When your heart isn't in it but you want to try reconciliation - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-19-2013, 07:12 AM Thread Starter
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When your heart isn't in it but you want to try reconciliation


This is my first post - please try to not judge me. There is a very particular reason that I am posting in this forum so please read on.

I grew up in an alcoholic family where things were always crazy and so I always wanted to create a quiet and normal life for myself. I wish was always to be a good parent and partner.

I have been married to my wife for 10 years and we have always had a very "comfortable" relationship. We have two beautiful children who I love more than anything. My wife and I started out as good friends and just seemed to grow into a romantic couple. There was some chemistry at the start of our relationship but not much - more like close friends. After we married we had a reasonably good sex life but nothing spectacular. For many years I felt that something was missing emotionally but buried that feeling for fear of facing the fact that something was wrong with our relationship.

Two years ago I met a woman through work who I fell head over heals for and long story short she also fell for me. She was married also and we had an affair. For that period of time I felt my emotional life was complete - I was in love and it felt like I was alive for the first time ever. It was also a time of great confusion for me because I cared deeply about my wife. Six months ago my affair partner ended the relationship and it almost killed me (literally). The feeling of missing something emotionally returned with a vengeance.

Last week I told my wife about the affair and she was understandably devastated but we agreed to try to work to save our marriage. I am very confused right now because I am still grieving the loss of the affair relationship but I don't want to lose my wife. I know many of you will be angered by this but this is my reality now.

Is it common to not know what you want at this point or is it pointless to try work on the marriage if there is uncertainty like this ?

Has anyone any experience of coming from a place of uncertainty about their relationship to a reconciliation that felt totally 'right' ? I'd love to hear your story.

With kind regards.

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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-19-2013, 05:24 PM
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Re: When your heart isn't in it but you want to try reconciliation

Some say love is a decision not a feeling

food for thought
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-19-2013, 09:25 PM
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Re: When your heart isn't in it but you want to try reconciliation

I can't exactly relate to the affair business, but I do understand sticking through a marriage during periods where you just don't "feel" it. I personally believe that's the only way to stay married to one person for the rest of your life because there will always be temptations, frustrations, disappointments, etc. Nobody maintains that brand-new girlfriend/boyfriend stupid, giddy feeling every day throughout a marriage. New sex is always going to feel more exciting.
I don't think marriage is about excitement or "feelings". I think it's mostly about commitment, trust, honor, respect, etc. If we just stayed with our partners because we felt in love, there would be no need of a ceremony or vows. A marriage commitment helps keep you in the game during those months and years where you may not "feel" it.
Emotions are deceiving. You met this new woman, fooled yourself into believing she was committed to you...and you watched her trot back off to her husband. Your emotions lied to you. The woman who actually has your back is the one who had your kids, the one you hurt beyond measure but is still willing to stand by you. That's real. All that mushy feeling crap with the OW was emotional hocus pocus. You couldn't enter into a relationship with the OW without first convincing yourself that your marriage was rotten.
Two healthy kids, and being married to your best friend and having "reasonably good" sex with someone you can respect and who won't cook meth in your basement, bang your neighbor, drive you into ridiculous debt, or kill you in your sleep aint a bad deal. That's reality. If there is a woman out there somehow better than your wife, do you deserve her? Do you really deserve the blessings you already have or are you just one of the luckiest guys on earth?
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-19-2013, 09:29 PM
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Re: When your heart isn't in it but you want to try reconciliation

Think about if from your wife's perspective too. It's not fair to stay with your wife if you are not truly in love with her, she deserves the opportunity to find someone if you do not believe you are that person. Don't potentially negatively alter her life for your sense of security.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-20-2013, 03:06 AM Thread Starter
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Re: When your heart isn't in it but you want to try reconciliation

Hi everyone,

Thanks so much for your replies. I do accept that I've caused hurt beyond measure and I also accept that my wife deserves to be with someone better that me - especially considering what I've done. So, do I deserve the love of my wife?...no, probably not and I've said this to her but she doesn't want me to consider leaving.

That being said we've both decided that it's worth, at least trying, to work on things - whether the ultimate conclusion is good or bad remains to be seen. I genuinely don't know if reconciliation is possible - maybe someone out there has come through a similar situation ?

