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Hello,
I'm 32M and I've been married to my 25yo wife for 2 of our 6 years together. We have an amazing, wonderful relationship; no kids, but 1 dog. We are very open about what we're feeling and have created open lines of communication from the very beginning, calmly working through any issues as they arise. Both of our families love us as a couple and support us. We both want kids as soon as we can buy a house together. We've traveled to Europe, Mexico, and some other places, and had amazing adventures together and made wonderful memories. The only problem is that now she may leave me.

I'm starting to realize many other people have this same issue. She loves me and wants a future with me, but feels a relentless need to be out on her own so she can grow into her true self; free from the constraints of a relationship. I understand this feeling 100% because I have felt it in the past in other circumstances with other people. But this is absolutely devastating to me. I have dealt with being dumped in the past and the pain that goes with it. But I love and trust her so much more than any previous woman, that I feel I cannot bear the loss. Her future is being pulled in two directions and she doesn't know which to choose or if there's a way to compromise and make both work somehow. We are both currently starting therapy and will move on to couples therapy soon. She has set a time limit of 6 months, which I agreed to, to make things work before she will leave if all fails.

I am here to find advice and read about other's similar experiences. In the meantime, I am being supportive of her, and not too clingy/needy. (Though we are keeping communication very open, and actually increasing it. She is a wonderful person that deserves love and compassion no matter what.
 

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VERY sorry you are here for this reason. There are tons of folks who can help here....
 

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@ashx

You wrote:
...She loves me and wants a future with me, but feels a relentless need to be out on her own so she can grow into her true self; free from the constraints of a relationship.
Did she not understand what marriage was when she made her vows. Even if you two wrote your own vows, usually somewhere in there are promises to love until one of you dies, and to forsake all others. In other words, a promise to be in the constraints of a relationship for life...with one person.

Long story short, is she a woman of her word or not?

If she is, then she made a promise to love YOU through all the variety of things life will throw at the two of you. Note that it's not a vow "to be loved" but rather that she will make the effort to treat you in a loving way...GIVING love, not receiving.

So....again, did she mean her vows or not? If she did, then she will grow into her true self by honoring her promise and adjusting to the constraints of an intimate relationship. If she can't "grow into her true self in the confines of a relationship" they she lied in her vows and isn't a woman of her word.
 

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Loves you and wants a future with you yet feels a relentless need to be on her own to grow into her true self...

"Her future is being pulled in two directions and she doesn't know which to choose or if there's a way to compromise and make both work somehow."

What does this mean to her exactly?
 

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@ashx

You wrote:

Did she not understand what marriage was when she made her vows. Even if you two wrote your own vows, usually somewhere in there are promises to love until one of you dies, and to forsake all others. In other words, a promise to be in the constraints of a relationship for life...with one person.

Long story short, is she a woman of her word or not?

If she is, then she made a promise to love YOU through all the variety of things life will throw at the two of you. Note that it's not a vow "to be loved" but rather that she will make the effort to treat you in a loving way...GIVING love, not receiving.

So....again, did she mean her vows or not? If she did, then she will grow into her true self by honoring her promise and adjusting to the constraints of an intimate relationship. If she can't "grow into her true self in the confines of a relationship" they she lied in her vows and isn't a woman of her word.
Or she is being distracted by something that is more unmindfully desire based... and there is a relegation of her marriage to "Plan B" whether is is career, another person, life, or all three.
 

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@ashx, I just read this from another post by you "I can relate with your partner emotionally confiding in a coworker. In my case, it seems like he spread his worldview to her a bit, and now she's unhappy all of a sudden."

That another has given her an infatuated perspective that allows her to see your marriage as less tells me there in another interfering in your marriage.

Many of us will call this an emotional affair.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
@Affaircare I cannot say for sure how much she meant her vows in her deepest mind/heart. You may have a point that's worth thinking on. But I cannot just go to her and say "you promised, so stay and be unhappy with me forever" I don't own her. However, I do feel like her commitment is based a bit more on how she is feeling at any given time more than my commitment to her is. For me to leave her, I would have to be very unhappy for years.

@Emerging Buddhist That is correct. That is another dynamic to this, and there are more details than what I wrote in this introductory post that I plan to talk about. In my case, there was a small emotional affair between her and this person. As soon as she realized what was happening, she stopped talking to him and told me about it. I do believe nothing more happened between them. Afterwards, she was dealing with emotions of guilt, wondering what kind of person she is that could feel that way while married to someone she loves. I think this has contributed to her feeling of being lost and not knowing what to do.
 

