Hard Decisions

soveryconfusedMarch 4, 2008

She is the best friend that I have ever had in my life. No one, and I mean that...no one... has ever understood me the way she does and vice versa. We are the best friends imaginable. I seriously couldnt imagine having a closer connection to someone. She opened up my heart in ways that it hasnt been opened ...ever. There is a side of me which I have never experienced until I met her. She has challenged me in so many ways, and I her...we both have changed dramatically since this relationship started. Everyone sees the parts of our relationship where we messed up (which we did), but few want to admit that there is an overwhelming amount of good that she and I have accomplished in each others lives. There is an openness and willingness in her that brings out the best in me. That goes both ways, I know she has experienced exactly what I am describing. With the kind of love that we found in each other, intimacy was natural and came without us even trying. Not just physical intimacy, but intimacy on all levels. Open, honest discussions, ones that I doubt I could have with anyone else ever. Our friendship runs deep and has changed us both. We are both married, thats the point where this all gets horribly messy.

Can I survive without her, sure, I can. And I know she can survive without me. But knowing she is out there, knowing that a woman exists who loves me at such a deep understanding level...its hard to imagine having a marriage without that in it. Our personalities sync up, our dreams line up, we both have similar interests and spiritual longings, its...overwhelming...

So, yes, things are difficult. When you love someone with your whole heart, I couldnt go back home and pretend I love my wife in the same way. I couldn't. Also, I couldnt pretend that I dont love this new woman in my life. My wife is a wonderful person, and I do love her, but she and I have had issues from day one. The pain from our relationship and lack of communication has led me to make horrible decisions in my life, lots of them. I shut her out of my heart years ago. I couldnt keep loving her and do all that I did behind her back. I was looking even then for understanding from someone...something I didnt have at home. Acceptance. I knew there was something inside me that had to be expressed, and I needed to know there was someone out there that understood me... I didnt expect what happened, we became best friends, then I fell in love with her, and all the while ...she is married too.

So...there it is. Currently, she is in the middle of this as well. Except she has very few if any close friends to lean on. Her husband doesnt communicate well at all with her (similar to my wife and I - their relationship has been painful, lonely and full of problems since it started). Still, she loves her husband, much like I love my wife, but in a way that is preventing her from deciding how to manage all that is going on. Neither of us like making hard decisions, but for me, getting out of the house was inevitable, my wife made me leave. For HER, her way of avoiding the decision to leave the house is by trying to find a job somewhere else in the country so that she will have to move. What she wants to do is escape the situation completely and leave both of us for now. She wants to be alone and find peace in her life. Then she can evaluate things more clearly. She knows she doesnt have to move across the country to do that...but this is a hard decision for her and she feels she cant just move out of the house...for some reason. Too difficult and she doesnt want to hurt her husband. I know, I know, moving across the country away from him, thats 100x worse, but she feels stuck and pressured by both of us to make a decision on what she is doing with her life and marriage.

Its killing me, because I struggle between pressuring her (which I know she hates!) and just relaxing and being her friend, which is what she needs right now. And so do I. So, I am waiting...

The last 30 days was suppose to be her telling her husband everything, totally clearing her conscience. Then letting him decide what he wanted to do...and giving him a chance to change so that they can meet each others needs better. Instead, she tells me today how she feels alone again...she has told him everything she can, and he is trying, but for her to express to me that same loneliness that she had back when I first met her...that hurts. I know she is trying to convince herself of something that isn't going to happen. Ultimately, she will realize he cant be everything she needs in a spouse, but she still hasnt found the courage to move out of the house and find peace away from him. Her way of doing that is looking for this job. Even then it sounds like she has discussed with him the option of him moving up to be with her...maybe...later...similar to the discussions that she and I have had. So, its tough to hear, to know she is still clinging to someone that has a limited ability to truly make her happy.

So, I am out of the house, pending a legal separation. She is still with her husband. We both have children. Neither of us have been happy in years. But when we are together, we find a level of happiness and peace that we have never experienced before. If soulmates exist, I have found mine. Now, I just dont know what to do about it.

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It doesn't sound like you're struggling to make a decision, it sounds like you've already made them.

With every step you take towards her, and away from your family, you make decisions. You are not a victim of fate and of soulmate chess, you are actively making decisions. You are constantly making choices, even as you are passively allowing circumstances to occur.

