In a rock and a hard place...help!

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2003
In a rock and a hard place...help!
11
Mon, 04-07-2003 - 10:12am
My best friend is a married man. We met over 10 yrs ago, and had this bond instantly. Through the years it has become stronger and the last 4 years, boundries have been crossed. I love him with all my heart, problem is...our relationship has gone to a point that it can't be turned back. We both are struggling with this because of our values and have a hard time dealing with the fact that we have been having an full affair for the last couple years. He has 3 small children, I am not married, and are repected in our communities. We have tried, on suggestion on my part to control our feelings, add distance, but nothing works. He is my best friend and I hate seeing him struggle. He has gotten to the stage that when we are in public together (we spend alot of time together, he spends more time with me then his wife) he is extremely open about our relationship, and now states, he just doesn't care what people think anymore. He loves me, and doesn't know how he can go to the next step without hurting the kids, but he has came to the conclusion he can't live without me, and won't. I love him, want to be with him, and part wants him to leave, but another part doesn't because I feel I am the reason for breaking up this family. I am overwelmed with guilt. When I go out with other men, he is extremely jealous, and now find myself upset when friends talk about his wife. None of our friends realize the depth of our relationship. I fluctuate with feelings of anger at him "$hit, or get off the pot" to "I'm not worth loosing everything for". I am so confused on what to do. I also struggle with "lifes to short" we are wasting precious time when we are so in love, then guilt comes in again...We have realized we can't be together without this thing blowing up in our face, and we can't be away from each other...!I hate having the feeling of "being the other woman" I love him to much to loose respect in his family and friends. What should I do, I am sure some one somewhere has been through this, what is the best thing, regardless of the pain, end our friendship? We were crying last night, and he's confused with me becuase I don't communicate with him enough on what we should do on my point of view, I can't open up with him because I feel I don't have a right to tell him to leave everything for me, I feel I'm selfish. Ugh! What should I do. When his wife was pregnant with their 3rd child he was extremely upset with her, he (my perspective) was at a place that he was ready to make that decision to move one, then when #3 came, he felt more tied down. He was upset and told me he doesn't want anymore children, she knew that, and felt she purposely tried to get pregnant. I assume to save the marriage. He knows how bad I want more children ( I have a 15yr old from previous marriage, I have been divorced for 10 years). I have been seriously thinking about adoption and lately he tells me not a good idea, wait, now he tells me he wants to have children with me, and he would because he knows how much that means to me, don't make any rash decisions of adopting yet. It's just all too confusing for me.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 04-07-2003 - 10:29am
Good summary. A rock and a hard place.

One thing you left out. How does the wife feel? Does she know?

Be honest for a moment and put your feelings aside. Does she love him? Does he love her? (I'm not asking you to compare who he might love more. I believe you can love more than one person at the same time, and those loves cannot be put on a measuring scale).

I don't have any advice for you at the moment, but I am interested in hearing your responses to the above questions.

Brokk...

