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Stay or go?
December 16, 2000
8:26 pm
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jwt
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I have been here before and have been graetful for the advice even when it made me mad. To make a long story short, I have been married for 20+ years to a very nice lady who loves me but I don't feel an emotional or sexual connection to her. Looking back, I am not sure that I ever felt those connections. I found those connections with my assistant. She is divorced and committed to a long relationship with a man in her hometown. Never before in my life have I felt the emotional and sexual intensity that I feel when we are together. She says she feels the same. Neither of us belives that her hometown relationship will end in a happy marrage. Neither of us believes that we can overcome the countless complications that would allow us to be together. But the feelings are still there.
Other than the hollier than thou comments, most of the advice I received here urged me to seek counseling and work through the marrage issues. First...no counseling...not going to happen...you guys are as close as I am willing to go. Second...my marrage is miserable and I know I am making her miserable too. After feeling emotions I didn't know I had, I wonder if this marrage will ever feel anything but sad. Third...I have a strong faith in God and really do respect the idea of marrage. That is what is driving me crazy. I know that I belong somewhere else.
The question...stay or go? Right now, I hate my life. My wife acts like she still wants me...I don't know why...for security? She can have it all. My assistant begs me not to leave even though I am going insane watching her other relationship. Why? Maybe it is security. Maybe it is sex. I am so unhappy that I am not sure that it matters why either wants me to stay with them. There just has to be a better life out there somewhere. It can't be any worse.
Stay or go? It's time to make that decision...at home and at the office. I have no one else to talk to about this. Forgive me, but I am too close and need some other viewpoints.

December 17, 2000
2:42 pm
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gingerleigh
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Trust me, I'll spare you the "holier than thou" comments, and I'll keep it short. 🙂

You sound very confused right now. So does your lover. If you really want to be happy or figure out what will make you happy, terminate that relationship for a while, because that relationship isn't fair to either of you.

If you leave your wife, please do NOT leave for another relationship, because chances are the issues you are running away from will follow you right into the new relationship.

Finally, I know that you said "no counseling", and I respect your decision to work this on your own. But you might want to reconsider a session with a marriage counselor, both you and your wife. That outside viewpoint could be exactly what you need to make up your mind.

December 17, 2000
3:31 pm
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jwt
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gingerleigh:

Thanks for thinking about my problem. I know you are right.

I know I need to end my relationship with my assistant. How? We work so closely together and the feelings are too strong. I really don't think I can put this behind me unless I leave. Stay or go?

Right again. It is not a question of leaving my wife for my assistant. Even if we worked out or ignored all of the complications, I don't think I would trust that relationship. Unfortunately, she is the only woman who has made me feel this way or who has had such a positive effect on me. After 45 years, she came out of nowhere. I don't expect it to happen again.

Right again...BUT...there is just no way I could do face-to-face counseling. I would just be too embarrassed to tell them everything and look them in the eye.

Thanks again for listening.

December 17, 2000
6:40 pm
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gingerleigh
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JWT, greeting again.

One scary thing is that there might be complications at work if people found out that you had feelings for eachother. (I was in that situation with my partner.) It's a big HR no-no. In my circumstance, my partner went to his boss and came completely clean... then offered several options where I could move to work on other teams for other people. This worked out great, and is has made at least MY work life much better (although perhaps not his, because we did make a fantastic team).

Instead of leaving your job or forcing her to leave, you might want to see if there are other openings for her within the company where you are not her boss. That would allow you some more space and get some of the work politics out of it. Just an idea.

And if it means anything, you have nothing to be ashamed of or embarassed of. This happens to many many many people. Bravo for realizing you don't want to live this way, and for not trying to have your cake (your marriage) and eat it too (your assistant).

Thank *you* for listening too. Peace, my friend.

December 18, 2000
11:30 pm
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jwt
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gingerleigh:

Maybe a little background would help. My assistant and I are the management team for two small companies. There are just no other available positions. We answer to boards of directors and know that one of us would have to go if our feelings were public. We also make a fantastic team and neither of us wants to do the job without the other. The only way to put any space between us is for one of us to leave. For a variety of reasons, it would be easier for me to go.

