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Am I crazy for wanting to blow up my marriage and the last 20 years for my first love from 30 years ago?

Tagged as: Big Questions, Love stories, Marriage problems, The ex-factor, Three is a crowd<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (24 March 2018) 8 Answers - (Newest, 26 March 2018)
A female United States age 41-50, *rayon68 writes:

I arrived at this site searching on line for "I'm still in love with my boyfriend from 30 years ago", (sigh). I read a really good post, similar to my issue, but in many other ways not similar.

My college BF - we will call him "T" - definitely my first love, we were together about 4 1/2 years, my late teens to very early 20s. To this day I can't explain how or why we broke it all off, or maybe I simply blocked it all out? Anyways...

A few years after the break up, I moved far, far away. But we were important enough to each other that for the last 30 years we've almost always spoken to each other about once a year, just a catch up email back and forth, not much more, although I should mention that 7 years after the initial breakup he came to visit me for a few days. I was newly out of an icky relationship. During that visit I think he hinted about feeling like we really blew it 7 years prior, but I wasn't really receptive at that point. Like I said, I was fresh out of another relationship, and I really didn't entertain any thought or conversation about us having a relationship at that point. (For which today I am kicking my own a** about!)

Literally 3 months after T's visit to me, I met the man who is currently my husband. Husband (DH) and I dated, bought cars, houses for about a decade (we were a very committed, unmarried couple) then got married, and have been for about a decade. DH and I have definitely had ups and downs. A few years back he implied we were headed for divorce, we did some counseling, things were better for a while but then pretty much went back to "normal" - which for us is made up of poor communication, lack of connection. The relationship isn't awful, he's overall a good person/good man, but the relationship is also not what I would call great. Today when I look back and think about where DH and I went wrong, I can see that our poor connection goes back to a few years before we were married. I can see that I was trying to bring problems in our marriage up way back in 2006 (by the types of books I was buying at Amazon). I remember trying to broach the subject with DH then, but as he would so often, he took it as criticism, and wouldn't talk or work with me on the things that were important to me in the marriage. These were connection and sexual issues, all related to the fact that I felt very disconnected from DH.

So then last year, I was going home to visit family and mentioned this in the annual email to T. He said, (as he had many times before) - let me know if you want to get together. This time I said yes. We exchanged phone #s and he called, and I swear I could hear in his voice how much he wanted to see me in person.

Well we had a great visit. We went for a walk and then got some lunch. After he left I realized how profoundly attracted I still am to T. Seeing him was overwhelming, in an amazing way. I was very effected physically after seeing him, couldn't eat, couldn't sleep, and felt like I couldn't get a deep breath for about a day. (And this is nothing like me, I'm a very grounded person. I felt like being around him knocked my whole chemistry into a different orbit for around 24 hours, I've pretty much never felt this before.)

Since that visit T and I have each divulged enough to find out that each of our spouses (oh, yeah, he's married too, for about the same # of years) and each of our marriages and respective spouses have some strange similarities. It's like each of our marriages have just withered over the years. And T and I both know that we bear at least 50% of the responsibility for that happening.

DH and I have no kids. T has a step-kid by current marriage, but step-kid is off to college. T and I have so much more in common than DH and I do, or than T and his wife do. And I would say that T and I have more in common today than we did 30 years ago. We've been very respectful of each other's marriages - in terms of not being critical of them or each other's spouse, because we both know how inappropriate that would be.

Long story short... this is an emotional affair, and many would say I'm in the wrong for continuing to talk with T so regularly. I know that if DH knew the things that T and I have discussed, DH would not be ok with it. Things in my house are even more distant than they were (if that is possible), I think DH feels my increased distance but we are just playing along (for now) like nothing is wrong.

I'm going to see T again in a couple months. Even though there's been a lot said between T and me, there's a whole lot more that hasn't been said, (and again I think it's out of us each trying to be respectful of the other person's situation.) But I'm reaching a boiling point. I want to throw it alllll out there. I want T back, I want a fresh start, but with the knowledge and understanding that I've got to tend to this (hopefully last, I'm 50) relationship, not take it for granted in any way.

So far there's not been a question in this mess... so here's my question: Am I crazy for wanting to blow up my marriage and the last 20 years? I don't think I am... but I welcome comments and thoughts on both sides of the topic.

