Wife threat­ens to harm her­self and kids if I leave her for love of my life

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Living - - MARY O’CONOR -

I am a man in my mid-40s, I have been mar­ried for over 10 years and have beau­ti­ful chil­dren whom I adore.

I’ve never been “in love” with my wife. She got preg­nant very early in our re­la­tion­ship and I did what I deemed to be the right thing. Over time, we made a life to­gether, but there was very lit­tle pas­sion, and for my part, I just got on with things.

Over two years ago I be­gan to no­tice a woman in our cir­cle, not a close friend but an ac­quain­tance. I sought out her com­pany when­ever I could, thought she was so at­trac­tive and great com­pany. We be­came re­ally good friends, and then on a night out, things went fur­ther and we em­barked on an af­fair. She was also mar­ried. Al­though I know what I did was wrong, I am never hap­pier than when I am with her. We are per­fect in every way, and con­nect on every level. I feel like I am truly in love for the first time.

In­evitably, af­ter a num­ber of months, we were found out. She left her hus­band as he couldn’t for­give her, but mean­while, my wife is emo­tion­ally black­mail­ing me to stay, de­spite the fact we fight con­tin­u­ally and have no real re­la­tion­ship. She threat­ens harm to her­self and our chil­dren if I leave.

I pity her and am con­cerned for our chil­dren’s wel­fare, so feel com­pelled to stay. But I am so unhappy, and don’t know how much longer I can live like this.

Mean­while, the other woman, whom I se­ri­ously con­sider to be the ab­so­lute love of my life, is mov­ing on and mak­ing the best of her new cir­cum­stances. I’m afraid she will find some­one else, and mean­time, I’m stuck in mis­ery and don’t know what to do. My chil­dren are my pri­or­ity, but it’s not go­ing to be long be­fore they are mov­ing on and mak­ing lives for them­selves. I feel so guilty and so sad.

AYOU feel sad be­cause yours is a very sad story. It must be very dif­fi­cult for you to know that you were never in love with your wife and then to fall head­long in love with an­other woman but with whom you can­not con­tinue to have a re­la­tion­ship. She, mean­while, is free to do what­ever she wishes be­cause she is now sep­a­rated.

At the cen­tre of all this are your chil­dren, two of whom are un­der 10. They are de­pen­dant on you for ev­ery­thing and will con­tinue to be for at least an­other 10 years. How­ever, it is very wrong for them to see their par­ents con­tin­u­ally fight­ing and with a mother who is be­side her­self with worry in case you will leave. Also, you can­not ig­nore her threat to harm both her­self and the chil­dren — she may be­come so dis­traught that the un­think­able may hap­pen if you don’t take some ac­tion to change things. On the other hand, you don’t want to feel bul­lied into re­main­ing in what is — for you, at least — a love­less mar­riage.

Peo­ple don’t usu­ally have an af­fair if ev­ery­thing at home is go­ing well and so the ques­tion is what was wrong with your mar­riage that caused you to go seek out this woman in the first place? Ob­vi­ously it didn’t get off to a great start if you mar­ried her just be­cause she was preg­nant. How­ever, you did marry her, and I think you owe it to your wife to go to­gether for cou­ples coun­selling with the pro­viso that if you feel, af­ter coun­selling, that you def­i­nitely want to leave the mar­riage, then that is what may hap­pen.

Coun­selling is seen as an­other chance at get­ting a mar­riage to work, but it is cer­tainly not a guar­an­tee, and I would con­sider coun­selling to be suc­cess­ful if both peo­ple in the mar­riage agree that it is not sus­tain­able. Any stud­ies I have seen over the years seem to in­di­cate that, whereas a woman will leave a mar­riage be­cause she is unhappy and no longer wants to be with her hus­band, a man will usu­ally put up with be­ing unhappy un­til he meets some­body new and then he has the im­pe­tus to leave. Your story bears this out. How­ever, it is im­por­tant that your wife sees that the rea­son you want to leave is not just be­cause you met an­other woman but be­cause you were unhappy in the mar­riage to be­gin with. If, af­ter coun­selling, you de­cide to leave then you will have to work out what you are go­ing to tell the chil­dren, and that, it­self, is a huge dilemma.

Take it a step at a time, the first of which is to seek coun­selling. You will find a qual­i­fied ther­a­pist in your area by vis­it­ing www.iacp.ie

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