I told her again this morning that I can't continue to live like this. As before, she was angry at first. Then she tells me how much she loves me, how her other relationship isn't working and that I just have to find a way to cope with it (because she can't or won't end the other relationship) so we can be together. In the past, it would usually stop there with an uncomfortable few days of distance between us. This time, she almost immediately begins to touch me and flirt with me. I know that the sexual part of our relationship has become very important to her. It is also my weakness and it is nearly impossible for me to resist her.

At the end of our conversation, she became very happy and began to sing the love songs she found scanning the car radio stations. Her behavior really confused me...still does.

I think she really believes that we can both "have our cake and eat it too." I know that my heart is sunk way too deep into our realtionship. It will be broken into a million pieces before anything is resolved.

What do I do?

December 19, 2000
12:05 am
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gingerleigh
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I do not wish to say anything non-nice about your assistant, but that is an awfully selfish thing to expect... that you should give your heart and soul to her while she gives her public partnership to another man that she does not love (or so she claims). But, in her defense, she is also looking at a married man (you) and why on earth should she give up a "sure thing" when you yourself still wear a wedding band given to you by another woman?

Does she tell you much about her other relationship? Is she financially dependent, or just afraid of losing the sure thing?

The whole work thing makes life so much harder... how can you put distance between you when you are expected to work together and produce great things together? It's extremely hard.

Can you honestly love someone who is willing to keep you waiting in the wings? And if you answer yes, then realize that you are saying that you love that person more than you care for yourself. And if that is true, how come?

December 19, 2000
4:43 pm
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rnbwbrght
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jwt....where are you? what do you want to leave? where do you want to go? What it sounds like is that you are trying to leave your own unhappiness and go to a better life. What is the true cause of your unhappiness? You need to deal with the problems that you are currently experienceing and not create new ones. Does your assistent make you feel so great because she makes it easier for you to forget your problems? you can not look to her to make yourself feel better and to experience a happy existance. The only way that you can achieve true happiness is by being truly happy with yourself. it does not sound like you are experiencing true happiness in life right now. you need to find yourself and love the person that you are. only then can you love anouther person or let them love you. You need to take time out to solve the inner conflict. A counselor is not the only option here but they can help you. why do you not even consider one? Are you scared to state your problems aloud because you are scared to hear them yourself. Counselors are there to listen. They do not make you feel embarressed, they provide you with an outlet for your thought. they do not solve the problems for you. They simply give you insight to yourself and make it so that you do hear your thoughts aloud so that you yourself can see what it is you need to change. and then as you continue with therapy you begin working out solutions by yourself, with the benefit that someone is listening. Be the man that you desire to be and deal with your problems instead of wanting to deny them. Try to discover peace, love and happiess within yourself. if it takes a counselor to help you achieve this then so be it.

December 20, 2000
2:02 am
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jwt
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gingerleigh:

First, I do believe that my assistant loves the other man. He has been in her life for a long time and fits her plan to remain in the small community where she has lived for 18 years. He gives her an opportunity to finally "belong" in that community. That is something she wants very much. Unfortunately, his attitudes and beliefs are very much like those of her ex-husband. Consequently, they fight all the time. In addition, his children are very opposed to the relationship. Also, I suspect that he is still financially dependent on his ex-wife's family. His fear of offending his children or his ex-mother-in-law has caused him to treat my assistant very badly throughout the relationship. One other factor that keeps coming to the surface...their sexual relationship is less than satisfying and doesn't seem to compare with what we have found in each other. You are also correct about her fear of losing a "sure thing." Dumping that relationship for me must feel like a tremendous gamble for her.

How can I honestly love someone who keeps me waiting in the wings?

We both admit that we talk to each other about our lives more than we talk to anyone else. We know all about each other. We can read each other's moods and seem to automatically know each other's likes and dislikes. Something that sets this relationship apart for me (and I belive for her too) is that we enthusiastically support and rejoice the good we see in each other. These are the things that caused me to tell her I loved her in the first place. The physical part of our relationship came second and surprised both of us. I think I can honestly say that I will love her for the rest of my life regardless of whether we wind up together or not.

Do I love her more than I care for myself? Maybe I do.

rnbwbrght:

Interesting questions. I want to leave the pain I feel every day at home and at the office. I was so busy with my career that I didn't even realize how unhappy I was at home until I discovered what I was missing. Strange but my assistant can make me feel both the highest highs and also the lowest lows. Watching her other relationship move along its course is tearing me apart inside. I just can't continue to face it every day.

