General Question

AnnieOakley's avatar

Who decided one person should fill your every need for ever and ever until death do you part?

Asked by AnnieOakley (237points) June 5th, 2009

(Sorry in advance for the length – it’s complicated)
Background: I met my husband 23 years ago. We became friends and got married because we liked each other and both wanted children (not a great reason to get married). We have weathered lots of life’s storms and stuck by each other through them all. I know he loves me. I also know I have never loved him the way I should have to have gotten married. I just assumed from our friendship everything else would magically appear over the course of our years together. There was never any passion or “I would walk through fire for him” kind of feeling. We work through challenges (most of them) and have a decent relationship. We have issues – like anyone, but we continue to try and work on them.

About a year ago I became close friends with someone, one of my husband’s friends. Over the course of the last year we have become closer and closer and I would say we are “best” friends. We talk multiple times a day, give each other positive input and support, and we’ve even had our disagreements and issues. It has become a relationship where we love each other. There are times when we are attracted to each other, have discussed it and made definate choices not to act on it. It would be wrong – hurt others in our life and just overall is not right. This is not a case of “the grass being greener somewhere else” – as a matter of fact right now this guy’s life is a train wreck in slow motion. This guy and I share so many interests, hobbies, beliefs, and have so much fun together and even seem to cope with challenges together well. His life is so topsy turvey right now he couldn’t have a healthy romantic relationship if he wanted to.

The Dilemma: The feelings I have for the best friend interfere with my day. This has never happened with anyone else over the course of 23 years. I tend to make him as important as my husband in my choices and time management and spend too much time thinking about him. I might start the day out fine, with everything in it’s proper perspective and place – but at some point during the day, I might start thinking too much about him, feel physically attracted to him,be jealous of him going out with “sex girl” (girl he is seeing to have sex and stay sane), or just plain miss him a bunch and have to make plans to do dinner together or find and excuse why we need to see each other. Husband has on and off gotten very jealous of the relationship and had to be reassured we are just friends and would never do anything to hurt him. My issue that comes up in my mind daily is who ever thought it was a good idea that one person would meet another person’s needs for their entire life and came up with “marriage”? People change and grow. Am I cheating myself out of a richer life and perhaps not living up to my potential as a human being by having myself shackled to another person in “holy matrimony”. Maybe this is just normal for long term relationships that a person would feel this way? Maybe I owe it to the husband and kids to stay put and “stand by my man” because I made that commitment? Is it really healthy to love someone else that you aren’t married to? Why am I driving myself crazy loving someone I can’t be with because niether of us is technically “available”? Why does this have to be a daily mental struggle? How do I fix it?

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60 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

The answer to your question is nobody and everybody
The answer to your situation is a break-up, imo
I’ve been there, you only live once, you deserve to be with someone who passionately inspires you and drives you to be so much better – even if it’s not the person that you obsess over now, it doesn’t sound like it’s your husband

now, having said all that, FIRST talk to your husband, THEN to the other guy and ONLY then involve yourself in some sexual ‘deviance’ – you owe it to yourself and to them

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Some people are capable of being monogamous, others are not. It sounds to me like you may be the latter. If you are not happy with your marriage, if you do not feel that you love your husband the way he deserves…. Then what he deserves is the truth. I myself do not believe in staying in a marriage if someone is miserable because of it. Yes, marriage takes work, no matter who you are. In my opinion though, it sounds to me like you should get a divorce.

People deserve true love. Calling it off would not be an easy thing, but staying in it wouldn’t be easy, either. Not with the feelings you have for your “friend”. Staying might cause more damage than divorce might. Tell your husband how you feel, because he deserves to at least know, and be a part of the decision-making process.

How things are right now, though? Not fair to your husband.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

You have chosen to remain married all these years presumably never having “falling in passionate love” with the man who is your husband so it was bound to happen sooner or later that you’d encounter those feelings with someone. The issue isn’t about this friend in particular, the issue is your one mortal life and whether or not you choose to remain with your husband, emotions as is or to go out on your own and chance experiencing something else.

Darwin's avatar

I decided that when I met my husband. It is a choice each of us need to make for ourselves.

AnnieOakley's avatar

I know I got married too young – 21 . I didn’t even know who I was. I have stayed because he isn’t a bad person and we did have kids – all pretty much grown now.

chelseababyy's avatar

Apparently it was Zeus.

