I mistook comfort for happiness in my relationship and now, three years later, I’m miserable. In order to feel better, I’ve decided to find comfort in other men—something definitely wouldn’t approve of. I lie to him about my infidelity every day, but somehow I still sleep at night.
It took me some time to realize that I wasn’t happy. When we first got married, I truly thought I was doing what would make me happiest in the long run. I found a partner with a stable job and a good family who wanted kids and to stay in the same general area I grew up in. The idea of it was intoxicating, especially to someone who came from a broken home. I thought a safe place and this idea of a happy future would be enough to keep me satisfied.
What my husband can’t give me, I seek out from others. He’s a provider. He’s predictable and loving. I know that he’ll be there for me in a crisis, if not romantically when I need him to be. Unfortunately, stability isn’t sexy. I need lust, urgency, and passion. I have a reckless streak in myself that causes me to seek attention from pretty much any man that will give it to me if I’m not getting it from him. And I must admit: I enjoy being a tease. I like the thrill of making someone fall for me but staying out of reach. I love the feeling of wanting, needing someone that I can’t have.
I know I should care more than I do. I can’t understand why doing these things behind my husband’s back doesn’t affect me as it should (or as society says it should). My husband tells me he loves me every night and kisses me on the forehead every morning while I’m sexting high school boyfriends and flirting with men at work. The more he pushes love on me, the more attention I seek from others.
I’ve forgiven myself for giving into my needs. I have to believe that I behave this way because I’m human, not because there is something inherently wrong with me or that I get off on intentionally hurting someone. I know a conversation about where we stand has to happen, but in the meantime, what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him (I think). I intend to keep it that way for as long as I can.
My therapist says what keeps me happy in my marriage is worth it. If the goal is to stay married and I need this attention, my therapist says that I shouldn’t feel guilty about going after what will keep me satisfied in my marriage. This might sound crazy, but it helped me cope with the feelings of guilt that would begin to creep in.
Therapy, by the way, really helps. I didn’t intend to bring these issues up in therapy, but once I did, I felt so normal. Statistically, marriages only have a 50% chance of survival. In the 50% that do manage to survive, only 10% of partners report being truly happy in their marriage. It’s OK to be unhappy and to take steps to fix it. My plan might be unconventional, sure, but it’s working for me.
I know I can’t do this forever. I know that I can’t keep this behavior up for much longer, not only because he’s sure to find out eventually but also because I want more for myself and for him. He deserves a partner who’s satisfied with him and only him, I know that. I deserve a partner that will give me the passionate love I want and need, someone I can be happy with emotionally and physically. Don’t we all deserve that?
I have to find a way to move forward. Either I need to find a way to be happy with my husband without seeking attention outside of our marriage or I need to tell him it is time for me to move on. Essentially, I need to decide if I want to continue hurting or hurt him instead. That’s one hell of a decision to make. In the past, I’ve chosen to hurt myself to protect others, but I think I’ve reached a point in my life where that isn’t possible anymore.
I still don’t know if I’ll ever tell him the truth. If I do decide to tell him that I am unhappy, will I tell him about everything that’s been going on behind his back? Is telling him worth it? What will he gain? Can I even tell him that I’m unhappy without bringing this up? These are the questions I ask myself daily—and honestly, I don’t know the answers.
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