My unhappiness seems to be caused by a real dissatisfaction with my relationships with my wife and assistant. My biggest dilemma is the question... stay or go? Now that I know it is possible to feel the love and passion I have felt with my assistant, I don't want to settle for less. I don't believe that counseling can cause me to fall in love or out of love with anyone. I need to get on with my life even if, in the end, I am alone. If that is an inner conflict, so be it.

December 20, 2000
2:37 am
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lost soul
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After a better understanding of your situation. My advise to you is
" Set your wife free " since you no longer love her "

December 20, 2000
2:52 pm
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gingerleigh
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JWT, you've helped me too. I am going through the same situation you are, except that I am the one who does not satisfy my partner any more. I see now that there is nothing that I can do to make him love me again, and I just need to let him go if he needs it. My situation is hard for me to understand also because there *is* no other woman who has turned him on to true passion. He and I once had that passion, but it has died. I still feel it for him, but his love for me has died.

Thank you for telling your story. I wish you peace and happiness in whatever path your choose.

December 22, 2000
8:37 pm
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jwt
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Merry Christmas....

gingerleigh:

I guess I have always believed that true love will win in the end. That is how it happens in the movies, right? That doesn't seem to be happening for anyone here. My life is too big of a mess for me to give you much advice. I will just pray that God will show you a path to the peace and happiness that you wished for me.

lost soul:

Thank you for your direct opinion. I have never claimed that I did not love my wife. She has been very good to me and my family. I will allways be grateful to her for that and it certainly should earn my love. Nevertheless, I fear you may have hit the nail on the head. Maybe I should set her free. I must be making her miserable by acting so depressed when I am home. It is just the way I feel. I know I would be miserable if my spouse acted like I do. She is a smart attractive woman who, if she ever became motivated by anything, would be much better off with me out of the picutre. I would be happy to give her every penny I have so she wouldn't suffer financially.

I have prayed many times for her to be returned to that special place in my heart. We have talked and talked about our problems. No matter what, there is no connection. I feel inside like I am living life by myself.

Can anyone give me a direct opinion about what to do at work?

Something bad happened just a few hours ago. My assistant complains every year that she is never suprised at Christmas. She knew that I was giving her a big screen TV that she and her children would really enjoy. I'm sure she thought that would be my gift. After work today, I gave her a pair of sapphire (her favorite stone)earrings. She was totaly surprised. Just as she unwraped them and gasped, the telephone rang. I answered it and it was the other man. I put him on hold, she kissed me and then went to talk to him. It ruined what I hoped would be one of my happiest moments of this holiday. I went outside while they talked, watched a beautiful sunset and cried. I don't do that very often but it really hurt.

I hope I can find some joy somewhere in the next few days.

December 24, 2000
12:55 am
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jwt from lilith, I am sorry you just went through that highly emotional moment with "her" at the office. Maybe you should be honest to your wife about this relationship. You may be surprised, while you have paid all of your attention to "her" your wife may have met someone also. On the other hand, you could break it off with "her" and tell your wife about the relationship and it could possible pull you two together. Do you think it is fair to have a dishonest affection towards your wife? You keep lying to yourself. Maybe you could take some time for yourself, away from everyone, to get honest with your heart and feelings. I myself am a married woman, for 4 years with 2 children. But before I met my husband I dated a married man I met when I was just 16. I fell in love with his charming ways. When he told me he was married I didn't even blink. I just knew in my heart we would be together. The relationship lasted until I was 19, then one day I realized I wanted to have children and be married, and he wasn't going to leave. Yeah we had alot of good times together. We cried together, and we became close friends. But I just needed and wanted more, so for my own heart I left the situation. I look back at it today and wonder about his hard-working wife and feel sorry they suffered such a poor emotional and sexual relationship. But I couldn't fix it and he didn't want to. Today I know in my heart I made the best decision I could ever have made because I met the man I truly love and adore. With two beautiful children, who could ask for more? Please take some quiet time and reflect on your situation and ALL of the feelings and hearts involved. Perhaps you could seek marriage counseling, that could put a spark back in your heart........

