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Help me decide whether I should stay or go?

(36 Posts)
allaboutsteven Mon 25-Aug-14 20:23:59

I'm a male but wanted a bit of female advice. I am going to be honest here so I hope no one thinks I'm an arsehole after posting. Sorry if it's long.

I got married young (21) was married for 15 years and for the first 10 is was great. My only negatives were that she was quite hard to communicate with and she didn't enjoy sex very much. I'm ashamed to say that although I loved her the lack of sex did make me feel rejected, lonely and unsatisfied and I had a couple of one night stands during the marriage (she never found out). 10 years into the marriage we had a son and after that the relationship fell apart.

She withdrew from me and started spending a lot of time working diferrent hours to me so we got no time together, then she started to form a close relationship with a friend of mine where they would stay up late talking and it looked bit suspicious.

The rare sex then dwindled to nothing (we had no sex at all the last few years) and all affection or closeness went out the window too. If I asked her what was wrong she always said "nothing" or that she was just tired. We tried counselling but after two sessions she said it was pointless. I tried everything I could think of to make her happy but nothing worked and she wouldn't tell me what it was that I needed to change to get her to love me again. People were telling me she was having an affair with my friend and I suspect it was true as he was always sniffing around her but I was scared to ask.

Life was miserable over a few years and I developed mild depression. I knew deep down the marriage was over but we had a son and I didn't want to leave him. Also I was very close with my wife's family and we lived in a very small community where it would be hard to be divorced. I felt like losing her meant losing my entire life and didn't want to accept it was over and have to start a whole new life alone.

Then I met a woman (call her Karen) unexpectedly and fell in love. After meeting her my depression went away in weeks and I felt happy again for the first time in years. She was beautiful, lovely, exciting, sexy, interesting, kind, funny and to be honest I could not see what she ever saw in me. She was not willing to be in a relationship with me if I was still married, so I plucked up the courage finally to talk to my wife about divorce and she seemed relived I brought it up and we agreed to divorce without her ever explaining why she stopped loving me.

We stayed living together for a few months but she frequently slept away from the house so during that time I was seeing Karen and falling for her deeper and deeper.

I moved out of the family home 4 months later to a town an hour away where I didn't know anyone. Karen was having problems with her job so I suggested she look for one near me and move in with me (2 hours from where she lived). She was concerned it was all too quick and that I needed time to be able and grieve the end of my marriage but I was insistent she move in right away, I told her my marriage had been dead for years. She agreed and we moved in.

I know it sounds like a recipe for disaster, which maybe it was but at the time I was completely infatuated and in love with her and being with her stopped me feeling sad or depressed..

Shortly after that the soon to be ex wife moved the friend I suspected she had been sleeping with into my old family home, confirming my suspicions and he took my place in my old family.

I know it sounds like a rebound but I really did love Karen equally to the love I had for my ex wife and even with hindsight I do know that. At first it was infatuation because she was so sexy and bright and interesting and gave me so much love and affection but over time it grew into a really deep love because she was a wonderful person that was compatible with me in every way. More so than my ex wife ever was.

She made me happy, I felt at home with her, she was easy to talk to, I could tell her anything (things I could never tell the ex) and communicated with her much more easily than I did with my ex, she actually talked to me, our sex life was incredible, I found her so attractive, she was loyal and sweet and devoted to me. She was great with my son and my friends and family all said we were far better suited and how great it was great to see me happy again.

Two years years after moving in together I loved her so deeply and knew her so well that I was sure I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her, so I proposed. At that time there was no question I loved her with all my heart.

Six months later, I had a shock bereavement and my depression came back really severely to the point of being suicidal with it. I started feeling like my life was no good, hopeless, like nothing would ever be good again and I got a lot of anger and irritation and directed all of it at poor Karen. She was very understanding but I found once the depression came I didn't feel the same way about her any more and after making her life hell I went to stay at a friends house to get some space.

