The beginning of the end of both my relationships (FL 7)

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0 thoughts on “The beginning of the end of both my relationships (FL 7)

  1. Yes, I came to a similar conclusion on my own. More or less. At least there is not one defining discussion with anyone I can pinpoint. Now the thing is to find that person with whom it is effortless (or at least where it doesn’t feel like a struggle everyday) 😉

      • Exactly! I’m willing to make some effort, because there are always going to be times where things need to be adjusted, because each person is growing. But it shouldn’t feel like all you’re doing is struggling…

        • Yes, I totally understand. I didn’t feel like I was always struggling, but came to realize that there were things I had compromised on far beyond what I should have. And that I was deeply unhappy in my marriage and we were beyond repair.

          • Good for you to have made that realisation. I am not sure I completely made it until after I left. I realized I wasn’t happy, but I didn’t realize I had made compromises that were beyond what I should have, compromises that tried to change who I was deep down. Probably because those compromises happened even before I got married.

  2. Affairs can be devastating… because no one ever learns how to have one until they actually do it. Sometimes, we hear about people we know having an affair or trying to recover from one that went south and what we learn – which kinda goes along with what we “know” – is that an affair is wrought with difficulties, including a great deal of guilt and maybe even a reluctance to “do the right thing” and cut loose a husband or wife so they can be free and clear to pursue things with their new love.

    Except, from what I’ve learned, that doesn’t happen as much as one would think. Affairs can be short-term or even long-term, not necessarily attempts to replace a spouse but “simply” to provide that which is missing or something that’s not being given – usually sex and/or emotional succor – and sometimes because a lover has the simple advantage of not being the person you’re married to.

    I read what you mother had to say and, with respect to her, that’s what I’d call “conventional” thinking. It’s not a false sense of relationship – it is a relationship and, just like any other relationship, an affair has good and bad points; in an affair, both people are bringing a great deal of baggage with them which gets added to the stuff they’ve been dealing with before the affair ever got started. If you tell your spouse, it’s not always out of a sense of guilt: Sometimes, they just need that very hard slap in the face to either “wake them up” so they can get their shit together or to announce that your time with them is up and it’s time to move on.

    And, sometimes, you want to have that affair without giving up your marriage because going through a divorce is really not in your best interests because unless you’re having an affair with a single person, a lot of folks I know who’ve gone through this have found that, more often than not, the person you’re having the affair with cannot really provide much beyond what they’re already giving you and as good as that might be, it just ain’t enough. I know a couple of people who did the “affair then divorce” thing and they found out that they were more miserable than when they were married…

    I don’t think it’s unusual for (in your case) a husband to tell a wife, “Look, do what you wanna do… just don’t tell me shit about who you’re doing it with.” It’s a tough choice (I know ’cause I’ve been there): You could up and leave her which, again, could be messy and counterproductive and expensive as hell; you could put your foot down and lay down the cease and desist order… but with the knowledge that she’s probably just go ahead and do it anyway out of sheer defiance of your “edict…” or you can give her “permission” and then absent yourself from the “juicy details” because while no husband ever wants to know that he’s somehow failed as a husband, said dude REALLY doesn’t want to know how some other dudes are handling the business that he can’t handle.

    And, yes, no matter how you wound up there, at some point, the best thing to do with an affair is to not keep having it because, most of the time, we find out that it’s totally true that the grass ain’t greener on the other side.

    • Such a wise and true comment, thank you. My Mom’s advice about the grass being greener aligns to what you said – I think all too often, people think that the affair will feel the same once it becomes a “sanctioned” relationship. All too often, it doesn’t work that way (i’m sure there are a handful of exceptions) for the reasons you describe.

      I had never even thought of being unfaithful to my ex until he made those comments to me – not for a second. Fidelity was something I prized very highly. It took a long time for me to get my head around what he was telling me, and even longer to act on it.