January 2, 2001
8:22 pm
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jwt
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The holidays are over. I was able to find joy in visits with my daughter who is home from college. I am grateful for that because the rest of my life was a disaster.

A water main broke on Christmas eve at the condo where we planned to spend Christmas. Since it is near my wife's parents, everything moved to their house. I had to spend most of Christmas day cleaning up and closing down the condo. I knew it would take some time and told them not to wait for me. They didn't wait. I missed Christmas dinner and everyone opening presents. Even though I told them to go ahead, it still bothers me. We continued to fight all the time. She looked beautiful on New Years eve. No doubt about it, the prettiest woman in our group. I don't know what is wrong with me but the feeling just isn't there.

I saw my assistant last on Friday. She seemed so in love with me. I talked to her on Saturday when she said she was going to "his" house to help him organize his office. She knew I didn't like it and told me at least six times that she loved me. We talked for more than an hour on the phone on Sunday morning and everything seemed okay. Now this morning she tells me that she spent almost the entire weekend with him and his children. She seems encouraged that two of his three children may accpet her after all. He has come out of hiding and is allowing people to see them together in public. She has waited for this for a long time.

I told her again how hard this was for me. How I didn't want to be a problem for her and that maybe it was time for me to go. She told me that she loves me and that, if I loved her, I wouldn't leave her. She said she gives me 100% of her attention when we are together, that she is with me more than she is with anyone and that would be enough for me. I would just have to find a way to deal with it. I asked her again how she can love me at work and then go home and just turn it off when she is with him. She said that she still didn't think things would work out with him but she wanted to see it through. I told her that I didn't think I could survive the process.

As usual, when I talk about leaving, she got mad and threatened to beat me out the door. She said that the only reason she stayed was for me and she wasn't going to be left there to work for someone else.

I don't know what to do. I feel like a fool but I can't seem to help how I feel about her. I don't want a big ugly scene and hard feelings. How can I put some space between us without anger or without leaving? Doesn't she see that this is tearing me apart? I really do want her to be happy even if it is with him. If she really wants him, why can't she love me enough to let me go?

January 2, 2001
9:39 pm
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gingerleigh
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JWT, she'll stay until there is something that absolutely compells her to leave, and that goes for both you and her other lover. As hard as this is, you need to take care of yourself, and let her know in no uncertain terms that she can't have both you and him. If you were happy with the arrangement of this "time share" relationship, then fine, it works for some people. But you are genuinely unhappy, and something needs to change or you will drive yourself mad.

Does your wife yet know that you are considering leaving?

January 2, 2001
10:29 pm
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jwt
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gingerleigh:

You will never know how grateful I am to you for listening to my problems. You are right, I am driving myself mad.

Doesn't she know by now that I will never be able to live with a time share relationship? I will always love her but this is not something I want. I don't want to destroy the love. I just want to stop the hurt. What can I change except to leave? How can I do that without destoying the love we have for each other?

My wife knows I am unhappy. I have talked off and on for months about leaving this job. I don't know if she suspects the reason why. I do know she supports the idea if it will help me cheer-up. I just don't want to bring it up again unless I am dead set on going.

My resume is ready...do I mail it?

January 3, 2001
12:38 pm
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Cici
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Hi jwt...

I just spent some time reading over the whole thread. What a tangled web we weave, right?

I think I remember another thread, if it wasn't you it was a man in a very similar situation. I will spare you the morality issue. That's between you and God and your wife.

In my classes for counseling psych we learn one caridnal rule: talk is cheap. You can have a patient who talks up and down about how they want to be happy, how they want to make a change, whatever. But if no action follows the talk, then the talk is meaningless.

I guess what I mean to say is what I say to my fiance all the time. I don't want him to say "I love you", I don't want apologies. I want action. And your assistant is using you. You can love someone and still manipulate them. I think we all learned this with our parents (ha ha ha).

You are asking what is wrong with you, which is good because that is the only factor you can really control. Your assistant definately must have issues as well, though. Which is why there is no easy way to make a break.

This is kind of amusing in a way. In all my past failed relationships I can remember all of those adolescent males trying as hard as they could to make a clean break. Break ups are always messy. Unfortunate. Uncomfortable. But those are the breaks, so to speak. Suffering makes the soul. We all go through pain. How we react to that pain is what makes you noble or petty. Which one do you want to be?

