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Do all marriages eventually become passionless marriages of convenience?
September 10, 2005
4:17 pm
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luckyguy
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I need some answers to this question:

Are all marriages destined to degrade into empty, meaningless, passionless, sexless partnerships of convenience after a few years? Is that all I should ever expect? Maybe all my hopes and dreams of sharing my life intimately with someone were just a fairytale. Maybe the only marriages that last are when people simply resign themselves to the fact that this is all there is. That's what my parents did. They don't even sleep in the same bedroom anymore. And my own marriage is passionless and sexless, and we don't even care.

Does anybody here have a marriage they feel happy in after 10 years or more? I'm not saying perfect, but generally fulfilled? Is it possible?

September 10, 2005
4:19 pm
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luckyguy
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WHY IS THERE NO EDIT BUTTON IN THIS FORUM?

Title should be:

"Do all marriages eventually become passionless marriages of convenience?"

September 10, 2005
4:49 pm
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gingerleigh
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I think most of the people posting on here have relationship problems, so you might not see too many eye-witness accounts. But I know for a fact that some marriages just work, because the two of them work on them. The parents of a friend of mine are such a pair. They are both in their fifties, and have been married for almost 30 years. At my friend's wedding, I was a bridesmaid, and after the reception I caught her parents groping like teenagers in a darkened hallway. I screamed. They screamed. We laughed about it the next day.

So no, it doesn't have to be that way, but it seems like it takes a lot of hard work to keep the passion in the marriage, much love for the other person and oneself.

September 10, 2005
5:11 pm
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Shaney
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No, I don't believe this at all. I know many couples who have great marriages after 10 plus years - it's work - there have been difficulties, ranging from financial to circumstancial - but they have managed to pull through. The thing that all of these couples have in common is a strong foundation - they went into the marriage with faith being the center of their existence, respect, trust, communication, and a complete committment to one another. When things came up that challenged the marriage, they had that common foundation to fall back on, to get them through tough times. They work on their marriage constantly by placing value and making continuous efforts in the little things that matter to one another. If one of your top priorities in life is to support and make your spouse happy, and your spouse believes that to be his/her top priority, then how can you go wrong? Two selfish people in a marriage is a disaster - resentment and bitterness brew, followed by coldness and lack of communication... it only gets worse with time.

September 10, 2005
5:46 pm
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luckyguy
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Shaney

What is the foundation was never strong to begin with... and it just got worse from there? A marriage based on lies, mistrust, and one-way communication. What if there's just no common foundation to fall back on? Is there any hope?

September 10, 2005
6:34 pm
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gingerleigh
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There's always hope. But it takes two people who are both willing to start fresh with each other. Does your wife want to work on things too? Is she unhappy as well?

September 10, 2005
6:38 pm
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Shaney
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Hi lucky - I've kept up with your posts, and know your story. I'm not sure what the both of you REALLY want from this marriage. Or if you really want to be married to this woman at all? What true commomalities did the two of you start with?

I think that when a relationship comes to a head, both parties have to break down, to the most basic of all emotion and feeling. Only when BOTH parties reach this point - forgetting the walls that have been built up, the pride, the protective games - only then, can you truly express to the other what you REALLY want and need from eachother. Once you can be honest with yourself and eachother, then you can make a decision about your relationship, and then a plan. This type of openness, in itself, can create intimacy - because it takes trust. Do you TRUST eachother enough to be this open? Ask yourself, honestly, if your relationship, through the years has ever had any of the ingredients to that strong foundation. Do you think it ever could?

September 10, 2005
11:12 pm
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thewall
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Luckyguy,

I've been married for 17 yrs and both of us are totally happy. We are truely soul mates. And you wanna know why? Because our relationship is built on trust and we've never given each other reason to doubt or break that trust...we have the same goals for our future, the same taste in many things, the same belief system, and when one of us is hurting we work together to find a solution. We respect each other, like each other, and love each other more as the yrs go on. We are a team and we are awesome.

