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Please read my story below. I know it is a bit long but I want you to understand the whole picture. I really need some advice as I can't take this situation any longer:

I have been married now for over 26 years. My wife and I have been separated 3 times over the past 10 years and have some issues but the main one being that although I love and care for her, I have never been "in love" with her. I also want to say we have been through all the marriage counseling. It does not work because no matter what, I am not in love with her. Let me explain how this all happened:

From the ages of 16 to 20 ½, I dated my high school sweetheart. I was deeply in love with her. Then when I was 20 ½ she met someone else and broke up with me. I was devastated. I had just been laid off from my job so I decided to leave and visit my sisters in Ohio just to get away. I met a girl who went to my sister’s church who was the daughter of my sister’s close friend. Within about 1 month this girl had me talking about marriage and her family was planning a wedding! I called it off and was so relieved. I couldn’t believe I was thinking of getting married! I am not sure how I fell into that but my head was not right as I had just broken up with my high school sweetheart.

After this I met another woman at my other sister’s church. She was 5 ½ years older than me and had a 5 year old son. She was divorced from her first husband. We started seeing each other. I had no job at this time and was looking for a job back in my home state. I got called for a job and was going to need to come back and live in my home state. We had only known each other for just over one month and decided to get married so she could come back and live with me in my home state.

To make a long story short, she came back with me and we got married by the justice of the peace. The strange thing is, no one that we knew, parents, friends etc..told us we should wait! I had a new job making around minimum wage, I still lived with my parents, and now I was going to be married with a child and we would have to live with my parents! Looking back I still don’t know why everyone around us remained silent and never gave me any advice.

So we got married after 40 days of knowing each other. We didn’t know each other at all and now we were married and I had a 5 year old child. I wasn’t even ready to take care of myself!

After a short period of time I quickly realized I had made a mistake. Actually I knew this within the first few weeks. It didn't take long and I realized I was not "in love" with her. I actually was not even that physically attracted to her but because I was so devastated by my breakup, I overlooked all this because I wanted someone in my life to make me feel better.

So because we were Christian and we believed in the "institution" and "duty"of marriage, we both were very committed to making the relationship work and we tried very hard. We had 3 boys together so 4 kids total, and once we had children, it was much harder to leave. So we stayed together basically for the kids. I felt so trapped.

As the kids got older, it became apparent that it was going to be very hard to make our relationship work. We did not argue or fight, there was just no real love there on my part. It is very difficult to truly enjoy each other when I was not "in love" with her. Actually, my heart ached because it felt like I was living a lie. Making it look to others like everything was ok when in reality I was just not happy.

My wife has always been in love with me. That’s what she says but I can honestly say I have never been "in love" with her. I love her and care for her very much but I just do not have romantic feelings for her. This is not something new, it has been this way from the beginning. I have had people tell me that "you are just going through a crisis" but in reality, it has been this way all along.

Over the past 10 years we have separated 3 times. 3 years ago I made the decision to leave and get a divorce. I was very honest and talked to my wife all about the fact that I am not "in love" with her romantically. She seemed to understand and I think she knew it all a long but this time I came right out and said it. My decision was solid and I felt great about it. I started the divorce process and even started dating. Unfortunately my wife fell apart, crying and making me feel so awful, I came back once again. I have no desire to hurt her or anyone else. I came back because the guilt was so great. However, I was not happy. I really wanted to move on.

So we have been back together again for around 2 ½ years. I again have tried my best. Then, someone I met on eharmony 2 ½ years earlier came back into my life. She is from the Philippines. We got to know each other very well when I was separated. She said she was falling in love with me. I could not say the same even though I felt very close to her. We would talk for hours every day and did this for 4 months. We were going to met and had everything ready but when my wife fell apart, I had to tell the woman from the Philippines my life had taken a turn and I could not met.

Then for over 2 years I never thought about this woman. At least I tried not to think of her. I never contacted her even though she would love to have talked to me.

In January of 2012, I received an email from this woman in the Philippines. She just said "Happy New Year". I responded and said the same. She began to email me and I basically ignored the emails responding occasionally. However, I really wanted to talk to her and eventually we started talking.