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2003
Mon, 04-07-2003 - 11:14am
Yes she loves him, the last few years they have been withdrawn from each other. They do not do anything together, and that's the way he likes it. The excuse is, if they went out together, they would have to get a babysitter, so she does her thing, he does his. He told me last night that they fight over everything, and it's him who starts it. He is out of town alot from work on business trips and he likes that. Their contact is meeting each other in the driveway. They have it all planned, they know when eachother is coming and going. There is alot of tension in their house. I know she suspects that our friendship is more. Last few years, she would make "surprised" visits to functions that we are together, and he get upset by it, like she's invading on his space. When we are all together (expremely rare) he is obviusly rude and short to her in public, him being my best friend tell him he should not take it out on her. He understands and say's he just can't help it, he doesn't know why he does. I used to tell me he does love her, but in a different way. Now he communicates that it's the children. He has lost that husband/wife love. He cares for her as a person, but that love is gone. The marriage is crumbling fast, and I am upset with myself that it's due to me. Last night he told me while I am gone on my trip (business trip) to think about what I want and we need to talk about how I want things to go. I am afraid to say, I love you, I want to spend my life with you, ruin 4 lives for me" but that's what I want to say. I have said, and did last night, We should just stop seeing each other. That's when he said "he cant' do that, I am the only thing that is good in his life. He said that he looks forward to the moments when we are gone for weekends, they are the best time" and he is depressed that they are over so quickly and then he's back dealing with his reality. He has become very upset over this, it kills me to see him this way. He is so torn. He asked me what would I do? He loves me. I feel that there are only a few true soul mates for you, and it's hard to find one and can't have him. From day one we had this unspoken bond, this is very hard. I told him I would leave him alone, and that they should seek help with a counselor, he doesn't want either of those two. I feel he doesn't want to save the marriage, but he's to scared to make that decision. I told him, look at the bigger picture. In 2 years from now, do you see yourself married? Do you see things getting on track with you wife? He states he doesn't see her, and he's not sure what he sees with that part. He states he knows he can't not see me in the picture. His dad has been sick lately, unexpected. He had taken me to his parents house a year ago because he wanted me to meet them. I would not go in, because I just didn't feel right. Guilt again! A few days after his father was sick in the hospital he told me how that hurt him, he wanted me to know his family. He knows mine, very well, in fact helps my father out with different things. He goes out of his way to be part of my life. It's like we are a couple and that his real life doesn't exist. My parents through the years must be figuring out the the close "friendship" is more. For the 1st time my mother voiced her concern over it.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 04-07-2003 - 1:51pm
Well, I see a bunch of red flags here. Forgive my bluntness, but I think you need to hear a few of these things. They are not said out of spite or malice. Just mostly to get you to think about them.

There is a basic problem with the concept of having an affair with a married man, then expecting him to dump his wife and marry you. The problem is that you are setting yourself for failure. His "cheating ways" are what got you the husband, but it will not end with his new marriage to you. Now you will be the wife that he can cheat on. I realize your situation is different (it always is), but please hear me out.

Listen to the way you describe his marriage. Think about how he treats his wife. This was the woman he was once in love with. At one time he was treating her, just like he was treating you. He loved spending time with her so much, that he committed to doing so for the rest of his life. Since then, things went down hill (how quickly?). Now he can't seem to stand the look of her, and treats her callously. You may not realize it, but that is what you may be signing up for.

Let's say he leaves his wife and marries you. How long until he doesn't want to deal with you? How long until he "wants his space", and is always away on business trips. Given the disdain he's showing for his wife, and his frequently being away from home, I would hazzard a guess that this is not his first extra-marrital affair. As a matter of fact, I wouldn't be surprised if this is a common facet of his life for many years.

Right now his life is nice and compartmentalized. His home/wife/kids represent security and work. Diapers to change, bills to pay, kids yelling, house to repair, cooking and cleaning to do. You and your life, represent a vacation. Breakfast in bed, hotels, eating out, doing little project that really are someone else's problems, not his. One of the things he may love about spending time with you the most, is that it *is* pleasurable. No work at all. Sheer holiday/vacation. Who wouldn't prefer that?

There is a common pattern that people see all the time. The husband/wife becomes disillusioned with their life of work and toil. They meet someone, and dump all the fun-time and energy into that person. They fall in love and have a *wonderful* affair. Sometimes it stays as that. Other times, they divorce their spouse, in an attempt to leave the work toil behind and marry their fantasy. However, life doesn't work like that. Marriage *is* work. All real relationships are. The new marriage offers just as many challenges as the last one, plus you now have an ex and kids to deal with. Plus you have alimony and child support to pay. The second marriage ends up as even more work than the first (because there is still work left from the first one). So the spouse finds someone else outside the marriage yet again...

It's easy for me, in this electronic forum, detached from everything you see and feel, to pass down "advice" for you. To tell you to dump this guy and move on with your life.

This will be one of the most painful things you have ever done. He will fight it kicking and screaming the whole way. Your life will be a living hell. However, it's just short term pain. In a couple years, you will have moved on and found someone available and honest that you can build your own life with.

If you stay with him, in a couple years you will either be just as torn and miserable, or you will have been drawn into a messy divorce, to be followed by your own messy marriage to him.

Your best long term bet is to leave him. I can promise it will be messy and painful.

