"I'm having an affair.", and more...

Let me preface everything by saying that the point of this thread is to get real, honest opinions and feedback, in a group setting. I don’t know any of you. But I’m a member of a few internet forums, and have developed real friendships there. So much that I’m not even comfortable posting anonymously there. So, I’m here. Based on my experiences elsewhere, I’m sure there are people here who will give great responses, and I welcome feedback of all types.

Skip to the ****** if you don’t want all the backstory and want to get straight to the now.

About me. I’m a well educated, middle aged man. I’m fairly attractive and fit. I live in a medium size city. I have a good job, but I’m not rich. I’m middle America in so many ways.

I got married when I was young. Too young. I was dumb. I was barely more than a kid. I never really dated and explored what it’s like to be a single man. I had doubts when I got married. About her, about whether I was ready. But I pretty much pushed those doubts into the back of my mind and moved forward. I was committed. I was in too deep, too far to turn back. I convinced myself that I loved her, and did in a lot of ways. I thought that we could carve out a good life together.

Married life was fine at first. We had some good times. My wife was fairly introverted back then, but we did things together and had fun. Bought a fixer upper house and turned it into our own.

Some warning signs were there early on. Sex was never great, but I didn’t know any better. Within a couple years we had arguments where I complained about always being the sex initiator, sex frequency, things like that.

After 5ish years we started having kids. She’d always dreamed of the family life, about being a stay at home mom. I wanted to give it to her. So we started having kids, she mostly stayed home with them. She became more introverted. She had no friends. Sex became even less frequent. I attributed it to the young kids, assumed things would get better.

My wife was never a skinny girl growing up. Never fat, but a few extra pounds that didn’t bother me when we got married. Three-ish years ago we had our last kid. From marriage to now, she’s put on probably 70 pounds, with probably half that or more coming during the last pregnancy. The weight thing is complicated… she’s always had a problem with it… and will do some fad diet for a few weeks until it doesn’t work and she just gives up. She’s NEVER gotten serious about it; eating right and vigorous exercise just isn’t her thing. I’ve never gotten on her about her weight, but have mostly just tried to encourage her as best I could.

Two years ago I had a serious conversation with her. I was unhappy. I first asked her what I could do to improve our relationship (more encouragement and helping out). I put in a significant effort for months. I was encouraging, brought home random flowers (even more than usual, I’ve always done this), did house tasks without provocation even after an extremely long day, etc. What I told her I needed was more affection and positivity. More kissing/touching around the house, more effort to initiate sex and act like she wanted it/enjoyed it, etc. I was becoming unattracted to her, and this was my effort to improve things. It never happened.

Four months ago I was extremely unhappy and it was showing. My wife had become completely unattractive to me. I couldn’t stand to do things with her due to her completely introverted personality, I had zero fun when we did do things together, I had become completely unattracted to her physically due to the lack of affection I received, and frankly, the way she looked and presented herself.

I broke down like I never have in our relationship. Told her how our relationship needed to be the most important thing in the world, how I needed affection if we were going to survive, how I needed to come home from a 12 hour day at work and feel wanted, to come home to a big, sloppy kiss. I told her I had become unattracted to her more because of her actions than her looks (FYI women don’t believe this, even if it’s true).

She got mad at me. For trying to fix things. Said I called her grotesque (which I didn’t). She blamed my emotions on my stress at work. Basically said that she puts everything into our kids, what do I expect? We ended things with her saying she’d make an effort.

To this day, I still haven’t come home and received that big sloppy kiss. Not once. There was one other very specific thing I asked her to do… an errand that would have taken no more than an hour out of her life, but was very meaningful to me… she said she’d do it that week…and she never did it. I think I mentally and physically checked out a week or two after that conversation, when nothing really improved.

Up until this point, I had never cheated on my wife, not even a kiss. I never even thought about it. I was completely devoted. I was the model husband.

About a month after that last emotional conversation I met someone. I don’t know if my eyes were opened, I had a different mindset, or why it happened, but it did. It was like a floodgate was opened.

I have been seeing this woman for 3-ish months now. She is in a very similar situation to me. Married young, kids, and unhappy for years. She is beautiful and compassionate, and to this day I have not found a single flaw. Neither of us can believe the physical and emotional connection we have made. I’m sure people will laugh at this, especially after such a relatively short time, but if such things exist, we are soul mates.

We escape during the day when we can, mostly at lunch, even if it’s just for 20 minutes together making out in a park. We have gotten to spend a few full days together at hotels or out doing various activities. We talk all the time over email.

In truth, I love this woman.

That’s where we are.

I am in a constant mental struggle. A debate in my head about where I’m headed. My long term happiness vs. my commitment to my family. I know people can be successful parents in a divorce situation, but can I live with myself if that happens? I wonder if I’ve done enough to salvage things… and then I see the vivid image in my head of my wife minimizing my feelings and emotions when I poured my heart out to her, and I think about our non existent intimate relationship. I wonder if I can live two lives, and for how long? I wonder if I can live with myself if I DON’T make ME happy? I wonder what is best for my family long term. I wonder if I can live without this woman who I’ve completely fallen for.

