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Avatar universal

Love like Cocaine? Marriage Stay or Go

Hi everyone,

This is my first post here.  I'm sorry it's so long.  I'm facing the biggest crisis in my 38 years.  I married my best friend 11 years ago, not because I fell in love with her but because it seemed like everyone expected me to be with her. We were both passive people with little to no confidence in being able to date and find love for ourselves, so we secretly started sleeping together as more of a convenient coping way to make us feel connected to someone.  She got accidentally pregnant and we were too scared to face it, so she had an abortion.  I felt obligated to then stay with her and pursue a legitimate relationship, though I knew I wasn't in love with her.

I realize now I was fighting depression then as I am now, and I made all my choices around what I thought others wanted me or expected me to do.  

We now have three kids, and I've been going along with the assumption that this is what life had in store for me.  That was until I met someone else who really connected with me, who I fell deeply in love with, who showed me what it truly meant to be loved, happy, and excited to wake up in the morning.  She is also married with two kids.

I cannot tell you how much this other woman changed my life and outlook.  I fell hard.  I fell completely.  It is the most honest, open, upfront, passionate, and complete relationship I've ever experienced.  True, we both are in marriages that are passionless and less than complete or open.  The connection we found was undeniable.  I promise you from the bottom of my heart that neither of us is the kind of person that seeks out affairs or has our eye out for escape in cheating on our spouses.  We were both shocked that what started as a friendship grew well beyond that over the course of a little over a year.

I love this woman.  She loves me.  I believe when we're at our best we are able to fulfill both of our needs in a way I can't describe, from the way sex is far and away so intimate to the fact that we can be upfront about what makes us angry or upset and talk about it straight away - both of which are not the case in my marriage.  

I am ready to leave my marriage and give life a chance.  She is not yet ready to make that change, and now she has seen my depression erupt into a full-out tailspin.  Wallowing, obsessing, exhaustion, unfocused, desperate, clinging.  A shell of the person she fell in love with, and it feels like an alien took over my brain and the real me is screaming to be let out again.

My wife knows of the affair and of course wants me to sever all connections (including my job, where I work closely with the other person) to her.  

I want change.  I want that feeling of happiness - the one that took over my life when I realized what being in love felt like.  I hate hurting my wife - still my best friend but not a passionate connection of love - and of course my children, who I love most of all.  But I need to do something for myself.

I can wait, trying to fix a marriage that was maybe not right to begin with, and preserve my family structure.  But I know myself.  Depression treatment or not, I will always long for that feeling my new love provided.  It was the ultimate solution to the depression.  Every single symptom - everything I've struggled with for 25 years - disappeared when she entered my life.  I want that back.  I don't want it in drugs, though I'm ok still putting trust that drugs will help.  I don't see it coming from my marriage, because that relationship was born under the affect of depression and only seems to live underneath it.  

How do I be strong and make the change?  How do I know the sickness of depression isn't clouding my perception of love still?  My wife compares me falling in love with someone else to cocaine - it makes everything feel better but becomes an addiction that is harmful.  I only want to tell her there's no better thing to be addicted to than love, and that if she found someone who made her feel that way I'd want her to follow it 100%.  

I deserve to be happy, right?  How do I get there?  Am I a terrible person for finding happiness with an affair?  Am I a worse person for pretending it's not always going to be a part of me and going back to a relationship that hasn't been able to show me that vibrancy, that passion, that love of each day?  Do I owe it to my kids to stay in a marriage and be OK with partnering with a friend - nothing more than a friend - to raise three kids under one roof?

Thank you for reading.  Thank you for this.
11 Responses
Avatar universal
depends how this leaves your wife. throw her into a depression 10 times worse than yours how you going to be with that .  she has looked after you through your illness , will the new gal feel the same when you hit a downer .I has affairs and I am still raked with guilt , but I never for a moment thought of leaving my wife, JESUS man any woman that puts up with a depressive is a saint
Avatar universal
Hey Boxes,
I know how you feel.  But let me tell you a different outcome to your affair other than what you can see now.  Imagine if one day you came to work, and you saw your girl having fun with some other men, and she was not particularly interested that you walked into the room.  Let's say she grew tired of you for whatever reason and more or less began to let you go.