“According to greek mythology, humans were originally created with 4 arms, 4 legs and a head with two faces. Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate parts, condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other halves.”

fireside's avatar

When choosing a spouse, you should find someone who stimulates you mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually (if you are a spiritual person).

Without those four aspects, many people just settle for someone out of convenience.

At this point, you should step back and really take account of why you stuck with your husband for all these years. Make a pros and cons list for what you get out of your marriage. Then make a list for what you get out of this friendship. Then a list of what might happen with the friendship if you decided to give up your marriage.

It may be that at 44 you are still young enough to start over, despite the train wreck you used to describe your friend’s life. It may be that there is nothing to benefit from spouse jumping because you will eventually get bored of the relationship with the new and forbidden fruit.

What is the reason you stayed together all these years? Just the kids?
How would they feel about you getting a divorce to be with the new man?

Nobody can answer that but you, but you should think about how things will be 10 years from now with each of them and then 20 years from now. Will you find someone new who fulfills you 20 years from now in was you can’t imagine today? What would you do then?

drClaw's avatar

If you’re not happy in your marriage you should break it off. Staying for the kids is not a good reason, eventually your children will pickup on the fact that you are in a loveless marriage and that could translate into their finding unhealthy relationships for themselves.

AnnieOakley's avatar

I would say I stayed because a)the kids, b) I knew he loved me and I made a commitment I felt I had to honor although many times over the years I wished I could set about a different course – one that met my desire to be “more”.

I don’t think I would marry the other guy. I’m not sure I would marry again at all. I would probably take the relationship with the other guy to a physical level and gain whatever is to be gained by the relationship. I hate that I have such strong feelings for him and that they “taint” may day.

I don’t really want to be alone the rest of my life – but my husband feels like a pair of shoes that are too small – if that makes any sense at all.

But do I really have a right to hurt other people because I made a foolish choice I was’t old enough to make?

Don’t the kids deserve to have their folks be together forever? What about the husband? He does love me – do I have a right to break his heart just because I want more from life than just the same old status quo?

I have tried to get the husband to think outside the box and expand as a human being and think about doing other things with our lives – but he is happy with the way things are. Things are good for him. He has a wife that makes 6 figures, cooks, clean,s takes care of his needs,....but doesn’t have time to do anything to fulfill her soul or make the planet a better place to be. These intangible lofty goals of making “the planet a better place to be” I can’t even begin to put my finger on what they are….oh my gosh – is this a “mid-life crisis”? If so – that’s pitiful and been brewing for at least 15 years!

LC_Beta's avatar

I went through something similar once, not quite on this level because I wasn’t married, but your description made me feel like I could have written it.

The BEST advise anyone gave after listening to my problem was very simple: “It sounds like you already know what you need.”

AnnieOakley's avatar

Problem is I change my mind several times a day about “knowing what I need”

LC_Beta's avatar

You seem to be morally conflicted, which makes sense. But it also seems like you know you only have one life to live, and the status quo ain’t cutting it. That’s what I mean by “you know what you need.”

CMaz's avatar

“I have never loved him the way I should have to have gotten married.”
Your first mistake.

“About a year ago I became close friends with someone, one of my husbands friends.”
That should have stopped. Should not have gotten that far.

“The feelings I have for the best friend interfere with my day”
That would not be your feelings if you did not betray your husband.
(going to get heat for that one)

“Maybe this is just normal for long term relationships that a person would feel this way?”
Only if you put yourself in that type of situation

Do you want to fix it or end it? If you never loved him the way you should have, maybe it is time to start a new life.

swtsally's avatar

ultimately you can decide what you want in life and who you want to be with. if you stay because of your kids, then that’s not a good enough answer. honestly, your relationship with him or your husband is very healthy. you’re hurting your husband who loves you to have an “affair”. if it were me, and if i truly loved my husband, i would end all relations with your “friend”. however, if you find yourself thinking more about this friend than your husband, then that’s a red flag. either go to marriage counseling to salvage your marriage or end it. dont do it “for the kids” because in the end you’ll regret it. and it wont be healthy for them, for you, or for anybody in the long run.

fireside's avatar

Maybe try finding other outlets for your need to have enlightening conversation and lofty goals for changing the world. As a Baha’i I have those types of conversations several times each week with many different people.

it could be that you just like the mindset of this friend and if you met more people like him then you would feel just as fulfilled without the change.

