Affair makes marriage breakup seem easy — but it isn’t [Ellie]

Question: I’m a married man, and the relationship I shared for four years ended recently because we’re both attached. We were deeply in love. It’s been a rough few months, trying to see where my life is going.

I’ve had many lows dealing with the loss, but always feel like we’re still connected, still in love. I believe that she’s in the same boat.

I see her in my dreams and still see us together when we’re old, which makes me so happy! I realize many of us do things to preserve a lifestyle, family, or trying not to hurt our spouse. But a sacrifice such as this is harder on us, and I’m starting to see that reality.

Do you think it’s more a benefit to your family and friends to bite the bullet and pursue personal happiness, over loyalty to something that doesn’t function the way you thought it would when were young and naïve?

Feeling Her Love

Answer: Your question comes from your perspective alone, because “Yes!” is what you want to hear.

But your spouse might ask it this way: How can anyone who promised to love me forever and create a family together be so selfish?

My point: Only you can answer the questions that’ll come from everyone involved — wife, kids, your parents, closest friends, and also your lover and her spouse, kids, etc.

As you weigh this decision, consider: An affair is only the beginning of a relationship because it takes place in a social vacuum, with an atmosphere of romance and escapism. Your passion may become the love of the century, but you have no guarantees.

On the other hand, an unhappy home life isn’t any healthier for your spouse and children than for you. If you’ve tried marital counselling with an open mind (not likely while having the affair, so do it now), and can arrange joint parenting, then an equitable legal separation may be the better answer.

But be prepared for harder work emotionally than you’ve ever known before, as you deal with the inevitable fallout of ending a marriage and changing everyone’s life.

Question: I’m a woman, 20s, still in college. I’ve been in a three-year loving relationship. His parents despise me, partly because he’s their only child and still lives with them.

Also, his entire family are fundamentalist Muslims, while I’m agnostic. I don’t care if they don’t like me, but my own parents find their treatment of me unacceptable and want our relationship to end. They’re threatening to kick me out of the house if I stay with him. I can’t easily afford to live on my own, but I couldn’t live with myself if I gave up on him for the wrong reasons.

Torn

Answer: You’ve privately sent me identifying facts that you ask not be published. They reflect your boyfriend’s deep involvement with a religious group, his age, his financial status, and his health issues.

So I can say — most strongly — that your parents are your greatest protectors. They’re threatening your comfortable living at home because they’re terrified you’ll make a terrible mistake if you defy all the alarm signals and go off with this man.

He’s an unstable candidate to be your partner, and it has nothing to do with his being Muslim. Moreover, his family will always be a problem for you, possibly a severe problem.

He’s leaning on you for all the wrong reasons, while you’ve been gullible and vulnerable because of your age and inexperience. End it.

TIP OF THE DAY

Marriage breakup is tougher than you imagine from the perspective of an affair.

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