This happened to me.  However, I had been in a bad marriage before, cheated, and was divorced from it.  While I hated my husband then, I still was unhappy I had cheated and then lost the relationship.  I realized the marriage was more important than I thought.  I kept thinking if only I had spoken up about problems that came up here and there, if only I hadn't become such a drunk to cope, if only... So, when I married a second time, NO WAY was I going to cheat.  But of course the chance arose, same as you, someone at work.  I resisted with everything I had, but the feelings were indeed there.  Until one day he grew tired of me or whatever, and gradually he spent less and less time with me, and then he left work and I had to give up.  Gosh, was I relieved I didn't go off with that man!  

Now, that didn't cure the various things that go wrong in a marriage, no matter how come you got in it.  Even if you were to go with this other person right now, I guarantee you that the same problems you have right now in your marriage, they will arise in your new marriage, and there you'll be, juggling children, filled with regret, doubts, new insecurity, and downright lost.  Affairs are easy, no responsibility.  Marriage take work.

I understand you want some passion in your marriage.  So, put it in there.  You can do it.  You've heard of married people having "date nights"?  Do that.  Be romantic, give her flowers, talk about relaxed things as you eat a table-clothed dinner.  Take her home, turn off the bedroom lights, and even if you have to, think of the other girl and make love to your wife.  Go to sleep.  Wake up refreshed!  Another day, make it meeting day and ask your wife to sit down with you and talk about one issue each that is bothering the hell out of you.  Both of you have to promise to take one step to improve the situation, and then do it immediately.  Another day, ask your wife to go for a walk in a park with you, just to talk about regular worldly stuff, whatever comes up, hold her hand, take her to a place where you can show her something interesting, like a pond with ducks, and explain stuff to her about what you're looking at, share your imagination with her.  Be the boss, the man, the hero.  And once in a while, buy your wife a small gift, usually jewelry or a pretty scarf, and be free with compliments.  Offer to take the children one day so she can go get her hair fixed and shop with some girlfriends... which you, too, need that day off also.  It's good to get away from each other now and then.

This is not what you want to hear.  You want someone to tell you to follow "your heart," which is ridiculous, because it's just lust, my friend.  One day, as you get older, the children leave the home, you and your wife will be so glad you have all those years of familiarity and history with each other, predictable company, help with any illnesses, considering moving and downsizing, or taking a trip somewhere new.  Get a new pet for the house.  Paint a few walls.  Garden.  LIVE your life as you normally would.  And I promise you one day you'll thank me.  But if you really think marrying another woman is going to make your life better, you are putting all your stock into another person again.  Be YOU, do what YOU want to do with your life, but you could not ask for a better companion than your best friend.  Even in the best marriages, intimacy goes down, romance becomes closeness, both of you grow older.  At my age, 64, "Will you still love me when I'm 64" (Beatles), if something happened to my husband, I think I would want to be roommates with a gay man.  HA.  I really like those people!  As long as they didn't drag hell in on this night or that.  I'm just saying...  

Keep up with your dialog here.  I'm sure some others at diff ages will have diff things to help you with.  And if you need anything else from me, I'm right here.  And while I may seem old to you, I still have long hair, still joke around and have fun, have hobbies, and I'm SO glad I have my husband, now of 30 years and counting.  We talk sometimes about problems, but not too much.  Just important hints about, "Hey, how come you don't ask me how I'm doing?  I ask you every day!"  And bingo, he starts doing that.  Now, THAT'S love.
794366 tn?1418012995
I was married and my husband at the time cheated on me multiple times, so I know what it feels like. Also I have had depression all my life and still suffer from it. I know the feeling that you talk of being in love, but you have to remember that 2 complete people make a solid couple and that also takes work. You have to be complete and love yourself or you will be looking for your next drug or addiction to escape the depression.That "hole" inside of you will always be there unless you fill it with love for yourself. Sounds like you need to work on yourself, be it medication and/or therapy and maybe if there is anything truly there in the marriage...marriage therapy.
The grass is not greener on the other side. You are simply exchanging one set of problems for another and also lugging your own baggage from one partner to another.
Best of luck......
I am here anytime you want to chat with me.
Avatar universal
Yes.  Thank you for your replies – they are what I need to hear.  Call me rationalizing, but I have to say a few things.

