Following are leftover questions from my live online chat, “The Cheating Zone,” October 15:
I’ve been married to my wife for 15 years, known her since college; we both work in stressful jobs and relied on our stable relationship and routines for the home life we wanted. We purposefully haven’t had children.
Lately, I’ve had to work closely with a very dynamic female, who’s younger and new to our company. She has a lot of enthusiasm, excitement, and fresh ideas. I find I can hardly wait to hear her latest brainstorm!
We’re going to be travelling to a work assignment together in a few weeks and I’m getting excited about it… but obviously seeing there’s room for worry, too. Is this something I should talk to her about? Or to my wife?
Give your wife a chance before you risk losing yours with your marriage. After all, she’s maintaining the routine you two set up together.
Tell her you sense a need for adding new interests into your life together. Say you’re realizing that needs do change over time, and that it likely has to do with changes you experience through maturing, and gaining confidence.
Suggest that you two add some new stimulation and spontaneity into your marriage - an adventure trip, studying a new language, training for a fitness challenge, whatever.
It’s not necessarily your colleague who’s got you fired up, but the sense of excitement she imparts, and how it makes you feel.
Take your wife away for a weekend before the business trip, or at least start the conversation about trying new things beforehand.
Don’t tell your colleague these personal reactions to her. Since you’re a married man, it could ruin your working relationship if she’s not interested.
And if she is, be aware that an affair could ruin your marriage and devastate your wife.
My husband and I made friends with new neighbours. The wife reached out right away – an invitation to see their newly renovated place, then a barbeque there – so naturally we’ve invited them to our place, too. Our kids also like each other.
Her husband’s a successful businessman and his stories agitate my husband a bit since he’s working in a mid-level job. Maybe that’s why he and the wife end up talking between them, when we’re all together.
I’ve noticed lately that she’s very touchy-feely with him – always patting my husband on the arm, or touching his shoulder. She also dresses very sexy. Even my daughter, age seven, said so to me. Should I be worried?
Too Close for Comfort
Yes. Everyone in a relationship should be normally alert to signals that someone’s making moves on their partner. Overreacting would be unwise. But saying it all feels too-friendly too-fast, is not.
Maybe she’s just “touchy-feely” but it may also be she’s an attention-seeker with men. Or worse, a woman who plays a game of seeing whom she can attract. Basically, you don’t really know her that well to judge.
So don’t accuse. And don’t blame your husband. Just build an awareness-fence around him, by saying that her familiarity with him has you uncomfortable.
Ask for his help to put you more at ease. Suggest that you cut back on the frequency of getting together, and that he deflects any inappropriate gestures by her, by moving away.
My husband’s always thinking something else would be better: We need to move to the country, he must leave his job, the kids should attend another school, etc. Sometimes I feel whipped around mentally/emotionally trying to calm his restlessness.
My best friend from college (male) has admitted he wishes I’d seen him as a boyfriend, not a buddy.
He’s married to a shopaholic social climber, so we share our problems. It’s a great comfort, but is it dangerous to have someone of the opposite sex be your go-to confidante?
This friendship’s distancing you from your partner.
You need to become HIS “go-to,” but first show him you have the interest and compassion for that role.
Ask what’s in his background that might be making him feel unsettled.
Then suggest he talk to a professional therapist. Say you’ll go with him if it helps. He needs the attention you’re diverting to someone else’s problems.
Tip of the day:
The Cheating Zone is the place people enter when they decide they’re entitled to seek excitement and attention away from their partner.