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Midlife Affairs: Discussion

Mike
I forgot to mention earlier that I found the "conversation" on your web site about "Bridges of Madison County" interesting. I read the bestseller book before it was made into a movie, and at the time was the only one I knew who found the story extremely annoying. Part of my annoyance was at plot devices unique to the book, but the larger part was that to me, the only real love in that book was the woman's love for her family which kept her with them, and not chasing after some glamorous unknown illusion. I guess I've been single again long enough to recognize both the symptoms of infatuation and the absolute need to let time (and not our imaginations) fill in the blanks . That book I think found a wide audience because it perpetuated the romantic mythology we're so fond of in this country and Hollywood. It's a mythology we cherish at the expense of real maturity and growth.
awendyl@worldnet.att.net

Feb. 23, '98

I similarly found the book irritating. Here was her husband off with the children at a state fair, and she has the audacity to cheat on him. When I tried to look at it objectively, I thought perhaps I was being too judgmental. Seems like she lacked intimacy in her marriage. But did she try to achieve that intimacy? Also, the idea of deceit is distasteful to me. If she was lonely, why did she not have the guts to leave the marriage? I think that people who have illicit affairs are acting in a cowardly way, and usually do not try to heal the problem in the marriage first. Also, if they have tried and failed, they should leave the marriage first. It is easier to have intimacy in a non-committed relationship that is new because there is no history between the partners. Anyway, my thoughts.

Unsigned

July 27, '98

I have to disagree with you. I have been having an affair with a married man for two years now. I suppose every situation is different however being in this relationship for two years... reality can not help but set in. When this happens and then two are still in love ~ there is no fantasy but of a normal life.

You make it seem that affairs are something you should get out of. More times than not... it is the actual marriage that you should get out of. There is obviously something wrong with the marriage if one of the partners is looking elsewhere.... no matter what the reason. I am a firm believer that if you love someone completely... the search is over.. there is no reason to look any further.

Kim

August 1, '98

Kim,

I disagree with your post. From my observations there is usually something lacking in the character of a person who is willing to live a life of deception and lies. Many people get out of unsatisfactory relationships in a healthy way. I see those who need the thrill of deception and are able to live with that knowledge lacking something in themselves.

Anonymous

August 22, '98

In a relationship, after a period of time, it is not unusual for a couple to find that they are no longer "in love" . It happens all the time. At this point they each can grow emotionally & spiritually by loving their partner. Sharing their thoughts, exploring their faults and helping find solutions. I don't think that many couples choose this path. Many people attempt to regain the feeling of being "in love" . Before or after divorce, doesn't seem to matter, they are doomed to repeat the same mistakes. They eventually find themselves dissatisfied with the new relationship. I think that some never really catch on to this and repeat it again. There is a lot of material written on the subject of love, and I am certainly no expert. If you care about a person enough to live with them, marry them, etc. then how can you just throw them away like some disposable / replaceable item ? Granted, there are times when you really should leave, and fast, but I don't think that all the breakups are due to these extreme situations. Ummmm ..... to sum this up ...... I really don't know. That is why I'm here reading this site, looking for answers, etc. I know that I have a lot to learn.

Terry

August 31, '98

I do NOT believe that something is missing in my character. I have been a good wife, mother and have held down a full time job for 15 years. My boys are stable, well loved and well adjusted. My husband is MR. Perfect. Sometimes that is hard to deal with. Everyone telling me how LUCKY I am! Yet, something IS wrong with me! I am contemplating an affair. It is killing me inside and today I have spent the afternoon crying. I want to escape my life! Run away! Why do I feel this way? I suppose it's the excitement I feel that another man is interested in me. He also is married and I know it's probably just sex and lust. For him anyway. I guess I'm selfish because I want to "connect" with someone other than my spouse. I watched "bridges" and read the book. I kept thinking GO WITH HIM! This was, what? 5 years ago that the movie came out? She was basically in the same position that I was in (and still am) let's face it, If you are unhappy, you simply are unhappy! I've tried to figure it out. I just can't! Don't judge ALL people who have affairs. Remember.......until you walk in MY shoes.........

AP

September 4, '98

Advice to AP: DON'T do it! I am still going throught the aftermath of an affair with a married "friend" and I was where you are just a few months ago. But I gave in and it was fun, romantic, everything my daily life was not...until my husband found out. The look on his face and what he went through was hell. I hurt him so much, and for what? As soon as my husband found out my lover (who had been pursuing me for years) stopped taking my calls or having any contact with me, basically he dumped me out of fear of his wife finding out and HIS life being turned upside down. The revelation took place almost 3 months ago and still we are not even 10% healed. Six weeks after the revelation and after I realized that my lover had not really loved me and had used me to get him through his mid-life crisis (he is 11 years my senior)I took an overdose. I barely survived, but I did not want to live. I couldn't live with my husband's hurt and my own. My suicide attempt prompted my former lover to tell his wife the whole story (from his viewpoint, I'm sure) which devastated her! So now I have two hurt people, an indifferent lover and no self esteem. I feel used, immoral and evil. Because I am a woman I carry more stigma than a man. My husband and I are trying to work out everything with counseling but it is tough. There is no trust. I have had to give my life over to him--he goes through all the credit card bills, the phone bills, the mail, my voice mail, my daytimer, everything and I have to put up with it because I destroyed his trust in me and I muse do whatever to get it back. It has been too high a price to pay for two encounters, a lot of flattery and an attempt at sex with a man partially impotent!

Anonymous

October 16, '98

I am a male, 41 years old. I have been trying to heal now for nearly 3 years after having had an affair with my wife's best friend. It actually went far beyond the scope of an affair. We both had felt emotionally and physically attracted to each other for years yet had always suppressed these feelings. She first approached me and at a time when I've never felt more restless and dissatisfied with my marriage. The first two months were illicit. Then we were discovered and after an agonizing period of emotional teeter totter I moved out and lived with her for over five months. After that length of time I felt I loved her yet still couldn't let go of my wife. I seemed to receive things from both relationships that made me feel "whole" inside. Such a situation I knew was unsustainable and was forced to make a decision. I ended up living alone for nearly a year still torn between the two with both waiting. Truly the stuff of soap operas but from my point of view (and theirs) it was excruciatingly painful. I eventually chose to bring my wife back and haven't had contact with the other lady in over a year. I still can't get her out of my mind which has made it incredibly difficult to reestablish feelings for my wife. I have researched everything I can find on the subject of relationships, love, marriage, and midlife crisis (which brought me to this site) to try and understand what has caused this mess, what has made me feel so dissatisfied with my 23 year marriage and what is still causing these feelings inside which won't recede. I've sought professional counseling. As others have written, perhaps its a character problem, or even codependency. I do know that now life is no longer on "autopilot." It has lost the spark and spirit it had before this happened - my normal interests just feel like going through the motions.

I understand now that this situation fit the stereotype pretty well. I was getting ready to retire from the Air Force. My wife and I had been high school sweethearts, we married and had two kids immediately after graduating. She was the only person I'd ever been with sexually, and ironically, instead of necking as most new couples do we spent most of our time just talking. Now, 20+ years later we had "made it." A nice house, the kids were grown and my career was successful. She and I were (and still are) the best of friends and still communicate well. But I've never felt really physically attracted to her and throughout our entire marriage from time to time I had the nagging feeling she wasn't the one I really wanted to be with. I could never feel completely "in love" and committed to her although our friendship remained steady. Throughout our marriage I had had several invitations and opportunity for an affair - with coworkers and while on remote tour but I had remained faithful. About a year before retirement I felt what could be considered a "crest" when everything felt right and whole in my life. I look back on that now as ignorant bliss for the reason that the experience I've had with the other person has made me realize what had been absent in my marriage. No matter what I do I can't look at or touch my wife without pain. This is not fair for either one of us but I don't want to hurt her anymore. At times, though, I think to end our relationship might be the only sensible but painful solution. To be solidly committed in marriage it seems you must have both physical attraction to one another and a strong friendship. How important is physical attraction? Does it fade for everyone after years of marriage? I just don't know. I'd love to hear from anyone who is going through a similar struggle.

