Struggling so much in my marriage

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    Hi all, i come here with a heavy heart and have never felt so lost or like i’m drowning in my life.
    I got married a few years ago and things in my marriage were good or so i thought. Last year my husband was distant, we were hardly being intimate and i pushed him on it. He said he wasn’t happy and hadn’t been for years, even before we were married. he said he hoped things would get better but they haven’t. He said he loved me and it wasn’t me he just didn’t feel happy. he wouldn’t give specific reasons he just said we were different and it was a general feeling of unhappiness. i was heartbroken and at my wits end. i was crushed. i begged him not to leave and to stay and tried to be my best self. I felt miserable and frantic and desperate. he stayed and we carried on with this elephant in the room. We did nice things together but it was always at the back of my mind.

    A few months later i asked if things were better, thinking, surely they must be as we have been ok? The answer was no. He didnt see how it would get any better. he said nothing had changed and he couldn’t see anything changing. it was heartbreaking.

    i begged him to stay. i cried i begged i pleaded. i sold my soul to make him stay. he stayed. i felt drained i felt like i was dying inside. begging him not to leave me.

    some background, my father left my mother when i was a teen after an affair and i have huge abandonment issues. he knows all of this yet seemed so blase with wanting to leave and pack in our marriage without us working on it or discussing why. he could never say why. i said it was so unfair of him to say all this now and never have told me how he feels before. i suggested counselling, he said no. It was the worst. He stayed and we carried on. i got anxious and depressed. Then one day like nothing had happened after i broke down he said “i feel better now” just like that. Np explanation. Nothing. we never discussed it i just took his word to save my marriage.

    we carried on and got on but still weren’t very intimate. We never discussed the meltdown i was running scared. throwing a blanket over the corpse in the room. glad he chose to stay. Yes i know, talk about self worth issues, but he is a good kind, gentle and caring man and i love him.

    I hate myself for this and even admitting this and so so afraid of the judgement and even saying this aloud but towards the end of last year a male friend of mine and i started a relationship. i have never done anything like this before and i felt awful but we were friends who have the most amazing connection on such a spiritual level. i tried to stop it but i feel so loved and cherished by this man. i have never felt so adored. i feel like my husband tore me down and this man has built me up. he loves and adores me more than anything and i am struggling to end things not knowing if i can trust my husband after last year. i know i am doing something awful having them both but i love this man, he is my soulmate. im scared to walk away from him not knowing if years down the line or sooner my husband will say he isnt happy. this man makes me feel more loved and cherished and adored than i ever have. i feel alive and relaxed about him. we have a spark and magnetism like i never have had in my life.

    i tried to talk to my husband lately i asked why he never wants to have sex with me and is he happy? why did he do what he did last year. he said he is happy now and it was just me afterall last year, how i don’t listen to him, im bad with money etc etc
    all these reasons seemed a cop out and im not sure why he didnt say any of it at the time rather than saying ITS NOT YOU, ITS NOTHING YOU HAVE DONE. i cant help feeling duped. was there someone else? did someone else have his heart. he says things are fine now but how could he do what he did then dismiss it as quickly as it came? i need more answers. he wont open up. on the surface we have a loving marriage, he is kind and sweet and looks after me but he wont be intimate with me hardly at all and i feel distant from him. we are more like great friends that husband and wife. there is no passion.

    i dont know if i am in love with my husband after what he put me through and am struggling to see the future. kids etc. i know i am also doing something awful but last year he broke me and this wonderful man has put me back together. he wants to be with me, wants to marry me and love and cherish me and be together.

    i am so so lost i do not know what to do
    life does not seem worth living right now. i feel so scared and miserable.

    please help.


    As is often the case with marriages in trouble abs affairs…you have two separate issues you need to address (well, three actually).

    1. Most pressing…are you happy and do you want to continue your marriage? If this is the case you need to stop the affair and concentrate on repairing the damage in your relationship. This will also require your husband to be honest and open. And you as well. I do not feel you need to “confess” your affair, however you do need to discuss all the feelings that led to it and deal with them. If you do not wish to do this or believe it will not work you need to leave your marriage. And I do not say that lightly.

    2. Decide if the “other man” is someone you truly want to be in a relationship with or if he’s simply filling a void that your husband isn’t right now. Is he someone you’d pick if your emotional needs were met? Don’t leave your marriage and jump right into a new relationship based on neediness.

    3. Most important…work on your internal “abandonment issues” and learn how to be happy with yourself and by yourself. If you never do this you’ll find yourself in positions where you’re begging another human to stay with you. This is never a good thing and rarely works out for anyone involved. There are great articles in this website to help you get started.


    Dear JournoGirl:

    At first reading of your post, it seems like a no- brainer to me:

    Your husband is dishonest with you (!). He is unreliable and destructive to your mental well being.
    You don’t have children.
    There is this single (?) man outside your marriage who is honest with you and is constructive to your mental well being.

    Why aren’t you divorcing your husband and committing yourself to an exclusive relationship with this other man?