Your marriage pales in comparison to this excitement - it has no other choice but to pale. How's this for rough: Your marriage has every capacity to be even more fulfilling than this fantasy relationship has. Your family is sacred, and is the key to your true peace. Unfortunately, I don't think you will take the opportunity to find out what you didn't know you always had -

It must be hard to do the wrong thing, when it feels so good. But it isn't good, it's false and it's based on chemicals in your brain. The very same chemicals that drew you to your wife in the first place, and created children.

I believe with my entire being that you can have total joy and peace and happiness within your own family - with work, commitment, exercise and faith. The joy that will come from that will be complete, and wholly fulfilling. However, as you take this route, eventually reality will settle in. You will have similar struggles, PLUS you will have destroyed two families in your wake. That's just the sad reality.

Your children deserve for you to strive for happiness in your marriage. It's not too late for that - if your wife is not sociopathic, mentally ill or comatose, you have something precious to work with at home.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 2:08PM
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You and your "soulmate" are vulnerable. Unhappiness in your domestic situation has caused you to look for happiness in other people. This is human nature.

But think of the reality of it all. The damage to little people's lives.

First things first. Heal the rift in your marriage, you owe it to your children. If this does not work out, then you did your best.

This exact same situation has happened to a friend of mine.

The fallout, now is, 8 children in broken families. Two spouses who are shattered. Houses being sold. Its all a mess. The children have seen and heard things they should not have, its heartbreaking.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 5:33PM
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I imagine that this beautiful relationship exists because it is an escape from "real life" for you both. Where the rubber hits the road is when you add the "reality" of "life with kids" and the daily responsibilities to that mix. Kids bickering and crying. Homework until 11:00 when you are exhausted, and one of the kids left the stuff at school. Laundry to her knees, and ex's to deal with who are very hurt and angry at you both, and not very willing to make things easy for either of you. Mortgages and bills, and houses that need cleaning, and food that needs prepared and cleaned up after. Step kids, and all that entails. And that the knowledge you each have that when the going gets tough, and "life" gets in the way and is not so fun, that you are each capable of deceiving, to find what you need elsewhere.

Her desire to take a job far away, shows such incredible selfishness; that she would tear up her kids life by moving them away from everything, and everyone they know. She not only tears up her family, but takes them far away from their father as well??????? Or is she planning on abandoning her own children? What kind of mother does that??? What kind of woman does that to children who love and need her??? Puts her own desires and needs above those little ones who desperately need a mother?

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 6:24PM
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"The pain from our relationship and lack of communication has led me to make horrible decisions in my life, lots of them."

You're doing it again.

I think you're a "happiness-chaser". The world's full of 'em...and the destruction they leave in their wakes.

Hope there's something left when you wake up.

"...my wife made me leave." Good for her!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 6:43PM
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yeah, sounds like my X-husband, typical happiness-chaser.

Left his second wife-(nothing is wrong with her) because he fell in love with someone else and is happy. TOW left her husband as well. Now they both are happy like two love birds. And expect a baby.

But so many lives are damaged. His 2nd wife's life is damaged, his son's life is damaged, my daughter is grown but it wasn't too easy for her because she liked her step-mother. My daughter said TOW seems to be such a nice woman that it is hard to think bad of her.

I am just thinking that since he is happiness-chaser he won't stop and this union will probably break too. I mean there is nothing wrong with me (marriage ended mainly because X was unhappy and made me miserable ) and there was nothing wrong with his 2nd wife (he left her for TOW) and yet he needed to look for happiness elsewhere.

you have to try to create happiness at home. Grass is always greener on the other side. Try harder in your home and you won't have to search for happiness. Unless your spouse is abusive or crazy you can always try harder.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 11:13PM
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I'm curious as to your ages and how long you have had this romantic idyll? Because it sounds to me like you are still in the dreamy, walking-on-air beginning stages. (I can almost remember being like that...almost but not quite.) Also it has been my experience that youth lends itself to these intensely romantic types of feelings, which tend to evaporate with the everyday wear and tear of actually connecting your life with that of another person.

However, I freely confess to being shop-worn and unromantic nowadays. I just grew out of that stuff. The French call love the "Grand Illusion", notice the second part of that reference?

