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How long can I continue the affair?

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  August 31, 2009 09:42 AM

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Good morning.

This letter kills me a little. It reminds me of that "Bridges of Madison County" movie where Meryl Streep is in the truck and she's sitting at the intersection trying to decide whether to leave her husband, and you're like, “Meryl, get out of the truck!” -- but she doesn’t, and you watch Clint Eastwood drive away and you just kind of want to cry and curl up in a ball.

Not that I've ever seen or enjoyed "The Bridges of Madison County." I admit nothing.

Here we go.

Q: Meredith, is it possible to maintain an extramarital relationship for any length of time?

I started a relationship with an old flame this year. We lost touch after a misunderstanding, but recently ran into each other and discovered the love we shared then is still strong after many years apart. We are, it seems, still soul mates. We're also both married with kids at home. It will be seven years before the youngest one leaves the nest. Our spouses are decent people but both marriages are emotional wastelands. We both settled for our spouses because we were still pining for each other. Neither spouse suspects what is going on and we are determined to keep it that way. We see this reconnection as an unexpected gift and know we have to limit our contact, but we cannot face totally severing the ties.

I think many readers will condemn us for being unfaithful. Believe me, we know this is wrong. But real love is so rare and it is hard to walk away from it. Are we stupid to think we can maintain a relationship with our true love while maintaining family life with a spouse until the kids are grown?

– Wandering and Wondering, Manchester, N.H.

A: WAW, you ask if it’s possible to maintain an extramarital relationship for an extended period of time. My answer is: Sure. Lots of people do it.

Not shockingly, I don’t think you should.

My problem with your situation isn’t just the lying and cheating. It’s more that you’re trying to do what's best for your kids without considering what’s best for your spouse. It's as if your partner isn’t entitled to the truth -- or the chance to find a soul mate of his/her own. How can you allow your spouse to stay in a sham marriage for another seven years? If the tables were turned, wouldn't you want to know that your spouse was in love with someone else and planned to bail on you? Wouldn’t you want to start a life without your spouse sooner than later?

I'd add that waiting to divorce until your kids are grown doesn't necessarily make it any easier for them. There's no good time to see your parents split up. In many ways, it’s more difficult for adults to see their parents get divorced because they wind up exposed to more of the ugly details.

Frankly, I'm not convinced that your decision is really about the kids. I think it's that you’re not quite sure what you want to do -- and that you're not convinced of your soul mate's commitment to you. If you knew your soul mate planned to end his/her marriage, would you feel more confident about leaving yours? If you found out that your soul mate wasn’t sold on leaving his/her spouse, even after seven years, would you recommit to your own marriage?

You need to have an honest talk with your soul mate (and your soul) about your wants, needs, and motivations for staying married. I have a feeling that you’re comfortable with the status quo not because it spares the feelings of your spouse and children but because it saves you from having to take a risk.

Admit what you're really afraid of. And don't assume you know what’s best for your spouse.

Readers? What’s motivating this letter writer to stay? How long can the letter writer keep this up? Is staying married best for the kids? Share here. Twitter.

– Meredith

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305 comments so far...
  1. Can't wait for Rico's take on this one.

    Posted by Monty August 31, 09 09:46 AM
  1. It's easy to have a soul mate when there's no commitment. Get back to reality already. You're "the other woman" - sucker.

    Cats not Dogs

    Posted by Rica August 31, 09 09:57 AM
  1. Ugh. How unfair and tacky. Get a divorce, regardless of what your soulmate decides to do.

    Your spouse may be unconsciously turning a blind eye, but I bet the kids know what's going on.

    Posted by TallGirl August 31, 09 09:59 AM
  1. You say your marriage is "an emotional wasteland." Have you tried counseling? Did you give up on your marriage before meeting your "soulmate," or did you just realize or conclude this after starting your affair?

    I think it's extremely selfish of you to continue this affair without your husband's knowledge. You need to be honest with him, as difficult as that may seem. I agree with Meredith, if you feel the marriage is a lost cause, with or without your soulmate, then you need to end it as soon as possible. Don't stay together for the kids' sake.

    Posted by Regina Felangy August 31, 09 10:02 AM
  1. I disagree with Meridith today.

    You mention that real love is so rare and it is hard to walk away from it. Do you realize that you are walking away from the love for your kids? You are putting your fantasies first instead of working on your marriage, which you promised to do at the beginning and carried that promise over when you had children. This is the one thing most people in your situation don't get - your cheating will have significant impact on how your children view you and have a relationship with you going forward - trust me. Your actions are completely selfish and they will recognize it.

    It's great that you think the guy your cheating on is the key to happiness. But you don't live with him. You don't face daily challenges with him. You don't have to put up with the times when he really doesn't feel like dealing with you. You don't have to put up the times when he is being human. It is all fairy tale until you are immersed in it. And by the way - no - and I repeat this - NO guy worth your time engages in breaking up a family under any circumstances - there is no integrity there and that should be your eye opener in this situation.

    Re-think your strategy in life, then roll up your sleeves and start working on the foundation instead of the trim. Get knee deep into what is troubling your marriage instead of trying to find old paint to make your life look better from the outside. Your relationship with your children will thank you for it.

    Posted by spaceman August 31, 09 10:02 AM
  1. Honest question from a person who is being amazingly selfish. This is TOTALLY about you. Not your kids, not anybody else. So many excuses about having "settled" for your spouses, etc... Vows are supposed to mean something.. Apparently, they didn't mean much to you.

    Sorry if I sound bitter. I was on the other side of a similar situation, and it crushed me. She had no regard for our kids when she did what she did.

    My advice is stop the affair, get into counseling and save your marriage.

    Posted by Anonymous August 31, 09 10:04 AM
  1. Wandering and Wondering-
    Oh.... you've found your soul mate so cheating and lying is ok. Your marriage is an 'emotional wasteland' so it's understandable that you'd embrace this 'unexpected gift of true love'. Sure, whatever helps you sleep at night.

    There is never any acceptable excuse to cheat. The damage you are doing to your spouse and children is irreversible. It's time to put on your big girl pants and either commit to your family or get a divorce. Any other action would be selfish and deceitful.

    Posted by Shorty August 31, 09 10:04 AM
  1. Why not just go home and kick your husband in the nuts? Thats just about what you are doing to him now. The grass is always greener on the other side, that is, until you get there.

    WAKE UP!

    Posted by oopsy August 31, 09 10:08 AM
  1. Mere is DEAD ON this morning.

    How would you feel if you found out your spouse settled for you? That you were never really #1? Despite the fact that you don't seem to love your SO, it would probably still hurt you. A lot.

    You can keep up the charade as long as you want. But, it does seem like you are unsure whether your soul mate is as committed. Are you that committed? Although, one would have to wonder how each of you can commit to a "wasteland" of a marriage and not be ready to fully commit to the love of your life.

    In short, grow some b@lls and tell your spouse. I would rather find out sooner rather than later. It would hurt your kids more when they are 18 and find out Mommy (for some reason I read the letter as being from a woman) has been cheating on Daddy for the past 7 years and never really loved him. Believe me, they will figure it all out by then.

    Posted by summa! baby bumma! August 31, 09 10:09 AM
  1. I'm going to suggest that the LW ignore a lot of these comments, not necessarily because of the advice in them, but because of the incredibly pushy and insensitive ways that the advice is presented.

    Anyway, I agree with Meredith; there is no good time to divorce, and there's really no good time to divorce when you have kids. I'm not suggesting that you shouldn't care about what happens to your children, but I am suggesting, as Meredith did, that you accept that if you want to be with your lover, you're going to have to put your kids through a divorce. It's not fair to you or your spouse to stay in this marriage.

    And if you're unhappy in your marriage, even without the affair, why are you still in it? My parents separated and divorced (actually, about 6-7 years before our youngest sibling would be going to college) not because of an affair, but because my mother was unhappy and didn't want to be married to our father anymore.

    It's as simple as that.

    Posted by sabend August 31, 09 10:15 AM
  1. It sounds like the real issue here is the LW's pre-existing dissatisfaction with her marriage. If her marriage were OK, then I'm guessing that she would see the other man in a different light. Difficulty within a relationship in which she probably feels a bit trapped may be enough to see someone else in a better light than they actually are.

    My advice to the LW: Stop the affair immediately, and try to save the marriage. If it can be saved, great. If not, then acknowledge that it can't be done, and go ahead with a divorce. But in any event, do not continue with the deceit of an affair.

    Posted by Terminater5 August 31, 09 10:16 AM
  1. You are a liar.
    You're lying to yourself, your marriage, and your offspring.

    Posted by josh August 31, 09 10:16 AM
  1. Either stay in the marriage and make it work, or get out and let your spouse find happiness elsewhere. What a selfish take on things. Believe me, your 'soulmate' and true love will no longer be that when the sneakiness and secrecy vanishes. The thrill goes out of the relationship then. Focus on your kids and spouse, instead of being a selfish b***. If you can't bring yourself to do that, then leave and let them find their own way to happiness. Right now, you are doing what you want, but depriving them of your love and concern. Like someone else said you are the 'other woman'... deal with it.

    Posted by chins August 31, 09 10:17 AM
  1. Sounds like this writer wants the safety and security of a marriage and family, yet, also wants the excitement and adventure of an extra-marital affair.

    Very selfish motives on the parts of both "cheaters" in my opinion. This thing is going to end up harming many more people than it pleases in the long run. Meredith is right: Imagine that the spouses of these two people are also harboring secrets and sneaking around. For the kids of these adult gamers it's a lose/lose proposition anyway the chips may fall.

    Decide soon: wife or lover. You cannot, in good faith, have it both ways.

    Posted by Mari August 31, 09 10:17 AM
  1. Isn't it nice to have your cake and eat it too?

    It's not fair to your spouse regardless of where you and your old flame stand. Marriage is based on love, trust, fidelity. When you don't have those, you don't have a marriage. You have to look at this as two separate issues:

    1. Your current relationship with your spouse. You refer to it as an "emotional wasteland". You see no problem with being unfaithful, and are keeping this from the person you would spend the rest of your life with.

    2. Your future with your old flame. Do you want a real true relationship with this person?

    You need to make a decision to either make a commitment to end the marriage, or commit fully to the marriage. If you decide to end it, then you decide where your relationship with the flame is going. If you decide to make your marriage work, you have to end it with the flame and build back the trust with your spouse (you may think he's clueless, but I bet he's not).

    If you keep the charade up, you may end up losing everything. Then again, you may end up losing everything anyway.

    Good Luck.

    Posted by KM August 31, 09 10:18 AM
  1. You married your spouse for a reason. I bet it wasn't just because he/she is a decent person. That's just what you are saying to make yourself feel better about your transgression. You loved your spouse enough to promise to stay faithful to him / her forever. Work on your marriage.

    Posted by cleareyesfullheart August 31, 09 10:19 AM
  1. If you are going to continue a relationship with your 'soulmate' you need to leave your husband ASAP. You are obviously not commited to him, so give him as much time in his life as you can to heal and hopefully find a stronger love of his own. He is trapped in an emotionless wasteland relationship too!
    As for your children, a divorce hurts at any age. You are not sparing them from any pain by waiting, in fact, sometimes it can be harder when the child is older, and their ideas of marriage and love that they have built over their lifetime based around their parent's relationship is shattered.

    Posted by rw August 31, 09 10:19 AM
  1. Cheating is never justified. Never. Ever. You can try to justify it all you want (and btw – calling yourselves “soul-mates” doesn't make it sound better), you are still a lying, cheating, scumbag. If you want out of the marriage – then get out of the marriage. Its called divorce – look it up.

    If you want the answer – why not ask yourself, “how would i feel if my spouse stayed with me for 7+ years, for the sake of the kids, then left for the person they’d “secretly” been in love with & banging for nearly a decade?” nobody deserves that.

    Posted by polly August 31, 09 10:20 AM
  1. What is amazing to me is that all the people who have affairs think THEIR situation is so "rare." and "special."

    Dude. There's nothing "rare" about this. It happens ALL THE TIME. You are not some ooooooh, special case of the people who have found their "soul mates." Haven't heard that before. What's "rare" and "special" is keeping your freaking promises.

    Posted by oh brother August 31, 09 10:21 AM
  1. Your premise is faulty. You're not in love with your lover. Love isn't just the romance and fun - it includes the hard work of living together and, in your case, raising a family. Would you "love" your husband if you never had to talk about chores, work, money, kids, the mortgage, waking up for emergencies in the middle of the night, or your in-laws? Because that's what you're getting with your lover.

    It's a shame, because you've really doomed three relationships. Taking the good parts out of two marriages dooms those marriages to monotony and apathy. But you've also ruined any chance at a relationship with your lover - the moment you try to make something real out of it, it will be a disappointment as the real world creeps into your pain-free tryst.

    Posted by Nick August 31, 09 10:21 AM
  1. I think that you should leave your husband whether or not you and your "soulmate" start thigs up for real. The sheer fact that you are in love with someone else tells me that your husband deserves far better than what you are willing to give. In addition, kids are extremely perceptive, and I promise you they will pick up on the vibes that you aren't into your huband anymore-- and I highly doubt that your husband has no suspicion, too.

    Get out now and let your husband find someone who will treat him the way he should be treated. In the mean time, I would go to counseling regardless of how things work out with your "soulmate", and figure out why you think it's ok to cheat on your husband.

    Posted by Kristen August 31, 09 10:22 AM
  1. Oh boy, Monty in #1 has read my mind: Rico is going to flip out over this one. TAKE DEEP BREATHS - in with the good air, out with the bad air.

    And somehow, someone needs to write a Haiku.

    Posted by Trueblue22 August 31, 09 10:24 AM
  1. Delusional much???
    If you are really soul mates and your love so rare, you wouldn't have lost touch after a misunderstanding.

    Posted by Grow up!!!!! August 31, 09 10:24 AM
  1. You're selfish. End the affair and end contact with this old boyfriend/girlfriend. Then work with your spouse to figure out what will happen with your marriage. You're being a bad wife and a bad mother.

    Posted by done August 31, 09 10:24 AM
  1. Cheating isn't the answer. Cheating rips apart lives and it's not worth it. Your spouse deserves better, so do your kids. "Honestly is the best policy"

    Posted by Anonymous August 31, 09 10:25 AM
  1. "We both settled for our spouses because we were still pining for each other."

    I'd like to point out to everyone that this is what happens when one settles into a marriage with doubts (this is a bit of a throwback to those who were recently vilifying a young woman who was considering ending things with her boyfriend BEFORE marriage because she was doubting her future with him. The recent letter and so many more before them.)

    The next time someone says they want out before the marriage even happens, stop slamming them for listening to their doubts and demanding they force themselves to "love" the other (complete with lifetime commitment) "just because."

    Because when that happens, this is EXACTLY how things turn out.

    Posted by Bee Bee August 31, 09 10:26 AM
  1. Scum Bagggggg!!!!!!

    I think it is about the money. You leave then there is the sharing and splitting of assets and children on both sides. Then you and the new trailer trash have to pick up your children instead of your spouses while you are off on a mysterious rendevous!

    I repeat, your a scum bag!!!! I hope your children never intersect with my children. I would like to protect my children from the scum bags that yours will inevitably become as a result of your selfish behavior.

    Posted by BlameMe August 31, 09 10:26 AM
  1. This is so awful, I can't believe there can be any debate by you of what needs to be done. My parents divorced when I was very young and I'm glad they did. I was able to have a loving extended family rather than live in a house with a terrible representation of what marriage is/should be. If you stay and continue this ridiculous behavior justifying it with your children's needs, they are going to definitely be messed up when they need to start dating and finding their true love. You're being completely selfish and probably knew what you need to do before even writing this letter.

    Posted by Lucy August 31, 09 10:28 AM
  1. Is it my imagination, or is it when someone is cheating or in a ridiculously shallow relationship, they throw around the term "soul mate."

    It's always a sign of impending disaster, or self centered angst.

    I didn't need to read anything beyond that phrase to know this guy is not leaving his wife.

    Posted by ml2620 August 31, 09 10:29 AM
  1. WAW, is your spouse interested in swapping? Open marriage? That might be the way to go. Convince your spouse that swapping will make some flowers sprout on the emotional wasteland of your marriage, and then have your "soulmate" do the same to her/his spouse. Then, introduce your "soulmate" and his/her spouse as the couple you decided to swap with. You both get to keep your marriage, family as well as each other as "soulmates".

    Or, you could try honest communication with your spouse and go for some counseling to make your marriage work.

    "Oh what a tangled web we weave,
    When first we practice to deceive!"

    Looks like you've started with deceiving yourself.

    Posted by The Dude August 31, 09 10:30 AM
  1. you selfish jerk. divorce your spouse now. your family deserves better than the lies you are giving them.

    Posted by nemo August 31, 09 10:32 AM
  1. What do you mean you guys lost touch after a "misunderstanding"? Please write back in and explain this misunderstanding... I think that could help explain things better.

    Posted by Blake August 31, 09 10:32 AM
  1. Wow! People can be so judgmental! I was in a similar situation not too long ago. I know how it feels to find that person who completely understands not just you but how you understand the world. I too am with a good man who loves me and I love him and we love our children but he does not get me and probably never will and definitely not in the way that my soul mate does. I too have wrestled with doing right by others while feeling that my own life lacks that dimension that comes from being with a person that truly complements you. I know that tacky though it may sound to other people (and they better pray that this never happens to them) the contentment and rightness you feel with the other person is not ugly - it's real and amazing but the choices ahead of you are painful no matter what you choose.

    I have decided to end the affair thinking for myself that it wasn't the right time because if we were meant to be together in this life, the circumstances would be right. I have recommitted to my husband. I had told him but since my affair was an emotional one (not physical) it may have lessened the impact for him. We have gotten over it and are stronger and happier than before. I suppose in telling him I (cowardly) left the decision up to him and he was willing to forgive and continue to work on it and in those days that I wasn't sure what his decision would be I also realized how much I would lose if he were to say to me that it is over. But no two situations are alike so you can't take what I did as a guideline. I have since started seeing a psychologist and that has helped tremendously. My advice would be that - before you reveal anything or make any decision find a psychologist that you feel you can trust and let them help you. They are trained to listen carefully and be non-judgmental and can put things together that you can't.

    Best of luck - may you find clarity and peace.

    Posted by Elizabeth August 31, 09 10:33 AM
  1. oh please. What are we doing here....re-running old Dear Abby Columns?

    Posted by qualiteychecker August 31, 09 10:35 AM
  1. As a child of divorced parents, I can only speak from the experience of never remembering when my parents were married. But I believe that they were much better parents -- each having a happy, successful life independent of each other yet working together to raise us. the love of two happy parents is much better than the love of two unhappy parents, whether they are married or divorced.

    Posted by Anonymous August 31, 09 10:36 AM
  1. I agree completely with Meredith. Out of respect for your husband (of which you haven't shown any lately) and out of love for your children, you must stop being so selfish and either end the affair and go into counseling or end your marriage. You cannot have it both ways. Your children will be more damaged once they know you had an affair for 7 years with someone (and they will find out) than if you are honest now. Every family memory they have will seem like a sham to them and they will find it very hard to trust you again. Can you tell this happened to me? We still resent my mother for her long-term affair, even though we have learned to live with it. Make a decision and move forward,but to continue doing what you are doing will hurt everyone around you more than you realize.

    Posted by Meg August 31, 09 10:37 AM
  1. Hopefully each of your spouses gets the honesty they deserve.
    Doing what you've done but then being honest and admitting it to anonymous readers is like falling into a sewer and thinking it's OK because you bought a toothbrush. You still stink.

