Mon 7 Aug, 2017 12:24 am
I'm a 61-year-old man who has been married to his high school sweetheart for 41 years. I truly can't believe that I am in this kind of pain at this point in my life. This is probably an uncommon story of heartbreak, but it did happen to me and I am suffering like a 16-year-old boy because of it.
I know that I will most likely be lectured by a lot of people for my shortcomings, but I am willing to tell my story nonetheless for hope of some positive counseling as well.
I own a small retail business, took it over from my dad 25 years ago. 7 years ago I began having an affair with a coworker 31 years younger than I. At first it was just something that we both wanted to happen. I know now that at that moment we were both looking for something to spice up our lives, but there were no real feelings of love or romance, just infatuation. We talked about our personal lives. She was living in the house she was buying with her boyfriend and the father of her son. It turns out she was unhappy with how her relationship had turned out. Her boyfriend was immature and didn't treat her with respect. Her son was and is the most important thing in her life. She eventually left her boyfriend and found out the month after that he had gotten another girl pregnant while they were still together. Not such a surprise.
I confessed to her that even though my wife and I had been together for years and that I cared about her deeply, I wasn't in love with my wife anymore. I also made it very clear that I could never leave my wife. We had lost an adult son to cancer (during the affair) and I told her that I owed it to her and my family to not deal that devastating blow. To everyone that knew us we were the perfect couple and family. Even though I had told my love that I could never leave my wife, I know that she still hoped that I would. When she would pressure me about it, I would tell her that it was impossible and that if she couldn't be with me anymore, I would understand. She always decided to stay with me.
Never guessing that it would turn into a long-term affair we carried it on for years. As the time passed we began to fall in love. We would kiss and hug and hold each other at work. We were alone most of the time. Once a week, we would take a room in a hotel to make love. We frequently made love in my office after the business was closed. We both felt we had found the love of our lives. Tragically, it was too late. We spent everyday together at work. At night she would go home to her son and apartment and I would go home to my wife. We would text each other constantly when we weren't together. She was very much in love with me and was heartbroken regularly because she would be alone and I would be with my wife. I should mention here that although I was living with my wife, we had stopped having sex. I had always been the aggressor sexually in our relationship and it was never important enough for her to say anything about it.
About a month ago I started feeling a difference in our relationship. Everything was the same, but I could tell she was changing.
She had never had much of a social life because she had her son at such a young age. Just didn't have the time or opportunity when she was with her boyfriend. About a year ago she had reconnected with some friends from high school. With my blessing, she started spending time with the group from time to time. She began to see other people her age having fun and having relationships including marriages. Naturally, she wanted these things in her life as well. She wants to be married and have a baby. Things I could never give her. When I decided to talk to her about the difference I was feeling she admitted that she wanted to end our relationship. She loved me but finally had to give into the fact that our relationship only promised her regret and unhappiness. Of course I could not disagree.
So, after 7 years I have lost what had become a precious love in my life. I completely accept that this is the way it has to be. Although I fantasized about leaving my wife for her, I knew I could never face that scene.
I still see her everyday, as she has become the manager in my business. She is completely qualified, hardworking and talented. I know that she is doing the things she wants to do with her free time and I'm sure that includes meeting eligible dating partners.
Of course we have stopped all contact outside of our business relationship. I would like to say I am happy that she is happy, but I am so sad to not have her love anymore. I don't mean just the sex. It was wonderful but it truly wasn't the most important thing in our relationship.
So now after about 3 weeks into this breakup I am still so sad and depressed. I am actively trying to reconnect with my wife everyday. Although she hasn't said anything, I'm sure she has noticed the extra time and attention she is getting.
I am trying to stay busy. Playing my guitar more often and working out at the gym to try and keep the good karma flowing. Tonight is Sunday. I’ve missed her so much over the weekend and I’m looking forward to seeing her tomorrow morning, but I’m also sad because I know I will have to leave her again at the end of the day.
