From my online chat, “Crossing the Line,” (August 6):
I fell in love with a co-worker and we had a brief but passionate affair. But I didn’t want to leave my wife and kids. She understood, but decided it was time for her to divorce.
Six months later I did separate, only to learn she was now dating someone seriously. I felt deceived, because it’d happened very quickly. Yet I was with my wife at the time so had no hold on her.
I really don’t know whether she crossed a line of no return, or I still love her enough to say so, and see if we have a chance.
She moved on, you didn’t; now you blame her for seeking happiness after you’d decided you couldn’t be part of it.
But you obviously still have strong feelings for her. There hasn’t been a huge passage of time, so she may still have those same feelings for you.
Both of you crossed the line when you had the affair. You’re connected emotionally by that past, so there’s still a chance.
I respected my husband until I learned that he and his business partner went into a less-than-professional sideline. At first, I didn’t understand why they’d take on something that had nothing to do with their regular work.
I realized they’d become greedy. The lure of “easy” money took away time they could’ve spent with family, to do this unnecessary extra job.
Now I look at him differently, and don’t feel the same emotional bond. He’s not “cheating” anyone, or doing anything illegal. Am I overreacting?
He crossed the line of integrity, in your judgment. But perhaps he had some reasons…e.g. less monetary success from his work than you believed, or insecurity about finances even when doing well, or maybe even boredom with his regular work.
As you said, it’s nothing illegal or fraudulent. And maybe people find a legitimate “sideline” to their work that gives them a lift, especially if it easily pads their income.
Give him a chance to explain, and tell him (without accusing) how it has appeared to you.
Perhaps your own background is playing a role, e.g. an association from the past with your presumption of “greed.”
If you’ve truly lost respect and become emotionally distanced, make sure your presumptions are accurate, because these feelings are the forerunner to wanting to end the marriage.
I’m a divorced man, 42, who was “set up” for a date by a mutual friend. I’d intended to call the woman in the next week or two. But that weekend I was invited to a party, which I attended alone and she arrived with a date.
She seemed to be very comfortable with him, so I decided not to call her. When my friend asked why, I explained that I’d seen her with someone else, and so was no longer interested. He said I was being silly.
But for me, the line was crossed because we were no longer two single people looking to meet someone new; she was already dating.
You only had assumptions about what was happening between her and her companion. He may’ve been an old friend, strictly platonic.
What’s more interesting is why you take such a rigid approach to dating. You come with your own baggage from divorce, and most women in your dating age group have some too.
Are you being overly “picky” about whom you call, as a strategy to not get involved?
My husband was married before and has four adult children plus their spouses and grandkids.
Recently, without telling me, they invited their mother (we’re not friends) to a dinner at our place, because his out-of-town cousin would be present.
I was in my own home having to watch the “happy couple” and their family. No one cared that I was the “outsider.” I’ve now refused to attend any event of theirs where his ex is present, and he’s furious with me.
Your husband’s “kids” crossed the line of common courtesy. Be annoyed at them, not him.
It’s unlikely he felt part of a “happy couple” with his ex, when he could see you doing a slow burn.
Instead of refusing to attend his family events, discuss how you two can draw boundaries with adult children who don’t show you respect.
It’s not his ex’es presence that’s the real problem. It’s the rudeness of their children.
Tip of the day:
Crossing lines on emotions or respect endanger relationships.