Brokk...

Avatar for mamma2my3sons
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 04-07-2003 - 2:41pm
Hon, give his 3 kids a break! BOW OUT already! Have a little compassion for them, take the classy exit here. Respected in your communities? Not for long!

It doesn't matter how much you think you love him now,love is not an acceptable rationalization!You KNEW he was married with children. All excuses about the state of his marriage aside (which may or not be true because cheaters also LIE),YOU are still WRONG to continue the affair. Your continued actions will be at least partially responsible for his 3 small children ending up in a broken home!

Wrecking innocent others' lives, nice foundation to build a happy future on! (if there can be true happiness with a lying cheat who doesn't honor his commitments)

I'm addressing your responsiblity here and not his because you are the one who wrote. Personally I think he's morally bancrupt as evidenced by his willingness to screw over his children (& wife) for the sake of his own pleasure.

Shame on having such low morals & self esteem that one is willing to SETTLE for being involved with someone already supposed to be commited elsewhere!

Time to stop being selfish, & open eyes (and heart to the innocent people involved here!)

Barbara


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 04-07-2003 - 3:04pm
I've got to point this out.....allwhile he's been married, miserable, creating babies and responsibilities and unfaithful.....you've treasured his "commitment to you."

Has it occurred to you it is a commitment because it has no obligations...because if you became his wife and suddenly another woman entered the picture and you two weren't communicating as well as before.....you'd have ever reason to believe she'd become his "new best friend, that he has no problem having an affair with, because he's so miserable at home."

People do what they do because they want to do it. Their values, pririties and boundaries justify and entitle their actions, feelings, thoughts, decisions, words, ideas, and desires. Those same values inspire their character, conscience, integrity and honor.

You both possess a priority dysfunction. You both believe feelings are facts, and goals, and to be used to determine what to do in situations, and to be acted upon at all times.

Neither of you possess values that inspire anything but actions that result in instant gratification. Right now....without the ability to impact one another except positively, it works. Together....you'd be at each other's throats.

Erin

quickblade14@hotmail.com

Avatar for northwestwanderer
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 04-07-2003 - 4:56pm
The solution is easy: if you hate seeing him struggle, then stop seeing him and suspend your friendship altogether. If you hate the feeling of being the other woman, then stop *being* the other woman. No, it's not the easy thing to do, but it's definitely the right thing.

Sheri

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2003
Mon, 04-07-2003 - 7:49pm
Thank you everyone for your honest opinions, I do appreciate that. In response to some of them, I know he hasnot had any type of companionship with anyone else, that is not just me being blind, this is me who knows this man. He would be the type of man who you would never expect to develop a relationship like we have, me, myself the same. I do know there are some men out their are the type, the one I call "with horns" on their head. He is not. This is why we both are struggling. I have extremely close friends who have known both of them since they both were young. I do believe that over the years, people do change. They had a relationship that was one of them doing their own agenda. They had dated for 7 seven years, in which I was told he was the one who put space between them, I think (from other sources and what things he has said many years back) that he wasn't really thinking of marriage it was at the time what they thought was the next step since they had dated for so long ( I was told from others that she put alot of pressure becuase she wanted to start a family) now, I know it takes two, i'm not that blind! They have always had the type of marriage where you don't buy each other xmas gifts, cards for birthday thing, which everyone said obviously must work for them. How he's treated me since day one, over 10 years has been the same. He never calls home when he's gone, nor she would when she's away with the children. Friends of ours and theirs have always made comments (even when we were just friends) that he treats me different, they would joke about it.

Now onto the children, I beleive he would be and was unhappy before I entered. For the children I have been bowing out, and will let him know that. But I have friends who's parents stayed for the "sake of them" children are not stupid, they sense that. Everyone of them wished their parents would of just divorced. Friends who;s parents divorced as soon as the youngest get's his high school diploma in his hands had a harder time with the divorce then my friends who's parents divorced young. I'm not saying that I am justifing this, I'm just giving another view. If he decides to end the marriage, he will have to make that decision on his own, not because I am the issue. (these are new feelings and conclusions I am surfacing). I would not also rekindle our relationship until that decision was made and time passed. I also, knowing this man, would not worry about him being with anyone else, I know this man, not blindly.

