Relationships - Marriage - Do I Leave My HusbandI have married for 20 years this September and met my husband, who is 10 years older when I was quite a naive 21 year old girl (only one boyfriend and a religious up-bringing!)
He bought fear to the parents: long haired, way ward, unemployed, 'rock and roll' but chased me down for two weeks and eventually I 'crumbled' as he would say.
I fell deeply and madly in love with him and embraced his unconventional lifestyle, and he always had the upper in the relationship (mostly put himself first but at the same time opened my mind to life in many ways)
He is a very intelligent man who had a very traumatic up-bringing and his philosophy to life is to take from it and enjoy. He has built a network of security around himself (football, music, comics) and once told me that this would always come before me as it was his 'constant.' And indeed these items have since played and important part in his life (e.g. he left his brothers wedding half way through to go watch the football).
After a brief separation in the first year (he treated me very badly before this) we married when I was 25 (he 35) and he found work at my request, he has continued to work in the caring field and is, I must say, an excellent (and recognised) worker, although he has no aspirations to develop himself further in his job (therefore I am the main wage earner and have always worked to improve myself)
After 9 years together we built up a strong network with another couple (one of which had been a friend of the husbands since his early 20's): in essence these people became our family (and still are) we shared everything with them our relationship was intimate and unconventional, we were a unit and we saw each other at our best and worst. During my 30's this set-up suited me, I was very happy to go along with a lifestyle that was very much in opposition to my upbringing and basic values: we never had children, he didn't want them and in the thick of I accepted that comforted by the fact our friends were in the same position. This has recently changed as our friends now have a baby and have gone back to a conventional lifestyle, but we are still all very close.
Without going into detail, throughout our relationship my husband has done things that have hurt me badly (this didn't involve adultery) and made me feel that I am certainly not the most important person in his life (he is) and this has caused me to often feel helpless and angry towards him. I encouraged this by allowing it; he led the relationship (he has a very strong personality and command over people) and I feel I was a sponge and was somewhat shaped by him, his ideas and thoughts on life. Don't get me wrong there have been highs as well as lows and we have also shared very special times and laughter together.
About four years ago I sensed a change in myself and I found it harder to live with some of the things he did, I felt my anger build and manifest itself. I tried voicing this to my husband but he talked me down (as always) and I shut up. At the time I had a friend at work who was also going through a difficult time with her husband and together we went on chat sites on the Internet. To cut a long story short I met a man and began an affair, I specifically remember feeling anger towards my husband while I was doing this. The man was not anyone I would have left for but he fulfilled a need; I felt autonomous, beautiful, recognised, this lasted about a year on and off meeting for (very) passionate sex. Then my husband found a text and just asked me to stop, no questions asked, just said stop. So I did and I took all the blame and he cried for himself (I'm not sure he cried for me) and I wrote him a letter trying to explain and we tried to fix it through organising 'date nights' but never really talking about it (only for him to bring it up as a joke - his way of coping). We muddled on like this, me still feeling something wasn't right, him appearing not to think everything was fine.
So, I began to feel more detached from him despite our 'efforts'...and (wrongly) I looked again and I found another man who I slept with three times ....and during this time I tried to speak with my husband again...I even told him I wasn't sure if I loved him anymore and that we just felt like friends.....he reacted with anger (understandably) and he didn't speak to me for three days and I was thrown into a panic. And then he suggested that we write a list of changes we would like to see, so I wrote my list and we got together but he hadn't written his list. However I still tried to talk but again he counteracted everything I said and I got all messed up and then shut up and said its all me and Ill try and sort it out and we carried on......(while inside I died some more)
And now I have done it again; met another man on a networking site I began to use as an escape from reality (not a sex site), .....we didn't sleep together (at first), we talked a lot on line. He was (is) going through similar things....we really connected, we offered each other support, we found we have similar wants and needs from a relationship that we both feel are not being met, we are attracted to each other and I begun to think I could have a life with him. We communicated more (by phone, on cam) he got to know all about me; what I have done, I know all about him. Then we arranged to meet when my husband was away on business..........we have met several times since and spent a lot of time together I enjoy him so much, he is the only person I have been honest with about my actions (and I feel vice versa) we have great sex and great fun and some serious times and tears too. He is so different from my husband it almost scares me (loving, attentive, conventional, affluent). We have talked about being together and he wants to be with me.
During all this I went through a trial separation with my husband and gave him opportunity to demonstrate his wish to have me back (he said he would do anything to change but when I asked him to go to counselling he said no, when I asked to meet with him and the football was on he said he couldn't meet at that time). When I finally said it was over he relented and we have gone to one session, the counsellor has said we are at stalemate and it will take a lot of hard work from both of us to progress successfully.
Now, for some reason after my last meeting with the 'other man' I went back to my husband: guilt, fear that I am making a mistake, attachment (I have been with him so long)....God really knows why, I only know I feel panicked and anxious and sad all over again and I miss my OM. I sit and look at him and feel empty inside, I am making some efforts but it is hard and I see he is too (practically at least). He doesn't think we need to go back to counselling and thinks we can work it out together, I cant see how if we do not return for help, thing is do I want to?.
Why am I doing this? Is my marriage over or is this a cry for help? What about my lovely adorable OM (but do I really know him)? Should I just take a risk? He's so different will it work? Or should I remain with my Husband and work hard on marriage when I feel I have nothing left...........
I really don't feel I know who I am anymore