View related questions: affair, divorce

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A male reader, Code Warrior United States + , writes (26 March 2018):

Code Warrior agony auntOne has nothing to do with the other. If you're going to divorce, then divorce. It doesn't matter if you wind up with whatshisface.

But I suspect you wouldn't really be thinking of divorce if whatshisface wasn't in the picture. By the way, he's not in the picture. He's married. It's likely that the same applies to him, he wouldn't be contemplating divorce if you weren't in the picture, which, of course, you're not because you're married.

So, if he's not happy, and he wants to divorce his wife, then he should do so without consideration for you. You've got nothing to do with it.

If you both divorce, and you're happy by yourselves, then maybe, after a year or 2, if you still have the same feelings for each other, then maybe it might work. But right now, it's not real. Both of you are just remembering a fantasy version of your previous relationship that likely was never really as good as you're making it sound to each other and you're both looking to the other as the fantasy solution to your dull marriages. It probably won't work, and you're both likely to regret it unless you both divorce without considerstion of some furure together.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (25 March 2018):

Honeypie agony auntI don't think you are crazy for having wants and desires that doesn't include your husband and marriage, BUT I think you are being unrealistic.

You knew this guy 30 years ago. You are BOTH different people now. (I hope).

What you are doing is entertaining a fantasy. That you somehow can make up for (what YOU feel was a mistake) and GET with this guy everything will be right as rain, you will live with him happily ever after and ride off into the sunset.

Fantasies are great. But the REASON we (all humans) LOVE fantasies... is because we are 100% in control of them. We can pretend that EVERYTHING is going to be amazing in a fantasy, REALITY is very different. (as you know, just look at your marriage).

If you are SO unfulfilled in your marriage and by your husband and you KNOW darned well that it's NOT going to get better, marriage-counseling or not. What you got is ... well, what you got. You husband IS NOT interested in investing in your future together because he is either content with status quo (as it, well, it could be worse..) and when he is "expected" to PARTICIPATE in making it work, he finds all sorts of excuses as to why what you have is "just fine" and no need to do more. Why rock the boat?

If you are unhappy, bored, and don't feel there is a point to this marriage any more, then SEPARATE. NOT for this other guy, but for YOU. ALONE. Don't "date" this other guy while separated. And don't date him if he chooses NOT to leave his wife.

Maybe YOU being on your own for a while (separate)will help you find your priorities. But I really WOULD suggest that IN THAT time you have NO contact with the "blast from the past".

A separation is a time-period for you to introspect and your husband to do the same. NOT to check out the greener grass over yonder with "blast from the past".

And don't forget an affair turning into a relationship has a 80-90% chance of failure. the split up/divorce rate for people who CHEATED together (and then get together) is DRAMATICALLY higher than average marriages. Why? Well for many reasons, one.. the foundation is build on deceit, fantasy and a bit selfishness. Just like an affair is.

Can you financially take care of yourself? If so, good. If you intend on having your "now" husband take care of you financially after the split then I think you are being unfair.

If you can't, well then I think you need to find a way to BE financially independent ASAP.

But most of all BE REALISTIC.

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A female reader, Anonymous 123 Italy + , writes (25 March 2018):

Anonymous 123 agony auntLife is too short to be spent unhappy. You're stuck in a bad cycle of not being able up communicate effectively with your husband and if it hasn't changed all these years, then it's not going to change now. The good thing is that there are no kids involved so that makes things better. The other silver lining is that your husband is under no illusions regarding the nature of your relationship so it's not like springing the topic of a divorce will be a huge shock to him. You're basically two roommates who don't get along, living with each other... Might as well go your separate ways and be happier.

The big question is though, is T willing to leave his wife for you? Are you absolutely sure that he's going to go ahead with a divorce to be with you?

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A female reader, Crayon68 United States +, writes (25 March 2018):

Crayon68 is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Thanks all for replying. Clearly I am teetering, I know what the supposedly "right" thing to do is, but I am not convinced that doing the "right" thing (in this case) is in the best interest of any of us in the situation. I failed to mention that years back, DH & I went to marriage counseling. It was a good experience, but when we got past the "critical" stage where our relationship wasn't on life support, when it came to wanting to continue to work for a really great marriage, DH quit on me, saying it was too much $$ and too far to drive. I feel like DH is only willing to go so far into his issues & our issues together, before things get too hairy or uncomfortable for him. I want a chance at something deeper.