    And you really didn't ask for advice, you ask if it's OK to maintain an extramarital affair. There's a such thing as open marriages, but you've said nothing about honesty or reconciling with your family.

    It also seems that your old flame originally fizzled out for a "misunderstanding". So when your next "misunderstanding" happens, are you going to run back to your silver medal again, letting him and your children live on as your trampoline? Pretty despicable. You owe it to them to be honest. Let THEM make THEIR life decisions as well, instead of letting a train-wreck like yourself crash it. Tell them the truth, get out of the marriage, and be thankful if you ever get to see them again.

    Posted by Brian August 31, 09 10:37 AM
  1. You made a vow to your husband. At one time, you were perfect together. You have a family together. You've spent years growing together. How is that an emotional wasteland?

    Calling this new flame a soul mate is just helping you feel better about the cheating. He's not your soul mate. He's just a guy. A temptation. A test of your marriage. You can love anyone. Start with your husband and children.

    Posted by lilcherub August 31, 09 10:39 AM
  1. It sounds like you never went past the break-in period with this old flame. Until you have given that relationship a few years in the sun, the honeymoon will never end and you will be in love not with that person, but with your idealized image of them. Sneaking around isn't doing you or the forbidden relationship any favors either.

    Should you try now? Sure, what the hell, if it feels good then do it. Just get comfortable with the facts that you lied when you made the most important and public vow of your life, that you're ruining your spouse's hopes for the future, and that the person you are jumping at has the same respect for marriage as you do. You also might consider that this old flame might burn out just as quickly as it did when a "misunderstanding" snuffed it years ago, leaving you to microwave meals, watch reruns and die alone. Or, you might not consider this. Either way, I am glad I am not involved.

    Posted by stanley August 31, 09 10:41 AM
  1. How unfair to BOTH of your spouses! You are a home wrecker!!!!!!

    Tell each spouse and give THEM the opportunity to find their "soulmate"!

    Did you ever think maybe your spouse isnt happy with you?!?!?!?!?!?!?

    Posted by Robin August 31, 09 10:42 AM
  1. "Believe me, we know this is wrong."

    If you know it's wrong, it's wrong, and stop it. You are a cheat and if your marriage falls apart then it's mostly your fault. Maybe he's distant and unhelpful and doesn't start your motor anymore, but you are the one who committed (and still commit) adultery. If the marriage isn't working, you certainly haven't been repairing it.

    Do you like sneaking around? Wondering who will see you and this old flame out at a restaurant? Hoping nobody you recognize is waiting around the corner? You like this kind of life and want to prolong it? Get help and pray that your kids, not just your husband, will forgive you. But come clean and do it soon.

    Posted by WatchHowYouFilltheEmptySpaces August 31, 09 10:42 AM
  1. No one is going to support cheating, it's not the right thing to do. That being said, lots of peope do it all the time. "You couldn't change the past. But the future could be a different story. And it had to start somewhere."

    My advice, stop half-assing the whole affair and choose one way or the other. It's all about you...

    Posted by Darwin August 31, 09 10:42 AM
  1. Meredith took the words out of my mouth.

    You've listed a bunch of excuses for cheating on your wife/husband and lying to your children. Stop trying to make it sound like it's ok and you're the one that's cheated.

    Let me give you some insight WAW...

    My parents got divorced when I was 5, my brother was 10 and my sister was 15. I'm turning 23 this week and I am not going to act like it put me into therapy over the past 18 years, I'm use to it...being the product of another divorced couple has always been my life. I only confirmed recently what I've thought all along, my mom cheated on my dad and married that man (who was also married with children). Don't get me wrong, I love every single one of my parents and step parents with all of my heart and I've had an amazing family.

    Do I respect my mother less for the choices she made? You bet.

    Don't wait 7 years, that's an awful excuse. Since your kids are already that old, they'll know...Don't lie to them. Be an example, not necessarily a good one, but if your honest they will respect you more in the end. They have the right to know that your "emotional wasteland" of a marriage is not something they should look up to. I hope my generation learns from the divorce rate of our parents and goes about marriage in a different way but I'm afraid that will never be the case.

    You've already made up your mind, it will only hurt your wife/husband more in the end if you continue this. Sign the papers and go be with your "soul mate"...hope it's worth it.

    Posted by realllllly? August 31, 09 10:44 AM
  1. Nice to see the letter writer doesn't understand the concept of the grass always being greener on the other side. Your "soul mate" isn't an ideal person to be with, since they can't keep it in their pants and be faithful to someone they've commited to... then again, neither can you. You two deserve each other and also deserve it when one or the other of you cheat again.

    At least have the decency to get divorced and allow your spouses to move on with their lives.

    Posted by Sean August 31, 09 10:45 AM
  1. Yeah, yeah, yeah...the grass is always greener yada yad yada. I hate people like you. Soulmate, Paaaaalease.

    Posted by URA Looooosah! August 31, 09 10:46 AM

    Posted by JCOUR382 August 31, 09 10:46 AM
  1. You know what you're doing is wrong but you want to justify continuing to do it at the price of hurting the people you say mean the most to you: your kids.
    I think what you're really saying is that you are willing to continue to do something that you know will be hurtful to your children no matter how badly it hurts them because your feelings matter more than theirs. Well, I've got a newsflash for you. When you chose to have children, you decided to put them first and yourself second.
    How can you say that your marriage is an emotional wasteland and not take any responsibility for creating it that way? Why not just blame your husband for everything so you can go off and live your fantasy? I don't think you realize the devastation your children will experience when they figure out what's going on, and believe me, they will sooner or later. Are you willing to betray their trust and break the bond with them for the sake of "true love"? Are you willing to risk looking into their eyes and seeing them look back at you with hurt and hateful feelings?

    Posted by exvermonter August 31, 09 10:47 AM
  1. LW asked: “Are we stupid to think we can maintain a relationship with our true love while maintaining family life with a spouse until the kids are grown?”

    Answer: Yes. Yes, you both are stupid, as well as selfish, lazy, delusional, shallow, liars, etc.

    The letter is so full of foolishness that I don’t even want to spend any more time than I already have with it, so I’ll resist the temptation to tear up each item individually. Instead, I’ll just say that your claim that neither spouse suspects anything is the most foolish statement in your letter and also let you know that you are not doing anyone any favors by keeping this charade up and having a 7 year countdown clock ticking down. Grow up and get to work on your marriage or get out of it. Don’t leave one foot in and one foot out.

    - Hoss

    Posted by Hoss August 31, 09 10:50 AM
  1. You are disgusting. And selfish.

    If you really feel that way about this other man then give your husband the courtesy of having a second chance of his own.

    Posted by -YouRaSelfishPig! August 31, 09 10:51 AM
  1. Read Lady Windemere's Fan by Oscar Wilde. It's a great play about your problem. I wish my sister had read it before she left her husband of 27 years and her 15 year old son for her soul mate.

    And then she got dumped. Happens. Then what?

    Think hard about this one. Soul mates don't always work 24/7.

    Posted by Kimball'sMom August 31, 09 10:52 AM
  1. I suppose I should be weeping into a lilac-scented hanky in sympathy of twooo wuv, but I'm not. I HATED the Bridges of Madison County, a story that made a three-day fling equivalent with years of building a life together. You know what? If you're THAT unhappy, get a divorce. But I have NO SYMPATHY AT ALL for cheaters. NONE.

    Neither your husband or your lover's wife deserves this crap. It's completely unfair to "settle" for someone while you're still pining for someone else. Now both of you snivelling drama-addicts have *kids* with these spouses that you "settled" for. How would YOU feel to know that you were second best? Not so great, I'll bet. It would kill me, anbd it would make it WORSE if it went on for years because my spouse didn't want to upset the status quo--I'd rather spend that time with someone who truly loved me and valued me. If I was your skantastic lover's wife, or your skantastic self's husband, I'd be angry--all this time invested and wasted on someone who regarded me as filler. Please. Your husband and your lover's wife deserve people who truly love them, people who are invested in the relationship with them. They are not a placeholder until the kids were grown.

    Your children and his children deserve better than being in the middle of this--and if you think they aren't catching on to the fact that something is horribly wrong, you're on crack.

    The both of you are really disgusting people. It's not all about YOU. What you're doing is hurtful. Your spouses and kids deserve far better than the narcissistic jackasses they have as partners and parents. Do everyone a favor, and let them go so they can be with people who will truly love and value them.

    Posted by PM August 31, 09 10:52 AM
  1. i guess it confuses me when i hear that someone settled for their spouse... why would you settle for someone when you are supposed to be making a commitment to spend the REST OF YOUR LIVES together. Why would you set yourself up for failure like that?

    Posted by sibdee August 31, 09 10:52 AM
  1. As often happens around here, I sense a bit of a double-standard based on gender.

    Imagine your brother (or cousin, or sister's husband, or whomever) coming to you and confessing the exact same problem: he's not in love with his wife, has found another soul mate, is sleeping with that other woman, and wants to keep sleeping with her.

    If you'd really advise that man to follow his heart and leave his wife, then you can do the same. But if you'd tell him to quit philandering and support his family like he once vowed to do... well then, there's your answer.

    Posted by Joey August 31, 09 10:53 AM
  1. Elizabeth - readers are being judgemental because cheating is against the rules. That includes emotional, physical, and mental cheating. This chick did all of the above. She's the devil.

    Cats not Dogs

    Posted by Rica August 31, 09 10:56 AM
  1. No child of divorce has ever grown up and said "gee, I wish my parents had just stayed together for my sake and had affairs on the side with people they really loved."

    Posted by Q August 31, 09 10:58 AM
  1. I love how this POS is using words like "we" to descibe the feelings of her and the other guy. The other man has been feeling you BS the whole time. "we both settled while pining for each other" LOL. Please. You call this "real love." double LOL. Get a clue. You are nothing but a worthless cheating whore.

    Posted by Dumb Broad August 31, 09 10:59 AM
  1. I agree a decision has to be made. One can not live a double life, it is unfair to all parties, including yourself. I went through something similar. I was in a relationship where my ex and I basically lived separately lives in the same house. We cared for the kids but slept in separate rooms and did very little together as their likes and dislikes were different from mine. This continued for 8 years or so. We did try counseling but I knew back then and even prior that I was not committed long term. I just did not love the other person and was basically hanging around for the kids waiting for the right time. It sucked royally I'm sure for all parties. Eventually I was asked to leave and I left. I was supposed to find out what I was missing and I did, I wasn't missing much. Now after being on my own for awhile I have found somebody who has shown me how great it can be. I am still going through the divorce process. I still see my kids constantly and try and be a part of their everyday life. And I am most content at my point in life. Nobody wants divorce and the crap that comes with it, but everybody deserves happiness.

    Posted by skidog August 31, 09 10:59 AM
  1. Ok Here is what you do to get out your marriage and have your kids still love you.

    #1 Have the guy your having a affair with beat you up over the course of a few months.
    #2 Take polaroids of the bruising, welts, and scratches.
    #3 Take out a restraining order against your current husband.
    #4 Get a good lawyer and file for divorce.
    #5 File for divorce under the veil that he was abusive. (IE use polaroids + story)
    #6 You will get the house, the kids, and 80% of his pay for res of your life.
    #7 Have the guy your having a affair with move in 2 months later.
    #8 ????
    #9 Profit.

    This is what I did, I make $700 a week + state support checks and i have never been happier. Always remember, no one that suceeds in life ever plays by the rules. Throw your husband under the buss, you deserve better than what he has to offer.

    Posted by Been there, done that. August 31, 09 11:00 AM
  1. So your marriage is "an 'emotional wasteland,' huh? What if you got into a car accident right now do you think your so called soulmate would want you, still? when you're disfigured, glued to a wheelcHair? guess who's going to take of careyou? your husband. He's going to take care of you like he had promised to, like he's been doing for the x among of years you've been married. If you truly believe that, this man, the other man is your soulmate, then you owe the truth to your poor husband because he's obviously not your SOULMATE. Stop being selfish and stop pretending you're staying for the kids.Dont drag you husband around for antoher 7yrs.
    YOU ARE DELUSIONAL AND SELFISH. KARMA WILL GET YOU FOR THIS, I SWEAR.. get a divorce so your husband can find someone whooves him him. Stop using him as your safety blanket.

    Posted by ida August 31, 09 11:01 AM
  1. Soul mates who lost touch after a misunderstanding... hmm. Neither of these two "soul mates" felt strongly enough to clear up the misunderstanding - this speaks volumes. Stop being so selfish.

    Posted by JDA August 31, 09 11:01 AM
  1. Re-reading the letter, I see I was wrong to assume the LW was a woman. The LW may be a man. It was the Bridges of Madison County reference Meredith threw in.

    Either way, what you and your lover are doing is scummy, unfair, and hurtful. Cut the crap.

    Posted by PM August 31, 09 11:02 AM
  1. You're a liar and a who-re, and so is he. You deserve whatever you get, but it's not clear that you deserve either a loving family, a fulfilling relationship or any sympathy. You had your chance before, and you both blew it. Now, you're adversely affecting the lives of your unsuspecting husband and kids. Hope you're satisfied....

    Posted by Marky August 31, 09 11:03 AM
  1. A couple of thoughts - most posters are assuming that the LW is a woman - I'm wondering if in fact WAW is a man? Also, you lost touch after a "misunderstanding", then married other people while you were still "pining for each other"? This doesn't seem like the action of a committed soulmate. You couldn't pick up the phone to work out your misunderstanding? If you couldn't exert the slightest energy to repair your original relationship and instead both married others, what the heck makes you think you've got any more staying power now, with the stakes so much higher? You lost your original connection due to laziness and probably some boredom. Further, when you do rip your two families' lives apart your kids will be left with the unsettling knowledge that their very existence is due to the fact that you married "second best". Lovely way to help them with their self-esteem.

    I usually try to offer thoughtful and sympathetic advice but the more I think about your letter, the more pissed off I am getting at you. You represent the very height of selfishness. "Real love is so rare"...please get over yourself. I feel so very badly for your poor children and spouse. They had no idea what a complete dirtbag they were getting with you. Please do them all a favor and get a divorce. Do NOT tell them that it is only because you settled for second best - spare them that particular honesty. Then haul your a$$ up to the highest bridge you can find, and take a flying leap.

    Posted by J Bar August 31, 09 11:03 AM
  1. I agree a decision has to be made. One can not live a double life, it is unfair to all parties, including yourself. I went through something similar. I was in a relationship where my ex and I basically lived separately lives in the same house. We cared for the kids but slept in separate rooms and did very little together as their likes and dislikes were different from mine. This continued for 8 years or so. We did try counseling but I knew back then and even prior that I was not committed long term. I just did not love the other person and was basically hanging around for the kids waiting for the right time. It sucked royally I'm sure for all parties. Eventually I was asked to leave and I left. I was supposed to find out what I was missing and I did, I wasn't missing much. Now after being on my own for awhile I have found somebody who has shown me how great it can be. I am still going through the divorce process. I still see my kids constantly and try and be a part of their everyday life. And I am most content at my point in life. Nobody wants divorce and the crap that comes with it, but everybody deserves happiness.

    Posted by skidog August 31, 09 11:03 AM
  1. Yes, it is possible. I applaud your honesty with us and your bravery in following your heart. Real love is rare and should be pursued at all costs and at the expense of whatever antiquated social norms have to be broken. When you and another consenting adult make themselves happy first, then all those around them (spouses, children, friends, co-workers, etc.) are also the beneficiaries of the good feelings. That's what I've told each of the men that I've cheated with (one per month during my marraige, tee-hee!). You go, girl!

    Posted by tall reindeergirl August 31, 09 11:03 AM
  1. "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone..." - Someone famous.
    All this talk about cheating is never right, blah blah blah - if it is really true love, a once-in-a-lifetime thing, who am I to judge you? (Although duh #23 raises a VERY valid point). I think your concept of love may be skewed, because when you married your husband, you should have made the decision to love him, with all of his faults (and vice versa).

    Moral judgments aside, your question is whether you can have it both ways. My question back to you is "why would you EVER want it both ways, now that you have found your soulmate? Why wouldn't you divorce immediately and rush straight into his arms ?"

    Just be honest with yourself in answering these questions, and you will figure out what to do.

    Posted by Bob August 31, 09 11:04 AM
  1. Joey, I disagree the advice would be any different if the LW's "soul mate" had written. The advice isn't follow your heart, it's take a minute and realize that your impetuous behavior is unsustainable and going to ruin the lives of your spouse and children, so s%^&t or get off the pot.

    Same advice goes for the dude.

    The only difference would be the choice of nasty names by commenters...

    Posted by Q August 31, 09 11:08 AM
  1. You should definitely keep the affair alive. Give it to him as much as you can, girl. Do the Victoria Secret thing. Get the Brazilian. Explore new things in the bedroom. Add some toys to the mix.

    A hard man is good to find! What do you have to lose? Life is short!

    Posted by Lance Romance August 31, 09 11:10 AM
  1. W and W -

    You and your "soul mate" are emotionally rudderless and morally bankrupt.

    Posted by Joe August 31, 09 11:12 AM
  1. Grow up

    Posted by Linda August 31, 09 11:14 AM
  1. This woman doesn't even deserve an answer regarding such a disgraceful topic.

    I hope this is a fake letter.

    Posted by EastCoastGirl August 31, 09 11:15 AM
  1. Fast forward a few years......I predict you will not see your "soulmate" in the same light if you are even still together. This has the feel of new and exciting and real relationships are work. They all get comfortable after a while. Please don't lose sight of that as you compare your "emotional wasteland" of a marraige to your affair. You don't want to look back and realize you screwed up your marriage and family and wish it all back. I would go get some counseling for yourself to sort some of this out before you make some even bigger mistakes. I think you should work to honor the commitment you have made in your marriage not because it is the "right" thing to do but because it may be what makes you happiest in the long term.

    Posted by lpf August 31, 09 11:16 AM
  1. The simple answer to your question is "Of course it's possible if you want to be a SELFISH BIT@H the rest of your life."
    Unbelievable!!!!!!!! Your husband and children deserve better than you have to give them.

    Posted by bgcomreader August 31, 09 11:17 AM
  1. While I certainly understand the urge to grab onto happiness and true love when you have the chance, I cannot condone the lying and cheating. To me the most heartless thing LW has done was to marry someone it appears she did not care about while she was still in love with someone else. How could you have so little thought for your husband's feelings to marry and have children with him when apparently you were never in love with him?

    As for practical advice -- DO NOT stay in your marriage just because you think "it's better for the kids." Trust me, if you are that unhappy in your marriage, your kids know that something is up and you are not doing them any favors by staying with your husband and creating an unpleasant home environment for them.

    PS -- as Mere alluded to, if you are that unhappy maybe you would leave on your own anyway, but if you are thinking of starting a new life with the other man, you should make damn good and sure your lover is on the same page as you about what he wants. Case in point, my father had a years-long affiar with another woman. When he finally walked out on my mother to go and start a new life with his mistress, surprise, surprise -- she did not leave her husband.

    Posted by acp August 31, 09 11:17 AM
  1. My question to the letter writer: If real, true love is so hard to find (and it is!), then why did you marry your husband, when you were still in love with someone else? It seems selfish to me.

    Posted by ITotallyGiveUp August 31, 09 11:18 AM
  1. Don't end the affair, it sounds like you 2 losers deserve each other. if the world is lucky, the judges in your divorce will make sure to keep your kids in minimal contact with you. "we both settled for our spouses", wow, what a cop out. You should be ashamed of yourself and the donkey you're hooking up with.