Bob

____________________________

Bob--You are experiencing one of the natural results of an affair--it makes your emotions go haywire. It will take time, but you can regain (or create for the first time) passion with your wife and best friend. Counseling will help. So will prayer.--Mike

November 16, '98

People involved in an affair often ask, "Why is it wrong for me to have an affair? This new person meets my needs and makes me happy!" ANSWER: Because SOMEONE is going to get hurt! It is like asking "Why is it wrong to drive my car into a tree when I have passengers?" Because your passengers don't deserve to be injured! The same is true with an affair. We do not live in a vacuum, if we are married and having an affair or single and having an affair with a married person, there are OTHER people involved besides the two lovers. There are wives, husbands, and children involved. If the lovers leave their mates for each other, then TWO families are destroyed! Do the children deserve to be abandoned or torn apart because they love BOTH their parents? Of course not! Does a spouse who loves their mate and wants to learn HOW to meet their spouses needs deserve to be cheated on? Of course not! Not only that, but the lovers themselves may end up being hurt if the other decides to work on their marriage and break off the affair. It is a NO WIN situation for all involved. Because no matter WHAT happens, someone WILL get hurt: a wife, a husband, the children, or one of the lovers....it cannot be avoided. No matter how good it makes you feel right now, in the end, your actions will cause devastation for others or yourself. That is why it is wrong.

B.

March 5, 1999

I have been having an affair with a former lover/girlfriend that I had not seen in over ten years. In that timeframe I have been happily married and have a beautiful daughter. Yet, when I remet my former girlfriend, it was like an explosion. I love my wife but, quite frankly, never forgot my original love. She is now on my mind night and day.

The worst part about the whole thing is that my lover has always trated me as second best, and remians that way now. while she will tell me she loves me, and act accordingly at times, at other times she pulls back and questions whether or not we should be toghether. I would probobly leave my wife and child for her if she asked me to-but she says she does not want that.

I feel all twisted up inside and have gone to see professional help. I am in love with my girlfriend and get extreemly depressed about the whole thing. I feel guilty about my behavior, as I have never cheated on my wife before despite several passes made at me by various females). Quite frankly, before reuniting with my old girlfriend simply had no desire for other companionship.

I have been researchin formats such as this to find out why I feel the way I do, is it common, can I hope to recover. At this point I have not jeapordized my marriage and know I should proboboly just get out of the affair. But I simply am too driven for my girlfriend to do that. When I am in her arms, it is pure bliss and worth evry ounce of trouble.

Anonymous

March 26, '99

My feelings and situation is very similar to Bob's. I have been completly faithful to my husband for 20 years (high school sweethearts). We have 3 great children. During my marriage I always thought "I will never have an affair" I was very devoted to my family, always putting them first. However through the years I felt very lonely and that my husband somehow was not the right one for me. He was always a bit controlling and I resented him for that. He was also a workaholic devoting all of his time and energy to his work. If I had any type of acheivement to be proud of he was always jealous of that. My affair has been going on for 6 months. We met on the internet. Our chats were very intimate and we learned a lot about each other. We have met many times and I even stayed at his house for 1 month using the excuse to my family that I wanted to get away. It was all very innocent with his family right there in the house (yeah right) My lover is completly in love with me. He already got a divorce from his wife. Currently he is waiting for me to come to him in Calif. I live in Michigan. He wants to take me to Europe for 2 months, which would be fun and full of romance but I feel so divided to leave my family here and my business. Even though that is excally what I had dreamed of , to be swept off my feet and taken away to Europe but to actually do it is very difficult. My husband knows everything and he is willing to start over and he still loves me. I feel so torn apart, the passionate sex with my lover was so great, I just can't stop thinking about it. We are very compatible and have many of the same interests. We also have the same type of backgrounds. I find it difficult to be intimate with my husband again, even looking at him with a little desire is difficult. However, I just can't leave my boys, they are 16 and 12. I hate to abandon them. Some people can leave their families with such ease, I don't know how they can do it. Who can help me? By the way I am married to a famer just like Francessca on Bridges of Madison County. I know very well what she is feeling. Put in a small town and forced to be happy while your husband works himself into oblivion. Nobody knows how they will react or what will happen until they are faced with a situation.

MP

April 5, 1999

i was married 22 years to a wonderful man. we always had good times together. he took care of me and i took care of him. everything was wonderful up until a year ago. my husband lost his father ,mother and brother within a 2 year period. he got very depressed and was very unhappy. he started having an affair with a co worker. this has been going on for about a year now. he has left me 5 times to move in with the woman but always comes home after 2 weeks. now hes gone again. this time i told him not to come home. he always says before he leaves that he is never coming back but always shows up at the door 2 weeks later. he is not running from me or our marriage but is running from himself and the guilt over his brothers death. i cant deal with this anymore and i wont be taking him back but i am still very much in love with him. i believe that he needs professional help to deal with the problems he has in his head. can anyone give me any suggestion on how to keep the door closed until he goes and gets some help

I came to this site in order to try and find answers to so many of my unanswered questions. I have also been involved in an affair for the past 2 years with a man 10 years younger than myself. Sadly, this is not the first time in my 10 years of marriage that this has happened.

Although I have gone through the 'counseling' sessions and have tried to re-evaluate my life all the time, I still find myself confused, sad and wondering where is it that I have gone wrong in my life.

I have a wonderful husband who is willing to give me the world. He loves me dearly and would even walk on water for me (although this one seems a little hard to accomplish!) however, I don't seem to want anything he is willing to give me.

At this particular time, my 'friend' and I have decided to 'cool' things off and try and remain friends, yet I find myself constantly thinking about him, about the great way he makes me feel and about how much he loves me. It has been a very painful few weeks and I feel like I am going out of my mind! I can help but have a sad feeling all the time and at times I have seriously considered being placed on some kind of emotional balancing medication.

I am not sure where I am going from here. I am trying to learn how to love myself as I person and I have been keeping a journal to try and figure out where my emotions are coming from. It just all seems so hard.

If anyone out there has any suggestions on how to cope with the pain, please share them. My love for my 'fiend' keeps getting stronger as days pass and my love for my husband is more out of obligation.

Veronica

____________________________

Please define affair. How far do you go, how deep are you , before you realize that you've had an affair? It's easy to say get out of it but it's not that easy to face that person daily and separate yourself from what's already taken place. When do you realize that it's only a fantasy and that fantasy has been fulfilled to your expectations?

Looking for some answers.

June 28, '99

O.K. So I just found this site and I am in a affair presently that I don't want anything more than the comfort of knowing the person I have sex with. My marriage broke up because of this affair . All my life I have been attracted to men I can't have nor do I want on a full time basis. I married a man I had a affair with for 3 years. This would never work out as I have discovered with maturity. I know what I am doing is wrong and please remember words are like wepons to this lady so don't judge me too harshly. I'd like to break the habit but it is almost like trying to stop smoking. Which I don't do. I use married men as a safety net I guess. I have a fear of commiting to one person. Maybe I can't. The first man I had sex with was married. Could this be my hang-up? I also am a thrill seeker and risk taker being from a father who was a drunk. I have no problems with drinking. Just men!!!!! I am a very attractive woman with a B.S. in education. I don't meet a stranger. I am a decent person with a terrible flaw. I love life and have decided my Indian name would be, Squaw Wild Oat so I will sign off as that and hope I find my peace in time. Until then, thanks for letting me vent myself to the unknown. Be sweet in any remarks for I am fragile. Please!!!!