My own experience with "Love" has been about the average. Grew up hearing about Cinderella and the Prince, internalized all that, took a long time and many missteps to see the reality of love, which is considerably different from the experience you are describing. My greatest and truest feelings of the emotion we call love has been for my children. That is true love and I still believe in it. Would I endanger that for a fleeting romantic love relationship with a man? No way! Love is not just about chasing your own emotional highs, it's about responsibility and sacrifice for another's good. It's about trust and about answering a call to be something higher than you are. Our children have been entrusted to us by nature, God or whatever you believe in. That is real love. Don't throw it away unthinkingly.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 1:19PM
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So, in other words, you have a big crush on this girl. How cute!

So, yeah leave your family; make her leave hers, then run off into the sunset and live happily ever after together because that's what real soul mates are supposed to do. Just be sure to note, those Romeo and Juliet type relationships almost always end bad.

Be careful what you wish for...

    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 3:59PM
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"Now, I just dont know what to do about it."

No one person can make you happy. Situations can't make you happy.

Happiness is from within. You control your happiness.

Develop that skill and you will have clarity in thinking, and you will know what to do.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 5:10PM
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Thank you for all the reponses. I get an overwhelming feeling that no one on here feels that leaving a marriage is ever a good thing unless the spouse is insane or beyond help. Always stick with it, regardless...happiness can be found if you give up enough of your needs and just look for the bright side of the relationship.

Look, I agree to a point. I am 35, I have been married for 15 years. The woman that I am now in love with is 27, she has been married for 5 years, but in a relationship with that man for nearly 10. Both of us married young and we both married due to pressure in our lives. Neither of us have felt happiness in the marriage and we have both looked elsewhere for it - sex, romance, drinking, etc. It has caused our spouses, our families and each of us years of pain. The dishonesty factor in and of itself has crippled our ability to grow spiritually.

Then we met each other nearly a year ago. We both brought a ton of baggage into the friendship and the first thing we did was to unload it all on each other. Instead of running, we both worked through the baggage piece by piece, we tried to understand each other and we became accountable to each other for changing the bad habits from our past.

Your first response is...well why didnt both of you try that with your current spouses. YES! We know that. We have, we tried. 15 years for me of trying to communicate with someone who is the exact opposite personality from me. Someone who insists on raised voice aggressive communication, which by nature just shuts me down...everytime. We have had counselling, talked it over, discussed it to death. It's her and me...its how we react to each other. Same with the woman I am now in love with...her husband is the exact opposite of my wife, he won't discuss anything, hes an emotional blank slate most of the time. She needs more than that and has been looking for it elsewhere since he is unable to provide it.

I have heard the whole chemical thing before, love is more than a chemical reaction. Good grief. Its a long term commitment. I wouldnt have been married to my wife for 15 years if I didnt love her and the kids. BUT, you want to call me a happiness chaser, fine...the point is...God wants us to be happy. He does. God will never ever be able to use us and we will never develop to our full potential if we arent happy. I have been unhappy in that marriage for years, stagnant and unfulfilled.

When I met HER, everything changed, my heart unlocked from years of guards I had put in place from the pain and hurt. We have been friends, fighting against being more than that for a year now. If hard times were suppose to break that up...since we are just happiness chasers, then we would have left each other months ago. Since we unloaded all of this on our spouses back in November, things have been hell. We have said "goodbye" to each other over a dozen times, trying to make things work with our spouses, trying to let go of each other. We keep coming back to the fact that we have something special. We understand each other in ways that most couples can only dream of. Its unbelievable how similar we are. Everything that hurts us in our current marriages, we have found ways to be the opposite of that to each other. Communication is easy, its natural. We have our times, nothing is perfect, but we make sure we work through the issues, forgive and learn from those times.

At this point, I am about a week away from my wife totally letting me go, forcing a divorce. THE woman is still living at home with her husband. She wants to get out of the house and separate from for a time. She is still debating on moving somewhere else in the country, to get away from both of us. But after talking with her last week, she realizes she is just running. She can find her peace in these decisions right here, without moving off. Still, no idea how she is going to move forward. I am looking at possibly being alone if she decides to stay there with him.

