I see that you received a lot of response, and someone may have already touched on this, but I will put in my 2 cents…
My parents were together for 20 years, my dad cheated on my mom pretty much the entire time and she knew it. They separated once when I was in the 2nd grade for almost a year, got back together and then moved to another state for my dad’s job and then the cheating increased, and she knew it. I am an only child, my dad wasn’t terrible but he was away for work a lot so my mom mostly raised me and he and I never really had a close relationship.
When I was a freshman in college my parents divorced. I wish they would have divorced when I was younger. As an adult you understand exactly what is going on. I was 19 when I found out about my dad’s infidelity. When I asked my mom why she didn’t leave him before her response was “because of you” and she pretty much wasn’t strong enough to leave him.
It would take days for me to go into all the feelings about this but I will sum it up as quick as I can…if you really feel this is the next step for you and your husband then I would not let the fact that you have two children get in the way of you getting a divorce. Your kids will adjust and the fact that they are so long there is a huge chance they won’t even remember any of it. They need to see what a healthy relationship is like in order for them to flourish and be successful in their own personal relationships in life. That includes family, friendships and romantic relationships.
My mom spent 20 years of her life trying to prove to my father she was enough. She put up with things she should have never put up with and tried so hard to make him happy in hopes that he wouldn’t stray. And she failed and now she has zero self confidence and is a bitter woman.
Now that I am in my early 30’s and I look back at my life and past relationships I realized that I did the same thing with anyone that came in my path. I felt like I always had to prove myself in some way, never felt good enough, etc. and I feel like I have mirrored her.
I was married once for 1 year to someone I was with for a total of 5 years. We never had any children, he was a child himself, and I feel (hindsight is 20/20) that I was attracted to this sort of relationship because I took care of him and it made me feel good. I felt needed. Well, we divorced exactly a year after we got married for various reasons. It was hard, but was the best and worst thing to ever happen to me at the same time.
A month ago I married the most amazing man I have ever met and we are starting a family. I too went through a phase where I thought I would be alone forever and it terrified me. You are right, people can tell you that you will find someone, and they could be right or they could be wrong. What sucks and is the most scariest part of it all is the unknown.
One of my best friends is 32 years old and has 3 kids with a guy she was with all through high school, college, and then they divorced 3 years ago. She was miserable with him for majority of their marriage and she would cry to me about wanting to leave him but she has 3 kids! She will NEVER find anyone! Who would want her with 3 small kids? Well, she found an amazing guys and has been married to him about almost a year now.
The unknown sucks. But does it suck as bad as staying in something that isn’t making you happy? The odds are pretty good that you will find someone else. And you will have this lesson under your belt that will help you in making a better decision.
If you feel like you have tried everything and your marriage isn’t going to improve then I would go forward with a divorce. It sucks, it’s hard, its oh so embarrassing but you will survive, and so will your kids.
In my mind deciding to get a divorce isn’t something to be embarrassed about…it is courageous in any situation. There are a lot of people who choose, for various reasons, to stay in something that makes them miserable. Choosing to be happy, and improving your quality of life is a good enough reason to call it quits. I know many people with completely disagree with me, that it is a vow, till death to us part….but if you are realistic…we are HUMAN, people change, experiences change you, life changes you. There is nothing to be ashamed of.
Hold your head up. Listen to your gut. And don’t be so hard on yourself.
Best of luck to you!