My wife.  I love her deeply.  Indeed she has been there with me for the long haul and continues to stand by me.  It is also true, though, that when I cried out for help along the way she dismissed the idea of me being depressed and like so many other people assumed I’d pull out of it myself.  It is also true that we simply do not have open, honest, upfront conversations about our issues or challenges.  I wish we did, or I wish we had.  

Finally, and in many ways most importantly, I am not attracted to her.  I never have been, not in the way you’d expect.  That was true when we were dating secretly (similar to the thrill of an affair…without the electricity).  It was true when we got married.  It was true before kids and after kids.  I’m not physically, intimately, or romantically attracted to my wife.  Sex has never been good.  We have never shown affection – from hugging to holding hands to even flirting or exchanging compliments.  We really are two friends.  She loves me in a different way, I know that.  She does not share my frustrations.  She is attracted to me, and I cannot reciprocate.  

So to do things like buy flowers, court her with date nights, and other things to rekindle things would assume there’s something to rekindle.  We never did those things to begin with.  I can list years of examples where we’ve always gravitated to a platonic relationship.  

But I want that love.  I want the connection, the electricity, the intimacy.  You can tell me it’s a cloud of depression and a skewed view of reality, but I’m convinced choosing to stay in my marriage is choosing to abandon the idea of ever fulfilling that need – the absolute need for a single person you love deeply, no matter if it’s new puppy love or old comfortable love.  The need for an active, wanted sex life.  The need for an interest in someone else’s life on a uniquely caring and nurturing level.  Affection.  I need these things, and I got a taste of them with the affair.  It was life-changing.  

I hope you can see what makes that irresistible and what makes it feel impossible to give up.  I felt alive for the first time.  Like those allergy commercials where you think life is in color, and then with a flash it turns into a more vibrant, clear, stimulating wash of color.  I want that color.  I need the color.

Yes, you’re absolutely right that I need to learn to love myself.  I’ve never loved myself.  Depression, eating disorders, general criticism and judging of myself harshly.  This has been my life.  I thought this was what being an adult was all about – that everyone was more or less the same way.  I realize that’s not true and I’m working on getting better.  That’s a long haul – there’s so much not to like, including cheating on my wife and doing selfish things to try to be happy.

My kids know I’m not happy.  They sense it.  The oldest one is worried.  The youngest one has become more and more cuddly to try to make daddy happy.  I can’t let my unhappiness affect their lives.  Do I move across the country (I actually have a job offer on the table to do exactly that)?  Do I move out and we rip the band-aid off and start lives as a separated family?  Do I give up the chance at real love and accept my family knowing part of me will never be fulfilled?  

It’s about more than just me.  My wife deserves happiness, too.  I feel like I can’t deliver that for her.  My kids deserve happiness.  I feel like I’m hindering that for them.  My family deserves knowing what the future holds.  I feel like I’m stringing them along grasping at wanting pieces of three different lives (married, being alone, and pursuing the relationship with the other woman) and not allowing one single one to breathe naturally.  

Thank you for listening.  I’m new here, and I don’t know how to find others to chat or connect.  Thank you for writing such thoughtful, complete responses.  I’m already realizing this forum could help me.
Avatar universal
Also, I just wanted to address the guilt factor.  I know it sounds terrible but I don't feel guilty about the affair.  I don't.  In fact I'm thrilled that it has opened my eyes to what is out there.  I don't feel sorry that it happened and I wish it would continue, quite honestly.  How awful is that?  I know.  But it is the one example of something I've chosen to do that made me happy.  It still makes me feel better than anything.  I feel immense guilt for having married someone I didn't love - that much I feel very guilty about.  

