Long time married, went off the rails.

Postby KarinaB » Fri Jul 07, 2017 7:42 pm

Forgive the essay but I'm quite messed up and need some good advice.I find myself in a situation that shocks me and I want to turn around.
I have been married 20+ years and have a couple of grown up kids. To the outside world and to our kids everything is fine, except it isn't. Until a year ago I would have said that we were happy, although we had ongoing struggles with his health and family. We didn't have sex very often (his choice) - he's 10 years older than me.
Two years ago his mother died and although he was upset she had been ill for a long time and was very old.He seemed to be okay about it but then after 18 months he suddenly went into deep clinical depression. At the same time I was finishing teacher training and was under a lot of pressure. He became a stranger - my lovely husband was cold, distant and sometimes quite cruel. I was distraught and cried every day. He refused to acknowledge that anything was wrong and would not talk to anyone about it. This lasted about 4 months.I managed to complete my training but came close to giving up a couple of times. He was gradually starting to get a little better in the spring then had to go abroad for a month. A week after he left I lost my job - made redundant after 9 years. Something snapped and having had no physical affection for 8 months, after being faithful for 25 years I started sleeping with other men. It seemed like a compulsion that I could not control and I justified it to myself - I have a healthy libido, my husband didn't want to have sex with me so I found others who would. One was an ex colleague, one an acquaintance and the others I found online. One guy I really like and could have seen myself falling for, another started telling me he loved me. I had sex with 6 men and continued to see 3 of them quite regularly until last week, when I had to lie about where I was going and it hit me what I've done. I now want more than anything to end all this and get back to the happy marriage that we had before (I also have another job now). The challenges I have are coming to terms with this huge secret, and the terrible guilt, without being able to tell anyone and how to get back a physical relationship with my husband. We have reached a stage where we are friends again but he's really just not interested in sex at all and I'm not ready to give it up.
Some non-judgemental advice would be very much appreciated - thank you.
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#1

Postby HumanB » Fri Jul 07, 2017 11:13 pm

Let me sum up: "I've totally ruined my relationship by cheating on my husband with 6 other guys. How can I unruin it?".

You can't. I don't see how you can anyway. Not without a great deal of pain for your husband and you. Probably beyond the breaking point for your relationship (as you described it).
There are consequences to what you chose to do. Obviously.
If you tell him, trust is totally destroyed.
If you continue with the guilty secret, then genuineness and openness is totally destroyed. You may continue to withhold the truth from him, and he may not know the reason why you are guilty, why you are not open with him, but he will feel it anyways and it will define the quality of your relationship anyways. And how will that work?

The best I can imagine for your relationship is that you put your libido on hold for 6 months, you stop cheating immediately, you come clean, all hell will break lose, and if your relationship was ever strong enough (ie the factors pushing you two together) in the first place then you and your husband may still come to an understanding and forgiveness of each other and re-continue with a functional relationship. If the relationship you had wasn't strong enough then you'll go your own separate paths, for the best.

I can't pretend to empathize with cheating with 6 guys (or be non-judgemental as you requested) but I do sincerely hope you can get some better advice than this and in any case re-establish a healthy relationship with your husband, who I do believe you love and wish to stay with. 20years counts for a hell of a lot anyway. Note that most couples after 20 years together do not have sex very often,, this is "normal", for whatever reason (I don't know). Stats show this. This doesn't suit you... fine... that doenst mean a solution to that can't be found HONESTLY, authentically. Strive for that?
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#2

Postby Livetowin » Mon Jul 10, 2017 12:38 pm

Hi Karina. It sounds like you have two people who have been together in name only, but emotionally apart for a long time. Sometimes the circumstances of life can make you feel like you are in this prison of responsibility that does not allow for time to consider yourself. If you mix that with personal loss, like the death of a loved one, what begins to happen is you turn inward because it's easier than dealing with the problem. You justify it by measuring yourself on how you show up in other aspects of your life and hide behind those as a kind of thin veil that says, " I have done all of this, so why should I do anything else?"

It's a trap because it caters to the choice of isolation that depression takes you to. As a general rule, I tend to believe that when a man no longer seeks affection, he likely has lost his confidence in himself and feels overcome with the anxiety of his circumstances. Has he had to carry the load on a number of responsibilities? When you lost your job, did that place an added hardship on him? Are the kids in a good place and independent or are they high maintenance with issues that constantly need attention? When he lost his mom did he have allot to do in getting her estate in order? Was he the one responsible for everything?

