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Spiraling Husband

Question:

I have been married for almost three years. I didn’t really want to get married, but my, now wife, gave me the marry me or I’m leaving speech. I liked living together and the life I had. Now I think I made a terrible mistake. She is a great lady. We have many things in common. I know she loves me very much. I also know that I do not love her the same way in return. I dread having to go home when she is there. I have become a workaholic to avoid spending time with her. I am not sexually attracted to her. Every time I meet an attractive woman, I, being not the best looking guy in the world, hit on her and fail miserably. I probably would have cheated already, given the opportunity. I still care about her and don’t want to hurt her. If I ask for a divorce it will crush her. Financially we don’t make a lot of money, but were recently able to buy a Condo, that was financially above our heads. We make roughly the same salary and together we just make it. I would gladly give her the condo, but she could not handle it by herself. I am going into a downward, dizzying spiral. Now is not the best time to leave. No time is. Any advise?

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  • ‘Anne’ is the pseudonym for the individual who writes this relationship advice column.
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Answer:

I see a great deal of fear in your letter. Fear of losing your then girlfriend if you didn’t marry her, fear of being intimate with your now wife, and possibly fear of intimacy in general. You seem very afraid to me, and I also suspect that you don’t have much self-esteem. Fear works this way: if you run from it, it chases you and you have no quality of life. The thing to do is to face your fear. Facing your fear will build up your self-esteem and may also quite possibly help you with your marriage. Here is one suggested way to help you face your fears. First, take responsibility for your situation. You were not forced to marry your wife; You chose to marry her. Second, stop chasing other women, at least for the time being. You chose to marry your wife and are at least for now married. If you’re going to be married then work to try it the right way: be true to your wife sexually AND emotionally. This means no flirting with other women and no pornography. Third, figure out if you want to be married or not. If you don’t want to be married, then separate from your wife in the most responsible and respectful way you can muster. If you have any doubts about definitely wanting to be separated, then make the decision that you are going to take your marriage seriously at least for a time. If it doesn’t work out after you’ve really tried to make it work then you can separate from your wife. But at least for a time take your marriage seriously. Find the courage to commit (at least for a time) to being intimate with your wife. Tell her that you want to learn how to be intimate with her and mean it. Then make an appointment with a good marriage counselor (find the money for this even if you have to give some other things up) and work with your wife and the counselor to talk about what is wrong. Do this work for at least several months and only then should you sit back and re-evaluate whether you want to separate from your wife. No one can say whether you and your wife will be able to figure it all out and become happily married. However, it seems reasonable to believe that at least you will grow in courage and self-esteem from such a set of choices. Good luck to both of you.

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