My husband is dating while we are separated

Maybe you two aren't compatible in the long run. It sounds to me like you really need to find out- for yourself, and for your family. You won't be able to find out if you've got your girlfriend on the backburner, or if you feel like you're living in a hostage situation with your daughter. I would also say that you're wife sssuuuurrreelly doesn't need to know you were with another woman while you two were separated. It's sort of implied. I spent the last year going through the fire in my marriage, including a year of separation, in a situation very similar to what you describe. My husband and I have two kids and had an excellent "working relationship", similar worldviews and compatability, etc, but with a huge emotional disconnect.

Even in the worst of our turmoil, which was really devastating, we were a great team in terms of putting the kids first.


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Married for 12 years, together for 16, so VERY similar to your situation. I'm here to say: The getting through it was so hard, but we both have learned a lot about ourselves and each other, and the effects of our families of origin, and what was habituated that needs to be unlearned, and how to really listen to and value and respect each other.

That the quality of our marriage is the result of our intentional practice, and that practice is now far higher on the list of priorities than it has been since kids and careers came along. All this by way of saying: It sound like you and your wife have each been doing individual work to get you along this path too. I think if you two come together with a sincere willingness to each nurture the other in the ways that are needed--physical, emotional, logistical--you can make it work too.

You haven't mentioned marriage counseling in your post. You haven't mentioned reading books and trying to understand intimacy and how people struggle in the close confines of a marriage. Some books that changed our lives: Break it off with your lover. Be gentle and so grateful for her loving care during a difficult time in your life.

Open relationships can and do work, but if you're not experienced with it already this is not the time to start. Yes, it will be painful for both of you, but you're both adults and cognizant that not all wonderful new relationships can fully flower. History, love, duty, commitment also matter, also matter a lot, and of course your daughter and how she learns about the world via your marriage is central, too.

Your kid will witness an amazing example of dedication, working through difficulty, love and commitment when you get back together and make your marriage better than before. You can do it. MeMail me if you need a sympathetic ear. You need a 6-month break from all women, except your daughter. When you are being whipped in opposing directions by decision-making, stop deciding. Let things lie for a short while. Your perspective will be very different at the end of your "relationship hiatus".

I don't have time now to properly respond, but at this point I'd like to thank everyone for their contributions here. Collectively this is some of the best advice I've yet received over the last year, including that from best friends and professional counselors. I feel relieved and honored by the heartfelt responses, and I plan to re-read everything here many times. Despite some contradictory answers, I feel more comfortable with my original decision.

I will post more responses later, after I've slept. Even though you follow up your wife's list of faults with "I've got issues too" you are framing this as your wife's fault and giving the impression that your problems are rooted in sexual incompatibility. So a lot of the responses you get are focused on the sacrifice you'd have to make in a sexless marriage should you give up this passionate relationship you have now and go back to your wife.

But go back and read the little snippet of insight you wrote about yourself and try to be honest about whether your wife's disinterest in sex caused the problems or is a symptom of them: Avoiding conflict means avoiding intimacy. Emotional distance kills passion. You are saying that your wife doesn't want to have sex with you while also saying you don't tell her what you want or what is on your mind. I have a healthy sex drive but I don't want to have sex with someone who holds me at arms' length and avoids honest emotional intimacy with me either.

Was it to get away more avoiding? Was it to focus on counseling you have not mentioned couples counseling, only individual? Was it to divorce? What is your affair about? Love for the woman? And what is it that you want now? Because as long as you continue to make decisions based on fear they might leave the country instead of based on love, you will remain unhappy and continue to demonstrate behavior to your daughter that you might not want her to emulate.

What your daughter needs is not the burden of parents who martyr themselves for her. What she needs is parents who live honest lives. Second, has your wife shown any indication that she has gone through a period of personal growth like you have? I ask this because if she hasn't changed, you're just going back to the same situation that you left and you're just going to put your daughter through more heartbreak "yay we're a family again!

Third, your daughter is 8. She is watching you and your wife for examples of healthy adult behaviour, which she will carry into her own adulthood and attempt to emulate. Do you want your daughter to be in the kind of relationship you have with your wife? Fourth, do NOT get back together with your wife and use your daughter to fill that emotional void. She is 8, that is far too much for her to shoulder and she will notice. Again, be the model of healthy behaviour here. I don't see how staying in a loveless, unhappy marriage is best for your child. It seems like a horrible idea.

At the very least, I suggest that if you follow through with your plan, you do so on a trial basis -- that is, you give couples therapy a shot and see if things actually get better after you improve your communication abilities and she works on her issues.

