Dear Wendy: “I Had An Affair With A Married Man”

I am in love with a married man whom I work with. From the start, there was something there between us that neither of us could deny. Overtime, we developed a friendship and he started to talk about his marriage — how he and his wife were just friends and he was pressured into marrying her. Later on into our friendship, we became closer and closer, and despite my being against infidelity, we eventually became intimate. Months later he declared to me that he was in love with me. Over time, I began to fall in love with him, too. Soon I became frustrated with the restrictions I had with him since he is married, so I told him I couldn’t do this any longer. He promised he was going to move out on his own, but two months later he and his wife bought a townhome together! I keep walking away from him and then get sucked right back into it. A few months ago, he told his wife about me and she has since asked if I could step aside and let her try and win him back. My dilemma is: I love him deeply and genuinely, and want to give us a chance but I’m at a breaking point and I’m tired of hurting, crying, being stressed, frustrated, having migraines and chest pains, and not eating, all because I crave him and want a chance with the person I love BUT the right way. What should I do, still knowing I have to work with this individual and try and fake I’m OK? — Tired of being the other woman

Regardless of what his feelings and intentions might be with his wife, this man is not available to you. He’s not physically available to you if he lives with his wife, and he certainly isn’t emotionally available to you if he’s lying to you, leading you on, making promises he doesn’t keep, and showing very little regard for your feelings. This is not a person you can trust. And even if he did finally divorce his wife and leave her for you, who’s to say he wouldn’t cheat on you the same way he’s cheated on his wife? He’s a master manipulator and it’s imperative you get yourself out from under his grasp. Look for another job where you won’t have to see him on a daily basis and in the meantime, keep any interaction with him strictly professional and as limited as possible. If you happen to be a subordinate to him and he threatens your job if you leave him, you may have a case of sexual harassment on your hands and should speak to a member of your human resources team immediately.

Finally, I urge you to seek counseling to help deal with the aftermath of this relationship. It’s clear this guy has done a number on you and you need professional help to sort out the mess. The crying, migraines, chest pains, and not eating are likely physical manifestations of the emotional turmoil you’re feeling and you’re putting your health in great danger if you don’t seek some kind of treatment as soon as possible (you should also see a medical doctor and get a full check-up to be on the safe side). You’ve been under the influence of manipulation and some serious lapses in judgment and it’s time to get your head — and life — back in order. The relationship you’ve described isn’t a loving one. It isn’t a mutually supportive one. But if you take the steps to disengage in this mess and heal from what you’ve been through, you still have a chance to find the kind of healthy relationship you crave.

I have been going out with my current girlfriend for almost a year now, and she has recently started a new job. A couple of days ago I was emailing her, and she was telling me a story about a male coworker that was hanging around her desk talking to her, and I thought it was no big deal at the time. Then, just the other day she tells me she is going to play bingo on her lunch break with that same male coworker and told me “not to get mad.” This guy is single, and works in a completely different department as her. She tells me that they are just friends at work, and she didn’t want to offend anybody at her new job. So in my mind I feel like this guy is trying to get close to her, because he likes her, and wants to take her out, but I’m not sure if I should relay these things to my girlfriend, because I don’t want her to just think I’m trying to interfere with her work life or that I’m am a jealous jerk (I’m am definitely jealous, but I don’t think I’m a jerk). What should I do? Tell her what I think is going on, and that I’m uncomfortable about it? Or just take her word for it, sit at work with a fake smile, and be jealous? — Jealous but not a Jerk!

More than likely, your girlfriend already knows you’re jealous, which is why she told you “not to get mad” when she spent her lunch break playing bingo with her new male coworker. It’s possible she may even want you to be jealous. Why else mention in an email that some guy is hanging around her desk talking to her? I say ignore things for a few weeks and see if she stops talking about him. If you’re still worried about the situation, have a talk with your girlfriend and let her know that while you trust her implicitly (assuming you do), you don’t know this guy and have no reasons to trust his motives in befriending your girlfriend. Tell her you’d be a lot more comfortable about her having an occasional lunch with him if he knew you existed and had a face to put with your name. Then ask if it would be OK for you to take her out to lunch sometime, picking her up at her office so that he may have a chance to see you in person. It’s a class “marking your territory” move and I wouldn’t recommend doing it without running it by your girlfriend first. But if she thinks it may help chill you out and ease some of your anxiety, she might be down for it — just don’t make it a habit, and definitely don’t ever show up at her office unannounced!

*Do you have a relationship/dating question I can help with? Send me your letters at {encode=”[email protected]” title=”[email protected]”}.