Avatar universal
Hi Boxes!
I'm the long talker, GG.  I've written three times and accidentally erased it.  So, I'm running out of fun with this thing.  So, I'll be short this time.  I hear you in your last posts and think you should go ahead and divorce.  You should also get treatment for depression.  And you should begin to talk to your girlfriend about the situation.  See if she wants to come look with you at a place for you two to live.  A new place will be fun.  Your kids will visit there and see it as their second home and enjoy hanging out there.  

Think it all the way out, get up your nerve, and begin the process of leaving your wife, home, and children, and starting a new life, getting treatment.  If you like what you see, then go for it.  It really can't hurt any worse than the way things are now.  Anything you want to say about that?
794366 tn?1418012995
I read your latest post and I see your situation a lot clearer. I do think that you have many things to think about before diving into a new relationship. I think that maybe you should see a counselor/therapist and say what you have been saying here and more to that person. In time, your road will be mapped out for you mentally and emotionally as well as other things in your life. I do believe when you talk things out to an unbiased person about what you are going through you can start to sort out what needs to be done and they can as well give you guidance or resources along the way.
It seems that you really know what you want.
Avatar universal
First, some relationships just don't work for many reasons.  That's why divorce is legal now.  If you truly have a loveless relationship on your side you do have to do something, though what is the question.  But no new person is going to fix anything wrong with you, and that's the part that I question -- finding love when you have none is one thing, it's hard and painful but it happens -- but going to another person because you think that'll fix you usually ends badly.  It's always better to leave a relationship that just doesn't work without finding someone new first.  So just be sure you're doing this for the right reasons and that it's love, not dependency.  No matter what it's going to hurt two people at least, you and your wife, especially your wife, but life is never all that pure, really.  Just, again, make sure you're doing it for pure reasons.
Avatar universal
Hey Boxes, so what is going on right now with your marriage?  Have you broached the topic of divorce, talked to your girlfriend about her doing the same, made any headway perhaps seeking psych help for a little while, and maybe eventually finding a new place to live, maybe with your girlfriend?  It had better be okay with her husband... you don't want him coming over there with you two in the bed or whatever...

You need to take the lead in this.  You are the man, you are the most willing to change, since you didn't say too much about what your girl wants to do, and you will need to find a new house or apartment or condo to live in rather soon after requesting a divorce.  Even tho all the warnings are true, you can still most definitely plan this thing out and go do it.  Just spend a little time talking with your girl about it, a counselor about it, maybe looking at places to live with your girl, before you pull the trigger.

Your wife will be mad.  She will try to get money from you thru the courts, child support and possibly spousal support, so you'll need to talk to a good divorce lawyer about all this.  I have a friend who, even tho she was the woman, she lost her home, her dogs, all her gardens and plantings, just because the land the home she paid the majority for was on her husband's family.  It was the latter that did it.  Lousy judge.  I felt so sorry for her.  This could happen to you.  You may lose everything you have, you may lose even visitation with your kids, your girlfriend may not divorce, the list of bad stuff is high.  But instead of worrying over that, just make note of it so it won't blindside you, and you just enjoy the prospect of being free of a loveless marriage, lifting sadness from your kids, being free to have a real relationship with a "new" full-time woman!

Let us know what you're up to!  GG
Avatar universal
Get yourself fixed, go to a psychiatrist and get on meds. Love is not a healthy addiction, your wife is right.  
Avatar universal
Perhaps it's time to seek medical help for the depression. You really are in a rut. You can make things a million times worse by reacting in a negative mannor. Children sense things. I think you owe it to yourself and to everyone you love to maybe start being honest. It's not heathly for you to carry all of this around.

It sounds like you've never been on your own. Maybe you need that to 'get to know yourself'. They are all very big decisions. There is some amazing people on here who genuinely want to lend an ear and advice. Take care you!
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