my problem is a bit complicated. I have been married for five years, unhappily, but I do have three beautiful children with my husband. My problem is that I am in love with another man, a friend I’ve known since before my husband and I even got together. Problem is, he’s married too. I have cheated on my husband with this man one time before, and I don’t regret it because my husband is always talking online trying to find other people to have relations with. I love this other man with all my heart, and although I am unhappy, I love my husband too. My husband just plays video games all day and neglects the children and myself. I know this other man is a good father, but as I said, I am married. We were high school sweetheart, but we just went down separate paths. Recently this other guy said that he is in love with me, the first time he’s ever said that in the many years that we’ve fooled around. My sister says he’s just playing me, but I really do think he loves me. The problem really is that we both love each other, but we aren’t ready to leave our spouses just yet because we don’t want to hurt them. Should I cut this other guy off, stay friends with him, or try to pursue him romantically?

You can read the full post here at Strawberry Letters archive.

Dear Complicated,

“Oh what a web we weave….”  You have been married for five unhappy years and produced three kids.  My first question is “If you were unhappy, why are you still married?”  You knew you were unhappy but did nothing to fix it.  Plus, you kept having kids with him.  If I don’t like someone, I’m definitely not having sex with him.  Ok.  Let’s move on.

You said you cheated on your husband with your high school sweetheart, who is also married. Let’s think about this.  You’re already unhappily married and won’t leave him.  That’s the first issue. Now you’re cheating on your husband with an ex!  Why?  You’re adding more problems on top on problems you already have.  Then you go on to say that you love your husband, who neglects you AND the kids to play video games.  What???  You love someone who ignores you and your kids.  Makes no sense.  The Ex is also married, so you’re adding onto his problems with his wife.

I’m just going to lay it out for you.  Complicated, you’re escaping from your problems.  You have a crappy marriage, so you’re escaping it to live in this fantasy where you and your Ex ride off into the sunset.  That will never work.  Your husband is obviously unhappy and has disconnected.  I’m not sure if marriage counseling can bring him back.  At least try it before you tear the family apart.  Think of your children!  They are already being ignored by their dad, what do you think a divorce would do to them?

For heaven’s sake, end things with your ex!  He is NOT in love with you. He is also escaping from his crappy marriage.  If he loved you, he would leave his wife to be with you.  Instead, he chooses to go behind her back to see you.  Hmmm… sound familiar?  That is what you are also doing to your husband.  Furthermore, if you two did decide to leave your spouses and get together, could you trust him?  Could he trust you?  I wouldn’t trust you because when things get hard you bail out.  That is not what marriage is.  When things get hard, you confront them and try to work on them.  Look how easily your Ex tossed his wife aside to spend time with you.  He could easily do that TO you also.  This is just a mess. One bad decision after another.

Find a Marriage and Family Counselor in your area and start down the right path.  Good luck to you and your family.

~Jana

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