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Is marriage based on love?

Community Member


I'm married with two young kids that I love. A few months ago our marriage was going really bad. To the point that I was ready to call for divorce despite any trauma I could cause to my kids. I tried my last tentative to fix things up which involved me putting her on the spot to decide if she was going to try to work our marriage or I would end up everything at that very moment.

At the time she said she loved me and wanted to make things right. And in fact she did try to improve things (me too of course). She always had a personality thing that would make very hard to leave with her. But she was trying to control herself, despite a some eventual misbehaving.

What happened is that recently I started to develop feelings for another girl. I'm now always thinkng about her and wanting to stay with her. It is pretty clear that she is into me too. She broke up with her last boyfriend a few months ago and is now very keen to find someone else. She is very attractive and I know she won't be alone for too much time.

The "problem" is that since I started to develop these feelings my wife started to behave much better. I am actually very impressed with her. I was really expecting (and sort of still am) her to misbehave badly again to end it, and that is way I allowed myself to develop such feelings with the other girl - kind of to be prepared for when my marriage would eventually be over.

The fact is that I don't think I can now end my marriage. I don't really have an "excuse" for it and really recognize what my wife has been doing. And of course would much prefer to keep a happy family together and see my kids growing happy. But the reality is that I don't feel the love anymore.

I know that soon enough the other girl will move on from me if I don't do anything. And I will feel terrible if that happens and in a few months time I am divrocing my wife (I still think that at some point she will screw up everything again). Having an affair is something that I don't even consider. I can't have a second life and don't think this would be any fair to my wife. So I guess I'm destined to see this girl going and hope I can learn to love my wife again. Even though I'm not confident I will ever do again and believe she will not be able to control herself for long.

I know this is not the worst problem one can have, but this is really killing me. Am I still married for the wrong reason? Or it is just an illusion that the other girl would be better and shouldn't risk my family?

5 Replies 5

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi illusion, welcome

You talk about how your wife "misbehaves", yet, you are in fact misbehaving in far worse a manner by obvious ways.

I think you shouldnt be thinking the way you are. Hence counseling for you and your wife might save your marriage.

If you continue along the path of pursuing this other woman then consider....it might not work out, your kids lose their full time dad, paying child support etc. Where all along your wife just needs to mature and you might need to improve in some ways also.

I think you arent fixing your marriage when its fractured. Thats your problem that wont fix itself until you commit fully 100%

Sorry if I sound too firm.

Tony WK

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni
hello Illusion, as Tony has said this new r/ship with the girl you keep dreaming about may only be short lived, there is no guarantee you could ever say 'it will last because we love each other', that's what you said when you married your wife and now you have two young kids.
All marriages go through tough times and also good times, remember when your children were born, how pride were you then, on top of the moon, probably a better feeling than what you have for this new girl, who you don't know everything about.
Sure you could decide to take this new girl but what happens after 6 months time, she might not like kids, although she could say she does just to trap you, so basically I think you would be destroying your family, what your kids think of you and what the rest of your family and hers whether they respect you anymore.
Take your wife away for short holiday and maybe the kids as well,learn to love your wife again, it can happen, if she needs help then help organise this through your doctor, you're throwing a life away, imagine when your kids grow up and have children, would you able to join in when their first baby is born, maybe not, don't believe that a dream will ever be your best choice, because normally it's not, and not what I would suggest you do.
Work on repairing this marriage, you're giving up too much for a short term affair. Geoff.

Community Member

Hi illusion

I agree with geoff and white Knight. I had the same problem except when i told my wife i wasnt happy she just as usual yelled at me told me how useless i was etc. After a few trys of this i said straight up "i dont love you anymore". I was praying that she would say what your wife has said, that she wants to get help and make things better, but that didn't happen. So i left. My resulting mental state prevented me from being able to sleep in my own home. If i knew then what i know now about mental health and the help available, then things would have paned out differently.

Alot of people here would probably agree that they wish they had your situation, in that she agrees to make things better. Alot of the time its a 1 way street.

In reality your having what id call a mental affair. What would you feel if your wife said she had those feelings for another man? (Unless this is the "misbehaving" you mentioned)

Do you feel love for this other woman, or is it lust? The excitement of something new can blur your vision of what you already have.

I regained love for my wife, apart from recent surface problems, i can honestly say its probably stronger than ever. So it is possible.

Elizabeth CP
Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

My parents had a good marriage & I never heard them argue until I was about 13 when there was lots of problems & my dad threatened to leave. They had gone through a lot of stresses at the time. In particular my dad was unwell. Fortunately they stuck together. After my dad's illness was finally diagnosed & treated properly the stress decreased & my parent's started to get on once again & they remained happily married until my dad died 20 years later. After his death my mum was comforted by her happy memories of their time together. I along with my siblings am grateful they stuck together through that difficult time when it would have been easy to separate.

My message is that all marriages go through difficult times for lots of reasons & it can take time for one or both parties to learn to deal with the situation but if you are both willing to work together it is definitely worth it.

I have also had issues in our marriage & had counselling to help us. I have seen too many second marriages/relationships fail. I have seen children caught up in these problems when the new wife says she loves the children but later treats them badly because they are not hers.

Community Member

Hi Illusion,

As messy as your situation is, I think I empathize with and feel I understand your situation and the pull of this other woman you're drawn to. If you asked me this about a year ago, I would not have had this kind of an "open mind", I would be 100% on the feeling that you should focus on your wife and improving your relationship with her. My leaning is towards being firm on that latter side as some others here have been.

I say that largely because there's the family and so much history between you and your partner. Imagine if you could really turn things around.

My key point is agreeing with Spikeo, is it love or lust for this other woman? You need to understand and know for sure how you feel before taking any kind of action I think. I have sometimes had a hardcore crush, infatuation or lust that I have mistaken for falling in love.

Not long after I met someone else that, (It got complicated unfortunately) I had to give myself some time to assess what it would be defined as and it was definitely love. Like they say, when you know, you know. Sometimes it's just that strong inside, you are sure.

But the more primal attractions that are not as meaningful as love can be EXTREMELY STRONG and they can be very, very good at deceiving and disguising themselves as love. It takes soul searching and asking questions. I just suggest you don't do anything rash.

With that said, I can understand the pain you might feel about an opportunity missed and more than that, being in a marriage with someone you may not have that love for any more. But like you should assess how you genuinely feel for the other woman, are you REALLY sure about how you feel for your wife? Has the love truly faded or is there something still there? Is it worth the fight?