As I said in a previous post of yours, I honestly don't know how in the world anyone can be married to someone for so long with so little love or commonalities or trust, or respect or...........

luckyguy, what are you afraid of? Whats keeping you from finding the happiness you want and deserve? Something is, otherwise you wouldn't have stayed with her for so long.
You do deserve happiness, you do know this, right? Some part of you knows it, otherwise there wouldnt be such a struggle with this issue or staying or leaving.

Stop allowing fear to control you and do something.

Oh, and by the way...there isn't a problem or issue in our sex life either. WE are regulars and quite satisfied ๐Ÿ™‚

So, ok, if my marriage is so wonderful why am I here? Actually I happened to stumble across this websight and found it interesting. And bc i work in the field of psychology. And, ok, bc I had an abusive childhood and learned alot in my pain and in my healing since then.

thewall

September 10, 2005
11:24 pm
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Neshema
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my parents have been married for 48 years, and I have never heard them be disrepectful to each other. I truly believe they have never cheated. I truly believe they are still in love. They never drank or used drugs. They had common friends. That is my dad did not leave my mom at home to go out with the boys. They are awesome. My mom is now very ill, and my dad is amazing. They have lived the words, "for sickness and in health, for better or worse, richer or poorer." I guess that is one reason I cannot find someone. I cannot seem to find that model and would never settle for less. I am willing to work at it, but so many people think marriage is disposable. I am not advocating staying in a bad marriage. I am just telling you that, there are some marriages that work. What is my parents' secret? They say it is all about respect....oh, and they have a rule that they never go to bed angry or sad. So, they grew together instead of apart. I think everyday they are more in love...it seems so simple, yet most of never find it.

September 10, 2005
11:44 pm
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HOLLY BERRY
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My dad believed in love, for better or for worse...but obviously my mother did not. He said - "It's easy to get through the good times, it's how you deal with the bad times that tell the level of love involved." My dad died in a nursing home in 2001 of Alzheimer's disease, with my brother and me holding him in our arms. Mother arrived just in time for his death. She isn't a cold, calculating, bitch...she is really a nice lady, but very selfish (only child). I still have a lot of resentment due to the fact that she left to go eat breakfast while he was dying, and that she placed him in a nursing home in the first place. Even though he stayed with me for a few weeks, and I saw what a physical and emotional strain his care caused, if I had been in her circumstances, I couldn't have sent him away. She is a diabetic, but if it had been my husband, I would have stuck a snack bar in my purse on the way to the nursing home.....but then ...don't judge me til you have walked a mile in my mocassins....

But then, I guess my mother is a better person than I am because she NEVER cheated, and I have. I have a healthy marriage, until it comes to feelings of esteem, and passion. I want to be told I am beautiful and sexy, but my husband just can't say those words, nor can he be passionate. I want to dance. I want to kiss, and flirt, and tease. I don't know what is wrong with me, but I think all marriages have their problems. I know that you can't just each give 50%, you have to each give 100%. I guess it all goes back to the "golden rule", to love your neighbor as yourself. That is when the spouse is bitching, you don't bitch back, you just keep loving and be sweet, perfect, nice, considerate, etc. (ha ha ha)It's hard to do, especially being needy for love as I am.....whish I as as healthy emotionally as I am sexually.

I've been told in this site that I may have sexual addiction. I disagree, I don't exploit others, indulge in indecent acts, observe porn, etc.

I'm confused too.....HB

September 10, 2005
11:58 pm
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hollow
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Yes. Life sucks. Aim for contentment.

September 11, 2005
12:16 am
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Shaney
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My deepest congratulations to those who know someone, or who are in a successful relationship. Stories like these are inspirational, and it makes me hopeful in my own relationship. Thanks for sharing Nesh and thewall.

