Does love change?
About a year and half ago I had an affair. At that time my husband thought he was much more liberal and suggested that since I spent a lot of time talking about this particular guy at my new job, maybe I could have an affair with him. My husband said I should as long as it didn't last too long. So I had an affair - although not with the same guy I had talked about. The affair went on for about 6 months at which time I did quit my job.
I guess my husband didn't like the reality of me being with someone else and we decided that we should divorce and go our own ways. Well, it didn't work out that way. Today we are still together. We have been married 14 years and have two children. I still love my husband but since the affair, it doesn't feel like the same kind of love.
Does love change and can it continue if it is not the same as before?
Your question is interesting, and I will answer it.
But first - how did you feel when your husband first suggested that you should have an affair? How do you feel about the turn of events as they happened? Apparently, based on your husband's suggestion, you had an affair (albeit not with the person your husband thought you were attracted to), quit your job, and separated, and although you are now back together with your husband, find that your love for him has changed.
A lot of things happened to you because you followed your husband's suggestion. How do you feel about this?
I'm sure you know, now, (and suspect that you knew then, too) that his suggestion was based much more on hurt and anger (at your talking about being attracted to a coworker) than it was based on liberal-mindedness. That being so, his idea was not sincere. You followed along with it, none-the-less, and, as a result, damaged your marriage and family, and also risked your physical and emotional well-being. How do you feel about risking so much, based on his hurt-filled challenge?
Apparently, the "love" you had before was based on a near-complete lack of honest communication. He pretended to be liberal (when he was really hurt and angry) and you pretended to blindly follow him (when you probably wanted him to care enough to stop you. You would not have been talking with him openly about another man if what you really wanted was an affair. What you really wanted was to get his attention.) Are you sure you want this "love" back?
Love constantly changes because people constantly change. Love can continue (and can continue to grow) as long as the communication between partners is direct and honest. In my opinion, based on what you've related, you and your husband have yet to experience real "love."
While you both would probably greatly benefit from couples counseling, I'd recommend that you participate in ongoing therapy alone first, since you were the one who wrote to this online counselor. This experience (of the affair and its aftermath) can give you the chance to examine other ways you have not been responsible to yourself in your life. It's time to grow up, Doll.
Margaret "Peg" Burr, MA, MFT
This question was answered by Margaret "Peg" Burr. She is a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFC34374) with a private practice in Santa Clarita (near Los Angeles). She performs psychodynamic psychotherapy with individual adult clients as well as couples, teens, and families. She also runs groups for adults and adolescents. Her specialty area is Object Relations Systems Theory. This branch of psychodynamic psychotherapy uses a client's interpersonal relationships as windows into his or her intrapsychic structure.For more information visit: http://www.pegburr.com/