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Should I stay or go?

Community Member

Ok so this is very shortened version of my life and where I am at. I have been married for over 20 years, and have two children in their early twenties. My relationship started out rocky, with my then boyfriend turning up when he felt like it (no mobile phones back then). Anyway, very long story short, we married. I was 21 and he was 28 when we married, I have only recently realised that I have been putting up with emotional abuse for all of this time. With no physical relationship or affection for many years, I caved about 6 months ago and had a relationship with someone who works for me. It was fabulous at first, then he realised that he couldn't leave his kids so after falling for him big time, I have been in a huge amount of pain which has all been in secret. I know I am a bad person, and this is such a shortened version of what really happened, but I don't know what to do. Do I stick with my husband or not? The other guy is trying to make it work with his wife for the kids - this means that I have to see him everyday at work and the pain I am in is unbelievable having to watch him getting on with his life. I have talked with my husband who says he doesn't want a divorce and we will try and make things better. We have a lovely home, two great well adjusted kids (adults now), and we both have good jobs. From the outside I should be really happy, but I am not. I crave affection, intimacy and someone who actually loves me if they say they do. I know that I can look after myself and the kids, but I am so confused. I don't want to make the wrong decision and split up with my husband if I am still in love with this other guy who continues to break my heart. I am not sure if I am thinking straight. I don't know if the grass is greener on the other side, as I have never experienced the other side until recently and he has absolutely broken my heart. I have a few friends but no one is really able to give me any good advice. I have tried a therapist but all they talk about is mindfulness. Has anyone else been in my position? Do I stay with my husband who I am not in love with and try and make it work and try and find a way to love him, or do I leave and be on my own hoping that I will find somebody someday?

10 Replies 10

Community Member

Hi Sophie 225 - I wish I could help as I have been through something very similar and I am still struggling with whether to leave my husband or not. It's really hard to think about being alone. Unfortunately the man who broke my heart also made me dissatisfied with my marriage so now I can't seem to find peace. I can say that I did stay with my husband after I broke up with the (perceived) love of my life (our affair lasted around 8 years). It's been 2 years and in spite of my husband's wonderful understanding I find myself still unhappy and dissatisfied. So I am very close now to leaving - terrifying as that is.

You need to find what feels best for you I think. I like to imagine how I want my life to be and then I take tiny steps towards that as often as I can. I wish you all the very best. (not big on mindfulness either to be honest :))

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hello Sophie

Welcome to Beyond Blue forums. You'll find people here are friendly, caring and supportive.

I'm not a health professional so not able to give you any advice. However I can offer support to you. You'll find I'll ask questions to help me give support. However, there is no pressure for you to answer anything.

It's a difficult place you are in. There are many things happening for you. One of the things I find I do when trying to make a decision about something, especially about my personal life, I write the advantages and disadvantages down. To see how they balance or don't balance. I tend towards the one with the most advantages. There may be several aspects of your life that you may find useful to explore in this way. Getting it down on paper, helps to get it out of your head and goes a long way to giving you some of the answers you are seeking.

You say you've spoken to friends and a psych but these haven't really helped. Have you contacted:

  • Relationships Australia 1300 364 277
  • 1800RESPECT (i.e. 1800 737 732)?

Perhaps what I can say is - No one has to live with ongoing emotional abuse. It really is not good for one's physical or mental health. My parents were in a loveless marriage, it certainly was not a nice environment to live in and had a detrimental affect on my mental health. I have PTSD, anxiety and depression. I escaped the family home when I turned 20 to marry someone who I shouldn't have, but it got me out of the home. My situation was, I still loved my 1st husband when I left, but he was physically, emotionally and financially abusive. I left on our 1st wedding anniversary.

I've been happily married to my second husband for over 30 years. 6 months before meeting him, I had drawn up a list of qualities in a partner that I wanted and I wasn't going to accept anything less. This helped me to STOP being attracted to people who were completely unsuitable for me as a partner.

I hope things go okay and you find your way through the difficulties you are experiencing. More than happy to talk more if you want.

Kind regards


Hi EmptyInside, many thanks for your response. Although me and my husband have talked (only once) he has suspicions but still doesn't know about my 'affair'. I thought it best not to hurt him anymore than I already will if I leave - not sure how long I can keep that up for though.

Your situation sounds very similar to mine, but I just don't feel 'in love' with my husband. I do love him but there is no romantic attachment anymore, no affection and our sex live has died a death. I am only 45 and I feel like there must be more to life than this. My husband was my first boyfriend, so yes I now know what its like to sleep with someone else (who then continues to break my heart), although that wasn't my ambition. I have spent the last 27 years looking after my husband and our two children, and I am pretty sure I am now having a massive mid life crisis. My friend says to get my hormones checked, but I am a pretty confident person in everything other than when I am being told what to do by my husband. I feel like I have already made the decision to move on, but then I start having doubts and this has been going on for weeks. Think I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. He said to me yesterday that our daughter had a bad dream about us getting a divorce (he is trying to make me feel guilty because he knows I am not happy)

Thank you so much for your support and understanding.

