How should I approach this...?

I have been married to my wife for almost 14 years and together for almost 16. However, the past 10 or so years have been routine and it's like as if we're roommates. We have the requisite suburban life - kids, house, community friends, surrounding family - everything found in Pleasantville, right? Even my in-laws love me to death, and my father-in-law treats me better than his own son (who is gay, which may be the reason for my ex-military father-in-law's disapproving of him). On my side, amongst our family friends and numerous cousins, our marriage is the longest or second-longest running of our generation. All's wonderful so far, at least to everyone else but me...

Before I met my wife, I was engaged to someone I was totally overwhelmed with love. I'm talking more intense than a rabid swarm of nuclear-laced butterflies. I'd been in love before, but not as complete and life-changing as that. Unfortunately, she broke off the engagement because of her drug addiction. It took a while for me to recover, and she even tried to ask me back a few years later. I had moved on because the fight to stay together had left such a deep scar that the slightest notion of her relapsing back into her habit was too much to handle. Needless to say, I met my wife through some friends, and we hit it off. Granted, my nature is not to back down from a challenge without my full effort, so we dated for a bit and we found some compatibilities between us. Physically she was a knockout, and she also had great values when it came to life's viewpoints. I was smitten because I thought I saw something there from my ex-fiancee. I had proposed to her well before she became pregnant with our first child, and we eventually got married before she was even showing! It was a grand event, with two powerful families in their respective communities bringing their offspring together and putting on a gala event. We did get married at a very young age, 22 and 20, but she was never the outgoing type and was ready to settle down. I was too at the time, but the night I saw that glimpse of that overwhelming love, I was and still hadn't seen or felt that same overwhelming feeling. Time went on and fighting ensued, and there were many times we came close to ending the marriage, but somehow were talked into sticking it out by our own parents. I began to see that those compatibilities were me trying to fit into her preferences and mold myself to please her, as my friends and cousins saw me change into someone they didn't recognize anymore. Years and a full decade passed and still no moments of those mutant butterflies...

So I began to search for fulfillment by meeting with other people. Yes it is cheating, plain and simple. I still care for my wife because she is the mother of our children, but I am not in love with her anymore. In fact, if she cheated on me with another man, I wouldn't be mad at all. I can definitely say that it would not hurt me if that happened with her. So I dated some women for the past few years, some who knew of my situation, and others who I kept it from them for fear of rocking the boat at home. But none of these flings gave me that glimpse of love that I was searching for. I was ready to accept my path in life and be one of the many husbands who have extra-marital affairs to keep them interested with their own home life. Granted, having these affairs has kept me on my toes, and the challenge aspect has always been fun.

But recently, I began chatting with someone (let's refer to her as Mary) on a chat app. It started off innocently enough, because what was the feasibility of actually meeting any of these people on here? Thousands of people on the channel at any given time, and so I ended up talking to an eclectic assortment of girls and women. Friendly chat of course, unless they want to talk about other things. So I meet this one woman on there, and we exchange pleasantries and small talk, and soon the conversation delves into deeper and more sensitive topics - emotionally scarring moments and eye-opening revelations, and the s** talk too. So over the course of a few days to a couple of weeks, we realize that we have so many compatibilities and unique matches, and that we really do care for one another, that this - love - is as real it gets. Suddenly those butterflies appeared, and the rush and tingly feelings were all back again! I'm generally an outgoing person, one who likes to mingle and gets along with everyone else. I don't wear my heart on my sleeve, and I hide behind a lot of laughter. I'd been wrecked emotionally before so naturally I tried to put my guard up. But the more I knew about her, the more my guard turned into an embrace. All my years of searching and waiting for these feelings were now filling me back up again!! I wasn't expecting or searching for love through a chat app, but it seems that love has found me instead! She too was damaged from her previous long-time love, and she even has a child with him. But their dynamic now is that of having an annoying relative over to visit, so at least the situation is secure there. She feels as intensely about me as I do of her, with her always assuring me that this thing we have between us, is real. To hear her say she loves me, either on the phone (yes we've progressed to audible conversation now) or through video chat (thank you technology), always makes me feel alive. So, if you're still reading this, now comes the problem...

I am truly trying to be honest with Mary during all our conversations, and even in the beginning I confessed to her that I usually use an alias to protect myself from stalkers or psycho-ballistic bi-polar types. So I gave her my real name and she understood. She knows my colorful past, my flaws, my behaviors, my viewpoints, my likes and dislikes, my values, and she still interacts with me even more intently than the day before, expressing the same love that I do for her. I know she is trying to hold back her most intense feelings for me, but she confesses this to me that she doesn't know if she can hold out for much longer. So, are you ready for this? I have not told her my real age and that I am married and have two kids, 10 and 13. Dun-dun dunnnnnnnn! She is in her early 20's, and she thinks I'm 26. I am actually 36, but I am young at heart. Keeping up with her won't be a problem, as I still enjoy going out, partying and having a good time. On the flip side, now I've been responsible for quite some time that I know when to say when. Given my upbringing, education and profession, I have to be able to interact with people of all ages, races, political, religious, social and economic backgrounds. Talking to Mary in the beginning was easy because of the many shared interests we had between us. Mary can certainly carry a conversation with most people, and she projects a certain maturity level of someone older than her current age. She's even a supervisor / manager at her place of employment because of her strong work ethic, and at such a young age. It never occurred to me in the beginning that I would fall deeply in love with Mary, and she would do the same with me. She never asked me about my marital status, and I have even told her about my most recent girlfriend who went psycho on me and almost had me fired from my last place of employment. I have been honest about everything else except for my true age and my wife/kids situation. How should I approach this, confessing to her these rather important details? We haven't met yet, since I know that would push her over the top and make her release all her emotions towards me. I have threatened to divorce my wife in the past, but always came back on her promise she would change, but that never lasts long because people don't change. Plus we have kids and they were younger then, but now they're older and can probably handle a new situation. Shoot, they've seen me and my wife fight in front of them since they were born, and those fights still happen today. Divorcing my wife before I met Mary was always a recurring thought. Divorcing my wife after I've met Mary, with her hopefully understanding and accepting the truth, and wanting to move forward together, will definitely be the next step.