If you were to ask me now….knowing what I’m feeling now if I would choose to have the affair again the answer is yes. It was true, beautiful love and I will miss her forever.
Aren't you glad that you realized all this before you gave up your home life and (possibly) your business? It was bound to happen.
Of course you miss her: half your age, sexy, vibrant and interested in your life and business.
Try to re connect with your wife. If you can't get that back with her, move on. It's not fair to both of you. Be sure to work with a counselor to make the changes you both need to go through this time of your life.
That's a very personal confession. You are out of a dangerous situation and seem to have escaped without hurting three other people. You are forgiven. Go and sin no more.
I confessed to her that even though my wife and I had been together for years and that I cared about her deeply, I wasn't in love with my wife anymore. I also made it very clear that I could never leave my wife. We had lost an adult son to cancer (during the affair) and I told her that I owed it to her and my family to not deal that devastating blow. To everyone that knew us we were the perfect couple and family. Even though I had told my love that I could never leave my wife, I know that she still hoped that I would. When she would pressure me about it, I would tell her that it was impossible and that if she couldn't be with me anymore, I would understand. She always decided to stay with me....
I confessed to her that even though my wife and I had been together for years and that I cared about her deeply, I wasn't in love with my wife anymore. I also made it very clear that I could never leave my wife. We had lost an adult son to cancer (during the affair) and I told her that I owed it to her and my family to not deal that devastating blow. to use that as an excuse for sticking her in a loveless marriage, disrespecting her and not giving her a chance to love anyone else because it was too expensive and it was scary to rock the boat and I was afraid of losing face....
There. Fixed that for ya.
I'm sorry that was harsh, but seriously, we see that kind of bullshit on here all the time. Divorces are expensive, upsetting, and sometimes scary. But at least they are honest when you know it's not working anymore.
You want to have an affair, then hey, have fun, but stop lying about why you "can't" leave. It's that you won't
To put a very fine point on it. Best answer.
Thank you ALL for your responses. I truly appreciate the time you each took to reply. All of you are exactly right. Yes, I am glad it ended this way instead of hurting my wife and children. I don't know if my wife would have been able to recover. You are also right....I did use my wife and family as an excuse to not commit to my affair love. Probably because I never truly believed our relationship could be successful. Also, because ultimately, I am not as strong or noble as I would like to think I am. Not something many people like to admit about themselves. I needed to hear the comments you all made. But, if I might ask one more favor from you all. Please suggest how I might deal with the sadness and sense of loss. I have no choice but to see her everyday. Please don't say I do. My "friend" is truly a good person and deserves to be happy and has earned her position in my business. She is sad and has suffered as well. I am working hard everyday at reconnecting with my wife. I know that the statement, "The grass is always greener on the other side" is not true. The grass that is cared for, watered and nurtured is ALWAYS greener. I am working to make the grass I live on greener. Again, thank you for your comments. I anxiously await your replies.
Well, it stinks that she still works there (and this is, of course, why this was a spectacularly bad idea). Of course you can't make the work environment so toxic that she leaves (unless you enjoy defending yourself in court).
You'll have to consider a few options. Some are more drastic than others.
- Sell the business. Yep, it's drastic.
- Buy the former affair partner out (if applicable).
- Hire someone else to have to deal with your former affair partner.
- Ignore her except for work-related stuff.
I imagine #3 and #4 are most doable, at least for now. I don't know how close you are to retirement or if you could find a buyer or if the business no longer brings you joy - but jettisoning it might not be a bad idea, and not just in this context. Fresh start and all that.
Thank you friend. Please see reply to all.
Thank you for that Emmet. Maybe forgiveness is what I need.
Plesse see reply to all.
Yes jespah....you are right. I have been neither brave nor honest with either party...thanks for your insight.
Please see reply to all.
She's a manager, right? Not part owner?
You know that she needs to leave the workplace. SHE knows that, too.
Find her another job, if needed.
You are never going to go forward or get over this if you see her every day.
I am surprised she hasn't moved on from this job.