DEAR AMY: I have been married for 19 years. I have three awesome kids (teens/young adults) and a husband who loves me.
Our marriage has been very rocky, though, and there were many periods without intimacy and when things seemed to fall apart all around us.
A year and a half ago, after 17 years of never even looking at another man, I cracked. I went looking for excitement, affirmation and fun, with no strings attached. What I found, however, was a man who grabbed me by the heartstrings so quickly and so deeply that I became someone I never thought I could be. I ended up lying to him about my marital status.
Then, my husband found out about the relationship and called him to tell him I was married and had been deceiving him.
I was forbidden to talk to him and he didn't fight for me — at all. It is now three months later and my husband, after a brief period of anger and hurt, has chosen to forgive me and wants to move on with our lives. Unfortunately, no matter what I do I can't get this other man out of my head and out of my heart!
I want to do what's best for the family, but I also don't think it's fair to long for someone else while you are supposed to be committed to another.
I have been in counseling, I've prayed and I'm keeping myself as busy as I can, but every moment I am unoccupied my thoughts run back to him and I crumble all over again. How do I fall out of love with him? If I can't fall out of love, then am I being unfair to stay with my husband as second choice? — Conflicted
DEAR CONFLICTED: Falling in love is like bungee jumping from a bridge. Falling out of love is like climbing out of the ravine on the bungee cord. It takes strength, effort, balance and time.
You have behaved abominably. You seem eager to continue behaving abominably — but your boyfriend has too much integrity to let you. You could hasten your recovery from romantus interruptus by continuing to explore your own motivations and behavior with a counselor.
Your husband seems to want to stay married, but you also need to decide whether to stay in your marriage. Given your choice to cheat on your husband and awesome children (and lie to your lover), you have an honesty problem. This has nothing to do with either man in your life — but with you.
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