So, let 'er rip. I’m an open book. As long as this post is I’m sure I left stuff out. Ask me questions. Tell me I’m a jerk. Tell me you’ve been there and what you’ve done. Give me advice.


I’m having an affair. And more. Now how much will you pay?

But wait, there’s still more.

I have not been through your exact situation. I have been through a divorce. I do not have kids.

I will say this: in order to get all the way through the divorce, you would need to be sure that it is what you want. In my experience, if you doubt that it is the right thing, you will end up back with her. Not that that would necessarily be a bad thing - I’m just saying, if you do decide to leave your wife, to the extent possible you need to do it with conviction, but also with compassion (to the extent possible).

Divorce is a gut wrenching, horrible experience, but it can also set you free.

You can get divorced with dignity, or you can go back to your marriage with dignity. Please do not carry on with the affair for years without leaving your wife. That is not fair to anyone.

What do you do? How many kids do you have, and how old? Your current wife has stayed at home since you’ve been married?

The reason I ask this: you are going to get your clock cleaned in a divorce. Even without allegations of infidelity, which are bound to come, you can expect a very very large portion of your income to go to child and spousal support.

Are you ready to live on a drastically reduced income? Is your paramour ready for that?

I ask these questions just from practical experience. I’m a lawyer.

But I totally agree Lunar Eclipse. You need to shit or get off the pot. Continuing the affair is not fair to any of the parties involved.

If you want an honest opinion, here’s mine.

I don’t see anything in your post that suggests you’ve seen a counselor, either alone or as a couple.

You find your wife physically unattractive, non-supportive and with a personality that doesn’t mesh with yours. Not only that, but you can’t seem to find a single, mildly good thing to say about the person who’s made your home and raised your children while you worked those 12 hour days. I’ll bet she could list a few things about you she doesn’t like, as well.

Now you’re seeing someone who is beautiful and perfect and in THREE WHOLE MONTHS you haven’t found a single thing to complain about.

You have a “vivid image” of your wife minimizing your feelings. How do you think she’d feel if she had a vivid image of you fucking another woman and telling anonymous strangers about finding your soul mate?

Frankly it sounds like you’re still “dumb” and still “never really dated and explored what it’s like to be a single man.”

I’ve been married a long time, and my wife and I went through a multi-year stretch where we were very close to splitting up. It took a lot of counseling and a lot of work by both of us to get to the point where we were once again a marriage, not just two people trying to hold it together for the kids.

Far be it from me to recommend to anyone that they keep a bad marriage together at all costs, but I will say you seem to be skipping a lot of important steps before divorcing and before getting into a heavy relationship with someone else.

Or raise the kids himself, although that’s unlikely if she isn’t an ax murderer.

The paramour also needs to be prepared for the very real possibility that he’ll cheat on her when the going gets rough.

One big revelation has been spending a lot of time in thought about 20 years from now. When the kids are out of the house and it’s just me and her. I just can’t imagine a scenario where I’m happy in that situation. Most people just suffer through until that point and then get divorced. Maybe it’s not fair to get divorced now, given the current situation, but is it ‘fair’ to wait until that point if I know it’s inevitably coming?

I appreciate your thoughts.

“Oh, you think I’m unattractive? That really makes me want to get physically affectionate with you!” - said no one, ever.

I don’t know if your marriage can be saved, or if you even want that at this point, but a trip to the counselor might have been a better option than sitting your wife down to tell her how she’s ugly and also doesn’t do enough to please you.

Also you are drunk on sex-hormones and not viewing your new slampiece with the eyes of reality.

On an hourly basis we make the same. She has primarily worked half-time throughout our marriage.

I don’t know the specifics, but I am somewhat aware of the financial repercussions. I think it can be a workable situation based on some preliminary research, but I really haven’t consulted anyone about the specific situation we are in.

I’d rather not be too specific, but we have multiple kids.

If you stay, it should be with the intent of working on your marriage. Go to counseling. It could be possible to reconnect.

If you truly KNOW it is over, then it is probably best for everyone if you divorce now. Your wife might be very unhappy too. You’d be giving her more time to make a new connection and move on with her life.

While I appreciate that infidelity in relationships has been common as long as there have been relationships, I must also point out that it doesn’t change the fact that it’s a loathsome and despicable act of betrayal. What makes it worse is the price is passed on by those who knowingly and willingly participate in the act to those who are betrayed.

However, from a strictly philosophical point of view, time will pass. The OP will find a way to justify his/her actions. The people who were betrayed will eventually recover and move on to find better lives and better partners with whom they will be happier as well.

But I have to think that every time the OP gazes in the mirror, he/she will forever more have to avoid looking him/her self directly in the eyes.

At some point in your life, you were really into your wife, and she probably found that pretty exciting. And presumably she was really into you, and that gave you some kind of an emotional rush. That’s what a relationship is, two people who are really into each other making each other feel great about themselves.

Now you’re not that into her, which probably makes her feel terrible. People who feel terrible about themselves are miserable to be around, so surprise surprise, you don’t want to be around her, which makes her feel worse. So you do “nice” things for her like spend money on flowers and clean up around the house, all the while telling her that you’re not attracted to her anymore and that you don’t want to spend time with her. As though she just really needs to dig down and make you happy if she wants this relationship to work.

