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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

Earlybird Tue 09-Apr-13 15:09:35

OP - do you and the OM work together?

I am under the impression that you do. If so, one of you will need to consider finding a job elsewhere (if possible), as seeing each other regularly will only add to the 'tragedy' of the current situation and will stop you (both) from moving on/concentrating on your respective marriages.

Fairenuff Tue 09-Apr-13 10:51:39

You are making yourself miserable and when people suggest you do something about it you have got an excuse ready. You sound like you don't want to be happy.

Some people just seem to like going through life miserable. They end up old and bitter and complain that they were 'right'.

There was 1 incident in particular many years ago, which made me lose all respect for dh. I still refused to give up on my man

This kind of thing is just cutting off your nose to spite your face. You will look back on your miserable life one day and realise what a waste it was.

Charbon Sun 07-Apr-13 01:05:36

Of course it's an option. But the ramifications even though they might be temporary aren't ones you want to face. There are always options, especially for two people in work.

SecretJewel Sun 07-Apr-13 00:57:10

I think the reason I am so sad about losing OM, is because it has made me face up to the disaster that is my marriage.

Leaving dh is just not an option though. We are mortgaged to the hilt, in negative equity, and have credit card debt coming out of our ears!

There's no way we could fund either of us moving out and finding somewhere else to live.

I wish I could change my feelings. The bloke is really not all that bad. He just doesn't do it for me anymore.

Charbon Sun 07-Apr-13 00:44:31

So if you've given up, end it cleanly.

But don't carry on like this.

The OM won't leave his wife and none of this is about him personally.

Start being proactive now. If you've decided you'll never respect or love your husband enough and the marriage is doomed, do something to bring about its end.

But this still leaves the issues that are central to your personality. Addressing those is of utmost importance because there will be other affairs with unattainable men, whether you stay with your husband or not.

notthesamenametoday Sun 07-Apr-13 00:39:02

Please be careful. You will end up losing both these men and feeling such a fool. If the OM leaves his wife he could go back at any time. He's got form for being flaky.

SecretJewel Sun 07-Apr-13 00:32:25

Well, the reason that we've not gone into in depth discussion re: the general state of our marriage, is because this topic has been done to death over the last couple of years!

In fact, I would go so far as to say that the majority of our 18yr relationship has been punctuated with regular 'this ain't working, is it?' type discussions! It's exhausting, but I am a persistent bugger. Once I have set my mind to wanting something, I tend to be like a dog with a bone.

I think actually, dh had never been the right person for me. But I was too stubborn to cut my losses & let go, whilst he was too easily led with no conviction to leave unless I told him to do it.

There was 1 incident in particular many years ago, which made me lose all respect for dh. I still refused to give up on my man.

However, in all these years that respect has never returned (actually, i'm not sure i ever really respected him - I was just fixated with him). And that's why I didn't give dh a 2nd thought when I was getting involved with OM. I haven't experienced the agony of guilt and mixed emotions that OM has at all.

And I think that is why I know now that I'm never going to feel the same way about dh again sad

Fairenuff Sat 06-Apr-13 20:59:58

He really doesn't seen that bothered. Is not quizzing me about it, and in fact, doesn't really seem to want to talk about it at all

That's because you're not telling him anything!! You are hinting at liking another person. That's not honest enough to make him sit up and take notice.

Jeez, what's the matter with you people. You're not living, you're bumbling through life. What a waste.

Charbon Sat 06-Apr-13 20:52:22

I think you're both putting your head in the sand. I'll speculate about your husband's reasons for doing that, but I'm interested in yours.

What's stopping you from asking your husband to discuss your marriage, after he said himself that it was in bad shape? And why are you drip feeding information about your affair?

Your husband's under-reaction to your revelations suggests that he either has infidelity in his own skeleton cupboard, doesn't much care any more or is playing a game with you of his own. He probably knows you very well, knows that you like drama and reactions and is stubbornly refusing to comply. Maybe he also knows that there is more you're not telling him.

Now you've let the genie out of the bottle and he has conceded that he's unhappy too, this halfway house won't work. Better now to get it all out in the open and tackle it.

I would strongly advise you telling the OM that you've made a partial confession to your husband. If he'd done the same and told his wife, wouldn't you want to know?

The OM wants to break this off, but he also wants to be wooed too. He's also playing a game. Your best bet is to accept what he's telling you at face value and to delete his number.

Oh for some grown up, direct and honest communication in this triangle!

something2say Sat 06-Apr-13 20:22:11

Just wanted to pop on and wish the op luck. You are not the only one with issues. I am not marred nor having an affair, but I had an horrific childhood and it left me with massive emotional problems, and the life I have created is one where I am only just settling down into a healthy relationship at the age of 38. The rest of the time I chose unwilling or unsuitable partners to mirror my own low self esteem. I think Charbon is giving excellent advice for you though. Having positive relations with ourselves is an excellent start. It may be that the one you want attention from is actually yourself. Xxxx

deliasmithy Sat 06-Apr-13 16:55:41

Ignoring the OM issue for a second, what you've described here is two people in a relationship who cant successfully communicate with each other.