      Some have suggested that he was seeking permission for his own bad behavior. Could be true, but I don’t think so, nor do I care at this point.

      Before I left, the one thing I had to know was that no matter what, I would be fine alone. Even in my worst dating scenarios, I have never wished that I was again married. So for me, it was absolutely the right choice. I know I’m lucky I can say this.

      • Those of us who have had affairs, sanctioned or not, learn some really valuable lessons, not just about the people we’d love and relate with but ourselves as well. The grass, such as it is, doesn’t come greener by default; just like any other relationship, they have to be cultivated and more so if you’re looking for more than just someone to fuck your brains out.

        And, yeah, sometimes the best thing to do is put the old relationship to rest and begin anew… and it’s still a crap shoot because maybe the next time, you’re not the one seeking an affair but now you’re the “victim” because in any relationship and those vows notwithstanding, there are no guarantees for that happily ever after we are all chasing.

      • I am not sure luck had anything to do with anything. You had done a lot of work on mourning the relationship before you left it. This is why it feels good to not be married any more. Because you knew deep down that it was what you needed (and your husband too probably).

      • There is no infidelity in our marriage (as far as I know, guess I need to add that disclaimer) but neither are we ‘happy’ nor have been for awhile. My wife is diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, she is a rapid cycler and has clinical depression.

        So that is the added complexity for me…whew!!

        • That is very tough indeed. While my situation wasn’t as severe with my ex, I do know the guilt that can come with leaving someone you perceive as needing you in a certain way – a dependency of sorts.

          It’s very difficult and I don’t envy the situation you are in.

          • I was the one with mental health problems in my marriage. Or at least the only one who acknowledged such problems. Believe me, it’s not easy for the other person either, the depressed one. But believe me, staying if you really want out is probably not the best thing to do for hem either. Leaving them without trying to abuse them afterwards may be the best thing. In the sense that it is possible to support someone emotionally even when you are not in a romantic relationship. And letting them fly by themselves rather than trying to control them (as my ex did, not saying either of you did/do it to your respective spouses) may be the best gift you give them.
            Life is too short to be unhappy, and if you don’t take care of your own happiness, no one will. So don’t feel you have to stay. The pity, the feeling that you are indeed ruining someone else’s life, can be hard to take.
            Just my two cents 🙂

  3. Your mother offered up some extremely wise advice. We had a whole host of issues moving our relationship from an affair into a full time thing. Her family didnt accept me at first cuse I was a rebellious asshole and had no respect really (in time that changed), but as I read further I realized it pretty much explained my whole situation to a T….I had M on the side as well as the girl I was dating at that time…I just supplemented the non-existent sex with M’s ‘do it anywhere’ mentality. It took 3 months for me to get the balls to call off my relationship with that girl and put more time and effort into M.

    For once I can say I don’t regret it…she was in most ways better than the former flame, and we clicked on a lot of stuff both inside and outside of the bedroom. Thank you once again Ann for such an informative piece.

    • And are you still with M? While these relationships can be helpful for seeing what you might be missing in a marriage, and I know some turn into their own “sanctioned” relationships, I’m not sure they are always as perfect as we hope.

      you are welcome…

  4. That defining moment is interesting. I bet we all have them albeit in different ways. Im so amazed at how candidly you both speak to each other about your marriages. If I was in love with him I would have a very difficult time managing those conversations so well

  5. It is amazing how hard choosing “you” and “your” happiness is isn’t it? I can remember using ever excuse under the sun with myself as to why I had to stay married and not one of them was because it makes me happy.

    • We were pretty good co-parents (still are) and definitely had some fun times together. He is smart and funny and there were good things. But that wasn’t enough and there were lots of bad things and I just couldn’t face them for a very long time.

      • I understand completely as B and I did not have a bad marriage. We just lived more as roommates and friends. I needed more and he wasn’t at a place to give it to me back then. Admitting that to myself was only step one, allowing myself more above all others was when it got really challenging. lol

What do you think?