We’ve been happily married for ten years, our children are ages seven and five. We’re both successful working full-time, plus work travel for me, occasional weekend and night shifts for my wife.
I commute two hours daily. My wife, whose work is closer, gets kids ready, drives to/from school, participates in their after-school ballet, gymnastics, soccer, baseball, homework, etc. I’m home for dinner and homework.
My wife started a boot-camp work-out class last year, rising at 5am four times weekly. She looks/feels great.
The past six months, work situations have become very stressful for us both. There was little connection, but we still remained intimate regularly.
Recently, I saw a text message preview on her phone, from a man saying, “can’t wait to see you.” Curious, I then saw a text log of 4,000 texts over recent months, to her personal trainer in which they both say, “I love you.”
I broke down, was assured nothing physical had ever happened, it started as friendship. She shared personal information about our lives, her stress with work/life balance, and how little I was helping lately.
He started acting like her life coach. She enjoyed getting to know someone with a vastly different background and view on life. Their connection grew into more and she never stopped it.
She says she never stopped loving me. She wants to do everything possible to rebuild our relationship better than before.
The last few weeks have been the worst of my life, with lots of difficult conversations. I’ve realized and admitted that I’d become closed off with her, slacked on some household chores and took for granted all that she did (chores, laundry, groceries, kids’ clothes-shopping, birthday presents, updating family calendar, etc.)
I’ve committed to changes - helping share more of the family tasks, making more time to keep our connection, and bringing fun back to our marriage.
Meanwhile, she’s committed to her boot camp crew of 20 women and insists she must maintain that routine schedule for her stress balance.
It kills me that she’ll then frequently be in the same location with the man of her emotional affair.
But she says her connection with the trainer is 100% dead and working out is completely separate from him.
I agreed she could return for a few weeks… she’s happy, we’re continuing to rebuild our marriage and grow our love. But I’m dying inside whenever she goes to boot-camp.
What Should I Do?
You’ve done a lot in recognizing what was needed on your part. She’s done less in light of her emotional affair, but there’s still hope for your marriage if you can both lift your heads above what appears to me as “lifestyle mania.”
No matter how ambitious you are for your children, your much –longer letter listed many after-school activities (involving parental participation in schedules, organizing events, etc.) plus a lot of homework. It’s a frenetic schedule from the minute your wife finishes her workplace job.
With both of you working “successfully,” why not hire weekly household help for cleaning, laundry and prepping meals, instead of having Supermom doing it all?
You’ve both left no room for downtime or anything but the picture-perfect, high-striving family. No wonder she’s chosen to drive herself just as hard at the gym and was so easily attracted to “a different view on life.”
Counselling could help you re-frame just what your couple/family connection is all about. Meanwhile, your wife needs to find another fitness trainer.
FEEDBACK Regarding the female houseguest whose “butt and crotch were grabbed” by her friend’s husband (December 7):
Reader – “What was described meets the definition of sexual assault in Canada. I agree that women should learn to protect themselves, but in the #MeToo era the perpetrator must be reported and brought to account for his criminal behaviour. No longer is that something men can get away with, and society is finally seeing this violation for what it is.”
Ellie – Wholly agreed. I focused on stating that the woman carries no blame for his behaviour, but that she needs to learn to protect herself because sexual assault and harassment had also happened to her before.
I do regret that I believed the young woman didn’t want to report him (she had every opportunity) because she didn't want to harm her friendship with his wife.
Nevertheless, the important message here is that sexual crimes must be reported.
Tip of the day:
When “lifestyle mania” rules, relationships easily suffer.