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Did you discover it or did she share this without you being aware of it at all?

Is she still around this person daily?

The way and conditions she is questioning the relationship in the way you have described sounds to me like you are being balanced on a scale that has a hidden partition... I hope counseling brings out her true intent but I have always believed that someone who truly loves you would not put one in a position to be lost.

If she has to choose between things or people, and you, where are you really in her life?

There is a lot of clarity asking to be seen... it may seem like process of understanding, but many truths are disguised in the way this is being approached by her and you both.
 

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I see it this way, she's looking and you need to see it this way. She wasn't ready and her age means she was 18 and that in it's self is enough reason. Sorry you here but, life sometimes turns out differently that it was supposed to.

Your hanging on to tight see what your MC says if he/she starts casting you as the bad guy you live the NICE GUY ROLE FOREVER! Do be that guy read.....

No More Mr. Nice Guy
Book by Robert A. Glover

And...

Hold on to Your Nuts: The Relationship Manual for Men
Book by Wayne Levine

You starting to play the Pick me Dance, don't it never works out and you lose all self-respect for yourself.
 

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@Tilted 1 Oof, I meant to type 5 years. We started dating right around the time she turned 20. She had a serious relationship or two before me. I will absolutely check out those books, I love reading! Currently reading Mating in Captivity by Ester Perel. (who I love) You are correct, she feels she wasn't quite ready though. Depending on what you mean by "hanging on too tight," I may be internally. Externally I'm giving her some space. I have been the nice guy and the angry demanding guy. I'm trying to find the balance.

@Emerging Buddhist I did not discover it, she told me. She sees this person from time to time at work, though she doesn't talk to him and has a really good girlfriend she works with to keep her accountable. Though she could keep communication hidden if she really wanted to, because I trust her and do not spy on her. Thanks for the advice, I'm hoping any of my blind spots will be exposed on this site. If you think I have a blind spot, I will absolutely give your words much consideration.
 

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@Tilted 1 Oof, I meant to type 5 years. We started dating right around the time she turned 20. She had a serious relationship or two before me. I will absolutely check out those books, I love reading! Currently reading Mating in Captivity by Ester Perel. (who I love) You are correct, she feels she wasn't quite ready though. Depending on what you mean by "hanging on too tight," I may be internally. Externally I'm giving her some space. I have been the nice guy and the angry demanding guy. I'm trying to find the balance.
Doesn't matter what it looks like on the outside, it's the inside that controls the narrative.
 

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You are the first person that I’ve heard to say that they like, let alone love, Ester Perel. I stopped reading very quickly as I found her to be an apologist for cheaters.

As for your wife, there is another guy in the picture, of she is regretting not being able to be with another guy because, in her mind, she is shackled to you through the marriage vows.

she is either too immature to be married, or is looking for a guy to bed. Sorry.

if you want to save this marriage,as the saying goes, you have to be willing to destroy your marriage.

tell her that you will no longer play second fiddle in your marriage. She either wants you and-only you, or you will file for divorce and she can go have her fun, while you begin your search for a woman that truly loves you and who wants to have kids with you, and grow old with you.


A marriage is like a stool in that it is built on three legs; Love, Respect, and Trust. If one of those legs is broken, it is possible it could be salvaged, but it will never be the same not as comfortable

Love- she doesn’t love you. At least not truly. At best she has strong feelings for you because you’ve been together for a few years and may feel guilty. She is telling you she doesn’t want to be married to you! She is telling you she wants to be single and gave fun as a single person! And what do you think she means by that? And no one that truly loves another person could cause a person she loves the type and degree of pain that she is causing you!!!!!!

Respect- she doesn’t respect you!! She is telling you that she wants to have fun as a young single person!!!! She wants to go out with girlfriends, flirt wit other guys, let them buy her drinks, dance with her, grab her ass while on dance floor, and take her to their place at end of the night. Does that sound like she respects you?????

Trust- she has already had one emotional affair (at best). With what she is saying now, you MUST be thinking that if you do stay together, it is only a matter of time before she takes a male coworker out to the back seat of her car during lunch, or she has to stay late at work a few times a month, only to go to a local motel. Do you really want to spend the rest of your life wondering if she is with another guy every time she is 5 minutes late?

no matter what you decide, just be sure you can look yourself in the mirror.

