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I have massively screwed up my marriage, and I desperately want to get it back.

(169 Posts)
SecretJewel Mon 01-Apr-13 15:17:59

I'm in love with somebody else :-(

We've been friends through work for a long time, but over the last year or two, we seem to have gradually fallen in love.

That sounds terrible. I have never felt like this before about anyone.

The depth of feeling that comes from loving someone based on gradually getting to know their character and personality over a long period of time has blown me away.

When I met dh, the initial attraction was all based on looks and was very much a physical thing. Obviously the growing to love each other then was based on more than that, but I still know that we would never have got that far if it wasn't for the looks thing.

The new man, I wouldn't have looked at twice across a crowded room, but I have fallen in love with him through our friendship, and now I think he is gorgeous!

Anyway, so our 'relationship' has now gone as far as kissing and texting all day every day. I can't stop thinking about him.

Apart from him and dh, there has never been anyone else in my life. I settled down with dh when I was 17. I'm now 35 and we have 3 children.

Every conscience thought that I am in control of tells me, I want to stay with dh, I want my family together, I DO NOT want to bust our lives apart.

BUT, my heart says so different. My heart is gone. I love the OM now and there doesn't seem to be anything I can do about it.

I know the answer is 'I am in control of my own actions'. I know this and I did stop all contact with OM for a period of about 5 months. I saw him again a couple of months ago, and now we're right back to square 1.

I almost wish he didn't feel the same way. That it was just some silly one sided crush. But it's not. I'm going to push him away. I'm going to plod on day by day with my family life, but I'm always going to know now that there is someone else out there who I could be so happy with.

I was happy enough with dh before I knew what it was like to feel like this about someone. Nothing can ever undo that now. sad

Fairenuff Mon 01-Apr-13 21:45:00

You are going to come clean to your dh then op?

JustinBsMum Mon 01-Apr-13 21:45:32

You are going to 'struggle on' despite the heartache boohoo - are you sure you're not just opting out of life because you don't have the courage to go and out and get one?

DCs at school? Take yourself off to uni, college, a new job.

But no, its easier to blame your lack of life on your DH and DCs, and to look for excitement with the OM, who you admit will never leave his DW.

Stop using other people and do something yourself.

scottishmummy Mon 01-Apr-13 22:04:09

Until you accept personal self responsibility,nowt changes.one can control and moderate emotion
One can moderate emotions like love,if you want to,if you chose to
we have higher executive function and morality we can chose we are not helplessly propelled by emotion

RatPants Mon 01-Apr-13 22:12:46

I feel sorry for your husband admittedly but also for you. Being married with children young is so final and it's awful luck that you have found someone you would rather be with (and he you) too late. You're right in that if you don't take this chance you will always wonder and be "settling" for the life you have now but the other posters are right in that by taking the chance, you will rip two families apart. A horrible predicament. I don't know what to recommend but do feel for you.

Cherriesarelovely Mon 01-Apr-13 22:20:36

Neither have I Vivienne but I do have friends who have been through incredibly stressful periods in their marriages but have come through them and are going strong now. I hope things work out for you OP.

Charbon Mon 01-Apr-13 22:43:52

No, you've been doing your best to get a selfish, self-delusional man who is nevertheless committed to his marriage, to have an affair and then once he can't delude himself any more that he's been unfaithful, for him to sacrifice his marriage. Only then would his appeal diminish, because you would have 'won'.

I know this sounds awful, but we discussed this familiar pattern quite a bit on the last thread and why this was about you and not necessarily your marriage. It's certainly not about the OM himself. You knew him for many years before this fantasy took hold but the reason it did and got fixated on him was because of the timing with you going back to work and feeling independent again and because he was always going to be more of a challenge than the other chancers who'd come on to you around the same time, who provided no sense of conquest or special validation.

Curiously I think the one cast-iron way to get you to fall in love with your husband again is if he didn't want you any longer. I expect his attraction peaked when he appeared to be less committed in those early days.

You can probably see where I'm going with this and I think there's a risk that if you walk away from the affair or the OM does now or in the future, you will try to get your love for your husband back by engineering another high risk game - telling him about the affair. Being honest with a partner should always be for his own sake though and not yours and if your motives were game-playing again, it would be old patterns repeating not to mention it would carry a high risk of backfiring.

That's not to say I'm advocating continuing dishonesty; just that if you're honest it should be for the right reasons.

We all carry around with us scripts of why we behave the way we do. Yours is that you sacrificed yourself to young marriage and motherhood and put up with a lot from your husband when you first got together. So now you're kicking over the traces and rediscovering yourself. Challenge that. Own your choices in that.

The OM's script is probably vaguely similar in that he probably thinks of himself as an all round good guy who has always done the right things in the right order and now feels entitled to a bit of an adventure, as long as he doesn't have to pick up the bill. He's probably wrestling with thoughts of never getting this opportunity again, what his wife won't know won't hurt her and even perhaps some delusions that once this is over, he can return to his marriage and it might even be revitalised and re-energised by this special secret memory. He'll probably never challenge all that unless he gets found out.

