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Dr. Norman Brown
Dr. Norman Brown, Marriage Therapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1200
Experience:  Family Therapist & teacher 35+ yrs; PhD research in couples
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This is hard for me to express since Ive told very few but

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This is hard for me to express since I've told very few but I must get advice on what to do next. I've been married for 11 years. I have a daughter who is 6. My husband cheated on me while I was pregnant and had a long standing relationship with this woman. I found out while I was pregnant and confronted him and this woman. I had complications with my pregnancy but after my child was born my husband took great care of me. I still held some ILL feelings towards him but nevertheless kept pushing forward with my life. MY husband is a nice guy by most accounts. Not very expressing, unemotional, not very loving towards me but is a great dad who works hard. We don't hug, kiss, hold hands etc. When we made love we would go from behind or he'd get on top and go until he was done. I would climax sometimes but the sex was not passionate at all. He was pretty selfish in that regard and I was basically doing this out of obligation and my needs at times. I see couples in public holding each other kissing and having a great time and wondered why my relationship wasn't like that. I'd talk to him and tell him what I like and don't like and what I need from him sexually, physically and emotionally but it seemed to go in one ear and out the other or he would make the attempt for a moment then go right back to his comfort zone. I am close with his family and have known these people for years since he is my high school sweetheart so to speak. We broke up a few times over the years but like a magnet I was drawn back to him and here I am still. I have two sisters who are significantly younger than I am. I feel as if I raised them considering my mother speaks very little English. Well, 4 years ago this very attractive guy walks into my office at work. He is stylish and charming but I had no idea what was going to happen since in no way was I even thinking of another man at that time. After about 3 months we would speak in passing but it was always processional. One day this man send me a message telling me that he thinks I am very attractive and wants to get to know me. I advised him I was married and he told me that he knows but just wanted to talk. He comes into my office and he tells me so many stories and he was hurt and contemplating leaving his child's mother who was abusive towards him and he just wanted to vent to someone who was not bias. He was crying so hard because he did not want to break up the home he had with his child. I offered some advice and listened to him and he seemed happy when we stopped talking. Every so often he would drop by and we would talk for hours it seems about his progress and many of topics of our life. I never told him I was unhappy in my marriage but I'm sure he could sense something was going on. One day he sends me a message asking me to go to dinner. At first I was a bit nervous but we had spent so much time talking I figured it would be ok. He tells me that he was so glad I spoke with him and he thanked me for being there for him in his time of need. He then told me that he has always noticed me even before he came to me that one day. Told me 2years ago he thought I was so gorgeous but because I was pregnant and married he knew he had no hope. He remembered moments I didn't and said we were in seminars together and I made him so nervous and he just was trying to impress me then. After dinner I was so engrossed in this man, his smile his mind his charisma that I didn't know which way was up. He asked me for a hug and I hugged him on our way to our cars and I felt instantly like this guy had something that was special. I called him after a night out with the ladies and he missed my call. I told him I wanted to stop by his house for a hug. I feel like I was giving myself permission to be with him in a way and I know he took it that way. He spoke to me at work again and asked me about the call and I apologized and told him I think I may have had too much wine. He took it with a grain of salt. Later that week he asks me out again and I obliged. Same scenario we depart going to our vehicles an then it happened. He felt nervous and was shaking and so we I we embraced and kissed each other, long hard and passionate. That was the start of something that has lasted 4 years. We have spent much time with each other. We have had tremendous, breathtaking love making. We have taken trips to many places and enjoyed every moment. He cooks for me, rubs my back my feet and surprises me with flowers, cloths jewelry the whole shebang. He gives attention listens to me, respects me and tends to my every need. He gave me a key to his place and said you are welcome whenever you want. We have been in love and it feels like a greater love then I have ever experienced in my life. This man literally breaths me and I love it. We get along so well and the spark is so high when are together but the only trouble was that I don't have much time for him due to me still being married. He has told me he does not want to brea

Dr. Norman Brown :

Your passionate story is so moving that it feels right. Are you asking if it's all right? Or are you asking what you can do about it now, after 4 years?

Dr. Norman Brown :

Has your lover left his wife? Since he gave you a key to "his place." Do you think your husband doesn't suspect anything? Or might he be turning a blind eye, because he's having another affair of his own, or it's still the one he had when you were pregnant?

Dr. Norman Brown :

Do you hope to be united as soon as you can? Or are you determined to live with your husband for the sake of your children? I'll look for your answers tomorrow.


I am asking if it is right and if so what steps i should take next. I am torn becAuse my child and connection mostly. My guy has professed his love with so much conviction that it's scary as well. I love him but now I've second guessed everything. I'm sure my husband knows something and he's made several comments but I just ignored him or deny. I'm not sure if he has someone else and I really haven't cared. I love this guy and want to make his dreams come true but at what costs. I want to have minimal collateral damage as possible if I decide this is what's right for me. I know that if I take too long he will either resent me or even perhaps meet someone else. I'm torn becAuse I am not trying to destroy my child and bury my husband in finances that he may not be able to handle without me. It's a struggle but I don't know what to do.

I had to switch to Q & A because the computer system would not display our chat to me unless I switched it. But that doesn't change anything. We'll discuss for as long as you need, even beyond a week.


Yes it's a big struggle. I'll say out front that you can't make any choices without hurting someone; that's just the way love is. Also, love is blind, but not entirely without wisdom. By this I mean that 1. the intensity of your love feelings is partially (but not entirely) due to its comparison with your grinding unfulfillment with your husband, and even more so because the relief&release from holding in your disgust & frustration & anger at your husband during romantic and sexual moments with your lover sends the normal euphoria of love moments completely thru the roof. 2. and intensity of love is NO guarantee that that person is Right for you. The most passionate relationship EVER could be SO RIGHT for you in the moment and wrong in the long run of an actual relationship. It also doesn't guarantee that that person is Wrong for you. But meeting and developing your love thru mutual secretive affairs is a good guarantee that the intensity of your love will be jacked up so high that you won't bother to think much about how compatible you would be for each other in the long term.