She was in bits but stood by me and supported me even though I was a real arsehole to her. I just couldn't cope with being in a relationship with her or anyone and thought I didn't love her any more.

With the depression a lot of unresolved emotions about my marriage surfaced and I got (and still feel) incredibly angry at my ex wife for taking away my whole life without giving me a chance to fix it. I hate dropping my son off to my old house where she now lives with my friend. I never confronted either of them and feel so angry but don't want to do anything to upset the amicable childcare arrangements we have. I also really miss my ex wife's family and being included as part of their life and feel like I lost everything due to this man taking it from me. At family occasions I hate my wife not being there with me as a family and she is cold and uncaring towards me and has been for years. Even when she knew I was ill.

I have been in treatment for the depression for a few months now and I feel a lot better and as my emotions and perspective start to return to normal I realise I do still love Karen but that I also do still love my ex wife and my feelings are all over the place.

I feel like I have not let go of my ex wife properly and have a lot of emotions to work through, but I am confused over whether or not this is because I still love her or if it's just the fact that I had a shared history / family / life with her and things were never resolved.

I know I need to work through all this, but at the same time Karen is the most wonderful woman, and I am scared if I lose her I will regret it forever. I suspect on a cognitive level that I do still love her. I know I definitely loved her like crazy until I got depressed but at the same time I have put her through so much and don't want to hurt her.

Can anyone tell me what I should do?

Fairenuff Mon 25-Aug-14 20:35:58

I don't think anyone can tell you what to do, you are going have to work out what you want for yourself.

What does Karen want to do? It might be best to take a break and be on your own for a while. Keep up the treatment for depression, that's really important. What about counselling so that you can talk it all through with someone?

1sneezecakesmum Mon 25-Aug-14 20:41:20

Karen was right in saying it was too quick and you needed to grieved for the loss of your marriage. I think the recent bereavement has brought the loss of the marriage to the surface. I do not think you still love your ex wife and you still love Karen. It is just that your ex wife is liked to the hopes and dreams of the first marriage and that is what you are grieving.

Forget the ex wife. It is clear she didn't have the same love for you and is happier as she is with the new man. Don't throw away the love of someone who clearly feels far more for you than your ex did.

So many people have this longing for something they don't have or have lost (grass is always greener etc). You need to be on anti depressants and see a marriage counsellor. You can go alone at first then take Karen if it's feels right. Relate will listen in the case of any relationship.

Please don't throw away your best chance of happiness hankering after something you are looking at with rose tinted spectacles!

BitterAndOnlySlightlyTwisted Mon 25-Aug-14 20:45:16

Stick with the treatment for depression and stick with Karen. If she's still with you now over the darkest and most difficult parts, she's definitely a keeper. You may have found her on the rebound but you're together now and you have a lot that many, many other people may never ever have.

Still having feelings for the wife and the family you let go and have had usurped isn't so surprising as it probably feels like unfinished business but it appears that as far as your wife was concerned it was finished a long time before you ever had the idea of leaving. You need to try and let that go and get on with the life you have somehow.

CharlotteCollins Mon 25-Aug-14 20:46:07

Your anger is understandable. You had a lot taken away from you by her affair. Give yourself time to feel all those emotions that you didn't know you had. They will become less important to you over time - but you need to think (and feel) it all through first.

Be honest with Karen. Give her her freedom, so to speak. Only time will tell if you will get back together eventually, but you need to be by yourself for the time being and you can't ask her to wait around for you indefinitely. She might choose to, though.

expatinscotland Mon 25-Aug-14 20:46:35

You need to let both these women go and work on yourself.

allaboutsteven Mon 25-Aug-14 21:15:29

Can anyone tell me how this sort of anger is dealt with? I can't confront her or him and just want to put that part behind me.

I think Karen loves me to bits but I'm worried I've lost her on some level. I really did believe she was the best thing that ever happened to me but after being depressed I just didn't feel the same joy when I was with her. I felt so much anger I just wanted to get it away from her.

