Should I leave my family for a man who loves me?
The questioner's philosophy
I got married (arranged) very young. I have two children. I was raised well in a nice atmosphere at my parent's home but the atmosphere at my in-laws place after my marriage was quite different which included high voicing, yelling, anger and control. I and my husband are very different personalities and despite my constant effort, we have never been able to develop any understanding even after 20 years of marriage. His behaviour has been of an angry, stressed, non-caring, non-supportive person with a big ego. He never realized that I have been going through hard times and he claims to be very loving, supportive and responsible towards his family. I have never been happy during all this time trying to compromise and improve situation for myself and my daughters. I have felt mentally tortured all the time due to his anger and ego issues. I have always been present for my daughters for every kind of support. My children could sense the dysfunctionality of the family and it was their constant effort that we do not separate. All this did not have a good effect on them and they feel that they did not have a proper childhood. Although several times I wanted to separate during this time, I stayed for sake of my children as well.
I now have a secure job and an independent, strong, attractive and magnetic personality. I have been recently pursued (last 2 years) by a nice, attractive, very loving, caring and positive person who claims to love me beyond anything in the world. I can tell this to be true by his actions and see in his eyes too. He is also married (unhappily) and has three children. He says that he can leave his family anytime to be with me. I love him too. I am very confused with this. My concerns are:
- Guilty feeling: Am I doing wrong with my husband and daughters? If I listen to my mind, it says to stop it. If I want to follow my heart, I find happiness with this new person.
- Would this new person's love give me an ever-lasting happiness since everything is impermanent? What is the guarantee that his love for me would not change and at some point, he or I would not miss our children.
- Would it be worth breaking two families just for our happiness?
- Would I be happy leaving my children and would I be able to stand their anger towards me for leaving them for this person.
I feel that goal of my life is being closer and closer to God. I feel myself very close too. I write mystic poems for God in His love. Is this person a distraction in my path as I will be attached to him?
I feel that I do not do anything. God does everything otherwise a girl with my beliefs would not be in a situation like this. Is there a reason that this person has come in my life to teach me something.
If I want to, how do I keep him away from me? I have told him many times in past to stay away, but he can't; and my heart is with him too. So maybe, I am not that strong to push him away too. Sometimes, I feel that I can not stay without him too.
I ask God for help all the time to show me the way and what is right and wrong. It is hard to let go of pure love and my heart argues why you should have to let somebody go who loves you all his might and makes you feel good and complete in his company. After all, isn't love everything?
Arranged Marriage: Like any teenagers who get married before they have fully formed minds and thoughts of their own, this marriage is doomed to failure for hundreds of reasons. Teenagers are simply not ready intellectually, emotionally and in terms of life experience to enter into such a long term proposition. It may have been useful in the past within your culture, but it no longer serves any function today. Adolescence basically extends into our mid twenties now. The chances of a succesful marriage increase with the age of the participants. I would say age 25 is a minimum requirement. Because you have to know who You are before you're ready to choose a suitable partner.
Setting that aside, what you have described about your marriage is two people who are completely incompatible, period. There is no saving this relationship; it never existed except as a contract between your two families. Had you been given the freedom to make your own choice, you would never have wound up with such a man.
The fact that there are children does complicate the matter. So let's look at that for a moment. What are you teaching your children? That marriage is a loveless affair where two incompatible people stay together and barely tolerate each other? Or, that love between two partners does exist and with the right partner, two people can be very happy and grow in love together?
Another question: Do you stay in a loveless marriage for the children's sake? Why? So you can teach them how miserable two people can be? Or, do you teach them that when you make a mistake, such as the wrong partner, you can fix the mistake by getting out of it and starting anew? Which do you want your children to learn?
Of course the children are going to be mad at you for a while. Who knows how long? But, are they qualified to state who you should be married to? Not likely! In my experience children adjust. Eventually they learn that a bad marriage makes for a bad home for them as well. And when they see their mother or father finally happy they have a new option to consider for their life. Some decisions are tough, but there can be happiness after the shock wears off. Mistakes are made all the time and can be repaired!
Your parents, family and traditions are telling you to stay where you are. Your heart, which is your direct connection to God, is telling you how unhappy you are and you need to make a change. You will need "courage" to accomplish this. Yes, you will feel guilty. But eventually you will feel better.
One more thing. You need to separate the unhappy marriage from the potential new relationship. They are two different issues. When you mix them you create additional hazards for yourself. If you leave this marriage because someone is waiting with open arms this could be disastrous. Why? Because anything is going to look better than what you have. Two unhappy people have found each other. What a surprise? That happens all the time. It does not mean you two will be successful together.
So first, deal with the separation from your husband and all of its ramifications. Clear that path. Then when the fury dies down, you can consider the new relationship as a potential fresh start. You need an interim period where you are by yourself, getting to know yourself, and grieving your losses. You need to heal from 20 years of unhappy living. You need to know who you are at the Heart Felt Level. You need to break free of your husband's family influence and your own family. They have a huge investment in the contract. That is not your problem.
As already mentioned, a new relationship is a separate matter. Is your potential new boyfriend free and available? Has he dealt with his unhappiness? Has he come to terms with what he has to do. If he is of equal courage, he will do that. Then, with all the heartache and acrimony out of the way on both your parts, you can see if you have something to build together.
An excellent book to read if you are contemplating divorce is Breaking Up Blues: A Guide to Survival and Growth by Deni Cullington, a practical self-help book for those going through break-up or divorce.