I don't know what to do. Is my marriage doomed? My husband loves another woman and says he loves me too.
posted by anonymous to human relations (75 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
I'm so sorry this will be long. I know I should probably edit it better. It's hard at the moment. I have been married for 14 years and the two of us have been together for 20. He is 7 years younger than I am. The relationship has been disgustingly happy until... now, really. We don't even fight, really.
Before he met me, he had a major, major thing for a girl he knew in school, before he met me. She didn't want to date him; she just wanted to be friends. He told me about all of this when we started dating. Then all these years later, along comes Facebook. Perhaps you can guess where this is going. A while ago I saw her name appear in his friends list. I have quite a few old crushes in mine, and there has been no problem there, and neither of us is a jealous person, so I didn't say anything. But yet, I felt a twinge there and was a bit bothered by it. I have never ever felt jealousy about his female friends before.
At first they got together with several high school friends on nights when I was working or had other stuff going on.
But then it got worse. She seemed to always be around. He posts on Facebook and she's the first one to comment. He goes out with the boys and then somehow ends up meeting her and hanging out with her. She is having financial struggles, so he and another old high school friend buy her a laptop together! She sends some texts indicating that she might be suicidal, and he says he needs to drive 30 miles to her house at night to talk her out of it. (He does tell me this and invites me to join him. I can't, because I have a pile of work to do and I'm already exhausted. I don't want him to go, but of course I don't want to be the one who keeps him from helping her if she's really suicidal. He goes, and comes back hours later -- she's still alive, but really messed up, I guess.)
He tries to get all three of us to hang out together. "You have so much in common! I want you to be friends!" I don't really want to do this. He invites her to some stuff and I really don't like this and finally start telling him that I am really not OK with it. He tells me "she is just a really, really good friend and I want you to be friends."
Then he starts trying to make her go to the doctor for some medical issues (she apparently was avoiding needed medical stuff for lack of insurance or something), and when I ask what he's doing this weekend, he says "I'm taking (her) to the eye doctor." He's paying for it, too. I don't understand. She is an adult, after all. He didn't see her for 20 years and does not owe her any of this. I asked "Why are you doing things like this for her?" And he said the words that destroyed me: "Because I love her." Then, a beat later: "I'm not in love with her..."
He says he loves us both, and can't bear the thought of losing either of us, but that she has awoken "the 18 year old (him)" that has been dormant for many years, and that losing her would be like "shooting (his 18 year old self) in the head." He wants us both in his life. I am devastated.
I think this sounds like a classic midlife crisis, actually. He has the exciting "one that got away" suddenly reappearing, and she represents fantasy and youth. (He's 38.) And then he has me, the one who has been there for him for 20 years, who loved him even when this other woman rejected him. But I'm not the exciting one, I'm the every day one, the one who he's seen ill and unshowered and snoring and all of that stuff.
So I guess he told her that he told me and that my reaction was... less than positive. Her response? To tell him she can't see him any more. She doesn't want to be part of breaking up a marriage -- she doesn't want to be that woman. (My understanding is that their relationship didn't get physical, though of course I could be wrong. And I think that there had to be some hugging or whatever when he was "counseling" her.)
So now he is heartbroken over losing her and doesn't know what to do. I can't exactly console him over his loss. I feel like I've been kicked in the gut. Until this broke open late Friday, our relationship was still very affectionate and close, though now I am afraid to talk to him or touch him. I feel like he will resent me for driving her out of his life, and I am terrified that he will leave. And until now, I never really could have even thought that this would happen. Even when I started feeling twinges of jealousy over her, I did not think this would happen. He keeps telling me he loves me, he loves me, he's so so sorry, and that he's really fucked things up... and that he wants us to get through this and come out OK on the other side... but yet I don't know that I can believe this. And he can't say what he wants. He doesn't know, he says, and this terrifies me.
I don't think he's actually even lied to me throughout this (other than the omission of not telling me what was starting to happen), and yet, I don't know if I can trust him. I feel like this is a death blow to a relationship.
I don't know what to do. I just want to be back where we were before. I was so happy. So happy. I want to believe that we can stay together and be happy again. I want to believe that he will want that. I don't know if I can believe it. I know we probably need counseling. He doesn't know yet what he wants to do there. I don't know how to find one. I don't want to find a therapist who will just tell him to throw it all away.
Is there hope? I love my husband so much, I love our life together, and can't imagine a life without him. I want so much to grow old with him. I can't even imagine being with someone else. I don't want that. I don't want to be alone, either. How have others gone through this? What should I do?
I have set up a feedback address at firstname.lastname@example.org if needed.