So, for the last 5 months we have been talking again. I have very strong feelings for her and believe I could be in love with her. However, we need to meet to confirm our feelings.

This whole situation really brought back how unhappy I really am and I desperately just want to be in love. I have never cheated on my wife "physically" because I am very committed to any person I am with even though I do know that over these past few months I have had an "emotional affair" with this other woman. However, this situation has caused me to become depressed and my wife can tell something is very wrong. We have again talked of divorce but she says she is in love with me and is willing to stay with me no matter how I feel. I feel trapped because of this. I would rather her say she is not in love with me or that she can’t live with a man who is not in love with her. She just says I have so many other great qualities that this is what she focuses on.

For me though, I have a decision to make. Do I finally take the chance to see if there is truly "real romantic love" in this world or do I stay where I have been for 26 years? Also, is it possible to really get romantic feelings for someone even if you don't have them? I mean can you manufacture them? I thought this should just come naturally. I really wish I could be romantically in love with her but I just find it so difficult.

I know this is such a crazy story but all I really want to do is the right thing and I am not sure what that is any longer.

I really would appreciate the advice from each of you,
 

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Please read my story below. I know it is a bit long but I want you to understand the whole picture. I really need some advice as I can't take this situation any longer:

I have been married now for over 26 years. My wife and I have been separated 3 times over the past 10 years and have some issues but the main one being that although I love and care for her, I have never been "in love" with her. I also want to say we have been through all the marriage counseling. It does not work because no matter what, I am not in love with her. Let me explain how this all happened:

From the ages of 16 to 20 ½, I dated my high school sweetheart. I was deeply in love with her. Then when I was 20 ½ she met someone else and broke up with me. I was devastated. I had just been laid off from my job so I decided to leave and visit my sisters in Ohio just to get away. I met a girl who went to my sister’s church who was the daughter of my sister’s close friend. Within about 1 month this girl had me talking about marriage and her family was planning a wedding! I called it off and was so relieved. I couldn’t believe I was thinking of getting married! I am not sure how I fell into that but my head was not right as I had just broken up with my high school sweetheart.

After this I met another woman at my other sister’s church. She was 5 ½ years older than me and had a 5 year old son. She was divorced from her first husband. We started seeing each other. I had no job at this time and was looking for a job back in my home state. I got called for a job and was going to need to come back and live in my home state. We had only known each other for just over one month and decided to get married so she could come back and live with me in my home state.

To make a long story short, she came back with me and we got married by the justice of the peace. The strange thing is, no one that we knew, parents, friends etc..told us we should wait! I had a new job making around minimum wage, I still lived with my parents, and now I was going to be married with a child and we would have to live with my parents! Looking back I still don’t know why everyone around us remained silent and never gave me any advice.

So we got married after 40 days of knowing each other. We didn’t know each other at all and now we were married and I had a 5 year old child. I wasn’t even ready to take care of myself!

After a short period of time I quickly realized I had made a mistake. Actually I knew this within the first few weeks. It didn't take long and I realized I was not "in love" with her. I actually was not even that physically attracted to her but because I was so devastated by my breakup, I overlooked all this because I wanted someone in my life to make me feel better.

So because we were Christian and we believed in the "institution" and "duty"of marriage, we both were very committed to making the relationship work and we tried very hard. We had 3 boys together so 4 kids total, and once we had children, it was much harder to leave. So we stayed together basically for the kids. I felt so trapped.

As the kids got older, it became apparent that it was going to be very hard to make our relationship work. We did not argue or fight, there was just no real love there on my part. It is very difficult to truly enjoy each other when I was not "in love" with her. Actually, my heart ached because it felt like I was living a lie. Making it look to others like everything was ok when in reality I was just not happy.

My wife has always been in love with me. That’s what she says but I can honestly say I have never been "in love" with her. I love her and care for her very much but I just do not have romantic feelings for her. This is not something new, it has been this way from the beginning. I have had people tell me that "you are just going through a crisis" but in reality, it has been this way all along.