AnnieOakley's avatar

ChazMaz, I appreciate your honesty.
#1 was a mistake – I admit it
#2 – not sure I understand. Not okay to have a friendship with someone of the opposite sex? Kind of old fashioned – don’t you think?
#3 – I “betrayed” my husband? For having feelings beyond my control but having the self control not to act on them?
#4 Have you been in a relationship for more than 20 years? Maybe it is normal after that long? How did I put myself in this sitation? By having a friend or by making mistake #1?

Fix it or end it – almost daily delemma…again is it fair to upset the apple cart of so many people because I selfishly feel unfulfilled as a person?

Swtsally – Tried marriage counseling, but since the husband feels like everything is just terrific – so nothing changed or will change. Got tired of paying $180 dollars an hour to hear my husband say he’s happy and I must have PMS and the counsellor repeating “men and women communicate differently”....[heavy sigh]

chelseababyy's avatar

@AnnieOakley I don’t think he means you can’t have friends of the opposite sex. It’s just that #1. It’s your husbands friend, and #2 You didn’t say you became friends, you said you became close. Being friends with someone, and being close with someone can mean two different things.

Plus you said you have gotten “closer and closer”. That’s never a good thing. Sure you can be friends with his friends, but you never want to get close. That puts a strain on everything.

Blondesjon's avatar

Just remember that he has no problem getting this close to a woman who is married.

Just remember that the man this woman is married to is supposed to be his best friend.

Just remember he is currently fucking someone else “just to stay sane”.

Just remember. . .forget it. You’ve already made up our mind and just want Fluther to rationalize it for you.

dynamicduo's avatar

Well you would fix it by leaving your husband and being with his friend, cause it’s obvious that is what you want. Don’t try to coat it in whatever justifications, it’s as clear as day. You are basically carrying on an emotional affair. Your husband has perfect rights to be suspicious. It’s not fair to him to keep treating him like this. You are the one putting yourself in this situation with his friend.

Maybe your husband would be more open to counseling if you start being honest with him and tell him that yes, there is an attraction between you and his friend. THEN he will likely feel SOMETHING.

You want to have your cake and eat it too. I’m afraid I have no further advice for you, as I believe what @Blondesjon is saying, you have already made up your mind and you expect us to justify it. Sorry, that’s not coming from me.

AnnieOakley's avatar

Blondesjon – wow. When you put it that way, makes me feel kinda stupid. Thanks. Seriously. This is what I need – honesty. If I am totally fucking up – I need to know it, I obviously am not thinking clearly enough….

Actually he is MY best friend, not my husband’s best friend – just casual friend. Not justifying – just clarifying.

chelseababyy's avatar

You are totally fucking up. You married someone for stupid reasons, and not because you loved that person. You got close to his friend, who if you ask me, seems like a waste of time. You need to tell your husband what it is you feel. Sure you can do what you want, but don’t hurt him, or drag him along any longer than you have to. You’ve already been selfish enough as it is, just tell him. He deserves to know, and it sounds like he deserves someone who truly loves him. Not someone who is just going to do what they want. And isn’t it obvious why your Marriage Counseling sessions go that way?

It’s because he has no idea what’s going on, so obviously he’s going to be confused about why you’re going there, also the reason why he says he’s happy with things the way they are. Because he doesn’t know the truth.

AnnieOakley's avatar

So (forgive me, I tend to be a little slow when it comes to matters of my own heart), is it the general concensus that I should no longer be friends with this guy, who has grown to become my best friend, because it is not fair to my husband?

I haven’t tried to be selfish…he is very clear on the fact that I am not happy/satisfied with the relationship and I need some changes within it if it’s going to work for both of us. He just trivializes my thoughts/feelings and doesn’t take it seriously.

I have not told him about my feelings for our friend just to spare him hurt while I sort it out and figure it out. I have been 100% honest about everything else.

chelseababyy's avatar

@AnnieOakley Either way, you need to tell your husband what’s going on. If you want to be best friends with that guy, you shouldn’t drag your husband along. And if you’re really willing to start over, cut ties with that guy, and fix your “marriage”.

You haven’t TRIED to be selfish. But your actions speak for themselves.

Maybe he doesn’t take it seriously because he doesn’t know everything that’s going on. Tell him

Spare him hurt? You not telling him is going to make the hurt even worse. It doesn’t matter if you’re 100% honest about everything else, you’re lying about this, or rather, not filling him in.

