I am going to tell my wife I’m leaving

When I got married, I thought I would be a one woman man.  And I was.  Mostly.  

The thing is, I could not turn off my attraction to other women.  They were all around me.  Beautiful, young, intelligent, kind.  They just weren’t married to me.

Over time, I had also found it easier to talk to women than to men.  They often seemed to respond to this shtick.  I call it a shtick, but really it was just me being me.  I was full of empathy and a capacity to listen. 

Feeling empathy  though, is a dangerous kind of skill to have.  You can enter into the other person’s way of thinking.  You can feel what they feel.   If you’re not careful, you can become them.  

This was especially the case when I was feeling low.  At such times, I could easily be brought to strongly feel what the person next to me was feeling.  If I happened to be alone with a female friend and she felt lonely or sad, my insides would attune to that sentiment and I could feel myself vibrating to the same sensation that she was experiencing

Coming to my twenty-seventh birthday, I was feeling blue.  I was in the middle of my two year course and had been married for more than four years already.  My wife had stuck by me through some very difficult emotional problems both for herself and for me.  On one level, our bond could not have been stronger.

On the other hand, I felt like an underachiever.  I had switched from course to course, from city to city and she had followed me.   Now, it was I who was feeling unworthy.   I wanted to tell her I had to leave to let her find someone stronger, more sure of themselves.  I would never truly deserve her love. 

She had a Masters degree and was working as an administrative/research assistant for relatively low pay just so we had something to live on while finished this course.  I was bringing her down, holding her back. 

So on the day of my twenty-seventh birth day, I returned home to our basement apartment, thinking how much better off my wife would have been if she had pursued her own career path.  I was thinking I would have to talk to her about a possible separation.

I opened the door and everyone yelled “Surprise!”

My wife had arranged a surprise party, with all our old college friends.  

To my shock, they were all there.   We had an amazing time, many laughs.  Simon and Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, Judy Collins, Joan Baez, played in turn in the background.  The wine flowed.  The food was plentiful and I got to talk to all of them, even the one who had become a Scientologist and was now being whisked away to California.

In many ways, though, I knew this was the last time we would all be together.   It was a perfect time to end it all.

I talked with one friend who had broken off her engagement with another in our circle.  She had just returned from Mexico.   I felt drawn to her longing for love, her need for something.  I felt her anger and disappointment with her former fiance.

Later, I talked with him and realized how bitter I could be that she had not stood by him through his breakdown.  I could feel the resentment welling up in me.

And so the evening went.   Towards the end of it, I was talking to another friend who had just broken up with her boyfriend of the last few years.   We had all assumed they would be a couple but it was not meant to be.  The rumours circulated that it was her mother who had found him not financially successful enough.

I felt her pain.  She was tall and beautiful, with long flowing sandy hair. I found myself thinking that this was unjust that someone so beautiful and so talented should be alone.  I put my hand on hers in sympathy.  She moved her hand from her lap to my thigh and, looked into my eyes with her piercing glance.  The sharpness in her glance, softened and melted into tears that ran slowly down her cheek.

I could feel that pain and reached over and kissed her cheek where the tear was lingering.  “You’ll be all right,” I whispered amid the hubub of the party.

 She grabbed my hand and said, “I really shouldn’t bring you down.  This is my own problem.  I’ll get over it.”

I squeezed her hand in return.  It was towards the end of the evening and my wife had just said goodbye to someone else at the door. 

My wife came back in and got busy talking to others.  My friend looked at me and said, “I really have to go.  Why don’t you walk me to the car.  It’s right outside, parked right in front.”

We got up still holding hands, which was no big deal.  My wife and I held hands with many of our friends as a sign of our bond with them.  

“I’m just walking her to her car,” I shouted to my wife across the room and we went out on a hot muggy night.  She was wearing a thin summer dress and I could see the shape of her body as we walked together up the stairs.  I let her go in front of me on the landing so I could see the outline perfectly.

We approached her car and stood talking for another minute, when we both realized it was time for her to go.   As was her habit with me, she embraced me fully and started to kiss me on the lips.  She had done this every time we met.

There was something different this time.   Instead of that firm pucker kiss of friendship, her lips were soft and giving and I pressed my mouth down on her hers more strongly.  I could feel her pressing back and I moved my hands around her and gently stroked her back.

I looked at her and could see that her eyes were closed.  I reclosed my own and murmured, “I wish I could comfort you more…”

“I would like to talk to you more,” she said, “you are such a good friend.  You seem to understand…” Then she added, “I love the way you hug.”

I started to get an erection and was about to ask if I could phone her, if I could come over, if I could see her again, when I heard my wife’s voice behind me.

“You don’t think you’re going to get away without saying good bye to me, do you?”

We both clenched and unrelaxed, left the embrace hanging in the air.  We all laughed, two of us out of nervous energy.  My wife was used to seeing us kiss both hello and goodbye and so had not reacted to that aspect of the situation.

She went over and kissed my wife goodbye, got into the car and drove off.

I felt completely energized, and not a little bit pent up.  My wife and I went back into the apartment to say good bye to the last stragglers.  

We were alone, cleaning up after the party.  I wanted to thank her for all her work, to tell her how much I appreciated her outstanding intelligence, beauty and thoughtfulness.  She had to leave me for her own good.

I reached for her hand and brought her into my arms.  She kissed me both tenderly and passionately and then pulling slightly away, smiled up at me and said, ” I have another suprise for you.”