I know in an ideal world I'd take time alone to work on myself but I have a feeling that Karen is a once in a lifetime kind of person and losing her might be a lifelong regret.

expatinscotland Mon 25-Aug-14 21:19:01

You really need to stop hanging onto her. If she is meant to be it will happen but you sound like you have a lot of work you need to do on yourself without this anxiety. Stop thinking about the future and learn to be self-reliant.

CharlotteCollins Mon 25-Aug-14 22:46:30

Just going by personal experience, I would say you deal with it by accepting it's there. In an odd sort of way, when I felt angry after my marriage broke up, I kind of took a step back and had a good look at what I was feeling. I guess it's like grieving the marriage you thought you had. Grief needs to be gone through: that's the way to deal with it.

The problem with Karen is that if you keep tight hold of your relationship with her, you may destroy it and that would surely be a bigger regret.

allaboutsteven Mon 25-Aug-14 23:05:23

At the moment Karen and I are separated but despite that she's been a rock to me. It's just that in my depressed state I am confused about what I feel for her and can't tell her what she want to hear.

I can't really feel anything fully, all my emotions are dampened.

I know a lot of my behaviour when I was depressed really hurt her and we experienced a loss of intimacy and the easy affection we had between us. I also told her I didn't love her any more, which I regret because I didn't mean it.

I just remember that before I was depressed she was absolutely it to me. I was completely and utterly devoted and this personal crisis has roused all these past feelings which are hurting her and pushing her away.

She's talking about moving back to where she used to live and if she does it's over for good because I can't follow her because of my son.

RandomMess Mon 25-Aug-14 23:13:11

I think you need to tell Karen that you do love her but you're still a mess and you'll understand if she doesn't want to wait for you to finish sorting yourself out.

As for the anger - you probably need to talk about it, to a therapist etc. you need to acknowledge it to learn to let it go IME

mrsbrownsgirls Mon 25-Aug-14 23:18:17

I think you should hang on tightly to Karen, assuming she wants to hang on to you!
It is very normal to grieve a bad/sad marriage months and even years down the line.

A marriage ends because people can't RESOLVE things. Then later as you look back you want to resolve the ending , but you can't! It's a real head fuck and I have been there . I have grieved an utterly crap marriage and it was a very confusing and distressing place to be.

You sound lovely and so does Karen . I wish you luck and love.

Oh, and bereavement does terrible things to your mind

allaboutsteven Tue 26-Aug-14 13:11:59

It definitely was a headfuck. She didn't really explain it all to me so letting go had been hard.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 26-Aug-14 13:25:45

Are you actually divorced now? I think you can't underestimate the impact of marriage break-up, even when it's been on the cards for some time. It's stressful, emotional and disruptive. You've been part of each other's lives for 15+ years and that leaves a lot of loose ends when it finishes. You can't put a timescale on dealing with it either. That's something that happens gradually over time and everyone has different ways of approaching it. Personally I favour the 'stay busy' philosophy.... take stock, make the most of the better days and look after yourself on the bad days. Give yourself as little time to dwell on miserable thoughts as possible. I'd also recommend 'look forward' because one thing that disappears when you exit a bad relationship is the future. So you have to create a different future, make some short and long term plans, start filling the diary

Romantically speaking, I wouldn't drag anyone else into the picture until you are feeling a lot more settled and confident. Partners will always want to be supportive but they are not there to be dumped on - it's unfair on them and can create a slightly unreal 'rescuing' atmosphere. Find your feet first, finalise the separation, get the depression stabilised.... then you'll make better decisions.

allaboutsteven Tue 26-Aug-14 13:31:51

Yes I'm actually divorced now. I didn't deal with any of it really at the time because I never really felt angry for my mate running off with my wife and it's all catching up with me now.

