se help. I am desperate to find the answers. I have been married for 8 years, together for 13yrs. We have 3 boys, 7,5,2 years old. I love my wife, but have never found the soulmate connection with her. As of last year, I met again my high school girlfriend whom I’ve thought of since parting at graduation in 1988. I knew something was special with us, but being young, didn’t really know what to do about it. Since she has come back into my life, I have been seeing her every once in a while, and emailing each other every day for over the past year. Both of us know that without a doubt we are truly meant for each other and we have found our true soulmate in life. I can’t do anything without thinking of her. I sometimes cry myself to sleep because I can’t be with her full time. She is also married, for 15yrs and has 3 boys 12, 8, and 5 yrs. She has had trouble in her marriage for a while and always knew something was missing. We love each other so deeply, but at the same time, I love my wife and my kids and don’t know if I can hurt them by telling them I’m in love with someone else. My wife and I don’t have any major issues, we get along great, we like the same things, but that connection, true connection has never been there that makes me loose my breath. I know that with some counseling we could be settle for just being ‘happy’, and I wouldn’t feel this guilt of splitting up the family. If I told my soulmate that I had to focus on my wife, she would understand, but at the same time be totally devistated, me too. I know I would go throughout my life still thinking of her, wishing and wondering what life would have been like if I could have been with her. It’s not like I have a terrible marriage, it’s just not on the level as this other relationship. I’m so confused, one because I can’t live without this other person, two because I can’t hurt my wife and spilt up the family… Do I settle and just get comfortable as I can be at home and spend my life thinking of someone else, or do I make the move and seperate and go after my soulmate? Please help me, God knows I need it.
A: Your old girlfriend is the “what if” fantasy. Instead of dealing with whatever is going on with you that you can’t be happy with what sounds like a working and in many ways satisfying marriage, you are avoiding the issue by choosing to get caught up in the fantasy instead. Romantic emails are wonderful. Stolen moments can seem sweet, partly because they are stolen. The daily life of kids, bills, household tasks, and job can seem like a grind in comparison. Both you and your “other woman” have young kids. Let’s face it: However much we love them, managing it all is exhausting. There are probably many days when it feels like it’s all you can do to get everything done and then collapse into bed. It’s hardly the stuff of romance but it is the stuff of family life – which has a sweetness of its own if you choose to see it.
My opinion is that you and the high school flame have gone back to high school and the self-involvement of adolescents. You are both playing with the fantasy, thinking it will be different if you ditch your present life and go off into the sunset with each other. It won’t. You’ll be dealing with angry and hurt spouses. You’ll be managing “visitations” with confused and resentful children who don’t want to share you with someone else’s kids and a step-parent. You’ll be managing the complicated finances of child support and daily maintenance.
If the dilemma is “settle” or “soulmate,” there’s no contest. But that’s not the whole story by a long shot. There are two loyal partners who have done nothing to deserve the infidelity of you and your old flame and six (count them – 6!) kids whose lives would be forever changed if you go through with your plans. You and your soulmate will most likely quickly find that daily life doesn’t measure up to a distant fantasy.
Trust yourself. What you’re calling “guilt” may be the voice of some measure of common sense. Stop all contact (and I do mean ALL contact) with your fantasy girl and get yourself into some counseling, first for yourself, and then with your wife. At 40, you’re right on time for something like a midlife re-evaluation of the choices you’ve made and how to move forward with the second half of life. This is a time when you could be gaining the depth, maturity, and wisdom that comes from meeting the challenge of a full family life. The pain of the regret you’ll eventually feel if you turn away from that challenge is nowhere near as painful as doing your therapeutic work.
I wish you well.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 16 Mar 2010
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2010). Do I leave my wife for my soulmate?. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 29, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/03/16/do-i-leave-my-wife-for-my-soulmate/