Over the past 10 years we have separated 3 times. 3 years ago I made the decision to leave and get a divorce. I was very honest and talked to my wife all about the fact that I am not "in love" with her romantically. She seemed to understand and I think she knew it all a long but this time I came right out and said it. My decision was solid and I felt great about it. I started the divorce process and even started dating. Unfortunately my wife fell apart, crying and making me feel so awful, I came back once again. I have no desire to hurt her or anyone else. I came back because the guilt was so great. However, I was not happy. I really wanted to move on.

So we have been back together again for around 2 ½ years. I again have tried my best. Then, someone I met on eharmony 2 ½ years earlier came back into my life. She is from the Philippines. We got to know each other very well when I was separated. She said she was falling in love with me. I could not say the same even though I felt very close to her. We would talk for hours every day and did this for 4 months. We were going to met and had everything ready but when my wife fell apart, I had to tell the woman from the Philippines my life had taken a turn and I could not met.

Then for over 2 years I never thought about this woman. At least I tried not to think of her. I never contacted her even though she would love to have talked to me.

In January of 2012, I received an email from this woman in the Philippines. She just said "Happy New Year". I responded and said the same. She began to email me and I basically ignored the emails responding occasionally. However, I really wanted to talk to her and eventually we started talking.

So, for the last 5 months we have been talking again. I have very strong feelings for her and believe I could be in love with her. However, we need to meet to confirm our feelings.

This whole situation really brought back how unhappy I really am and I desperately just want to be in love. I have never cheated on my wife "physically" because I am very committed to any person I am with even though I do know that over these past few months I have had an "emotional affair" with this other woman. However, this situation has caused me to become depressed and my wife can tell something is very wrong. We have again talked of divorce but she says she is in love with me and is willing to stay with me no matter how I feel. I feel trapped because of this. I would rather her say she is not in love with me or that she can’t live with a man who is not in love with her. She just says I have so many other great qualities that this is what she focuses on.

For me though, I have a decision to make. Do I finally take the chance to see if there is truly "real romantic love" in this world or do I stay where I have been for 26 years? Also, is it possible to really get romantic feelings for someone even if you don't have them? I mean can you manufacture them? I thought this should just come naturally. I really wish I could be romantically in love with her but I just find it so difficult.

I know this is such a crazy story but all I really want to do is the right thing and I am not sure what that is any longer.

I really would appreciate the advice from each of you,
A lot of stuff sure seems to "happen" to you outside of your control... People wanting to marry you, kids, women contacting you magically from eHarmony... When are you going to take ownership of your life?

My personal thoughts. Get counseling to figure out what you really want. Leaving your current situation without understanding the source of your unhappiness will just pack up your baggage and take it with you to your next relationship.

C
 

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"I love and care for her, I have never been "in love" with her."

You sound like someone going through a mid life crisis to me.

What you say here is so close to ILYBNILY line. If you never were "in love", why did you marry her. The fog of a MLC changes the history in the mind of the person who is unhappy. The blame usually gets put on the spouse. The they start looking for those greener pastures.

IMHO get to an IC and also see if you can MC for your family.

Read my link to Midlife for Dummies. Any of this sound fimilar to your behavior?
 

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Hi, HelpNow. I'm not a professional, licensed counselor; but, I hear what you're saying and can relate to your history. I was in a marriage like that. My opinion is simple, its not wise to get involved in another relationship before settling your affairs in your current relationship. There seems to be a pattern with you and your unsettled feelings coupled with knee jerk decisions. Many people might construe that you're a selfish person; yet, I don't think that you've been fair to others or yourself. Take time to discover you--what you like and don't like, what you need and cannot live without, etc. In other words, reinvent you without coupling up. Please don't meet this new woman and complicate matters further.

TheEruditeOne
 

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Manytimes we go through life not wanting to upset others, especially those who tell us they love us and seem to care for us. The problem is, we end up denying who we are and ever figuring out what we really want and need to be, not just happy, but to be our TRUE selves.
You need to go inside yourself and do some deep soul searching and find a way to put your own needs first. It will be tough, you will upset people and you may end up changing a lot of things - but it's a natural and necessary process.
Stop worrying about how others are going to react. It's time you started to learn about yourself, who you are and what you are here on this earth to do and contribute.
All the best.
 
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