September 11, 2005
12:56 am
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Neshema
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So, some my wonder what my problem is if my parents were so great or why I am here. Thewall told you why he was here. Wall, doesn't matter if your background is psych. My ex-bf was an ACOA who was a psych prof and licensed clinician who went off his psych meds. Whatever my background and credentials, it doesn't matter. The people here all are supporting each other. I am here for the same reason. I may have great parents, and maybe those great parents set an impossible example. Thus, like many others here, I am lonely and probably have put up with more than I should in relationships, trying to make mine like my parents'. Strangely enough, all the theories of having terrible childhoods in psych didn't explain my issues...neither does low self esteem or anything else you are going to find on a standard depression inventory. The fact is that in today's world, most people don't have the manners they had when my parents were younger, and they are fairly self-absorbed. I just yesterday, I was told the hurricane victims would want us to get on with our lives...this to justify working on a Friday nite instead of volunteering to help with supplies. I mean, come on, whatever happened to Maslow's hierarchy of needs? So, that is my problem. I was a victim once, and I wanted the entire world to stop and pay attention and help me. Everyone should listen to Barbara Streisand's old song, People who Need People. Whatever happened to that mentality? That is my problem. Oh and on a related note, I cannot find what my parents have...i just find a lot of the same crap described here, and it doesn't matter what the heck my background is. Yeah, I am bitter...sorry.
Neshie, Ph.D.

September 11, 2005
7:43 am
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CODA_Mom
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Hey luckyguy,

Marriage has to be the commitment of a man and a woman dedicated to each other's well-being. Do you truly like each other? Do you enjoy just being together and learning from each other? Or are you married singles?

When my husband and I married (25 years ago this November) the first thing we did was go on a Marriage Encounter weekend. We had both come from failed, abusive marriages in addition to coming from abusive homes while growing up. Had lots of baggage and we were both emotionally scarred from all of that.

We learned that marriage is not 50-50, it should actually be 100-100. It takes hard work to stay committed to the same individual "for better or worse", "in sickness and in health". You have to choose each day to love your mate and make them a top priority in your life. Yeah, the passion is great but should only be the icing on the cake.

After all these years, I still love my husband dearly. Even though at times he can do things to "drive me up the wall", I know that I do that to him as well. We talk things out, never argue, and we laugh. We allow each other room to grow and we share the responsibilites around and outside the home. We pray together every morning before we leave for work and take the kids to school. This is the glue that has helped to bind us together through the hard times.

Nothing special, only two older people (50's) who have learned that there is no place for selfishness in a relationship, only a deep respect and willingness to put each others' needs as a top priority.

Hang in there, it is definitely worth the effort.

Blessings,

CM

September 11, 2005
7:55 am
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Anonymous
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When I thought I was trying so hard, I was actually pushing it quite a bit. Come to think of it. Iยดm considered non-assertive... It lasted 14 years and most were good ones.

September 11, 2005
8:32 am
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Hi Lucky,

I agree with CodaMom.

I think most of us not only fall in love with a person but we also fall in love with a fantasy that we have created for ourselves.

I personally do not believe that human beings are meant to be monogamous and to live happily ever after. I believe that is what fairy tales are made of, not real life. Not to mention the fact that men and women are wired soooo differently, it's a wonder that we get together at all!

Having said that, I do not believe that it is impossible. I believe that it takes COMMITMENT and a lot of hard work. These days with the divorce rate at over 50%, it is obvious to me that people are not willing to make that commitment. Everyone wants everything to wine and roses all the time but that is not realistic. In a marriage you have two completely different people from completely different backgrounds (no matter how similar they may be), living together. Now add work, errands, finances, kids, cleaning, fixing the car, school, mowing the lawn, cooking dinner, re-doing the house, making time for the kids, making time for each other, the boss is giving you deadlines, etc.etc. See where I'm going with this.....

It is not easy. No one ever said it was easy....but it can be done.

When we go to school (especially as adults), we make a commitment....and we do it. Whether we feel like it or not. When we go to work....we make a commitment to do our jobs...and we do it. Whether we feel like it or not. But when it comes to marriage, as soon as things go bad we all want to bail and we convince ourselves that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. The only problem with that is once we get there, we realize the grass over there needs to be watered as well.

If things are getting boring at home....spice it up. If you are arguing to much....learn how to communicate. If you or wife are overwhelmed by something....offer to help out.

I'm not suggesting staying in a bad marriage (nor will I suggest to end one), I'm just trying to point out that relationships are not easy. It takes commitment and it takes work....but they can be successful if we put forth the effort.

