Married Men Before the Affair - Relationship Advice
Steve left this comment on my Hub For Unhappily Married Men: Kids Change Everything:
I've only read a few of the posts and gonna print out all of these and read them later. Right off the bat I can relate to so many others. I have been married for 15 years and knew my wife 3 years earlier. I met my wife when I was 22 and married at 25. I have been unhappy for at least the past 5 years. I have two children and of course love them more than everything but I miss so many other things. Sex is usually quick and now that the kids are getting older most of the time is not a "good time". Some nights I can barely stay up past ten o' clock because I work long hours. I work so hard as does my wife and we barely make ends meat. Saving for the future or retirement is not realistic. I can't stop thinking about meeting somebody else. I have never cheated on my wife but I'm afarid my urges will lead me to cheat someday soon. I simply miss the touch and company of another woman. I haven't kissed or even held hands in years. I'm older but I'm not dead. I keep myslef as busy as possible with the kids to help me forget just how unhappy I am. I hate it when I hear people say if your unhappy you should just leave. Oh, I wish it was that easy. It's not even that I hate my wife or anything like that but I just don't feel passion anymore. I can see why married men cheat. I might be that person one day soon. I can also see why men don't leave their wives and nice homes then cheat. Why lose everything first then cheat? Maybe if I cheated and later realized that the grass wasn't greener on the other side then maybe finally I can put all my wonders aside. I just want to be happy. I just want everyone to be happy!
Well, I must admit, I hadn't really thought about the point Steve makes regarding testing the water to see if you want out of your marriage before ending it and finding out you made a mistake.
The "grass is always greener" theory applies to alot of the men that commented on that article.
I think many married men can relate to Steve. They married young, they married too fast, they didn't think through alot of the decisions that they made. They had kids, bought the big house, they work long hard hours. And they are miserable.
In particular, Steve points out, "I haven't kissed or even held hands in years."
Steve, I hear ya honey. And I'm not judging. You're in a shitty place. Everyone should feel loved and wanted. Especially someone in a committed relationship. You should feel like your wife is in love with you. Sex should not be "quick" or rare if you're not ok with that. I'm validating the things you're feeling and the frustrations you have.
But thinking so much about meeting someone new is not the answer.
Think about what it actually is that you're imagining. You're fantasizing about being commitment free. The other woman isn't going to erase your debt, your responsibilities, your failing marriage or your children. When you think about this other woman, you're thinking about erasing those things, and for a moment, not feeling lonely. The thing that you're focused on is bigger than sex: it's the intimacy, the sensuality. It's reconnecting with that healthy part of you that is manly and masculine. Wanting to feel attractive, and wanted. Wanting to feel desire, and desirable.
The truth is finding that with another woman isn't going to feel as good as you're thinking. Read my Hub Affairs with Married Men. Read about the pain and the anguish, the pathetic lives of the other women, the betrayal and pain from the wives. It's disgusting, and it's eye opening.
The affair may bring a few moments of happiness to you, but it will bring heartache and wreckage to everyone else. Additionally, the affair will bring guilt, and will take even more time away from your family that needs the effort from you. An affair is not an answer. And it's not going to bring that fantasy in your head to life.
Kudos to you for trying to talk about it. Prior to making another mistake you won't be able to undo, you took a breath and tried to talk about this. Coming online and reading the article, and leaving a comment to articulate your thoughts is a huge thing. The next step is talking to your wife.
This is always the part where men want to shut down. They're sure the wife won't understand, they're sure this will only make matters worse.
Well, that may be true. But listen, and feel free to use this as your opening line. You are actually thinking about having an affair. You are that miserable that you're spending time fantasizing about someone new. It really can't get worse than that. It's there already, it's at the bottom, it's worse than bad. Basically, the truth is, you have nothing to lose.
The odds are she's miserable too. If you work as a team and really listen to each other, there's alot you can fix. I'm not saying it will undo all the mistakes and that life will be wonderful. But I do think you can get your life to a tolerable place, or at least try. You can't live like this.
The two most important things to remember entering into this pre-affair conversation with your wife is not to place blame, and to share the focus of making this work.
Look your wife in the eyes and tell her honestly that you've never cheated. But you need to tell her just as clearly that you're lonely. You don't feel desired or sensual. You miss kissing. You miss holding hands. You miss the romance and the love. Let her know you're not blaming her. That you've both got to work at this. And believe me, you need to be clear when you say to her - your marriage is in trouble. And you're not going to let it get any worse without a fight.
Start with a date. It doesn't have to be expensive, it just has to be romantic. Can't afford the time or expense of dinner? Fine. How about dessert? One drink? A coffee? Make some small effort to go out. Get dressed and try to reconnect to what it was like when you were falling in love.
Instead of finger pointing, you have to approach things like a team: "What can we do to change this?" "How can we find a compromise on this?"
Working like mad just to make ends meet is not good. You have to seriously work on how you can cut back. Cutting down to one car, moving to a smaller house, eliminating some of the kid's activities, designing a much tighter stricter food and household budget. Sell some jewelry, find a consignment shop and sell some furniture or clothes or stuff. Your reward for the sacrifices will be a happier marriage.
The point of this is to stop feeling completely exhausted all the time. It's so hard to be romantic when you're shot. If you can just come up with enough cash to have a date night every week, you can start mending those feelings of unwantedness.
This is tough but you have to have this talk with her. You both have to make that effort again to work on yourselves. To feel and be attractive. To make sure the other one knows they are wanted. This is a two way street and can only work if you both try. You can at least try.
If she won't listen, won't communicate, won't work on the marriage with you, you have an answer about your next step. Life is short, and living it in misery sucks. Hey if you need to get out, you need to get out. But I swear being dishonest, lying and cheating are not the better way. Put the time you spend thinking about meeting someone new in to trying to talk about this with your wife. At the very worst case scenario you can at least always know that you tried.
I hope you'll keep in touch.