    Posted by joe bob August 31, 09 11:19 AM
  1. "i remember when i had my first beer......"

    must be nice to be so selfish when you have kids and a family.

    you're in too deep now you might as well just get it over with.

    Posted by itsahairflip August 31, 09 11:20 AM
  1. Here's the best part. She can decide to divorce the guy she "settled" for, get custody of the kids, the house, support payments (even though she is the cheating wh*re that destroyed his life and the kids). She gets to destroy a life with no consequences.

    I heard no mention of abuse only that her marriage was an emotional wasteland. As if she could expect anything else after admitting she doesn't love her husband and never did. Yes, the other guy she is cheating with is a douch**g too.

    This whole thing happened to my brother. 17 years of marriage, 3 kids under 16 and his wife decides to have an affair. Selfish **nt.

    Posted by TR August 31, 09 11:20 AM
  1. When I was 14, I found out one of my parent’s was cheating. It had been going on for 2 years before any of us found out. The damage that followed took many, many years to repair. It angered me more that it had been going on for so long. Even at age 14 you know right from wrong. I argued that “there is a right way and a wrong way to go about things.” I understood that love does not last forever. Many of my friend’s parents were divorced, or had a stepparent. I was one of the only ones in my group to still have their parents together, or so I thought.

    The marriage should have been ended prior to the affair, and we should not have been led to believe we were a happy family for 2 years. I felt like I was living a lie. I did not speak to my parent for 1 year, and didn’t meet the significant other for 3 years. It took many years to regain confidence in our relationship, start a relationship with the significant other, not to mention respect either of them. Fast forward 10+ years later, and they are still together….everyone on both sides have accepted responsibility and moved on. You really need to think about the impact of your actions, because I really don’t think you are. You are entitled to be with your soul mate, as is your husband. Just go about it the right way.

    Posted by Greg August 31, 09 11:20 AM
  1. First try at a Haiku!

    Two Lovers Reunite
    Sparks Fly Amid the Sheets at Night
    The Wet Spot is Yours

    Posted by Lakeboy August 31, 09 11:21 AM
  1. Where is Sally when we need her?

    Posted by mtm7654 August 31, 09 11:22 AM
  1. Rico apologizes to his faithful readership for taking so long today to comment, he was busy with other more important things :)

    Rico read the letter and is absolutely floored that you would even have the audacity to ask what you are asking. You want people to give you permission to continue an affair, lying to your family and friends, deceiving good people all in the name of your own selfishness. Rico regards you as one of the lowest life forms he can think of. Rico suggests your husband, the guy you deceived, lied to, cheated on gets a lawyer and dumps your sorry waste of human flesh. Rico almost wishes this was the middle east where you'd be stoned in front of a crowd for your sins, but this is not the middle east so the best option is dragging you through divorce court. Rico hopes your family and friends will all know why your marriage dissolved.

    Rico thinks you are a selfish piece of rubbish. Rico thinks the same of your boyfriend and hopes his wife ruins him financially and your husband does the same to you. Rico thinks this letter you wrote is pathetic. Rico has known cheaters and hates them all but in your case he actually despises what you are doing to the point he almost wants to puke. Rico hopes to see you and the new/old guy living in a box begging for handouts. You two are truly PATHETIC LOSERS.

    Rico has no advice for you, he only hopes your husband and this other guys wife ask for advice. Rico would be happy to help them any way he can. You deserve no sympathy no help nothing!!! PATHETIC SELF ABSORBED PIECE OF HUMAN WASTE.

    Rico will be back later with some more, for now he has to work...

    See you all soon and Love always,


    Gears not Gas

    Posted by Rico August 31, 09 11:26 AM
  1. Fish or cut bait Haiku (I've been inspried):

    You decide, make right
    Husband or cheater, pick one
    Karma is a bitch

    Posted by Monty August 31, 09 11:26 AM
  1. Enjoy it while you can! Eventually the spark dies and the lover gets boring. Meanwhile, spice up the homefront - date night? Conversation other than kids/work? It's not often we are handed the gift of a possible 'soul mate'. And after the fire is gone - you just might end up being good friends.

    And other posters - must you all be so nasty and judgemental? Walk in WAW's shoes once!

    Posted by smartlady August 31, 09 11:29 AM
  1. Is the letter writer from gloucester? who is she banging now?

    Posted by cathy is a cheater August 31, 09 11:30 AM
  1. #53 - i disagree on the double-standard thing. the LW was careful NOT to divulge if s/he is the husband or wife. i think people are assuming its a woman -- but that could be b/c of meredith's comparison to meryl streep in madison county....

    cheaters are scumbags -- don't care if its a dude or dude-ette. i personlly think a chick wrote it & HATE when writers aren't clear about who they are.

    & whats in the water in manchest, nh?? i know 6 people whose spouses cheated on them??!!?? if you live there & are happily married - MOVE!

    Posted by polly August 31, 09 11:31 AM
  1. At the risk of starting a firestorm.....

    I assumed the LW was a man. Two reasons:

    1. A woman wouldn't be so concerned about keeping the family together. She would assume that if she divorced now, she'd be able to take the kids with her.

    2. LW's question is really a logistics question, not an emotional one. LW asks if they can keep up the charade for 7 more years. It all sounds quite detached. Women LWs usually give us more emotional details than this person did - e.g. why it's a wasteland, why he's her soulmate, etc.

    Posted by TallGirl August 31, 09 11:31 AM
  1. I know its hard to believe, but this person isn't your soulmate. Really, its just exciting and new, which is probably what is really making you feel so wonderful. If you married this guy, had kids and the rest, you would've got bored with him too. Everyone gets bored in their marriage, and begins to wonder what they were thinking. It comes and goes. Its when its gone for a while that you need to commit to staying in the marriages through the "bad times". You can't expect your marriage to get good again if your heart and mind are somewhere else. Tune back in to your life, your real life. Not the fantasy version.
    We all want excitement, but while our middle-aged, tired, child rearing partners may not be the place to get it, but remember they are going through it with you and you should find some value in that. Get a sitter and go skydiving, after you've broken off the affair of course.

    Posted by lala August 31, 09 11:33 AM
  1. "Are we stupid to think we can maintain a relationship with our true love while maintaining family life with a spouse until the kids are grown?"

    What sort of answer are you expecting? It may possible, but do you honestly think anyone is going to say, "Sure, have at it."? You need to decide, right now (or at least very soon), whether to end this affair, or end your marriage.

    Generally, I'd say that you need to separate your excitement over this fling from an honest assessment of your current marriage. If this fling never happened, could you be happy in your marriage? If you think the marriage had some possibility of happiness, than confess to your spouse, and see if the pieces can be put back together.

    However, I don't know if it is possible for you to view your marriage separate from the fling. Thanks to the fling, you've already checked out of the marriage. By investing so much emotional energy into the fling, you have no resources to replant your emotional wasteland that is now your marriage. Still, I think it is better to try to save the marriage if there is something there worth saving (besides staying together for the kids), so please try to think about this.

    If you can't invest 100% into saving your marriage, then please ask for a divorce. Yes, divorce stinks for everyone. I understand that you don't want to pull the trigger. But, it is much better to get divorced now than later. Every day you continue the affair, you are wasting a day of your spouse's life, where he could be searching for his/her soul mate. Every day you continue the affair, you children will view you as that much more dishonest when the truth comes out.

    Posted by two sheds August 31, 09 11:33 AM
  1. You are being beyoynd selfish you tramp! I am a child of parents who were married for 29 years. When my dad one day up and left my mom about 6 months after I got married. I was the last to leave the house. Finding out he was carrying on an affair for many years was not only devistating to my mother but to the entire family. Then to hear the cheaters were waiting for me to leave the house...I can't tell you how guilty that makes me feel as the child....no parent should wait for the kids to leave. How so very selffish to put my mother through that and me for that matter...those were years she could have had support and to get on with her life. You really want to wait and have this affair so your spouse ends up all alone with nothing and noone? Are you kidding me? You are a complete scum bag!!!!!!!! Either get out now and let your kids and spouse live an honest life or stop the affair, give them your love and real memories that actually mean something. Your kids are not stupid and I can say they will hate you for what you did if you wait to leave. No child should have to live knowing they were the reason you decided to wait to leave.

    Posted by acmebun August 31, 09 11:33 AM
  1. OK, lets just set aside the affair. Assuming you two love birds really want to be together you need to get your lives in order. Have you both considered the emotional impact the divorces will have on your kids? Do you know where you will each be living while your divorces are taking place? Do you REALLY think your kids will ever accept your lover? Have you considered how this will impact your relationships with your families and friends? How about that messy little detail called money? Do you both work, will alimoney be an issue, do you own homes?

    Ain't so easy when the real life issues get in between your lusty get togethers. Take care of business before you trash any more lives.

    Posted by Harry August 31, 09 11:33 AM
  1. My parents got divorced when I was 19. I think it was harder for me because not only was I exposed to more of the hairy details but I was also hurt because I had to watch years of them torturing the entire family by being stuck in a loveless marriage for years. You’re hurting your children by staying. Leave your husband now because the situation is not right for you and you’re unhappy not because you have rekindled your relationship with your soul mate. That should be secondary.

    Posted by Anne August 31, 09 11:34 AM
  1. WAW,

    Don't listen to these bitter and hardend people insult your actions and feelings. If you are happy the way things are now, KEEP DOING IT!! True love is only recognized by staring it in the face, not by looking (and judging) from the outside. These people have no idea what you are going through emotionally, they are just BITTER! Life is too short to be unhappy. The things we'll regret most as we age are the chances and risks we didn't take. And you know exactly what's best for your kids, others do not.

    Posted by Ringo August 31, 09 11:34 AM
  1. Think of it like this: if I leave my spouse and my soulmate does not choose to leave their spouse - how will I feel? Will I stay with him?

    It's so fun to be in the affair, and so fun to plot your escapes from the wastelands...and so, so, so terribly unrealistic to think you have any idea what will actually happen after that.

    Picture yourself alone in an apartment with your children every other weekend. If the slim change it works out with the soulmate is worth the risk of living THAT life, then leave. Leave now, calmly and without discussion with the soulmate. Leave because you want to end the marriage. Live on your own for a few months. If soulmate does the same and you then want to date - fine.

    Basically, your decision to leave your marriage and children needs to be independent of the affair. If the affair revealed your unhappiness, fine. But the affair is not your salvation. If it's meant to be, it will be, but finish one relationship before beginning another. And, if you CAN'T fathom leaving your SO without a guarantee that the SM will leave theirs, then this is not about the bad marriage, it's about lust and drama. Lust and drama will die out, likely the minute one of you leaves their spouse...

    Oh, and yes, you are scum, picture yourself telling your 10th grader what you have been up to. Lay it all out for them and see how it sounds in contrast to everything you have tried to teach that child so far. Yes, divorce happens, but if you are going to do that, do it free and clear of the stain of this affair. Do that for your children, so they can respect you tomorrow.

    Posted by youfoolnoone August 31, 09 11:34 AM
  1. Consider the ramifications of divorce before you make this decision. Many think their love for another will conquer all. In fact, you will see that love (or lust) seriously tested as you deal with issues like child support, ex spouses, impact on the children, and generally the day to day issues of divorce that aren't sexy at all.

    I have been in a similar situation and did make the difficult choice to leave my spouse. I ended up marrying the other woman and we have been happily married for 10 years. Of course it could easily have ended not so well had she not been incredibly understanding and had my kids not been so young at the time.

    You’re talking about breaking up two marriages and creating a holy hell of issues to deal with for at least the next ten years. Yet, I understand how much it sucks to be in a loveless marriage. I actually don’t have a solution for you other than to carefully weigh your options, considering all of the possible impacts. Make a decision and stick to it.

    Posted by Sorry August 31, 09 11:34 AM
  1. This letter disgusts me.

    Posted by SM1231 August 31, 09 11:41 AM
  1. You are disgusting lying whore. You children deserve better than the vacant moral wasteland that is your soul. You are selfish scum. You only care about the pipe that get shafter inside you. I hope your husband finds out and kicks your sorry ass out into the street where you belong.


    Posted by SkankAlert August 31, 09 11:42 AM
  1. How about a limerick?

    There once was a cheater in Manchester
    Who thought of her husband as an Uncle Fester
    She left him for her SOULMATE
    Who then left HER for his newest hot date
    Now she's a lonely and broke empty-nester

    Lame, I know - but try finding things that rhyme with Manchester!

    Rico, thanks for weighing in. We were all waiting for you and you didn't disappoint!

    Posted by J Bar August 31, 09 11:44 AM
  1. Meredith, most clear-eyed and well-considered advice ever. I hope he listens to you.

    Posted by Sasha August 31, 09 11:44 AM
  1. With the words "soul-mates" in the letter, there is no way the LW is a man. I would only qualify this by saying if LW is a man, he is not a straight man.
    Incorrect pronouns aside, I'm sure everyone's advice is still the same.

    Posted by Brian August 31, 09 11:47 AM
  1. Did I hear SORRY from LW/Cheat'Dith/he/she/it/lesb/gay? Noooooooooo!!!!!
    I'm sorry to hear that you have so little respect for me and our relationship that you'd do something like this or even allow it to happen in the first place. It changes things for me quite a bit to know you feel this way. I've misjudged you and that's my mistake. I won't misjudge you again however. Where we go from here is entirely up to you. I'm going to start looking for someone that DOES respect me and my relationship with them right away. I'll still see you but if I find that girl before you can convince me otherwise, just know that I'm not hanging around as a "second best" , simply because I deserve better.

    Posted by Neder August 31, 09 11:50 AM
  1. My parents divorced when I was 20. But that was because...after many years of an extramarital affair...my mom found out two years prior about the "other woman" whom my dad had been "in love with" a long time ago when he was in college and had reconnected with after a chance meeting. I wish that he had had the courage to leave when he was no longer in love with my mother, not when he finally got caught. It still would have been painful, but now, because of the way he did it, I will always mistrust him. I will always question if his mind was elsewhere when were supposedly enjoying time together "as a family". If I were not smart enough to know otherwise, I could have grown up thinking this was an acceptable way to treat a spouse, a family. I don't believe in staying in a marriage for the sake of the children or for the marriage itself--sometimes you make a wrong choice and no one should have to live in a loveless marriage like that. However, I DO believe in honesty and courage. If you are not honest with yourself, your spouse and your children, what kind of life lessons are you teaching your children? To keep this going without coming clean will backfire in one way or another...trust me. Your children will never see you as the same person they once knew. If you are honest about it from the beginning, at the very least they cannot fault you for that.

    Posted by Sleepymama August 31, 09 11:50 AM
  1. If LW/he/she/it has cheated on you in the past, and is sorry for it and you both have decided to work things out. Then work things out.

    If LW/he/she/it continues to cheat and abuse your relationship, you should find someone else as soon as possible.

    Your may or may not even married with more kids, so if you have to break it off, at least you found this out early, istead of years down the road.

    You will find other he/she/it who will treat you good, if you have a strong backbone and learn to be nice but firm in your convictions.

    Posted by guineapig August 31, 09 11:53 AM
  1. So Rico's boyfriend finally wrote in about their "relationship" how cute !

    Posted by RicoInsight August 31, 09 11:54 AM
  1. Whoh... I am not as condemning as some of the commentors.

    First, eff The Bridges of Madison County. Go watch SAME TIME, NEXT YEAR starring Alan Alda and Ellyn Bursten.

    Second, the truth will always set you free. If everything you say is reality, meaning, your "soul mate" isn't just fooling you into thinking you two are soul mates to screw you, then you need to sit down with your SM and you both must decide you are going to end your marriages to stay together.

    Third, your children will forgive you. It is much better that they see you in a real, commited, loving relationship than the sham that is your current marriage with their father. Waiting 7 years to be with SM will only eff up their heads by making them think, how long has this been coming? How dumb was I to think my parents' marriage was fine?

    Fourth, you are being lambasted on here by the commentors because you ARE being selfish. Both you and SM are. And you are both being cowards. Muster up the courage to end your marriages. Prove your love to each other. Help your kids to heal. Move on and let your spouses heal and move on as well...

    Posted by Amazed August 31, 09 11:55 AM
  1. May God have mercy on you, because I won't:

    You make me sick!, You should be ashamed of yourself! When you cheat on your husband/father of your children, your not only cheating on him, youre cheating on your kids! You selfish piece of garbage! How do you tell your kids when you decide to divorce your husband, that your divorcing because you met someone else, who you "love". Your a horrible person, you should feel awful about what you are doing, you scumbag! It's people like you, who give honest, fun-loving people bad names! I really hope you read my comment, really read it, and understand that I'm not some just hater, this is so much beyond "hating" on you. This is what is right, and what you are doing is wrong, awful, selfish, immoral, and disgusting! Just do me a favor will ya? The next time you see your "lover" picture your kids faces when they have a birthday party and their daddy isn't there because his/her mother is selfish, think about what christmas(or whatever holiday you might celebrate) what it is going to be like when daddy isn't there to open presents with him/her.

    I think I threw up a little bit after reading this letter. You better make a decision fast about losing your family/husband for some OLD flame! Don't toy your husband around, let him find someone whose more trustworthy, honest, and a better person than YOU!

    You make me sick!

    Posted by Stallion August 31, 09 11:55 AM
  1. For the record, everyone: we all seem to be assuming LW is a female. However, nowhere in the letter is there any mention of Gender. So, even though I HATE CHEATERS, let's stop blasting LW based on it being a lady. For all we know it's a dude who hooked up with a gay lover from college.

    Posted by Anonymous August 31, 09 11:58 AM
  1. It's funny that someone from the comments section said, "oh boy, wait until Rico reads this letter" Never mind what Rico would say, you need to know what I am going to say about this! WAW should be changed to NAW as in there is NO WAY that I would stand for this at all if I'm the married partner to this person. I am a firm believer in "'til Death do you part". You married this man, had kids with this man, and yet you want to leave him wandering and wondering (pun intended) waiting for you to get home? After being out with your little buddy? UNACCEPTABLE! You have the NERVE to come on here and seek validation, or some sort of an approval from us and Meredith..."oh, it's OK...we understand that your marriage isn't going so well, and we permit you to see your old flame and rekindle sparks with him." NO! RUBBISH! You'll never get anyone to say that it's OK to cheat on your husband who loves you very much and is there for you no matter what. You'll never get anyone to say that it's OK for you to play the role of Homewrecker and aid your "old flame's" lying and cheating and the like! Shame on you! You have some NERVE to get us to make you feel better about your poor decisions. I hope you'll learn a lesson from what myself and others are talking to you about today. Do one more thing before you look at your husband - look into that mirror and take a good look at what exemplifies what a cheater, liar and someone of poor morals and ethics. Not so strangely, that person is YOU. You are deserving of what happens to you in life.

    Fast forward for a moment. You do end up getting divorced, your kids want nothing to do with you because both your spouse and your kids know you carried on your cheating and lying ways for some time now, and your "old flame" who has undergone the same ridicule states that the love isn't there anymore. Then you will have NO ONE. Do you risk everything you have by continuing this affair - no matter how unfulfilling your marriage is? If you had any clue at all, you would have gotten couples therapy to turn your marriage around and make it like it once was. If you have never been happy being married to this man, you should never have married him.

    Additionally, Shame on your for saying you "settled" on finding your lifemate - if you and your "old flame" weren't meant to be together, why start now? It'll end as soon as it began. You have my word on that.

    Stand down.

    I'm done for today. At ease.

    Posted by Admiral Antgro August 31, 09 11:58 AM
  1. Not sure why the advice-givers are assuming the LW is a male or female... seems he/she is being very ambiguous on purpose and wishes to keep this more than anonymous.

