Husband or College Sweetheart?
(Birmingham, AL, USA)
I have really messed things up. I am a very conservative woman in all aspects of my life and have never been a risk-taker. I have done what I, and anyone else who knows me, the unthinkable. I have been having an affair for the last four months with my college sweetheart, who is also my best friend. We dated in college, and I really thought he was the one. I am also his first love.
At the time, he said that he didn't know if he ever wanted to get married but he loved me very much. I wanted to get married someday and he didn't seem interested, so I broke things off. I started dating another man, who is now my husband.
We have been married for 6 years. I couldn't ask for a nicer man, but he doesn't fulfill me emotionally. I sometimes think I want too much, but when I tell him things I need he listens and then does nothing. This has been going on for 4 years now.
Anyway, about four months ago I was having dinner with my best friend (the college sweetheart). We had been purely platonic friends since I have been married. All of the sudden our eyes made contact and both our stomachs dropped out. We knew exactly that we felt the same thing at the same time and neither one of us expected it. It took us both my surprise. After that, we fought our emotions and feelings, but one day we couldn't fight it any more and we kissed.
Another month went by and then we made love. It was the best experience of my life. He has since told me that he regrets not being ready to marry me back in college and that he is ready now to marry me, but has to live with regret now, because I am already taken. I think I have fallen back in love with him. I don't know what to do. Is my best friend just giving me something my husband does not? Am I really meant to be with my best friend? Should I leave
my husband? Please know that this decision to have the affair is so uncharacteristic of the way I live my life. I know it was wrong but I miss feeling loved by someone so much. Please give any advice.
---Hurting and Confused!
Out of all the love problems people write in with, I think this is one of the hardest ones to answer. Why? Because there is no right or wrong answer from Stella. I would not even presume to be wise enough to know which man you belong with. Only you can figure that out.
Why is this such a hard decision?
On the one hand, you have invested six years of your life in a marriage to what you describe as a very nice man. Do you love him at all? You may sorely regret leaving him for the "magic" of "emotional fulfillment" with your new sweetheart. The magical quality of early love always fades, you know, and it will with new sweetie, too. Romance aside, who would you want to grow old with when all the "magic" is gone? I've known many women (and men) who threw away a good solid relationship because they kept chasing that "old magic" once again. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, and it's sad to see 40 and 50-somethings still climbing fences because they think the magic can be had forever.
But there's two sides to this coin. On the other hand, you only have one life, and I would not advise you to spend it in misery. Are you miserable in your marriage?
The best advice I can give you is this... would you want to end the marriage if the new flame was not in the picture? Why or why not? Perhaps you will find the answer to your dilemma if you ponder these questions honestly.
P.S. If you decide to end the affair and make your marriage work instead, do not confess your infidelity to your husband. In unburdening yourself, you burden him and stress the marriage. It would be a selfish and unwise thing to do.