If you don’t know how you feel right now, you shouldn’t be with anyone but yourself.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

You are totally fucking up. Hitting 40, you get the “coulda, shoulda, woulda” but the reality is, this relationship will not fix what’s making your marriage not be what you want. It sounds like your husband isn’t straying, isn’t not holding up his end of things. I have to reiterate what @Blondesjon said. This guy is no catch, will not give your life what you need. He will only take. He’s taking now.

CMaz's avatar

AnnieOakley- For your answer to #2
Kind of old fashioned? Apparently not. I personally, in a relationship. Do not believe having friends of the opposite sex is a good thing especially “close” friends. There are exceptions. You just proved my point as why you do not.
#3 Yes. You may not have had sex with your “friend,” putting yourself in that position, which is fragmenting the marriage. Is a betrayal, even if he was ignorant to it. Unless you have an open relationship and he is cool with it. Then that is the risk you both will take..
#4 “Have you been in a relationship for more than 20 years?” Yes, I have.. “Maybe it is normal after that long?” It becomes a problem when you loose sight of your partner. Normal, when loosing sight and finding interest in another friend that happens to be a guy.
“How did I put myself in this situation? By having a friend or by making mistake #1?”
Both… And, don’t play the friend thing down by calling him a “friend”. This is not a going out with the girls thing. It is a guy friend and you are a women. Funny what happens when you put the two together.

Supacase's avatar

That butterflies in the stomach, can’t stop thinking about him is temporary – I don’t care who it is for. If you ditch the meaningful relationship you have created with your husband you will eventually find yourself feeling this closeness and infatuation for someone else after the excitement has worn off with this current friend.

I believe loving someone is a choice. Yes, it has to be based on certain things like respect, commong interests, physical attraction, etc but I do not think it should be based on the initial infatuation. I would think may marriages go through phases of questioning the commitment and being tempted by another; the way each couple deals with it is different.

It is your life so you should do what you want. Just think it through before you upheave your entire life. You may be happy with the result or you may be an example of being careful what you wish for.

AnnieOakley's avatar

I really do appreciate all the straightforward analysis and opinion to help me clarify and see things from other viewpoints. I suspect there was a part of me that wished for some sort of “justification” – and I did need to be called on it. Thank you. I will now have to digest all these helpful insights and figure out how to end this “friend” relationship or at least put a great deal of space and distance between us until I can see clearly. I will also have to think very seriously about the commitment the past 23 years has been and perhaps give my husband a chance to become something “more” with me. Maybe if I work on pursuing whatever intangible “something more I want to contribute to my time on this planet”, he will see the benefit and grow too. And PandoraBoxx – you are right about something else – I think maybe he is a taker…just borrowed 10k, never returned my ipod, and convinced me to file 4 years of taxes for him (he “didn’t know how to do it”)when I was already maxed out working 80 – 90 hours a week, among other things. Supacase – I was thinking it had gone on too long (a year) to be an “infatuation”, but maybe it is. ChazMaz – again, thanks for your insight. I suspect you see things much like my husband would.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

you don’t think one can have friends of the opposite sex when in a relationship? not all people are meant to ‘do it’ you know? and if one is in love and wants to be monogamous and hell even if one doesn’t, it doesn’t mean their entire life or the length of their relationship they can’t be friends with so many people – my best friend is of the opposite sex, we’ve never done anything (granted, he prefers people with a penis more, but I have plenty of straight male friends too) – it just seems like such a disservice to yourself to assume that all opposite sex relationships are potentials for indiscretion

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@ChazMaz and according to your theory, you and I wouldn’t be friends either, so no more flirting, okay?

PandoraBoxx's avatar

@AnnieOakley, if you’re working that much, no wonder you’re dissatisfied at home. Everything that takes any effort looks like more work, and if you’re maxed out at the office, then anything that looks the least little bit different, is going to be seen as better. Flirting can be fun and diversionary, but channel the effort at home. You might think what’s going on isn’t impactful, but I can tell you from first hand experience, your mental commitment elsewhere has had an affect on your household, including your children.

