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Duty Vs. Freedom

Question:

I haven’t been happy in my marriage for sometime now – my husband is a wonderful man, but shortly after we wed his children came to live with us. Bad idea, I have been very unhappy about this. Our sex life is good for him, I am disappointed day after day. Recently was in touch with the man I should have married 25 years ago – he is separated now. We met and I felt all the old feelings come alive, but he felt guilty. I think we could work things out between us, especially since it is obvious that we still love each other after all these years. My husband is not interested in counseling – says he is happy with his life the way it is. Do I have to look forward to the rest of my life through grey lenses, or should I go for a chance at a life with my soulmate again?

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Answer:

You are asking which is more important: your duty to your marriage vows (husband, etc.) – which boil down to what ‘society’ will think of you should you break them, or your duty to your own judgments as to what is right and wrong. This is an existential decision; a philosophical one, as much as it is a mundane decision as to what to do. I certainly cannot answer this question for you: I do not know the particulars, and even if I did, I would not presume to take away your freedom to choose (which you are so easily throwing away to a stranger).

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p> It is obvious what you want to do – you want to leave your marriage and try to make something with this other man. So in that sense, your decision would appear to be already made. You just want permission to act on your decision. I’m sorry to tell you that you are an adult and that because of this, no one other than yourself can legitimately give you the permission you seek. There are plenty of moralists out there today who will play parent for you, but always keep in mind that they aren’t really your parents, and their pronouncements aren’t really always in your best interest. So – Figure out what it is you love best – duty or freedom – make your bed, and lay in it. There will be serious consequences for you either way.

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