I am making plans on seeing Mary for the first time on the weekend after next. Unfortunately I am fearing that I cannot hold out much longer and may cave in and tell her the truth about me, about everything. I apologize for making this into a novel, but I think you need to see the whole situational environment first. How do you think Mary would react? How do I counter any negative responses she may come up with? Am I planning any long term future with Mary? Yes I have and still am, but I prefer her to move down here because I already have a house (I know I'll have it after the divorce) and the employment opportunities are plentiful here rather than the much smaller city Mary is from. I fear she will not want to leave her family, whom I understand are very important to her. We've joked around the subject of me finding work for her down here, moving her down here, but she kind of wants her family around her. We'll cross that bridge later, she always says. I always tell her that I want to be by her side, despite all her problems in her life (health, family, etc), now and in the future for years to come, which I know makes her smile, inside and out. We're both not perfect, but I think and believe that together, we are.

Thanks for reading. If you leave any comments, positive or negative, I appreciate them. I may check on them and see the responses, but I wanted to post this out there so that maybe someone out there with a similar situation can relate...maybe it will help them too.

8 Comments

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  • That was waaaaaay to long. I tried to skip to the good parts.

    For those who scrolled to comments for TL;DR:

    Guy who presents himself as upper middle class. (But got married to a 20 year old at 22? Normal upper/middle class people go to college and marry afterward and don't get married because the girl is pregnant.) His wife and his relationship is over and they are pretty much just friends sharing a life. Comfortable. He doesn't have the b**** to leave her. Loves some girl names Mary who is in her early 20's. Mary thinks he has no wife/kids and is 26. He's 36. How should he tell Mary?

    The end.

  • Lol. This made me smile. But the comments made me laugh. All you bashers, haters, naysayers live in a Puritanical world. Get off your high horse and respect the guy for confessing. That's pretty manly, rather than keeping it in. I'm sure all you hypocrites have a deep dark secret but don't have the testicular fortitude to tell anyone, not even anonymously!

    Dude needs to pull the trigger and ask for a divorce. No trial separation or anything in the middle. If he's serious about Mary, or serious about moving on regardless, he'll do it. Why be unhappy for the rest of your life? You'll hate yourself and may do worse things eventually...probably to yourself.

    I guess we're all lobsters getting ready to be cooked! Rise up out of the tank and escape back to the ocean!

  • Get divorced. Mary is the first in a long line of Mary's and your wife seems chill. She probably doesn't love you either but getting cheated on is embarrassing.

  • I'm not so concerned with the guy chasing the tail as I am irritated by his manifesto. He's trolling for ... uh, trolling for more.

  • This guy must hav a PhD in nuclear butterfly something and his thesis was on how to be a master cheater!

  • Quite verbose, and also over-written, you pompous ass.

    Listen closely, Bucky. You're presenting yourself as Mr. Suave and Sophisticated, analyzing all situations from several angles and finding rationality within. Your sensitivity oozes like butterfly barf from every sentence.

    Truth is, you like to stick your d*** in other women. You've been grooming good ol' Mary and now are concerned you've roped her in too tight. So, if you spill, which may be unavoidable, you may not get the d*** in.

    That's a summary and it didn't require any nuclear butterflies.

    Do what you do best and bullshit her some more, get it wet and part ways. Come on, genius. You can figure out how to make that work.

  • I can't believe I actually read that whole thing, but I did. I'm definitely not going to pass judgment on you because I understand that everything isn't black and white and that most of the time people never feel 100% of one emotion. In regards to telling Mary the truth, I think you should only do it if you honestly see the relationship going further. More importantly though, you need to divorce your wife. Nine times out of ten when you confess that you've been cheating on her she won't be completely shocked, especially if it's been going on as long as it has. You obviously have no desire to legitimately repair your relationship with your wife so stop dragging it out. I think that if you want the best reaction from Mary you should only tell her the truth after you're divorced. Also, you should probably wait a while after your divorce before you ask Mary to move in with you, just for the sake of your kids.

    Hope I helped at least somewhat(:

  • Fantasy is always better than reality. If she doesn't ask don't answer, but if she does be transparent. Although if I were you I would stop being such a d*********. If you put half the effort into your wife as you do on being a cheater I am sure your marrige would turn around. The drug addict you dropped, smart; pining away for her for almost two decades, stupid. Put away your emo kit and be a real man. Your wife deserves it, your kids deserve it and you know how to do it.

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