In desperate need of advice and help

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-15-2013
In desperate need of advice and help
Fri, 03-15-2013 - 6:08am

I am writing for some advice-not judgment-on the most significant relationship of my life. If anyone can help or offer advice, please do so. A bit of my story...

When I was in university I met the most wonderful man and we dated for many years. We both came from the same small Southern community. Sometimes we would break-up, but always found our way back to each other. He is to me what some would call a soulmate. We were utterly passionate about one another, had amazing times together, but also equally problematic ones as well. After that time, I left town for work and he went to another town for a job. We retained contact for another three years. After this point, we only maintained contact through the phone and email. I never stopped loving or wanting to be with him.

Fast forwarding to today, which is over 20 years later, we are once again in constant contact each day (this happens frequently via email now and again). We are both in newer marriages (both less than 5 years), however we both acknowledge our love for one another and that it will never end. This is the first time in years that we have really communicated our feelings beyond flirting. We have seen each other and the passion and love is still there. IDK if this is a full blown affair, I suppose that depends on how one defines "affair," but I am certain of my feelings for him and that I don't want to hurt anyone. I want, however, to spend my life with this person. He is not in a position currently to leave his marriage and does love his wife, though problems exist in his relationship. Neither of us has children. What I truly want is to be with him. I can't get over him no matter what I have tried. I am in so much pain, but I do not want to cut off ties with him as I hope in my heart of hearts that we will be together. I understand that people will get hurt if he and I are together-I am not blind to this. Without him I feel like I am just existing; something many other posters have also commented on. I just want to be happy and be with him. 

I have two questions that might seem to contradict one another. Is there anyway to be with this man? Are there any tips that have worked for any of you to get over someone you have loved for this length of time? I am certain I'd love to be with him, but realistic as well. Please avoid judging here. The situation is painful enough. I understand the morality and ethical side of this-I just want some help/advice and while I don't typically reach out like this, I hope to find someone here who can shed some light on this situation. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-07-2009
Fri, 03-15-2013 - 8:57am

Good Morning.

My heart goes out to you. I have a similar relationship as well. To be of help I would like to just put out a few thoughts and comments for you to think about.

First I completely understand your feelings for this person. You mentioned you would be together and then break up but always found your way back to each other. I am curious as to what the "problematic" issues were/are? Is it posible that you precieve this person to be your soulmate but in reality it is more Attraction to him?  I do believe in soulmates and even the possibility or people being able to have more than one soulmate as there life changes. Sort of contrary to the defination but  it does seem possible as people do tend to change over time.

While I am not telling you what to do. I would take sometime and seriously consider not seeing him and cutting off ALL contact. the reasons I say this is it sounds like have always kept him in your mind. Which I get that ..guilty as charged in my own situation. But it sounds to me like you like him more than he likes you. I am a man and I am a firm believer if a Man loves a woman...especially if they are "soulmates" that he will not let her out of his life.

You both have just been married 5 years now. The honeymoon is over so to speak in your marriage and now comes the part having to put some effort into your marriage at times. I am not sure what the dynamic is in your marriage. Maybe you and your husband are not a perfect match and you "settled" for what was available when you married him or maybe its the reality of life and you are missing attention you had from your husband when  you were first married. My opinion is address that issue first. Do you love your husband? Do you want to spend the rest of your life with him? If not then change your life. But dont get involved with another man while doing so. That only clouds the issues...especialy with a man who makes you think what could have been. To me he is more of a fantasy then a reality.

I think its not worthy to point out that this other man still loves his wife and is not in a postion to leave his wife. To me that is ALARMING. Being a man I know what some men can be and that comment along with your past with him read to me as " he is just going to use you" Sorry but thats my gut feeling. Please think about your spouse and his spouse. If this man had sincerce feelings for you he would divorce his wife and not when the "conditions: are right.

