The Other Side of the Story
I'm the other side of the story. I'm the husband whose wife is attracted to her new boss. We've been married for sixteen years--admittedly, not all of them happy. We've had our problems--some of them big. Perhaps I shouldn't have expected more or better than what's happening in my life now. I certainly don't feel I deserve more, yet I have experienced emotional pain, anxiety and depression, to one degree or another, every day since her confession of the attraction about three months ago.
She said she is troubled by her feelings, she wishes she didn't have them, she wishes she could take a pill and not feel the attraction; she says she can't dictate her feelings. She also said nothing has happened between them, but I wonder and worry how long until something does--if it hasn't already.
In my pain I gave her what I thought was sage advice... The longer you remain in an environment--or around a person--where compromise is likely to occur the greater the probability that compromise will occur.
For her such "sage" advice is irrelevant. She maintains that she cannot dictate her feelings, try as she might. To me it sounds like the excuse of someone either falling prey to a "victim mentality" or someone who, on some level, likes the feelings of attraction and doesn't want to do anything about them. Coming from me either of those suggestions sounded insulting to her.
If she's telling the truth then there must be a side to this situation that one who has not experienced attraction to someone other than one's spouse cannot truly understand. I'm willing to concede that as a truism. Never-the-less, the emotional pain and depression is very real, like a huge cloud hanging over me every minute. My chest feels heavy. I have difficulty concentrating, my thoughts are obsessive. I ask myself if there's anything I can do to change her feelings; maybe if I become a better husband, lose 25 pounds, get a new wardrobe.
In truth, none of those things would matter much.
The best I can hope for, at this point, is that my wife is right in her hope that the attraction will simply wear itself out over time. But what just kills me is that she wouldn't consider quitting her job (admittedly higher paying than mine, and a job she loves) for the sake of the marraige. If I were in her position I'm pretty sure I would do what ever I could, up to and including quitting my job, to save my marraige; to honor my wife and ease her fears and pain. At the very least she needs to have a plan ready to enact if her boss invites her out to socialize after work or makes a pass at her; a plan to establish boundaries, a plan to keep things professional rather than too personal.
I don't know what she'll do. I don't know where this will end up. I can't stand the thought of being shattered; "damaged goods" in my mid-life. I can't stand the though of being the divorced father picking his kids up Wednesdays and every other weekend.
If you're a woman (or man) attracted to someone else I'd ask you to put the person you will be hurting above your tingly, fuzzy feelings--at least if you're married, where putting your spouse's feelings ahead of your own is the ideal. Do whatever you can to avoid a position of compromise--even if you don't feel like it. Heck, we get up in the morning and go to school or work when we don't feel like it. We pay taxes even though we don't feel like it.
Along with taking yourself out of the environment or away from the person where your feelings may compromise you make a committment to love your spouse. By "love" I don't mean feelings. I mean love, as a verb. Choose to committ and love (verb) and I believe the feelings will follow.
I wish my wife would.