My heart leapt up in my throat.   Had she realized I was untrue in my heart?  Had she guessed that I was going to tell her I was leaving?

She looked down and her cheeks turned slightly red.  I lifted up her chin and she said, “I’m pregnant.”

We have had four children together since then, including the baby she was pregnant with at the time.  We have built and lived a life together.

The moment when I tell her I am leaving still lies in the future.  Perhaps it will come on my death bed.


21 thoughts on “I am going to tell my wife I’m leaving

  1. Yes, and I find them all mysterious. Are these forms connected to each other? What is it about each form that it deserves the name “love”? I love my children. I love my wife. I love my brother and my deceased parents. I love my work. I love my friends.

    I feel myself longing after what i have missed or have never had. Is that connected to love? How?

    I don’t expect ultimate answers these questions. But I do expect to keep looking.

  2. Hi,
    i found this very interesting, i am in a similar situation, i have 2 daughters 8 and 13 and i have been working away for over 5 years. I have also met another person and she is a wonderful bubbly, caring person who i love very much, i dont want to hurt my wife but the fact is we have grown apart and what makes things worse is her mum died last year and now she is alone i know it sounds stupid but i dont want to hurt her and i miss my kids so very much but i know in my heart that i dont love her anymore and i have to sort the situation out. I am not a coward but i dont want to hurt them all.
    what do you do?????????????

  3. It seems to me Tom, that you don’t want to hurt them for a reason. Because on some level, you care for them. Just because a female is “bubbly” is no reason to abandon what you’ve got. We all know that “bubbly” doesn’t last forever. Who do you want to be with for the long haul? My guess is it ain’t “bubbly”. Love, relationships require care and attention. Talk to your wife in person and you’ll start to see what you really feel. Then decide what to do.

  4. A lovely piece… the way you left it, I couldn’t tell if you were happy or sad with the way things had worked out, in love or not in love with your wife. Which is probably a reflection of how many of us feel – we can’t quite tell ourselves if we are happy or sad about our past.


  5. Got the same situation. A feeling of being trapped in a
    marriage, but with children whom you love unconditionally, but not your wife. Another woman who you love unlike anyone in a relationship before and now the crossroads, leave or not leave. Ask yourself this question if you leave will your children feel your leaving them too? I’ve already left the home said it was only temporary but now have to decide if I tell them I’m not coming back. I can’t do it. They seem ok, but underneath it all their confused and probably feeling I’ve deserted them. I can’t say I’m not coming back not because I’m a coward either, but its the thought of causing further pain to my children. I’ve hurt them too much already. When it comes down to it is it a simple case of the childrens happyness over your own? If I don’t do something I risk losing them all. Given what I’ve said to my wife already on how I feel I can’t see how she could ever forgive me. I know I don’t love her but I still care for her, she’s been the victim in this, and although I was the victim in the marriage for all those years, can’t help feeling that my leaving was wrong. Think carefully before you leave, but in the end in my experience for you it’s a no win situation. The best you could do is come to the same conclusion I have, stay and tough it out, your kids need you, as do mine.

    • If you are feeling as if you don’t love your wife you may be forgetting that love is not just a feeling. Maybe you need to go back and figure out how you first fell in love and start there. Do what the two of you did when you were first in love.

  6. what if your wife loves you, you have no children, but you don’t feel the same love, and just want out? Do you go, destroy her feelings, her confidence, and self-respect, or do you stay and keep the feeling of unfulfillment and unpleasant compromise?

    • It seems to me you should discuss it with your wife and decide your future together. Perhaps there is a basis for you staying together. Perhaps not. You might try a marriage counselor if you cannot do it together without help. Good luck with whatever life brings.

  7. You are a moron. I love people like you that write elaborate stories explaining your life and how trapped you are with your “feelings”. You are a coward, wake up, your wife treats you well and you are too selfish to care. You should have told her that night that you were a waste of her time. You are afraid of looking bad so you just keep your mouth shut for her benefit… yeah, actually it is for your benefit because you don’t want anyone to realize what scum you are. Good luck finding the most elaborate well contrived emotional babal to explain your unfaithful heart and disgusting character.

  8. your ALL douchebags. my father left my mom for another woman because he was “sad” and whine whine whine. he abandoned me and my two sisters to greive with my mom. im close to my dad today but ill never forget what he did to us in the past. being the youngest son and only 14 and having to take care of my two older sisters and mom cuz a “sad” father i have a lot of resentment. so “me” dont coward out and think its ok to smooch other woman cuz your “stuck” grow the hell up. before your loose everything that ACTUALLY cares about you.

  9. Human beings are certainly able to love more than one person. Think of loving your brother or your children in addition to your wife. But sexual love often brings emotional complications that most are not ready for.

  10. I’m sorry, but pretty much this is just hypocritical. If is a woman wrote this article, we would call her a whore.

    So I’m going to do the same. You sound pathetic. If you married, then that’s it. Try to focus more on your wife and and the vows you made to her. She is YOUR WIFE. One day, you are going to regret your decision. Trust me, you reap what you sow. A lot of men who leave their wives regret it.

    You sound like a man who needs TO BECOME a man. You’re not there, you’re a boy basically.

  11. i been with my wife for 22 years and been in our marriage for 19 years she want to break up our marriage because what happing in the year of 2001 she going back in her past after 15 years so im leaving her.

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