I would suggest you start talking to a counselor. YOU, not the two of you. Yes, I do believe she needs to see one as well, but individually. Now is NOT the time for marriage counseling!!!

I wish you nothing but good luck

stay strong, and do what is best for YOU!
 

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Download the book No More Mister Nice Guy. You can do it for free. I think it will help you greatly!!!!

I also think you need to research implementing 180

And finally, stop playing “pick me”
 

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@Kamstel2 Thanks for wishing me luck and offering your thoughts. I downloaded the No More Mister Nice Guy audiobook today and got about 1hr into it. Very interesting so far.

I find Ester Perel's words really hit home for me. Her views are very modern and seem to me unbiased by old-fashioned/religious tradition. But I haven't finished the book yet and don't have a completely formed opinion. I have watched many of her videos on YouTube, however, and greatly appreciate her insights.

As for there being another guy in the picture; you're not wrong. And perhaps it's a bigger deal than I've been thinking. I would say that issue is over and done, but I'm open to considering it as a main factor. I would consider this issue to be 10% of whats going wrong at the moment, but it could be more. In my previous relationship, I was cheated on multiple times. I was the nice guy. The best thing that came out of all that, is I gained self-respect and an unwillingness to skirt around conversations that could cause argument. I like to think that I am blunt and direct now. I'm unwilling to continue being with someone who constantly takes advantage of me. However, I am willing for forgive some first time mistakes.

I've seen 180 mentioned many times here, but not sure what it is.

I want to continue to hear from people and know what they think. I also plan to make a post with the full account and many more details. This was just my introduction.

EDIT: Also, I have begun talking to a counselor on my own. My first session was this week.
 

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@Affaircare I cannot say for sure how much she meant her vows in her deepest mind/heart. You may have a point that's worth thinking on. But I cannot just go to her and say "you promised, so stay and be unhappy with me forever" I don't own her. However, I do feel like her commitment is based a bit more on how she is feeling at any given time more than my commitment to her is. For me to leave her, I would have to be very unhappy for years.

@Emerging Buddhist That is correct. That is another dynamic to this, and there are more details than what I wrote in this introductory post that I plan to talk about. In my case, there was a small emotional affair between her and this person. As soon as she realized what was happening, she stopped talking to him and told me about it. I do believe nothing more happened between them. Afterwards, she was dealing with emotions of guilt, wondering what kind of person she is that could feel that way while married to someone she loves. I think this has contributed to her feeling of being lost and not knowing what to do.
'That' is not "another dynamic" to this...it is the primary dynamic.

Your wife has a boyfriend.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
 

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... @Affaircare I cannot say for sure how much she meant her vows in her deepest mind/heart. You may have a point that's worth thinking on. But I cannot just go to her and say "you promised, so stay and be unhappy with me forever" I don't own her. However, I do feel like her commitment is based a bit more on how she is feeling at any given time more than my commitment to her is. For me to leave her, I would have to be very unhappy for years.
@ashx,

For full disclosure, you should know that @Emerging Buddhist is my Beloved Hubby. We are in our later 50s and have been around the block a time or two. So I entirely agree with you that you do not own her, and I'm not suggesting that you demand she stay with you and be unhappy forever. My Beloved Hubby made promises to me, and it is my hope that he stay with me of his own free will...and because he is a man of character who would honor his word! No I don't want our marriage to be unhappy and just "a duty"-ideally I would like him to stay because he enjoys being married to me.

But here's reality. Day-to-day-to-day we may not "feel" all smooshy in-love with each other every minute. Not "there may" but "there WILL" be days that I think he is grouchy and he thinks I'm hard-headed. We may be tired, hungry, angry, lonely or sick and react poorly in the moment. And that's where commitment and character come in. I don't choose to stay married to him because he's perfect and always Mr. Romantic. Nope, I choose to stay married because my promise to him was to love him until one of us is dead. I didn't say I'd love him "as long as he's nice and I feel affectionate"--I said as long as we were both alive. To me, that means if I'm alive, I made a promise to treat him in a loving way, and I intend to honor my promise.