July 12, '99

Who would you recommend in San Antonio for a 58 yr old man who is deeply involved in an affair that I cant seem to resolve myself. You say in your article to seek professional help. I tried a counselor once about a year ago. Now I am in deeper than before.

TC

____________________________

TC--Check your Yellow Pages. Ask a trusted minister or priest. Ask a friend to check around for you. Good luck--Mike

July 20, '99

What a fantastic discussion group! I am grateful to all those who have been willing to share their stories, perplexity, and questions. I have been meditating on the tension posed by commitment to marriage and family and the (for me) unquestionable joy of experiencing love for women in addition to my spouse. I also know that attraction to other males has been an issue for my wife. We have waded through the jealousy, anger, and grief caused by her (brief) extramarital relationships early in our marriage. More recently, we have survived my quasi affair with a single woman who has been a friend of ours for many years (and remains a friend today). Through these difficulties, our marriage survived because (I think) we sensed that there was more at stake than our immediate unhappiness in our marriage (which, in any case, was not horrible unhappiness). We highly valued our domestic culture (four sons, lots of mutual friends, home activities and projects) and we valued the legacy of marital stability that has come down from our grandparents and parents. Looking around at our friends, we came to realize that these strengths are rare--even though we grew up in the "Pleasantville" 50s when the emotional health of families was (naively) taken for granted. Finally, we found a couple of talented family systems therapists who helped us see our difficulties from the perspective of our pattern of family relationships. We were very, very fortunate. Did that make our infatuations go away? Not mine. Tpday my wife says that she is enjoying our marriage and her life too much to be tempted by infatuation--it just doesn't enter her mind. For me, the challenge posed by "falling in love" as a married person in midlife (or in any chapter) is how you can celebrate it *without* damaging your marriage or the marriage of the other person. For one thing, you don't attempt physical intimacy (fantasy is always allowed). But you *do* express you affection in ways that are not threatening. This is possible for me because our mutual spouses accept our friendship as that--a friendship. But in my mind and heart, it is certainly love. Since what I am describing is not technically an affair and is not likely to become one, I will stop here. But the point I want to end on is that loving another person outside of your marriage, even to the point of obsession, can be a terrific rekindling of soul and need not spell the doom of your primary relationship. But it must be managed with great consideration. -DF

August 3, '99

I don't know what has been driving me and I see a little of my situation in your column. I have recently been fighting the temptation of an extramarital affair. My husband and I both play tennis. He and I share the same doubles partner. I play with Chris in mixed and he plays with him in Mens Doubles. We often spend a lot of time together and in the past year, I have spent many minutes in a day corresponding by e-mail. E-mail can be quite the little erotic pleasure. anyway, I have not had sex with this guy but I am fighting all the way to the bed. It is definitely like a drug. A feel and a wink the first time. Kissing in and holding the second time. What happens next? My husband and I are communicating and working through it, but I don't know if I'm out of the woods yet. Once before the affair seemed imminent but we put it aside when my daughter announced she was pregnant and getting married. Now my husband and I are trying to rekindle the passion of our sex and love and friendship, but I worry that I am not out of the danger zone yet. I have long acknowledged the fantasy and how the consequences of those actions would be devastating in many arenas. But I can't seem to talk myself out of wanting to have sex with another man. Has anyone else ever been driven to this sort of thinking? Great article, I keep searching for every little piece of information that will discourage my self-destruction. Thanks.

Ivy

August 29, '99

I disagree with Jeff in the article. The man I'm attracted to is nothing like my fantasy lover. But like in the song "every time our eyes meet this feeling inside me is almost more than I can bear." For the past year I've been telling myself that what DF advises is true. That I can flirt with this person in front of his wife and my husband, enjoy his company and no one will get hurt. But if the time ever comes when we are alone together and he initiates physical contact I don't think my body would listen to my mind. I don't think I could pull away. When I was in my twenties I was attracted to a man who was nine years older. When the moment of truth came, I was naive enough to think that all he wanted was kisses. He soon had me undressed and I was responding until he touched me. I froze I couldn't go through with it. Then came the babies, PTA meetings, soccer and girl scouts. Men flirted with me. I enjoyed their attention but never felt any attraction. Looking back I wonder if my husband may have had one or two affairs during that time when I was all wrapped up in the kids. Now I'm middle aged and I find myself attracted to this other man and I don't know why. I'm not naive any more. I'm confused. Things are fine between my husband and I. The sex is probably better than ever. Confused

____________________________

I am on the roller coaster ride. My husband (45) and I (43) have know each other for more than 26yrs. We have loved, married others briefly, and were re-joined 18 yrs ago. Will be married 17 yrs. He is in full blown MLC. In '97 he wanted his space and we were separated for 6months following an emtional affair, he wanted his cake and eat it too. She was married and wished to remain married. He returned home and we were happy for 6 months as he put our marriage first. We are restaurant owners and the stress in overwhelming. He begin working late after hours to remodel and a worker that is 19yrs younger than him also worked late. I worked full time, had a part-time job at a dept store and aslo waitressed for three nights a week at our place. I knew there was a chemistry brewing but I did not think he would have an affair with someone that has two little kids. Her husband found out about the affair a yr ago and left her. I just found this out by contacting the husband to see for myself how long the affair had been going on. Me, I just really began questioning it this spring and discovered the proof in July. I put his things on the driveway. He is still with her and she is still employed. I have not worked there since I booted him out. Also, I no longer work part-time anywhere which leaves us 700.00 short each month for bills, is why I worked three jobs while he had the affair. I filed for divorce after 21 days and now am having second thoughts. However, my kids are siding with their father. I was the disciplinary and he is just a friend not a parent and never really was. My youngest babysat for his lover, she does the girls (one is 19 and the other is 15) hair and nails as well for free so they want her in their lives. My husband says he thinks and misses me often but does nothing to reconcile. He says the OW is sick and is taking him down and yet goes to her that evening. This is a 180 degree turn around from the man I have known over a quarter of a century. When I have seen glimpses of him, he looks so awful. How can one look awful and be happy? He is doing a parental alienation of our youngest daughter as well. I haven't seen her or has she stayed with me since the 21st of July, and I have legal residental custody. He has not counter-filed either. I feel in '97 was just the begining of the crisis but this is the full blown part. If we divorce 1/4 of the business will have to be paid to me. I want to begin a new life but I miss my family dearly. I was the devoted wife, mother, lover, you name it. There is no reason for this other than the time I was either at work or alseep. I carry the benefits for us as being self-employed we can't afford it.

Shauna

September 24, '99

my husband is currently having an affair. this began almost two years ago. it is the most painful experience I have ever encountered. our marriage was beginning to revive and renew after all of the hard years of teens, work etc. his mother died. he was out the door. he has come home several times and has tried to be at home. he can't. I know that he has no control over this. we are almost at the final stage of divorce. it breaks my heart to see our beautiful family destroyed by this. the woman he is seeing has been there before with married men. she knows the ropes so to speak. she also was a naturalist marriage counselor and of course is helping my husband justify what he is doing. I know he loves me and I know I love him. we have been married for 27 years and have known each other since kindergarten. this is a complete destruction of my life and his. he is an only child with no living blood relatives other than our children ( 4) and me. this woman doesn't know how incredibly destructive this is. if she did or cared at all about the sanctity of marriage she would not be with him and encouraging this man to leave his entire past behind. I am at my wits end. all of the writings I have read could have been my own. I don't want to give up and yet I know how continuing the fight can almost be worse than rolling over. he tells me all the reasons for this....he was lonely, didn't feel like he was head of the house, was seeking joy and pleasure, likes being treated like a little boy, runs up mountains, exercises all the time. all of the signs of this "male depression". he will not seek any help and does not hear me at all, only her. I guess I sound angry. I am as I am sure countless other women are who have devoted their entire lives to their husbands and family. it just doesn't seem fair that the wife gets put out to pasture and the new woman gets to reap the rewards of those many years. there ought to be a law against this. it is robbery. enough said. does anyone out there have a success story about their husbands coming home????? it sounds like we had a mean marriage. we didn't and don't my husband and I communicate very well and have rarely fought. what's up?