And so I think: If my next 5-10 yrs with DH are going to be like the last, that's not what I want for myself. I would rather be alone, & I've been alone for years at a time in the past. It's not easy, but I'm capable. Of course it would be an adjustment.

So of course I'm leaning more towards "Youcannotbeserious"'s answer. For those that said I should be more mature, logical, maybe you are right, but since you don't know me, I assure you that for 99.9% of my life, I have been mature (even in my youth) and logical. (Perhaps too much so and that could be part of how I landed here, I've been a more lead by my head than my heart person.)

Youcannotbeserious said that maybe I've stayed in my current marriage because I don't want to be alone... there's maybe some of that but I think it's more that I don't want to let people around me down - husband, inlaws, my parents, friends. I know what it's like when a sibling or sib in law gets divorced, I know divorce effects many more people than the 2 (or perhaps 4) people getting a divorce.

And yes, given the opportunity I need to hear T's take on how we split up so many years ago.

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A female reader, Youcannotbeserious United Kingdom + , writes (25 March 2018):

Youcannotbeserious agony auntI'm going to go against the general consensus here and say, NO, I DON'T think you are crazy. What I DO think, however, is that, if your marriage was more satisfying, you would probably not be tempted in this way by your ex.

I suspect you have stayed in what is not a very happy marriage because the alternative, up to now, was being alone. Now that there is a possible OTHER alternative, you are tempted - and who wouldn't be in your shoes? An unsatisfying marriage or an exciting ex lover? It's no woner you are tempted.

My advice, for what it's worth, is this. You and T need to work on your respective marriages and find out if there is any way you can make them work. If not, then you need to split up with your respective partners and file for divorce. I do firmly believe that we end up with the person who is there for us when we are ready to settle down. Your timing with T was always wrong in the past, hence you did not end up together. Perhaps this time it will be right?

Remember, also, that he is not the same person as he was when you were dating, and neither are you. Are you, by any chance, both hanging on to what you had all those years ago because it makes you both feel young and carefree again, like you were back then? You will NEVER be that age again. You need to remember that, if you DO get together, it will be VERY different to the first time. Also, there was probably a good reason why you split up originally. Does HE remember why? If that reason is still valid, then your relationship will eventually run its course again.

I wish you all the best for sorting this out. Remember, there is no rush. Take things slowly. You may even decide that your future is with NEITHER of these two men.

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A male reader, Garbo United States +, writes (25 March 2018):

Garbo agony auntYup you are... and on two levels. Emotionally, you are delusioning yourself with a fantasy that something that originally failed to work will somehow work now. And second, your fiduciary duty is to fix your marriage not run out to the first available guy to ruin it. Not mention how heartless it is on your unsuspecting husband who is in marriage with you on good faith that you will do the right thing for both. Presumably, you are in marriage also on good faith, and if so, then act on it.

If I was you, I’d use this opportunity to once and for all put a no contact with your old flame, put him out of your picture, and focus on your husband and make things work in your marriage. Lack of romace is not something that isn’t fixable with little right type of effort.

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A male reader, N91 United Kingdom + , writes (25 March 2018):

N91 agony auntWiseowl is right. This is a classic case of the grass isn't always greener. It just seems like it is because your marriage has fallen on hard times.

This situation really reminded me of a TV series that I'm currently watching caled power. Where the main character owns a nightclub and sees his high school sweetheart walk in one night and from that evening onwards they start an affair as his marriage and life just falls out from undneath him. He was set, had a very luxurious life and things just started spiralling out of control due to becoming involved with this woman.

Your options are simple. Either get marriage guidance councilling with your husband and work on things or divorce and then pursue whoever you want. Don't be so selfish along with this other guy to drag your partners through this mess who you have promised to love till death do you part. Let THEM go so they can be with someone they deserve, don't even consider cheating on them because you're in a trough in your relationship.

Personally I think you're being silly, you're not in high school and there's a reason things didn't work out with the other guy. You might care about each other but if you were the one for each other I'm pretty sure you'd of married him and not your husband. You're living in a fantasy world thinking this man is the answer to your prayers. He isn't.

Think about this thorougly and logically before you make any selfish, rash decisions.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (25 March 2018):

Yep, you're out of your mind. You're going through your middle-aged crisis and needed some romance and excitement in your life. You got caught-up in fantasy and your imagination has gotten the better of you.

You're a little mature for such impetuous behavior. I hope you come to your senses; and see a marriage-counselor to see if your marriage is salvageable. If not, get a divorce.

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