Husband or College Sweetheart?

by Emily
(Birmingham, AL, USA)

Dear Stella,

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!

Dear H&C,

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.

Good luck,

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.

Comments for Husband or College Sweetheart?

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The husband should know
by: Anonymous

I disagree. If she does stay with the husband she should tell him; he has the right to know what she did and then make up his mind if he wants to be with a person who can do that to him.

I'm a man and i would want to know, and I think he has the right to know to even if it does stress the marriage.

Follow Your Heart!!
by: Anonymous

I have been in the exact same situation, and for me, the choice was to end the marriage and begin a life with my first love.

The affair was not based on sex - it was based on our deep emotional connection and a love that began years ago when we were in college. They say you never really get over that first love, and for us, that was true.

I almost always see therapists advising that affairs never end happily, and to do whatever possible to stay in the marriage. Sometimes, however, the one we have the affair with really is "The One". I advise you to follow your heart and your instincts! You know what you really want - don't be afraid to go after it.

Me too!
by: B. S.

Oh boy - does this ring a bell to a degree!! My situation is much the same. However, my long lost love was a high school friend who has returned into my life. And although my husband is a gentle man - he has recently had an addiction to pain killers that has about put us in the poor house. I took on two jobs just to try to keep up on the bills! He has been trying to get off of the pain pills for the past 2-3 weeks - and declares he loves me completely.
But, then I find out from some of his family and friends that this is the exact thing that broke up his first marriage. I still care for my husband - but, not sure I still love him! And am afraid that the addiction will return - or win out. However, I have always been in love with my friend - and have now found that he has always felt the same.

We just never let one another know in the past. Now I am driving myself crazy thinking of the long lost love all of the time - while trying to decide if I should stay with my husband and fight out the battle of addiction - and hope he wins!

Sounds familiar
by: Anonymous

It is so easy to judge someone who has an affair, but it is not always a selfish, impulsive act of poor judgment. I met "my love" on the dorm elevator on the first day of college. It wasn't love at first sight, but I immediately knew there was something about him. I was dating my high school boyfriend, who attended another college, but my college guy and I fell for each other. The problem was, I had someone else. Well, I broke up with my high school boyfriend when I realized that the long-distance relationship was not working, and I was madly in love with the guy at college. That same weekend, he met someone else...Our lives just went on from there...We both loved each other so much but were too afraid or immature to deal with it.

Fast forward a few years...He has now told me that he thought I was so amazing, that he didn't think he was good enough for me. He married that other girl...calling me when they got engaged. I congratulated him, and realized I had to let him go...He obviously did not feel the same way I did. I got engaged to my high school was "time" to get married. In 22 years of marriage I NEVER stopped thinking about my college love, and he NEVER stopped thinking about me. We reconnected two years ago, and we're both miserable. He divorced and is remarried, but not happy. He feels if he divorces again he'll be a complete failure and hurt everyone. I had been feeling unhappy in my marriage for a long time. Now that our children are almost grown, I see no reason to stay together.

Thirty years have gone by...This is not a case of "the grass being greener" or "the excitement of a new or different love." This is TRUE LOVE between two people who know each other completely - love each other so much it hurts, and can't wait to be together. We are waiting, as we both need to "take care of business" in our marriages, but we both want to be together for the rest of our lives. I do not feel guilty, because I know this was meant to be. Someone who has not experienced this kind of love will think this is crazy, but I know my heart.

I need help/advice
by: Anonymous

Oh God i am kind of in the same position, i have been married for 20+ years, i did love my husband then, but he has had a lot of health issues and has not been the man i married for a lot of years,i have tried over many years to let him now how unhappy i am and things change for a couple of weeks then always go back the same way, i am the main breadwinner and i have to take care of everything which causes me great stress which he knows but does nothing as usual, as for sex, i happens when i allow it which is lucky if its every couple of months and he sleeps on the couch at least 3/4 times a week. i left last year for a week but felt scared and alone so went back, i have now traced m first love who i know has been looking for me for 20+ years, we split because i was suffocating him with my insecurities when all he wanted to do was look after and protect me, anyway i have found him and our conenction is so strong, i have never had feeling or emotions like this for some one in my life except him, i thought i was dead but realise i am still alive,he wants us to be together and i have said to wait as my husband is a lovely fantastic guy who everyone thinks is amazing and i know he is terrified of losing me as he loves me and couldnt cope finaincially, im scared of hurting people but my soul mate said its fate and meant to be and i deserve to be happy and not just exist in an unhappy marriage, i need help think i know the answer but need to know if other people c it xxxx

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