I must also add, we (not justifying either, just giving full details) have never had sex. The affair has been an emotional one. Yes we kiss, hold hands, etc. But I do think, and affair isn't just sex, it's emotional commitment too.

I have a hard decision, but my priority is the children.

The other thing is, he does let his wife know where and who he's with when he's gone. He does not hide that. Through these years, she knows how much time he spends with me. I know due to our friends and through him. I, as a wife would never let my husband spend this much time with any one woman repeatedly without me. Even if he stated we are just friends. Not condeming her, it just makes me wonder how much is she emotionally in this marriage. Example, she leaves for extended time (week or two, sometimes longer) at her parents house (60 miles away or so) leaving him alone. This is not healthy on any marriage regardless. Thanks, and I suppose I will get tons of back slash on these comments, and that's fine, give me another angle I am missing.
Avatar for mamma2my3sons
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 04-07-2003 - 8:41pm
"They had a relationship that was one of them doing their own agenda. They had dated for 7 seven years, in which I was told he was the one who put space between them, I think (from other sources and what things he has said many years back) that he wasn't really thinking of marriage it was at the time what they thought was the next step since they had dated for so long ( I was told from others that she put alot of pressure becuase she wanted to start a family) now, I know it takes two, i'm not that blind!"

ME: A moot point. He still told her he loved her, married her & swore to honor his vows through good & bad times, continued to have sex with her and then even made THREE babies in the marriage.

"Friends of ours and theirs have always made comments (even when we were just friends) that he treats me different, they would joke about it."

ME:Of course, you were the exciting when marriage has become mundane & boring as it does at times!

"Now onto the children, I beleive he would be and was unhappy before I entered. For the children I have been bowing out, and will let him know that."

ME:I wish you would bow out for their sake but I wonder if you truely will 100% or will you try to hang on in some capacity?!

"But I have friends who's parents stayed for the "sake of them" children are not stupid, they sense that. Everyone of them wished their parents would of just divorced. Friends who;s parents divorced as soon as the youngest get's his high school diploma in his hands had a harder time with the divorce then my friends who's parents divorced young."

ME:Mom & dad splitting up because they don't get along while terribly traumatic for children is certainly less harmful than the realization that dad has clay feet.The realization that dad was willing to break up their home & betray their mother to satisfy his desire for another woman, for another woman who pretended to be just a friend to boot. You're right, you can't fool kids, they WILL know the truth.

"The affair has been an emotional one. Yes we kiss, hold hands, etc. But I do think, and affair isn't just sex, it's emotional commitment too."



ME: Not because HE didn't want to have sex. The fact that YOU have been unwilling leaves me some hope. Since it means you still have a modicum of decent values.

"The other thing is, he does let his wife know where and who he's with when he's gone. He does not hide that. Through these years, she knows how much time he spends with me. I know due to our friends and through him. I, as a wife would never let my husband spend this much time with any one woman repeatedly without me. Even if he stated we are just friends. Not condeming her, it just makes me wonder how much is she emotionally in this marriage. Example, she leaves for extended time (week or two, sometimes longer) at her parents house (60 miles away or so) leaving him alone. This is not healthy on any marriage regardless."

ME:Hello, all their friends know about you, he spends all his time with YOU, he treats her less than you, yet you are trying to blame HER for leaving for a week or two? How emotionally invested SHOULD SHE be, knowing that HE is not invested in her at all?? How can their marriage EVER IMPROVE with you in the picture in ANY capacity??? How wonderful do you think her life is with him, with the public embarassment? Think people don't know about you?!Think again, its not normal for a married man to spend all his time with another woman & call HER his "best friend". Of course you wouldn't let your dh spend so much time with another woman, you KNOW how the cheating can begin.

ME:Hon, you've been an interloper in their marriage for 10 years. SHE should have been his "best friend" in that time period. Not you. You chose to insert yourself in that role with his help,& you've been a wedge between them ever since! You knew she suspected you yet you CONTINUED to see him KNOWING there are 3 small children at home! That says you have enjoyed the power of feeling he liked you better than her. Unfortunately that comes at their children's expense!

