"I Married the Wrong Person, Please Help"
Q: I married the wrong person. I've been married for 12 years. And I now realize that I settled for my wife. She wasn't really what I wanted. It was convenient to marry her, and to be honest, convenient to stay with her. However, as I've grown over the years, I find myself truly unhappy in our marriage and have come to the conclusion that I married the wrong woman. I have really nothing in common with my wife; conversation interests, political, religious, hobbies, nothing. No matter how much I try, I cannot get interested in her conversation. We now have a 7 and 6 year old, to complicate this further. Recently, we have had to separate due to my work, and I was bored one evening, and spent some time with another woman, who I am now having an affair with. I have never cheated on my wife, but I don't regret this, and find myself trying to figure out how to handle being married to the wrong person. Does this make me a horrible man? -- Andrew
A: I hear, “I married the wrong person,” regularly, from both men and women. When people are unhappy in their marriage they look for reasons to explain why and the easiest target is the other person.
Rather than see things they don't like about their partner as things that could change, most people see what needs to change is their partner. With that line of thinking it's then very easy to develop the belief that you married the wrong person.
Part of the problem with the belief "I married the wrong woman" is that it feeds the misperception that there’s the "right" person or “perfect” partner out there somewhere, and when you find them you’ll be happy forever. Relationships take work -- all of them; relationships also change; and in all relationships we're either growing together or growing apart. If we don't regularly feed, invest in, and make them grow, we can become unhappy in any relationship.
No, you're not a horrible man. But you are a man cheating on your wife and that needs to stop. You may be right when you say, "I settled for my wife." However, even if that was true then it doesn't have to mean your marriage cannot become happy and successful now. Talk to a couple’s counselor, by yourself, and learn the ways you can change your marriage (here's some of the benefits of couples counseling). -- Kurt Smith, Marriage Counselor
Do You Believe You Married the Wrong Person?
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