And as others have said, what do you want your daughter to learn by observing about good, healthy, adult relationships? As a child of divorced parents, does it make any difference if I tell you that you shouldn't attempt to reconcile? They can see unhappiness in their parents. I know plenty of people whose parents stayed together "for the kids" and damaged them much worse than they would have apart with fighting and a household that was devoid of affection and joy. Be happy and share that happiness with your daughter. At 11, I can guarantee that your kid can tell the difference between a happy family and an unhappy one.

Unless both you and your wife are willing to really step up counseling etc. And even if you do both step up, there's no promise that it will work out. A happy family doesn't have to be one where everyone lives in the same house and the parents are married. A happy family can be one in which mom and dad aren't together, both both work together to be good parents, the kid knows this and feels this, and is happy. Don't make your kid grow up in a house full of tension and resentment. Those truths will out, because they always do. OP, this does not sound like a "loveless, unhappy marriage" to me.

This sounds like you and your wife, after many years together, have some issues regarding sex and affection in an otherwise great relationship. I hope that you will make an earnest effort to really work through those issues together. I think you owe it to your wife, your child, and yourself to try and fix this relationship before you abandon it. As a child of divorced parents, I'm going to advise you to keep reconciliation on the table, though I can't say whether it's the right choice.

My parents broke up when I was a young adult; I strongly suspect that at least one of them would have been happier if they had stayed together. And by "stayed together" I DO NOT mean "stayed together in the unhappy way they had been together before," but rather "grown and done a lot of work and realized what they had together and been happy.

Tips For Dating While Separated But Not Divorced

But they can see unhappiness in their unhappily divorced parents just as easily as they can see unhappiness in their unhappily married parents. Do what will make you happiest. This is definitely a decision you should not make until you've talked to a lawyer. Can she even take your daughter out of the country? I have no idea, but it sounds like you don't either. Definitely find out, because there's no reason to get back together with your wife if she can't.

Nthing the folks who are saying that your child can tell the difference between parents who are unhappy together and those who are not. My parents split when I was eight years-old and while the divorce was extremely tumultuous and caused its own wounds, I know it was far better choice for everyone than having them stay together. There are some great arguments here for getting back together with your ex, but you just need to make sure that whatever you are doing is for you and not just for your child.

I have never bought the idea that once you have a child, every single one of your decisions needs to be made solely based on them and their feelings. You are still an autonomous being. Thinking only of your child could very possibly backfire here. Take your feelings, your wife's, and your daughter's into account. You have had an illcit affair, with secrecy and all the power that implies. You really haven't been working "on you" or your feelings during this separation Only you will know what makes you happy, and if going back to your wife feels right to you, then do that.

But please be advised that unless significant work is done by BOTH of you, your marriage will end in a divorce and you will have only protracted your daughter's confusion and delay healing for you and your spouse. I can't see any reason for you to get back together with her other than the "she leaves the country with your daughter" thing. The relationship does not sound like it works as a romantic partnership, period. And yes, your kid can tell if Mommy and Daddy aren't in love, and internalize it, and it affects her ability to find and figure out love later.

So staying together for the kids for that reason doesn't really work. Now, it may be worth it to settle for her and the lack of sex specifically for your daughter. IANAL and it may have to be the only solution to keep your daughter in your daily life. But I wouldn't go into it thinking that you can be romantic again.

Other than that, if the kid and other countries weren't a factor, I'd say to split up and stay with the new woman who actually makes you happy.

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You may not be able to do it, sadly, but I wouldn't go back in thinking you can make the marital relationship better. I concur with Jemstar's take. Doesn't sound loveless to me--more like there are some differences and disconnects when it comes to intimacy. These are hard and hurtful but VERY common, and can be surmounted. Doesn't sound like an atmosphere of strife and dysfunction, which is what is really horrible for kids. Of course ideally you model a loving, affectionate, respectful and also functional relationship with your kid--sounds like the marriage in question has at least been functional, and believe me even that level of relationship is something to be valued.

I will say about the relationship with the girlfriend: So I say again, be gentle and grateful to her; and indeed be honest with your wife; and be sure your wife knows both things, that pleasure and intimacy are indeed that important to you, and that you ultimately made the choice that you want them with HER. I'm sure it will be rough to be honest about your involvement with your GF, but separation does entail distance and freedom, and hopefully we can all be adult about these things.

Suffice to say that if she finds out after the fact it won't be any better than if you had disclosed on your own initiative. I'm really concerned about your motives, here. It sounds like your primary reason for getting back with your wife would be to prevent her from leaving the country. I think you should really spend some time with this question: Would you still be wanting to make it work?

You sound like you're caught in a genuinely difficult situation. However, I do not believe that it is right to return to your wife if your primary motivation is to control her. Is the US an intrinsically bad choice for your daughter, or is it just not where you want to live? You also have no guarantee that, in the event of a reconciliation, your wife would not set "return to the US" as a condition. You should not be trying to repair your marriage so that you can keep your job.