CH

my husband has tried to come home countless times. you are right. this is like an addiction. we are very close to divorce and I hope and pray that this reality hits my husband soon. he believes that it is love and not fantasy. what to do? to make matters worse this woman my husband is with was a unlicensed, unschooled naturalistic marriage counselor who has persued married men before and her sisters do it! she is digging into his past and helping him figure out why he has done this. it is very, very damaging. my husband has been led to believe that this is all natural and "supposed to be". but is it normal and natural for a man to give up his entire life? and past not to mention family, children, life time friends and last but not least....me? his wife of 27 years and friend of 48 years?? we have four children. he is an only child. he has no blood relatives other than myself and his children. is this normal?

CH

February 10, 2000

Hi,  My name is Bob and I wrote the entry of October 16, 1998 about the affair with my wife's best friend.  It is now almost a year & a half later and the same feelings are still with me.  I have had periods of release and have concentrated on my marriage and activities that interest me but they consistently come flooding back again.  I've tried to take your advice about
prayer but the answers I seem to receive are inconclusive.  I still have a solid friendship with my wife.  The research I've done on building a good marriage would describe ours as being a "companionate" relationship.  I chose, because of this and despite my feelings for the other woman, to try and rebuild our marriage.  Also because I believed it was what God expected
of me and it was the right thing.  But even after all this time I have needs that aren't being met.  Although our friendhship is healthy our sex life is emotionally painful.

If this was God's will why does it still hurt so much?  I've done all the right things and I'm still screwed up inside.  When will it end and let me begin experiencing some peace and serenity?  Should I throw away 25 years of friendship and partnership with this woman I dearly respect and care for just because I don't feel romantically and physically attracted to her?  Am I living a lie based on a decision I made when I was 18 yrs old?  As Christians are we expected to stoically deny our own needs and feelings in order to maintain balance and serenity in other peoples (our mates) lives?  My wife knows I'm in emotional pain but is very content herself.  This adds even more to my frustration.  She is the epitomy of the commitment and loving patience descibed by many other women who have written letters to your column about their husbands going through mlc.  She will hang on with all the strength she has to the hope that things will somehow return to normal.

How can anyone turn their back on that and walk away?  But why hasn't that been enough?  All I want is some peace of mind and to stop thinking about the person and life I sacrificed in order to be where I am today.  Any input from others would greatly be appreciated.  Perhaps you could post this in your general forum area that seems to get more exposure.  Thanks for your help and for providing this site.  Reading others' posts makes me realize that I am not alone in this.

Bob

____________________________

I never saw the movie or read the book.  I do wish to coment on this subject.  I'm a 45 year old man.  We got a
computer, and I was drawn to the chat rooms.  It was only chatting, but quickly turned into a nightmere.  Ture, The
affair was exciting when it was going on, but I'm having trouble getting over the after effects.  The after effects
include the beakup of the family of the lady I was seeing, and the guilt that I have over the hurt I caused my wife,
and the other woman when I ended it. (sounds strange I know)  This hurt wont seem to go away.  I'm distracted
from things like my job.  I'm a commissioned sales person and in my business attitude is everything.

I was very lucky that I'm married (18 Years) to the most understanding woman in the world.  She gave me a second
chance and I'm not ever going to stay again.  She knows everthing, and I can ask her help in dealing with my
problems.  She an avid reader, and even pointed out this website.

G.

February 13, 2000

I have been going through this in reverse with my husband.  I also had feelings for someone else and thought I wanted to end our marraige.  I also never acted on those feelings.  He was going through the same thing and when I suggested we separate he jumped at the chance.  I now know that I indeed love him very much and have turned to Christ in my quest to restore our
marraige.  What I was feeling for this other person was just a desire for the old excitement I used to feel with my husband.  You should go home and turn to God.  Both of you should go to a Christian marraige counselor, separate and together.  Maybe the empty place inside of you is a lack of a relationship with your Creator.  AND FORGET ABOUT THE CO WORKER!  Two marraiges and families destroyed is too big a price.  My husband does not see our sons anymore.  He has been gone since 12/10/99 and hasn't had them to his apartment but one night.  They are heart broken and nearly destitute while he is running around like a 20 year old.  God can fix your marraige and make you whole and happy.  I promise.  Turn to Him!  And pray for me.

SLP

February 27, 2000

Dear mike I found Jeff,s article all to real, I,ve found myself in the same situation, im just trying to get thru it all,it,s
hard.Thanks W.flynn

May 8, 2000

I would like to know what experience anyone has had with polyamory (www.polyamory.org, amongst others).  As so many others have said, after many years commitments (to kids, work, etc.) weigh heavily on a couple.  My husband and I are discussing the option of having extra-marital relationships that may provide the 'missing' part of our marriage: novelty,
romance, and hot sex.

Is it possible that the pressures for one person to be spouse/co-parent/best friend/lover/confidante/housekeeper/cook/taxi driver/cub scout leader/professional/family person/soccer mom/etc., etc. are just too much for anyone to live up to over a long period of time?

Lorelei

May 10, 2000

Dear Mike
Thank you for such an excellent site. I am trying to clarify my thinking and this is the first time I have found a page  where people will share their experiences. I agree no one can judge until walking inthat person's shoes. My story is this simply.
My husband is my best friend but due to medical problems  he can not make love, his maleness is very low...and he chose many years not to seek advice or counselling. He also choses not to discuss it with me and I have spent many years, some in therapy trying to understand  for I thought in some way I was at fault.

A senior member of the medical profession advised me to accept an affair if the situation arose. I was amazed and pondered on it... I am high profile person living in a city of a million people . I have always kept the public image of " the perfect marriage"...... and established myself well in my profession which is rewarding. Last year I found myself in ER.. query
corony....But the resultant  cause was STRESS....Again I recieved the same advice, along with a lot of other  to find a
lover...

How does one do it I asked?... Eventually I advertised...a very masked add... and what do I find myself with......?????

A member of the medical profession ... who by his own admittance is going through mis life crisis and wants to enjoy the beauty of an older lover...I am strongly attratced and stand poised.... But I am confused. I can't tell anyone

P

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Lorelei and P,

What if our souls and bodies are so connected that we can't give one without the other? If so, do you really want to give your soul to someone other than your soulmate? I once tried the same and found it impossible. I also found it extremely painful and destructive in the long run. Anyway, I hope you find what you're seeking . . . maybe it's not what you think it is. Just a thought.

Mike

June 2, 2000

My husband, too, had the mid-life affair, a very serious, 7-month affair in which the woman left her husband and subsequently divorced.  My husband ended the affair when I had concrete proof of it and he had to decide what to do.  We are still recuperating our physical, mental and emotional health, as well as renewing our marriage relationship.

