Tell me about it: ‘I don’t want to hurt them both and especially not my kids’
PROBLEM: I am a woman in my early 40s, married for 15 years, and we have two beautiful children. My husband and I met after I separated from my girlfriend of eight years so we have been together almost half of our lives.
The problem is that I have no real feelings for him.
There is no attraction. I have been feeling this way for a number of years, and I have tried to relight the fire on so many occasions through sex and by really appreciating him as he is. He is not a typical man that will open a door for you or hold hands and kiss you in the middle of a crowd. I feel that he’s never been proud of me. There are occasions that things don’t matter to him and he’ll choose to sleep. For example we had a family problem and he never knew what really happened because he was busy sleeping. I never find security in him – financially, physically or emotionally.
I migrated to another country thinking that he would follow but in the end I had to change my career in order for me to sponsor him. Then we had our first child and we argued because he couldn’t get a job, so I financed him to study and after six months he got a job. But still I feel empty because he never showed interest in buying a home and I had to push him into getting a mortgage.
After six years, I met a friend who had a crush on me two decades ago when I was dating my previous partner. I’m bisexual. This girl and I have now developed a relationship. I don’t know what to do – to fulfil my marriage or go with my same-sex partner.
I don’t want to hurt them both and especially not my kids. My family of origin won’t, and have never supported me. My youngest sister was scandalised because I’m having an affair and my eldest sibling even tried to punch me on the face when they learned about my affair. There are times I think of suicide.
ADVICE: There are many indicators in your story that you have a decision to make and the time to face this is now. That you are feeling life is not worth living is an indicator of the huge distress and lack of support you are experiencing and the first step is to find someone to talk to who will not be judgemental but who will hear you fully and support you in your future actions.
The choice is not between your husband and your partner, rather it is to choose to live well and to live deliberatel
There are many low-fee options for counselling but perhaps a family therapist might be appropriate in this situation as you may want to get advice about your children and subsequent parenting possibilities in the event of a separation. Family therapy training courses in Dublin provide full and low-fee family therapy as do many local family support services and it is worth enquiring at your citizen’s advice centre to source these facilities.
It seems you are without the support of your family of origin because of your affair with a woman and this may be an added pressure as your bisexuality can be a source of prejudice.
You have found love with women previously, as your eight-year relationship attests to, and it should come as no surprise that you find yourself connecting with a woman now that your attraction and connection to your husband has died. Our society now supports all kinds of families and relationships and you have a right to expect full respect and acceptance of how you choose to live your life.
All separations are difficult with most people struggling to the bitter end as they try to keep their families together. You say you have tried to revive your relationship with little evidence of any affection or care in return and, as often happens, your body has led you to find love and affection elsewhere. However, you cannot keep a situation going where you are both married and have a separate relationship (very few people manage to do this successfully) and so you must face this situation and come to a resolution before you become physically or emotionally unwell.
Gather support for yourself and then with that in place, tell your husband that your marriage is close to the end. The Government provides a free mediation service to help couples deal with separation, dealing with everything from parenting to finances. This can be sourced by looking up family mediation services at your local citizen’s advice centres. It takes time to separate but with guidance, it can be done fairly and well and your children will benefit from having both their parents supported and educated on this topic.
None of this can happen unless you are feeling strong and supported and so the place to start is by getting counselling for yourself; telling friends of your situation and believing that you have done your best. The choice is not between your husband and your partner, rather it is to choose to live well and to live deliberately. Perhaps when you have recovered your sense of self, you will be in a better position to look at your life and decide what is best for you (and your children) in the long term.
If your new partner loves you, they can be asked to have patience while you come to terms with what your life is demanding of you and what future choices you want to make.