I had a Affair. Not sure mine is typical of most Affairs. Verict is still out on whether mine was right or wrong. Do know this from living it for four years now. That if you cross the line and pursue contact and activities with this man you are entering a whole new world of emotional heart ache and drama. Yes there will be good times but with the emotional element you are going to have some very tough times. Affairs only seem to work for people who can block out any emotional attachment and enjoy sexual side of it with no strings or regrets. Not to mention what could happen if your spouse finds out. 

I am not judging you in any means and hope nothing above was hurtful. I think you should step back and look at your current relationship. Weigh the pros and cons. Are the cons that bad? If so can they be changed?  Talk to your spouse. Us men are not mind readers and we have our faults. As we can be quite dense at If there are porblems and your spouse is unwilling to change then consider ending the marriage. I am a firm believer in putting effort and repairing a marriage. BUT also believe if its not right that its ok the change things. Life should not be lived sad and empty in a relationship.

Should you decide to work on your marriage then it would be wise to cut off contact with this other man. He will only distract your thoughts. While he may be your soulmate he may also have disingenious intentions. If decide to make changes then tell him your intentions and that if he wants to be with you then he needs to do the same......NOW and not in the future or when he is in a position to. I advise you avoid having a Affair. Regardsless of how you define it.  Hope this helps some.

One last comment. While I cant speak  for all men...but there are men who if they love a woman they will do whatever it takes to make her happy and be with her. A man that truely loves you will show it in more ways then just sex and you will know it in your heart. From what you wrote I dont feel that in this other man in your life.


Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Fri, 03-15-2013 - 9:22am

"Is there any way to be with this man?"

Yes - if he leaves his wife for you.  Which he's told you he's not going to do.  So the real answer is:  no.

The way to get over someone you've had feelings for for many years is to cut off contact and move on.  Which you should have done when you married someone else.

The advice, which you probably don't want to hear, is give this up.  Not for the sake of children or the people you're married to, but because there is no future in it.  There never was. . . you just haven't accepted it yet.  You've been clinging to the idea of being soulmates with someone since you were 18yo, but you're probably around 40yo now, and it's time to accept that the romantic attachment you had when you were 18 was the attachment of an 18yo.  You're not supposed to carry it with you for the rest of your life.  If you marry that person, that attachment will not be the attachment of an 18yo, it will grow and develop and mature through marriage and maybe children.  But it won't be the same thing.  Says someone who's been with the same man *she* met at college 30 years ago.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-06-2010
Fri, 03-15-2013 - 1:07pm


iVillage Member
Registered: 07-23-2004
Fri, 03-15-2013 - 2:14pm

There are a whole lot of I in your post. How about your H? What does he deserve? What does the OM's W deserve? M requires requires requires requires requires honesty. A third party does not make a M destroys a M. How much effort are you putting into your M? My guess is very little. My guess is that you have never been honest with your H. Before you screw everything up you need to get into T, MC and have a "come to Jesus" talk with your H.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-11-2013
Fri, 03-15-2013 - 2:59pm
I am a married woman that just ended a 5 month A with a man who was also in a relationship. Because of the problems in my marriage, I turned to this person and made him my whole life. Talking, texting all day long. He was honest from the get go with me and told me that he was in love with his girlfriend and wanted to be with her. I thought i could handle this, because I was looking for a physical relationship and planned to keep my emotions out of it. Needless to say, things did not work out as I planned. I developed very strong feelings for this person and what started out as something fun developed into a very hurtful situation for me. I ended it 2 weeks ago because I could not continue hurting everyday and it has been the hardest 2 weeks of my life. Cutting someone you love out of your life is not easy and I would not wish this on my worse enemy. I still hurt everyday but I know that time will help me get over him. My advice to you is to not get further pulled into this relationship. When someone tells you that they are not going to leave their wife, take them at their word. I know it hurts to cut off contact now, but I can tell you from my own personal experience, that it will only get harder with time - not easier. Good Luck.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2009
Sat, 03-16-2013 - 12:29am

