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    Dear Mauve,

    not usually one for taking part in forums, your story resonated with me.

    i recently had a watershed moment in my own relationship and perhaps if i share my own story with you you may have the courage to tackle your own. i have been married for 6 years but had been with my husband for 8 years prior to that. I met him when i was 18 and i suppose we grew up together. HB is the polar opposite of me; spiritual, sensitive, creative, artistic..i am earthy, realistic and a bit sarcastic- i think we attracted each other as we provided some balance to each other.

    However, after a recession busting 5 years, a failed business and years of emotional neglect we were barely able to be in the same room as one another. I too sat downstairs drinking copious amounts of wine to drown out my life that i felt i had no control over; a house that we couldn’t sell, debt from the business and a husband whose indifference (and occasional venomous outburst) to me left me drained and feeling completely unlovable. i spent my time halfheartedly trying to make an effort with my HB and secretly planning an escape and considering trying to meet someone else.

    One afternoon after yet another argument over very little; HB asked me if i wanted to separate, i wasn’t brave enough to say an outright yes but i must have still cared very much about him otherwise i wouldn’t have cared about his ability to have such little care about my feelings. this was the man i had shared most of my adult life with!! we sat that night and agreed to try harder but we still had so many barriers between us.

    The next day, i was off work and had some time to myself and started looking through photographs on our PC, what i found shocked me and tore my heart out. There were messages downloaded from his phone to another woman. Some of it sexual (mostly from her) but most of the messages from him were emotional- him seeking emotional reassurance. i confronted him and he admitted he had had an online ‘chat only’ relationship with her 18 months ago. we took some time off work and didnt leave the house for 5 days and for the 1st time in years we were able to be brutally honest with each other.

    the point is this; you say you have no desire to leave your marriage and you had an affair to mostly seek sex. Your HB sounds like your ‘solid’ safe base you have created but perhaps you have lost the ability to move this relationship forward, hence why you seek passion/infatuation/excitement in an affair. If your not communicating with your HB perhaps you are underestimating how much he is sad and desperately in need of emotional & physical love from you? we all need to feel loved and one thing that i learnt from my situation is that if your partner constantly sees you unhappy then he will most likely feel a failure and his low self esteem will also make his ability to tackle the marriage issues non existent. And so the cycle continues.

    im not saying you have to hurt your husband by confessing all… but maybe if you could find the courage to tackle this relationship head on, you will be able to reflect on what your true feelings for this other man really are. I am guessing they will fade pretty quickly.

    At the end of the day.. you deserve a loving relationship, every single one of us does. You also deserve to love yourself and treat yourself with love. By continuing in a relationship that doesn’t provide you with feeling loved is self harm. i hope you find the courage.

    ”as my sufferings mounted i soon realised that there were two ways in which i could respond to my situation–either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course” Martin Luther King Jnr

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