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Can an affair ever be honorable?

 
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JohnBo
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PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2006 7:15 am    Post subject: Can an affair ever be honorable? Reply with quote

Situation: Wife (W) and I have three small kids (7, 4, 1). Marriage has frankly never been that happy, but I have tried. I've suggested repeatedly counseling, W more or less has refused to go to counseling with or without me. W has repeatedly shared my confidences with others in ways that she knew I would not like. W has credibly threatened divorce in the past (I never have so threatened her). W has physically assaulted me (and I never her). W has repeatedly hurled abusive language at me. She has many times ridiculed me.

Honestly, some of the earlier problems of a few years ago have calmed down partially, but we still don't connect that well. Especially sexually. Her most typical reaction to my overtures is literally to cringe. (She truly, literally, physically cringes when I touch her.) Other times she says "well, OK, but can I leave my shirt on?" She usually wants to cover her breasts with her hands when we are intimate. She does not want me to touch her "down there" with my hands. She has asked me to be as quick as possible about it. Or, while I am attempting to undress her, she talks about the kids, or the weather, or her parents, or whatever: Rather than sexually interact with me. She told me that she is only interested in sex herself "about once every six months." We are sexually intimate more often than that, but when we are sexually intimate, it usually seems to be as a favor to me: She sometimes will say "that's for fixing the kitchen sink disposal [or what have you] today. Thank you." I have asked her if the problem might be that I am a poor and clumsy lover, and perhaps she could let me know, and I could learn to be better; she says that's not the problem, she's simply not that interested.

A couple of different mental health professionals have told me that W should be on anti-depressants, but W refuses. Her family of origin, or her close friends, do not seem to see any problem with her: She can put on a very sweet, friendly outgoing exterior.

I've been the steady one all along. I've been the one with the good paycheck all along. I've been the careful budgeter and financial person. I've been the one the kids could count on not to blow my stack in some abusive fashion. I've been the one to keep the family commitments. I've been the one to get us to church on time. I've been the one that refuses to resort to physical or verbal abuse in response to W's physical and verbal abuse of me.

Now let me tell you about Other Woman (OW). She just loves my company. She can just sit and stare at me with the biggest smile for just the longest time and not say a word. She tells me how handsome I am, how smart I am, how attractive she finds me. OW knows I am married. She is both very sweet and very sexy. She makes no demands on me. She is willing to back off, but prefers to get close. She is very giving. I find her beautiful and so enjoy her company.

Divorce? I love the children too much! I know that W would get custody (or I think so anyway). They need me desperately -- in part because their mother, my wife, can be pretty tough on them. I need to buffer that.

I try to be a Christian man of truth, integrity, and honor. Obviously, an affair can't really be squared very well with Christianity. But can it at least be squared with honor?

I very much welcome other people's comments.
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scorpio
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PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2006 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm.... mind if I just ask. You mentioned you have 3 kids and from their ages, I should suppose it has been a marriage of 10 over years for you and your wife?

For all these years, there wasn't any happy time before? Well, I am sure there are, right? Perhaps it is only in the recent years that you discover her changes?

Do pardon me. I was just thinking that we should maybe be better looking at the problem itself as to what and where went wrong... rather than to be discussing about an affair?

I wouldn't really know but from what you said about the counselling and anti-depressant stuffs... maybe she does need a little help somewhere... and you should just be the best person to be helping her...?
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JohnBo
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PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2006 5:58 pm    Post subject: Can An Affair Ever Be Honorable? Reply with quote

Scorpio --

Thanks very much for your thoughts.

Actually, we started having children immediately after getting married.

Were there ever happy times? Hmmmm ... well, there were times that weren't miserable, that's true. But genuinely happy? Maybe not. We're both happy to be parents, and take joy in being with our children.

