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I lied to my husband
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I lied to my husband

I have ruined my marriage.
We have known each other for 10 years and have been close friends the last 5, but became romantically involved a year ago.We married in June.
Just before we became involved, a guy from college, with whom I'd had 2 dates in 1997, contacted me through Facebook.He said that he was attracted to me and we began corresponding.Couple months later I made a decision to take a trip back home to see him.
What I did not know was that my now-husband's feelings were changing.After I returned from my trip, he told me of his feelings, and said that he wanted to become seriously involved; I had difficulty letting go of my feelings for the other guy.  Since my husband had been my friend for so long, I agreed to a relationship with him.I had flirtatious contact via email with other fellow, between Dec '08 and Mar '09. In Jan. I even returned home and had another date with this fellow.I broke off the romantic relationship I was having with my now-husband, thinking I wanted a relationship with the other guy.Days later, my husband proposed to me.The other guy didn't make any effort toward a real relationship, so went to my husband and accepted his proposal - I loved him and couldn't imagine my life without him in it.I broke off contact with other fellow.During our engagement, husband said to me that the one thing that would guarantee our marriage ending in divorce was dishonesty.I promised to him that I would be honest about everything in the future.
After we married, I had doubts.Stupidly, I contacted the other guy.Emails recommenced.I said in one of these messages that I was considering a trip home without husband.I had later decided that this was wrong, and was going to work on my marriage, but unfortunately this other guy inquired on the status of my travel plans and my husband read this email.He is disgusted with me, and rightly so.I did what I said I wouldn't do; I lied to him.I believe he is going to divorce me now, and I don't want this. Help?
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765715_tn?1235402261

Dear Chailash,

I don’t know where you’re from, and whether the conventions of your country or region would make my comments irrelevant. And I don’t know how old you and your husband and your “other guy” are. I assume you’re female despite the fact that your brief bio says male. These things said, I have some ideas.

First, it seems to me that a reasonable person will understand that sometimes spouses do irrational things. Loves go deep, are changeable, and are not always knowable at the time of decision. We all screw up from time to time. The question is whether the screw-ups constitute a life style, a la Tiger. If they do, that’s another story entirely.

More importantly, I wonder whether your affection for your husband is deep and enduring, or simply familiar. Sometimes people marry friends, only to find out that the two of them were much better as friends than as spouses! He wanted to migrate the relationship to a romantic one, but did YOU, really really? You broke it off, and then he proposed. Then the other guy was unresponsive, so you accepted. But did you do this because it felt right inside, or because you wanted to relieve the tension of the situation? These are all open questions.

I’d look closely at WHY you had doubts. What is there about the other guy that intrigues you? Newness, sex, something else? And how far do these things go? Are they trivial or is the attraction telling you that you’ve got either some unfinished business with growing up and/or your own psychology? Ambivalence about being in a marriage often signals that there is a more fundamental problem in feeling comfortable in relationships, often based on with parents. Alternatively, might it be that you simply don’t have enough experience to make a marriage commitment that carries down to your heart?

What to do? First, I’d go to husband, apologize profusely, and then put my cards on the table. I’d say I had no idea why I did what I did; an honest statement. Apparently you didn’t sleep with the other guy, but simply were considering seeing him. If so, husband has less cause for ire extending to instant divorce.

Then I’d say even this tentative action was a wake-up call, and that I wanted to understand what it was that made me even think of seeing him. I’d strongly consider sitting down with a psychologist to explore what was going on, and why. With that better understanding of what motivated your behavior, you’ll be in a FAR better position to see whether:

1. this was a simple anomaly based on normal ambivalence about being married;

2.it is a bigger deal, but one that you and a  good therapist can work through to a positive conclusion, i.e. you really WANT to stay married;

3. you realize that you married the wrong guy, and have to leave if you’re not to live the rest of your life in Relationship Purgatory.

Chailash, this may be a case of inexperience, confusion over marrying so abruptly. But it may be saying there are serious issues to resolve if you’re to have a stable and happy relationship. In any case, I urge you to confront the problems directly. Let me know if I can be of help in taking the next steps in your thinking or actions.

Cordially,

Dr. P.
3 Comments
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Thanks, Dr. P, for your comments.

I don't know if this makes things better or worse, but I am 35, husband is 44, and the other guy is 38.  I am indeed female - just didn't fill out the bio after I posted the question, as that sort of wiped me out.  I'm in the US but prefer not to say where.  The user name might suggest an East Indian descent, but I'm caucasian.  I just like chai tea.

I will think about your comments - you struck on something when you mentioned that the attraction to the other fellow might suggest some unfinished business with growing up or my own psychology.  My parents indeed did not have a good relationship - they were always hiding things from each other, so I in turn hid things (especially relationships) from them.  And I didn't have many relationships during my formative years.  Husband has not either.  

I sent an email last week to the other guy explaining what I'd done and that our contact needed to end, and I'm not even sad about it.

I have apologized, cried, and apologized again; husband says that he believes I am sorry.  But he also believed I was sorry and wasn't going to do it again the last time I said I wouldn't do this again.  He just has no idea why he should take another risk on me, or why he should believe me this time.  It is also possible that we just were better off as friends - he says that he believes our friendship can be renewed.  This is the most important thing for me.

I have initial consultations with both a therapist and a psychologist later this week.  Your feedback has certainly helped me clarify what questions to ask and whether or not I was on the right track in my own attempts to figure out why I was thinking the way I was.  I am not sure if you'd have anything to add based on the info I've provided above, but I will gladly consider any other insights.

Thanks again for your thoughtful reply.
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765715_tn?1235402261
Dear Chailash,

Got it! More important, you're beginning to! Though a tough situation for you, this is a terrific opportunity. If you really get to works with a (good) therapist, much better times are ahead. You think you might be doing a replay of your parents' relationship, and you may well be right.

So get to it, and with that work done, you'll be able to see if your husband is really the right one for you. And if he is, and you've really got your head straight, he'd be a fool to let you go.

Feel free to quote me on that!

Regards,

Dr. P.
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