There is a more mature way of falling back in love in a long marriage that doesn't involve any games being played, but it's devilishly difficult to do when there's dishonesty and impossible to do when there is still contact with and feelings for a third party. But it happens surprisingly regularly in long marriages, despite the romantic notions to the contrary. It has to start with you showing love though. It feels like it's too soon for that here though, but the longer it goes without you giving love, the more risk there is of a permanent estrangement.

Fairenuff Mon 01-Apr-13 23:01:00

The irony of it is that if you told your dh and he subsequently wanted nothing more to do with you as a result of your dishonesty, you would then probably fancy him like mad and be convinced that he is the real love of your life, soulmate, etc. It's a no-win situation for everyone.

Just5minspeace Mon 01-Apr-13 23:11:22

No real advice but didn't want to read and run. It is never simple and the fact you are confused shows that you are trying to do the right thing. I do feel for you and hope you find a solution that keeps you as an individual and you as a member of your family happy. Good luck.

Mimishimi Mon 01-Apr-13 23:13:43

You have to come clean and cut it off with one of them -if it's OM you should still tell your DH so he has some say in the matter.

"It has to start with you showing love though."

I agree, what is it about your husband that you fell in love with? His witty conversation? Joint interests? Similar views on things? Are you doing any of the things you enjoyed doing when dating? Talking throughout the day, putting the TV on for five minutes for the kids so you can sneak outside and watch the sunset, texting jokes to each other... it is the small things like that that can build intimacy. But they will be like the house built on sand if you try to do that on a lie which is how your DH will see it if you try and fix things and then tell him you had an affair. He will think that you are only doing it because you feel guilty and not because you want a better relationship.

I really have found the late Shirley Glass helpful in many respects. I like this quote

"The conventional wisdom is that the person having an affair isn't "getting enough" at home.
The truth is, the person isn't giving enough."

I think this quote of hers is also wise
" The single best indicator of whether a relationship can survive infidelity is how much
empathy the unfaithful partner shows for the pain they have caused when the betrayed
spouse gets emotional and starts "acting crazy."

SecretJewel Mon 01-Apr-13 23:19:56

Your advice Charbon is absolutely invaluable.

I am not convinced that the counsellor I saw had anywhere near the level of insight that you do.

I wish I knew why I have this thing of always wanting something I can't have. Are other people really not like that?

Looking back, I have always been like this.

Whenever I fall for someone, I fall in a big way. And there might not be any sense as to why I like someone. It's like an X factor thing. It's there, or it isn't there.

Now I'm wondering whether that X factor is actually unavailability.
Dh was tricky to pin down in the beginning, and maybe that's why I had to have him. I remember lots of opportunities with perfectly lovely (and very good looking) blokes, but as soon as they made the first move, I would be turned off in an instant.

That said, I have been happy and settled in my marriage for a long time. For many years, the whole sexual attraction side of me has been completely switched off. I wouldn't of noticed if a yummy man had run down the street naked.

I seem to be at a point now where all that side of me has come back and I'm obviously not handling it very well.

You're also right about dh. He has got a fair idea about what's gone on, and he is turning a blind eye to it. If I lost him, I too bet that I would start feeling very differently quite quickly.

How did I end up like this? Or indeed, how did I start off like this in the first place, if this is how I've always been?

WeAreSix Mon 01-Apr-13 23:26:45

Maybe you need to allow yourself to fall in love with your DH again.

Do you ever get chance away from the mundane-ness of RL? Together, I mean.

Sorry I'm not much help really, just something that sprung to mind while skim-reading.

maleview70 Tue 02-Apr-13 00:16:29

Unfortunately getting married way too young before you have even had any other experiences often leads to this.

What on earth possessed you to do that?

If you don't want to be married any longer then just leave your husband before taking this any further. Don't bank on him leaving his wife though. They often don't as my ex wife found out to her cost.

Milly22 Tue 02-Apr-13 00:35:17

The grass is always greener on the other side............. If you choose the OM and think of how bad things will get for you and then x by 50. Do you really want to carry on? Your DH might even know something's going on already.

fedupofnamechanging Tue 02-Apr-13 00:40:14

maleview, lots of people marry young and remain happy don't cheat. Equally lots of people have plenty of relationships prior to marriage and still can't manage to be good spouses. I think this is more about character than age at which the OP got together with her dh. This is just the excuse she is using to justify it all to herself.

Sometimes people just do selfish things and put that feeling they get during the affair above their children's security or loyalty to their partner.

Leavenheath Tue 02-Apr-13 02:02:33

Who was it in your childhood that was emotionally unavailable?

I should think that's the key to why you are like you are.

What were you like at school? Did you make girlfriends easily? When did you settle into your looks?

What are your relationships like with the women in your life? Mother, sisters, friends, colleagues, bosses?

If you've got daughters, what are your fears for them and what are your non-negotiable lessons in life you feel you must impart?

StrangeDays Tue 02-Apr-13 02:20:14

Sorry am pissed but really OP FFS grow up.

