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I am at a cross-roads in my life. I just sat my oral examination

I am at a cross-roads...
I am at a cross-roads in my life. I just sat my oral examination for a PhD a little more less than 2 weeks ago. I am in my mid-50s, married for 29 years and in love with another man for 25 years. To say the least it is complicated. Here are the facts: I married when I was 21 and it lasted 3 years. I married again two years later to my current husband. My husband has adult ADHD and has sensory integration issues which keep us from having any sort of emotional relationship (I was unaware of this when we married). He is a successful, yet unambitious design engineer. Nearly all life changing important things such as moving house, having a child, starting my PhD has had to come by way of ultimatum after years of trying to sort these issues with no response. He has stayed employed in the same job for over 30 years. I started suffering from mild depression 36 months after marriage began. This was the first recognition for me that I wasn't getting what I needed from my relationship with my husband. Eighteen (18) months later, I met a man. I wasn't looking for him. We became friends and then lovers and we have seen each other as often as feasibly possible ever sense even though he moved back to his home country within 10 months of the relationship beginning. He married and he and his wife and me and my husband had our first child within 1 month of each other. He went on to have 2 more children with his wife. I love my husband but am not in love. We have been living apart (another story that is too long to tell here) for the last 4 years while I finish my PhD. I have seen and been emotionally supported during this time by my Australian lover. He is an academic, bright, energetic, with heaps of ambition. We suit each other well. We have talked of leaving our respective spouses but I can't bear the hurt it would cause to his wife and children or to my husband and son. I live much closer to him now although an ocean still separates us. We talk of being together someday … like when we are 70 (after he gets his children through university). My head says that it ridiculous but my heart can't let go of him. I cannot ever imagine returning to my husband. While I have been gone, my home has turned into a bachelor pad that resembles a fraternity house. I feel frozen in time now that the PhD is complete … I want to find a great job. I want it to be near my Australian friend but my head and heart keep screaming different things to me. My head and heart says never to go back to my husband. I'm confused and just need some advise outside my own head. Please go gently on me as I'm feeling quite fragile right now. Thanking you in advance.
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Answered in 33 minutes by:
11/19/2013
RealSupport
RealSupport, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 3,191
Experience: MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
Verified

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you. (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I am very sorry to know about this overwhelming and frustrating situation.

Customer:

I don't want this to be public … what can I do now?

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I can block public access to it if you want.

Customer:

Yes, please.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

No problem.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Thanks.

Customer:

Thank you.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Let's continue.

Customer:

Thank you.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You'er welcome

Customer:

Did you have a chance to read the narrative?

Customer:

The problem with situation such as these is that you can't talk to anyone about it.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Absolutely, I did (3 times)

Customer:

Oh, my … once is enough. ; )

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Right! Did you happen to fully rehabilitate from depression?

Customer:

Well, that is a good question. I would say yes but tend to have situational anxiety from time to time.

Customer:

I think it is probably pretty normal stuff … like extreme stress while trying to finish the PhD thesis. Who gets out of that without it?

Customer:

I'm just in a place now where I feel that my heart and head are in a tug of war.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I see, this situation is tough enough to cause and deepen depression or anxiety disorders to most people in your shoes. It is tough, specially because of not having your support system there for you.

Customer:

I've managed.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Please tell me more about this conflict.

Customer:

It certainly says a lot about my relationship with my husband.

Customer:

He and my son initially came with me to the country I am now living and I thought they would see me through it but at the first chance to go back home my husband jumped shipped and went back to his stable job and life. Our son stayed with me until he wanted to return to start high school in our hometown. Now he is in University.

Customer:

oops … jumped ship (not shipped)

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I see.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Then things get tougher for you when you found yourself staying there alone, while your husband chose to continue with his life this apart from you.

Customer:

Ok … so do you think I should just take a job wherever and move on in my own life and leave them both behind, go back to my husband, or stay close to the man who brings me happiness.