    Regardless... LW, maybe you are being selfish, and maybe you think you are just doing what you are entitled to, because after all... don't we all deserve to find true love? Maybe... but at what expense? You need to straighten things out in your marriage before you worry about where your extramarital affair is heading. If you're not happy with your spouse, why are you still married anyway? You don't mention whether you've made any effort to repair whatever is wrong (I'm guessing you haven't, based on how you conduct yourself outside of your marriage) or whether you really wish to leave your spouse. It's not about the kids right now. Thousands of kids before yours have survived their parents getting divorced, I'm sure yours could too. It stinks, but that's life. Right now, this is about you and your spouse, and what is wrong with your marriage. Stop lining up your affair to take the place of your marriage. If you want out, get out. It shouldn't matter if your "soulmate" is waiting in the wings for you or not. If you want to stay, then stay and fix it, and quit the affair. God, no matter how many times I hear about, I still don't understand people who cheat. DON'T GET MARRIED IF YOU CAN'T KEEP YOUR PROMISE! Your spouse deserves better.

    Posted by hates cheaters August 31, 09 11:59 AM
  1. It DOES NOT matter whether the LW is a man or a woman...they are still scum for cheating their families and taking the holy "true love" route..,. they will soon find out .. there ain't such a thing if it is dishonest and selfish and hurtful to others. Have the balls to get out and lead an honest life, or stay and make it work in the marriage. Can't have it both ways...

    Posted by chins August 31, 09 12:01 PM
  1. #75 My question to the letter writer: If real, true love is so hard to find (and it is!), then why did you marry your husband, when you were still in love with someone else? It seems selfish to me.

    Posted by ITotallyGiveUp August 31, 09 11:18 AM
    I can answer this question easily. Women are naturally selfish and when they become middle aged they settle for "beta" males. These beta males are safe bets who will pay all the bills and do all the work for the woman. All she had to do is reciprocate with sex from time to time. The only problem is, is that a beta male although hard working are merely a means to an end for the woman. Almost rather like a leech?

    Posted by Pfft.. August 31, 09 12:03 PM
  1. #100 - Are you really the spouse of the LW? If you are, I wish to extend my sympathies. Clearly, I know that you are hurting right now but if you were to rise above the ashes of your relationship, you will realize that you have been freed from further torment and the day of a new understanding will begin. I wish you the very best.

    Posted by Admiral Antgro August 31, 09 12:04 PM
  1. I think I am more disturbed by Been There, Done That's comments. Sickening, absolutely sickening!

    Posted by M August 31, 09 12:09 PM
  1. I have one thing to say: Your "soul mate" is cheating on his wife with you. He will on you with the next bimbo to come along. Ditto you. Do both of your spouses a favor, get a divorce and get married to each other. You deserve each other. Cheating is never OK.

    Posted by Carol August 31, 09 12:10 PM
  1. Give me a break. If you are so in love, you two should face the music now. It is not fair to your spouses that you are going to string them along for 7 more years. If this is a financial decision, I would say that you really aren't in love with each other and are only looking for an excuse to sleep around. Either way, you both are dishonest and probably don't deserve the families you have. Hopefully I am not alone in saying that not enough bad things can happen to either one of you.


    Posted by Kay-Man August 31, 09 12:10 PM
  1. LW,
    introduce me to your friends , invite me to thanksgiving/christmas
    - to find out more about you.
    if you are around the block, let's have a quickie!
    Ask the cheater's old flame to RATE he/she/it and give us more info!!!!

    Posted by Rat'Dith is on August 31, 09 12:16 PM
  1. #104 Amazed--I love "Same Time Next Year"!!!

    Posted by E August 31, 09 12:18 PM
  1. My ex wife of 7 years "found" her soul mate after I put her scrawny tail through school to be a pill counter. She in fact married him after cleaning me out. I've remarried to a wonderful woman who gave birth to the most beautiful person on this planet. My ex got the house, car, money, VCR (that is how long ago it was pre-DVD), I got the Red Sox season tickets. Every time I look at pictures of me at the World Series or when I bring my daughter to Fenway I am so grateful she decided to go with him. They are perfect for each other. I only hope your spouse finds out, cleans you out and finds happiness you selfish pig....
    Living well is the best revenge....thanks KASARA for cheating on me,,it was the best thing in the world to happen to me...


    Posted by Keltoi August 31, 09 12:20 PM
  1. Are you frikkin kidding me? Do you seriously want us to justify you? Get a grip. If you can't do the time, don't say the vows.

    Posted by Gonzo August 31, 09 12:22 PM
  1. Boy, I hope everybody who vented their judgemental bile over someone they don't even know feels better now.

    WAW is human...and fallible. We all make mistakes. Some of those mistakes hurt others. But continuing to do something that you KNOW is hurting someone else (or will hurt them when they find out) is being unnecessarily cruel. Never put your passions before your principles. That's what Mr. Miyagi said in Karate Kid and it applies here as well.

    Take stock of your life and what you actually want. If you want to stay married and work on your relationship, then put everything you've got into that.

    If you want to take the chance that you'll be much more suited with the other guy (and take the risk that he'll actually do the same for you) then come clean, take your lumps and get on with your life.

    Anything else will be a half-life that will be filled with regrets, when you look back over the course of it in old age.

    Posted by Knotdefined August 31, 09 12:23 PM
  1. LW,
    virgin lesbian is waiting around the corner , if you are "finding yourself"!
    will treat you like princess/king of the forest/lord of the rings, only if you bring photos of your sham! more info the merrier.

    Posted by find August 31, 09 12:23 PM
  1. Very simple-if you don't love your spouse, don't think things will change in the future, don't want to seek out marriage therapy, then end it. Next-do not, I repeat, do not proceed directly into the affair relationship. Do the work in therapy and take some time for yourself before you make any changes or decisions about your future. The point is that if you're truly unhappy in your marriage and have been for a long time, it's not about the person you're having the affair with, it's about you. People make a huge (sometimes fatal) mistake of acting on their feelings. A strong attraction phase should only be seen as the red flag that something is seriously wrong in their relationship and it's time to seek therapy before anything happens that is damaging, destructive or hurtful. I believe in a marriage that is a promise that should never be broken under any circumstances which is called honesty.

    Posted by CBAE August 31, 09 12:24 PM
  1. Hi- Go to counseling as soon as you can.

    I wish my husband had told me how far he had drifted before straying in our marriage. My husband has been having an affair (I literally caught him in a hotel parking lot last weekend) and I am devastated by the affair. I dont see how I can get over the affair but I wish he had been a man and been honest with me from the beginning instead of all the lies and manipulations which have hurt me more than the affair ever could.

    Posted by robinb August 31, 09 12:25 PM
  1. hey, no fair!! You are getting multiple grilled cheese sandwiches....how are they?

    Posted by SoxSupporter August 31, 09 12:26 PM
  1. You are a bad wife and a terrible mother for thinking you are doing what is right. Your husband and children deserve so much better than you. I hope you get dumped by your husband and he gets the kids.

    Posted by Sabs August 31, 09 12:26 PM
  1. Cheat'Dith says ' Practice makes you perfect ! '
    it is here from generations! your father cheated/left your mom, you are doing exactly what your ex did to you- cheated without remorse and blaming it on you and calling it nothing serious, probably your kids will do the same! nothing new.it is HISTORY!

    Posted by Cheat-on August 31, 09 12:27 PM
  1. "We both settled for our spouses because we were still pining for each other."

    Pathetic. no one "pines over anyone for that long. stop thinking of yourself as something special and get divorced. 2 happy homes is better than one miserable one. be truthful to the spouses involved ..they deserve better than either of you selfish PIGS!!!!

    Posted by jadee August 31, 09 12:35 PM
  1. Ugh.

    I am an admittedly insecure girl at times and have told my boyfriend that if he finds someone else, instead of cheating on me, just have the decency to end it with me. I'd rather have my heart broken than have my heart broken AND feel stupid because I was deceived the whole time. Fortunately, he's actually an honest, faithful and sweet guy and I truly believe it when he says he has no intention of breaking up with me or cheating on me. Hope that stays true.

    I know it's more complicated with kids involved, but you need to have some decency here. What you're doing is disgusting and selfish all around. Sh!t or get off the pot. Either end the affair and commit to your marriage or get a divorce. Your husband--a "decent" man--deserves to find someone who won't cheat on him.

    And btw, what the hell is wrong with you? Have you NO remorse for your actions? The only thing you seem concerned about is whether or not you can continue the affair, not about how WRONG it is and not about the disservice (that's putting it lightly) you're doing to your husband and children. In fact, you ADMIT it's wrong and it just seems as if you don't give a damn! Seriously--that's low. At least feel bad about it, for Pete's sake.

    On second thought, just get a divorce. Your husband deserves so much more than a woman who cheats on him and doesn't even feel the slightest bit bad about it. Hopefully he'll re-marry a nice, devoted, faithful woman who cares more about your kids than you do, too.

    Posted by K the Great August 31, 09 12:41 PM
  1. Hey WaW
    Karma always comes around & when it does, watch out!
    I was on the receiving end of a similar situation (no children, thank God!) and I've enjoyed hearing tales over the years of how life has kicked my first husband in the tail. I hope you experience the same tail-kicking too.

    Posted by You deserve a swift kick August 31, 09 12:41 PM
  1. “Turning a Horse’s Ass into Glue” Haiku

    Varicose vision
    Forgiving ageless facelift
    Smoking greener grass

    Posted by valentino August 31, 09 12:42 PM
  1. I'm going to assume that everything you stated was accurate and you weren't using semantics to try to make things sound less selfish, deceitful, etc. etc. (We all love a good romance that was "destined" to be- just look at The Notebook. It's cute in a movie when you see it from the "destined-lovers" point of view, scummy in real life.) But here it goes:

    1. You call your marriage an "emotional wasteland." Affair aside, why are you still married anyway? Are you too scared to be alone? Don't use your kids as a scapegoat for staying in a marriage you describe in such terms. That b.s. And it makes you a poor parent. Not one deserving the matryr of the year award.

    2. Unless this misunderstanding between you and your "soulmate" was the fact that he was away at war and he was writing you letters everyday that your mother was throwing away because she didn't want you two to be together, then you're not really soulmates. "Soulmates" don't have a misunderstanding, then marry other people, then happen upon each other years later and realize they were destined to be.

    3. If you really believe this soulmate nonsense, then what is the question? There should be no question... you would run off into the sunset together and live happily ever after. I think you are worried that either this soulmate won't leave their SO, you don't want to look like the bad-guy/girl with your family/friends/kids, or you realize that when this relationship gets past the "new-love" phase that it will be an emotional wasteland too?

    Posted by Blake August 31, 09 12:42 PM
  1. I haven't really read any of the other comments, but just wanted the LW to hear from someone who has seen their parents split up as an adult.

    I knew for years (14 to be exact) that my parents would eventually separate. Yes, for 14 years my parents stayed together "for the kids sake!" After I finally moved out at 22, it was only a matter of 3 months before the told me that they were (finally) separating. A split that I knew about, one that my father even told me about when I was 14.

    My point is that you should just do it and get it over with. Children aren't stupid. They see things, and make sense of things. No one ever told me of my fathers affair but I figured it out pretty quickly when I was only 8 years old. And spent the next 14 years living on edge of sorts just waiting for the ball to drop.

    So if you think waiting 7 years til your kids move out will be better, think again. If they ever figure out what is going on, and they will, the next 7 years will be more torture for them then a divorce now.

    Posted by Cynically Yours August 31, 09 12:45 PM
  1. I am astounded that there are actually some people who are sympathetic to the LW. UNBELIEVABLE!

    Posted by Shocked August 31, 09 12:45 PM
  1. So your marriage is "an 'emotional wasteland,' huh? What if you get into a car accident right now do you think your so called soulmate would want you, still? when you're disfigured, glued to a wheelcHair? guess who's going to take of careyou? your husband. He's going to take care of you like he had promised to, like he's been doing for the x amount of years you've been married. If you truly believe that, this man, the other man is your soulmate, then you owe the truth to your poor husband because he's obviously not your SOULMATE. Stop being selfish and stop pretending you're staying for the kids.Dont drag you husband around for antoher 7yrs.
    YOU ARE DELUSIONAL AND SELFISH. KARMA WILL GET YOU FOR THIS, I SWEAR.. get a divorce so your husband can find someone who loves him. Stop using him as your safety blanket. Wh*re!!!!!

    Posted by ida August 31, 09 12:46 PM
  1. You are a vile and disgusting women. You should be ashamed of yourself. You should be ashamed of the person that you are. Whatever delusional reality you have created in your head, it is nonsense.

    I hope your husband finds out and kicks you to the curb. You truly disgust me. You are the lowest form of moral character. I hope you are proud of yourself, because nobody else is.

    Posted by SkankAlert August 31, 09 12:47 PM
  1. If you are staying together for your children’s sake, please end the marriage. Chances are your children know exactly what is going on. You mentioned they were young so the extent of their understanding may vary but they know. They might only know that their parents are sad, they may know they are just friends and not in love anymore, or they may know you spend time with other "friends" which could be confusing. Not only have I done extensive research on how divorce impacts children but my parents divorced when I was 5 (I am now 26) and it was the best decision they ever made. One of my earliest childhood memories was spying on them arguing in the kitchen and praying they would get divorced. Staying together for us would have been such a mistake. We would have only been exposed to a toxic unhealthy marital relationship. I understand that you might be worried about tainting their ideas about family but trust me two happy individual/separated parents are far better then a “family” that is unhappy/unhealthy. They may have reservations in the future about marriage and long term committed relationships but that is something that can and will work through. I know I did but that is still far better then only having witnessed a sad, loveless, “just going through the motions” relationship for years. Good luck and may I suggest mediation if you do decide to get divorced.

    Posted by Alexa August 31, 09 12:54 PM
  1. my, my, we seem very judgemental today.

    This will blow up in your face sooner or later, so you might as well be honest with your spouses and see where the chips fall. Your respective children will get over it eventually and your spouses will have an opportunity to find their "soul mates". Of course, I am pretty sure those spouses thought that was you and your "friend".

    Find a good lawyer - you'll need one. The courts don't usually condone cheating as a reason for divorce. Be prepared.

    Posted by linda p August 31, 09 12:54 PM
  1. Valentino's back!!! Hooray post 129! I hope your honeymoon was awesome and that you never run into anyone as low down as this LW.

    Now, where's Sally?

    Posted by J Bar August 31, 09 12:57 PM
  1. is she banging both guys and if so how often?

    Posted by Hung Wang August 31, 09 12:58 PM
  1. WOW #58 - that is truly disturbing!!!
    and just a lil funny!

    LW: - you need to really think about what your life would be like without your husband. if you can handle that, then leave and move on. you are not doing anyone, including yourself, any favors by staying.

    Good Luck

    Posted by bstngrl August 31, 09 12:58 PM

    I don't care how wrong cheating is (which it is) - I am seriously starting to take offense at all the "whores," "tramps," skanks, "vile and disgusting woman" etc. etc. What would you all be saying if this were a man??? Name calling isn't cool, especially if you are posting a blog and basing your opinions/advice off of one lousy love letter.

    Tone it down a notch and stop assuming. Mere - you should start banning posts with VILE WORDS.

    Posted by Lizziex1980 August 31, 09 12:58 PM
  1. I usually try to put myself in the LW's shoes to have some sympathy. I can't here. Your spouses deserve so much more credit. First - I would bet that one or both already know about this affair. And your kids? Do you really think you are fooling anyone?

    I am divorced and have a healthy relationship with my ex and we raise our child together - and our child is better off with us apart. However, neither of us cheated. It would completely change the dynamics if we had.

    I won't tell you to stay in your marriage - I don't think you should. I think you should get a divorce. Your spouse deserves better. But I wouldn't count on this "soulmate" being there for you when you leave your marriage. Be prepared to be alone. And use that time to reflect on how you could have handled this differently.

    Posted by We all make choices August 31, 09 12:59 PM
  1. The answers to your questions are: yes you can carry on an extra marital affair for as long as you want or until you get discovered and yes, you can maintain a relationship with your "true love" while maintaining family life with a spouse until the kids are grown. Plenty of people do it. I wouldnt expect quality relationships though.

    BUT, its impossible to answer these questions without commenting on how incredibly selfish, disrespectful, and naive you are. You are destroying 2 families. You are preventing your spouses from a fullfilled marriage. You are lying to them. You are lying to your kids who, by the way, will never trust you again and shouldnt. You are risking your relationship with your kids but, then again, they are probably only "decent" kids with your "decent" spouse and your "decent" unfullfilled life. If you cared you would have some respect for them. You could be risking your physical health because if the other persons spouse finds out, they might beat the hell out of you like the rest of us want to do. Your also risking everyones mental health for years to come. Is it really worth it?

    If you were even slightly civilized you would be writing in to find out if your marriage was worth saving or if you should just divorce but instead you just want to know if you can carry on this selfish charade for 7 more years.

    One last comment, I'm also betting that you wrote in because deep down you feel terrible and you want people to give you this type of reaction because you operate on a pre-conscious level and you dont plan out or think about anything you do. You just react, which is why you settled for your wife and kids in the first place.

    You are disgusting!
    Good day!

    Posted by sexual chocolate August 31, 09 12:59 PM
  1. Split up with him. Staying with your husband when he could be rid of you and find someone who doesn't think his love is an 'emtional wasteland' is weak. Just weak.

    Before we got married, my husband and I made an honest deal that if either of us were ever swept away by ungovernable passion for someone else, we would TELL each other and either address the cause, or split up. You promised to love your husband - don't you dare screw him out of the chance to make his own decisions about this.

    Posted by Diamond August 31, 09 12:59 PM
  1. I have never been married, but was in a long-term relationship with someone whom I truly loved. Let's call him "Rich." Rich seemed very devoted to me when all of a sudden, one day, he became distant and was never his "old self" again. I would constantly ask him what was wrong and if I had done anything or if he just wasn't attracted to me anymore--whatever. I begged him to tell me and he would just say that he was stressed from work issues. A couple of months later, desptie my being 110% supportive, I couldn't take the distance anymore and broke it off with him. He later confessed that he had discovered a woman from his past (17 years ago they had dated while they were in high school) was getting a divorce and that he was still in love with her. They had been having an emotional affair for months. He said that he was waiting for her to get divorced and then he intended to break it off with me. I guess he just wanted regular you-know-what in the meantime. I dunno.

    Fast forward a couple of years later and I am now with a wonderful man who I trust 100%. But I still struggle with what Rich did to me and a part of me always will. I have never felt so disrespected, used and deceived in my whole life--and doubt I ever will again. I'm all for honesty, but I wish I had never known that he was in love with someone else while I was with him. So divorce your husband, but spare him that piece of the puzzle. It will devastate him. It's one thing when someone just falls out of love with you. It's another things entirely to feel as if you were a placeholder the whole time.

    Oh, and btw--you truly are selfish. I hope someday you see that. And I hope Karma bites you in the you-know-what for what you're doing to your unsuspecting hubby and kids. They deserve better and YOU deserve all the bad stuff that's coming to you.

    Posted by You are disgustingly selfish. August 31, 09 01:01 PM
  1. You must be stupid to think that it's really about your kids, the only way for people to not know what you have done is to not do it.

    Never heard of the things you can't have is always better? if you waited for your kids to grow up and then for them to find out you've been cheating on all of them all these year, it's not any better. if this is real love, ask him/her to come clean, then you come clean. if this is real love, it should have been easy.. you just want to cheat because you're bored. get a life. it's not about the kids, and the kids would probably live better with out this drama, come clean and get it over with.

