Should I divorce?

I want out. But I feel stuck


Cary Tennis
November 17, 2010 6:20AM (UTC)

Dear Cary,

I am 34 years old and have been married for about four and a half years. We've been together almost 10 years, my longest relationship. My husband is intelligent, handsome, funny and patient. One of my problems is that I don't love him anymore. Well, I love him, but more like a close friend and not as a husband. He truly is a wonderful person and everyone thinks he is great. And he is great, mostly. I think it's unfair for me to stay married to him when I don't completely love him because he would make an awesome husband for some lucky gal.

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The real trouble started this summer. I realized, after a series of illnesses and deaths in the family, that life was just too darn short to spend in a marriage I didn't want to be in. A side problem to my realization that I didn't want to be married anymore was the realization that I actually am in love with someone else. He's my best friend and has been for half my life. He knows that I love him, and has said he loves me too. He also knows that my marriage is ending.

Allow me to back up a little. Before I got married, I had a mini-crisis. Everyone I knew was getting married or already had families. I was the last single person in my groups of friends. My husband and I had been dating for several years at that point, so it never failed that everyone (and I mean everyone) would ask when it was our turn. I have to admit, I fell for it. What was wrong with me that I wasn't married? I had these feelings despite the fact I never even wanted to be married! I was in love with my best friend at this point, too, but things were complicated, so I decided to marry my husband because he was stable, loving and wanted me. But with the benefit of hindsight, I know now that I was reacting to my insecurities and not out of a desire to spend the rest of my life with my husband.

I have discussed with my husband the fact that I am feeling trapped, and that we might not make it. He was devastated, and asked me if I would work on our marriage. The problem is that I do not want to work on it. I just want out. To compound the issue, I slept with my best friend. To compound it even further, I haven't heard from my best friend in two weeks, despite attempts to contact him. The truth? I love my husband as a friend, and my friend as the one great love of my life. One wants me, the other (it seems) does not.

I want to leave my husband. I want to be with my best friend. I want to leave my husband even if my friend doesn't want to be with me. I know it's hard to believe, but I really did decide to leave my husband before anything happened with my friend. Now, I am dealing with the stress of wanting a divorce, of sleeping with my friend, and my friend doing a vanishing act. I am a complete mess. Help.

Thank you so much in advance.

R

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Dear R,

You know, when I started writing this column nearly 10 years ago I always would just write back to the person as a person, not pretending that I had the answers.

As time has gone on, I've gotten more into the role of pretending that I know what you should do. But I really do not know. I never do. So I try to stay true to the role I started out with, responding as just a person, a peer, who cannot possibly know what the future holds for you, but who can hear you clearly.

I hear you clearly. You do not want to be in this marriage.

You do not want to be in this marriage you do not want to be in this marriage you do not want to be in this marriage.

You don't.

So what I conclude from that is this:

You can get a divorce.

You want a divorce. Divorces are available. You can get one.

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I'm going to stop short of saying, "You should get a divorce." But I hear you. You're saying you want one. And I know they are available. And I do not see any moral impediment. Sure, it's not great that things turned out this way, that you made this mistake. But that's why divorces are available. Because people make mistakes. Getting a divorce is a way of owning up to that.

So why not concentrate on that for the time being? That's the one thing you need to do before you can do these other things. You need to get a legal decree saying that your marriage is over. And it seems to me, well, having started a business and all, I have learned how much work it is to do even the smallest thing. So that's probably enough for you right now. Just concentrate on getting the divorce.

OK, so that's my suggestion. That you concentrate on doing the thing that you can do. You can't fix your feelings or change the past or change how other people are going to behave. But you can get a divorce.

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Keep it simple.

Get the divorce. Take it one day at a time.



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Cary Tennis

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