Furthermore, If I did start giving some portion of my affection, loyalty or companionship to another man, I wouldn't expect my Beloved Hubby to say "Well, dear, you feel constrained by our relationship and I don't own you, so you go ahead and flirt around and I'll just be waiting here until you get done." NOPE!!! I would want him to expect me to be a woman of character and remind me of the promises I made TO HIM. I wasn't coerced or pressured--I volunteered to "forsake all others" and that means I am constrained! I am constrained FROM all others. In other words, I would want him to not take that kind of disrespect from me, and to love himself more!

@Emerging Buddhist That is correct. That is another dynamic to this, and there are more details than what I wrote in this introductory post that I plan to talk about. In my case, there was a small emotional affair between her and this person. As soon as she realized what was happening, she stopped talking to him and told me about it. I do believe nothing more happened between them. Afterwards, she was dealing with emotions of guilt, wondering what kind of person she is that could feel that way while married to someone she loves. I think this has contributed to her feeling of being lost and not knowing what to do.
@ashx I know you wrote this to my Beloved Hubby, but here's the thing. She does know what to do. She is married to YOU, not to this other person or to the hobbies she's constrained against becasue she's not single. She volunteered to be with you and only you, and now she wants to change the conditions of the arrangement! Here's the thing: it's not "How far can I go before I've crossed the line?" but rather "How far away from the line can I get so I am never even PERCEIVED as being close to the line?" She's conflicted because she's crossed the line and WANTS to keep crossing the line.

Now, I'm not saying she's slept with him or had sex. Who knows... That would be conjecture, at best, based on the facts you've related. But what I AM saying is that she is not thinking of marriage like a lifelong commitment to which she holds herself. She's not thinking of marriage like she is the one who has to learn how to be a good, wise, loving wife and learn how to love you well. She's not looking at it like it's something she GIVES. Her view is bass ackward: What do I GET? You said yourself this fella at work laid some of his worldview on her--and no doubt a lot of that worldview was that she's not getting "the right" love from you or enough XYZ. Thus, when @farsidejunky says "...it's not another dynamic, it's the prime dynamic..." he is DEAD ON RIGHT! This dynamic of giving her affection, loyalty and companionship to others is the root of this issue. She feels conflicted because she wants to be unfaithful and yet knows that being unfaithful is wrong. So she's struggling to justify what she KNOWS is wrong. How do you justify it? Blaming you for being "a bad husband" (or something similar), claiming she's "unhappy and has been for a while", or saying she needs "space" so she's not constrained by a relationship (like having to honor her commitment)...so she can "find herself."
 

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Well, I may be unpopular, but my response is kind of the flip side of Affaircare's. First off, the other guy is indeed 100% of the dynamic at the moment. Maybe your wife got married before she was really grown-up enough, she didn't know, she's met someone else and is having second thoughts. And the way I read your posts, she is trying to behave properly. There are no children involved. She's not blaming you (correct me if I'm wrong), she's not hiding it, she's letting you know she's not sure about this marriage, which to me, at this age, is what she should do. So far, so good. But....

She is asking for a deal where she gets to "be out on her own so she can grow into her true self; free from the constraints of a relationship", to quote your words. Free from the constraints of a relationship, meaning....

By implication, it's not 100% sure that she will keep her marriage vows during that time, and not even 100% that she will come back. And in the meantime, by implication, she's asking you to keep your vows, and stick around. That's not a fair deal. You can't give her more commitment than she's giving you.

Like you said, you don't "own" her, and marriage is not about ownership anyway, it's about binding promises voluntarily made. Holding someone to those promises is not "owning" them.

Discuss what the "rules" are for these six months, and do not make your commitments unequal. If she's not sure she's coming back, then neither are you. If she's allowed to date other people, so are you. And don't accept a MC who tries to tell you otherwise. Otherwise you will have six months of agony.
 

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Her future is being pulled in two directions and she doesn't know which to choose or if there's a way to compromise and make both work somehow. We are both currently starting therapy and will move on to couples therapy soon. She has set a time limit of 6 months, which I agreed to, to make things work before she will leave if all fails.
The two directions are marriage and what? Does she want to travel or just be single or what?

What does making things work entail? Her trying to combine her two directions, an attitude adjustment, you trying to convince her? Just what?

During those 6 months, double up on the condoms. You don't want her getting pregnant when your future is up in the air.

Have you considered a modified 180? This would allow her to see what her life will be like without you in it. All of the things you do currently, she is taking for granted.
 
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