The biggest issue I have, I can't go back to my wife and pretend like I dont still love HER. I can't. I am not a faker, and I will not be happy. I will always compare, alwasys wonder, always be in love with the friendship that is missing in my life. Faking to make the kids happy, is not the best option. Its not.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2008 at 8:41PM
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"...the point is...God wants us to be happy. He does. God will never ever be able to use us and we will never develop to our full potential if we arent happy. "

Intended a longer response but was overtaken by a compulsion to retch.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2008 at 10:37PM
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"God wants us to be happy. He does. God will never ever be able to use us and we will never develop to our full potential if we arent happy."

Are you sure about these statements? Because, I guess I just don't remember learning about that 11th commandment "Thou Shall be Happy". If God really wanted that then why do you suppose He tossed Adam and Eve out of paradise? Do you think Thomas More or Mother Theresa were generally happy people? Really?

Plus, I'm not fully understanding how true and honest happiness can come from adultery (it's full of deceits, lies, lust, temptations, etc) but hey, as long as you're happy, I guess it really doesn't matter. I would think twice though about arguing what you think GOD thinks about your happy adulterous relationship. Even if He did command happiness, I don't think your affair would be a good example. If your happiness is arrived from a selfish act that hurts others, I highly doubt God is cheering for you.

There are hundreds of things you can do that can make you happy...doesn't mean God wants you to do them to be happy. Where exactly do you draw the line? Could I rob a bank to gets lots of money, sleep with my husband's hot best friend, hire someone to beat up some old boyfriend I hated? As long as I'm happy about it, that makes it ok, right?

Maybe you shouldn't be with your wife and maybe you could have made a good life with someone else. But are you sure you can be happy with a woman who cheated on her husband, who fell in love with a man who cheated on his wife? Yes, it does sound like you have a lot in common. Oddly, the story to me is just so sad... I'll bet you'll see it differently some day too.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2008 at 10:45PM
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Yes, I figured someone would jump all over that statement. Look, let me clarify. Ideally we all stay married to whomever we first connect with. And yes, God can help you make your marriage into a wonderful, fulfilling thing. BUT if after that time, you still havent found happiness, do you keep trying for 15 more years? Do you slowly grow old with someone that you can't communicate with? Or do you try to put yourself in a better situation? Trusting that God will make everyones life better in the long term.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2008 at 10:52PM
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Thanks for trying to understand. Its not about the adultery, its about the friendship. Is God thrilled that we made love? No of course not. Our relationship had its mistakes, but at the core of it was and still is a friendship like none either of us has ever experienced. How many friends do you have that you would say are deeply, completely understanding of you, your needs, and how you view, life, God, the world? That share your dreams and goals? Huh? Its the friendship, the desire to be more, the encouragement, sharing, caring....those elements fall into a realm of love that is very special.

Neither of us want the adultery to continue. The dishonesty, all of that side of our lives, we are done with...we want move through that, grow, change. But we want to have spouses that love, understand and cherish us when as we are walking through those changes in our lives.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2008 at 11:00PM
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You know, to answer your question about how many friends do I have "that are completely understanding of me"... are my best friend, love me just the way I am, bring out the best in me, make me strive for more....(did I miss antyhing?)... Well, I would say just about any guy I had a serious relationship with I felt this way about. That is why I find your post so sad.

I don't know how much you dated, but any guy I seriously dated I thought was my soul mate. Those special "he was the only one who could understand me feelings, etc.." are not unique to your affair. That's what having a big crush and being infactuated is all about. I have felt that way with at least 6-7 guys.

Now falling in true love is different... it's when you actually realize that maybe the other person doesn't completely understand you, that they are human and do let you down from time to time, that they don't always view the world the same way you do... but you still love them. It's easy, oh so easy, to be 'in love' with someone when you feel so insink with them .. but the true test is being able to hold onto your feelings when you don't. Sorry to burst your bubble, but I highly doubt anyone totally understands you or ever will. You're infactuated, probably in it for a long time because of the type of relationship you have had.. but once you can honestly date and really get to know one another, you will probably fall out of the infactuation stage and God only knows how your relatioship will progress, if at all, from there.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 12:02AM
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"Trusting that God will make everyones life better....."

Pretty selective trusting, I'd say. How come he made such a botch of your first 15 years of marriage, then? You're trusting him to do better next time, apparently.

