The idea of my dream life vs the experience of my dream life

My parents had a brutal, 6-year divorce. Even as a kid, I viewed the life my parents created for themselves (and for us kids) as chaotic, squalid, selfish, and immature. I promised myself I’d never been like that when I could control my own life. I’d never put my kids through that kind of madness. No matter what.

Fast forward 30+ years: I have the dream life I wanted. I have an amazing, handsome, smart, dashing husband who loves me.
I have two incredible teenaged kids.

Our home life is calm and stable, and respectful. Our financial life is bountiful (I mean, I think it is; my husband doesn’t). Our community is thoughtful and supportive, and diverse. Everything is a dream! So vastly improved from where I started. I did it. I created the dream.


My relationship with my husband is void of intimacy & connection. Three years ago, in the space of that void, I allowed myself to have a 4-month affair with my neighbor, who (I believed) gave me the connection I longed for at home. It was soooooo amazing to feel wanted and heard.

Despite desperately wanting that relationship, I ended it, though, because it wasn’t part of my view of myself, my integrity in marriage, my values. I couldn’t imagine breaking up my “Dream-life” and putting my kids through the pain of divorce for my own indulgence.

Still, the longing and wondering endure. I am puzzled by the conflict between my idea of this dream life and my experience of it.  I’m a diamond scholar. I know the model. I understand that my circumstance doesn’t cause my feeling.

I can apply the principle to every other part of my life. But this one part, this relationship part –it feels like a paralyzed spinal cord.

I know what I want: I want what I have! This amazing life! This stability! This foundation for my kids! This is what I always wanted! So I’m confounded by my inability to create the intimacy that seems like it should naturally be part of my marriage. And I’m in pain over my longing for the greener grass that I touched with my big toe for four sweet months in 2018.

I feel like if I let it go altogether, I’ll lose the one right match for me. But I also don’t think I can have this stable, solid life with my affair partner, and I’m not willing to lose that for my kids. And my husband is a good guy. And he loves me.

Please help me find my way to a mental shift!

Thank you.