Customer:

oops … we crossed paths. To respond to your statement … no … NO … it has been wonderful living 1/2 way around the world. I have not missed living with my husband. I have very much enjoyed being on my own, keeping a house to my standards of living, and just chatting for a few minutes each day by Skype. It is fine with me.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Based on your story, I would not say that pushing yourself back to your husband would help any of you, since you do not feel you truly have the necessary love, passion and commitment to heal and grow together because of the core issues you described here.

Customer:

Yes, I think you are right. It just seems odd to me. It goes against the values I thought meant something to me. I mean why be married if you don't live together or have a close relationship? It sounds like we are living under some pretence that really isn't there.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Regarding your son, that's a totally different story, since you will always have the same relationship, but now he is already working on his higher level studies, and to share and support him should not mean you would distortedly self-sacrifice denying your own needs for a fulfilling personal life, you would just need to work on taking good care of both, yourself and your relationship with him, depending on what you feel, want and appears as viable.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Absolutely right

Customer:

Yes, and I have. I support him financially, we talk by Skype at least 5 times a week and he knows that I have a hard time living with his Father. But, on the level of what we want for ourselves and family, he doesn't want us to divorce. He wants us to be together and happy. That is fair enough in an ideal world. Of course, he knows nothing of the other relationship and I am unsure how he would take it if he knew.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

It's like an illusion, codependently enabled and kept because it should be that way according to what dominant social standards command, but not because you truly want it nor feel happy about it. Your very health would be undermined be self-sabotaging that way.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

This is normal for a child in his position to experience, but it should never mean you would deny reality, self-sabotage and pretend, since that would hurt everybody involved, denying reality could never help.

Customer:

Yes, that is true. In fact, it is already. I have gained a tremendous amount of weight during this PhD process. If that isn't self-sabotaging, what is? Ok … that is the first thing on the list of things to do … start exercising and eating well. Thank you for that.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Now he is already old enough to understand about this issues, so to be respectful and understanding too.

Customer:

Yes … perhaps it is time for me to stop protecting. I've not wanted anyone in this situation to hurt.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You bet, no exception should be made. It is through real consistency at every core level taht you can truly take good care of yourself and life.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

How old is your son?

Customer:

He is 18 … 19 in February. He is an "old soul" … always very mature for his age. He is self-motivated and does very well in school. Entered University with a 4.0 GPA … I've never had to ask him to do his homework. He has always made his own agenda. I am proud of him for that.

Customer:

Of course, I recognise that may be because of him being an only child.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Protecting your son is never wrong, but it should not be confused with building a codependent reality that ends hurting everybody involved, just to please other people's ego. Your husband needs to take good care of his own life, the one that he has always chosen to have, and your son to focus on his own path as a young adult, learning from you.

Customer:

And me?

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Congratulations, that's wonderful

Customer:

I just wish I knew the path. I feel like, as indicated earlier, I'm at a cross-roads.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

It is, but by being fully truthful with yourself and honest with those around you, you would be able to take good care of yourself and to play a healthy role in their lives.

Customer:

If I chose the path that would make me happiest, I would try to find work near my friend … he is actually living away from his family right now and just going home on the weekends. But there is something inside me that fears that if I invest in the relationship by moving to Australia that he may settle for me being "on the side" and we actually never be together legitimately.

Customer:

I don't like "living in the shadows" … we can't have friends, we can't be affectionate in public, etc. It takes its toll.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Right, that;s a very valid concern, realistic, and must be taken into count since it would require a total change in your life situation, then you need to be very careful before making such big decisions.

Customer:

When I say "affectionate in public" … I mean things like holding hands or walking arm in arm.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Absolutely, I think that would not be healthy nor fair for anybody involved.

Customer:

Then the other "cross road" is to actually leave them both behind and live my life authentically. [I hear wee little cheers XXXXX XXXXX consciousness]

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

If both of you share the same affection, passion and commitment, both would take full responsibility for your own feelings, choices and actions and be consistent with yourselves and with each other. The matter here is if both share the same level of commitment and willingness to make it work or not.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Right, that is a very valid, realistic and concrete option, an dit is only you who can and should decide what you want and are willing to afford or not.

