Was I right or wrong in marrying out of a sense of duty as opposed to marrying for love? Some years ago I fell in love with an unavailable woman. We did not have a relationship but while still in love with her I met, had a long term relationship with and married a woman I was fond of and needed. My wife believes that I love her and she loves me. I am aware that if I had not had a long relationship with my wife she might have met and married someone who truly loved her. However, I stayed with her in the hope that she would help me get over the unavailable woman and that I would eventually grow to love her. This did not happen. Had I told her after being with her for a few years that I did not love her and that I wanted to end our relationship it may have then been too late (we are both in our late thirties) for her to meet another man and have children with him. Also deep down I must have felt that I had used her and did not want to admit this to myself. I felt I was obligated to marry her. Was I right or wrong?

Sounds to me as if you have already answered your own question: You are right to say that you used her. How about considering what you would want if you were in her position? My guess is that you would want to know the truth. (And by the way, a woman in her late thirties can certainly still find a man, get married, and have children--sheesh!) So why not start by admitting to yourself what happened, and then--as soon as possible--let your wife know.

The texts of intimate relationships are generally too complicated to make judgments about using simple moral principles. But as a weakly stated general rule, I'd say that it's not wrong to marry or simply remain in a marriage out of a sense of duty. In fact, I would say that a sense of duty is a desirable element of a good foundation for marriage. It is, however, wrong to marry or remain married for the sake of duty but do so deceptively--that is, it is wrong to marry or stay married only or principally for sake of duty when your partner in marriage believes otherwise.

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