    Posted by Master Wang August 31, 09 01:02 PM
  1. There are 5 types of cheaters:
    1. one who tells he/she/it , once they cheat. probably %.
    2. one who cheats and feels guilty and admits to he/she/it.
    probably %.
    3. one who is tall enough to say ' I slept with ' and
    stands by it. probably %.
    4. one who has no courage and cheats, no matter what they say to
    he/she/it. probably %. Cheat'Dith advices these to :
    cheat-on-4eva till lil'one is found in the bun or any best plan
    like looking4eva going blind !!!!
    5.one who is practicing polygamy or a swinger w/o saying it to he/she/it!

    Posted by Dee-abler August 31, 09 01:04 PM
  1. Be a grown up for crying out loud! You need to either stop the affair or get a divorce to be with your fellow cheater. It doesn't matter which choice you make, just that you make the choice NOW. You've had your fun. You've told the lies you need to tell to make the affair happen. You have probably lied to friends, family, and your own children in the process. Do you really want to lie and deceive those you love for 7 more years? I don't care whose heart you have to break, just do it.

    Posted by MattyB August 31, 09 01:05 PM
  1. #133 ida,

    I knew a woman with two kids who fell off a horse, broke her neck, and became a quadriplegic. Her husband promptly left her.

    So you might be overly optimistic about LW's spouse.

    Posted by TallGirl August 31, 09 01:07 PM
  1. I think what you are doing to your spouse is unfair...why should your spouse remain in a marriage with someone whose heart is with somoene else. You choose to make that decision for your spouse that they should stay with you until the kids are grown and then they need to try to move on with their life. That really isn't right. You have found someone else who you want to give your heart to..your spouse should be given the opportunity to have their heart healed after you break it and allow them the time to give their heart to someone else as well. I think you're being selfish. If you aren't in love with your spouse..then end the marriage. The children will be just fine. Don't use them as an excuse.

    Posted by Deb August 31, 09 01:07 PM
  1. Selfish. One other word comes to min...karma.

    Posted by Terrence August 31, 09 01:09 PM
  1. #20, Good points!!


    Posted by Rachel August 31, 09 01:13 PM
  1. Okay, forget about the cheating letter-writer, the real horror show today is "Been there, done that"-- post #58! They're greasing up an extra-slippery chute for you when you die, and it won't be St. Peter meeting you at the bottom!

    Seriously, you're ill.

    Posted by Spy August 31, 09 01:18 PM
  1. #58 - I hope that was sarcasm - if not, then I have one word for you - KARMA!

    Posted by RealityChic August 31, 09 01:18 PM
  1. Meredith, your advice is right on. I was a child of divorce. There was no infidelity in my parents' case, but they stayed together until both my sister and I were out of high school, for "the sake of the kids."

    They were doing what they thought was best, but honestly, it would have been much better for everyone if they had not stayed together. Staying in a marriage that no longer works hurts everyone, kids included. Kids aren't stupid, they can see when things don't seem right.

    Divorcing will have consequences for the kids, that is true. But so will staying in a sham marriage.

    Posted by sticksnstones August 31, 09 01:19 PM
  1. #58 - I hope that was sarcasm - if not, then I have one word for you - KARMA!

    Posted by RealityChic August 31, 09 01:19 PM
  1. You need to sh*t or get off the pot. As the grown child of parents who got divored later in life, I can tell you it was REALLY BAD - far worse than if they had just cut ties when the going got rough and I could have had a chance to have happy divorced parents rather than miserable married ones. Your kids are smarter than you think. They will come to realize how cold their parents marriage is and this will carry into their own relationships later in life. Get out now.

    Your husband is probably a fine, fine person who will have no problem moving on - perhaps that is what is keeping you in the marriage. You are so use to having your husband and your lover at your beckon call. What will life be like when your wonderful husband has re-married and you find that your lover isn't exactly the same man when the bills need to be paid, or toilet cleaned, or any of the other not-so-glamorous things in marriage.

    Figure out what you want NOW and take action.

    Posted by anonymous August 31, 09 01:19 PM
  1. Wow, Are you serious??? You are truly a piece of $#it! Don't you have any remorse for what you've already put your family through? I'm sure they know... at the very least, they may be worried when you dont come home or maybe they've resigned to the fact that you're never around. You and your lover should be ashamed of yourselves. You are a selfish cow!

    Posted by EM August 31, 09 01:20 PM
  1. Is this "soul mate" really your soul mate or is he just a person that you feel safe going to in which you can escape the reality that has become your own life?

    I always feel that there will always be something left in the tank with old flames, and when you give it years between encounters, those old flames give you nostalgia for the past, for a time when you were younger, for a time when you might have been more carefree, for a time when you might have had less responsibilities and were "happier".

    You are truly selfish, but if you really want to be with the "soul mate", you need to talk to you husband about getting a divorce.

    I think what would happen in reality, is that both you AND your "soul mate" need to get divorces. What happens if you get a divorce and your "soul mate" chickens out and doesn't?

    It sounds like you and him have a lot of terrible decisions to make to be together, but if it is what you think will make you happy, then go for it. It's really sad hearing about married people going through this. Maybe I'm too young and naive, but I think vows mean a lot, and if I ever let my relationship to turn into an "emotional wasteland", I'd work on it rather than looking for that deep of a connection elsewhere.

    Posted by YouAreAllMySons August 31, 09 01:22 PM
  1. "soul mates" ... that's all I had to read. What a crock. Guys out there, whenever the whole "soul" bullsh*t starts popping up randomly around the casa regard it as one huge red flag.

    I know from experience... christ, what a lie. Lady, you suck.

    soul mates... heh. So which one of you will drink the poison and who's going to stick a dagger into their own guts?

    Quite the lie you're living. Exactly how many people are you crushing w/ it?

    grow up.

    Posted by al August 31, 09 01:25 PM
  1. Oops...got caught on the gender bias train!
    I also assumed the LW is a woman - but there is no indication of gender.
    I guess I assumed that anyone who might have misgivings about cheating would have to be a woman. ;) There, does that redeem me?

    Posted by Bob August 31, 09 01:25 PM
  1. My parents divorced when I was 27. I have a younger brother who is 4 years younger. After my mom finding out about a 7 year affair my Dad was having. He said he was unhappy for a long time even before the affair but "stuck around for the kids" We were all miserable the whole time. He should have been up front with my Mom the day he decided to didn't love my Mom and saved a lot of years of heartache all around. Just end the marriage if it can't be saved don't waste other people's time.

    Posted by Dontstayforkids August 31, 09 01:28 PM
  1. Let me guess that every one who has made a judgemental comment must have cheated or thought about it at least once!

    Posted by The Banker August 31, 09 01:28 PM
  1. #140 Lizziex1980,

    I agree with you. Some of these vociferous, over-the-top condemnations of the LW sound like they're coming from either
    a. insecure women afraid of husband/boyfriend-stealing women, or
    b. insecure men worrying about straying wives/girlfriends.

    Posted by TallGirl August 31, 09 01:29 PM
  1. 140. Welcome to the internet. You must be new here.
    Whether the writer is a man or a woman, the terms you claim to hate so much but unapologetically post yourself still apply. We also now know that you really don't know any truly vile or disgusting words. I won't post them here. Get thee to a convent.

    Posted by Brian August 31, 09 01:30 PM
  1. do your husband (and kids) a favor and leave now. no one needs someone like you around. (probably not your soulmate either, but you both will find that out soon enough, again)
    you're awful.

    Posted by Bill August 31, 09 01:30 PM
  1. Real love is not rare, thats a terrible justification...i'm assuming you were really in love when you agreed till death do us part. Lasting love is rare, good luck with that one.

    Posted by Lucy August 31, 09 01:32 PM
  1. Oh my dear....how you don't know about life, even with kids and a spouse. If you had a misunderstanding and then settled for other spouses because you both were still pining away for each other, why in the world didn't you make up and forget the extraneous people and live happily ever after?? So you settle, have kids, meet up again and believe he is your soul mate. He's all dressed up and ready for the prom.....how can he be your soul mate when you haven't lived with him, discussed finances, kids medical bills, in-laws, who to invite for Thanksgiving. When he's puking at 3 in the morning, when you can't drive the kids to school. Will he be your soul mate when things get difficult? You see each other at your best, face it, it can get ugly as you already know. So keep cheating, you selfish excuse for a human being, ruin the lives of his wife your spouse, both sets of kids, but enjoy your time together because you can bet it won't last.,

    Posted by legalgal August 31, 09 01:33 PM
  1. To pull a Hax-style move here...there's obviously a deeper problem. You shouldn't leave your marriage for another man (or woman, whatever). Try to forget about this "soulmate" - do you want to stay married? This should be about your marriage, not about your options once you leave the marriage.

    There are always going to be bumps (LONG bumps, even) in marriages of 50-60 years. You made a commitment and should not be quick to break it so lightly. There will always be someone newer out there. Whatever you decide, start behaving honorably so as to leave as little damage as possible in your wake.

    Posted by emmj August 31, 09 01:33 PM
  1. I used to be really anticheating till I found out a couple of people close to me were in bad marriages. Marriages that to outsiders were fine but on the inside were soul-sucking nightmares. One stuck it out for the kids and is picking up the pieces now in her 50's. She wishes she'd left sooner. The other found her true soulmate in her 30s, yes, and got divorced, despite having two very young kids.She is ecstatically happy and I am happy for her. Her new spouse is older and his kids are grown. They have not spoken to him for over a year because they consider him to be an absolute scumbag for leaving their mother.

    LW--for all that you consider holy, get a divorce now if this person is your true soul mate. You are doing no one any favors by waiting for the kids to be old enough to hate you on their own terms. Do it now so you can still have court-ordered visitations with them. And do it as a favor to your spouse--so they can find someone else, too, while they are still young themselves.

    Posted by Qestia Faust August 31, 09 01:34 PM
  1. Well put, legalgal @ 167.

    Posted by al August 31, 09 01:41 PM
  1. 'Soulmates?!' Don't try to soft-sell infidelty, weak morals and whatever else yer hawkin' here, sister. At LL we have heard it all and we're not buying it!
    If your spouse wasn't 'the one' why did you ever get married and have kids? Let me answer that-because you're self-centered. Because you had a 'to do' list and had to get married before 30, have the 2.5 children, the house in the suburbs, the Volvo and golden retriever.
    I am curious- How did you "just happen" to run into your old flame- were you stalking on Facebook? Doing drive-bys in the old 'hood?
    And as a working parent-I wonder-where do you find time to conduct your affair and still attend to your kids, job and husband? Someone is getting cheated here for time and attention and I'll venture a guess it's not Romeo. Be aware that kids see and hear-EVERYTHING! Don't think for a minute that your kids don't know what's going on.
    On this latest daliance-You two deserve each other. Go ahead get a divorce. I hope hubby gets custody and your kids never speak to you again. You see it's called KARMA. We'll see a letter from you in 2 years complaining that your middle-aged crisis Romeo has left you for HIS 'soulmate'- a 21 year old hottie he "just happened" to hook-up with at a business meeting out-of-town. Then you can face your demons alone- a single, middle-aged woman who no one wants, whose children have disowned her, with grandchildren you'll never meet.

    Posted by Karma chameleon August 31, 09 01:43 PM
  1. This is why I will never get remarried. This generation is so selfish, greedy and self-centered, I'd rather stay single than to deal with these kinds of people.

    And BTW, LW is a woman. No guy would ever talk about soul mates, about love being a rare gift or unexpected gifts. This is the kind of chick talk heard on Sally Jessie Raphael.

    Posted by Winston Nottingham IIII August 31, 09 01:45 PM
  1. Meredith got it spot-on with this one. It is going to hurt your spouse and kids no matter what. Waiting will just delay your spouse being able to move on, and that is just cruel. Think of the potential years of happiness you will be robbing from the man you married. You owe him honestly, respect, and a chance to find someone who will be passionate for him as soon as possible.

    I have a friend who's parents waited until her younger sister went off to college, cheerfully announcing their divorce to the kids the July before the nest became empty. They had been planning it for some time, it was amicable and the two former spouses are very good friends. They thought it would be easy for their now grown-up daughters. No dice. It was a kick in the gut to both of the girls, one in college and one heading for college, to find out their parents had been lying to them for years. They both still believe it would have been easier if they hadn't discovered their parents had been living a lie for so many years, but when it was over, if they took the kids aside and were honest with them.

    Posted by merilisa August 31, 09 01:45 PM
  1. If your marriage is an emotional wasteland - then why are you in it? Oh right - b/c you're a selfish wimp.

    Why haven't you dealt w/ emotional wasteland?

    Would you still want a divorce if you weren't banging your ex?

    You are not a nice person, and you're kids are eventually going to figure it all out.

    I hope your spouse chooses wiser next time around.

    Posted by RealityChic August 31, 09 01:50 PM
  1. elizabeth- we arent being judgemental. she is asking how long she should cheat on her husband for. she isnt asking what is the best thing to do for her kids and husband. she is asking advice on how to betray him! you are doing the same thing which is why you see it as ok. give me a break. if you dont want your spouse anymore and have tried counseling, let them go and move on so they have a chance of happiness. why should they sit around waiting for you at night while you are off at a sleazy motel with your soul mate? where are your morals letter writer?! how would you feel if the tables were turned? think about someone other than yourself.

    Posted by nemo August 31, 09 01:53 PM
  1. #164 - I was not calling anyone names; I was stating my opinion on how I feel about namecalling in general - not sure what that has to do with how long I've been on the internet????

    I read Love Letters every day, the name calling usually bugs me but today is just over the top, especially considering no one really knows anything about LW (except he/she is a cheater).

    TallGirl - thank you. I totally agree, jaded/jealous/insecure guys seem to think most women are said names; same with jealous/jaded/insecure girls.

    Posted by Anonymous August 31, 09 01:58 PM
  1. One thing Meredith didn't mention: you didn't marry your soul-mate in the first place. Why was that? You had to have had a reason for breaking up and I'm guessing that reason is still there. Think about it.

    And there is absolutely no such thing as a "soul mate," at least not one person who is destined to be yours. You make your own soul mate by making a commitment and sticking to it. If more people would realize this instead of believing what they see in the movies, they'd be a lot happier in their marriages.

    Posted by Ashley August 31, 09 02:02 PM
  1. Meredith, this has to be your best advice ever! Not only was it right on on all aspects. but it was beautifully written. You most definitely hit this one out of the park. Nothing to add.

    Posted by Nada August 31, 09 02:03 PM
  1. Let me first say, I have been on the other side of this and know how hurtful it is to be the victim of this and in now way condone what you are doing, but the bottom line is you are asking for a length of time: right or wrong you have made your mind up to do this so the answer is there is no time limit. At some point something will happen and the affair will come out. It could be anything, a fight with your spouse or the soul mate, a misplaced text or phone call, or feelings will just change because of time or whatever. You see, eventually the perfect little situation you have right now will go away. You will get comfortable or lazy and things WILL CHANGE. Now you can put this inevitability off for now but it is coming. The real question you need to ask yourself is how do you truly feel about your current spouse and soul mate. You need to be honest with yourself and be honest with both of them. If you soul mate is “the one” then stop the charade that is your marriage and if you spouse is “the one” then you need to stop this now and beg for forgiveness. Neither road is going to be easy but you took it and now you have to drive down it.

    Posted by niceGuy August 31, 09 02:11 PM
  1. Man, Woman, does it really matter?
    Either way this LW is still a disgusting excuse for a human being.

    Posted by YouRStillaSelfish Pig! August 31, 09 02:11 PM
  1. I think your letter is BS. This is what I think is really happening:

    You already dated the other person a long time ago and it didn't work out. You moved on. Now this person is back and you conveniently forgot all the things that went wrong the first time. Because after 13+ years of marriage and parenthood, your life has gotten pretty boring. So now seeing your old partner makes you all tingly in your pants.

    Grow up. Selfish wh0re.

    Posted by Bee August 31, 09 02:14 PM
  1. Staying together in a relationship is a matter of work, not a question of finding a "soul mate," a term used exclusively by teenage girls and fools. LW, you make me vomit.

    Posted by Greg Brady August 31, 09 02:15 PM
  1. Wow, is the LW in for a rude awakening. I watched a close friend of mine see the divorce of his parents as an adult. His father left his mother, didn't try to go to counseling, claimed the marriage wasn't working anymore. What the father didn't know was that his wife and all four of his grown children realized he was having an affair and left their mom for another woman. Now his children refuse to meet this other woman that's supposedly his "soul mate" and he is heading down a road where he will soon have to choose between staying with his girlfriend or maintaining a relationship with his children. The moral of the story. . .don't think that your children will be understanding and accepting after you lied to and broke the vows you made to their father. You aren't entitled to have your cake and eat it too. Don't make your husband and children suffer because you've convinced yourself your current family isn't good enough to make you happy (and trust me, that's how they'll see it).

    Posted by Miss Mandy August 31, 09 02:16 PM
  1. tall reindeergirl is not reindeergirl. And the real reindeergirl is short. Boston.com will have access to the ISP as well as my email addie, and know it's not me. Boo freakin' hoo, my feelings are so hurt. /sarcasm

    Now the LW: You and your soulmate must decide - together - what is right for each of you. But as far as your spouses - do you really want them to waste the next 7 years in marriages that are a sham? Both of you are being so unfair to them. If you care about your spouses at all, at least on for whom was "settled" for, give them a chance, too, to find their soulmates.

    Posted by reindeergirl August 31, 09 02:17 PM
  1. I hope you both get VD

    Posted by MrRight August 31, 09 02:18 PM
  1. The LW did a nice job with all the catch phrases like "soul mates" and emotional wasteland". Here's a few more for you, "What comes around goes around," and "If you lie down with dogs you will get fleas.."

    Posted by techdood August 31, 09 02:18 PM
  1. As a child who witnessed the ugly effects an affair has on a family, please, don’t stall in taking some sort of action. I can’t condemn you for something you’ve already done, despite my own feelings about it, but I can implore you to do the right thing and leave this hellish limbo behind, for your kids and your husband.

    My parents went to counseling and managed to save their marriage, but I understand this isn’t always the outcome—if it turns out you cannot save your marriage, then you must begin to live authentically and divorce your husband. It’s only fair to him that you set him free, rather than keeping him chained to a loveless relationship you no longer wish to maintain or respect.

    You owe it to your children and husband to get it over with and make a decision so they can begin the recovery process, whatever outcome it might be. You must lance the boil, lest the infection grow into a pathosis that cannot be healed.

    Peace, Strigiformes.

    Posted by Strigiformes August 31, 09 02:23 PM
  1. Totally Agree with Meredith!!! I'm all for soul mates and true love just as much as anyone else....and do believe that sometimes those things don't happen in neat little packages, BUT (like Meredith noted), I too am very BIG on authenticity and honesty. Anytime, dishonesty and being inauthentic is used to cover up a significant (or even a small percentage) portion of our lives, that's a huge red flag of DANGER....should tell truth now!

    Frankly, I don't believe the old okey-doke of "we got married to others because we were pining for each other". HUH?!? Seriously? I never heard of that one...let's each get married to other people that we're not that into even though we love someone else more. But, if that's the story you both want to repeat ad nauseum because it sounds good, then be my guest.

    If the two of you really considered each other your "soul mates", AND you already lost each other once, why wouldn't you take immediate steps to end your marriages and be together? If both of your marriages are "emotional wastelands", then why would you want your kids to be subjected to that? If what you say is true, then you're doing your kids a dis-service by not doing one of two things: 1) fixing your emotionally bankrupt marriage 100%, OR 2) moving on and ending your marriage 100% so you can be with your "soul mate". Do you want your kids approaching things in their life half-assed? If not, why is it ok for you?