Good luck,
Lolli

September 11, 2005
8:35 am
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mamacinnamon
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I come from a marriage (13 years) that has endured ALOT of trials. Evil X, almost lost our child as a baby, hubby's falling in and out of addiction, my illness for the last 10 years, hubby working 7 nights a week to support his family.

We have had many problems, but our marriage tho at times has seemed shaky has endured and will continue to endure. I agree... marriage takes 100% from each party. It takes one party keeping their mouth shut when the other spouts off for whatever reason. It takes one party carrying the other thru a hardship or illness or just a plain ol bad day. It takes a total commitment no matter what storms blow thru.

Even when we are going thru trials and hardships I have no doubt my hubby loves me and he also has no doubt that I love him w/ my whole heart. We still do the passionate things as kiss, flirt, tease. We dance in the rain. I still cannot get him to pull over at the side of the road and dance w/ me but the day is coming. Our kids still give us the "aww come on now, can you take it elsewhere".

It takes the effort of two. It takes that peck on the cheek and walk away when the other is ready to lose it. It takes learning to work together and also giving each other space when needed.

Is marriage hard? Does marriage take constant work? Heck yes, but well worth it.

September 11, 2005
11:31 pm
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Anonymous
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I have been married 19 years and 9 months and I have bave wondered how it has lasted this long. We have gone through the young married stage, the mid-life crisis stage, losing a baby, raising three kids under 5... infidelity. Boy all I can think is we are both co-dependent. We can't seem to leave each other alone. I think normal marriages has highs and lows and that anyone who stays married longer than 5 years knows that it takes more than love to stay together. I think marriage starts off passionate and can in time becomes a caring mature relationship. Love and respect should always be there though.

September 12, 2005
12:06 am
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luckyguy
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thewall

I just wanted to say thank you for all the support you have given me in your posts in this topic and in others. It is really greatly appreciated by me, and it means a lot to me. I value your opinions very much.

Your marriage sounds like the marriage I always dreamed of. You are very lucky. It just seems like such an unattainable fantasy to me.

And I know any marriage takes work. Any relationship of any kind does. I don't expect perfection.

I am still looking for my soul mate. It is not my wife. It never was. But my wife feels that I am her soul mate. And this makes it so hard for me. I feel like a terrible person. We are both depressed, taking antidepressants, and seeing therapists.

I have two close female friends who are both married. I've known them both for about 2 years. They live out of town, so we talk on the internet (chat) and on the phone. I am able to share everything with them that I never could share with my wife. I always felt judged by my wife, so I could just never open up to her completely. My friends don't judge me. They are the closest I've ever had to a soul mate.

And this make me even more sad. I always wanted a wife who I could share everything with like this, but I never could. I know there are women out there like that. I just don't know if I could ever find one who would want to be my wife.

You asked me what I'm afraid of, if I were to leave her. I am afraid of ending up alone for the rest of my life. I am afraid that there is something respulsive about me that drives women away from me, unless we are separated by a long distance somehow. I am afraid that my inability to have children will turn women away. I am afraid that my highly introverted personality and lack of self-confidence will prevent me from even meeting the right woman. I am afraid of hurting my wife and destroying her life -- I don't hate her. I am afraid of what it may do to my son. I am afraid of the financial problems it may cause. These are all things that keep me here. But they are not the right reasons to be married to someone.

September 12, 2005
12:34 am
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Neshema
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Lucky-

Not all women can have children. In fact, many of us are looking for a guy who won't be disappointed by the fact that we won't be having his children. So, you are not alone in that fear, believe it or not. So, I suspect that you just might not be alone in some of your other fears.

Now that you have disclosed your fears and what you feel is wrong with you, my question to you is of a more positive nature. What is that you have to offer another person whether it be your wife or some other woman? I am hearing you have a lot inside you that you want to share, but never figured how or with whom, and how to have your own needs met.

September 12, 2005
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mamacinnamon
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Lucky:

Did you love your wife when you married her? Was she the one for you?