The strange thing for me looking back is that the affair wasn't about the sex (yes there was sex but that wasn't the main thing for me) it was about a need I have to express love and emotion. I'm so confused right now..but again, that for all of your comments.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-20-2013, 09:44 AM
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Re: When your heart isn't in it but you want to try reconciliation

Both partners in a relationship deserve to feel emotionally fulfilled. Maybe this is an opportunity for you to bare all to your wife about how you have felt for the last several years...maybe she has felt the same things. If your wife is willing to work this out, then you owe it to her to be brutally honest about every single thing you have done and felt, and also to at least make an effort to save the marriage. If in six months or so you are not feeling truly committed then do you both a favor and move on.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-22-2013, 12:05 AM
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Re: When your heart isn't in it but you want to try reconciliation

We are all humans we have different emotions that we don't always understand and that is normal.
Some people have cheated, some have been cheated and have forgiven. Some grow stronger in their relationships and some move on. Like unbelievable said, shes a good friend, mother to your children, good sex, its better then what you might find anywhere else. This thing you had with someone else would have turned out probably differently if you would have moved in, lived together. There are ways to bring excitement in your relationship with your wife if that's the only thing missing.
Also go check out some of the posts about the grass is not always greener. If the neighbors grass is so green its because hes watering it, taking care of it, nurturing it....take care of your grass and it will be greenest grass ever. LOL if that makes any sense!!!
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-22-2013, 12:24 AM
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Re: When your heart isn't in it but you want to try reconciliation

People all over the world marry without even meeting each other first. This marrying for love business is a relatively new development in the United States. Throughout most of the world and throughout most of our own history, people married more for practical reasons. Most of these "practical" marriages last longer than our lovey, dovey, curl-your-toes marriages.
You've married your best friend and you have a pretty good thing going along with two beautiful, healthy, well-adjusted kids. You've been blessed. You don't feel exactly the same about your wife 10 years into your marriage as you did on day 1 and if you swapped her in for new Miss Thang, your feelings for her won't be the same in 10 years, either. Relationships change as they mature. Doesn't mean they get worse. They just evolve as people grow and needs change.
Honestly, this nonsense that everyone is supposed to feel like powder sugar is being blown up their backside every day or something's wrong with the relationship has got to end. Emotions and sex drives change with the weather, with medications, with stress, for medical reasons, etc. If you hang your entire future and that of your family on how you happen to "feel" on a given day, you're going to be picking up and dumping partners till you die.
Are you always excited about going to work? Probably not, but you go. Some days are better than others but the paycheck keeps coming, your pension grows and you gradually move up in your career. You don't storm out and quit because you just don't "feel" it. Some days your kids are great and sometimes they are a pain in the wazoo but you don't kick them out when you don't "feel" it.
No couple on earth has a crystal ball so you either work through uncertainty or you don't go into a relationship. You're in one and you're a father, so that choice has already been made. Your kids might grow up to be President or an axe murderer. There's uncertainty there but you don't quit being "dad".
The success of your marriage isn't a secret discovered by reading tea leaves and chicken entrails. If you and your wife want it to work and you are both committed to doing the work required, it'll work. If you plan on floating like a leaf in a stream, waiting to see what happens, it'll probably fail. You and your wife are the engineers of this train and y'all decide where it goes and how fast.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-22-2013, 02:35 PM Thread Starter
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Re: When your heart isn't in it but you want to try reconciliation

Thank you all so much for the advice and also for not being judgemental. I get it that life is not always easy going and that relationships must be worked on to get the best from them. I will read the posts about the grass being greener.

Kind regards,

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-22-2013, 02:52 PM
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Re: When your heart isn't in it but you want to try reconciliation

If the grass appears greener, it's usually because someone's pissed on it or buried a dead body under it. Things aren't always as great as they appear. To the mouse, a trap looks like a buffet.

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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-22-2013, 03:52 PM
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Re: When your heart isn't in it but you want to try reconciliation

You should google Affair Fog and also look for threads here. Try not to make any serious decisions right now while everything is still raw. My WH was in the fog for several months after his A was over and went through a grieving process as well before stepping into the clear and having his "WTF have I done to my wife" moment.
Your wife is experiencing emotional upheaval as well. Don't lose sight of that.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-25-2013, 01:02 PM
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Re: When your heart isn't in it but you want to try reconciliation

From a woman's point of view, most of us are uncomfortable moving away from our comfort zone, which may keep us in an unhappy relationship. Additionally, there are always the fears of financial difficulties, facing life alone, especially with children to care for, these may be only several reason's why your wife chose to stay with you. Not solid reasons. Nor will it encourage healing and strength in marriage.

I speak for myself when I say, I would not want to remain married to a man that didn't love me. Reality is, he would only commit to the relationship until something better came along. To be honest, you're being unfair to your wife, she deserves to have someone she can count on through good and bad, someone that will be there for the long run.

New relationships typically are exciting, the hormonal experience, the excitement of doing something taboo, and all of that. But, eventually it wears off. Then realitly sets in....