"Thanks, and I suppose I will get tons of back slash on these comments, and that's fine, give me another angle"

ME: the other angle is get a BACKBONE. Stop being SELFISH, DON'T EVER SEE HIM OR TALK TO HIM AGAIN. There are a million guys out there that could tickle your fancy, the children involved here only have 1 shot at an intact family. He loved his wife once. Who knows what could happen for them if you were no longer available to be his emotional outlet!!!!!

Barbara

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 04-07-2003 - 8:43pm
Oh, iLydia.... I have been there in the emotional affair world. It is a *very* hard place to be. In retrospect, I spent only a year "with" the man I fell for, but quite a few years getting over him. The connection was so much more intense than any I had ever had. We were friends and coworkers first. Like you, we did not sleep together, which made me admire him even more.

It is hard to accept, but the fact is, you and he are cheating one another out of *real* relationships and emotional closeness. Maybe his wife is the right person for him, maybe she is not. But, while he is indulging in this closeness with you, and you both are riding the rollercoaster- with no lap bar- he is not keeping his spouse emotionally close. He shows you sides of himself he doesn't show her, more than likely- and he also doesn't have any real responsibility to you; and there is no chance this relationship he has with you could survive *as is* in reality. Take a look at the relationship he has in reality: see how he treats it, and her. Once you take stock, realize what you will get if you somehow, by some miracle (or catastrophe) had a *real* relationship with him: a man who escapes the reality of his primary relationship and responsibilities by keeping another woman emotionally closer- tethered to him, and unable to give herself freely to any reality-based relationship in her life because she is swept away by the beauty of an emotional relationship.

I could *sense* when this guy walked into a room. He could do the same with me. I could feel his touch when he said he wanted to touch me, and when we finally kissed after all the time and tension, it was heavenly- at the same time it was emotionally gut-wrenching.

I loved him with all of my heart. I needed to keep it pure, too, and we didn't sleep together... I wouldn't until he left her. That was my point of pride, made me believe he must LOVE me, it wasn't about sex.

He did something similar to what you described in your relationship: On occasion, we had to be in situations where he, his wife, and I would be in the same place at the same time. He admitted to being wrung out over it, but liked the fact that "I was there to calm him down..." In retrospect, with age and experience to boot, I know he liked the idea that he had two women who loved him and wanted him in the same room. I realize he allowed his wife and me to go through such scenes to stroke his own ego.

He got jealous or put down any man I dated- but always told me to move on with my life, if I had to... he understood. Made me stay even closer- how much he must have loved me to put my needs first.

Look at your relationship objectively, if you can. I couldn't for a long time- you may not be able to right away. Ask yourself how you would advise your younger sister, or best friend in a similar situation. Are you getting your needs met? He impregnated his wife while you were loving him so selflessly. I am pretty sure he told you that he rarely had sex with her in addition to her doing it on purpose/trying to save the marriage. Funny thing is, the *EXACT* thing happened while I was loving the guy I fell so hard for... He had a beautiful little girl. I stayed around for a while after that anyway. I loved him.

Truth is, I loved the feeling I got from being so wanted and desired. I wanted and desired him all the more as a result. But the bottom line is that I kept myself away from being able to pursue a healthy relationship with someone available at a point in my life when I had so much to give. I chose to give my love freely- as do you. I just hope you can really see what you are giving up; what is at stake here in his life as well as yours; and I hope you can learn and grow and find someone who will share all the best and worst of himself with you because he is ready and available and willing to love you 100%.

Best of luck to you.

Cher

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Registered: 04-07-2003
Mon, 04-07-2003 - 10:59pm
Barbara, Thank you. Your totally right and I guess I needed someone to point blank tell me how stupid it all is. Your right 100%. My decision is made!

Now Cher, I am glad someone knows exactly how I feel, what you described and wrote hit home closer then you thought. Your right on everything you said, word for word.

Decision is made, it's selfish, and your right. It'll be hard, but I am the one with the littlest to loose, what my pain would be is not even remotely close to what theirs would be, and I can't live knowing that.

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