We’ve been together for eight years, married six. We have two children who blessedly arrived in rapid succession.
In the early years, in the midst of our child-rearing, I deviated from our marriage.
I didn’t “cheat”… I allowed myself to enjoy “the chase” of a young woman whom I worked with, who was obviously interested in me.
It never went any further than “office flirting.” But the damage was done from that point on.
For much of the last three-and-a-half years, my wife and I have talked about this, but have never been able to fully move past it.
Meanwhile, she’s lost all sexual interest in me with the exception of an occasional, one-off “visit.” She’ll never trust me again.
I know it was careless and hurtful, but I don’t know how to fix things.
Since then, we’ve moved to a new town and I’ve taken a new job.
I’ve done well, but the feelings of resentment crop up whenever I mention the new female co-worker with whom I inevitably will need to work.
I love my wife (and children) deeply, she’s my best friend. But I worry that’s all we’ve become. Do we stick it out for our children, or is there any way I can regain her trust?
Marriage of Resentment
Bury the phrase, “I didn’t cheat!”
For your wife, the office flirting and enjoying “the chase” was emotional cheating.
Get to counselling, now! Even if you went before, find another therapist and go again. If your wife won’t join you, go on your own.
Inform your wife why you’re doing this: You’re desperate to try to lift your relationship out of your past mistake for which you’re deeply sorry.
Say that you have much more love and commitment to give her and the marriage, and you believe that the children will also benefit if you can help her regain trust.
Then follow through. Learn from professional guidance why even “office flirting” can feel like a betrayal to a partner.
Mirror for yourself how you’d feel if your wife were caught up with mutual teasing and the chase from another, sexually attractive man.
When you understand these dynamics better, tell her. Apologize again. Say how much you love her.
Regarding the new female colleague – be open with your wife, ask her to join you two for lunch if possible, and refuse any after-work meetings alone with her (say you’re needed at home).
I’ve been seeing a married man for over five years. It started when we were both separated. We made no promises to each other.
He eventually went back to his wife, who’s continuing a relationship with someone else. I proceeded with my divorce.
I really care about him and truly feel he cares for me. I’m not sleeping with anyone else, just him, but I’m dating.
He’s my best friend outside of all this mess. Very few of our closest friends know we’re still seeing each other.
Should I walk away with no contact?
Yours is one of those hard-to-write questions which you’ve already answered yourself.
You’re not proud of acknowledging that you’re still involved after he went back to his wife.
And you’re not happy that he stays with a wife who’s having a relationship with someone else.
So, the answer is obvious to both of us: There’s no future for you there. He’s not a true “best friend” because he knows he should let you go.
Walk away with no contact.
My partner of ten years broke up with me two years ago.
I’m depressed and have anxiety. I’ve been seeing a psychiatrist for years, have been on many anti-depressants but they don't seem to work for me.
I still think of my partner constantly.
I’m an introvert, a loner, shy and don’t have many friends. I have to force myself to just go out.
The few people that I’ve met simply want to hook up for sex. I’m looking for love.
How can I move on to a happier life?
Making an effort to get out with people you already know and trust is healthy. But meeting strangers only to be asked for hook-ups is certainly not healthy for you.
Focus on taking care of yourself. Ask your psychiatrist for a better treatment plan, and referral to a therapist who’ll help you accept and plan how to realistically take steps to move on.
Tip of the day:
Healing a partner’s deep resentment requires equally deep understanding of what “cheating” really means.