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To stay or to go? Falling out of love after being cheated on

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  • To stay or to go? Falling out of love after being cheated on

    I am going through a rough time with my husband and trying to decide whether or not I should get a divorce. I feel like I am unable to speak with my friends and family because most of them are biased, so maybe I am hoping to hear some outsider/objective opinions.

    I have been with my husband nearly 5 years. We were together for about one and a half years before we became a long-distance couple due to work. We had planned to only be separated 6 months, but work problems combined with financial problems made it impossible for us to reunite until about 2 years later. We were together during this entire time and but only saw each other once every 3 or 4 months (because the distance was pretty far). I never imagined myself in a long-distance relationship, but I felt that it was worth it at the time because it seemed that we were both very much in love. And, I couldn’t imagine dating anyone else.

    However, I later found that that during this time he “cheated.” It wasn’t a typical affair in that it was not physical—only emotional and through texting/messages. One of his best female friends of many years has always had a crush on him and has confessed on several occasions to having feelings for him/being in love with him. He had repeatedly turned her down because he felt that he could only see her as a friend and not a romantic partner. But, during one of our long-distance visits, I found inappropriate text exchanges on his phone between him and this girl, and to me they were definitely “cheating.”

    He was very apologetic and basically begged me not to leave. He said that he had always seen me as the women of his dreams and that he had made a mistake and only turned to his “friend” because he was feeling lonely and wanted someone to talk to (which was still very hurtful to me). For me, what really drove the nail in the coffin was that after this point he continued to talk to her for several months, until I basically left, and he cut off all contact with her completely and begged me to stay.

    I had always told myself that I would be the kind of woman that wouldn’t stay in a bad relationship or with an unappreciative man. But, I was so in love when I found those inappropriate texts, and I couldn’t imagine throwing our relationship out the window after how hard we had both worked to maintain a long-distance relationship. Long story short—I decided to stay with him. We moved in together and got married after 6 months.

    Although I felt very much in love with him when I found out about the cheating, I feel that my love for him has gradually waned. I think this is because I used to see him and our relationship as a “fantasy”—I had always seen him as a wonderful man with a good heart, and I had always imagined that our connection and love was so strong that his connection with anyone else would not even come close. But, his cheating sort of “broke” that illusion. I still struggle with my feelings and emotions, and I still question his loyalty and fidelity even though I genuinely see that he has a made an enormous effort to win back my heart and my trust. I sometimes just feel so betrayed that I feel it wouldn’t matter what he does—I would still feel this sadness/sickness in my heart. Another part of the relationship that was broken was our mutual respect—I don’t like the way that he talks to me sometimes, but I feel partially to blame since I know that after the cheating I lost respect for him in many ways and began to speak to him more aggressively and hurtfully as well.

    I have also stayed because I have a hard time imagining being single or living the single life after everything I have invested in this relationship. I occasionally dream about what it would be like to be single, but I am also about to turn 32. Sometimes I worry that men will no longer see me as marriage potential at my age, or at least the type of men that I am interested in. Another part of me dreams that one day my relationship with my husband will improve. But, at this moment, I feel sad more than I feel happy. Lately, he has been pressuring the subject of having children or starting to have children, and sometimes I feel that maybe he feels this is one way to hold on to me.

    I am not sure which direction to head, and I would appreciate any comments, especially people who have maybe been through something similar.



  • #2
    First of all, at 32, you are in your prime and definitely dating and marriage material. I didn't meet the love of my life until I was in my 50s.

    You feel diminished because he couldn't remain faithful to you while he was away. If he had been that lonely, he could have talked to you, right? Even though he has made huge efforts to be better, there's still a part of you that thinks if you were separated again that he would cheat again. Maybe he would. You have to decide if this marriage is worth saving. Certainly DON'T have children with him until you make that decision. And if you're dreaming about being single, that's a huge sign that you will probably head down that path eventually.
    "What lips my lips have kissed and where and why I have forgotten." ~Edna St. Vincent Millay

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    • #3
      My advice: If you two don't try to mend this with the help of a couples counselor then don't waste anymore of your time as a couple.
      "First off, welcome to the Relationship Forums, You'll come to understand that I don't pull any punches when giving my opinion/advice and I hope you're not so sensitive to what I see as the truth of the matter." Me!

