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You've had 15 years of
neglect, of being placed second in your husband's life. Why would
you want to go back to this knowing full well he still can't offer
you the true love, satisfaction and commitment that a wife truly
I am really confused. I had a 15 year marriage to a mama's boy. All
throughout our marriage, he would seek out his mother constantly for
everything. For example, he insisted on having meals over his
mother's house two to three times per week (he would have spent MORE
time with his mother if I would have accepted it, but I didn't).
Rob, I actually had to create a structured, written-out schedule
with him about "how many times" he should go over to see her (which
made me feel so parental, and I didn't want to be his parent... I
wanted to be his wife!).
Needless to say, he AND his overbearing, narcissistic, controlling
mother were resentful of me for the "restrictions" I placed on their
relationship. How dare I intrude on them!
Every day, My ExH would leave for work, and immediately call his
mommy when he got into work, and they'd talk 2-3 times in the day.
On his desk at work, he kept my picture AND his mother's, side by
side. At home, we'd argue all the time over taking trips, because he
didn't want to travel. He used excuses such as, "I'm afraid to fly"
(ironically, his mother is apparently "afraid to fly" too... yet
she's flown at least 7 times before this??).
When he was feeling ill, he'd immediately ask me to "go get" his
mother so she could take care of him (he never asked for ME to take
care of him). He got very anxious when I talked about moving out of
his parents home (yes, at his request, we lived in an addition
attached to his mother's house). He told me straight out on several
occasions, "We don't have the money. Why don't we just live here.
We're going to inherit my parents home anyway", which I thought was
ludicrous. Heck, I wanted a normal, independent life with him .I
wanted to be one with him. I wanted a healthy adult marriage.
very short while after we got married, I truly resented both he and
his mother. And this may sound weird, but it actually felt like THEY
were the married couple, and I was the affair (after all, my ExH was
actually a substitute for his mother's husband, who was pushed away
and ignored... she and her husband even slept in separate beds).
I actually saw a counselor alone and told her about this. The first
thing she had told me was, "The situation you are living in is very
unhealthy. If he won't move out of his parents home, then you'll
really have to seriously consider other options, unfortunately." She
also said (and I'll never forget this as long as I live),
"Essentially he is having an affair...and YOU are the other woman."
Ok, so Rob, now I've finally (after 15 years of feeling so
resentful, pushed aside, and devalued) left my marriage in October
2005. I felt so free...and yet...so hurt at the same time. The
person that I loved so much... the husband that I shared so many fun
things with...didn't bat an eyelash when I left. He was nonchalant
about it, and perfectly happy to stay with his mother. His attitude
was, "Well, I'm sure we'll get back together again someday. I love
you. I know we belong together." But he made absolutely NO effort to
fight for our marriage.
It is taking me a long time to get over him, because he and I were
best friends (who had sex). Let me explain:
Other than the mother thing, my exH and I had an excellent
relationship. We spend loads of time together, finishing our
graduate degrees at the same time, taking walks in the woods,
playing golf, going out to beautiful dinners, and holding hands.
However I just didn't have sexual feelings for him. Still, we had
sex but only 1-2x month. And when we did, I felt numb, like I didn't
really want to be there. Yet I love him so dearly, so deeply,
because he is such a great individual. His heart is so good, he's
highly intelligent (has his PhD), and an excellent work ethic.
Ok, so here's the current scoop:
I have a boyfriend whom I love very much. And yes, I finally
discovered that I actually have a very healthy, normal sex drive
(with my boyfriend) that WAS NOT present with my exH.
Knowing that I have a sex drive gives me comfort, because I totally
was not feeling passion or sexual feelings toward my exH. At the
same time, I feel sad and GUILTY that I didn't have "IT" for my exH
and I mean REALLY GUILTY, cuz he's such a great guy.
I still LOVE my exH SO MUCH but DO NOT want to be with him sexually.