I see you post to other women what you cannot share w/ your wife. From first hand experience.... That's the best way to break up any marriage. At one time my hubby, when he had fallen off the wagon, had befriended this woman at work. All of a sudden he cannot be there for me emotionally anymore, I won't let him be who he is, I'm ill and cannot get out and do the things he wants to do like skiing, playing pool, etc. etc. (I could be there w/ him I pointed out). Anyway, figured out she was just tellin him what he wanted to hear and that was that if he wanted to smoke pot then he should, if he wanted to get drunk in front of our kids it's his house, who is his wife to put rules on him......... (we set the rules together). So, she's makin me out to be the biggest bitch there is and controlling, etc., which maybe a bit I am but who isn't. When he finally pulled his head out, or should I say when I said there's the door I hope it puts a splinter in your butt when you walk out it and IF you sleep w/ anyone there will never be another chance... I walked out, and no the door did not hit me in the butt. I walk thru sidewards and hold it opened. lol. Anyway, he did come around and we learned a valuable lesson that we had been told but thought naw not us. When a husband or a wife start talking to a person of the opposite sex in a private manner and start talking about their marriage it opens the door to certain death. I know most will not agree, but I've seen it and lived it. Not to say you cannot still talk to you lady friends, but include your wife. I talk on the internet to a guy I dated in my teens, long ago, and my hubby says hi and interacts also. Your wife may not go for this. I had my feelings so hurt and so much resentment built up against this woman there would never be a way for us to have been cordial to one another. Then found out she was unhappy in her marriage and for,,, you got it,,, her hubby didn't want her smokin dope all the time. My oh my how the world turns.

What I am saying is.. IF you were in love with your wife in the beginning there is always a way to get back to your love. Not the love you had before, but to loving one another. You are both seeing therapists. What about together interactive marriage counseling? I'm not gonna sell you any roses. It will be long, hard work. 100% effort 24/7. But if you can get back to a place of love and some respect.... I'm just saying any marriage could get back to it. There are some instancess tho that are not worth trying to repair. You have to answer that question. You have all the usual reasons for not leaving. Why not find an abnormal reason to make your marriage work. Learn to love again.

Just my thoughts.

September 12, 2005
1:32 am
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Neshema
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mamac-

U r so wise. What about all the arranged marriages that end up working? Maybe my question should have been more like, "what can your wife offer you?" I just keep hearing what she can't offer you. She is, after all, a human being who considers you her soulmate. You really may be a luckier guy than most. Have you given the marriage a fighting chance? You married her for some reason. What does she have to offer you that is positive? I am asking you to dig deep, my friend. Tell me how beautiful she is inside and out.

September 12, 2005
1:50 am
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juniormint
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Lucky-
I know exactly the fears and feelings you are talking about. Maybe I'm not the best person to respond to your post because I am going through the same issues. The guilt can be overwhelming, and I ask myself why I feel entiteld to a more fulfilling relationship, when there are so many people who don't have anyone who cares for them? Like you, I understand that relationships are filled with highs and lows and are ever-evolving. But, what if the basic foundation is troubled...how do you fix something that isn't broken, but just missing?

I hope I haven't raised even more questions for you and muddled an already confusing situation. I just wanted to say that I understand how you are feeling and appreciate reading your posts and feeling understood as well. Thank you for sharing so eloquently.

September 12, 2005
6:31 am
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CODA_Mom
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luckyguy,

You have listed many fears in a relationship, but my guess is that you've possibly left out the main one, that is, fear of intimacy. Let's be honest, we can appear to be "perfect" in front of others, but it is impossible to do this with our spouses. You can be rejecting your wife because you're thinking that in time she is going to reject you, anyway.

Do you honestly think that it would be any different with anyone else? Maybe you feel closer with these other women, but if you were with one of them 24/7, how do you know that you wouldn't start pulling back again? Maybe your threshold would be a little bit higher, but my guess is that the shame issue would start rearing its ugly head again.

I have an excellent article on shame/rejection that I'd like to post when I have time, right now it is 6:30 am and I have to get ready for work. I'll try to post it later this week.