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      • #4
        I'm getting the feeling like you both are worlds apart and you have no clue what's going on in his head and he has no clue what you're thinking or feeling either (even now! after marriage). Have you thought about sitting down one weekend or a day where you both have off together (in a relaxed environment) where you can tell him everything you just said here? I think it would do you both good to have a heart to heart conversation and reconnect on a much deeper level than regular day to day conversations you might be having. He ought to know the reasons behind your behaviour or tone (of speaking) when you're speaking with him. You should sense that he's also open to expressing his emotions and the way these series of events has made him feel over time. If you are feeling isolated, there's a very high chance he is also feeling isolated (and we already know he has a history of feeling lonely!). This is your cue to step in and step up(!) as husband and wife.

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        • #5
          greenpenguin You're still a spring chicken at age 32. I agree with others. Try professional marriage counseling with both of you present, try to salvage what's left of your marriage, heal and recover. If that doesn't work, it's time to go your separate ways. It's better to be alone than feel lonely with a man who doesn't behave honorably which feels much lonelier. And, being alone should not be confused with lonely. You're not old. There are men out there who will treat you right if you are extremely picky and choosy from now on. Never settle for second best.
          "If you bungle raising your children, whatever else you do well in life doesn't matter very much."

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          • #6


            Keep in mind, the choice is yours. No one can make it for you. When we are faced with huge decisions like this, it can be overwhelming and we want people to just tell us what to do. Do not feel guilty about giving him a second chance. So many of us say “I will never…” to situations but when we really get into that situation, we respond differently. You never know until you are actually in it. What are you doing to improve your marriage? Are you in counseling? Marriage is hard and counseling can really help strengthen areas of weaknesses. I think what you did was normal with the fantasy. We all see what is shown to us in a person and we will in the rest. It’s not until we start seeing the real person that we truly know them, and then our fantasy is distorted. But every person has faults and weaknesses. Rising up and growing together can make a better marriage. I would suggest work on your marriage for a while. There is hope there of something better.

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            • #7
              It's surprising that a mam who supposedly loves you so much would turn to someone else when he was lonely instead of turning to his wife. He could have called you when feeling that way, rather than calling this other woman, but he didn't. I know a couple who were in the same boat as you. Married, had to spend extended time apart in the early years of their marriage, husband ended up cheating, and ruined their relationship because of that. The wife never felt the same way about him after that. They tried marriage counseling, they ended up having children together, stayed married for long after that, but she never felt love towards him again. After such a betrayal, feelings of love often die and never return, because you just don't see your cheating spouse in the same light as before. The sting of betrayal runs deep. The wife should have cut her losses and left early in their marriage, before they had children. Her feelings for him had been so damaged and their relationship was so damaged after that. He went on to cheat again, and they eventually did divorce after that. She is now married to a wonderful man who treats her so well and would never cheat on her. Your husband didn't physically cheat, but he certainly has poor boundaries with women, and lacks the respect for you and your marriage that is needed in a healthy marriage. Definitely go to counseling to work on improving boundaries and exploring why your husband is seeking attention from other women.

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              • #8
                but work problems combined with financial problems made it impossible for us to reunite until about 2 years later. We were together during this entire time and but only saw each other once every 3 or 4 months
                I'm still wondering why any couple that were going to be apart for any length of time would expect each other to become celibate? Why would you put that kind of against nature pressure on your marriage? Why not just agree to look the other way like so many did during the First and Second World Wars (not to mention any others in between and after).

                Had you not had the expectation of monogamy, you'd not be emotionally disconnected like you are now.

                *waits for Mary's indignation*
                "First off, welcome to the Relationship Forums, You'll come to understand that I don't pull any punches when giving my opinion/advice and I hope you're not so sensitive to what I see as the truth of the matter." Me!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by phasesofthemoon View Post
                  I'm still wondering why any couple that were going to be apart for any length of time would expect each other to become celibate? Why would you put that kind of against nature pressure on your marriage? Why not just agree to look the other way like so many did during the First and Second World Wars (not to mention any others in between and after).

                  Had you not had the expectation of monogamy, you'd not be emotionally disconnected like you are now.