CMaz's avatar

I said there were exceptions. As far as theory goes, I have see it happen too often and there is a potential. Ask yourselves if it is worth the risk or distraction? It might not be. Or it might not be an issue if you love that person. No one is more important then the relationship. Different rules in an open relationship. Cool. The example above shows it can be a distraction to the marriage. So no theory here.
I wear a seat belt because, potentially I might get in an accident. Since I have not been in one in a very long time. I guess I do not need to wear one? It is not about the intentions for deception. It usually is what creeps up on us when we are vulnerable or not prepared. Why did you take it so harshly? Why does my “theory” prevent us from being friends? And no flirting? That is just punishment. :-)

Jude's avatar

There’s a lot of me, me, me being said. What about your husband? Obviously, you don’t want to be with him anymore. You need to be honest with him.

filmfann's avatar

When you lie on your deathbed, and measure out your life, you are going to reflect on the pain you caused others, and the regrets of what you didn’t do.
If you leave your husband, you will cause him, and your children, great pain. Even if the children are grown, they will still feel shattered by this.
If you embrace this man, you won’t be happy with the wreckage you caused.
I hope that when my time comes, I can look back and know I held up my end of my commitments, and did as little damage as possible.
I hope you find your way.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@ChazMaz I just want people to be afforded more credit than that, that’s all – we’re not mindless animals constantly putting ourselves in these situations, you know? sometimes attraction creeps up on us but we don’t even have to be friends with that person, it’ll still happen and sometimes it doesn’t ever when we are friends – generally I take everything harshly when it comes to having to do things one particular way, especially when it separates men and women as if they’re so different and I wasn’t punishing you, just extrapolating what you already believe – and if I were to believe the same, and since I’m in a relationship (monogamous or not), then you and I wouldn’t be flirting as that would be me placing myself in a vulnerable place for attraction, yes? therefore we shouldn’t do it, no? good thing I don’t agree with you on this one

cookieman's avatar

I agree completely with @Blondesjon, @chelseababyy et al.

I feel bad for your husband frankly.

Darwin's avatar

I decided it for me when I met the man I later married.

I have met other men since then who had some attraction for me but I chose to walk away because I feel that my husband is the one for me. As far as I can tell, if he has had any attraction to another woman since our marriage he has never acted on it. So apparently, we both decided the other was the one.

And my husband is quite happy with the status quo, while I need something more in my daily life. Hence, I Fluther or I take a class or I go to the gym, and periodically I convince my husband to try something new. Perhaps you need to concentrate on finding something for you that will help you feel as if you are growing. You might even sit down with your husband and explain to him how big a deal this has become for you and seek his help.

Divorce is a very destructive choice and rarely can be undone. Before you decide this is what you really want you need to think long and hard. Perhaps all you need is to deliberately create a time for you to grow as a person, if that is what you need. If your husband loves you he will not stand in your way.

In any case, good luck with it all, but thoroughly consider every step before you take it.

Supacase's avatar

@AnnieOakley I think infatuation lasts as long as the situation allows. It is easy to stay infatuated when things haven’t moved beyond the flirting and speculating phase. The anticipation and sexual tension keep things exciting. Once you hit the day-to-day life with someone, that excitement eventually fades. Hopefully into something comfortable, respectful, loving and enjoyable.

hearkat's avatar

My immediate response to the question ‘headline’ is that there is only one person who can ”fill your every need for ever and ever until death”: yourself
Sorry, the details and responses are a bit too long; I do plan to read them later. Thanks.

CMaz's avatar

” I just want people to be afforded more credit than that.”
Ahhh, the fresh idealism of a young person. You need to get out more often.
Beside, this post de-voids anything you might say. She did have a guy friend, and now she is lusting after him. Would not happen if she did not allow that friendship to take place. Period!
This is not a discussion of theory. The post is explaining it happened, exactly how it has. Do you think what happen to her is a freak accident? I happens all the time.

“we’re not mindless animals constantly putting ourselves in these situations, you know?”
I do know, we are not mindless, but we are animals. Stop kidding yourself.

Weather you are mature enough to go back and read what I said is where you are at at your stage of life. No disrespect to you. Funny, I figured you would take what I said too personal. Life is physics, action reaction. You have so much more to learn about life.
I agree with you. But you need to be on guard. Giving examples of having a gay guy friend, does not apply, though I know a few girls that do have sex with “gay guys”, a few drinks some palling around, nature takes its course, people get emotional and horny. IF YOU PUT YOURSELF IN THAT POSITION. (had to put in caps because that is the paradox) You can have guy friends, the closer you get the greater risk. Unless you are single or in an open relationship. Then that is the goal, to get closer or be allowed to get closer, is it not?

“I take everything harshly when it comes to having to do things one particular way, especially when it separates men and women”
We are Men and Women. By nature we are different. The way you are thinking, I guess it is ok for a man to see a gynecologist?

