Am I in love with another man because my marriage was dysfunctional / abusive?
I will try to make this story short. I've been married for almost 10 years and have 2 kids (6 and 3). My husband is a truck driver over the road for the last 3 years. Comes home on the weekends. I've been battling with depression and anxiety,for most of my life, coming and going, but it's been a constant struggle since my husband started to drive. Took meds and therapy and it helped some, but the feelings of loneliness and stress of raising my kids alone, took a lot of my energy and motivation. I work 30 hours a week and run the household, even on the weekends when my husband comes home, because all he does is sleep a great deal to recover from the occasional overnight journeys, he seldom wants to go out and participate in our activities and is emotionally distant a lot of times, which is his normal. I thought I was dealing with this issue well enough considering the depression and anxiety, but many things changed in the last year. I went to a job training and I met a man that offered me a nice friendship. I knew I felt attracted to him and I didn't do anything to avoid him, it felt so good to have somebody that paid attention to me!...I told my husband about him, I wanted to be honest with him and tell him how I felt, so I did. He proposed to me to have an open marriage where he could date other women too. I thought it was weird and a bit scary but I accepted, being that I really wanted to continuing my friendship with this man. I made the choice to involve myself romantically with him and fell in love. He treated me with such respect and tenderness that I've never experienced before. It never occurred to me that this relationship would open my eyes and at the same time,change my life so much. I thought my love for my husband was strong enough to handle this like mature adults, and my husband made me see that this could spice up things between us and that it could be good for the marriage. My real problems started when I realized that I was so much happier with my affair because I felt respected, valued, and very loved, which I didn't feel with my husband. My "boyfriend" knew about my open marriage and was ok with it. I started to feel trapped and thought something was really wrong with me. When my husband realized I was very happy and in love, he tried to stop all of this. He told me once more that I am mentally ill and emotionally unstable. I visited a psychiatrist because I thought there was really something wrong with me and she couldn't diagnose me with anything other than depression, which is a chemical imbalance that I've had for many years. But my husband kept telling me I was really sick and pathetic. This hasn't been the first time he makes me feel this way. Anyway, In August he confessed to me that he had a couple of "one night stands" with other women when I was pregnant with our 3 year old and that completely broke my trust in him. His verbal put downs have become worse in the last 3 months, he has even used the emotional and verbal abuse in front of my mom and she even intervened to stop him. I don't think he is aware of it and doesn't realize how much he hurts me. I've read some books about marriage conflict and realized about the verbal abuse just a couple months ago...I didn't know that his put downs and attacks were abuse!..He has been like this since we were dating, and because I come from a family that was like this, I didn't know any better, but now I do. I have gone through therapy myself on and off and I admit I have some issues from my childhood, but with a lot of work I'm just realizing that I I was not assertive, didn't have good boundaries and that a lot of my loneliness and stress came from valid situations, and not because I was mentally unstable or codependent, like he calls me. To end this quick. I suggested couples therapy and he didn't wanna do it. I stopped seeing my friend to work on my marriage but nothing changed and now I am back to him again because he has been a great emotional support through this and really cares about my well being. I know it may be wrong to keep seeing him, and I know I need to build myself up without a man by my side. I wish my husband would recognize his role in the play, but he keeps blaming me for everything. I just want to run away from him and be alone with my kids. I love him but nothing like before. I am still in love with my friend and dream of a life with him, someday in the far future, but only God knows. I want to separate from my husband because I am not happy at all and he doesn't even recognize his responsibility in all this, let alone work on himself. I want to work on myself because I want to be happy and I want my kids to be happy..that's all. I want to some day get rid of all my emotional baggage and start all over with a man that really loves me and values and respects me, and do the same for him. I want your input. am I going the right path? Should I forget the past and work on my marriage? Should I separate? What should I do? I am very confused because I have tremendous guilt to break my family and love a man that is not my husband but at the same time, I don't want to go back to my old life...I want to be happy!
I think it's great that you are trying in different ways to help make your marriage work but the foundation of a good marriage is fidelity. The next thing that needs to happen is forgiveness. I understand the part about your husband being tired all of the time. That is so hard. You need to build a support system with girls that are in your area, like meetup.com or something so that you do not become emotionally reliant on this other guy. He may seem like a perfect man but its different when you don't have kids together and are living together and sharing finances. About him putting you down, I understand that hurts too. The only advice I've been given is to learn how to express that when he says that to express how it makes you feel and that if he really cares about you, he won't do that. Hopefully that sinks in but I know how dense husbands can be. Of course he needs to be faithful too. Good luck
I hope this helps.
Thank you Anokamarriage. I've talk to my husband about my feelings and how much it hurts what he has done, but he doesn't think that having one night stands with women as a serious mistake. He says that my emotions come from my depression and my insecurities and that it's me that should change. I've read books about boundaries and assertiveness and I've been applying it successfully, but all I accomplish is more blaming and stone walling from him. I discovered last weekend that he is approaching women at bars when he goes out with his friends and asks them for their phone numbers, calls them and text message them. I can see why he does that being that I am doing that with my friend too. I kinda feel he is doing it out of revenge somehow or to avoid feeling lonely.
Thank you for your advice and for replying to this. I will appreciate more insight, advice or just words of support