Hi PamelaR, thank you for your response, it is really reassuring to know that I am not the only one who is or has been in this quandary. I have seen a therapist twice but both times I have cried and I find it impossible to switch off and practise this mindfulness stuff. I don't really think of myself as depressed but I do have a few anxiety symptoms and I need to find a way to work through this. I am looking for another job which is difficult as I am in a high salary range, the purpose of which is to try and move away from the guy who continues to break my heart. It feels as though it would be much easier if I could go 'cold turkey' but I can't get away from him. Then I go home to my husband and I just feel numb. I have never experienced anything like this before. I do think that I will eventually feel relieved if I leave my husband, but I don't know if I am confident I can trust a man again after what the 'affair' guy has done to me. He spent months telling me how much he loved me, only to change his mind when reality hit. I will try those phone numbers - thank you. and thank you for your support. Normally I would expect to be labelled the 'bad' person for being the one who has had an affair.xx

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hello Sophie

Thank you so much for your response. You'll find most people on Beyond Blue are non judgmental, so this is a good place to be.

Just some things to think about it your deliberations - I've found that marriage has very little to do with love and intimacy. While we both shared these for many years, the most important thing we've found is - friendship, companionship, caring and loving. Especially now, as we've moved on in life, those things that are important have changed from our 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s. It doesn't mean they've gone altogether, it's just we now place more importance and more of a focus on - living life, communicating with one and other, and the rest of those around us. Sharing a life with someone else is very special, the things you do together, how you can make one another laugh, having similar values and views on world politics are things that for me make my marriage a good one.

So, I guess all I can suggest to you is work out what it really is you want in a relationship. Think about whether your husband and or the person at your office fits what you want. They proceed from there.

Kind regards


I agree with Pamela R in that working out what you want is the key thing - then maybe you can work towards it. I also feel that companionship is a wonderful thing in the latter stages of marriage. I do hope you work things out Sophie 225 - am still working through it myself I must admit and change my mind all the time lol.

Community Member

Hi Sophie225,

I'm a 56yr old guy. My wife has decided after 30 to divorce. I have never loved another since our marriage so it's hard to relate to your situation. After reading your chats I would expect your husband would be devestated by your affair. I can't see how telling him will help.

The feelings for your work coleague doesn't seem as deep for him. It may be a bad investment in your future to pursue this relationship. From my experience, marriage councilling would be advisable if you plan on salvaging your marriage.

I think that it is worth to try. Of course I am biased but this is coming from a genuinely hurt husband who expected a better future with who should really be my best friend.

Can you ever be genuinely best friends ever again?

Community Member

Hi all,

Thought I would give an update on my situation, as I think it is also going to help me to move forward.

So I am still with my husband but only just. The guy I was having a relationship with who was trying to make things work with his wife has now left to move to another state. I have been heartbroken for at least 6 months, but feel like I am now over the worst. After the way he treated me I would not have him back now even if he came back begging.I suppose I knew in my heart of hearts that it would not work out with him.

So I have stayed with my husband to try and make things work, and also as I could not be sure that I was thinking straight being so heartbroken over the other guy. After almost 12 months now of trying to make things work with my husband, things have improved but I am just not happy. I am in the space now where I am very close to calling it quits with my husband, the only thing really stopping me is my kids, but they are adults now and I feel that I need to look after my own needs a bit more now. I have also seen a few other guys during the last 12 months, which I am not proud of but there has to be a reason why I am no longer happy to settle for 'ok' and be spoken to like I am a piece of dog poo on my husbands shoe sometimes.

I have a good job and can support myself and the kids. There is a guy who would like to get to know me better but not if I am still with my husband (fair enough really), and I will certainly not be breaking up my marriage for this guy as I don't know him very well at all. I have tried to work out if I am just having a huge mid-life crisis or not, but as I got married and started having kids at such a young age, I feel like I need to experience more and be left to do my own thing and not be controlled and questioned as I am being.

This sounds like I am ready to split with my husband and see what life brings. I don't know if I am looking for advice here, just wanted to give an update. Its been so hard over the last 12 - 18 months, and the pain of heartbreak was indescribable. We have a beautiful house, and no real money worries. But I just don't want to stay in a marriage with no affection, still no sex life, being controlled (I feel that I have to ask if I want to go and meet a friend for coffee).

It's my birthday today (46) and I know that I will be once again tearful for most of today.

Happy Birthday Sophie from a fellow Capricorn.

Thanks for your update about what has been happening in your life and especially with regards to your relationship.

Did you find by writing out your thoughts that it made things clearer?

About 18 years I was in a loveless marriage, 3 children , and could have decided to still be married but I did not want a life of arguments and to have my now ex husband said he only loved me as was mother of his children. For me I wanted to be valued for who I was, of course being a mum was important to me but not the on ly thing.

The last 18 years have been full of ups and downs but I am glad I did leave.

Only you can make the decision and only you know what you want deep down.

You have spent a long time trying to make things work.

Birthdays are a day for reflection and cake. I hope you can do both.

Thanks again for your update and your insights into your life.