    Hi JournoGirl,

    I wouldn’t leave the marriage for the other man. I WOULD however leave the marriage whether there’s another man or not (if you would leave)! Don’t leave your DH unless you would do it anyway!

    Yes, it IS possible there was another woman. HOWEVER, the fact that he is SO blasé about your heart is just horrible to me.

    Find out what you can live with and what you can’t. Maybe your DH will be more of a friend than a husband. Maybe you are meant to just be travel companions, or maybe he is meant to just help support you. Some husbands are not built for romance, believe it or not! Maybe he would be the best of fathers. Who knows?

    I know it’s wrong to say, but I’m GLAD the other man came along!



    • This reply was modified 7 years, 11 months ago by Inky.

    I am so sorry you are going through this. It seems awful to have your husband withholding intimacy and not talking to you. I think this is unfortunately common in many marriages. It sounds like he has some issues he needs to work through within himself.

    I would not blame you if you divorced your husband. Please don’t have kids with him if you are so uncertain. A lifetime of little sexual intimacy seems miserable. But maybe this is something the two of you can work through, if you really love each other.

    My advice is for you to try to focus on other areas of your life besides your love life. Your job, friends and activities you enjoy. Try to strengthen the other areas of your life so if you do leave your husband you will still have a lot of other stuff in place that will sustain you and make you happy. If your husband is withdrawn, maybe he needs space. Chasing him will only push him away more. But if you are a strong and happy person he will be attracted to you.

    It sounds like you are feeling insecurity within yourself that is made worse by your husband’s behavior and is soothed by this other man. If you develop other parts of your life you will be a stronger person and your husband’s behavior won’t hurt you so much. But using two men to meet your needs in this way is not emotionally healthy or sustainable. It is a sure path to failure in any relationship.

    I think this love triangle is dangerous and will lead to hurt feelings. It is not fair to either man. If you are not ready to leave your marriage you probably need to stop seeing this other man. Take some time to decide if you want to stay in the marriage. It may take time to sort this all out and that is okay. If you do leave your husband you might find that your feelings towards the other man diminish after you are free of the marriage.


    Hi JournoGirl,

    First, sending you lots of love and strength. I can understand your state of mind; being at two places, as women we feel very guilty and at the same time it must be affecting your self-esteem a lot. Please keep a check on it, to not let it dip and rise up. You’re strong, beautiful and a wonderful person.

    About your husband: It seems he has somebody else in his life, and he doesn’t have the courage to tell this to you (he will never have the courage to tell the truth to you). But, what YOU need to do next is IMPORTANT here, because your life and happiness is precious and valuable. So, you’ll have to take a call, muster the courage to ask for divorce and see if he agrees. (I’m sure he wants separation but wants to hear it from your mouth). You’ll have to take the effort to resolve the lives.

    About your friend in relation: I would say gauge him for a while. Give it time because you’re not in the best of your spirits right now and vulnerable (when we are with low self-esteem we may unknowingly let anybody take undue advantage of being available). So, get on to your toes, be strong, figure out what you want from the next relation, put it across to him and don’t give in so easily, he must realize your worth. Try not to jump so quickly from one person to another, YOU have to provide the strength to yourself, try not to have it from others.

    Sending Love & Light your way!

    Do keep posting here…


    Thanks for all the kind sweet and non judgemental advice. It means so much x


    Number one… U want to leave him for that guy..accept it.
    U find ur needs hetter satisfied there…and now lookin at his background for suitable justification in the past.

    Numeber two.. Your guy was unhappy due to his own unresolved issues..unachieved goals or self worth…and it generally made him feel unhappy..nw he is happy..and so things are fine.

    Now see what u want..if u cn wotk and recreate old highs wid the first guy..go fr him coz u kno him better and he knows ur imperfections.

    Number 3 second guy is ur necessary escape from gloom.. Attention and importance pulled u. Go deep and understand ur true feelings wid him..
    Get a crude one word answer.

    Take the choice.



    Hi all, thanks for the replies. Just to update. My husband and I got into a stupid fight over no nothing around 3 weeks ago. Think I criticised him driving too fast. He snapped and went into meltdown mode. Said once again ” this isn’t going to work” we are too different… We are delaying the inevitable. I’m worried we will just split in a few years anyway. I cried and screamed and begged him to stay. On the
    Floor in a total mess. Kept saying if you loved me u would stay. He still left. Said we are too different and it’s over. Packed his stuff and went to his mums. Called a few hours later and said he was sorry and could he come back, I said no. Said he hurt me so much and carried through with my biggest fear…. Said I needed space. He was gone for two weeks, we met and didn’t know how to proceed. Talked things through. He said he does worry we are too different. He does love me but didn’t know what to do. Listed all the things I did that annoyed him or he couldn’t tolerate, we cried we hugged. Awful. So sad. Discussed lack of sex and intimacy… I said do u desire me, he said yes and knows we haven’t had sex in months but we’ve let it slip away and now it’s awkward. Said there’s nothing on a conscious level… I don’t buy it. He’s been back two weeks and still no emotional or physical intimacy…. Actions speak louder than words.
    He’s back now and I said I’m not happy and he hurt me so much by leaving after knowing is his threats to leave affect me. Said I need to see how things go…. I’m not happy . Since then he’s being super lovely but pretending all is fine. We are in the ‘up’ cycle til the next meltdown…. Worries me. Still no emotional or physical intimacy….

