Should I leave my wife for my lover?

Hi Guys,

I’m trying to get my head sorted out and need another guys point of view. I’ve been living with a woman for 25 years, but in 2011, fell deeply in love and had an 18 month affair with a lady I’ve known for years. I so wanted to live with her so I told my partner that I was leaving and why I was moving out.

But a week or so later she begged my to stay as she loved me. My 18 year old daughter also begged me, so I stayed. I know it broke my lover’s heart but I felt I had to make a go of it. All my side of the family has been so supportive of my lover as they feel that I have made the wrong move going back. My then long term partner asked if I would marry her. How could I say no after what I did to her? So we booked a holiday and got married and then had the reception back home. A lot of people asked me what was the point of getting married.

Fast forward 18 months and there has not been a day that goes by that I don’t think of my lover. So I asked my mate if he would contact her to find out if she would talk to me. She agreed and we met up talked and I found myself reminiscing about all the happy times we shared. I told her that I felt that the wedding was a farce, but I made my bed and I must lie in it. I texted her lots of times and we’re back on F/B as mates. Yes we have made love a few times and it’s the best.

My question is, if I love my wife, why am I back in contact with my lover again? Why cant I just let her go and concentrate on my marriage? Am I doing the right think by staying with her and my daughter, who is now 20? I still have feelings for my lover, so it’s not just a lust thing. I just wish I had asked her out years ago, because I always liked her.


Dear M,

Thanks for your question. We understand your position. It’s a tough one to be in. We wish there was a simple answer, but unfortunately there’s not, especially with the divorce rate hovering close to 50%. That means, half of the people in your position would probably stay the course, and the other half would leave. In essence, there’s no right or wrong answer here.

We think you need to look at each situation separately. That might help you sort through this.

Let’s start with your marriage.

It seems obvious that you love your wife. Maybe, you aren’t madly in love, and no longer feel butterflies when you’re with her, but it does sound like you have a solid relationship. You’ve built a life with this woman. (You didn’t say if your daughter was also hers.) But either way, don’t discount how difficult it is to find someone you respect, love, and trust, and who feels the same about you. Taking into consideration that most relationships end before they start, you should feel good about staying the course for 25 years and counting. She should as well. (That said, getting married out of guilt might not be the best reason.)

Now, to your lover:

Clearly, all the things that are missing with your wife, you have with your lover, or at least you’ve projected onto your lover. The sex is great. She’s fun. Interesting. You’re not bored with her. Everything is great. We know you say it’s not lust, and that may be, but remember that absence makes the heart grow fonder. We wonder how you’d feel about her after 25 years. That’s a question that can’t be answered, but it’s certainly something to think about. To summarize: You see this woman as a way to feel alive again, and excited about life. We get it. The question is always: what’s real, and what isn’t.

All that said, even though you’re with your wife, you have one foot in someone else’s bed. Not only is that not great for your marriage, but it’s not helping you figure out what you want. We think you need to stop all contact with this other woman until you’ve figured out the course of action you want to take. (We’re impressed by your wife. Not all women would be able to forgive you.)

So, those are the two scenarios. What you need to do is evaluate each separately.

Questions you need to ask yourself about your wife and staying in your marriage:

1. Would I still feel the way I do if I didn’t have a lover? (Meaning, would you want to leave your wife. That’s an important to consider. If you’re really thinking about leaving, the answer should be a definitive, yes.)

2. Am I truly giving my marriage a fair shot, since I’m seeing this other woman? (If you’re cheating with someone else, you’re not being fair to your wife or yourself or your marriage. And for that matter, this other woman.)

3. Will I be able to live with myself if I leave? (Will the guilt and sadness be too much for you?)

4. If it doesn’t work out with this other person, will I regret leaving? (If you decide to leave your wife, the answer to this should be a definitive, no. If you decide to leave, it’s because your marriage is not right and is not working—and that would be after giving it a fair shot. You shouldn’t leave one relationship because something sexier is on the horizon. Bad idea.)

Questions you need to ask about your lover: 

1. If it doesn’t work out, will I believe I made a mistake in leaving my wife? (The answer should be no, if you plan on leaving.)

2. Am I leaving because she’s going to make me feel alive, OR is it because I love her and have to be with her? (An important distinction.)

3. Am I okay leaving my wife for a woman, who’s okay with being the “other woman?” (It just seems like she was pretty open to welcoming you into your arms. Something to think about. We’re not sure what this says about her, but we figured we throw it out there.)

Bottom Line: 

First you need to make a decision about your marriage. Once you’ve done that, then decide if you want to be with this other woman. Leaving one relationship for another often does not work out because the grass often doesn’t turn out to be greener. That’s why we say you should evaluate the two separately.

We would advise you to give your marriage a chance first. If you truly can’t do it anymore, then you can make a decision about your lover then.

We hope this helps clarify a few things. Take care of yourself. We hope this works out for you and everyone involved.





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