So I urge you to think about his career, his goals and yours, and issues around children and childrearing, as well as financial issues before diving in.


As to the question "Is it Right?" I hear your unhappiness, and your happiness, and I don't view morality as an absolute in all cases. I weigh the outcomes, for everyone involved. Is your husband a good father to your daughter? How is your coparenting relationship with your husband--ie good for your daughter? How is your lover as a father to his child? Has he divorced his wife? At 6, your daughter could grow up with either 2 good fathers or 1 good and 1 not-so-good, and either way she'd have permanent effects from the divorce, but 2 good & available fathers would be the best outcome, possibly better than you staying in an unsatisfying marriage. Every child grows up with some wounds from idiosyncratic wounded & unconscious parents. If the 1 not-so-good father is her separated biological dad, that's better than if it's her stepdad. Also, if you and your husband don't choose to spend quality time together, then your daughter may be serving as chief companion to Both you and your husband, or at least to You. If you marry a man who you'll really want to spend lots of quality time with, then your daughter will lose her job as mother's indispensable comrade--and that job is not good for her having a carefree childhood. Also, if she sees her dad for limited times of visitation, she will probably have more quality time with him than she does now, unless he moves far away and/or avoids her in order to start his family life over.

There are many more aspects to consider, including your moral values, your relationship with husband's family (how's your lover's relationship with his exwife's family? There's the hurt to your lover and to yourself if you choose not to continue with him, and the hurt to all 3 adults if your husband discovers and confronts the two of you. That's already happened once before, but you can't be sure that your husband's reaction won't be different than yours was.


And there's the ideal outcome for everybody: your husband IS still having an affair with a very durable foundation. So he'd be released to marry the woman he wants, and your daughter could end up with 2 pairs of loving parents, which is better than one. That's rare, but IF your husband welcomes the divorce because he already has someone, then the chances of an amicable divorce and excellent post divorce friendship-collaboration are very good.


So I wonder if there's a way to send up a trial balloon on that issue? Here's a thought (but don't just jump on it without careful consideration). Ask him this: "What if things had turned out differently back when we had our confrontation about your affair during my pregnancy? What if I had divorced you then, or if I'd waited until I was more on my feet after the birth and then despite all the good care you'd given me I had divorced you? Where do you think we'd be now, 5-6 years later, being coparents but not married to each other? Have you ever thought about that?"


If his response show in some way that he's deeply wounded about how close he came to losing you thru that affair, how stupid he was to even risk it, and how he can't imagine ever wanting a different woman than you (since his making amends caretaking may have nourished a more unselfish love than he'd ever known before), . . . . then he might be deeply blind-sided, hurt and furious about considering a divorce now. But if instead he's able to talk about alternative lives he might have lived that sound like they'd be acceptable to what you have together, except perhaps for what a divorce could do to your daughter--then you know that it's something you CAN talk about. And then you could tell him "You know I've been unsatisfied in some ways with our marriage for quite a while, and you don't seem to be able to respond to my requests for change - - - - - - So you could have THAT discussion again, and if he saw that you would seriously consider divorcing because of these differences, he'd either propose new ways to be more certain that the changes you want may be achieved, or he'd be shocked at first, but NOT desperate to make those changes, if in fact he does have his other woman for bailing out of your marriage--unless his secret woman is also married, so more worms would be crawling out of the woodwork.


Have you ever heard how big areas like the medieval Europe, and the Middle East, India and China used to arrange marriages based on astrological charts? I have studied that a little, and I've seen that to some extent it works. If you were to accept that as a possibility, then you could arrange to get the birth charts (birth time & place as accurate as possible--within 15-30 minutes) of both men and yourself and get them compared, as well as composite charts for the relationship. The composite charts will show strengths and challenges in each relationship, as well as what aspects are compelling and what aspects (usually much more of the relationship) are not compelling, so they're up to you to create. If these 2 composite charts should turn out way more compelling and durable/loving with your lover than with your husband, besides showing you many features of both relationships that would be amazingly accurate with no prior knowledge by the astrologer, then you'd have support for divorcing. If the lover-chart should show up a compelling&fatal flaw and the husband-chart show durable love, you'd have support for just working on the marriage, by talking up divorce possibility and demanding couple/sex therapy. If both relationship charts are roughly equally good&difficult, or not very compelling one way or the other, then astrology will not contribute a vote in support of one choice or the other. That might signal though, that the grass isn't actually greener on the other side of the fence because of better nutrients in the soil, though the differences in your histories of grazing on each side could lead you to be better at cultivating the garden next door than what has always been your own.


Well, I've given you a lot more to chew on. OH yeah. You could also call up a psychic and ask him/her if your husband knows what you're up to and if he's up to something similar. But you might want to disguise what you're fishing for, so the psychic doesn't just guess immediately that you're sniffing for affairs and then provide you with one. I don't think most psychics can predict very far into the future; and I don't know about their ethical concerns about pinpointing extramarital affairs. But I do believe in openness towards any source of knowledge IF you can be unafraid of what you'll find and not blown around like a feather by knowledge you can't cope with--such as taking away your basic security (like your religious beliefs if they are foundational for you. Getting a divorce would threaten your daughter's foundation, but if you were very cooperative about it, and got some counseling guidance too, and her post-divorce family environment was stable and collaborative with her father & his environment, she might be better off in adulthood than if you stay in a dry marriage with low intimacy, low love and smoldering resentment between you.

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