    I also agree with Meredith that not making a decision to be together stems more from laziness and not being fully honest about how soulful this relationship is. The reality is...you both want it easy...no rocking the boat, no drastic changes, no being upfront with your spouses, etc. Let's face it, even though you claim you're in love with him (and he with you), neither want of you want to do the work (yes, real love involves work & being honest with all parties), to make this "soul mate" love be more than fastasy. And it is fantasy. You would probably be calling this soul mate an "emotional wasteland" too if you'd been seeing his dirty drawers and going through life's challenges all these years too. The two of you haven't had to deal with any deep stresses...so of course it FEELS good....fantasy always FEELS good. But, do you want to live a fantasy life that hurts people in the process from your lies (which will be found out eventually), or live an authentic life where you are truthful to everyone you supposedly care about (kids included).

    Posted by bklynmom August 31, 09 02:23 PM
  1. Welcome back, valentino! I hope you are getting all in life you ever wanted.
    Now Lakeboy - nice try, but it's 17 moras, not 19.
    Now LW - "emotional wasteland"? Then do yourself a favor, and leave the marriage, even if soulmate doesn't accompany you. Why be miserable? In fact, leave soulmate before you leave the marriage, so there will be no issue of child custody and visitation for either of you. DON'T stay together "for the kids." The kids deserve HAPPY parents.

    Posted by reindeergirl August 31, 09 02:27 PM
  1. I had almost the same situation occur in 2003, when my high school sweetheart showed up at my 30th reunion. The only difference is: we divorced our spouses and got married. And, you guessed it - we are going through a nasty divorce right now. This was easily the worst mistake of my life, and I regret it every day. I have apologized to my kids and to my ex-wife, and they could not be more gracious about it. But I still know in my heart that I hurt them terribly.
    My advice to this writer - go back to your spouse and get whatever counselling you need, but get it fast.

    Posted by joesandwich August 31, 09 02:30 PM
  1. A lot of ugly judgmentalism (stone throwers) online - you can't live your life to make them happy. I do think you should think carefully about this one life you have to live, and the conditions under which it can be a happy one. I would only offer the following: leaving a marriage in which your own needs are not recognized or fulfilled can make parts of you happier. But there are unimaginable agonies ahead of you in a divorce process. Your children's affections will shift, and they may become used by your spouse as pawns in a process. You may come to a bitter and hateful place with someone you shared a lot of life with. You may find yourself wondering who will be at your bedside when you die. So let yourself skip the judgmentalism. But please do not let the intense excitement of this relationship blind you to the difficult side of this balance sheet.

    Posted by Considering August 31, 09 02:32 PM
  1. I'm disgusted by the people here claiming us 'judgemental" folks are at fault. For what, pointing out that lying and cheating is wrong and not condoning it. Vows were made, either follow them or end them, it's really quite simple. if you don't want to be with your spouse, leave them. If you want to be with your spouse, but also someone else, let them make the decision as well, since you could potentially be putting their life at risk as well (STD's, etc.) It's really just that simple. It's scumbaggery at its finest, and defending it makes you sound ridiculous.

    Posted by joe bob August 31, 09 02:34 PM
  1. Monty, You're so interested in Rico's perspective, what's your take on this....specifically the cheating part?

    Posted by Margaret Thatcher August 31, 09 02:35 PM
  1. Oooh look, there it is: the "entitlement factor." I totally read LW to be a female but I only thought middle aged men did the entitlement thing. "I'm entitled to be happy (even though _________)." "I'm entitled to wreak havoc on the family unit I have helped to create (because _______)."

    Ick, ick, ick. Did you really think you'd find sympathy here, of all places? Oh no wait, you wanted advice. Okay so here it is: GROW UP. And as Spike Lee says, do the right thing -- and take the rest of the people in your world into consideration when you do so.

    Posted by BirdieKate August 31, 09 02:37 PM
  1. Bee - chill out.

    Posted by Anonymous August 31, 09 02:41 PM
  1. I just have to say... Cheating is only hard the first time around, after that is so easy to do it again. Most cheaters, will repeat the offense. Think about this when you decide to marry your cheating lover, and vice-versa. If you break someones marriage - someone else can come along and do the same to you! Now if that is ok with you -- cheat away!
    Grow some and divorce your present spouse, then move on to the lover (only after they are divorce also).

    Posted by JUST ME August 31, 09 02:41 PM
  1. SOULMATE whatta a conceited crapshoot !
    no way, not at all on the same page of your soul
    with either of you or both of you or four involved or may be even five incl.kids...

    Insecurity exists in the absence of knowledge.People are never more insecure than when they become obsessed with their fears of losing , while guilty of something,at the expense of their dreams.

    Posted by sourmate to hold you while crying August 31, 09 02:42 PM
  1. We lost touch after a misunderstanding, but recently ****ran**** into each other and discovered the love we shared then is still strong after many years apart. How do run into somebody. Just say the word: FACEBOOK.
    You are the only one he does not fellings or intention to get together with you..., only to get together inn bed with you. (inn as holiday inn)

    Posted by felipe August 31, 09 02:45 PM
  1. Can you play house for 7 years keeping your spouse and children in the dark? Sure, if you're good at it. Then what happens? You get your kids,
    he/she gets his/hers and you live together like the Brady bunch?
    Somehow I don't think that is the way things will turn out.

    Posted by huh??????????????? August 31, 09 02:46 PM
  1. lakeboy.... hilarious!! you did val proud on that....

    Posted by lmfao August 31, 09 02:46 PM
  1. We lost touch after a misunderstanding, but recently ****ran**** into each other and discovered the love we shared then is still strong after many years apart.

    How do you run into somebody. Just say the word: FACEBOOK.
    You are the only one he does not fellings or intention to get together with you..., only to get together inn bed with you. (inn as holiday inn)

    Posted by felipe August 31, 09 02:46 PM

    No straight man talks about their "soul mate". At least not that I've ever experienced. Sometimes I'm completely dumbfounded by the gender of the LW, but when I read this one, I definitely thought woman...

    Posted by bns August 31, 09 02:48 PM
  1. Hmmm. Plenty of victims on this board but no cheaters. We are a moral, judgemental crowd I guess.

    Posted by Neil August 31, 09 02:48 PM
  1. #58

    Your a selfish B*tch and the perfect example of as to why i will never get married to a American Girl. I will find my wife in Ireland, thank you very much.

    Posted by Wow August 31, 09 02:49 PM
  1. Hey Bee #181 and everyone else throwing the word "whore" and other derogatory words pointed toward women - THERE IS NOTHING IN THE LETTER THAT INDICATES THE LETTER WRITER IS A WOMAN. Stop making sexist assumptions.

    Posted by MattyB August 31, 09 02:50 PM
  1. all you want is not a SOULMATE/FANTASYMATE , a SEXMATE !!!!!!

    Posted by F'Dith August 31, 09 02:51 PM
  1. To those commentors who are upset about the name calling, get over it. Better yet, put yourselves in the shoes of the spouses and children of the two souless "soul mates" who know full well what they are doing is wrong.

    Like many others, I was a child in this type of situation. I had my suspicions and could sense the unhappiness for years, but it wasn't until I overheard my Dad telling "the other woman" over the phone that he wished he didn't have to go on the family vacation that we were leaving on the next day, but he had no choice. Imagine that. 10 years old and your Dad is your world. School just got out. You are about to go on a camping trip for multiple weeks and looking forward to seeing him / spending time with him because you don't get to see much of him during the school year, and it all comes crashing down when you hear how much his heart and head are already out of your life and with another woman besides your Mom. I was 10, but I already knew that hiding it and staying in the marriage out of obligation was not anything that a real man (or woman) would do if they had any conscience and moral compass.

    Posted by Hoss August 31, 09 02:54 PM
  1. isn't the sexist assumption the one where you assume the word whore can only apply to women?

    Posted by Teddy August 31, 09 02:58 PM
  1. Two thoughts - true love is rare and hard to walk away from. I understand how you can end up entangled in a marriage where you feel compelled to stay for everyone else. The only key point I agree with that has been stated repeatedly is that staying in your marriage for your kids is a bad idea. You need to separate your feelings about your spouse from your feelings for your old flame and address these issues individually. That's the key to moving forward with your life. You should talk to a therapist to help you sort this out. More disturbing than your letter has been the vitriolic responses it has generated. Most writers assume you are a woman and as a result you are the lucky recipient of a lot of sexist crap. It never ceases to amaze me how hard women are on each other - what a waste of time and karma.

    Posted by Marcy August 31, 09 03:01 PM
  1. #203 Neil

    LOL. That's right, Neil. Boston.com attracts only the righteous.

    All the married men who've hit on me over the years were Herald readers, for sure.

    Posted by TallGirl August 31, 09 03:02 PM

    Posted by Lizziex1980 August 31, 09 03:08 PM
  1. "Neither spouse suspects what is going on"
    seriously? if you think that neither one of them suspects, you have your head in the sand....
    You are living lie and it will all blow up in your face sooner or later.
    You have managed to mess up your childrens lives not to mention two marriages.
    Kiss any kind of friendships that you and your spouse have. You have killed them as well.
    and last but not least....get tested....

    Posted by 42Giants August 31, 09 03:09 PM
  1. I think #58 was a sarcastic post. I hope. And if a real post - not at all representative of most women.

    Posted by Patty August 31, 09 03:14 PM
  1. Hoss, that's so sad. I feel really badly for you. I had a traumatic event at age 10 (my older brother died) and I can tell you that age 10 is about the worst age to go through a family tragedy. You're on the cusp between little kid and tween and it's really rough. I*n my case I had to adopt almost a parental role toward my parents since they were understandably totally devastated, and I always saw that summer as the official end of my childhood and the beginning of "the real world". Thanks for sharing the viewpoint of the children from one who really knows. Hopefully the LW will read your comment, and imagine himself/herself making the same terrible comments to his/her lover and being overheard by a child. Can you post further and let us know how your relationship with your Dad ended up?

    Posted by J Bar August 31, 09 03:17 PM
  1. Selfish, selfish, selfish. My soon to be ex husband (age 50) cheated on me with his 27 year old soulmate (she also is married) . They are pushing for divorces so they can remarry and start their own family together. Their selfish, immoral, self serving actions have destroyed so many lives. They took the cowardly way out of their marriages. Mature, responsible people don't cheat. They confront their spouses if they are unhappy and either work it out or decide mutually to split up. It will fail even thought ehy don't think so because you can't build happiness on the misery of others and if they haven't figured out what made them so unhappy in the 1st marriage, a new relationship isn't going to make that better. They are in the honeymoon phase of the relationship. Wait until they have to face problems and crises together in a real relationship/marriage. I hate my ex and will always be hurt and angry towards him and I will never forgive or forget what he has done. I gave him 30 years of my life and this is the thanks I get for being loving, supportive, devoted, etc People are in shock that he walked out on me because altho I am not perfect, they know what a wonderful wife and mother I have been. So for you 2 selfish losers, think really hard about what you are doing and what it will do to your spouses, your children, your families and friends. Grow up. End the affair now. Work on your marriage. People need to take their marriage vows more seriously. If you can't do the vows for life through the good and the bad, don't get married.

    Posted by cali August 31, 09 03:19 PM
  1. funny how everyone decrying the 'judgemental' comments goes on to advise the exact same thing the so called judgemental people are making: work on your marriage or get out and face whatever happens down the line.... everyone is saying the same thing. only some are called 'judgemental'........ what exactly do you think we should do then? - commend him/her for cheating and lying to their families? and justifying it as 'true love'? If it is true love, then go pursue it and release your families from the agony. So, shut the hell up everyone who doesn't want to be judgemental.... you are saying the same thing we are.

    Posted by chins August 31, 09 03:21 PM
  1. Your lover is a crutch, one that enables you to stay emotionally stunted. Triangle relationships allow us to maintain a comfortable, safe emotional distance from our spouses. Taking away this crutch would mean there's just you and your spouse staring into the abyss of your emotional wasteland. Eventually the wasteland would get to be too much to bear, and you would be forced to move towards greater intimacy, or divorce.

    Both those options are tough. The fact you’d rather just insert a third person into your marriage, shows you are a huge coward. You could not handle the confrontation that would enable you to either fix your marriage, or leave it. Divorce is hard enough, but intimacy with someone who REALLY knows you – someone who’s spent years and years with you and who helped bring your children into the world – is even harder. Sounds like you aren't brave or strong enough to handle it, which is why you want us to tell you how you can have your cake and eat it to.

    (under 200 words - woo hoo!)

    Posted by anecdotal evidence August 31, 09 03:24 PM
  1. "old flame"
    "soul mate"
    "the youngest one leaves the nest"

    Probably not a man. Definitely not a straight man. Definitely not fun at parties.

    Posted by Brian August 31, 09 03:25 PM
  1. This is what is wrong with America.

    If it is true that some people will get hit by buses when crossing the street, why can't it be these two people?

    Posted by Me August 31, 09 03:26 PM
  1. I was happy in Bridges of Madison County when she decided to stay with the husband. That scene at the end where the hubby is dying made me CRY. He needed her. Clint Eastwood didn't need her.

    Posted by Shecky28 August 31, 09 03:28 PM
  1. I wonder if this isn't a fake letter...

    I mean c'mon, a woman trying to justify her affair is going share a lot more "justifying" details of why she and her lover deserve this affair and most men wouldn't use the words soul mate and emotional wasteland in any case. Also it is so ridiculously wrong, seems like an attempt to just set everyone's head on fire.

    P.S. L/W if you really exist - fish or cut bait. Either end the marriage, so you can move on in an honest way or decide to commit to your family in an honest way. Note the HONEST parts of both sentences.

    Posted by sundiego August 31, 09 03:28 PM
  1. No judgment here. But anything conducted in secrecy is never, ever a good thing. It wears you down. It masks reality, making you think that a relationship with Long Lost might work out, when in fact, few extramarital affairs result in another true, committed and long-term relationship, regardless of how soul-matey you feel right now. It just can't work, and certainly not under these circumstances.

    But you are in love, and you have false hope, etc. You are not to be judged or condemned for this...human frailty is equal-opportunity. I only urge you to keep the foregoing in mind and remember that the excitement of the soul-mate affair thing will quickly dissipate once the veil of secrecy dissolves. I don't have advice on how you get yourself out of the situation, and perhaps it must run its course...I just hope your spouse and children are not irreparably damaged before you come to your senses. All the best.

    Posted by Jetta August 31, 09 03:29 PM
  1. What an awful excuse for a human being they both are. I hope Wandering and Wondering, gets in a fiery car crash.

    Posted by ghazmh August 31, 09 03:34 PM
  1. "No straight man talks about their 'soul mate'."

    Ahem. . .Mark Sanford, anyone?

    Seriously, drop the "this could NEVER be a straight dude" crap. I was just as bad in assuming that the LW was female, but it's stupid to insist the LW is female because straight men don't talk this way. Any a**hole can and does talk this way to justify their selfishness.

    Sorry, does this make me judgemental? Awwww. That's because REAL PEOPLE GET HURT with this crap.

    Posted by PM August 31, 09 03:35 PM
  1. i think Hoss #207sums up the most significant example of how this type of situation affects children in ways only those who have been truly exposed to this can imagine....a grown man, who still remembers such a memory is probably still scarred to some degree...
    with all the banter that has gone on thus far on this discussion, Hoss's made the most impact on me....and im not even in, nor would i ever consider such a classless, amoral act....
    the 2 involved SM are pure dispicable examples of parents/adults ive heard of in a long time....

    Posted by blondie August 31, 09 03:39 PM
  1. Neil, I have cheated, and I can say from experience that cheating is a symptom that something is WRONG, wrong, wrong. I should have dumped my boyfriend, not gone back to the ex I cheated with, and just gotten my head right before I started a good relationship with a totally different person.

    Instead, I hurt a really nice guy, I debased myself by crawling back to a 'soulmate' who didn't really want me, and I left my reputation in shreds with my friends. Had I just pulled my socks up and broken up with my boyfriend instead of cheating on him and justifying it, the whole mess would not have been nearly so destructive.

    I am not going to justify or empathize with the LW - I have been there, looked my actions in the face, and realized that I behaved horribly. I learned from my awful mistake, and think LW needs to get that lesson as well. Let your spouse free to pursue others, LW!!!

    Posted by Katiekate August 31, 09 03:42 PM
  1. SpaceMan Im impressed!!!!!! Nice one. Im also with Hoss on this one. Either Sh@! or get off the pot already. Your husband and kids deserve better.
    WAW your an "IDIOT"!

    Posted by LilShorty98 August 31, 09 03:44 PM
  1. # 203: I've never cheated a day in my life on any relationship. And I can honestly say I've never even been tempted. Truly. I know a lot of people may not believe that, but while I can appreciate that a man may be good lookin', if I'm in a healthy relationship, I only have eyes for that person and have never even considered straying. Because the way I look at it, if I'm unhappy in a relationship, then I'm going to leave before it gets to the point where I'm tempted to be with anyone else.

    Posted by K the Great August 31, 09 03:50 PM
  1. "We lost touch after a misunderstanding" .... "But real love is so rare and it is hard to walk away from it."

    If it were real love, then you wouldn't have walked away and married other people. Give me a break.

    You are living in fanatasy land. They years have melted away the 'reasons' for it not working out the first time with this guy. Surely, had you married Mr. Wonderful, had the kids and had to actually endure the 'raising a family' routine, you'd find him to have gotten in the way of all the possibilities you forwent by marrying him.

    Our imaginations are a vast wonderland of fantasy capable of completely destroying lives. Betrayal is a horrendous thing to do to someone. You piece of SH*(. It may s&ck to be the bad guy (see mirror), but it is devastating to be betrayed even if the relationship has seen better days. You are breaking a promise that he is keeping.

    Sorry, but you absolutely could have prevented ANYthing from happening. Instead you selfishly gave in to desire and decided that 'it's all about me' is
    what life is all about.

    When people get married, have children.....they should just grow up. For heavens sake, did you walk down the isle seriously thinking that fidelity was an option and that you'd never be attracted to someone else. Are people really this self involved today?

    When one walks down the isle, one has the not only ability to destroy another with betrayal but the ability to traumatize children through such selfishness.

    You have 2 choices:

    1) END this ridiculous affair. There is no reason that it will survive as a normal relationshiop. Part of the allure is that it's secretive and wrong.
    2) Stop the affair and resume after the divorce. This is doing right by your spouse. He deserves a heck of a lot better than this. This is wrong on so many levels I cannot emphasize this enough!

    AND WHAT IS WORSE? Your affair jackA@@ is doing the same thing to his wife. You both are pathetic and probably deserve each other. Believe me, you will get yours. Forget the soulmate crap - yeah, you guys are special, NOT.

    Bottom line: Your children come first! Get them into therapy because the two people they love and count on for stability have just fCKd them over.