                  *waits for Mary's indignation*
                  lol. You bet I'm going to challenge you on that suggestion. The vast majority of married couples expect their partner to be monogamous, even when circumstances are difficult. It's called "for better or for worse". You don't throw away your commitment to fidelity just because of an extended absence. That is destructive to the relationship. People are capable of self control. If they are not, they have no business being in a relationship.

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                  • #10
                    Well, you do a lot of research. How about you research polyamory Not everyone says those vows when they marry and if two people agree in a relationship agree that being celibate isn't necessary then so be it.

                    Here's another term to research:
                    Non-monogamy (or nonmonogamy) is an umbrella term for every practice or philosophy of intimate relationship that does not strictly hew to the standards of monogamy, particularly that of having only one person with whom to exchange sex, love, and affection.
                    Last edited by phasesofthemoon; September 12th, 2018, 08:35 PM.
                    "First off, welcome to the Relationship Forums, You'll come to understand that I don't pull any punches when giving my opinion/advice and I hope you're not so sensitive to what I see as the truth of the matter." Me!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by phasesofthemoon View Post
                      Well, you do a lot of research. How about you research polyamory Not everyone says those vows when they marry and if two people agree in a relationship agree that being celibate isn't necessary then so be it.

                      I'm well aware that a small percentage of marriages are open or polyamorous. My statement was that in the vast majority of marriages, the partners expect their spouse to be monogamous, and it's certainly possible to remain monogamous, even when there are hardships in the marriage, including periods when the spouses are not able to be together.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mary View Post
                        I'm well aware that a small percentage of marriages are open or polyamorous. My statement was that in the vast majority of marriages, the partners expect their spouse to be monogamous, and it's certainly possible to remain monogamous, even when there are hardships in the marriage, including periods when the spouses are not able to be together.
                        No one said it was impossible. I said I wonder why people expect a partner to remain celibate when they are going to be apart for the better part of a year. I said perhaps if she didn't have that expectation, she'd not be in such an emotional disconnect with her partner.

                        Anyway, without therapy to help you figure out how to reconnect with him, Penguin or you learn to understand that being apart like that for a pack animal (as what we humans are) isn't natural, you might as well just save you and him the time and break up now before you bring children into the world with him.

                        Good luck.

                        "First off, welcome to the Relationship Forums, You'll come to understand that I don't pull any punches when giving my opinion/advice and I hope you're not so sensitive to what I see as the truth of the matter." Me!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by phasesofthemoon View Post

                          No one said it was impossible. I said I wonder why people expect a partner to remain celibate when they are going to be apart for the better part of a year. I said perhaps if she didn't have that expectation, she'd not be in such an emotional disconnect with her partner.
                          Physical intimacy is a way people show love for their spouse. It's a special act of love and bonding with your spouse. The brain actually produces bonding chemicals when you have sex. It's certainly understandable why a spouse would not want his partner having sex with others while away, not to mention the possibility of contracting an STD while away, and bringing that home to the waiting spouse. No one in their right mind should allow their spouse to go philandering while temporarily apart. It's not good for the relationship.
                          Anyway, without therapy to help you figure out how to reconnect with him, Penguin or you learn to understand that being apart like that for a pack animal (as what we humans are) isn't natural, you might as well just save you and him the time and break up now before you bring children into the world with him.

                          Good luck.
                          Humans are not animals (although some act like it). We have the ability to be faithful and have self control, even when apart for some periods of time. We are not at the mercy of our impulses or base desires. We either choose to control them or we don't. We have a choice and an ability to control them. Humans are social creatures, and certainly it is difficult to be apart from a loved one, but that doesn't mean you go around acting like a dog that can't control himself. You stay in touch with your spouse during that time, through phone calls, internet, and plane trips, until you are reunited.

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                          • #14
                            No one said it was impossible. I said I wonder why people expect a partner to remain celibate when they are going to be apart for the better part of a year. I said perhaps if she didn't have that expectation, she'd not be in such an emotional disconnect with her partner.

                            Anyway, without therapy to help you figure out how to reconnect with him, Penguin or you learn to understand that being apart like that for a pack animal (as what we humans are) isn't natural, you might as well just save you and him the time and break up now before you bring children into the world with him.

                            Good luck.
                            "First off, welcome to the Relationship Forums, You'll come to understand that I don't pull any punches when giving my opinion/advice and I hope you're not so sensitive to what I see as the truth of the matter." Me!

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