I don’t know if I want to be married anymore

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I have been in my second marriage for eight years. We got married quickly, after our divorces, and I feel like we should have waited, as our emotions were running so high. It has been a rollercoaster.

He still dwells on the past with his ex. She really was controlling and bullied him, and he had to get professional help to overcome it. He holds onto the past and never lets go. I have forgiven him several times over his antics because I was trying to be understanding and caring. We've had some good days (and some bad), but my love has diminished and it is not like it used to be.

I had a reunion a couple of years ago. A friend told me he had a crush on me and school, and I told him I felt the same back then. We were giddy about it all night. We didn't do anything or cross any lines, but he was single and wanted more. I told him I am married and that we couldn't be together right now.

Well, of course, in the middle of the night he messaged me and my husband saw the text and I explained what happened – nothing! But my husband has not been able to get over it. I assured him nothing was going to happen – this other man is out of state and I didn't plan on leaving. We moved on from it I thought, but the other day he had a meeting with his friend who gave him advice on what to look for on social media to see if I was doing anything questionable. I am not, and I lost it when he told me this.

He has very bad insecurities and has tried to work on that. But when is enough, enough? I don't know if I want to be married anymore. It is not like it used to be, and my feelings have changed a lot.

– Married

I can't endorse your husband's plan to track you on social media, but I can understand why he's having trouble with trust. He saw a questionable message. Maybe it wouldn't have felt as important if your marriage was ... happy.

And that's the thing, right? Your relationship isn't bringing anybody much joy. What if that was said out loud? What if you told your husband, "Hey, we're having real problems that make me unhappy."

You mentioned that he got help to deal with the aftermath of his last relationship. Would he be willing to reach out to that professional to see who might be able to meet with both of you? You're at a point where you're trying to decide why you might stay married. Guidance – a third party who can help you through uncomfortable discussions – might save the day.

A possible affair – emotional or otherwise – can become a red herring in a situation like this. You were giddy about someone new because you're looking for an out. Your husband probably knows the marriage isn't in a stable place and wants to find an external reason why. This random guy – from a long, long time ago – works well as a distraction.

Tell him you both need help. Be very clear that you're not content with what you have, even without anyone else waiting in the wings. Explain that you'd like to try to improve your marriage together – if that's true. At the very least, you want a plan. Make that clear.

– Meredith

Readers? Therapy? Alternatives to therapy?