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TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1701
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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I am divorced after a 25 yr very abusive marriage. I was

Customer Question

I am divorced after a 25 yr very abusive marriage.
I was sought out by an man online and we met and there was an instant connection between us, mentally, socially and I knew he was the man that was meant for me. That is a very brief and simple way to put it.
He treats me wonderfully and I am head over heels in love and I know he is as well. He is the very first man I have ever trusted or felt safe with, which is VERRY huge for me, I am truly happy for the first time in my life.
Here is the issue. He too was married a very long time and still was when seeking me out and still is. It has been a loveless roommate type of marriage for the past 20+ years where she has emasculated him and and they basically live separate lives.
We are trying to find a home 1/2 way between our two homes and in the mean time he has moved in with me. He is being very honorable and good about maintaining a civil relationship with her and they have 3 daughters and grand children and I totally recognize she will be a part of our lives because of this forever and I am ok with this.
the problem is he wants to keep their paid off home with her and be half owner and pay half of the taxes and do the outside maintenance. In the event she moves someone in she must buy out his half. If she decides to leave we can move in and buy out her half.
The house part is what bothers me. I think I am much more understanding and accommodating than most in being ok with the amount of contact he has as it is. I think he is either having separation issues with this large of a change, has major guilt about wanting to finally be happy because it means her standard of living will change or he is really not ready to leave and get a divorce. He doesn't get it. There is a bit more but that is the jist. Am i being selfish?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.

No, I don't think you're being selfish: You don't want what could feel like half a marriage, so you want him to make a more complete break with his wife, by completing a divorce he'll settle the issue with their house. It will be hard for him. But it's a responsibility he needs to take to honor his commitment to you. He needs to settle how to resolve the ownership of their house by talking with a divorce attorney. There's such a thing as "existential guilt" which is the normal suffering one has as a result of making a choice that dramatically affects the lives of other people. So he needs to accept that guilt. And you need to accept the guilt you might feel for insisting that he divorce his wife and settle his affairs in a way that the two of them and their daughters will need to accept also. I'm sure you've suffered a lot from the choice you made to marry a man who turned out to be abusive in relationship to you and your needs. And you probably needed to push past your own guilt about breaking up your marriage, if you were going to divorce him against his desire to keep you under his control. The power of love to push us forward on our journeys thru life carries with it the inevitability of suffering, which includes both hurt and guilt, along with loss and the fear of loss, and even frustrated ideal expectations (such as you may encounter when your present newfound bliss runs into the inevitable differences you will discover in your new relationship.

Choices as momentous as his are indeed difficult. but NOT to choose is WORSE for the maturation of you each individually and your relationship together. If he initiates the process of finding out how best to contract with his wife for the fate of their house, he find out that there are better ways to do it than he has realized; and his wife may suddenly get in gear and find herself another husband, or move back home with her possessive mother. The fear of loss by choosing is stifling the emotional energy that can propel you all into the next stage of your llives.