The first few years of marriage were VERY miserable. Quite literally on the honeymoon (the honeymoon!), she gave me the silent treatment for a couple of days. Because of the enormous quantities of abuse she dished out in those years, I simply rarely approached her for sexual intimacy. (Somehow, being screamed at that I'm "a bastard" and having my hair pulled (literally) just really took away my desire for her.)

In truth, the last couple of years have been better. But still not that great. Too little, too late. But now that the abuse has (mostly) stopped, I am more inclined to be sexually interested in her. The only problem is, I now discover, that she's simply not that interested in sex!

Lord knows I've tried to help her! We for a while were going jointly to a marriage counselor. But my wife got fed up, or angry, or insecure, or I don't know what, and she stopped going. So, I went alone to the marriage counselor. The counselor said that the main source of problems in the marriage was Wife, not me (although counselor wasn't letting me off the hook completely). The counselor also thought that Wife should be on anti-depressant medication and that Wife tended to be selfish. The counselor didn't really want to see me that much, but rather see Wife.

Anyway, my suggestions that we go to counseling, are met with eye-rolling, accusations ("YOU ARE THE PROBLEM, JOHN, NOT ME!"), cold-shoulders, and so on.

So, I don't know what else to do. Yes, I should be the one helping her, but I don't know how. I've been a rock of stability, and reliability, and have tried meeting anger and abuse with responsibility and firm love.

In the meanwhile, I have sexual desires. I have a desire for emotional intimacy. I have a desire to be with a woman that likes me, admires me, respects me, treats me with courtesy and kindness, and isn't just one long string of angry demands. That's where the Other Woman comes in.

Do you understand? Am I making any sense? Am I kidding myself?
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scorpio
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PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2006 3:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are certainly not to be blamed for feeling so, JohnBo. It must have been hard on you all these while...

Well anyway, the past is just past... we shall not talk about them anymore...

It is the future that we should be thinking about... I guess the best question to be asking yourself is "Are you really happy? What do you actually want for yourself, JohnBo?"

You can still have your choice to choose how you want your future life to be.
It is never too late. I wouldn't what would be the best for you but I guess you should seriously give it some thoughts... and of course, your kids should be in the picture too...

You might like to have a good talk with your wife?

Do think about it...
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JohnBo
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PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2006 6:21 pm    Post subject: Affair Reply with quote

Thanks, Scorpio,

Well, I've many, many times tried talking to my wife. That usually doesn't get very far. So, I suggest counseling for us, which infuriates her. Communication between us is very, very slow-going. Will try again some more. Thanks. In the meanwhile, I am lonesome for kind female companionship.
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scorpio
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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2006 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm... in a psychological view, there is definitely nothing wrong of you to be seeking a female companionship. But then, I can't be just encouraging you to be doing so, JohnBo. The last thing that I would want is to suggest a breakup of your family...

Well, maybe just a question for you... Do you still love your wife? How about some honest answer? Not for me but for yourself, JohnBo...

Do think about it...
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whiterose
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PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2006 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I certainly don't think you're the problem here. Have you thought of possibly going and talking with a priest? Im telling you, they can give some of the best advice...or if you can, taking your wife with you. That's the best advice I can give right now... and I'll be sure to keep you in my prayers.
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JohnBo
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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2006 9:10 pm    Post subject: Honorable Affair? Reply with quote

WhiteRose: Thanks very much for the priest suggestion. I am not totally sure that a man who has taken a vow of celibacy would understand, but I suppose he would have to have some new perspective that I probably haven't thought of. I have thought a lot about this already, actually. If a priest offered to absolve me of my sins, he would of course ask me to repent of them: I don't know that I can. To repent of my sins would be to renounce a woman who has been so kind and good to me, to say that I regret she was ever part of my life. If you've read Graham Greene's "Heart of the Matter," you'd get what I am referring to: But don't worry, I am not heading for Captain Scobie's end.