CM

September 12, 2005
9:06 am
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thewall
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Luckyguy,

I'm happy to be here. Thanks for appreciating my presence. ๐Ÿ™‚

As for wondering if a woman will not want you bc you can't have kids....you sound like a dream man to me ๐Ÿ™‚ My h and I don't have kids, by choice. We never tried to get pregnant, never wanted to in the 17yrs we've been married. It was never an issue for us. But now that we have little nieces and nephews we are soo happy we didn't have them. Maybe that's one of the reasons why our marriage has worked so well...kids are sooo much work and take its toll on a marriage.

You mention that your wife feels you are her soul mate. How does she turn, treat you, if this is the case? I think I remember in prev posts that she is critical and cruel, berating you, etc etc. Sorry hon but that's NOT how a woman treats her soul mate. If she truely felt this way then her actions would follow suit. Please make sure you point this out to her next time she's screaming at you or ripping you a new one. A woman who feels her husband is her soulmate treats him with respect, at the very least, then goes on to do little special things for him to make him feel wanted and special.

As for you and your female friends. It is safer behind this computer screen. I do understand that; less intimidating, the emotional sharing less embarrassing, the acceptance, the being there anytime day or night. But in reality you're infatuated with a computer screen who happens to answer back once in awhile.

A computer can be there anytime day or night, bc "she"(the computer) can answer you when she has a spare minute. She can erase the harsh words or not hit "send" once she is over the anger, can back space what she wrote if she finds that it sounds too harsh (in a sense can take back the words before they are spoken), can tune you in or out at her convienance, and when she is not in the mood to be there for you or when she has cramps, she can turn the computer off, can wait a few hrs or day to respond to your email, or can carefully choose her words when she is responding at that moment.

The computer never complains about you not picking up you sox, about not making enough money, about spending too much money, or about farting in bed.
The computer never tells you "no" when you ask her for sex b/c you can go on many websights if you wanted, when you wanted, to help you with that issue. She never has a headache, never has her monthly "issue", and always looks the same both day and night.

Wow, she sounds perfect doesn't she? But she isn't reality. As long as you continue to spend all (100%)of your emotional energy sharing your feelings with just the women on the computer, then you don't have any energy to share yourself or your emotions with your wife.

From what I can read here, and correct me if I am wrong, it sounds as if you have chosen to be with these other women (an emotional affair). And thats fine, but if that is the case then do yourself and wife a favor and get out of the marriage bc, again, as long as you are spending so much energy on these women, you have none left to truely work on saving your marriage. You're simply spinning your wheels and delaying the inevitable.

But remember what I said earlier about computer relationships... they aren't reality. So which is it going to be? Fantasy or reality (real live female relationship, whether that be with your wife or someone else you meet who is single).

Oh, which brings me to another point I wanted to make to you. Did you notice that you tend to get close to married women? Thats bc they are unavailable "technically" and are less intimidating to you. If they say they can't be with you, you then tell yourself its bc they are married, not bc there is something wrong with you. So in a way, a married woman, whether live or on the computer, is a fantasy as well.

Come back to reality luckyguy. Its ok, its not as bad as you think. ๐Ÿ™‚

And one last thought...whether you decide to stay or to leave your wife, please continue to go to therapy to work on your insecurities and your own issues. Because if you don't and later on you decide to leave her, you will find yourself in the same type of relationship next time around, bc you would be bringing the same "you" into another relationship. Or worse, you'll find yourself having only a relationship with the computer screen all the time, having no real live relationships (I include both computer and phone relationships as fantasy relationships b/c there is very limited interaction, no face to face contact, no "in the moment" interactions. And by the way, did you know that babies who don't have live physical contact end up dying from lack of physcial contact? Its true. No wonder you feel dead inside sometimes, even with your computer friends in your life. Because we were never meant to walk this road of life alone. Thats the other reason God made a help mate (EVE) for Adam. It wasn't just to reproduce. It was bc God made us to need real live human contact in order to be who we are supposed to be.

ok, I do tend to get long winded don't I? sorry about that. Think about these things that I've said. And even ponder them aloud w/ your therapist if you want. Keep workin on you, thats all you can do.

thewall

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