My husband and I have been married 17 years. We were brought together through shared interests and insane chemistry. As time rolled on, we started to drift apart, though we always maintained our companionship and chemistry. Things happened and resentment started building on both sides. I built a wall, he developed a drinking problem. Fast forward to this time last year. I grew fed up with his drinking and seemingly to me lazy ways (getting him to do anything around the house is like pulling teeth), he grew fed up with me only having sex with him a few times a year... and towards the end, it became less than that. Despite this knife in our marriage, we have always remained friends, we rarely fight, and are there for each other no matter what. Unfortunately, due to the many years of no longer sharing main interests (he likes to drink and watch sports, I like to read and hike), we grew very much apart, maintaining only the chemistry (when I put my walls down) and the companionship.
In recent years I began to question if we were meant to really be together, if this is really a healthy marriage. He always maintained that he did not want divorce, that he loved me and just wanted me to love him. I started to become very lonely, as everything I did now pretty much didn't involve him as he had no interest in what I was doing. I started to think divorce must be the answer, and I brought it up a couple of times, each time instead of addressing the issues that caused me to say it, we cried, then ignored, then buried, and here we are. Last year I hit a point where I actually filed for divorce. It was horrible for about a week but then he accepted things and began to move on. I started to think about what was really going to happen and grew absolutely terrified... after all, I love this man, I am just so tired of having a husband in sense only. We had a heart to heart and decided to stay together and to really try to work on the things that drove us apart initially. He started going on walks here and there with me, I started sleeping with him regularly. Life was really good for about two months. Then he went away on a vacation, and while he was gone, the passion cooled, and when he got back, it was only about another month before we were right back to where we were.
Fast forward to now. Four weeks ago I finally told him for the last - and now final - time that I can't do this anymore, and I want a divorce. We cried, we got angry, but ultimately we both were on the same page. Tired of the cycle. We agreed to continue living together for another year, a period of time that would allow us to sell both our houses (or original home is one we still own but now rent out) and save up enough money to pay off our debt. We were going to wait to file for divorce until both houses were sold and we were living on our own in our new places. We had a plan and we were good.
For about two weeks. He started hounding me to file for divorce immediately. He didn't understand why we were waiting. I tried to explain that by waiting it would just make things easier financially, but he was adamant. I kept holding off, because deep down I think I didn't want to file because I wanted to really make sure it was the right choice... I didn't want to have a change of heart again like last year. We remained peacefully cohabitating in the house, up until last week, when he told me that he had met someone and wanted to start dating her. He told me because he wanted to be honest with me and he thought that I would be happy for him.
I am absolutely devastated, and I don't know how to handle this. We were not even filed at that point, so still very much married. And in the middle of all this, my father became seriously ill and was hospitalized, and I'd been turning to my husband for comfort and support and he'd been readily there providing it. In fact, the night before he told me he'd met someone, we were having a discussion about everything and ended the evening hugging each hard and saying how much we loved one another.
I told him that I was not OK with him dating anyone while we were going through the divorce process, and asked that he wait until we are done and no longer living together. He had been telling me from day one that he was not OK with me dating, and so I had not been opening myself up to the option. I had been expecting the same from him. He agreed with me that he was wrong to have started something with someone so soon, and that he wouldn't pursue anything further. However I learned that he never told her that, and continued to text with her. To my knowledge that is all they have been doing, but it's intimate texts (the "good morning" and "good night" texts every day, with many more in between). I asked him again to respect the 17 years we had together the to respect the process of getting divorced, and to call it off with her until we are officially done. He said he could not promise to cut ties with her completely. I ended up filing for divorce the next day, and I have been an absolute wreck since that moment.
I feel betrayed. I thought we had a mutual understanding. I feel like our timeline of a year has just been massively sped up, which means we'll have to split debt and sell houses sooner. I have a massive amount of work travel going on this year, and I just don't know how I am going to manage putting our house up for sale during the middle of all of it, especially since it's no where near "show ready". And mixed in with all of this, I have two rescued dogs with behavioral issues that respond really well to my husband, but who does not want the responsibility of them, so they will be mine solely.
And at the heart of this is that I ultimately love my husband and I really just don't want to lose him. I am terrified of losing the man who has been my companion, protector, and voice of reason for 17 years. I miss him terribly and we are still technically married and living together. In fact, we spent much of the weekend together.
I am just so lost and confused, and hoping for some advice or guidance. Or maybe just a virtual hug.