Scorpio: Thanks again for your thoughts. I don't want a break-up of my family. I want to live under the same roof as my sons until they go to college at least. Do I love my wife? Well, the main emotion I have regarding her may be resentment. But I do have some tender feelings for her as well, I suppose. That being said, I said would love her and honor her till death do us part, so I suppose I should do that. If love is simply a feeling that happens to a person, then I don't know what the answer is to your question, but if love is a choice that one can consciously make, then I suppose I can choose to continue loving her.

I should mention that honestly, the really bad abuse of a few years ago has ended. Sex life is pretty bad still, and raising her voice in anger happens more than I would like, but it's not nearly as bad as a few years ago.
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scorpio
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PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2006 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, in my opinion... Yes, I would say that love is an emotional feeling that one felt towards his or her partner. I am just looking at it in a very simple perspective...

Love would always involve two persons and whatever the both does or behave is going to be in one way or another affecting one another. If you are not happy, I don't think your wife should be in anyway feeling any happier too.

And since you have decided to take up that "responsibilty" to be loving her still, then you should be try to make her be feeling happy... and not just her, but both you and your kids too... I know you have tried and it has been tough on you...

Hmm... maybe just some suggestions. Ever thought of giving her some surprises? Some dates, outing or maybe a holiday? A holiday for the family? I am sure she love the kids too? Perhaps your kids may be the key to bringing back that love between the both of you?

We can maybe be just trying before making any rash decision? Well, I guess you will never know till you actually try. And I suppose you have got nothing to lose... Perhaps to choose to just believe one more time...?
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JohnBo
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PostPosted: Mon May 22, 2006 4:51 am    Post subject: Affair? Reply with quote

Thanks, Scorpio,

I guess that I am just feeling fed up. Eight years of bullying, anger, manipulation, cold-shoulders, silent-treatments, sex-boycotts, hair-pulling, kicking, punching, screaming, moving out, abandoning me for the weekend by taking our one car to visit her mother, threatening of divorce, breaking of confidences, endless angry demands, crying fits, drama, and just general abuse is a lot. Yes, there is some residual emotional feelings of tenderness for my wife, but not much, and there's probably a lot more resentment.

In the meanwhile, I have Other Woman, tender, sweet, pretty, sexy, kind, respectful, giving, loving: Telling me she wants to spend her life with me.

I just don't want to leave my children. That's really all. I don't know how to navigate this.

I've told Other Woman that I want to figure this out, I don't want to give up just yet on my marriage. And I guess that's true. (Although my conduct with Other Woman might suggest I have already given up...) But Lord have mercy, it is miserable. But I told God, and Wife, and friends, and family, that we were together until death do us part ... I think I just need to get more demanding with Wife: Make it clear that I just won't take it any more. If she can come around, work with me, then maybe marriage can be salvaged. There's no question that if I weren't married to either Wife or Other Woman, I would choose OW, but, of course, that's not the actual situation.
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scorpio
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PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2006 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, eight years... Given any man, I am sure they will be feeling just the same as you, JohnBo.

I guess it is time you speak up. Yup, make it clear to your wife. As your wife, she deserve to know just how you felt all these while... It is time she learn to give. You can't always be the one to give and just give... in a relationship, it has to be a give and take. Nevertheless, you deserve some happiness...

Give yourself, your wife and your family some time to try to work things out. I wouldn't know how it is all going to be but there is always just a solution to every problems. The only way to resolve things is to accept it and face it. You can run away from it forever...

And only with actions may decision be actually made...

Well, I do hope everything will work out well... Best wishes
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JohnBo
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PostPosted: Wed May 24, 2006 4:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scorpio-- Thanks. I think you are right: I need to be a bit more assertive about trying to fix the numerous problems in our relationship. Tony
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PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2006 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I am sure you can do it, Tony.

Remember, life is a Journey and not a destination. You still have a long journey to be going... As I always say, you deserve some happiness for this journey of yours... I don't think you will choose to end it just here?

I wouldn't know what plans you might have but your future is definitely worth thinking through and nevertheless to be planning for. It is never too late... Wink
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