I have been married for 15 years. My husband is almost 20 years older than I am. We were very much in love when we married and still carry a deep affection for each other. We are in character totally different. IE : He is chronically depressed and I am the opposite.probably hypo manic. He is passive and has no feelings of possession, I am active and totally jealous etc. We have agreed to have and ‘open’ marriage, to give me space to ‘live’. not just sexually. We have done this because of our five children. I once wanted to leave but the family drama and tears was a nightmare and I vowed never to do that again. I feel caged, yes, but my responsibility lies with the children. I also believe that half a good parent is a happy one. I am the happy one at home and if I am miserable (I do have my downs) it reflects on the kids at once.
But now: I am in love. And of course it couldn’t be simple it had to be the new teacher of my teenage kids. My husband knows and it is not for him that I write. The teacher finds it very difficult to teach my children and I can understand that. We live in a very small community, which make everything even more difficult. My husband is a pillar of the society, I am very well known for what I do and it is all very close knit.
I firmly believe that covering up is the worse thing I can do. I know that I am going to be a wreck if I cannot love this man. I also really believe that the children can handle this situation as long as they know that it will not affect their situation. That there will be love and stability, and I do not want to lie to them! I also know that very few will share my opinion. I could do with a little advice. Have there been any studies on situations like this? Is it possible to have it all in the open so that we can all relax? Will the children lose respect for me? Will it hurt them? I know that this is what will be thrown at me by the people of this town.
Your letter seems to indicate that you want to have a love affair with the teacher but you don’t want to deal with the consequences that will occur with your children and community. That’s understandable but almost impossible. I think your statement that you don’t want to lie to the children is a rationalization and your idea that the kids will be fine if it doesn’t change their situation is unrealistic. Most likely you will have to make a choice: Stay with your husband and find a way to make it work or make the decision to leave and go through a very difficult period while you reconfigure the family.
I’d need to know a whole lot more about your situation to give you advice. I would ask you to consider whether you are feeling restive right now because your kids are reaching the age you were when you married. Little kids are a great distraction and maybe kept you from thinking about what you missed by marrying so young to a man old enough to be your father. Now that your kids are getting more independent, you may be revisiting the decision you made to give up your own time of youthful exploration. You loved your husband enough to do that and to have 5 children with him. Something about your relationship with him must be compelling and satisfying to you. However much he may be trying to accommodate you, it will change your relationship irrevocably if you have an affair. As for your kids: They need a mother, not a peer, as they stretch their own wings and explore their independence.
A truism of adult life is that there are no easy roads. Our only choice is to figure out which hard road is the one where we have the most integrity. All I can suggest to you is that you stop trying to have it both ways. Work with your husband to figure out what is best for everyone and go from there.
I wish you well. Dr. Marie
Married, 5 kids, and in love with another.
Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker
Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
APA Reference Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Married, 5 kids, and in love with another.. Psych Central.
Retrieved on May 23, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/11/10/married-5-kids-and-in-love-with-another/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.