Red Responds: He Started to Change

Ferry in MI writes:

I’ve been married for almost seven years. It wasn’t love at first
sight, but we thought we had a lot of things in common. I was 29 years
old, still waiting for the right guy. My husband was everything a woman
could dream of – young, successful, handsome, kind, and loving. We got
married, and the beginning was a good one.

Then he started to change. He was spending a lot of time at work, and he was always tired. He became condescending toward me, and in time I started to feel neglected and rejected. I fell in love with another man who made me feel like I was the queen of the world. He is married too, and in spite of what he feels for me he doesn’t want to hurt his family.

We both suffered because we couldn’t be together, and we decided to break up – we love our spouses, and don’t want to make them suffer. My husband found out about my affair, and now we are seeing a counselor to try to make our marriage work. He tries hard to change and I appreciate his efforts, but I don’t know if we’ll be able to make it. What do you see in my future? Is my husband the one? How about my lover?

Dear Ferry,

You can have a good life with your husband, but you are going to have to work to achieve it. Your husband may have disrespected you, neglected you, and rejected you – but he is the one who is still trying to stand by your side. Really look at that. Even though the ways of betrayal are different, you each betrayed each other and your marriage. But he is hoping that things cannot only be different – but also better.

Your lover, even though he is the one who holds your passion and your heart, has essentially flaked out. He doesn’t have any intention of leaving his family for you – he never did. It’s not that he doesn’t have feelings for you. He does. There is something powerful about escaping into forbidden love, a certain thrill that boosts his ego and makes his blood rush with life through his veins… but this is not enough to make him risk his family-man image.

If you want out of your marriage, be honest about it. You married your husband because you thought it was time, and because you saw a bright and shiny future that would escape so many of the real-world problems so many couples face. Unfortunately, life got in the way, and your husband became so complacent in the marriage that he didn’t tend to the woman you are. You found a luscious and enticing distraction. The forbidden love bug stuck its pincers in you, too.

You can’t help how you feel. The love you once had for your husband has changed. Just one little spark is enough to reignite a fire, but you have to be willing to let it grow into a flame. All this thinking about stay or go, and the man that you can never fully have, is only keeping you confused.

Make the most of the counseling. Really delve into exploring your feelings, and put your energy and focus toward yourself, and your marriage. While you may not be head-over-heals in love with your husband, you do love him. Tap into that love before it fades any further, and see if you can allow something more intense to develop. If you’re still full of doubt and unhappiness down the road you’ll be able to pack your bags and move on cleanly, knowing you gave it your best shot.

I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know… your mind is pretty well made up. Unless you do something to change the path you are on, your future isn’t with your husband or your lover. When you do decide to let go of your marriage, you will find somebody new.

It’s not going to be a smooth transition from one man to the next – there will be a chunk of time that you will have to face alone. You’ll question your choices, you’ll have your fair share of regrets, and you’ll have to fend off a loser or two. It’s not the easiest path to go down, but based on right now and what I am seeing, it looks like this is the path you will choose.

Good luck!
Ext. 9226

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