I agree with what you said about soul and body being fused together as one, I truly believe that to be so. I personally don't want to share myself or my husband with another, body and soul.   But, beyond that, an affair that results in divorce and re-marriage puts an awful lot of pressure upon the people involved to replace all the people in each of their lives.  That's
too much for most people.  You aren't just divorcing your spouse, or just the kids, it's neighbors, friends, other relatives and relationships, that, at mid-life can span 20 plus years or more.  When you've shared a life with your spouse, especially past 20 or 25 years, that's so much shared history. The new person in your life cannot relate to your friends, your family, your past experiences, and will expect you to relate now to the people and places and things in their lives and experiences.

One of the letters I read was the woman that had two boys and was talking about leaving them to go with the new love in her life.  No one can ever mean as much to me as my two boys.  I remember all the "cute" things that our boys said growing up, and my husband and I will still say certain words in the baby-talk that the kids used 25 years ago!  The kids have long
forgotten, but my husband and I remember, and cherish those precious days when our children were growing.  No one else in the world can relate to that, just us.  I am looking forward to grandchildren now that my kids are grown.  The woman my husband had the affair with wanted my husband to be part of her grandchildren's lives, just step right in there and be an extra
grandpa to her grandkids.  And, although not proven, I suspect she would have less interest if we had grandchildren of our own.  Can it be expected that she would be as interested in my husband's family and kids as in her own?   I don't believe that is reasonable to expect someone to automatically have love and affection for people, even children, she barely knows.

And what about that?  The woman may have been fascinating to my husband. But, still she was mostly a stranger to him, and he to her.  My husband has known me since I was 15 years old, and I've known him since he was 17. We've been through so many life situations together, and we know each other well, and still manage to love each other and, so far, our marriage is
surviving and recovering.

But the hurt runs deep, and the affair caused so much damage and is still causing consequences, months afterwards, for us to cope with.  As I stated previously, love involves body and soul.   So the body, mind and spirit must heal.

Karen A.

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To "P":
I can really relate to your confusion and your situation. I am a 49 year old professional man with seemingly everything -- own successful business, social prominence and a great wife of 20+ years. I find my self irresistably drawn to another single woman who is slightly younger. I think of her all the time and would love to have a relationship with this other woman if possible. I have been srtuggling between logic and desire  for almost 2 years. I have shared this with my wife ( I just could not bear to be
decietful with her) who while hurt is actually trying to work this through with me. I love my wife deeply and the last thing I would want to do is to hurt her; yet I have these "other desires" focused upon another person which I seem unable to get rid of. I do not have an answer for you but certianly understand your turmoil. I wish there was a pill for whatever this is.Anyone
else have a cure?

RM

June 13, 2000

This discussion certainly encapsulates the lure and distruction of affairs.  I am still recovering from the hurt, pain, and devestation of my now ex-husband's affair.  We had been married fro 10-years when it began, as what both he and the woman described as a summer "science experiment" that went on for a few years.  Both were non-trad under grad students studying Biology/Chemistry, and I was occuppied with my career and graduate school pursuit of a doctorate which took me 1000 miles away from home that summer, and 250 miles away during the fall/winter/spring.  Add a death in my husband's family in October of that year, and his own inexperience with relationships/breakups....it put our lives into turmoil.  I discovered the affair the day before our 11-th anniversary.

The marriage had always been good. We had so many mutual interests, a wonderful partnership, and great sex.We had individual, mutual, and family goals and cherished reaching our potential in these areas.  We were friends, lovers, companions, intellects, etc...together. The relationship was a supportive shared partnership, interdependent. I valued what we had . He told me the affair  was "all about him" and that I was "the best woman in the world". I was totally ripped apart as I watched each piece of our life get destroyed as his affections were alienated.  When I was the most heartbroken, someone said to me that
when the companionship was gone, then everything was gone.  Companionship disappeared when he refused to go on our daily walk because he'd already walked with "his friend", and lost total interest in things we'd enjoyed together like hunting, fishing, camping, etc.

That affair started in 1994...I tried to reconcile with him for a little over a year, and walked away from the career I was pursuing to concentrate on the marriage.  In the end, I nearly lost everything...I was the head-of-household so owned and owed for most everything.  Our parting was friendly and sensible, an easy divorce, but endings mean that all you build together ceases to be. We had invested more in each other rather than material possessions, so I, the strong woman, found myself to be completely "on-my-knees" in the emotional aftermath.  What amazed me at the time was that the "other woman" was envious of all that I had and had achieved and stated as much.  Its been 6-years and I'm just now getting back to where I was in 1994, although the family will never ever be again. All those things she admired -- most were destroyed by the long, lingering effects of the hurt & pain that affair did to me.

I'd learned long ago that "hot/cold" relationships (which is how an affair progresses) are enticing. The "hot" hooks you, the "cold" emotionally wrenches you, and the rollercoaster makes for quite the "rush"....added to mystery, secrecy, and excitement.  The "warm/steady" comfortable feels mundane in comparison.  But "hot/cold" is the mark of an unhealthy relationship.  My advice to anyone contemplating an affair is DON'T DO IT!  If you are miserable in the marriage, deal with that.  Don't complicate the problem.  Once you step off into having an affair, NOTHING in your life will ever be the same, nor will your spouses, childrens, parents, friends...etc.  Take a good look at the BIG PICTURE and weigh the cost...it is pricey.

SDJ

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Thank you Mike for this site.  I was looking for information on mid-life crisis when I found it.  I am a 30 yr. old wife, mother of three and I am having an affair with a 49 year old man.  My husband and I are now separated.  He found out about 6 weeks ago and wants to stay together and work things out.  We have been married for 15 years now.  I am confused.  I feel at times
I know what I want and other times I am not so sure.  I want my husband to move on with his life, which I think will slap reality right in my face.  Unfortunately, this is not the first time I have had an affair.  I have had counseling in the past and I thought all was fine. I just don't feel that we are soul mates.  I do however feel that we are best friends and I have a tremendous amount of guilt for what I have done to him.  I am fine, happy and continent (so far) when I don't see him and I get confused and sad when I do.  He has also had an affair 2 years ago.  It seemed as though he went through a mid-life crisis but at 31 years of age.  He no longer believed in God nor did he want me or the children.  It was very painful but I thought we had put are lives back together.  I started to realize there was trouble about 6-8 months ago and I began looking over the Internet when I found who I feel as though I don't want to live without.  He lied about his age telling me he was 41 which I was fine with.  He told me after we became serious that he was 49 and had been married for 25 years not 20.  I love him just the same.  I feel terrible for his
wife, for I know the pain.  I worry that he is going through a mid-life crisis and I don't want him to loose his family if that is all it is. His wife know nothing but at anytime my spouse could tell all.  I feel as though he is truly in love and I feel the same.  I have never felt this way before but I know people feel as though they are in love all the time.   I know the odds are against us but I do hope that one day he will be by my side forever.  Please help!

