I have been with the mother of my child for over eight years. We eventually got married and recently celebrated our first anniversary. The point is this: I have discovered after all this time that my wife is deeply in love with another man. When I confronted her, she told me that I was not at fault, that I have done everything right, and that I am the best father and husband anyone could ever want, but she believes we lack a spiritual and sexual connection. She says she is not sexually attracted to me, yet I know that when we do have sex it is amazing for both of us.
I am struggling to come to terms with the fact that the woman I have loved, cherished and thought I would spend the rest of my natural life with now wants to leave me, because she has found the 'spiritual' connection with a man she has known since childhood. This has left me with a broken heart and mind. I never knew I could feel so crushed. I have asked her if she is sure that the 'connection' she has found with this man (who lives overseas) is not infatuation, but she is adamant that they have a true love connection. What hurts me most is the thought of being separated from my child, because I am sure my wife plans to join up with this guy. I have told her that I am willing to let her go as I want her to be happy (as it makes no sense for her to be here with me while her mind is on another man). But this has taken a severe toll on me. I don't know what to do. Coming from a single-parent home, I refuse to let my child be raised by another man. I hope I can find some guidance in your words.
It has been said that love, and by extension relationships, comprise three components — commitment, intimacy, and passion. Relationships can have more or less of each component and the outcome can be predictable.
Let's look at your situation. There seems to be a relatively high level of commitment from the mere fact that you both share a child and have been together for the better part of eight years. You provide for the family and keep them secure.
Intimacy, which is the emotional connection that your wife may refer to as the spiritual connection, is the missing component. This is the area where most couples have challenges as they fail to maintain the heart-to-heart interaction they once had at the beginning of the relationship.
Usually when the intimacy is missing, the passion (sexual relations) is negatively impacted. For most women, if there is a decrease in intimacy there is equal decrease in interest and desire for sexual passion.
So coming back to your situation, the absence of intimacy is probably where the problem seems to lie. Your wife is really saying that the relationship lacks the emotional fervour that either existed and is now extinguished, or never existed. The other person may well be the kind of person she feels comfortable to share everything with and who makes her feel appreciated.
You should ask her to share with you some examples of spiritual connection that she claims she has with the other gentleman. Is he more attentive and available to her? Is he a good listener and compliments her often? Are you doing most if not all of these things on a regular basis?
If in fact you are doing your best on the intimacy level and you are indeed a committed father and husband as she declares, then there may be some other factors that need to be explored in counselling sessions.
Then there is the matter of the child, as to how co-parenting will proceed without causing any undue emotional distress to the youngster.
Before any decision to separate or divorce, I strongly recommend that both of you sit with a marriage counsellor and discuss what is happening or not happening in the relationship, and what steps can be taken to resolve the internal issues.
In the interim it would be advisable for your wife to cease communication with the other man for the time being and make every effort to work on the marriage.
If, however, she is convinced that she is making the right decision by connecting with the gentleman, then you may want to consider individual counselling to help with this painful adjustment. Take care of yourself.
Wayne Powell is a relationship counsellor. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org; check out his work overseas on www.seekingshalom.org, e-mail email@example.com.