January 3, 2001
3:57 pm
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You mention "45 years", is that your age? If so, could this be a mid-life crisis? Step back and take a look... you're 45, married to the same woman for over 20 years, daughter off to college, same job for a long time... BAM! assistant is attractive, single, willing, flirty, and holy cow, all of a sudden wife doesn't look so good, assistant is very interesting and interested.

I don't want to slam assistant either, but truthfully she sounds like she is using you. Like I've said before when someone is honest about their affairs, big deal. In this case, it helps her manipulate you because just the thought of her with this other man makes you just how she wants you to be.

Take a very good look at your wife and what you are risking... and for what. I would be more inclined to drop the assistant (and the job if necessary) if it means salvaging a very faithful wife and family and 20+ plus years you have invested. Just make your life with your wife better.. it can be done. You think you don't love her anymore, how would you feel if she was the one off with another man and not the assistant?
Picture your wife in bed with another man...how does it make you feel?

And okay, mail the resume. Could be just the change you need for your whole life, not just your love-life.

January 3, 2001
5:42 pm
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nothing matters.
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This women's irresponsibility, and undeciveness is destroying you, your marriage, and your job. She cannot fully devote her "100%" self to you becuase part of that percentage belongs to the other man. Her love to you is about matter of "choosing" between two man and that is not genuine love. This undeciveness does nothing more but hurt you to the very extreme extent. And that is disgusting.

Step away from her and ask her to step away from you until she finally makes a final decision. Forget romantic sex, and the intimacy. The uncertaincy between you and her will hurt you more. Forget the big screen TV and the sapphire. Real love has to be proven.. not with material givings. Don't fall blindly in love. Clear your mind. Dont make decision based on feelings. Make decisions on what is rightful and reasonable.

January 3, 2001
8:00 pm
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gingerleigh
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Hm, out of curiosity, does your assistant's boyfriend know about you? Is she being completely honest with him the way that she is being with you?

January 5, 2001
12:14 am
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Brenda
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jwt, hi, I remember your situation completely and I wondered how you were getting on.
When I think of you I think of a stick floating on a stormy ocean, you have no control over your life, emotions or desires.
You are completely at the will of others and at the mercy of situations, an ultimate victim.
You needed to take back your power.....like yesterday, friend.
Empower yourself, by making a choice every day that is in YOUR best interest, act from your heart and ask for gods guidance and strength to help you ( whether you believe in a unifying creative force or not is besides the point,) do it and I promise you will find the path you need to take........every day, k....
let me know how this works for you
God bless and a blessed new year 2001

January 5, 2001
2:18 am
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jwt
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Thank you all so much. Every comment gives me something new to think about. None of you know how often I have said many of these same things to myself. Why doesn't it seem to make any difference?

Maybe an update on my assistant. I have been caught up in her behavior for so long, maybe someone can see something I miss. Still distant but no longer mad today. She is back to calling on the telephone when she is not at work. She tells me she loves me, gives me those little touches during the day and wanted to be held after work. Says her mood is caused by all the ill-will she feels in her hometown. Specifically, one of the other man's three children (16) says he hates her and will never accept her. He is trying to convince his son, his ex and the community that this is a new relationship he discovered since his divorce. No one will believe this lie. In addition to the son, relatives of her ex-husband are spreading untrue gossip around her small town about her past relationship with the ex. Says she told the other man to stop calling and to leave her alone. Says she can't wait until she can get out of that town. He won't stop calling. She will keep answering. And, I think she still wants to belong in that town.

I have a long drive home tomorrow after I take my daughter back to college. I will have a lot of time to think about your comments. I have read them four or five times and the same points keep bothering me.

Cici:

I bet I am the same guy. You made several comments at that time. You are right. Talk is cheap.

R2D2:

Mid-life crisis...probably...but it is still a crisis. Is she using me? The question haunts me. And, thanks for the direct advice on the resume.

nothing matters:

I agree with just about everything you said. It is disgusting. Maybe it was time that I listened to my own anger. I'm afraid that I am already blindly in love. Nevertheless, this time I want my decisions to be based on my feelings.

gingerleigh:

thank you for following my story for this long. It shows in your question. No, she has not told him about me. She wants him to believe that I am her boss and a good friend to her and her family. But she tells me about his suspicions and the fights they have about me. Why did you ask?

