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Alone... but not alone

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This is my first time here, so I'm not sure how much to share right out of the gate. It's actually a very long story, but I'll try to give you the condensed version.


About 4-1/2 years ago I found myself at a pretty low point in my marriage. After 23 years my wife and I were more like roommates than a couple. We rarely had sex and were not communicating much. We were living two separate lives but living in the same home. So when I met another woman that was in a similar situation in her marriage, I soon found myself right in the middle of a full blown affair. We hit it off and fell absolutely head over heels in love with each other. Her marriage eventually ended, but I stayed with my wife. I would have married her in a split second, but I didn't have it in me to hurt my wife to leave her that way. I tried several times over the years to end the affair, but each time I did neither of us could resist seeing each other and we ran right back to each other. Then last March I made the decision to try again to end the affair. My girlfriend was devastated, but she could see how hard this was for me so she decided to "take herself out of the battle" as she put it, and she packed up and moved 2000 miles away and is now living with an old boyfriend. I knew I would miss her, but I thought I would eventually get over her and be able to work on repairing my marriage. Instead, I find that after 9 months of not seeing her that my marriage is still a mess and I miss her more each day and I simply cannot get her out of my head. My wife knows about the affair and we've talked about it. I've tried explaining how I feel and that I would like to split up, but she insists we stay together even though we're unhappy. She's more concerned about how it will look to her friends and family. I don't know what to do. I still love my wife and I don't want to hurt her, but I can't imagine going on like this til death do us part. I know that it's my fault, but I also know that my wife and I will never feel close or intimate again. I just don't see the point in staying together.


On top of that, I still miss my girlfriend so fucking bad that I just don't see how I can go on living without her in my life. It's getting to the point where I lay awake each night either thinking of the woman I let slip away or thinking of different ways to end it all. Little things in my daily routing like eating and going to work get harder to do every day. I've lost 20 lbs and I've started drinking heavily. I've even taken up smoking for the first time in my life. 


I know that I brought this all on by myself, so I'm not looking for sympathy. Trust me, I'm pretty much hating myself for what I did. If I could go back and do it differently, then I would. It's just that today was a pretty bad day. A little worse than most and I'm really having a hard time finding any reason to go on. I stumbled across this forum and thought maybe there might be a few others around who have been through a similar experience. I would love to know how you got through it. 


Thanks for taking the time to read this. 

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Have you and your wife tried any kind of therapy to work on your problems?


If you are really committed to making it work, but you can live the way you are now, start doing something different. Put effort into your marriage. Remember back the days when you were trying to win her heart. I don't know you, so I can't say for certain, but I'd bet that you weren't living separate lives back then. You would welcome her into your life every time you got to see her. Tear the walls down. Try bringing romance back. Maybe a surprise gift or a letter telling her how much you love her. They don't make them anymore but Hallmark used to have a series called "Tiny little love notes", I used to slip one into my husband's pocket as he was going to work. You could probably print your own. Just know that if it is important to you it is going to take work.


You need to work on yourself, too. If you don't have a therapist (tdoc) you should get one. Your post is full of conflicted feelings and it would probably be helpful to have a safe environment to work it out in. 

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Have you cut all contact with this other woman? If you're still in contact then I think that's part of the problem. You cannot move on from her while still being in contact with her (and honestly, that would be unfair on your wife). If you're not, then that's a good start at least.

I agree that while you had the affair, but you BOTH need to work on the marriage. If she's saying you did the wrong thing and you're the only one who has to do the work repairing everything then you may not be able to save things. There is sometimes a reason that affairs happen (and I'm not giving you an excuse) but with you it sounds like something in your marriage was a little broken and just not working for you which is why this has happened. Both parties need to take responsibility for things not being right and agree that they'll work on it together.

Taking time out to get to know each other is vital. It's very easy to become room mates. You have to continually work at making the other person feel needed and special. Both of you do. Otherwise nothing will change. Do things together again, go out on a date to dinner or the movies, buy her flowers or like Damik mentioned just leave the odd little note. She has to know that she's the *only* woman in your life and you have to decide she is or otherwise there's really no point in even trying to save the marriage at all.

Last but not least, yes, if she'll agree to couples counselling that is probably another good starting point.

Best of luck. I hope you can sort out what you want and move forward whether it be with your wife or not.


Edited by Jessamine
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I agree with Damik that couples counseling could be helpful to you.  I also agree with the advice to re-romanticize your marriage.  


It sounds like you could use some counseling to get over this other woman.  Your focus needs to be squarely on your marriage and how to save it.   I imagine there is quite a bit of trust that needs to be rebuilt.  This will be hard work, but saving your marriage is worth it.  

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