"My husband is so nice. He's a good guy. I just wish he would have an affair!"
I have heard these comments, or comments very similar to this, numerous times lately. What's going on? I'm not sure I have an answer. In fact, I know I don't have an answer. This isn't about having an answer. This is about laying out some thoughts and observations on this theme that seems so relevant and prevalent.
Several different women have contacted me recently and have shared their stories, and their stress (perhaps distress would be a better word) over the fact that they do not want to be married anymore. Period.
These women are done. They say they aren't happy. They say they aren't in love with their husbands (or any other man -- they aren't having affairs). They say they simply wish they were no longer married to him. They aren't fulfilled. They wonder if this is how they are doomed to live the rest of their lives (and God-willing, most of them have another 40+ years ahead of them).
The common factor amongst all of these women is that they say that their husbands are really solid, good, nice men. They are not victims of physical or emotional abuse. They are not married to felons. They are not married to alcoholics or drug addicts. Their husbands are not having affairs. In fact, they tell me, there really isn't anything "wrong" with their husbands ... they just don't want to be married to them anymore because they have fallen out of love. It's actually a depressing conversation. When did we all become so unfulfilled with life?
And we are talking about women here, so here comes the "guilt." Women have guilt covered -- and these women are no different. They feel guilty as all get out and wonder about what everyone else will think should they decide to leave this "nice" guy. They wonder about the impact it will have on their kids, their extended families, their circle of friends. Deep inside they feel selfish and ask, "What gives me the right to leave my husband when he has done nothing wrong?" And almost immediately after they verbalize that thought, I get this zinger: "I just wish he would have an affair."
Really? You wish your husband would go out and have sex with another woman because then you would be justified in wanting to leave him? If you think about it, there are so many things wrong with that whole series of events. Would you ever imagine when you took your wedding vows that you would one day find yourself hoping your husband would cheat on you? Seriously?
I am not purporting to have the answer on this one. There are certainly some heated viewpoints on both sides of this debate.
One viewpoint is, "Suck it up, you made a vow, you made a commitment, stay married for the sake of the kids, doesn't 'until death do us part' count for anything?"
Another viewpoint is, "You only live once, people change, you shouldn't have to live unhappy and unfulfilled, the kids need to see what a happy, fulfilled marriage/partnership looks like."
And, of course, other opinions abound. What is your opinion? I know you have one and I would love to hear it!