It's got to be all or nothing, if you can't commit to your marriage or don't want to, don't drag this poor woman through months or years of uncertainty... Only to find some other fling and leave her hanging... That's cruel. Either make a decision to give everything to your wife and family, or do them a favor and leave.

You need to take a good look at yourself and attempt to determine why you feel that your marriage is not giving you the emotional satisfaction you require. Perhaps you could let your wife know what you want emotionally, she probably doesn't read minds. Find a good therapist to help you.

Good luck.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-29-2013, 05:37 PM
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Re: When your heart isn't in it but you want to try reconciliation

Talking from experience, my husband had an affair about 12 years ago. He came back to me after 8 months and all was forgiven. He didn't want her anymore and wanted things to go back to the way they were. He couldn't understand why I couldn't totally trust him again, but I tried. He's recently left and I'd love to see us back together again. I've grown in myself from our time apart and have realised that these 12 years I never fully forgave him for the affair and never trusted him fully again. If we ever have a chance at R, I'm going to insist that we go to marriage counselling. I should've gone to marriage counselling with him 12 years ago and the marriage could've been better. If your wife is reluctant to go to marriage counselling with you, then go on your own but for her own trust she needs to go with you.
I do hope you can work things out, good luck
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-02-2013, 05:46 PM
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Re: When your heart isn't in it but you want to try reconciliation

Please be patient with yourself and your wife: Two weeks is way too short a time for the fog to have lifted from your head and the pain to have dissipated for your wife. You are in deep withdrawal as if from an addiction, which basically an affair is, hormonally. She is in shock and when that wears off you will have to face an incredibly hard set of emotions from her.

You say you came from an crazy childhood; please read up on how this upbringing could have effected you: very often, even though the coping behaviors we learned as a child can be destructive as an adult, we return to them because of the security they bring us. You married for peace and normalcy but perhaps what was missing was the drama, and uncertainty of your childhood? An affair would give you both. Perhaps you married for safety and friendship rather than in the heat of romantic love? Please understand, neither is wrong, and the buzz of the "honeymoon" period of love wears off in about 2 years anyway.(Perhaps this is what motivated your AP to call off the affair and return to her H)..so you are left with what you may have married for in the first place...

Now comes the challenge for everyone committed to their rightful spouse: how to grow the hot love of a new relationship into a stable, deep and meaningful relationship that will weather the storms of life: illness, disease, loss of income, children who are not perfect and including, unfortunately, even infidelity. No one gets a guarantee for a trouble-free life. The meaning of your life and your character is how you learn from the mistakes you make and the challenges you face...with what you learn, and the courage you show in overcoming the inevitable suffering of life, you grow into a better, more complete human being.

You can strengthen and revive your marriage but I think it will take extra effort in your case because of the infidelity. Please start with reading a few books on infidelity to understand how your childhood effects your views of marriage, how an affair impacts your spouse, how a different sexual partner affects your perspective on your own marriage and spouse...while difficult, when your own emotions are in a snarl, try to think of and empathize with your wife and what she must be going through...if you think you have it rough, multiply that for her 100 times over. Marriage counseling may be expensive but is an investment well worth the price. The internet offers an immense amount of free advice...make an effort to understand yourself, your spouse and the relationship you share, that you make together before you decide...give yourself some time.

A helpful book is "Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay" by Mira Kirshenbaum. Instead of weighing pros and cons, she advises the diagnostic approach to gaining insight on whether to continue a marriage. But again, I can't emphasize this enough, it is too early after the affair for you to decide. Good Luck

Last edited by allwillbewell; 05-02-2013 at 05:49 PM. Reason: to complete a thought
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-02-2013, 06:13 PM
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Re: When your heart isn't in it but you want to try reconciliation

Didn't you get the memo? Marriage is not easy. It takes work and dedication. Love and respect is built upon. Love is patient, kind, gentle.

You say you love your W. But you are thinking about leaving. Why?

The A you have broken off was never a real relationship to begin with. A's are extremely addictive. The feeling of love you have towards the OW is not real. Why is it not real? Because the intimacy that OW gave you was a lust-filled fantasy that you both created. You both knew that you couldn't have each other, and therefore, all the more to want each other.

But guess what? Once you leave your W for OW, you will see that the "love bug" will wear off. You will notice real life set in. OW will become lazy, not want to have sex all the time. Why? Because no human being can keep up with affair like tendencies. That is why your W cannot and will not ever be able to compete with OW. Because OW is giving it her all for the sake of this affair. She wants to WIN. And she wants to get everything she can out of you.

But rest assured, you will fall into the same issue with OW if you leave your W for her.

What does your gut tell you...?
One day at a time. One foot in front of the other
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