I believe that the reason I don't want him romantically is simply
because he's NOT a man (Heck, he's 42 and STILL lives with his
parents - - essentially he's a "man-child" as you write about on
your website, Rob). The mother-son co-dependency thing really soured
the whole thing for me.
So, here's the problem:
My ex-H emailed sent me an email today, asking me to go for a drive
with him tomorrow so we can "talk about our relationship" (i.e. he
wants to get back together with me). Well, #1, as I said I have a
boyfriend whom I love. But #2. I still love my exH a lot but not in
a romantic way.
And I'm just so confused about all of this. It hurts tremendously,
because I love them both deeply, but in two different ways (i.e. I
love my exH so deeply, but he is a man-child who is still very
attached to his mother's umbilical cord VS. I love my boyfriend, who
is a real man and can stand on his own two feet). So you can see the
horrific dilemma I have.
Some people say that one can actually "work on" and "develop"
feelings for someone. If I were to get back together with my exH,
would I be able to CREATE and DEVELOP sexual feelings and passion
Thanks in advance for your reply,
I do understand the situation you feel yourself in, but I have to
Unless your ex-husband is willing to make positive changes to his
lifestyle, initially starting with moving out on his own and getting
away from the dependency of "Mama", there is no hope for the two of
you getting together again and renewing a positive relationship.
Sure, you've had good times, you've shared a lifetime (albeit 15
years) together. That isn't easily given up on. But unless your ex
is ready and willing to crawl out from his mother's bosom, you're
still in the situation you were when you left him: he's a baby that
wants his mama first and foremost.
I would not get back together with him unless he moved out on his
own, started counseling for his dependency on his mother, and was
finally able to be a man, not a little boy. He needs to find his own
inner strengths, not relying on others. He needs counseling so that
if he does manage to move away from "Mama" he doesn't just project
his dependency onto you or someone else in his life.
As far as your current relationship, maybe you need a break just so
you can experience the single life for a while. That's why the
confusion when your ex contacted you and the thoughts of giving up
on your current boyfriend.
I also think that your ex-husband emailing you a get-back-together
message is also a sign that he's under control of people around him
and not able to openly talk about what he wants, another
co-dependent trait. Sure, he misses you.... But not enough, not yet.
Maybe he never will.
As for your question:
"Some people say that one can actually "work on" and "develop"
feelings for someone. If I were to get back together with my exH,
would I be able to create and develop sexual feelings and passion
This is not correct in your case. You've had 15 years of neglect, of
being placed second in your husband's life. Why would you want to go
back to this knowing full well he still can't offer you the true
love, satisfaction and commitment that a wife truly deserves?
Until your exH can correct his past behavior, you will not be able
to create any passion and sexual feelings for him simply because
these emotions will be overshadowed by his types of behavior that
never inspired these feelings in you to begin with. The "Love" for
your exH you still feel is brought on by your comfort level and
security in the type of relationship you did have (romanticized
somewhat as well by time), not the relationship you actually lived.
I suggest that you start a journal right now. A past history diary.
Starting date: when you first met your husband.
Include the things you did together and how you remember the
feelings you had for him at the time.
Try to remember the dates of trouble and the events that led to your
husband running to his mother instead of coming to you.
The confrontations you had with him and his mother that drove you
Write everything down in cold hard factual style. Date and times are
important. Fill in details later, arrange dates when you can.
You need to face the reality of your old marriage relationship and
understand that it's ending was not your fault. You never had a
chance. You were married into a game that had no rules you could
follow and still be a vibrant, sexual, compassionate woman.
The fix was in. The honestly pitiful fact is that it took so long
for you to understand this.
Over the years I've had the opportunity to read many "self-help"
books that deal with a variety of situations that occur between men
and women. Please take a moment and visit these suggested websites, where applicable:
* Rob is not a professional counselor, just
someone that wants to help. His advice and opinions are his own and
should be treated as advice that can be followed or ignored. He'll
give you the best advice his experience allows. And you'll have
someone that'll listen to your troubles without being too
judgmental. And if you don't like his answers, just delete them! *
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