening and why and what to do about it.....however I will add my 2 cents worth from my own experiences in the hope it can help you...<br />
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I had many affairs over a 10 year period until my wife finally said enough and left me...the pain was so great and so many people were hurt...not just my family and extended families on both sides but all our many friends who loved us too...I was staggered by how far reaching the pain for others was or how devastating it was for them....My children suffered terribly also...children only wish for their parents to be happy and stay together as a family....When they cannot understand why their parents split up they look for answers in their own lives and end up blaming themselves for the things they did that upset their parents.....lots of these children grow up to be angry and dissatisfied with themselves and can lead to dysfunctional behaviour...<br />
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I immediately went into lots of intensive therapy followed by counselling to understand what happened in the therapy....this is what I found...<br />
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Men have affairs not because there is something wrong with their marriages but because they are afraid of being close to - <br />
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Being truly intimate - this can only rise when you begin to love for real....the real truth....(with your wife) This is borne usually from an early experience with your first primal relationship (Mum/Mom/Mother) where you have loved her whole heartedly and you have perceived at some time in your life over something that could be trivial to grown ups but huge to kids, she has betrayed or let you down and emotionally you shut off from getting to close because you will get hurt if you do... which develops into a lack of trust for the opposite sex if and when you get too close....<br />
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So when you commit to a relationship it becomes your primal one replacing you very first ...and when true love with your wife puts you into an intimacy position your trust issues and subconscious memory of hurt and emotional pain rises and you have to look for a safe outlet...and an affair is the most you fear and pain gets massaged by this gorgeous creature who seems to understand you better than anyone has in the past and she just glows with love and compassion for you and who you seem to be...and you start then to devalue your wife because of your guilt about feeling this way and separating yourself from those whom you now think you dont love....<br />
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It is is a cop out....a running away from responsibility...the girl of the affair looks so much better while she is not washing your socks and jocks....and you are always only dealing with each other on a superficial negatives as there aren't any when you have no responsibilities with each other...<br />
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So you leave your wife and after all the devastating trauma cost and painful extractions of lives built with heavy investments of time emotion intimacy love and responsibility of children whose lives are shattered.... you take up residence with this gorgeous creature whom you just cant stop thinking about....and begin again to rebuild what you just left and guess what?.....<br />
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When you reach the level of intimacy that you had with wife no 1 these old unresolved hurts and pains from long ago that you had not dealt with in counselling...rise their ugly heads again to affect this relationship...and another gorgeous creature of unspeakable beauty and understanding miraculously appears who is absolutely your soul mate and the pattern repeats again ....and it will continue to repeat again and again until you get real and dig down deep in honesty and truth to remove the real problem...buried deep within yourself...<br />
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I know its not easy to face and that's why we run away from it and our wives and children....but you are always bigger than any problem you are given to deal with....and you can overcome it... your future happiness depends on it....there is no long term happiness in escape from inner and outer responsibilities...

Dayenknight, thank you for that response. I was married to a man for 17 years who passed from cancer four years ago. We both had affairs on each other. I always blamed his family, his ex wife, there was a drug problem at the beginning of the relationship. The last five years of the marriage were ok, but I think we stayed together due to we knew what we had with each other. Since his death I've felt guilty of things that I did, the cheating even though he cheated, too. Maybe now I can heal from this.

I do have to respect the man who started this conversation. At least he hasn't cheated, yet, and is doing his best to make his marriage work. All I can say to him is the grass isn't always greener on the other side.

IN your heart you know what you want to do. Follow your heart and don't look back.

From what I just read, the old saying of "NOT making a choice is still a choice" comes to mind. <br />
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Are you sure you aren't just trying to avoid looking like the "bad guy" and leaving that burden on your wife? <br />
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Don't get me wrong, I'm not beating up on you. I'm the "Jane" in my own story. <br />
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PastisPast is right... You need to get away from both of them probably for at least 6 months, to clear your head. Yeah, your wife might move on in that time, so might "Jane" but you NEED to do what is right for you now and take the path which will address what is best for everyone concerned, especially yourself. For if you aren't happy, I promise you, the people close to you will be unhappy as well. <br />
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I sincerely wish you the best of luck.

Try spending a period of time away from both of them to clear your head. You are doing neither of them any favour.