    And yes the other man is still on the scene wanting me to give things a try with him but I know I must get to grips with my marriage first…

    All so hard
    Struggling so much
    Feel so low.


    Dear JournoGirl:

    I re-read your original post and the last one. I will try to understand your situation as I type and please let me know if I am correct and where I am not:

    You are married to a man, no children. You and your husband do not have physical intimacy and haven’t for many months (or longer?)- he is not interested. Before you got married he was not happy with you and haven’t been happy throughout the marriage, claiming the two of you are too different, that you annoy him and are bad with money, among other things. You begged him to stay with you again and again. There is a pattern in the marriage when he is loving (not physically) and kind and the two of you pretend that all is well, and then he explodes and tries to end the relationship.

    You are having an affair with another man who loves you dearly and wants you to leave your husband and marry him.

    You have no idea why your husband is unhappy with you, why he doesn’t want to have physical intimacy with you; you have no idea what bothers him and why he behaves the way he does, what motivates him and what troubles him.

    In other words, you don’t know your husband. You know you have abandonment issues from your childhood and you hate it when your husband leaves.

    Did I understand correctly?



    Hi Anita, yes that is all correct. Thanks for your time x


    Dear JournoGirl:

    Since I am correct in my understanding, then there is no victim and no villain in this relationship with your husband. You are both engaged in a destructive relationship, destructive to the two of you.

    It is a possibility that he is with you not because he loves you, but because he feels guilty to leave you and stay away from you, because you beg him so much each time he leaves, because you express such great need for him. So he is with you, trying to make it work so not to feel guilty.

    It is possible that you are pushing him each time to leave you so to re-create the abandonment situation, to re-create the situation when your father left your mother. And then you rush to “fix it” by getting him to come back. Then you feel some relief followed by anxiety, disquiet, and you push his buttons again, until he explodes and leaves and so the pattern repeats.

    This might be the source of your attachment to your husband. If so, this relationship better end, and the sooner the better.

    Whether I am correct here or not, this relationship is destructive to the two of you and each one of you is making it so. If I am correct, my advice to you is to set him free, let him go and stay gone from your life.



    Your marriage is not working for either of you. If you don’t have children, then you have more options. Divorce or at least split up for a while. Your husband is indecisive at the least, or, he has some one else. I don’t know if the new guy is “Mr. It” or not, but the husband certaintly is not. I don’t think the husband wants to put the ‘effort’ into actually breaking up, it is easier for him to maintain the status quo. What I truly believe though, is that I don’t think you or your husband can fall ‘back into’ love. I think when its gone, its gone. I know that hurts, but it has happened to me.


    thanks for the replies. That’s what i worry about, i don’t know how much we can get things back. Despite talking about things we seem emotionally unavailable to eachother. We havent had a sexual relationship since january and depsite me raising the issue he hasnt tried anything or shown any desire for intimacy since he has been back. I’m just not sure how we can move on from here. Things are clearly not right for him either 🙁


    Hi there- I am new to this site and your story sounds so familiar to mine….. My husband and I had not been intimate for years…yes YEARS…..and it was getting so bad that it came to a head last year and since then we have tried to work on things. Intimacy returned but very awkwardly and really only about 3 or 4 times in last 12 months. No kids either (no surprise) I too find it hard to connect emotionally to him. I felt that way back when we married 7 yrs ago and hoped we could get through it- and in 2012 a male friend at work and I became really close and yes, I also took same path as you- had a relationship with him for almost 2 years which was exciting and fulfilling and loving. In 2014 we broke away completely as I could not take the double life and he could not take the unavailability (plus I feel he chose me as he knew I was not available and therefore would not push him for commitment- he since has moved on and recently started a relationship with someone which has crushed me a bit but at the same time, I am happy for him). The saga with my husband continues- even though in last 2 years I have done so much- been in counselling and dealing with a lot of abandonment from my childhood also. He left last Friday to stay at his fathers to give us some space. I don’t know what will happen but for now, I need to just be fair on myself and the process and try not to jump back in from fear of being alone. I still work at the same place as the other man and see him daily and pangs of ‘what was’ are still there but I know ultimately I need to set him and me free also.
    I know it is very hard for you and the sheer confusion this all brings- all I would say is take both the people in your life- out of your life and be on your own- and can you see yourself OK and happy in time?
    I am going to keep seeing my counsellor- work on my inner child issues and try and see what life brings. There’s no crystal ball but I know deep down I am a fighter and want to be happy.

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