And there's wealth of experience and 'been there' behind that statement so it's really not as glib as it sounds.

My cheating bastard of a husband upstairs sleeping would say exactly the same BTW.

It's just not worth it.
Really. It isn't.

HermioneHatesHoovering Tue 02-Apr-13 05:37:13

What LostMyIdentityAlongTheWay said, word for word.

SecretJewel Tue 02-Apr-13 07:19:10

Levenheath - sad even I can see that the answers to those questions are probably exactly what your expecting. Bit wary of sharing so much, but briefly, here goes... :-)

1) My Dad. He was always 'there' , and indeed still is, but emotionally? Nope. Have never had any sort of closeness or bond there.

2) School - I was happy. Had a nice group of friends, although was also on the receiving end of some bitchy teenage girl behaviour at one point which upset me very much. Did very well academically, but luckily went to the kind of school where this was respected and admired, rather than ridiculed.
I was certainly no oil painting as a teenager. However, I seemed to grow into my looks (very successfully) around my late teens/early 20's and was highly amused to start noticing the way that men were now behaving around me.
One of the things I found the hardest about having small children was the years of looking knackered, having no time for make-up, etc... I wouldn't go back to that for ANYTHING.

3) My relationship with women - mostly rubbish. I work hard on this (with some success), but I think the default instant reaction to me is not good, before I even open my mouth.
As for my mum - have always been very close, but in recent years she seems to have had enough of me.

So, yes it's fairly clear to see how this all fits together. But seeing that, doesn't actually help. I can't change any of those things, can I?

I feel like a right mess now.

Onanightlikethis Tue 02-Apr-13 07:59:11

Have pm d you secret

discotequewreck Tue 02-Apr-13 09:56:43

You sound like a selfish arsehole and your dh would be better off without you tbh.

Fairenuff Tue 02-Apr-13 10:09:27

I can't change any of those things, can I?

Why not?

You can change if you want to. But you have to really want to. Otherwise you will carry on as you are and you will never be happy.

You will always feel that something is missing even when you've got everything you thought you ever wanted.

RunRabbit Tue 02-Apr-13 12:45:09

How utterly selfish. You're not the only person in the marriage you know.

"I will stay with dh, I will have an okay life".
"living in a general, mundane low level of unhappiness"

Is that what your H deserves? Just existing without love with a woman who loves another?
Give him the freedom to choose if he wants to be with you.

Telling him will force you to work on your marriage and burst the smiley, happy affair bubble that you're currently living in.

Charbon Tue 02-Apr-13 13:42:28

This is really interesting stuff SecretJewel. Accepting what you've said about your previous counsellor, did any of this come up with him or her in your sessions?

You probably won't be surprised to know that this is a familiar life script in women who get involved in triangular relationships; an emotionally unavailable father, childhood bullying from other girls, relatively late 'blooming' and difficult relationships with women. This could be one of the main reasons why you picked a married man and not a single one.

You can't change the past but knowing why you're motivated to behave in certain ways is a tremendously good start when attempting to change current and future destructive behaviours.

This is mainly about finding different and more worthwhile attainments that will truly validate you, without harming anyone else. For example, exploring female friendship more and being a good and loving friend as well as having a non-competitive, mutually supportive friendship. This might mean pulling down some of your defences once trust has been established though and asking a good friend to help you with the competitive side of your nature.

Curiously, it sounds as though your husband is emotionally unavailable too right now and not surprisingly because he senses what is happening, his defences sound huge. A very worthwhile quest that wouldn't harm others but which could yield tremendous reward and validation would be to work wholeheartedly on that relationship and with him, pull down some of your joint defences and aim for more emotional honesty and intimacy. I get the sense that he is filed somewhere away as a battle that was fought and won years ago, but intimate relationships are not like a once-and-for-all outward symbol of success.

Getting the OM to have an affair and then offering to leave his wife is an empty and ultimately pointless means of validation. While he might be likely to do the first because in the short term it will be at low-cost to him, he's unlikely ever to do the second. This is also pointless for you because it's a displaced battle that will get the same outcome as before. You know you have the ability to attract men who want to have sex with you, so there's no 'new' achievement in that but finding someone who loves the real you and who is genuinely emotionally available to you escapes you just yet, in most areas of life. The people who could provide that aren't getting your time and energy right now; your husband, new or old friends, the relationships with your parents.

Part of your growth I think will be to stop going after the 'easy wins' and realising that they don't validate you any longer and to devote more energy on things and people who are harder nuts to crack but from which success will really say something about the sort of person you want to be. Our validation comes as much from our self-respect and sense of ourselves as people, as it does from external measures of worth.

Fairenuff Tue 02-Apr-13 13:59:14

I agree with Charbon that your only hope for happiness is to be honest with your dh and see where that takes you. If you lose him, so be it, but carrying on as you are will only lead to more more heartache.

I'm suprised at your lack of care about your dh, your dcs and the om's family though. For someone so self-absorbed you don't apply that need for emotional fulfillment to anyone else. This lack of empathy is worrying.

All your concerns are for yourself. Are you aware of that?

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