I have been married to my husband for almost 15 years. 7 years ago we started having troubles …

I have been married to my husband for almost 15 years. 7 years ago we started having troubles. He lost interest in everything. I know at that stage we all can feel content and take for granted that we need to continue to show interest in our partners. But whenever I brought it up, he’d make excuses. His lack of interest in sex, his inability to show any type of interest or affection in me, even in small ways, began to eat at me. So I began to try harder, to initiate more, even though I already initiated 90% of the time. I tried to talk to him, I did everything but ask to see a specialist. In hindsight, I know I should have done that, but didn’t. Instead, I began to ask myself: “is something wrong with me, is my weight an issue, is his weight and issue, is he gay, is he having an affair, does he not love me anymore?” Oh yes, I asked it all.

And then the brick wall went up. I asked for a divorce three years ago and he begged me to try. I told him I would but I felt lifeless, lost in limbo. I felt like I was living with a stranger. He no longer completed me, he was the enemy. I no longer feel as if I’m in love with him. Maybe I care for him because he’s the father of my children but I have no feelings of intimacy and affection for him.

I’ve since asked for a divorce twice more. Then, the unimaginable has happened, something I never thought I’d do. I had an affair. And now I feel like I have a chance with someone new. But my husband believes that, despite the affair, I need to stay and work on the marriage and go to counseling NOW. I’m so torn between the fresh new feelings I have for someone new and the 15 years I’ve spent with my husband and our children. I feel like there is no way I will be able to find love and intimacy now that I’ve given it to someone else. And, just how do I push these new feelings aside to even TRY to work on my marriage. Do I even want to?

I’m just lost in limbo. I don’t know what to do or which way to go.

A – This appears to a be a very difficult situation for you. The solutions however could be looked at on several levels. What I get from your question is that the initial distance was physical and then you grew apart emotionally.  The loss of attention and affection tends to create a rift. The bottom   line is that you    are in a cold marriage. I am not aware of your age nor your cultural beliefs, but many marriages are meant to be sustained through better or for worse, in sickness and in health. These appear to be a few words to be mouthed, when in love, at an altar but rarely to be put in practice in the current era. You have said that you have feeling for your husband because he is the father of your children, is he cold to them as well? He obvious looks up to you for emotional support and needs you in his life. Divorce is easy and citing emotional neglect and loss of conjugal relations it would be easier.  On another level your husband requires attention and care. He appears to be in distress and clearly in depression. I am not aware of his Physical health. That is something you need to look into. Diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol problems can add to mood issues. Menopause is seen to affect men but is not overtly recognisable. Leaving is your choice but since you do seem to care, minimum you can do is look in to the issues that may have caused the problem to begin with for the sake of the children, who may still be in need of a healthy father figure. You spoke about an intimate relationship that you have experienced in recent times, do you see a future for that relationship?  Would your children be a part of that future?   Family and children come before temporary satisfaction in a fleeting relationship, in many cultures. However it is altogether a personal choice and   you have a right to make your own. If you see a future for yourself in this new relationship, speak with your husband and children and move on. Have a great life.

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