    Posted by WutsWrongWithPeopleOMG August 31, 09 03:57 PM
  1. There are a lot of great replies here on this one. I was on the other end of a deal like this before and it sucked BIG TIME! Instead of dancing around this, tno one will be able to turn around and say you weren't at least forthcoming if you lay it all out on the table. The reality is life isn't easy and things like this happen, and it hurts everyone, but how you end it counts for a lot in the long run. And yes it gets messy when kids are involved and child support and who gets the house and who the new bf or gf is around your kids now when they are with the other parent. There is a lot to consider before taking this leap of faith and I've heard it all from it's cheaper to keep her to having an open relationship. None of that was for me and after the dust settled, my daughter came out of it well adjusted (was two when I divorced her mother, now 7) better than I could have ever hoped and I met the most amazing woman I never would've met otherwise. Because of the way my ex did things(such as the way you and your old flame are carrying on), she lost a lot of respect from most of her friends and subsequently her own family. No one can fault you for being upfront, but deception will haunt and brand you forever, plus all the other parts of hell I listed above. Either get the counseling you need or get out. By the way, your hubby may not be letting on that he knows about your trysts that you know of, he may be playing opossum until divorce court! fyi

    Posted by beentheredonethat August 31, 09 04:04 PM
  1. LW.....you need to let Rico (oops I mean 3rd person pink red sox hatted cell phone waving shemale) know you are cheating on him. take action now and get divorced. Don't text him about it while he is on his bike he might crash into another biker in the bike lane on memorial drive. think of the tragic traffic nightmare that could cause.

    you've already thrown the towel in on your marriage. staying married for the kids sake is not realistic anymore. if this other man is truly it, go for it. if in the long run that fails too...at least you tried and you had the character step up, not lie anymore and move on.

    Posted by byubba August 31, 09 04:05 PM
  1. WAW
    let me break it down like this, # 79 Greg is the prime example of what your kids will think about you if you wait 7 years to get a divorce. Sooner or later everything will be out in the open whether its next month or around the 7 year mark. You will lose the respect of your family, friends, and children. Because you will look like the bad guy in everyones eyes. You need to look at the situation from all sides (yours, your husband, the kids, and the other guys family). Are you ready to face that? things will be much worse if you wait. Think about what you truely want. What if you leave your husband and your "SoulMate" changes his mind and wont leave his wife. Can you handle that? You are in a world of trouble women. You really need to think this throught and choice.....MY HUSBAND AND KIDS OR AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE WITH MY "SOULMATE"? The choice is yours

    Posted by LilShorty98 August 31, 09 04:07 PM
  1. My husband and I were in the same situation and we both decided to follow our hearts. Our love for one another was too strong to walk away from and it wasn't fair to the other people and children in our lives. We recently got married and our ex's have moved on to hopefully a happier life with people who will love them. The kids are doing great, better than expected and we recently found out we're adding an addition to the family. As difficult a situation it is - you got yourself into it and you really need to follow your heart to get yourself out it's what's best for all parties involved.

    Cheating is never right but living every day in a miserable marriage is no way for kids to have to grow up and it isn't fair to either spouse. Why stay with someone who makes you miserable - we all have the right to be happyand enjoy love and life!!!

    Posted by Fretta August 31, 09 04:07 PM
  1. Your lover is a crutch, one that enables you to stay emotionally stunted. Triangle relationships allow us to maintain a comfortable, safe emotional distance from our spouses. Taking away this crutch would mean there's just you and your spouse staring into the abyss of your emotional wasteland. Eventually the wasteland would get to be too much to bear, and you would be forced to move towards greater intimacy, or divorce.

    Both those options are tough. The fact you’d rather just insert a third person into your marriage, shows you are a huge coward. You could not handle the confrontation that would enable you to either fix your marriage, or leave it. Divorce is hard enough, but intimacy with someone who REALLY knows you – someone who’s spent years and years with you and who helped bring your children into the world – is even harder. Sounds like you aren't brave or strong enough to handle it, which is why you want us to tell you how you can have your cake and eat it to.

    (under 200 words - woo hoo!)

    Posted by anecdotal evidence August 31, 09 04:07 PM
  1. Soul Mates? - utter crap - they don't exist. Split up now before it gets any uglier and you and your SM can live this fake utopian life you've dreamed up. You think no one knows? Everyone knows - unless you live in Petticoat Junction you've already been busted. Good luck on the financial division - if you make more than your spouse you are hozed. Ditto for your lovah.

    Posted by Maryro August 31, 09 04:08 PM
  1. #217 - thank you for keeping your normally long analyses down to a more respectful level. I appreciate it!

    And in all due respect, the LW could be a guy - an older one would definitely talk about his marriage being an "emotional wasteland" or whatever he said. Ridiculous. I second and third all of the comments made by the majority of people commenting. I'm sure the LW will turn a blind eye to these comments but you should never ask for leniency when a) the caning is done in Singapore and b) you wrote a letter to the Love Letters column.

    PS: Love Admiral Antgro's comments (#108) - he was truly irate today. We need more men like him.

    Posted by BroadcastingSOSMessagesToNoOne August 31, 09 04:21 PM
  1. I hate cheaters! Why don't you come clean with your spouse. I wonder what your reaction would be if the shoe were on the other foot and you were the one being cheated on..............
    What are you going to do if your affair is discovered? That would be just as hurtful if not more so ...to your children and your spouse.
    Don't you think in some way, the attraction is more of a fantasy being lived out.....in my opinion you can never go back to what was. It is NEVER the same. I'd be curious to see his reaction if you told him you had left your husband to be with him.......he might just run......and leave skid marks!!

    end it

    Posted by pam August 31, 09 04:26 PM
  1. I could have said man-whore.

    Posted by Bee August 31, 09 04:34 PM
  1. byubba, there is no bike lane on Memorial Drive, at least not between BBN and the BU bridge. Just FYI. You'll have to hunt Rico down somewhere else.....

    Posted by Frico August 31, 09 04:51 PM
  1. You and the "other man" are made for each other. Both of you are lyers and cheats and have no morals.

    Posted by mom August 31, 09 04:56 PM
  1. I wonder if this isn't a fake letter...

    I mean c'mon, a woman trying to justify her affair is going share a lot more "justifying" details of why she and her lover deserve this affair and most men wouldn't use the words soul mate and emotional wasteland in any case. Also it is so ridiculously wrong, seems like an attempt to just set everyone's head on fire.

    P.S. L/W if you really exist - fish or cut bait. Either end the marriage, so you can move on in an honest way or decide to commit to your family in an honest way. Note the HONEST parts of both sentences.

    Posted by sundiego August 31, 09 04:58 PM
  1. What hateful people on here. Enjoy yourself. You only live once. Once you find love you need to hold onto it.

    Posted by WildMan August 31, 09 05:02 PM
  1. to number #58 - there is a special place in hell reserved for you and anyone like you. It gives me pleasure to know that at some point in your life you will feel pain, and that pain will be nothing to what you will feel once they dump your body in a box and drop it 6 feet under.

    Posted by tomthumbs August 31, 09 05:07 PM
  1. #213
    # 58 can and does happen in MA family court all the time and the writer is spot on.

    Posted by MrRight August 31, 09 05:12 PM
  1. #213
    # 58 can and does happen in MA family court all the time and the writer is spot on.

    Posted by MrRight August 31, 09 05:12 PM
  1. My father had an affair with his high school sweetheart. Apparently he always loved her and just settled for my mother. I haven't spoken to my father in four years (I'm 26 and this is the same for both brothers and my sister - he lost all four of his children; aged 22-30) because of this....and my parents waited to get a divorce until my younger brother was out of high school.

    Treat your spouses with respect. Because when you hurt them your children hurt for them too.

    Posted by Liz August 31, 09 05:16 PM
  1. LW, read Graham Greene's "The End of the Affair," and see if you, male OR female, can find some sort of identification with Sarah. Doesn't matter what religion you are, or not - Sarah will offer something to you. Discuss this book with your lover.

    Posted by reindeergirl August 31, 09 05:16 PM
  1. You're both selfish, scumbags and liars. Sounds to me like it's a match made in heaven...

    Posted by You Two Are Pathetic August 31, 09 05:22 PM
  1. Brad Pitt recently referred to Angelina Jolie as his "soul mate". He seems straight to me.....

    Posted by TallGirl August 31, 09 05:23 PM
  1. Your a dirty lying cheater....

    I have seen several marriages broken up by the dirty lying cheater. (actually more times by a dirty lying cheating woman than man)

    All this "emotional wasteland" and "true love" bit is hollow justification for your selfishness. And face the truth, you don't plan on divorcing your spouse in 7 years, or you would be doing it now.

    It really is simple, either your marriage is good enough to stay in, which includes being faithful, or it is not. If you marriage isn't worth keeping your pants on, then get out. But I suspect there is nothing wrong with your marriage, just you value the "thrill" of a new and different relationship over your self respect or your family.

    Posted by Alex August 31, 09 05:27 PM
  1. LW, read Graham Greene's "The End of the Affair," and see if you, male OR female, can find some sort of identification with Sarah. Doesn't matter what religion you are, or not - Sarah will offer something to you. Discuss this book with your lover.

    Posted by reindeergirl August 31, 09 05:27 PM
  1. Therapy.

    Posted by Mario August 31, 09 05:35 PM
  1. #58 is the reason that many eligible men are reluctant to get married or start a family. It happens all too frequently. Men end up on the losing end of the stick.

    Posted by sanity123 August 31, 09 05:55 PM
  1. You two liars and cheats deserve each other. Let your spouses move on with their lives.

    Posted by ramona126 August 31, 09 05:59 PM
  1. WAW, you seem to be transferring all blame in this situation on outside forces. Since you're "soulmates" you can't be the bad guys. It was the UNIVERSE that brought this "gift" of our reunion and it's aligned in the stars, so don't blame us! Personally I don't believe in soul mates, although I do believe in true love. I just think you can find true love with more than one person, which you took vows to do. Maybe you got married in your mid-twenties because everyone else was and you didn't want to be alone. It's true that some marriages don't work, but I think you need to admit that you made this mess, nothing was destined. Deal with what you created in real life, nothings perfect.

    Posted by gigi August 31, 09 06:24 PM
  1. What is it about 7 years? It seems to be a magic number in the world of cheating. I know two couples where the husbands each cheated for 7 years. In the first example the woman found out when she followed her husband to a restaurant uninvited... and although three is a crowd she didn't divorce him. I can't believe she didn't leave him, but she didn't. In the other case, the husband sat down the wife and said I'm leaving you, I've been seeing someone else from work for years - and he got up and left. None of his bosses or coworkers knew and a few called the woman to apologize for not knowing.

    Those are two example of what could happen in 7 years - the exact amount of time you think would be appropriate to leave your husband for your soulmate.

    I always said I would never marry someone I didn't love and that I'd rather be alone that with someone I didn't love. I did get married in my early thirties... and it's hard enough living with him, I don't know you could possibly do it any other way and not hate each other!

    Posted by burbanite August 31, 09 06:35 PM
  1. There's one thing here that I don't think has been said: by having sexual relations outside of your marriage you are putting your spouse's health at risk, and by not telling them you are preventing your spouse from defending him/herself against illness. Perhaps you think that you and your are "clean", but do you know with certainty? How do you know that your lover is faithful to you (and/or his/her spouse)? Don't kid yourself by saying that your lover is faithful to you-- after all, s/he was willing to stray from marriage in the first instance. And how do you know that your lover's spouse is not also having extramarital relations?

    Your affair evidences more than blatant disregard for the dignity and feelings of your spouse-- you are selfishly putting your spouse's health at risk. You owe it to your spouse to tell him/her that he/she should be tested.

    Posted by Reality August 31, 09 07:00 PM
  1. #116 aka "E", you have excellent taste in films! That's a classic you don't often see on TV/cable. It's a must-rent, for sure!

    Posted by Amazed August 31, 09 07:07 PM
  1. The gender-bias train is Meredith's fault, with introducing Meryl into it.

    Posted by Mer's fault August 31, 09 07:14 PM
  1. Number 8...LOL. haha. what the hell is a soulmate anyway? like if you get caught in a fire and your face is disfigured the soulmate brags about how beautiful you are and shows you off to all his friends? there is no such thing as a soulmate. human beings use each other for companionship and the like. real love is an unselfish love...i've not seen much of it.

    Posted by selah August 31, 09 08:08 PM
  1. Seriously? People seriously claim not to know whether #58 is real? Guys, #58 is a troll. Someone hoping to get you all riled up over a make-believe situation and to get people to say things like #245 -- according to 245, women getting divorces are *always* deliberately finding men to beat them so badly that they bruise and bleed just so they can frame their husbands... Yup, we women, we're always arranging for vicious beating on purpose. It's a hobby for us, as a gender. Absolutely.

    Also disgusted by the ridiculous "no way a straight man wrote that! Straight men don't say soul mates!" Right. Except for Mark Sanford. And except for Brad Pitt (who has called his partner Jolie his soul mate). Right. Good clear thinking there. Way to go people. Doesn't matter to the advice, but the "dude if it's a guy he's totally gay" sentiment is awful.

    Posted by jlen August 31, 09 08:13 PM
  1. Obviously these people are not happy in their marriages. No, cheating is not a great choice. What is truly disgusting are all the "perfect" people commenting who are far from perfect themselves...does it make you feel superior to call someone else a scumbag?

    Posted by M August 31, 09 09:24 PM

  1. I don't understand people who stay in bad marraiges allegedly "for the kids". Kids are NOT always better off when their parents stay together, miserably! Why? Because they are perceptive, and pick up on tensions, indifference, abuse, whatever - and it's very toxic and can have long-lasting effects!

    What are the real reasons you won't leave your spouses; why are you so willing and able to lie? I think you are living in a dreamland

    Posted by ava August 31, 09 09:45 PM
  1. Funny how no one here attached being gay to "awful" until jlen introduced it.
    And folks are referring to Mark Sanford and Brad Pitt, 2 people who pay PR firms and staff thousands of dollars every year to tell them what to say. Those are the examples we're using here? You're likely so blinded with gender bias issues that you don't realize no one said that men don't cheat. They're saying that this particular cheater is not likely a man. Or if he is, we hope when he gets back to us, he makes sure to tell us which PR firm wrote the letter for him.

    Humor aside, amidst the androgenous outrage, you all miss the entire point, where the pronouns may be wrong but the vitriolic tone still applies. People don't like cheaters, especially when they say "Believe me, we know this is wrong" but want us to help them somehow justify their relationship at the expense of a spouse and children.

    Although we didn't get a response from LW yet, despite taking our time to respond to the letter, I hope the responses are being read and lives are being changed for the better right now.
    My vote is a 3 day vacation for LW - one day for honesty with the spouse, one day looking for a temporary place to stay, and one day with a lawyer writing up the divorce papers..

    Posted by Brian August 31, 09 09:52 PM
  1. #239....aha...see the problem here is that 3rd person guy considers all lanes on mem drive BIKE lanes. He/she is a cambridge bike nazi.

    Posted by fryubba August 31, 09 10:04 PM
  1. You're both rotten people and you belong together. Soulmates indeed.

    Posted by Mark Sanford August 31, 09 10:05 PM
  1. Mark Sanford is a lying politician. Brad Pitt is an actor.

    Get real.

    Posted by al August 31, 09 10:23 PM
  1. Let me guess... #58 and #245 DID abuse their spouses, but hey, if they can get enough people to believe this scenario then suddenly they don't look so bad!

    Posted by soleil August 31, 09 10:32 PM
  1. Spaceman, I am with you 100%. How can you truly know someone without having to go through life on a day to day basis... the ups and downs, the challenges and successes. And what are "soulmates" anyway? I love my wife more than anyone I have ever met, but deep down, had I never met her at that restaurant 8 years ago.. there is no doubt I would've met someone else and fell in love her and had a family. "Soulmates" is a term to make yourself feel better about this whole mess you've created WW... not just for you two, but for countless others. I guess you are "soulmates" in at least one regard, you are both incredibly selfish people.

    Posted by RR Fields August 31, 09 10:35 PM
  1. Wow, lots of judgmental folks here. I married the wrong man -- I settled, no doubt about it. He was the one to cheat, not me. He also became mentally, emotionally, and eventually physically abusive and after a couple of years of marriage, I left.

    But guess what, even after my experience I don't think all cheaters are scumbags and selfish jerks. No one, NO ONE, knows what goes on behind closed doors. Whose to say the LW hasn't tried counseling, hasn't tried to talk to his/her spouse with no results? The LW focuses her note on the affair, not the marriage. A close friend of mine had an affair, cheating on her husband of more than 20 years. I wasn't happy about it, but I also wasn't in her shoes. I knew she had tried to talk to him, but it didn't help. Eventually she told him about the affair, she ended it, and they have been so much better, the marriage stronger, and that affair ended about 7 years ago.

    I don't envy the LW ... we don't know the whole story, and you never know what can happen between two people. Maybe they really are meant to be together, maybe not, we'll never know.

    Posted by Not throwing stones August 31, 09 10:36 PM
  1. I am WAW. To set matters straight, I am male, although I'm not sure why that matters. This does matter: we did not look for each other, it was an accidental meeting. The misunderstanding I mentioned was related to a cultural difference which seemed more important 16 years ago and mattered a great deal to my parents and extended family. Both of us have had religious and secular counseling with our spouse and have made sincere efforts to make our marriages a success.

    I am all of the bad things people said I am, but I love my children and wish to be part of their daily life. The woman I love understands and supports this wish. We do not communicate regularly and have only met a few times to be sure we are not discovered. We are unsure of how to live our lives with or without each other because right now both seem impossible.

    I cannot justify or excuse what we are doing. As I said originally, we are aware this is wrong. Neither of us has made a final decision to leave our spouse when our kids are gone. We have discussed that possibility and we have discussed not seeing each other for the next few years. I was hoping to hear from people who faced a similar decision and learn how they made their decision and how they managed until that time. It seems it is their children who are the ones offering advice and I appreciate that.

    Given the distaste expressed for our relationship, I do not think I will be updating Meredith on our future plans.

    Posted by WAW August 31, 09 10:44 PM
  1. ... hiking the appalachian trail?

    please, find real.

    Posted by al August 31, 09 10:49 PM
  1. #136 - as an fyi, "you may want to find a good lawyer. the courts don't condone cheating..." sorry, the courts don't want to know about cheating. the assets get divided equally. forget the "good lawyer" and use a mediator.

    Posted by N September 1, 09 06:42 AM
  1. #254 Gigi,
    True love is being TRUE to your lover.
    if you have two lovers, it is being TRUE TO BOTH, not just one.
    if you have three lovers, it is being TRUE TO THREE, not just one or two.
    if you have four lovers, it is being TRUE TO all FOUR.
    if you have five lovers, it is being TRUE TO all FIVE.
    you are not a TRUE LOVER yourself.
    NOT AT ALL A TRUE LOVER, you are a !!!!!!!! LIAR LOVER !!!!!!!!!!!!!
    stop looking for one since others are looking for true love for themselves.

    LL letters is right LIAR LETTERS

    Posted by LL letters - LIAR LETTERS to Liar'dith September 1, 09 07:32 AM
  1. #260 jlen,
    how many hours of family courts docs have you researched to say troll ?are you guilty or does it offend you? you definitely are !

    you are jolie-lookalike and what does you say when brad-pitt lookalike calls you a soulmate? no , I believe in true love. even if you can find true love with more than one person, I cannot be true to even one lover , so Iam a cheatmate, liarmate !!!!!

    Posted by LIARMATE September 1, 09 07:40 AM
  1. Listen, if it is good enough for President Clinton, it is good enough for us all. The majority of Americans cheat on their spouses. Get over it. Be more like the French and look the other way!

    Posted by Lance Romance September 1, 09 08:03 AM
  1. Long time reader...first time commenter. Hoss -- well said. Get out of the marriage so that everyone else can move on and be happy.

    Posted by Michelle September 1, 09 09:23 AM
  1. Brad Pitt is a weenie. Just sayin'.