Well I’m sorry, but that’s not how things work. You reap what you sow, and right now you’re sowing misery. You need to dig down and find something about your wife that still excites you. Once you find that, she’ll know, and she’ll feel good about herself, and there’s a good chance she’ll become the sort of person you want to spend time with again. I know this isn’t easy to do, but nobody stands at the alter and agrees to stay with someone as long as its easy. You made a commitment, and now you’ve broken it because you don’t have the courage to work at love.

Thanks, I do appreciate the honest and straight forward opinion.

I didn’t list her positives, that is true. She has plenty of them. And I don’t pretend to be perfect, I’m obviously not.

Maybe I am dumb and naive. But I’ll say that not every situation is the same, and it’s difficult to describe some of the issues and problems. I am not sure how you overcome “I am physically unattracted to my wife, and do not enjoy spending time with her” through counseling. Maybe I haven’t done enough.

I completely understand this reply.

I approached the conversation very delicately because I knew that would be the response. I REALLY tried to let her know that it was about affection and intimacy, and not physical appearance.

And I also understand multiple people thinking “soul mates lolol”. But I’ve never had this type of connection with anyone, sex aside.

This is a concern of mine. And yes, I understand that it sounds like a justification.

Some marriages are worth saving and it takes courage to do that. Sometimes it is about honoring our committments and making it work no matter what.

Other times, the wrong people get married. Sometimes people change, or, the person you marry turns out to be very different than you thought. Sometimes it takes courage to recognize that this is what happened.

We’re all dumb and naive, just at different times and places.

I feel a large amount of sympathy for what emotions caused you to take these actions, but I agree with everyone else that you’ve got to be realistic about what these decisions might lead you to. Be very honest with yourself about whether this is right for you, your children, your aggrieved spouse, and the currently (but probably not permanently) exiting mistress.

Would it matter, though, at this point? I’m thinking that this marriage is beyond repair already. Maybe it’s because my first wife and I went to extensive marriage counseling and we broke up almost immediately after we stopped going, and my current wife refused to go to counseling during a bad patch for us, and we’re still together. If two people don’t want to be together (which, to be honest, it sounds like neither half of the couple wants), the greatest counselor in the world won’t help them. Marriage counseling is the first thing everyone suggests, and it is just not a magic bullet.

Or, to turn the tables, he’s working 12 hour days to give the wife and kids what they need, and she’s responded by totally ignoring him when he gets home. My current wife is in a “survivors of parenting group” as she calls it where about 95% of the group is divorced from the father of their kids. In the vast majority of those cases it’s because once the kids were born the wife became UberMom and completely shut out dad from her life. Then, after years (sometimes decades as UberMom wants several kids to prove her worth as UberMom) of spending all her time concentrating on the kids alone and neglecting dad, UberMom is shocked when dad goes off with the first woman who pays him the slightest bit of attention to him. I’m seeing a lot of that in the OP. I’m not saying it’s right, I’m saying it happens a lot.

And this, of course, is the result of being neglected. As some of you know, I’m leaving a job where for over ten years I’ve been raked over the coals and been all but ignored while I neared the top of my profession in other ways. Do you think I’ll find anything to complain about in my new job in the first three months? Again, I’m not saying the OP is right in that new woman is perfect. But it’s a natural reaction to the situation.

Yeah, and he’s admitting that. I don’t see how insulting the guy is going to make him listen to you. I mean, that always works!

Look, I’m going to be the last guy to defend infidelity. My first wife cheated on me, left me for the other guy, and pretty much wrecked my life as a result (a long story I won’t repeat here). I had many opportunities to cheat in another relationship I was in a few years after that, and I didn’t, despite the fact that I might have been better off doing so. I’m about to be over a thousand miles from my current wife and the only thing I’ll be certain of is that I won’t cheat, because I just can’t.

That said, (and assuming the OP is being honest here…of course we have only his side of the story) I’m not sure how his marriage can be saved. He’s already tried a lot of the things that the marriage counselor told my first wife and I to do. He’s asked her for very simple things to improve their marriage, and she won’t do them. She’s told him she’s devoted to the kids…and the strong implication is “and not to you.” Even if they did try to do things together, I reckon that they wouldn’t have enough in common to enjoy them. That process took my first wife and I about a year…and they’re going on several years of pretty much living apart.

I ask you, kunilou, exactly what would you, marriage counselor, say to the OP and his wife to move them closer together? Because in all honesty, as the survivor of a marriage broken in the way the OP wants to break his marriage, I cannot think of anything that would help.

The counselor is a neutral party who can help you two start seeing the positives in each other again and decide whether that is worth staying together or not.

And if the only positives you can think of are along the lines of “she takes great care of the kids”, spare me, that’s not why you married her.

Also, am I misunderstanding or are you expecting her to work part time (which depending on the schedule and commute can mean as many hours out of the house as a full-time job) and then be the childcare provider and the main homemaker? It’s not “her” house that you help with, it’s your house! You should take care of it because it’s your house and you want to live in a clean house! Goes squared for the kids.