If the behaviour and relationship with the OM is symptomatic of there being holes in relationship with dh then you need to be honest with dh that you recognise that you are missing essential things. Dh needs to listen to this rather than brushing it under the carpet.

Once you've got over the hurdles of honesty and listening, then between you, you have to find a solution.

piratecat Sat 06-Apr-13 16:12:18

the more oyu start backing off the more om will up the anti.

unless he is actually leaving his wife for you, what does it matter how much he loves you.

honestly. take it from someone who has seen the destruction.

SecretJewel Sat 06-Apr-13 15:16:56

Okay, so I have now told dh quite a bit about OM (I've still left out the kidding).

He really doesn't seen that bothered. Is not quizzing me about it, and in fact, doesn't really seem to want to talk about it at all.

I think typical head in the sand behaviour from him, although I have no idea what he really actually feels.

OM has come out with a load of 'I love you, I wish things were different, but we're going to have to stop this' waffle. I've heard it all before, but maybe this time he means it. Who knows?

So I am now moping around the place like a lovesick teenager. Can't concentrate on anything. Wish I could snap out of it. I suppose I have got so much that I should be grateful for. I am beginning to annoy myself.

Charbon - my close friendships are yet another casualty of having tiny children and very little family support. I have been making big efforts with this in the last year, and am beginning to make some decent progress now, but certainly at the time that this thing with OM started close friends were very thin on the ground.

Still hugely appreciative of all the support I have received here. Have been trying to keep away from OM this week, and getting it all out on here has really helped with that. Thank you [happy]

Fairenuff Thu 04-Apr-13 23:37:30

Sorry, op, I crossed posts with you earlier. Good to see that you have tentatively started to pave the way for a more honest communication between you and dh. It sounds like you have both been dissatisfied for a long time but have been equally afraid to 'rock the boat' by talking openly and in depth about what you each want or expect from your relationship.

tessa6 Thu 04-Apr-13 23:35:54

Bear in mind, OP, that sometimes people don't have a 'best friend' type relationship with their primary partner. They almost deliberately don't. If you are, and I don't know you at all, but if you are someone prone to vanity and the beginning stages of relationships and gaming around that, it's very very likely you'd choose someone who you're NOT extremely cosy and intimate with as a partner. Being very close and best friendy to a partner can sometimes lead to a sort of breakdown in romance and an almost sort of maternal contempt.

You see, I've oscillated my whole life between best buddy very close, relaxed relationships with boyish men and more separate but respectful, intriguing relationships with high status more traditionally masculine men. I settled in one of the latter because I worked out and accepted that actually I eventually lost respect and safety with the more intimate, joined at the hip ones. I guess a lesson to be careful what you wish for. It's not uncommon to richochet between two models of relationships, both of which have upsides and downsides. Clearly you feel lonely in this relationship and you should feel confident about addressing that. And maybe asking him about his own fidelity, maturely and kindly, might help you both open up and see each other again.

Charbon Thu 04-Apr-13 23:18:50

To shed some light on this issue of external friendships, I often ask a question on 'affair threads' about whether the person who had the affair had strong friendships where emotions could be freely discussed. I can't remember a thread where that question has received an affirmative reply. It's a very familiar situation with men, because they are unfortunately socialised not to share emotional conversations with other men, but it's an infidelity risk factor that yet again receives very little publicity.

Even in a close marriage where such confidences and vulnerabilities are permissible, it is extremely seductive to find someone new who appears to hang on your every word and who seems to understand you. We can probably all recognise the 'new friend syndrome' where an exciting new friendship gets more attention for a while than longstanding friendships during which all the stories have been told many times.

It's even more seductive if there has never been a friendship to rival it, or it's a totally novel experience to be able to talk and be listened to that way.

But in affairs, it's often a complete mirage. Sadly we are all rarely as attentive or as interested as we are at the start of a new relationship of any kind, because our agenda is to win the person over and achieve their attachment to us in some way. And affairs rarely give the participants the opportunity to see the whole person in a variety of different settings, over a long period of time - in the way that we can assess a new friend. This might have felt like a special and important friendship, but it probably wasn't at all.

Charbon Thu 04-Apr-13 22:47:12

Yes it's probable that before all this happened, OM and his wife were much closer, going by the fact that he's been so cautious. But it's more realistic in long marriages to acknowledge that there are times when it's hard to be the other's 'best friend'. People who have strong friendships outside of their romantic relationships survive these times much better, whereas people who have only superficial friendships are much more easily seduced by the illusion of an emotional connection with an affair partner. It fills a gap that healthy friendship fills for others. It is too high an expectation on a lone person to fulfil all our emotional needs; most of us get those needs met by a variety of different people. Of course there is a balance to be struck and a marriage does need to be a friendship but it will be stronger at times than at others (just like every other friendship) but just as it's said that it takes a village to raise a child, I often think it takes strong other relationships to build a marriage and sustain it.

What's evident though is that your friendship with your husband needs to be more intimate and close, but one of the things that will threaten that is the secrets between you.

