Platonic Parenting Question
My spouse has proposed living together in a platonic friendship marriage and I am writing to see what others think of this idea.
But first, it’s only fair that you are aware of the background to how we got to this point. In summary up front: my spouse has had it with my past infidelity as well as alcohol abuse and my spouse has reached the point wherein the idea of living together as a romantic couple is non-existent.
Background, I am from Country X, my spouse is from Country Y, and we currently live in Country Z.
I met my spouse in Country Y when I lived there for my career. My career calls for me to be based out of various countries, with frequent travel to other countries. In the year 2000, we began dating. While we were dating, I had an affair. My then-future spouse found out about it, but I got upset and denied everything. Eventually we got married in Country Y in 2001 and continued to live in Country Y. In late 2002, we had our first child. Soon after around 2003, I began traveling again and began having flings with persons of the opposite sex in the various places I visited. This continued through the decade, even through the period where we had our second child. My spouse was oblivious.
Around the 2008 timeframe, I began to have a serious affair with someone else. This person was from Country C, but I’d met this person on travel to Country B. I continued to see this person in both Country C and Country B. This is when things first got rough for my spouse and me. I did not have my head in our family and marriage (some would argue I didn’t have it in for a long time). I started drinking because I didn’t want to be with my family, I wanted to be with this Country C person. I was even devising ways to get this person to come see me in Country Y. This person had a friend living in Country Y near me and I actually went to visit this friend’s restaurant with one of my children.
Eventually, I somewhat came to my senses. I stopped seeing the person from Country C, cut back on the drinking, and started to patch things up with the family. My spouse still never knew about any infidelity. I didn’t completely quit though, I led a double life via a social media network chatting with people of the opposite sex from the countries I would continue to visit. Later, I accepted a future job assignment to Country Z, partly because I wanted to go there, but a big part was because I knew I had to get away from the environment I was living in Country Y.
This all came to halt in mid-2009. While still living in Country Y, my spouse found my social media site while I was away on another trip. My spouse was shocked, sick, and appalled. It took one of my spouse’s parents to help make it through until I returned. I finally returned and was confronted with it all. During this time, I began drinking heavily again. Once while drunk, in a half-hearted attempt to either hurt myself or call for attention (I’m not sure which), I cut one of my wrists. My spouse also was diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease which would ultimately require out-patient hospitalization to recover from, this disease I’d no doubt passed on from my affairs. Up until now though, my spouse only knew about the log affair with the person from Country C and the social media chatting. We went to counseling, and began working on our future in Country Z.
While in transition from Country Y to Country Z, my spouse uncovered evidence of the various other flings I’d had. We moved to Country Z but this disclosure continued to affect us. Throughout the first few years in Country Z, I would frequently abuse alcohol, sneak alcohol, hide alcohol…. Both my spouse and I were in and out of counseling. To add to this, even though I had put infidelity behind me, I still had to travel to other countries (within the proximity of Country Z) and there would be times in which I would neglect calling home, causing my spouse to worry about what was going on.
All this time, even though I had done all of this, and even though my spouse would get so upset at me for doing things like hiding alcohol and lying about it, my spouse stayed with me. My spouse’s support really helped to overcome this.
By 2014 things were well on the way up. We still had problems here and there, but not so much more than any other couple.
By mid-2016 we’d gotten to the point we could talk about things like the past infidelity and alcohol abuse very frankly without either of us getting upset, and we were acting like a real couple who cared for one another.
Sometime in late 2016, I went on another trip. I’d neglected calling again. My spouse even called the hotel to have them check on me. This was the first mistake in a long time, but we continued on well after that.
At Christmas, 2016 I drank too much and was pretty useless the day after. This was the second mistake, and even after a terse day or so, we continued to get on well.
Finally, at New Years 2017, I again drank too much, and this was it for my spouse.
No longer did my spouse want to see me as a spouse-like partner.
My spouse has recommended living together as platonic, friendly parents, but not spouse-like partners. To my spouse, we can be good parents but not good non-platonic partners; to my spouse, I am a nice person, but not attractive as a non-platonic partner.
We are once again in counseling. I see three options- in order of worst to best they are: First, get totally divorced; second, follow my spouse’s suggestion for a platonic house; third is to work on ways to get back to a place we were in mid-2016. I really hope we can get to the third option. I am completely opposed to the first option, but I can’t see the second option as working out. The way I see a platonic partnership is sort of like preparing to eventually get divorced, much in the same way that for many couples, living together is preparing to eventually get married.
Any opinions welcome,
- The person from Country X