I keep looking at this from your wife's perspective, imagining her loving you the way I love my husband, wanting you back, winning you back.

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And it fills me with wincing despair. I was not a child who had a mom and a dad, even a divorced mom and dad. For a good long while, I was a thing that belonged only to him, at least in his mind. Maybe this is just a brief glitch on your part.


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  • But in case it isn't: She is the daughter of both you and her mom. I would suggest otherwise, unless they had a clearly agreed-upon "Don't ask, don't tell" policy when they separated. His wife should be given full information so she can make a fully-informed decision whether to reconcile or not. If the OP having an affair during the separation is a deal-breaker for her, that needs to be respected. Plus, ethical considerations aside, as a practical point, these things have a way of coming out in time.

    The girlfriend may or may not choose to keep the secret. Somehow the way you've written your post obfuscates the fact that it's not your relationship with your daughter you're prioritizing but your job and current lifestyle in the country where you are. Unless there is some kind of persecution or utter economic bleakness waiting for you in the states, and as long as you're unwilling to go to court to engorce whatever power you may or may not have over your wife's relocation, it seems to me that there is one course of action that demonstrates integrity and your daughter: Be open with your wife that you're done with the marriage for good and with your girlfriend that it's likely your immediate future is in the USA, with or without her.

    Then be prepared to move if your wife moves. Even if you think that true reconciliation with your wife may be possible but I worry that you're actually now practicing to cheat on her later , I think it may be worthwhile to guard yourself against your own powers of self-delusion and rationalization by being completely honest with her about how you've spent this separation.

    Far too many excellent observations and new insights to sift through here in one go. I'm still slowly digesting them all, and again I'm really appreciative of everyone's time and thoughts. It's very interesting to me that of the posts which make a recommendation to either reconcile or not, there was almost an even split on the issue - with a slight nod toward "don't reconcile".

    It's pretty much a meta reflection of the battle going on in my head. I also found it interesting that the majority of children of divorced parents, with one exception, recommended against it. That said, I am identifying most with the ones who recommend trying it, with several important caveats.

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    First, regarding reenka's post, which deservedly received the most favorites: I agree that true acceptance is the most sure strategy to true happiness. When I first read what you said, I was tempted to respond: And therein lies my significant contribution to the problem.

    Yes, I could grit my teeth, intensify my meditation practice, invest time in other pursuits, and try to find a wellspring of happiness within. I plan to do that anyway, regardless of this situation. Most of my motivation for separating was to remove myself from the source of my unhappiness, get my head together, and finally be honest with myself and everyone else obviously getting involved with someone else threw a colossal wrench into that. I agree that going back to her, I would have to have zero expectations. In which case the burden of change is on my own shoulders.

    And if I'm honest with myself I expect nothing less. In general I feel that many of the posts have homed in on the sexuality aspect of it. So has my wife. I can't count how many times I've told her "it's not about sex! She does have sexual hangups related to her abuse, but those are mostly incidental. The real issue is the emotional context surrounding her rejection of my attempts to be affectionate, and her not expressing love in a way that spells desire or want in a way I would expect from the love of my life. I know the idea behind the "love languages", and we took the test and unsurprisingly had very different results.

    That's something I would explore more. Quite honestly, yes it will. But finding that out early on is the only fair thing to both of you. Take some time for yourself first. Let yourself heal and get used to your own company before seeking out a new relationship. I and my lover had been apart for 7 months until my sister told me about a Helper who had helped her, She said the man was very powerful and that he could help me too. The name of this powerful man is Dr Mack, after I contacted Dr Mack in the next 48 hours my ex lover came back to me on his knees begging for my forgiveness and for me to accept him back.

    It was unbelievable as I was very surprised and happy I finally have him back after several attempts trying to get him back. Dr Mack is too strong and contains no negative effect, I believe Dr Mack can help everyone too,his mail: Add a Comment Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. What exactly is marriage separation? As with any other matter of love and relationships, the answer is not that simple. Far better to be upfront about your relationship status and your relationship intentions, and let this new person fall for the real you.

    The best way to get through is to give yourself the space and forgiveness to know your feelings are valid, no matter what they are. As long as you have the legal go-ahead, don't rush back into dating, and are honest when you do meet someone, chances are your feelings will become increasingly more stable and positive. Dating During Divorce or Separation.

    Separated and thinking about dating again? Then you'll know that it's a time where huge changes meet hope and excitement for the future. That said, before you take the plunge, you may want to pay attention to these seven things. Only date someone if you really want to be dating them Many freshly separated people try to distract themselves from the hurt of a split by seeking a new partner; someone to have on hand because being alone is so unfamiliar. EliteSingles editorial September

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