Brenda:

Thanks for thinking about me. I still feel like that stick on the ocean. Unfortunately, my heart and head do not agree. I do believe in God. I ask him every day to help me with this, not for an outcome, just to help. I just hope I can see the path when he shows it to me.

January 5, 2001
1:54 pm
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gingerleigh
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JWT,

I asked whether she told HIM about YOU... it's not important why I asked really. What is important is... what do you think of that? How does it make you feel? Why do you think she tells you all about HIM, yet keeps YOU secret from HIM? And... not even secret. She flat out lies about her relationship with you. So obviously she isn't being honest with him.

What makes you think that she is being honest with you?

January 8, 2001
1:42 am
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lost soul
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Whenever I read this tread, I can't help but "merge" this to my own "story".

In my "story" I am the wife. I have been very enduring towards my husband's infidelity & thought that some day he would change & we can start all over again.

Gradually, I think this is quite impossible because he made no efforts to change or at least improve our relationship. I am always the one who tried to communicate & see what can be done to work things out.

I am tired now! after so many years of emotional abuse I feel it's better to come clean at this time to set myself free...............

I thinks his "other" relationship has its own "foundation". or else he won't just risk his family by going to the extreme. The only thing which I don't understand is why don't he ask for a divorce or seperations???
The reasons he gave to my mother-in-law was the bacause of our daughter.
I personally don't think that he is so sensible & "great"

January 8, 2001
4:55 pm
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lewis
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I think 'stay or go' you've been asleep for many years, u know, living life, moulding yourself to your enviroment. Then suddenly you've been knocked on the head, and out you pop, back into the sea of feelings!
Sometimes we meet people for a reason, your emotions have been stirred, you feel alive again, remembering how u used to feel. But, your married, dilema.
U need to think hard about this, stay if u think there is hope and that there is love with your wife, go if there is no hope of happiness, 2 miserable people is just the pits. BUT DONOT goto the other women, instead go and be by yourself, find yourself, reflect and try to be your own best friend, be truthful to yourself.

GOOD LUCK AND TAKE CARE

January 8, 2001
10:08 pm
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jwt
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Things change but stay the same. That is how it seems...just since Thursday.

I had a wonderful trip with my daughter. I rushed back for the end of an office holliday party with my assistant. My assistant went with "him" and a hometown group to a local nightspot. Says they argued and all she could think about were our plans to meet on Sunday...which was wonderful. She was very affectionate today but left very very depressed about her finances. Far more upset than the situation would warrant. She allways seems to find some crisis to worry about.

I was busy at work or at work related functions for much of the weekend. The time at home was pleasant but detatched until a big fight with my wife last night....over strawberry jam. She (and her family) have a very "know-it-all" attitude that has bugged me for years. We have talked about it over and over but I don't think she can help it. This time, I had had enough and challenged her information. She was incorrect but that wasn't the problem. She just never gives anyone else's opinion the benefit of the doubt.

gingerleigh:

What she tells him is not much different than what I tell my wife. I know in my head (not heart) that we are not going to be together. Why should she ruin her chance with him by telling him? Do I think she is telling me the truth about everything? No, I think there is a lot she is just not telling me. Does she lie to me? Probably. Is she using me? I am terrified to learn the answer. Why do I put up with it...I don't know...I just can't seem to help it.

lost soul:

Have you asked for a divorce? What does he say? I have many times and she begs me not to do it. She does not deserve a jerk like me. I guess it is just hard (for you, him, my assistant, her lover, my wife, me...everyone!) to let go. How do you know when it is time?

lewis:

Yes, that is exactly how it felt. My assistant knocked me on the head and out I popped. I will allways be grateful to her for that. I really believe that things happen for a reason that we often never see. My heart tells me that is why she came into my life.

I had been asleep and was firmly moulded to the world created during my marrage. Except for my daughter, all of my blood relatives are dead. My wife has allways had trouble making friends so I became her only real social outlet. Between her and a very demanding job, I was completely absorbed. I remember the passionless isolation I felt during all those years. I can't return to that. On the other hand, I am scared of being totally alone.

That appears to be my choice. Continue to live a life of pain and longing? Lose two people who love me and risk loneliness to search for the truth and the person I really am?

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