What I said, conflicts your lifestyle. But, it really does not. You are in an open relationship. If your “guy” friends end up in your bed. Hey, it is an open relationship. None, of what I said applies to you.
But it does not conflict with others, that are in a monogamous relationship. If it does not apply to you. Good. Advice does not work for everyone.

I am a single man, you are in an open relationship. One thing you are right about, Ending our “friendship/flirting” is a smart thing. You do put yourself at risk of breaking up you conveniently designed relationship.
This is apparent, or you wound not have. I am a strong charactered, confident man and might I say good looking man. You have no idea what I am capable of doing to sway a woman that puts herself in a vulnerable position. There are plenty of us out there. And, THAT is why you should avoid risk, especially when it is about your precious relationship. Otherwise the only other thing I can say here is you are being spiteful or insecure ( go ahead call it extrapolating).

AnnieOakley's avatar

Thinking about this last night, I am thinking men – the way they are wired (no offense) is pretty much to think about sex all the time. So being good friends with a woman without them having some sort of underlying “innuendo’ is pretty much a big risk. Don’t you think? My guy friend once said “I could charm the pants off any female” – he was referring to the fact he understands how women think and knows what to say/do to get what he wants. Women I think are wired differently and get attached through an emotional connection.

Question for the folks who think I have done something so wrong to my husband and feel sorry for him – If his life has continued as normal, his needs have all been met, I have continued being a good wife, I have not acted on any of this – and I have not hurt his feelings or sense of security – how have I truly hurt him? I’m still here. I still make money, cook, clean, look after, care for, and have sex with him. My mind just got temporarily confused and I apparently needed all you people to tell me to quit fucking up and get my head straight. Has he really been harmed?

Jude's avatar

I would ask myself this; would I want to be in a relationship with someone who doesn’t have romantic feelings towards me, and love me as I much as I love them? No. Would you?

I deserve better and so does he. He deserves someone who will love him, and want to be with him. End of story.

It still seems as though you’re trying to justify your actions.

Jude's avatar

removed by me..

Blondesjon's avatar

@AnnieOakley . . .What if he had the exact same attachment to a female acquaintance of yours?

What if he was the one who was a hairbreadth away from throwing the marriage away?

And you haven’t been honest with him. When he asks if there is anything he needs to worry about from this guy you have lied and said no.

AnnieOakley's avatar

I would be thankful if he did not – provided I knew.

When he was concerned, I was not. I did not lie. I did not tell him when things began to change. Mostly to spare him worry and fear because these feelings were unexpected and I wasn’t sure if they would last or how I would deal with them.

There have been instances when women have come on to him. He has chosen not to take action. I appreciate that – that is the commitment we made and we do not cheat on each other. This situation has become borderline – an emotional attachment with corresponding feelings and thoughts is a cheating of sorts. Completely unintended – and now will be contained, extinguished – nipped in the bud. I think it can be challenging to get all your “stuff” from the same person for decades. I guess it requires extra commitment and work.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

the person asking this question is just one person as is myself and as are you – her situation doesn’t explain away what I was talking about because it’s just one situation, just like your life and mine are just that – anecdotal, examples of how things might be but not how things are for everyone – my relationship is not what we’re discussing here (so you can let your snide remarks about it go as they’re not accurate, you don’t know anything about my family) and neither are we discussing your supposed power to ‘sway’ women – we’re talking about men and women (the difference I was against is not a difference of genitals, as that does exist, but we’re not our genitals) being able to be friends and many of us are friends and it’s just sad to see that you think friendships are about ‘getting yourself closer’ as it’s certainly not like that in many many situations

as to ending our flirting, that was over before it began, but not because of what you said here and you’d never be a threat to my ‘convenient’ relationship because we don’t go outside our relationship often and (well do you know anything about open relationships? I don’t want assume you don’t but still) even then it’s just so superficial – as I’ve said before you’d have to be something extraordinary for me to even consider giving you my attention and you using that whole ‘oh dear dear you’ve got so much to learn from life’ spiel just put you into that ‘cliche’ old box of men who’ll never really ‘get it’ or me

CMaz's avatar

Usually when someone makes a point, like you have. It provides for some good insight, two sides to the coin. I do love an insightful / intelligent debate. Intelligent is not the right word. You are very smart.
When it comes to life experience, you need life experience to have a convincing argument. Life experience, also provides more information IE more intelligence. Sometimes. :-) You don’t have that experience. It comes down to been there done that, seen it too many time. You really need to get out. You have so much to learn. With all due respect.
I totally understand what you are saying. But, that insight you have comes from a lack of experience. In this case. It is still good stuff, keep thinking. Get back to me in 20 years. This is where the saying goes, youth wasted on the young.
Your age really does show in this case. You are still a sweet heart! :-)

