Every Man For Himself
I am 35, unhappily married for eight years. Before marriage, I told my husband what I expected from him and our marriage. I only asked for two things. One, that we each pay off our debt before the wedding, and two, that he would promise never to lie to me.
I wanted to start our lives together with a clean slate so we could concentrate on the future, which I hoped would include a house and kids.
Six months into the marriage I learned he lied to me and paid off his debt with money we were saving for a house. I was devastated and felt our marriage was a farce. I wanted to leave, but my family convinced me to try and work it out.
We had a child, and I started to trust more, though I still felt alone in the marriage.
Three years after the birth of my son, I met a man I instantly clicked with. My feelings were like nothing I experienced before. He knew I was having trouble in my marriage, but I did not feel comfortable discussing it with him, and our relationship never became physical.
I felt so guilty. I started to work harder on my marriage, mostly for my son's sake, and the other man started dating someone. I wanted to tell him how I felt but was afraid to. I thought if he felt something, he would say something, and if it was meant to be, it would be.
His relationship grew stronger and he eventually married. My relationship grew weaker as I discovered my husband once again lying. My husband and I have been to a marriage counselor as well as individual therapists. I am trying to work up the courage to leave.
Rather than feeling bad about my marriage failing, I feel bad I may have missed my only shot at a real relationship. I don't connect to people easily and things with him felt so right.
I thought I was doing the right thing, choosing to remain faithful in my marriage, though it was hard. Now I feel I was untrue to myself and am the loser. Please offer me encouragement that being good pays off in the long run.
Ava, what do you mean by being good? A good daughter? You let your family talk you into ignoring the facts and your feelings. That's where things went wrong and look at the cascading wrongs which followed.
Being good does pay off, but that means being true to oneself. It means acting on what you know is right. That's why ending the marriage had to be your decision. Letting others make the decision for you was not being good. It was going along to get along.
You gave your future husband a list of things to adhere to, which means you sensed the relationship was not based in love. Unconsciously, you doubted you could trust him not to harm you.
In hindsight, you wonder why the other man did not state his feelings. Perhaps he has principles; he knew you were married. In the same way, now that he is married, it would be wrong for you to approach him.
We are not here to acquiesce to other people's wishes. We are here to be good. That means going forward in the world being honest to ourselves. Now that you understand what love is, it means proceeding with open eyes and an open heart, open for the right one to come along.
Wayne & Tamara