    Posted by Rae September 1, 09 09:23 AM
  1. Hey WaW...
    You should have called yourself 'Waaaaaaaaa'.
    Boo hoo....LL readers express distaste my affair.
    Boo hoo...people didn't give me an easy way out.

    Posted by You're a weinee. A big one. September 1, 09 09:48 AM
  1. I don't blame WAW for not wanting to provide another update. Calling him "whore," et al is not helpful, and it's **meant** to be insulting. This column is rarely moderated (for better or worse), so the LWs get what they get. // WAW - You're not "bad," but you are confused. Does that make you a "bad" husband? It depends on what the rest of your life is like with your wife. I do reiterate that you ought to give her a chance at happiness during the 7 years ahead before your youngest is out of the house. // However, if **you** want happiness, and your special friend does too, with each other, I suggest not waiting "a few years" - who knows what will happen with either of you in that time? // Most who wrote to LL used to be kind, WAW. Now it's attracted some trolls of the worst kind. Perhaps you should write to Margo or Annie instead, and, of course, continue in marriage counseling. // Also, in this day and age, and with your youngest being a 'tween, there is no reason you can't continue to see them and be part of their lives, as long as you are completely honest about how you landed on your present road with your friend. // I believe poly relationships work, but I also believe in "one true lover" of our lives. Good luck with the difficult choices ahead.

    Posted by reindeergirl September 1, 09 09:50 AM
  1. So LW has written in again, and he's a he. (# 270).

    I told you so - # 87.

    The lesson here, everybody, is READ THE LETTERS OBJECTIVELY. Don't assume that a LW's baggage is just like yours.

    Posted by TallGirl September 1, 09 09:58 AM
  1. WAW, Unless there is a tremendous amount of money involved; trusts, etc., I don't understand why it would be so hard to leave. I do understand the financial aspect, via a friend, whose husband allowed her to have an affair, but if she left him, there was some financial instrument in place that would place the childrens' trusts at risk.

    Go. Enjoy your life. Let your wife rebuild and then enjoy hers. Your children will always be your children.

    Posted by reindeergirl September 1, 09 10:05 AM
  1. #260, WAW, I do not believe waiting a couple of years is going to make anything less hard on the spouses/children involved. Unless you are waiting a couple of years so that both of you know you are indeed soul mates. I don't get the waiting. And I don't get why you would not update Meredith on your status in the future.

    Furthermore, I was not one of the ones to vilify you but I actually think it's enormously selfish of you to stay with your spouse so you can be in the daily lives of your kids. Your wife should be given the truth that her marriage with you is over so she can begin the healing process of moving on. Were you ever friends with your wife? Would you treat a friend like this? Let her know you hope the divorce can be as amicable as possible.

    Posted by Amazed September 1, 09 10:12 AM
  1. What many of the trolls who have posted in response to this letter have missed is that the deep sadness expressed by the LW. He does not sound to me like someone who was just looking to score -- he fell in love. I can relate to this -- it is deeply sad to love someone and see that love fade over time. WAW, my parents stayed together "for the kids." Big mistake. It's a hard decision, but choose happiness for yourself. If you no longer love your wife, let her go. Your children love you and will want you to be happy. It's all about how you handle the separation and divorce. If you treat your wife with the respect she deserves after your many years of marriage, your children will forgive you.

    Posted by sadiecat September 1, 09 10:22 AM
  1. "We do not communicate regularly and have only met a few times to be sure we are not discovered. We are unsure of how to live our lives with or without each other because right now both seem impossible."

    Dear god, a couple of phone calls and you're now soulmates. If you tell the wife & kids now, they'll be hurt but eventually get over it. If you tell them 7, 10, or 20 years from now, they'll realize how much of their lives you wasted and question every moment of their past where you were involved. And every question they have they'll need an answer. And only you can answer, but they won't trust you enough to believe it.

    "Given the distaste expressed for our relationship, I do not think I will be updating Meredith on our future plans."

    and now you're wasting our time?

    I recently read that people seek out information to validate their thoughts and opinions, and not objectively look at the information given and possibly change their mind. This seems to be the case here. 277 responses later, and you're on the same track. Sorry for the harsh tone, but this is complete bullsh*t. We realize you have no true obligation to us, but you came here for advice, you've seen the overwhelming responses and tone, and you whistle right past us as if no one made a valid point.

    Well deserved tough times ahead for you, WAW.

    Posted by Brian September 1, 09 10:23 AM
  1. WAW,

    Thanks for the update (#270), especially after all the vitriol that has been sent your way. People around here (myself included) react strongly to cheaters, but I understand how you got yourself in this situation. I also understand how family pressures can make us make wrong decisions, especially when we are young.

    It sounds like your marriage may be beyond repair. It happens. If meeting this old flame was the straw that broke the camels back, and you now know your marriage is over, then end it. You need to think of your marriage independent of this old flame, though, as much as you can. Would you rather be alone or married to your current wife? That's really the decision you face, now, and the old flame is a distraction. You can't (and shouldn't) count on the old flame being there for you if you get divorced.

    Planning your escape in 7 years, just so you can be with your kids in the meantime is selfish. (Unless you discuss this with your wife, and somehow she's OK with it). That's why I believe people reacted so strongly to your letter. This is not an ethical option. If you want out, you should do it, now. I understand that you fear that you will be cut out of your kid's life. Hopefully you can get joint custody (which I recognize still may make you less involved than you would be if your marriage stayed together), but there are no guarantees. Here's where being a man matters. As TallGirl (#87) astutely pointed out, women can assume they will get at least joint custody of the children (barring unusual circumstances). Regardless of what divorce might cause, being deceitful for 7 years is still wrong. You might want to talk to a lawyer about your options and likely outcomes.

    I don't envy your choices: A (possibly messy) divorce, 7 years of deceit, or going back to marriage which is going to leave both of you unfulfilled.

    My advice would be to enter counseling again with your wife, we the understanding that you will either try to save your marriage, or split as amicably as possible. End the affair, and try to put it aside for now, as much as you can. If your wife feels you are ending your marriage to be with someone else (rather than the marriage just dying on it's own), she is much more likely to fight hard with you, both in and out of court.

    Posted by two sheds September 1, 09 10:45 AM
  1. I agree with Brian.

    "We have discussed that possibility and we have discussed not seeing each other for the next few years." - WHAT? for real? And keep on living the lie with your wife? What will happen at the end of the few years?

    Come on...it's just plain wrong and your wife/children definitely deserve better. I'm actually quite shocked.

    Posted by Lizziex1980 September 1, 09 10:48 AM
  1. YOU ARE the emotional wasteland, not your marriage. You made a commitment to another person and then make excuses when an easy escape from reality shows up. You are a selfish person who's betraying a sacred bond. I believe your husband knows he's better off without you. Give him the chance to have a better life than he now has with you. Time to start being "the grown up" in this relationship and stop acting like a love struck teenager.

    And I'll go out on a limb here and I'm guessing you're fat!!

    Posted by Michael September 1, 09 10:54 AM
  1. Michael, you need to read #270.

    Posted by Anonymous September 1, 09 11:07 AM
  1. LW, you are upset because the truth hurts. When you become a parent, your happiness has to be bumped down below the happiness/well being of your children. If not, then you shouldn't have kids. When you get married, you form a union and make vows that provide the basis for the union. If you cannot keep your responsibilities and your word, if you will not work to improve it, or if you have given up (as you clearly have here), then you should end the relationship.

    You have marginalized your wife and kids for the sake of your own selfish neediness, but you do not have the stones to go one step further and remove yourself from your marriage officially. You want to have one foot in each relationship. It won't work. With each passing day, your actions become more and more cowardly. Don't do this to your wife and kids. Period.

    Don't give any more updates. I already know what's going to happen to you. You will get what you deserve, but you are an adult. Your kids have no choice. They are getting exactly what they do not deserve. I'm your kids 28 years or so down the line. It never goes away.

    - Hoss

    Posted by Hoss September 1, 09 11:12 AM
  1. YOU ARE the emotional wasteland, not your marriage. You made a commitment to another person and then make excuses when an easy escape from reality shows up. You are a selfish person who's betraying a sacred bond. I believe your wife knows he's better off without you. Give her the chance to have a better life than she now has with you. Time to start being "the grown up" in this relationship and stop acting like a love struck teenager.

    And I'll go out on a limb here and I'm guessing you're fat!!

    Posted by Anonymous September 1, 09 11:13 AM
  1. I would love to have another piece of ass on the side to make me feel alive but I swore that I would not and I find or make the love in my marriage. Actually I would never want to live in the ugliness of a long-term affair. You seem selfish and want to make something seem like "sole mates". There is no such thing. I could be happily married to a number of women but I picked one and fight to make it work. You are deluding yourself because you are focused only on you. You should have never let this go this far with your "sole mate". You are a bored wife. Perhaps your hubby's spirit died inside because of this and he checked out because he could not carry your bags. Hopefully he is making nice with a friend of yours.

    Posted by IamChachi September 1, 09 11:16 AM
  1. Yuck, you're yucky, and your a chicken-snit. Get a life, I'll bet your family won't miss you.

    Posted by hippydippy September 1, 09 11:20 AM
  1. There is no such thing as a soul mate and your other woman certainly isn't yours. In life, there are many people we could love, and each person fits into our lives very differently. Every person you love requires different sacrifices to be made in order to make things work. You just want the easy way out and you always have. Things didn't work out with the other woman in the first place because you felt it wasn't worth the work or the sacrifice. Now, because you settled and she’s your soul mate, you think you can have your cake and eat it too?? But you claim this other woman is your soul mate, and yet you still aren’t willing to make the tough decision, make the sacrifices (leave the family) to be with her. You’ve got the decisions backwards here… you should have both made the decision to leave your SOs BEFORE hopping into bed with each other. Marriage isn’t supposed to be something you “settle” for and it certainly isn’t supposed to be treated like a safety net, something to tide you over until something better gets along – you got married because you’re pathetic and afraid to be alone, afraid you’d never find the security and comfort of family life, but you think you should be able to continue to shop around behind her back in case something better comes along? You’ve robbed your wife of the opportunity to build a family with a person who loves her more than anything else in the world. It is our choices that define us, not our ‘fate’.

    Posted by HappilyEverAfter September 1, 09 11:30 AM
  1. Okay, WAW, you wanted stories about how this played out for other people, so here's one. My very close friend (he's male, I'm female) was in a situation like yours, and decided to stay married till the kids graduated from HS. (I was his confidant and knew all of the details of the affair and marriage.) The marriage was never that good to begin with, and his wife was always suspicious that he was cheating even before he actually started. The years passed, the kids are long grown, the affair is over, and he is still married. Their marriage went from bad to awful. His decision to have an affair contributed to its awfulness, but his decision to stay in the marriage without making it better is the real reason it's so bad.

    Posted by Sasha September 1, 09 11:58 AM
  1. You went to religious/pastoral counseling to try and save your marriage? You really are clueless. Now I just feel bad for you.

    Posted by sexual chocolate September 1, 09 12:02 PM
  1. AMEN #191

    Posted by Anonymous September 1, 09 12:12 PM
  1. Rico still thinks you are a loser....

    Rico thinks regardless of the "soulmate" you are wrong. Even if the "soulmate" never commits to you EVER you have already left your marriage. You will cheat with the soulmate or without.

    Officially end the marriage, you are a LOSER.

    Rico thanks you for reading

    Posted by Rico September 1, 09 12:30 PM
  1. I think it matters to know if you're a guy or a woman - that way, we can address insults to the appropriate gender.

    Cheating Bastard

    You get the idea. You shouldn't act so insulted - you opened pandora's box by writing to Love Letters. Didn't like what you heard? Truth hurts, eh buddy???

    I think cheating scum like you should be burned at the stake... Religious counseling? Well - I think we all know where you're headed: Straight to Hell. And you belong there.

    Do your wife a favor: drop dead.

    Posted by Not Havin' It September 1, 09 12:30 PM
  1. I appreciate the LW's plight... but I was the other woman... I wasn't married but my "soul mate" was... we saw each other for over 5 years and he lived with me for 2. He was totally the chaser in the relationship with me saying, please please please end your marriage before you get involved with me. He did separate and moved in with me, without ending the marriage. But then he became the jerk to me that caused his wife to withdraw from him and their marriage at about the 1 year mark living together. After 2 years with me begging him to GET THE F'ING DIVORCE, I bailed out. Enough is enough. I realized that he was the most selfish person I had ever met. I wonder if you are thinking clearly... staying in the marriage in love with someone else is not fair to your wife or your lover. Either get divorced and let your wife move on or cut your ties to the other woman and let her move on either in or out of her marriage as well. What you are doing now is totally unfair to all... including the kids. How can you really be thinking about them when your head and heart is somewhere else? Just be warned that the other person might not be the wonderful person you think she is. She may be a she-devil in disguise and you'll give up so much for nothing. Go all in or all out. There's really no other choice.

    Posted by beentheredonethat September 1, 09 12:43 PM
  1. WAW, HERE S A DISCORDING VOICE, HOPE IT'S NOT TOO LATE; I fully understand where you are at, my best friend is going through this right now, the story being so similar that in fact I wonder if you're her lover...well, from where I stand, I believe you should give this relationship a chance, as long as you take care that your spouse and kids won't be hurt by this (what they don't know, won't hurt them); whoever says that breaking up a years long marriage + kids ( no matter how much of a wasteland it is) it's better that having a discreet affair, has NO CLUE what he's talking about: another one of my friends did just that, and it has been such a hell on all parts involved that now everybody is in therapy, kids included: will they be ok in the end?Sure...maybe.But they'd have been a whole lot better if it never happened. If it was just you and your spouse, there would be no question, divorce is the best way to go...but kids change everything, breaking up their family is one of the most selfish acts, I don't care how unhappy you are...their happiness comes first. And if that means having affairs (the emotional wasteland is for BOTH of you, so that could be your spouse's choice too), well so be it, at least until they are grown up enough not to be completely devastated by it. There are so many hypocrites out there, the very same ones who'll criticize you, who'll go to great lengths to tell you that children can be well adjusted to divorce: they are in utter denial. There is NO QUESTION as to that, any therapist will tell you (and any child coming from a divorce) that the pain is immense. I think there's a big difference between cheating for the heck of it and being trapped in a situation like yours and my friend's. I have been married for almost twenty years and been lucky enough to be in a good relationship; however, I'm fully aware of how rare it is... and fully aware that sometimes good people have no choice but to play with the cards life hands them, even if they are lousy; I suggest that you keep this affair going, with much discretion...see where it goes; if it is just a reaction to the emotional wasteland, you'll find out soon enough. If it isn't, maybe you'll have to make choices...or maybe you won't; and it will probably make you a nicer spouse, for you'll be happier and therefore more available to your family; feel better?...Hmm... I'm going to take a guess, and say that you probably wrote this letter hoping to get some form of absolution, because you do feel guilty; well, I don't have the authority to do that...but here's some food for thought: Morally, cheating is wrong. Ethically, cheating is only wrong if the other is hurt by it (by knowing). Marriage as monogamous relationship is a moral convention, based on very good reasons. However, moral values keep changing in time and space: what was morally acceptable 200 years ago, today is unacceptable; and what is deemed morally acceptable in US may be utterly forbidden in other parts of the world. Ethics is and has been the same for thousands of years, the same principles holding true and remaining the same in all cultures at all times. Ethics says: DO NO HARM, whatever you do. If you believe that you can carry on this affair without harming anyone, then by all means, do so; and remember to be compassionate, and kind to all the people around you...because you never know what choices you may make if you were in certain situations; we all like to think that we know...but we don't, and we can't talk the talk until we walk the walk. And that's true for everybody and for every situation. So in the end, when you are in a no-win situation (such as yours, unhappy marriage, long lost love, kids to think about...), should you follow the ever changing morals or the fundamentals of ethics? Your choice. And I, for one, will choose to behave as a fellow imperfect human being, and not as a judgmental b****. Good luck to all of you.

    Posted by Creativecook September 1, 09 06:14 PM
  1. The problems that cause a marriage to turn into an emotional wasteland often have nothing to do with the person, or the relationship, but rather the details of life. If you met your spouse only clandestinely they'd be quite exciting as well.

    "New love" is wonderful, with it's chemical reactions and release of hormones that more settled relationshps of a few years do not have. Two years down the road, this 'true love' relationship wont have it as well. The fact that you two broke up once, before you had the stresses of children or property, doesn't bode well with your compatibility with this 'soul mate' in a real life situation over the long haul.

    My advice. Save your marriage.

    Let this person go.

    After your kids are in bed ,turn off the tv, tell your spouse you want to talk. Ask them, "Do you miss me? " Tell them you want to be a couple again, go on dates, talk, have a friendship. Do not point fingers on blame, work on 'from this day forward". ALWAYS work in the present tense, never go backwards and start assigning blame. "From this day forward let's be kind to eachother, let's talk, let's be friends again."

    After the talk, see how you feel. Seeing your spouse miss you may make ending the affair much easier. Yes, it's hard to walk away from love. But do it. End the affair.

    Do not tell your spouse you had an affair.

    The affair will never last the current state it is in for seven years. That is the only definite I can tell you with absolution.

    Your having trouble dealing with reality and making your real life happy. But it's time.

    End the affair.

    Work on your real life.

    Posted by a few grey hairs is feeling tired September 2, 09 10:25 AM
  1. WAW, for your wife's sake, I hope you get a divorce. She's way too good for a piece of trash like you. She deserves MUCH better than being your placeholder. You married her knowing that you "settled." That in and of itself was GROSSLY unfair to her--I sure wouldn't want to be the one someone settled for, why would your wife? Would you want that? You can still be a part of your kids' life if you get divorced--and if you keep your mouth shut about how your wife is just second best (and someone you settled for) and how your OMG SO EXCITED BECAUSE YOU TOTES MET YOUR SOULMATE you might even come out of it with an amicable relationship with your wife and a relationship with your kids.

    BUT I WILL SAY THIS--you wife deserves better than this. She didn't ask to be second best, and deserves to be with someone who loves her.

    Seriously--if you and your "soul-mate" know it's so wrong, why are you doing it? If you're so miserable, why are you still in your marriage? is your wife just a pile of dog crap? Do her feelings count for NOTHING? (Don't bother answering that, my narcissistic little slag, it's a rhetorical question.)

    My point still stands--you're a selfish, curb-crawling slag. Boo-hoo, we don't get to hear any updates from you. You're actually shocked that people are trashing you for this? Dude, people on this site have been HURT by unfaithful "partners" like you. You're an ass.

    I'm willing to bet we'll be hearing from your wife when she learns that your skanktastic self has been creeping on her and that you regard her as some sort of millstone. I really, really hope when that letter comes that everyone here tells her to dump her skanky husband already, that's she's
    too good for such worthless dog.

    Posted by PM September 2, 09 10:34 AM
  1. I would like to meet the idiot that decided that staying together in an unhappy marriage while you cheat and decieve your significant other is "better for the kids" than getting a divorce. Isn't it better for a child to have two happy and well adjusted parents, even if they aren't together?? I don't understand that concept, and I never will. Mind you, my parents are not divorced.

    I hate to be so blunt here, and I am really not attempting to be rude, but you are acting selfish and deceptive. Do you somehow think that it's ok to cheat just because you found "love"? You have no regard for the person that you stood up in front of vowed to love and cherish.

    Commit to fixing your marriage or get a divorce before you end up hurting your family even more than you already will when your spouse and/or children find out about your affair on their own. Because if you are that blind that you think that they won't eventually find out then you're really blinded by this ridiculous excuse for "love".

    Posted by inloveinma September 2, 09 07:16 PM
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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