Kelly

July 4, 2000

Hi,
   I'm bisexual, openly married to a man and HAD a female partner for two years (she is also married to a man) - Her husband knew of our relationship, they didn't have a good communication or emotional/physical bond. She wanted to leave her husband, at this point he got a lawyer and exposed her to her family as a bisexual adulterer! She was not open about her sexuality to her family. She was devestated emotionally. The lawyer told her that she would lose custody and have severly restricted visitation of her son since she has a sexual preference other than hetero!(they live in the state of Alabama) Her family sided with her husband, he played the victim! Her husband has decided to take a moral ground after two years of open-ness?! I just don't get where he comes from. It seems very controling and possessive. It has made me realize how fortunate I am having a loving emotionally open man who loves and trusts me. She wants to have a secret relationship (emotional) with me, I'm not really up for that but I do remain in contact as a friend. Her husband knows I write and call her occasionally. I don't know what he thinks about that. She says she still wants to be with me, and I feel the same about her. There is no forward movement. She is stuck in her marriage - using one's sexuality and child to emotionally blackmail the one you love is moral? I guess having two partners is immoral for some - I'm honest with them both. My husband and my woman did not have a problem with this, nor did I. It was wonderful!! I don't think it's going to end in a positive way for her, no matter what she does and there's nothing I can do  - is there? She has decided to use him to go to school and then divorce him several years from now, based on grounds "other than her sexual preference" so she can get custody. Is her brain working??!! She said a lawyer gave her this advice.... neither of them is willing to go to counceling. They have made some really bad choices and there is no going backwards.... Is my staying in contact helping or hurting, it seems to help relieve some of her emotions since she is not allowed to "be gay" in her own
home. It's been about 6 months since we broke off... I feel like moving on.
Thanks,
Beth

____________________________

i dont now where to start, i been married to this guy for 18 years, at first he was so nice, then we married, as soon as we married he change i wouldnt were makeup, or clothes i picked out, no friends, wanted to know who i was talking to on the phone, ect... i have 3 children, he swears like a truck driver and drinks beer like its going out of business, his mood swings changes, he gets mad all the time, he gets mad at my children alot, he cheated on me before, he is telling me that i have
something going on behind his back, i dont have time to cheat, if the kids and i go out he ask the children (who did your mom talk to), here is my question>>> we have a small bussness together, he  let this lady move her stuff in , se is pretty her marriage is not good, she is always at his business with this clothes you couldnt understand how she can were them, my hsband always talking about this lady, he wants me to be friends with her invit her over for coffee, ect. she wants to came over and clean my house, nothing is wrong with my house, my house is CLEAN, i was at our business over the weekend, i was movingthings around she said OH NO I DONT WANT IT OVER THERE< LETS MOVE IT OVER HERE, shedoesnt pay any rent, please help, my husband knows i dont like this setup, he tells me i am jeauslys, he dosent see a problem with this setup, who is right or who is wrong? thanks

CINDY

____________________________

I feel so much for CH writing in September. My marriage blew up in my face four weeks ago. I don't believe my husband has yet actually started an affair, but I feel sure it's on his mind. He has begun a new job, and gone onto antidepressants, and the effect is dramatic. What little spare time he has from the demanding job, he wants to be with his brother and sister, or his group of male friends. They spend their time moaning about their wives. The kids never see him now. He told me he isn't old (44), he wants to do lots of exercise, I just don't share his interests, we're moving apart and have to recognise it .. rand it seems he really resents me for earning money and trying to help when he was so depressed before. In a rare burst of honesty he told me he hated women, really, they took advantage of you when you were a young, horny man and now he had the power he was glad. He resented some affairs I had years ago, before we were married, and I had no moral high ground left...I believe the next step in all this is almost certainly an affair, probably with someone younger (I am 42). I hate it now always haveing to be the 'boring' 'responsible' one, but someone's got to keep the children going and run the home. I just gave up my job, finally, so at least one of us could be home. Worst of all, I still love him, and I'm desperate at the thought of losing everything we had. He's tensely polite to me now, all the time. If we go out together, it's very uncomfortable. Last night at the theater he spent the interval making calls to his (male) friend on his mobile phone instead of talking to me. I feel so undervalued, taken advantage of, and miserable. Why can't he love m? I've kept my looks, I am slim, I look pretty good for someone my age. I'd like some fun too - with him. He used to love me so much. Thanks for listening.

GP

August 5, 2000

I am a forty year old woman who has recently began having an affair.  I was married for twenty years to a man who was very controlling and abusive. He had many affairs during our marriage yet I could NEVER bring myself to go out and have one tho opportunities existed.  Finally, he left me and our four children for one of his mistresses.  I was broken hearted yet looking back, it was the best thing that ever  happened to me.  Tho, he wanted to come back, I never allowed it. I moved to another
state to begin anew.  I went thru therapy to regain my self esteem.  I eventually began dating and was particularily interested in a man who lived yet in another state, but we made time for each other.  Our personalitites clicked immediately and the sex was the best I ever had. But my insecurities began to take over and I wanted more out of the relationship...I wanted commitment due to having the responsiblity of raising four children.  He has been a life long bachelor and wasn't ready for the commitment.  I then met another man who seem to be the one of my dreams.  We had the same interests and he treated me like a queen,
so I ended the other relationship, tho deep down I still had the "rush" for him.  We have been married for five years and everything has seem to fallen apart. In my first marriage, I was very insecure, clinging to my husband, now I find myself being "clung" to and it is driving me crazy, also my present husband likes to bitch about insignificant things and tho I tried talking to him about it, he promised to change and would for a week or two and then back to the same old thing.....then there is the
sex.....My first husband and I did have good sex, I was very inexperienced and he taught me everything, we had excitement.  Now with my present hubby, sex is BORING...he is inexperienced, doesn't enjoy certain things that I really do, the act does not last long and then afterwards he seems as if it was "dirty" to him.  Don't ask me how I didn't notice these things before we married..he seemed very into then. Now comes the affair...the man whom I was attracted to before I married the second time came back into town.  The attraction was always there but we did not act upon it until four months ago.  He was at birthday
party and we began to talk and one thing led to another and we agreed to meet later on that night.  I could not believe I could go thru with it, especially after my first marriage.  I went thru with it and it was the best sex I had in years.  I felt no guilt afterwards...none.  We have been together as often as possible since then.  There is NO possibility of us having a serious relationship because of the circumstances of both of our lives.  I cannot put my children thru another divorce and they have no clue that the present hubby and I are having difficulties. My husband is a good man but I am SO bored with him, especially
sexually...I can barely let him kiss me on the cheek.  The spark is gone.  I am not sure if my lover and I will be able to be together again because of circumstances but we keep in contact via phone.  He made me feel like a woman again....I had lost that.  Now, what I am do to do about my marriage....does the spark ever come back?  He has apologized for the mistakes he has made and wants to change and try to make it work....he has no ideal about my affair....but I have not led him on, have been honest concerning my feelings towards him and have not slept with him for almost a year yet he still wants to try....I just don't
know if its in me, but I have to stay because of the children...I have no other option.....how do I exist in this marriage.....what can I do? I think of the excitement of my lover and knew if he were to call and ask me to meet him, I would be there in a heartbeat.  After our "interludes", I feel let down....like after Christmas blues, then I miss and ache for him tho we can't be together.  I am feeling so crazy and need some advice...Sorry this is so long, but it felt great letting it out.

RH

August 20, 2000

Well it has been very interesting reading everyones comments regarding midlife affairs...but I think that there is somwthing that we're all overlooking, and that is true love...having an affair is just reaching out to find it, hoping that maybe the person you are going to have an affair with is "the one", and I truly do believe that once you find him or her, that you will be set free and all will be as it should.  God made someone for all of us, some of us have just not yet found him.  Keeping searching, don't let you life slip by without him or her, so you will never have regrets!