I would give it a few days now while your husband ponders on your disclosure and see whether he comes back to ask more questions. If he doesn't, I would pave the way for a more honest conversation where you give each other permission to discuss his comment about your marriage being poor and where you can both make some honest disclosures.

I think the 'blurting it out' was another high-risk game, mixed in with a final realisation that this affair wasn't about the OM and his qualities, but other issues. As you know, I personally think this is much more about you than your marriage and sense that even if your marriage was satisfying, you would still be tempted to seek validation from other men.

But now you have done it, I don't think it can be left in the air. You would be better off now siezing the opportunity to have a frank discussion about what's been happening for both of you as individuals and within your marriage.

SecretJewel Thu 04-Apr-13 21:58:49

Why did I tell him??? I have no idea! I just blurted it out.

I don't know. Maybe I was looking for a reaction.

I really don't think he is up to no good at the moment. But highly likely that there is 'stuff' that I don't know about from somewhere along the line throughout our marriage.

And, yes I suppose ego is bruised by OM now. Difficult to say how much this accounts for the hurt. The pain feels like more than that. It feels like I've lost a best friend. I have NEVER at any point in our lives been able to refer to dh as 'like a best friend'. We gave just never had a relationship like that. Very sad now I realise that what that's like, and that that's exactly what lots of other people must have in their marriages. Maybe even OM does? sad

Charbon Thu 04-Apr-13 21:15:32

Why did you tell him what you did SecretJewel?

I agree with Tessa incidentally - and is what I was alluding to last night. People don't need to 'go out' - as you know yourself. Many affairs are conducted in what a parther thinks are working hours.

That's honest about the vanity and I'd thought as much. Most people have some if they are honest, but I sense yours isn't helpful to your relationship with yourself and the ones with others. For example, when this OM rejects you, at least some of your hurt is going to be that an average-looking man chose another woman who, even if you've never seen her, is in your eyes less cosmetically attractive.

SecretJewel Thu 04-Apr-13 21:07:33

Tessa - the thought has crossed my mind. He was one for playing around a lot many years ago when we were still teenagers ourselves, long before we married or had kids. I would be VERY surprised if there is anything more recent. He never goes out.

SecretJewel Thu 04-Apr-13 21:02:53

Charbon - absolutely, yes. My vanity is my downfall. Really, really don't like admitting the extent of that statement, but you seem to read me very well (!).

I struggled massively with the baby stage. Both because I had difficult babies, and because I had no time to get ready. I would rather not go out than have no time to get ready properly.

I suppose it's easy to see the change in me then when I was back to spending my days with make-up and office suits on.

Are other people really not that bothered what they look like? It is something that i can't see me ever being able to change. I had years of having to face it when the kids were babies, and I never got used to it for 1 minute.

tessa6 Thu 04-Apr-13 20:55:11

Sounds possible he might have had an affair at some point himself?

Fairenuff Thu 04-Apr-13 20:50:43

How old are your children op? The eldest not more that 17 surely? They are not independent yet are they. Aren't you giving up on them a bit too soon?

SecretJewel Thu 04-Apr-13 20:50:35

Well, I have told dh some cack-assed version of events.

I missed out the kissing bit, but explained about the close relationship I have had with someone else.

He gave me a hug and said, ''that's okay - I know our relationship's a mess, and it's understandable that another bloke finds you attractive.''

Since then, he's been much more attentive than normal, with little kisses, and actually looking me in the eye when he's talking to me.

I know this whole thing is coming across as 'me, me, me' but I have honestly spent years and years practically begging for affection / sex / anything. It was ruining my self- esteem completely. I've worked bloody hard to build that back up out of the home, and have managed it in spite of dh, not because of him in any way,

Charbon Thu 04-Apr-13 20:39:50

'Winning' men is not subconscious for you. You've acknowledged this yourself on this and your other thread. Your DH was quite a prize before you got together and you said yourself on this one:

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.

So as soon as you 'win' you back off and the game is over. It would be the same with the OM. If he agreed to a full affair, soon that on its own wouldn't sustain your interest. Only the ultimate 'prize' of him leaving his wife would give the affair new momentum. And if he did, you would lose interest instantly and it would be 'game over' for him too.

No he couldn't have been just anyone. But he could have been anyone from a number of men who fitted certain criteria. Happily attached, never had an affair before and a challenge. If he'd been single, you wouldn't have looked at him twice although he could have been a pleasant work friend.

I wouldn't read anything into feeling single, in connection with what I've said about this sort of game-playing mostly being associated with single, perennial OWs. What's more of a link is that your children are more independent now and so you have more time to focus on yourself. The game-playing I'm describing is seen mainly in single women, closely followed by childless attached women and then by women whose children are more independent. It's no coincidence that there is a rise in older women whose children have left home, participating in no-strings-affairs dating websites.

Having children and raising them often forces a hiatus in natural selfishness but as soon as that stage has passed, it can return with a vengeance. I was interested for example in what you said about being resentful about not being able to focus on your appearance as much in the SAHM years. Many parents feel the same way of course and it means nothing but idle wistfulness for the days when there was time for personal grooming - but alongside the other factors at play here, that comment seemed to carry more than average resentment.

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