CMaz's avatar

Usually when someone makes a point, like you have. It provides for some good insight, two sides to the coin. I do love an insightful / intelligent debate. Intelligent is not the right word. You are very smart.
When it comes to life experience, you need life experience to have a convincing argument. Life experience, also provides more information IE more intelligence. Sometimes. :-) You don’t have that experience. It comes down to been there done that, seen it too many times. You really need to get out. You have so much to learn. With all due respect.
I totally understand what you are saying. But, that insight you have comes from a lack of experience. In this case. It is still good stuff, keep thinking. Get back to me in 20 years. This is where the saying goes, youth wasted on the young.
Your age really does show in this case.
You are still a sweet heart! :-)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Assuming experience from age is not smart
Assuming inexperience from age is not smart
All you know is a number
and from that you can’t see much
I, too, have been there, done that, seen ‘it’ too many times
I’ve seen the likes of you too many times
You don’t know what I’ve been through

any other response, again, through pm only

hearkat's avatar

OK… I’ve finally read everything, and I’m sticking to my original answer, but phrased a bit differently.

Many, if not most, people go through a ‘mid-life crisis’ of one sort or another. For women, it often hits as we see the empty nest approaching. My only son just turned 18, so I have been dealing with this myself. Although we will always be their mothers, we are no longer needed as “Mommy”. (I’ve known women who freaked out as soon as the kids reach school age, even)

So we examine our lives, and wonder who we are without that dependence… Ha! as I write that, I realized that in far too many families today, the mother-child relationship is a perfect example of “co-dependence”. And those women whose identity and purpose was centered around the kids can feel a sense of loss and a longing for something to fill the hole when the kids are gone.

This is how your situation looks to me: Your kids are doing their own things most of the time, and you have less demands put on you and feel a restlessness stirring inside. Enter Hubby’s acquaintance… he sees what Hubby has in you and he is jealous. He sees your nurturing tendencies, and he finds ways for you to take care of him. Then he admires how helpful and kind you are, and you feel a sense of value.

But the reality is that he is needy and you are needing to be needed. That relationship dynamic could never end well. Do yourself a favor and open your eyes, wake up and smell the coffee, or smell his soiled diaper or whatever it takes. The guy may be nice and sweet and all; but he is a grown man acting like a child, and you have bought into it.

So back to my original comment that YOU are the only person who can fill your every need for ever and ever until death. Neither your Hubby, nor this dude can do that for you. So my advice is this. Cut things off with the dude; stay with Hubby; and stay in counseling FOR YOURSELF. Address these feelings that you’ve had and also the reasons why you think you had them. If any of my observations seem relevant, look into that a little further.

As others have suggested in this thread, look for other ways to find your own fulfillment. Think back 20–25 years ago… what were your hobbies, dreams and interests? Were there things that got pushed aside because of family responsibilities? Consider taking those up. Have you considered going to school to further or even change your career?

Here’s the example from my situation: In my adult life, I never had the time or money to do much as a single mom, and because of chronic depression, I became very sedentary and out-of-shape. When I recently had my love of the outdoors reawakened me, it motivated me to get into shape so I could go hiking and camping and so on. I have lost about 35 pounds of fat and gained over 15 pounds of muscle, and today I went kayaking for the first time!! The yoga classes I’ve been taking have also encouraged me to do some spiritual work, and I have also recently begun meditating.

As for your marriage, I hope that once you have your own identity, you will be able to see that being with a stable, contented man who adores you is what most of us would love to have. And once you no longer feel that you are defined by that relationship but are your own person within that relationship, you may find that you see him in a different light. Only when you really know who you and he are NOW can you make a decision about wether to commit the remainder of your days with him.

I know there are a few books to help examine the empty nest/mid-life crisis. I haven’t read any in order to make a recommendation, but I wanted to suggest that as an option in addition to, or as a precursor for, or in lieu of therapy. I wish you well.

wundayatta's avatar

To answer the question in your title, this isn’t about one person filling all your needs. No one person can do that. That’s what spouses, friends, family, and colleagues are for. But that’s not what’s going on here. You’re talking about intense emotional needs.