Customer:

Yes, and how would I really know. We have talked about it but this is when I don't know how much is smoke and mirrors … I mean he has a pretty sweet life right now and I suspect he doesn't want to give that up and might say anything to me to appease me. I would like to think he is being truthful but how does one know. He knows I'm loyal. I mean an "affair" doesn't last 25 years, does it?

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You can know it though his concrete actions

Customer:

such as …?

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

words could be nice but manipulative too, while consistent actions in time show you what people truly think, feel and are willing and capable of doing or not.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You have chosen to set boundaries and limits and not engaged in marital life with your husband in consistency with what you feel towards this other person, then those are concrete actions and not nice words. He would have to do the same if he is truly serious about it, once you do not want to be just a lover in his life.

Customer:

He has been very supportive of me during this time of academic work. I know he likes me very much … there is no doubt about that. Love … well, I'm not as sure about that … the words have been uttered but not very often. He has indicated that he always wants to be in my life and that we remain close. I visit him relatively often and he has come here twice since I've been here but I suspect that is out of convenience for him.

Customer:

He says he will … but not until he has seen his last child through her undergraduate degree. I will be 70 at that time. 70! OMG!

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

then there you have it!

Customer:

So, it ultimately comes back to me if I'm willing to wait that long. Ok.

Customer:

Well, I suspect, then, that I should get on with my life between now and then … we'll stay close as we can and see where the chips fall.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

He is telling you nothing more would happen before that time, so the question if is for you to come to terms with the fact you would have to wait that long for him to be available for the relationship you expect from him. Most people would not feel happy with that for sure.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Right.

Customer:

And, of course, I fear that he'll chicken out or some life event will take precedence.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I do strongly suggest you to consider individual psychotherapy to get the best support to work on yourself, for taking good case of yourself, for coping effectively with all these life challenges and to process the emotional impact they have on you, healing, and growing stronger and wiser.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

That is a very realistic fear and necessary for you to acknowledge in order to take good care of yourself.

Customer:

I am starting that on Friday. I'm just not sure I feel comfortable sharing this with my life coach. I can about my husband and family but not about my friend in Australia.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

so to prevent further pain

Customer:

Thank you for your time. May I ask you a logistical question?

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

A life coach is not a professional that could help you with this at all, you need a professional psychotherapist.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Sure

Customer:

How can I make sure my credit card is not charged further? I was surprised that the cost sort of changed AFTER I gave my credit card information. Actually, this guy is a professional psychotherapist who is adding a life coach credential to his life and I'm working with him as a student subject to get in the required hours of counselling.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

A professional psychotherapist , a good one would know how to support you the way you need and deserve, with full confidentiality.

Customer:

I will think about that and thank you. Speaking of professionals .. I thought I'd just share with you that I worked on dreams for 24 years with a graduate student of XXXXX XXXXX. She died at age 94 in 2010.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

i am sorry to hear about that. I have no idea about how this website works around charging customers, but what I can tell is that it should only charge you the amount you originally agreed to pay for the question and nothing more. Please directly contact JustAnswer about it and they should be able to support you with that.

Customer:

She served as department head of a university in the USA for 34 years in marriage and family counselling.

Customer:

Okay … no worries. Thank you again, Rafael. I feel a bit better now and at least feel I can make movement.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Wow, that's wonderful, Rogers was a unique master in this field.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I ma sorry to know about your loss.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You're very welcome. Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions and to follow up, since I am here willing to support you as possible.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Thank you for your trust. Take gentle care and consistent action.

Customer:

Indeed, he was.

Customer:

Thank you, Rafael. Cheers.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Thanks, Bye.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Please remember to rate session before leaving. Thanks.

RealSupport
RealSupport, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 3,191
Experience: MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
Verified
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RealSupport, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 3,191
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Experience: MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach

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Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

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