20 years, and suddenly, 5 years after each of you marry, now you want to be with him?  Sorry, he doesn't want to be with you!  There isn't a married man alive, involved in an affair, that doesn't say he's not happy in his marriage, but he loves his wife, so you're the one for sex, but not marriage.  If he was in love with you, there would be no question, he would leave his wife..and he's not willing to do understand, no matter what he tells you, he's very happy where he is, with you on the side.  If there was so much "love" on both sides, you would have been together long ago.  If you're unhappily married, do your husband a favor and end the marriage......but don't think Mr.Wonderful is going to leave his wife......he has no intention of doing that.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-18-2012
Thu, 03-21-2013 - 6:34pm

all of this advice? does a affair have to ruin a marriage?what if you both are content w just sex and talkin or txtin all day.maybe its the on thing that makes his marriage better.he s never leaving and you dont want to keep him.yes you can love him,and be content knowing hes happy w he leaves.not every affair ruins a marriage.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-10-2009
Sat, 03-23-2013 - 4:26pm

You are clearly unhappy being kept on the line for the sake of this man's ego and will probably never get anything out of it except for heart ache - maybe STDs and a divorce. This cannot be worth it. Even you must see that you are living in a fantasy of your own design, and one that will not have a happy ending.

Open your eyes and see that he is toying with you while you serve as an ego booster. He has his loving wife at home AND a chicky on the side who has longed for him since high school, one who will even cheat on her new husband for him. His ego must be immense. Of course it is easy for him to say mere words like he loves you if it is that easy to keep you hooked.

"He is not in a position currently to leave his marriage and does love his wife" translates to "He does not WANT to leave his marriage, he loves his WIFE!" And every cheater uses that "problems in the marriage" excuse to rationalize cheating. It is the oldest trick in the book and most of the time it is BS - the problems are within the cheater.

He loves his wife and has told you that. He is not leaving her for you and has told you that. What are you hanging on for? And why for so long?

Without him you feel like you are just existing? Perhaps that is the problem you need to address first and foremost. You have handed the responsibility for your happiness to someone who has no intention of honoring your affections in any way. Why? Please see a therapist to figure this out. I have a feeling that the man you pine away for is only a distraction from whatever it is that really leaves you so empty inside. And do not go blaming your husband now - the problem is an emptiness within YOU, and only YOU can figure out what that is and how to fill the hole. I am speaking from experience.

Community Leader
Registered: 01-03-2004
Sun, 03-24-2013 - 7:41am

I think you're more enamored of the IDEA of this relationship than the reality. Case in point: you are both married to someone else. What you had 20 years ago was....20 years ago. 

I also think you're being played for a fool by this man. Indeed, he's told you, he's in love with his wife and he won't leave. Isn't that plain enough? The other "plain truth" here is the fact that it strokes his ego to have a "girl on the side" (shame on him) and you're a fool if you believe it's ever going to more than a fling (with him).

Go home to your husband. Pay attention to YOUR marriage. Stop thinking about this guy and for sure stop communicating with him. Because here's the bottom line: If you think for one minute you're the "only other woman" in his life: you'd be wrong.

Go home and be happy with your spouse. Your husband deserves 100% of your attention. Give it to him.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-02-2002
Sat, 04-20-2013 - 2:58am

I too understand the never-ending love of the soul-mate you met in college and because of various reasons, could not stay together.  We made a pact however, that one day, many many many years hence, when we were both old and free, we would live out the rest of our days together.......Im sure he remembers this even though its been nearly 20 years since we had any contact.  Romantic as it seems, it may never happen.  And then again it might.  I still dream of this man 20 years later.  But my point is, if it is meant to be, it will happen in its own right.  To push aside two marriages for the chase of what used to be seems to me to be tempting fate.  Maybe your perfect destiney is right where you are.  And maybe fate will find you two again at a better moment in time.