Well, it’s possible to have a poly kind of marital arrangement, but few people do it, and that’s because it’s not easy, and it’s usually not practical. It’s not easy because of jealousy issues and trust issues.

So what does it mean when you’re married and you fall in love with someone else? It means that something is wrong with your marriage. Ok. You knew that. However, I’m not sure you know what is wrong with your marriage. You say things aren’t exciting, and you feel like he is a pair of too-small shoes. The kids are gone, and you and he haven’t changed your patterns.

Now, not all the blame belongs on you because you’ve fallen for another guy. The blame is shared equally between you and your husband because both of you didn’t attend to each other as you should have in order to maintain a healthy marriage. You’re just the one with the more dramatic symptoms. Believe me, your husband is probably just as miserable, although he may not be able to express it, or even see it.

This has nothing to do with shared interests and excitement and infatuation. Again, those are just symptoms. Marriage requires work in order to manage change. It doesn’t matter if you felt you loved him or not when you married. You married him, and marriage is a contract, and you have to work hard to maintain your side of the contract. So does he.

Millions of couples around the world marry for reasons other than love and come to love each other, and you can rebuild your love for your husband, too. And vice versa. However it’ll take communication, and eventually complete honesty. You can’t love each other if you don’t know what’s really going on with the other person. Not in a truly meaningful way.

Couples counselling can help. Someone who can help each of you move past your fears about hurting each other, or hurting yourselves, to be honest and to really talk about your needs, and to get a sense of whether the other person cares. Skilled counsellors aren’t a dime a dozen, but they are out there. Sometimes you have to go through several to get to one that works for you. It takes commitment. Just like a marriage.

As to infatuation—it’s a fantasy. The person will inevitably turn out not to be who you thought, if you were to get a divorce and move in with the other guy. There’s a reason why people who are divorced once are much more likely to get divorced again, should they marry again. The first one is the most important one. It really is your one chance to make it work. That does not mean you have to sacrifice yourself for the marriage. It means both of you have to sacrifice yourselves for sake of the marriage. Even steven.

I’ve been there. I’ve felt like my wife didn’t understand me. I’ve fallen in love with other women. I’ve even had sex with them. I’ve told my wife. Yes, it hurt her to the core. But you know what? She wanted to work it out, and we’ve been working, and things are getting better. Our therapist says we’re unusual. Most couples where someone has had an affair don’t last, but what’s different in our case is that both of us want to fix it. So counselling is a place where both of you can find out if you both want to fix it.

Another thing: if you don’t both take some share of the blame for things getting this way, you won’t fix it. Both sides have to realize they have responsibility. Just because one person had an affair, whether physical or psychological, doesn’t mean they did all the wrong. You don’t do that if you feel close to your spouse. You just don’t. This can only happen if you have become emotionally separated from your spouse, and both parties help make that separation happen.

Mid life crisis? Working too hard? Misunderstood? No excitement? Vapid excuses. Communication is broken, and because of that, you are emotionally separate, love is failing, as is the marriage.

Fix it! Work at it! Overcome your fears. If you don’t, they will all come to pass.

P.S. Love your avatar! Makes me all tingly inside!

filmfann's avatar

Hey! Keep it short for those of us who are Attention Deficit!
Oh, look! A shiney ball!

wundayatta's avatar

I’m sorry @filmfann, but you didn’t really write enough for me to understand what you’re getting at. Anyway, it wasn’t written for you. When I write for you, I… use… very…short…sentences. Few…. words. Here’s your ball back. Now run along.

Blondesjon's avatar

@daloon . . .why are you playing with @filmfann‘s balls?

wundayatta's avatar

@Blondesjon There’s only one of them, and I was just giving it back to him after it rolled into my yard

If your balls rolled into my yard, I’d give them back, too. Assuming you still wanted them.

Blondesjon's avatar

@daloon . . .Aww hell. Go ahead and gnaw on ‘em for awhile. I’m a giver.

wundayatta's avatar

@Blondesjon Somehow I didn’t think you needed them any more.

Blondesjon's avatar

@daloon. . . Mi cajones es su cajones.

wundayatta's avatar

Hmmm. Anyone for prairie oysters?

carebare's avatar

It sounds to me like you have the same relationship with the best friend that you did with the hubby years ago. Don’t do it, your husband will be devistated. If you can’t stay with him, then seperate for awhile, but don’t go for the best friend. You will just grow bored with him too.

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