You have to realize that my understanding of the anatomy inside a relationship failure is because I have researched, explored and tried to ‘fix’ a marriage that was fundamentally flawed, for a very long time. It has given me insight as to the reasons relationships fail and how we respond to them. I have a PHD in “how you learn to adapt to the reasoning behind staying in a broken situation over leaving.” I know how it feels to sacrifice your needs for the sake of children. I also know there comes a time when a self preservation instinct kicks in and you let go of your hopes you had, for the future you want.
I can offer advice from personal experience. There is no need for you to try and struggle in sorting out your responses or figure things out on your own along the way when I can give a brief explanation that may either apply to your situation or be used as a platform to discover your own personal truths. If I am in someone’s life, I can sense when they start to filter. I may not always confront their reasons for doing so, but my questions and language will change to accommodate for it. I don’t want the filtered version. What is the point of sharing if you can’t be open with each other?
I value honest communication even if the conversations are difficult. You don’t have an affair in the hopes of your partner finding out about it as a wake up call or the reason to instigate a change. This is a self sabotaging prophecy statement; meaning that subconsciously, you might be reckless in order to facilitate the result you are searching for, which is divorce. So…just don’t do that.
If and when you determine that it is time to sever the marital connection with the mother of your children, do so on YOUR terms. Sit down with her, explain the fact you want to have an affair to fulfill your needs (pretend to have not looked). Do NOT be honest about the fact that you have looked or had an affair. It would serve no purpose but to hurt her and to be used as a weapon against you in the long future ahead of you of sharing children’s lives.
Be prepared that she will do 1 of 2 things: be angry, resentful and shocked at your statement as she saw no issues or problems. This is triggered from a fear response that she may be losing the relationship. Or she may see it as a call to action. After she works through the anger, fear and shock of your statement, she may actively try to correct your marriage. Things will improve for a few months and then slide to where she is comfortable them being. This sets up a cycle of behaviour that will continue for as long as you let it. You can’t change someone’s personality.
You have to decide what your plan would be in either circumstance. Do NOT accidentally let them discover that you have looked at alternatives to your untenable situation. Allow the marital relationship to end with the dignity of a shared past and a future of child rearing to look forward to. Just because you aren’t compatible for a romantic partnership, doesn’t mean you can’t function brilliantly together as separate entities who are having their basic needs met with other partners.
You are at the beginning of a journey of understanding. There will be personal growth that comes at the expense of other’s happiness. This is the reality of an emotional divorce. Because that is exactly what this is. Physically, you may still share a house, but emotionally you are ready to invest elsewhere. Under no circumstance can you let your spouse know this. Many women can ‘get over’ an affair, especially if they can villanize the ‘other woman’. But if a woman knows you have emotionally invested with someone else, then it is almost impossible for them to come to terms with that and staying with them is allowing yourself to endure emotional abuse. Which many men do for a while as they see it as atonement for their sins.
I am honestly telling you that guilt is a wasted emotion. If you feel guilty then you are not ready to have an affair. Guilt is corrosive and will eat away at your sanity.
Ask yourself this: can you keep functioning inside of your marriage as it is now? Yes? Then no to an affair. No? Then you have to decide upon a course of action. Divorce now? Yes? Then file papers. No? Then you have to decide if you go to counselling and ‘work’ on the marriage with the intent on ending things if it fails or do you keep your family/marital life in status quo stability and then search for the missing pieces that will compliment your life. If you choose that second option it will extend the stable family/marital life BUT it will come at the expense of you having to adjust to all the disparity you see in your marriage. It will become almost an irritant to you. Because you will actually resent her for making you be someone who you never thought you would be.
This whole process could be 6 months to 2 years or even longer. It’s a personal journey to come to terms with what you want for a future for yourself. As hard as it is to imagine, don’t worry about your kids. Kids adapt almost instantly and really do not care about the relationships their parents have. All that actually matters to them is that their lives and routines do not alter. Kids are by nature narcissistic and as long as they can continue with their friends and their events, they really don’t care who is making them do chores or make their meals and dropping them off at which parent’s house.