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Discussion Starter #1
I have been married almost 11 years to a woman I met 15 years ago. She is a wonderful person who my family loves very much. Our marriage has been lifeless for some time now, bearing little intimacy which, until recently, wasn't bothering me... at least I wasn't acknowledging that it was bothering me.

At least two years ago, I came to the realization that if my wife were seeing someone else, I would be happy for her. Not a single jealous feeling came over me. She is, at this moment, more of a friend and co-parent than a wife to me. I had come to terms with our relationship and found the thought of the arrangement somewhat agreeable. I imagined myself spending weekends fishing at the beach or doing things by myself/with the kids and my wife doing her own thing as we grew older and didn't think there was anything wrong with that.

I have battled anxiety on my own my entire life and finally sought help about a year ago which resulted in my taking 2 months off from work. As I started putting my life together I made a crucial mistake... I met someone while online and fell in love. As awful as I have been, I am fortunate that this woman and I have never been within 400 miles of each other.

Needless to say, when my wife and I tried to go to counseling it was futile as I have been so closed off in my life that I can't remember loving anyone as much as this woman. (I have never told my wife about the "friend.")

My "friend" and I have parted ways, agreeing to force ourselves to move on for the sake of the people around us... my wife and two kids for me, her siblings and mother for her.

I don't have any interest in rebuilding my marriage except to avoid the pain of divorce. I think at this point I would settle for the "happy" marriage I had, but am afraid that the "blissful ignorance" of real love is gone and I will always be craving that feeling.

I'm not sure what I am asking except if there is any way to help me discover that love with my wife when I am sure I have never felt that way about her. Lately, we both just cry in half-secrecy (small house.)
 

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I don't have any interest in rebuilding my marriage except to avoid the pain of divorce. I think at this point I would settle for the "happy" marriage I had, but am afraid that the "blissful ignorance" of real love is gone and I will always be craving that feeling.

I'm not sure what I am asking except if there is any way to help me discover that love with my wife when I am sure I have never felt that way about her. Lately, we both just cry in half-secrecy (small house.)
Avoiding the pain of divorce is a good way to start. If that's all the resource you can find - let it be so. What you want is entirely possible.

To start - try reading through this article.
 

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I am going to share that resource with my wife tonight. Admittedly, I am sick to my stomach about being honest and admitting my failings. Being able to gather the strength to do that might be just the thing I need to do to prove to myself that I am digging in for the long haul. Thank you for pointing me in the right direction.
 

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I am going to share that resource with my wife tonight. Admittedly, I am sick to my stomach about being honest and admitting my failings. Being able to gather the strength to do that might be just the thing I need to do to prove to myself that I am digging in for the long haul. Thank you for pointing me in the right direction.
It seems to me that being honest shouldn't make you sick to your stomach - nor should talking about your failings. That is, unless you are harmed each time you try. Is your marriage a place where honesty is not a safe practice?
 

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If I understand you correctly you are not in love with your wife and have never felt that way about her? I think you made a big mistake then in marrying her. Why would you want to save a loveless marriage? The pain of divorce will be over, why endure a lifetime of pain pretending to love someone you don't. Perhaps you would make better friends and co-parents than a couple.

I've been through an affair. My H had a long term EA that became a PA. I had determined that if he no longer loved me, I would let him go. Because I deserved to be loved and value and if he could not give that to me then it was over. We have two small children, so that was not easy for me. But I did not want either of them to feel they had to settle.

I did still love him, despite the betrayal. Admittedly, less than before. Perhaps one day I will love him the same again. But there was something there to save. When I discovered the affair, I asked him to leave. I felt he'd chosen her when he risked everything. But he immediately ended it and has committed to fixing what he screwed up. Without that 110% commitment, it would be over.

Now if I misunderstand and you did have that feeling, I do believe it can be rekindled but it takes work and one person can make a difference. I would recommend listening to the Mort Fertel DVDs, this made a big difference in our marriage.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Admitting my failings is very difficult... surely a result of the way I was parented. And, in this case, I am sure that telling my wife about my EA will devastate her.

I thought I loved my wife when I married her. She used to get very sick from infections and have to be hospitalized at least once a year while we were dating. In the back of my mind, I may have always presumed that I might lose her to illness and quite possibly it could happen at any time. Perhaps this made me too scared to love her the way I should have. Over time, treatment has gotten much better and it has been, other than emergency room visits once or twice a year, almost 10 years since she has been hospitalized. That last hospitalization was for a septic infection a few months after we were married and I thought I would lose her.

We tried counseling with a woman who specialized in couples with serious illnesses, but never really got into that part before I got frustrated with the lack of progress and apparent (my perspective) lack of follow through by my wife.

We read the marriage builders article together last night and filled out the questionairres. We had a chance to go over them a little last night and I think we will work on it some more tonight.

Anyhow, thank you for the input and help. I am going to keep working on it and will be come to report... much appreciated...
 

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You can always rebuild your intimacy, if you WANT to.

My guess is that you still are holding on to the feelings you got (the chemicals your body produces) during your affair. And comparing your wife to her. That's a dead end approach.

The questionnaires are your best bet. But make sure you do the Love Buster one first. You have to stop the LBs before you can meet each others' needs.
 

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No doubt that I am comparing, intentionally or not. Being aware is about the best thing I can do for that right now.
Not making any progress right now while she recovers from another infection. Hopefully by tomorrow she will have more energy and we can get back to talking or marriage.
 
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