Marriage issues, new work crush

Could these two problems possibly be related? After struggling at home, this letter writer has developed a wandering eye. 

Try to fix your marriage problems first, says our elder.


Dear EWC

Hello, I have an issue on the job that I need advice on. First of all, I am married with one kid. Unfortunately, I believe I married the wrong partner because we just aren’t on the same page with different issues such as financial discipline and a strong work ethic attitude. This has been going on for 10 years. We have been married for about 12 years. 

Now the other issue. I met this lady at work a few days ago after she asked me a question about my duties in my department last week. I have noticed her for at least a year but never talked to her. She is really attractive. I noticed her go-getter attitude and maturity, which I love about a woman. We have been talking as friends for a few days. I started having some feelings for her. I decided to tell her that I wish we had met years ago (way before I got married and before she had kids, who are grown now). There is no man in her life now. I don’t believe in cheating at all but I had to get this feeling off of my chest. She was shocked and flattered as I expected to happen. She told me thanks and we probably would have never been together. The problem is now I can’t stop thinking about her. I felt like we could have been great together. The more I learn about her, the more feelings I have for her because we have so much in common. I don’t want to break up a marriage as I have a kid also. That is not my plan. Any advice?


TwoBitsWorth replies

It seems like you have two interrelated issues: some level of dissatisfaction in your marriage and, as a result, a wandering eye.

While it would be tempting to further explore the office employee, my sense is you need to address the home front first. I say that not simply because you have history with your wife, as well as a child, but because by jumping head into an affair you will forever muddle the situation. I mean, you say it’s not your plan to break up your marriage but it sounds as though you are very vulnerable to exploring another person. That typically leads to a rationalization of how much better things could be elsewhere (grass is always greener scenario).

This means you owe it to your wife, your child and to yourself to address what’s happening at home. You said financial discipline and work ethic were issues. I know it’s generally not possible to change everything about a person, but have you talked with your wife about your feelings as well as how you see the implications of the way she acts, e.g. you can’t save for a decent retirement together if you don’t set aside money, etc? 

Before beginning a dialogue with her, take a day or so to really think about what brought you together (values, interests, appeal, etc.) and then assess when things changed. Recount how you may have sought to get things back on track – considering first how you approached your wife and how she reacted. I find that most times people are confrontational when expressing concerns. This puts everyone on the defensive. Better to talk about what’s working and then move to areas that you want to better understand and/or change. Do you think you could do that? 

Now, I know this might be hard which is why so many people just push things under the rug so to speak. To express what you need can move a relationship from under control to a level of anxiety. On the other hand, you deserve to be happy and my guess is that your wife may have noticed the state of the relationship. 

So, in talking to her, start off with a positive, i.e. your child. Then work backwards and talk about when you first met. Then bring up the one thing you both find equal joy in now (maybe a shared sport), then note the one area you would like to work on, “One thing I wish we could both work on together is the financial side of our life.” Note I said “together” so it sounds supportive. 

Instead of saying that you need to cut spending, turn it around and say something like, “What kind of education do we want for our child or what kind of home would you like to live in eventually? This puts the focus on positive outcomes not just saying, “We spend too much.”

Now, beginning to re-craft the nature of your relationship and marriage may take time. It may also require professional support. All this may lead to a better marriage or a sense that things may not work out as you both wish.

But at least you tried. At that point – if you decide to part ways – then you will feel more at ease pursuing other women. My sense is you can’t do both – fix things at home and get close to another woman. You know that, though. You also feel the temptation so my goal is to help you see the flirtation as a wake-up call more than a call to action to pursue dreams with someone else.

I hope this gives you something to think about. I wish you well and feel free to respond back.

Article #: 421076
Category: Marriage

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