Peaches

September 10, 2000

Hi Mike,
I am a 46 year old woman who just ended an affair. It started innocently on the internet while doing some research with him. He lived in the eastern US, I lived in the west. Harmless? After several months of emailing him one day I realized that I cared very very much. It was some sort of love. All I knew was that I wanted to meet him. I flew back east and we had a torrid 5 day affair. The sex was fantastic and I loved him, I knew it. He was married , so was I. One day his wife got into his emails and found out. After smashing his computer to pieces, she 'forced' him to end it with me. I was devastated. For six months I cried, my heart ached and I missed him so. My marraige then fell apart. I ended up divorced, while he stuck with his marraige. He and his wife didn't get along, and hadn't for years. I wrote him a letter once a month telling him how I was etc. Finally, after another month or two, he started emailing me again. We re-pledged our love for each other and it started again. I was in heaven. Now I was free. I knew once we got back into this he'd leave his wife and marry me. I flew back east again
and we made love for 5 days...the passion was there, I gave him everything his wife didn't give him. He loved me, I knew it.
The subject came up while I was there and he basically told me he'd never leave his wife, even though he was unhappy with her, because he didn't want to mess up his life, his work, his family. I was crushed. I left, and broke it off. It's been a month. I sit and think about what happened. I was a mistress. I just knew he'd leave his wife for me...he didn't. I ended up divorced, with nothing, with nobody, and though he isn't happy, he has his family. The heartache is back, worse than the first time.
Women, listen, they don't leave their wives, even if they hate them....they don't want to give up anything for us. I've vowed to never get involved with another married man...It's too hard. They just hurt you.

MW

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This site is just what I had been looking for.  I have been married for 11 years.  Our marriage has never been what I thought it should be.  I have been thinking of a seperation for about a year but couldn't make that move due to children, finance, etc..  We have now been separated for about a month.  Recently, I became involved with a man.  We only met a few times, were never intimate and were quickly discovered by both spouces.  Yes, I agree, still damaging, but the affair was still only at
the emotional level.  This man and I have decided to end all contact for 6 months, inorder to give each other and our marriages a chance....and to decide what we want.  I know what the right answer is, but cannot seem to get away from the feelings.....Now, I am even more confused. The thoughts of him and what I think might be are overwhelming at times
and make it difficult for me to concentrate on preseving my marriage.  I am hoping that time and an counceling effort will help and I am hoping that this man will let things go also and not contact me in 6 months.  I have really made a mess of a situation that could have been corrected long ago.

Grey

September 17, 2000

I am very happy this site exists.  I have been involved with a married man for over a year now and I can tell you that it is nowhere.  I am 41 divorced, he is 44 married with four kids.  He is affluent, charming, and most of all MANIPULATING!!!  I have asked him not to call, explained to him what he had to lose if he got caught, told him I did not want to be his or anyone's mistress, etc.......They become so pompous and arrogant that my requests for him to leave me be are just ignored.  I am now thinking about moving to another state to get this off my plate.  To blow the whistle on him only means destroying innocent kids.  However, I do believe that something is amiss in the marriage or he would not be doing this.  It is not worth it.  If you meet someone married, run for your life!!

MAS

September 25, 2000

Hello all
In May this year I posted a question regarding polyamory.  I thought some of you might be interested in what's happened since then.

After much debate, we decided to post a personal ad on the internet.  Ultimately, after a few false starts, we met another couple with similar interests and concerns.  Well, first off, let me say that group sex is amazing!!!  Our first sexual experience together was deeply and intensely satisfying for all of us.  However, managing the complex web of relationships between four individuals and two couples is extremely challenging - I don't yet know where we will end up, but we have already shared something incredibly intense.

This "affair" has had a tremendously positive impact on the relationship between my husband and I.  We've come away from it with a much deeper, stronger bond - we have more respect for each other, don't take each other for granted, and we realize just how comfortably the old shoe fits.

I recognize from the responses I got to my original post that there are few people out there for whom honesty is a core value.  It would seem that many people find the danger of being caught the most stimulating aspect of an affair.  For those of you who don't, for whom honesty, openness and trust are key to the success of your relationships, non-monogamy is possible!  North America has adopted a paradigm wherein total monogamy is the only socially acceptable option.  This is not true in other cultures, and is not a requirement for a happy marriage.  Indeed, I would posit that only in exceptional circumstances can a couple maintain a long term exclusively monogamous relationship and be happy.

On an individual basis, the relationship has boosted my husband's self-esteem.  He was relatively inexperienced when we married, and the opportunity to engage in such activities has broadened his sexual experience and his confidence tremendously.  For myself, the relationship has helped me on the road to coming to grips with my own sexuality - it turns out I'm not the only insatiable woman out there!

Ultimately, we may all become "swingers", although right now none of us are really comfortable with the concept of "recreational sex".  We value the friendship and mutual respect that come from an ongoing relationship.  To sum up, we have found the novelty and hot sex we were looking for - the romance, along with a lot more hot sex, we found in our own marriage once we had left the 'rut'.

Lorelei

P.S. to RM - why don't you introduce the two of them?  Statistics show that approximately 80% of women are bisexual - if they hit it off, you're laughing!  Just make sure you see the movie "Sex Monster" first!

PPS to Beth - your story is heart-wrenching, and pity the poor child being raised in an atmosphere of hatred and loathing...  Has your friend considered the long term effects on her son?  What kind of person will he turn out to be?   I don't think there's anything you can do, since you mentioned this is in Alabama.  There are other jurisdictions where discrimination on the basis of sexual preference is illegal, but I guess she can't move?  Your friend must choose the path that is in the best interests of her child - personally, I don't think she is, but I can't  even imagine what living in this type of situation would be like, so I can't provide any advice.  Good luck...
PPS to Cindy - pray that he will leave, in the long run this will be the best day of your life.  You made a mistake marrying him, but you were young.   Just don't make the same mistake again!  It may take years to sort yourself out - but through it all remember that you are an important person, you have a tremendous amount of potential: you are loving, giving, caring,
you are a good mom.  Your children will learn from you to be strong - if he stays they will learn from him to be boors.

____________________________

I found this site while my new husband is asleep in front of the TV.  (So much for midlife crisis!)  I was originally married at 19 and was never quite satisfied in that marriage that lasted 17 yrs and produced 2 kids.  I cheated on my husband 3 times before I found "the right one", and I married him.  3 1/2 yrs later...SURPRISE...he found that I wasn't "the right one" for him and he moved on to another relationshiip and divorced me.  (I heard  "what goes around, comes around" too many times.)  Bottom line is: we were not meant to make that solemn commitment, then break it at will.  Do we remember saying, "for better or for worse?"  I kept on looking for the right man to make me feel a certain way.  There was a deep need within myself that I needed to address with God.  I have returned to the Christianity of my youth to find forgiveness, compassion, and a new life through my Lord Jesus Christ.  In His infinite wisdom, He has allowed me to have what I needed all along, and that was a loving christian husband.  I am not lucky...I am blessed to have another chance.  Keeping commitments to spouses and families is always the best way to avoid pain and heartache for everyone.  I should know.  I've seen it from both sides!

41 yr old cindy

December 18, 2000

Dear Mike

I thought you may like an update

I approach Christmas with a harmony I have never known before. My marriage is sounder.. I am not constantly yearning
I have the most wonderful, considerate lover . He is a knight of this new century.

We have shared some wonderful enriching moments.

It is a spiritual communion.

I would not  for one moment expect many to understand. In no way is either marriage in jeopardy.... we just enrich
and complete each other with our shared intimacy.   One day  the season of autumn will come, I believe .

But I am not" living tomorrow today." It has taken me awhile to reach this stage of acceptance.

For some time I did feel asunder as you suggested..

Thank You for listening and providing this site. I wish you all the blessings of the Season.

