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-   -   37 year marriage and unsure where to go from here (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=40996)

justdebbie 02-20-2013 02:25 AM

37 year marriage and unsure where to go from here
Hello, everyone. I tried to post a few days ago and assumed my post was being screened by a moderator...but since I see no sign of it, I must have done something wrong.

My situation in a nutshell....my husband and I have been in a traditional marriage for 37 years, with two grown daughters and two grandchildren. Our marriage began to suffer severe stress just as the nest was emptying, with several moves, job changes, and crises such as his mother's medical condition and our older (bi-polar) daughter being abused and having financial problems.

Our mutual isolation and feelings of loneliness led me to undergo personal counseling, and I also initiated two years of sex counseling and a marriage encounter weekend. Although there is deep love and devotion between us, my husband and I seem to have lost desire for each other and we had almost no intimate contact. We were unable to talk to each other, although I begged him to open up to me. Ultimately, we both began leading secret lives....and only began to confide in each other a week ago.

When I accidentally discovered his affair, my only feeling was sadness and a real sense of failure....also concern for the other woman and her needs, and fears about what the future might bring. There was no anger on my part and no judgment or recriminations....and although he admitted being aware of my affair without challenging me on it, he was also loving and empathetic when we finally began to talk.

I have no idea where to go from here. He says he does not intend to leave me, and says the two-year affair with his partner is fading to mostly a non-physical friendship. My lover is affirming and devoted, but I do not expect him to leave his long-standing marriage, and I worry about the damage that cheating will inflict on his wife and family. I was told about polyamory and respectful approaches to non-monogomy just recently....perhaps I am not meant to be in a traditional marriage. My husband doesn't seem receptive to exploring this with me....he is wrapped up in the demands of a new job and worried about everything but our marriage (finances, our daughters, etc.) We are both so lonely and unfulfilled.....yet there is tremendous history and devotion between us. I feel like I am in this painful slow-motion "one day at a time" program....with no real idea of what either of us wants or needs. Most of my life I have worried about other people...at some point, maybe now, I need to have the courage to confront my own fears and if necessary, be alone so that I can find fulfillment in whatever portion of my life remains to me.

We are both such good people, but hurting and confused. Any words for where we go from here?

kdt26417 02-21-2013 12:04 AM

Hi justdebbie,
Welcome to our forum.

Sorry your first post didn't take. Sometimes for whatever reason, a post gets caught in the spam filter and it takes awhile for the mods/admins to have a look at it.

Right now, I think the most important thing is that you and your husband are talking again. It's pretty awesome that you didn't get mad about the affairs, but then maybe both affairs are fading somewhat?

I reckon that the most important thing you can do right now is to try to keep the communication going with your husband, and if possible, to go to even deeper levels of thoughts and emotions that you express to each other. Both of you have been through a lot lately, and you probably need some time for recovery.

Look around on the various boards on this site and see if there are any threads that call to you. Post your thoughts and questions as desired/needed.

Even if you physical intimacy is lacking, it is good that you are enjoying some emotional intimacy. Keep that going, and let us know how things are working out.

Kevin T.

justdebbie 02-21-2013 02:13 AM

Thank you, Kevin, for your kind and thoughtful reply. I will take your advice and do some reading here as I continue to contemplate the future. It does strike me that if my husband and I can be loving and respectful to each other as we each revealed the existence of another partner....then perhaps ultimately we may be able to move forward in a more satisfying way for both of us.

kdt26417 02-21-2013 09:14 PM

That's the spirit. Sometimes a scary confession can open up the floodgates of communication.

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