Fairenuff Tue 26-Aug-14 13:33:58

You really need to be ready to enter into a new relationship, having had time to come to terms with the loss of the old one and this didn't happen with you and Karen, unfortunately.

I think you may have repressed all your negatives emotions to start with, which is why you were happy with Karen. But feelings have to surface and that is what is happening now. You really need to just focus on yourself and deal with these emotions and that's hard to do when you're in a relationship.

What you really need are supportive friends and family, people who will involve you in their lives so that you are busy and interacting but not under pressure to give back any more than you can right now.

Are you having counselling?

Fairenuff Tue 26-Aug-14 13:34:55

Btw do you feel more angry at your friend than your wife?

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 26-Aug-14 13:47:03

As you are divorced it already is 'over for good', regardless of where she lives. Are you saying you regret getting divorced?

Fairenuff Tue 26-Aug-14 13:49:09

I think he means Karen is talking about moving away?

Quitelikely Tue 26-Aug-14 13:56:34

I would say that you don't love your wife as such but that you really wanted her to love you and give your marriage more of a chance. I think you feel robbed because she denied you that opportunity. Also she had an affair and that has really hurt you. Unfortunately the betrayal can take years to get over.

I think that instead of confronting your emotions at the time of the split you had Karen and she was a sort of sticking plaster. You will be right when you say she may not feel the way she once did about you, this is because what you did to her changed the dynamics of your relationship, so yes she will view you differently.

Unfortunately depression does rob people of the ability to feel love. The meds do numb folk and I honestly believe that the depression is what is causing your confusion over whether you love her or not.

The right thing to do is not to string her along while your depressed.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 26-Aug-14 14:01:17

Thanks fairenuff... (note to self: read thread properly)

allaboutsteven Tue 26-Aug-14 14:31:34

I feel angry and both of them but most of it at him. I feel like he snaked his way into my life by pretending to be my friend and he took away my family from me, my house, my daily life with my son and my wife.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 26-Aug-14 15:13:56

I know that two wrongs don't make a right but didn't you say you did a bit of screwing around during the marriage? It's always tempting to blame the OM or the other party but sometimes, especially when people get together so young, the real problem is that they change, grow apart, but keep flogging the dead horse rather than call it a day. Your heart wasn't really in it and neither was hers. So this OM didn't 'snake in' and steal anyone any more than your ONS women stole you. You were OK-ish when you had Karen to mop your brow but, now that you've dismissed her, you're annoyed because OM seems to have emerged on top.

It's not a competition. Ideas of winning and losing don't help in the long run. Comparisons will leave you depressed

allaboutsteven Tue 26-Aug-14 17:22:02

I know I did wrong, and I only mentioned that for the reason of putting across that the marriage was not "perfect".

She didn't want sex. I don;t really mean rarely, I mean never, and I loved her so I lived with it but she wouldn't discuss it or explain to me and in a lot of ways I felt unable to talk to her. I needed sex sometimes, I needed affection and I admittedly sought it elsewhere a couple of time but only for one night with no relationship.

She had an affair over a period of years under my nose with a person she later moved into my house. I am not sure it is the same. My emotions remained attached to her.

Karen is diferrent. Like a breath of fresh air.

rainbowinmyroom Tue 26-Aug-14 17:55:21

Infidelity is infidelity. You are trying to justify it. Why? It's water under the bridge. You cheated, she cheated, now you are divorced. You then rebounded and suffered depression and that relationship has foundered.

In both these relationships you admittedly behave very poorly, cheating in one and you say you were an arsehole to Karen. And there is always an excuse - you needed sex and affection, you were depressed.

It sounds like you need to take a break from relationships whilst you work very hard on stable mental health long-term and then think about relationships later.

It sounds like you are basing your emotional well-being on couple relationships and this is very unhealthy. Also working on yourself would go a long way towards ensuring next time you have life problems, you are better able to cope with them in a mature way, not cheating or being a nob to your partner.

I think you are being unfair and selfish towards Karen for your own benefit.

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