P

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I know that my husband is not having an “affair” but he has a friendship with a younger married woman that makes me feel extremely uncomfortable.  I am on anxiety medication and drinking too much because I can’t seem to get past the jealousy that I feel.  To start with, my husband asked me if she could be his friend and I said yes, thinking that he will treat her like any other friends we have.  Well, I have set rules like “you cannot go in her house when no other adult is present” and “please don’t touch her hand etc”.  He has stayed within the boundaries I set for him but I still feel jealous about his obvious attraction to her.
Every time I look around where ever we are he is by her, they talk on the phone every day and they see each other many times a week, – not privately most of the time, they email every day,  he has an obvious attraction to her that other people have also noticed and been bothered by.   Her husband seems to not have a problem with this at all.  The only other woman in our 18 year marriage that I have felt this strongly about was someone who just about took him away from me about 7 years ago (we still have incredible scars and he gets so angry at me when I relay that my feelings for this present girlfriend are exactly like the other time).  He tells me that he will NEVER want to go through that again!  He vows that he loves me and wants to be married to me.  My jealousy is beginning to destroy my marriage.  I really don’t know where to turn for help.  Does anyone have any advice?

Jealous wife

December 25, 2000

married 31 years -- intention -- to remain married  -- fact -- emotionally and to a lesser extent, sexually involved with a married man of slightly older age with younger family. He provides for me something which I have never had -- no-one is to blame -- I AM ambivalent about the situation BUT -- GLAD to have had the intensity of this experience -- PLUS -- I like this man. I do not want to wreck his life -- or mine. PREDICAMENT!!!!!!!!!! What are my options?? Believe me I can think or myself --- BUT --- am hugely influenced by conscience. Feedback appreciated -- 52 years old, 3 adult children, none married, all educated.Good husband of same age -- BUT probably -- married in haste ( ME -- for security becvause of family instability) and now older and wiser but understanding selfish motives underpinning this friendship/affair. Is it possible to walk this fine line????

HU

My finacee began having an affair about a year ago. I didn't know about it but I knew that something was going on with him. I thought that he was having a midlife crisis and i was  willing to work on it with him. He was the sweetest man and we had 4 children and 2 grandchildren between us. We had been living together for 13 years and for legal reasons we had not gotten married yet. We became engaged in April and by August he was beginning to have feelings for his best friends wife. To
make a long story short she told her husband and he left her. When i finally found out I asked him to leave and to think about things. It wasn't until after he moved out that i found out that it had been going on for about 9 months. I was and am devastated. I have never been brought so low at any time in my life. This has destroyed her family and my family. She is getting a divorce and her family is a mess. She has 3 children and they are devastated. He has still not told me what happened and has not even admitted to having an affair with her. I don't know what to do anymore. I am in counseling and I am finally getting back on the road to normalcy.

I would like some advice regarding what i should do now. I have not talked to him but i have written him a letter letting him know that i know everyting now. I 'm lost...does anyone have any advice for me?

ST

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Dear Mike..
Would this help jealous wife?
 What is LOVE?

PL

July 1, 2001

My opinion is that a man and woman cannot truly love without being totally connected soul "and" body. Why are so many of you wanting and dealing with affairs? Life is not this hard, it's simple but it's not easy. I divorced 20 years ago because we were not compatible. My children were very young at the time. We had many assets from being married 20 years, but we divided it as community property - what was fair. I knew I had a lot to give up, but I also knew that I deserved to have a beautiful life,
and provide one for my children, and together we made very "sure" we did! After reading all these notes, I don't hear much that is positive. Most of life "is" positive and the law gives us divorce so that we do not have to live forever with someone when we made a mistake (we are human) a an early, inexperienced age. Divorce and get out of what you're not happy in. I do believe the right one is out there, and I've met him twice in 20 years, to find out that he wasn't Mr. Right after long relationships...but...I had the freedom to make choices. That is what dating and romance is for, to find out the extent of it. Affairs are not necessary, lives are NOT torn apart if handled with maturity and care, as my husband and I did. He has been remarried for 15 years and we are still good friends as are our children. They are now both married, very well educated, and exceptionally positive human
beings. There is no "need' for all this heart wrenching pain, no need to force yourself to stay with your spouse....if it is not meant to be. Both of you can handle it carefully, split, and carry on new lives. Believe me, it's much better for both spouses and for the children, to have your life happy and whole as we did ours. I would sure love to hear more optomism and not all pessimism, for I know that life does "not" have this much pain, pain is merely an attitude. Sex is truly beautiful, but do not consent to have it without body and soul, that is what is destructive.

ML

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I am a 39 yr women. three children.  My husband of 12 yrs left me and my children. He had gone to his xmas party got blastered, next day we had a party as he was shutting the lights off outside I asked him to stay out there to sober up.  He disappeared for 4 hrs.  Said he was parked on the side of some road.  A few days later, when I thought he was at work, I found out he called his brother said he couldn't go fishing with him cause he was at work, my sister in law checked the caller Id he was at his boss's house at 5:00.  I am no dummy, he totally denies having an affair, He has made no attempt in the past 6 months to fix anything.  My children and I are very confused.  I still love him, and would like to make it work, going to therapy is helping me.  I just found out he has gone to a counselor. The counselor cant discuss what he said to him.  What should I do?  Do you think it is a good sign he at least called the counselor?
confused in PA

July 30, 2001

Hi, I'm a 40 year old college student researching for my internet assignment in Developmental Psychology.  My topic is Midlife "crisis" .  I am a recovering addict who never really tried to grow up emotionally until recently...and only recently because I started feeling like I have to get my act together, afterall, my siblings are all older..one sister raised her family and died 5 years ago.  With both parents dead now, I feel like a little abandoned orphan instead of an adult ...most people have lost and dealt with the loss of parents by my age. I have had several long term relationships...after a short-term marriage!  I married at 21, but got divorced not even 3 years later.  Then I had several live-in situations, each lasting several years.  I went back to school 2
years ago while living with a man 2 years older than me...he had fibromyalgiaand had pretty much taken to living like a hermit.  After a strained existence together, I left in December to live on my own for the first time...at 39!   I have felt at turns optimistic, then pessimistic and critical of my life. I had a promotion at my job of 5 years...but I still only make $8.50 an hour!...I really discovered how pitiful this is since having to live off of this "salary". I feel ashamed when comparing my "accomplishments" with ofther people my age.  I have an art degree from many years ago, but never made anything of it...Finally I just lost
my creative streak.  Now I' am a health science major with the goal of becoming a dietitian.  I work in a nursing home writing  dietary assessment s and careplans.   I have a  dietary manager's certification  that enables me to work in other hospital or institution settings, but I feel like it's all just "burger slinging" but in a medical setting. Just before I turned 40,  I noticed a younger guy at work...something I would never have considered inthe workplace before...I  initiated a relationship with him.  neither of  was committed to anyone else at the time, but I found that he is only 28...and also a former addict!...We saw
each other frequently and he  subsequently moved in with me. Incidentally, we are both Amerasian...I was born here, he was born in Vietnam and of unknown parents.   Maybe we related to each other's lonliness.    We got married several weeks ago...much to the dissapproval of many...my supervisors included.    Some resent the idea because he was supposed to be an employee under my supervision.  We married quietly, but everyone knows our business!  Sometimes we are really very happy together in a childlike way, other times it's uncertain with one or the other bein moody and doubtful.   Often I feel insecure and sad when I see he is restless.  He admits being uncomfortable at times with the age difference....(I  am still asked for an ID at times)....but  I really feel at times that my moody 28 year old husband is more like an overgrown adolescent!.   Sometimes we have great companionship...I'm talking about cooking together, laughing together, aside from the sex which is still great even after the initial spark has waned somewhat. Other times, especially when our lack of money is the issue, it seems the relationship is barely holding together.  I have great fondness (love?) for him. I have had a supervisor call it infatuation, but I resent this quick dismissal of my feelings as something invalid!  'What is your opinion of this May/December romance...have you seen such "Mid-Life" crisis romances(as another employer put it) survive?  I'd be heartbroken I'm sure ifI have to go through that kind of pain this late life, but maybe my worries are really minimal.  Afterall, all relationships must take effort and maintenance.

MG

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