We're finally getting honest

Lies, infidelity, lack of love -- my marriage was no good until we told the truth

By Cary Tennis

Published October 23, 2012 12:00AM (EDT)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       (Zach Trenholm/Salon)
(Zach Trenholm/Salon)

Dear Cary,

Up until recently I've been reading your columns and your advice seems clear and to the point. I am in a serious bind. My wife of five years began a relationship with someone from her past. I discovered the relationship and through many other lies told she confessed to it and stated it was best if we got divorced.

Now, to give you a brief overview of our marriage, it was mediocre at best. Sex wasn't the issue; she complained about my lack of "love," as she called it, and I never really responded past her cries for attention. Fast-forward to today, we still live together (we both have nowhere to go), we have casual sex, speak more openly about ourselves and our past relationships and future relationships. In other words our "new" relationship has developed into something better than our five-year marriage; we hold no secrets. She confesses, I confess and we love it. My problem is I have a mall intent on ruining her current new long-distance relationship with her boyfriend.

I do not want to, but it's almost a male thing to fight back, not with fists but through love and better affection and more sex!

What to do?

Dear IJ,

Now that you are being honest, the relationship is working. Keep being honest. Look at her and tell her the deepest things you are feeling. Hold nothing back. Tell her of the pain you felt in childhood. Tell her of your loneliness. Tell her how you feel when she goes off with this other man. Tell her about your mother. Tell her about your father. Tell her how you feel that you are alone in the world. Tell her that she is like a tiny bird you want to cherish but fear you could crush. Tell her you are sorry you have not been the man she wanted. Tell her you will never be the man she wanted, that you will always be only the man you are. Tell her the man you are is the man you are. Tell her she can flay your skin with a razor and poke hot knives in you and still you will be just the man you are. Tell her this is how you were born. Tell her that you and she are two spirits collided and this is an ancient drama. Tell her you want to just look into her eyes and watch the sunset there. Tell her to take off her blouse. Tell her to sit with you and just look at her that way. Tell her tomorrow you are leaving. Tell her you don't know where you are going but you have to leave. Tell her this didn't work out, that it can't work out, that neither of you is ready for marriage but you are ready for sex.

Tell her you hate thinking about this other man she is seeing. Tell her to go to hell. Tell her you're sorry you told her to go to hell, you were just angry and overcome with emotion. Tell her you hate her. Tell her you're sorry you told her you hate her, you were just overcome with emotion and are obviously too emotionally immature to actually be married. Tell her you are crying because it hurts so much. Ask her to get you a hot washcloth. Wipe your face with a hot washcloth. Sit with her. Ask her if she really loves you or is just using you. Ask her if this thing with this other man is just a sex thing. Ask her if she knows who you really are. Ask her if she is curious about you as a person. Pack your suitcase. Put your shoes in the suitcase wrapped in plastic bags. If she tries to help you pack, tell her no, you have to do this. Go to the house of a friend. Tell your friend you will stay just one week on the couch, no longer. Conclude the arrangements on your former abode. Get off the lease if there is a lease. Find a roommate situation. Find a yoga class. Begin doing yoga every week. Have a medical checkup. Go over your insurance. Figure out your income and expenses. Live quietly and frugally for a year. Try Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous. Look into some kind of low-cost community psychotherapy or counseling. Read Victor Frankl. If you have not completed your four-year degree, go to a local college and inquire about completing your degree. If you date, date slowly. Do not have sex at first. If you see a woman you like, speak to her quietly and politely. Do not maneuver her. If you require a divorce, consult a lawyer. Do your divorce in the most inexpensive way possible. Tell your parents that you are OK, that it was just one of those things. If you have brothers and sisters, call them frequently. Learn to cook for yourself. Do yoga every week. Learn to sit quietly with a book. Have sex with women but do not get married. Make it clear to women you have sex with that you have boundaries and you have baggage. Keep your private life private. If your wife needs to communicate with you on occasion, communicate with her but do not have sex with your ex-wife. Do not inquire who she is having sex with. Read about boundaries. Balance your hormones. Spend time on the beach. Have good regular habits. Live this way. Live this way as long as you can.

Cary Tennis

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Divorce Infidelity Love Love And Sex Marriage Since You Asked