Or maybe you're just playing your own head game to justify what you've done and are intending to do. Regardless, if you know what God wants you to do I see little purpose in poking around for advice and comment among us mortals.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 1:20AM
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i was hoping for some honest listening, not a ton of judgement from people who obviously have life figured out


    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 10:06AM
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We don't all have life figured out... but I think most of us at least know that adultery is wrong. Yes, people have affairs, people leave their wives, (sometimes for valid reasons) but most people don't try to bring God into it the way you have. It's convoluted and disrepectful to God IMHO. You're committing adultery at least own up to that if you are a God fearing person otherwise leave Him out of it.

I doubt your excuse about her making you "happy" is going to get you anywhere at the pearly gates...

    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 10:31AM
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Yes - Leave your wife and kids. Go off and chase your happiness dream with TOW. Keep listening to your own particular version of God's wishes and follow your heart. Because that seems to be who you are in your deepest interior. The grass on the other side of that fence really IS greener.

Then let your poor wife heal and have another chance at a true and lasting partnership with a man of real character. She deserves better.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 11:22AM
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Pretty common, actually, for people to bring God into their marital affairs.

It is a psychological coping mechanism to deal with the pain of guilt.

"If I can believe that God prescribed this behavior, then I am without sin, and I am walking a spiritual path. It sure FEELS spiritual, so it must BE spiritual."

Since the affair is all about convoluted ideas incorporated to cope with existing struggles, this concept is pretty consistent.

But it is, without question, misguided.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 12:52PM
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Listen! I am not saying adultery is right!? I know it is a sin, God is not happy with the relationship as long as there is adultery present. Done. I am not saying he brought us together so that we could sin, leave our spouses and get together. I am not that naive about God's wisdom and will.

I am saying that spiritually I have opened up and so has she in dramatic ways since our friendship started. We will never be the same as we were and our eyes and hearts have opened up in ways that are unmistakably "good".

    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 2:13PM
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"But we want to have spouses that love, understand and cherish us when as we are walking through those changes in our lives."

well, ok, why don't the 2 of you sit down with the 2 spouses & tell 'em that?

because you really do know that it's self-serving rationalization & not "spiritual" anything at all.

clean up your act or don't, but trying to make wrong right, even to the extent of trying to make wrong *noble* & *religious*...won't work.

It won't fool anybody, not people in cyberspace, not your spouses, & (can't believe I'm saying this) not God.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 2:25PM
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I think this fellow's about to take flight although he clearly has not received the perspective and support I think he was hoping for. I'm reminded of movie scenes where the wheels come off the plane at takeoff -- no happy landings after that. However with "...God's wisdom and will..." on his side, perhaps he won't have to deal with earthly concerns again.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 7:12PM
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I've been following this discussion with real interest. Last year my husband had an emotional affair with a woman he met on his commuter train. It did not get as far as the OP's adventure but speaking from the perspective of the wife...It has taken a lot of working, talking, and refocusing to get our marriage back on track. Looking back my husband has realized it was completely unreal and not the answer to our problems. Hindsight has shown him her eagerness to destroy our marriage displayed her true character just as other posters have suggested to the OP.

Also, I find it difficult to believe that the problems all come from his wife. Marriage is two people.

I doubt he is open to all the good advice given here. It seems he has already made excuses for his behavior and rationalized the whole sordid event to convince himself of his righteousness.

Sorry to go on. It all struck a nerve

    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 7:41PM
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In fairness, he has owned his previous screw-ups. He said: "...has led me to make horrible decisions in my life, lots of them. I shut her out of my heart years ago."

However, he appears to me to not recognize that what he's doing now is probably part of that continuum. Again, in fairness, it may not be....but it sure sounds like it to me. He expresses himself more like a lovesick 18-year-old than an experienced husband and father. Frankly, all this spiritual stuff (isn't the feeling wonderful?) makes my teeth itch.

My take is that he's fantasizing...and tossing out two familes to indulge it.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 8:00PM
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I agree. That is exactly what my husband called it, a fantasy. No basis in reality and not the foundation for any real future. My husband had the integrity to stop before any lasting harm could result. In this case I see a train wreck about to happen to two families.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 8:33PM
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Sovery...leave her....walk away...she will be sooooo much better off without a lying cheating man in her life....and no matter what you do now that's still what you are. You can repent, giv up the chickie-poo, go back to your wife...but that still doesn't change what you have done.
Get out of her life ASAP...she deserves better.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 11:34PM
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