I'm just throwing out some questions to ask yourself. How much is he carrying? Forget about whether he asked for it or not. Look at the totality of it all. Is he just existing to fulfill commitments or does he have a life outside of that? Does he have hobbies? Does he want to have hobbies? And how do you fit into the entire picture? What do the two of you do together? Do you ever set something aside just for yourselves? Ever have a date night and go to the movies? I would look at how the two of you started and what has shifted in every aspect. I appreciate and certainly understand the loss of affection. But that is symptomatic to something bigger in the picture.

Examine what he is doing and what you do in the relationship. Where is the weight of responsibility distributed? To mend things I think you likely need to start with just a general supportive state of mind. Be available. Be helpful. Be supportive. Examine the environment the two of you live in and identify vices that might be feeding his depression. Is he sitting on the computer too long? Get him off and get him out. Go for a walk. I think the start to this process is to get engaged in each other once more instead of just assuming mutual corners of responsibility. Role playing has it's own dangers in complacency.
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#3

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:08 pm

KarinaB wrote:
We have reached a stage where we are friends again but he's really just not interested in sex at all and I'm not ready to give it up.


To me, this is very tough. It would be a deal breaker. I understand vows, I understand commitment, but I would not accept a partner that had the capacity for sex and was willing in the beginning, but is no longer interested. I understand if there were ED issues, low testosterone, etc., but this can be addressed. What I would not accept is simply lack of interest or desire. If you no longer desire me, I don't give a damn what vows we made, the deal is off. It isn't a right or wrong thing, it's a reality thing. I'm not staying in an intimate relationship with a friend. I didn't marry a friend, I married a lover.

I would be upfront with your husband. Ask if he is willing to see a sex therapist. If not, you need to move on.

KarinaB wrote: The challenges I have are coming to terms with this huge secret, and the terrible guilt, without being able to tell anyone and how to get back a physical relationship with my husband.


You keep the secret, because it would be selfish in my opinion to seek relief by placing a burden on your husband. It clears your conscience and burdens his. Instead, seek the sex therapist counseling and if that doesn't work, if you are unable to get back the physical relationship with your husband, do not cheat, leave. That is the right thing to do. Leave first, then you are free to seek a new relationship.
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#4

Postby Candid » Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:09 am

I remember you as wifekarina, when you were considering an affair. I don't see anything wrong in what you've done. I'm sure plenty of people stay in name-only marriages for familiarity, company, legal and financial reasons. Seems to me you've found a solution that works if you can drop the guilt about it.
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#5

Postby KarinaB » Sat Jul 22, 2017 4:19 am

Human B said: Let me sum up: "I've totally ruined my relationship by cheating on my husband with 6 other guys. How can I unruin it?".
This is exactly the kind of response I was dreading - judgemental, knee-jerk, simplistic. I know what I've done is wrong, I was in turmoil, it was a compulsion and I'm trying to fix it in a number of ways - being more committed, talking about it, seeking help from people who I think will understand and support me. Piling on the guilt and suggesting that I don't deserve support doesn't help anyone.
I was desperate for some physical affection. My husband had abandoned me emotionally and (I felt) let me down when I needed him professionally. After 18 months of supporting him when he lost his mother, I was running on empty. He then abandoned me physically by going abroad for a month to visit relatives. I understood on a rational level but felt lost and alone. When I lost my job so unexpectedly I was traumatised and, a little like hitting the bottle to numb the pain, I had sex. I am human. I am sorry, truly sorry, but telling him, and causing him pain, will honestly not make it better.
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#6

Postby KarinaB » Sat Jul 22, 2017 4:44 am

Livetowin wrote:... I tend to believe that when a man no longer seeks affection, he likely has lost his confidence in himself and feels overcome with the anxiety of his circumstances.

THANK YOU for taking the time to post such a considered and intelligent response. Yes, he did/does have a lot of responsibility - for his father mostly but also work, the family and the finances. He is a wonderful, hardworking man and puts his own needs/wants aside. This also means that he can be overly serious and hard work to be around sometimes. I have started trying to support him more. He has got better, we are starting to do things together, little things like going out for coffee, taking a walk or watching a film together. I do love him very much.
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