8/31/97 Advice Column
Confession may be good for the soul, but it plays hell with a marriage. If you feel you would lose your marriage if you told, and you value your marriage, don't tell your husband -- or anyone else.
Infidelity isn't worth the guilt, so I'd never do such a thing, but if I did, I wouldn't tell.
My wife and I have been married for 5 years. After the third year of marriage, we had a fight in which, in the process of me trying to get out of the house before I lost my temper and she stopping me, I hit her (not out of anger, simply trying to get away as she was holding my shirt and would not let me leave). Since she had been in many abusive relationships, she associated me with all these other men. (Note: I have never hit anyone before, short of my little brother and I having fights when we were growing up).
This event began the long downturn towards divorce. My wife began refusing to sleep with me, telling me I was too fat and my touch made her cringe. I appologized over and over and tried to pacify her. She began having an affair (which she still denies). She asked for a divorce and I begged her not to. She told me she still loved me but the feelings were gone. I told her she could have her divorce and she said she'd like to stay together in the event the feelings returned. I felt the same way. This was three years ago.
I haven't slept with my wife (not my choice) for two years. About 3 months ago, she became involved with a very manipulative man who is 20 years her senior (I understand manipulation itself is not necessarily a bad thing; however, he has her under his complete control. My nickname for the guy is "The Puppetmaster"). She started doing the same things she did with the first "affair". He was all she talked about. When she wasn't talking about him she was talking to him on the phone or writing love notes to his pager. A girl that works with me told me that she had confided in her that they were sleeping together. The girl asked what about me, to which my wife allegedly replied "I care very much about my husband but (Puppetmaster) and I are in love." I confronted my wife with this and she denied it. However, the girl I work with does not appear interested in me and I can find no motivation for her lying. Meanwhile, the love notes continued and I was constantly watching our three kids while my wife and Puppetman ran around all night. I finally blew up and told her I wanted a divorce (something I occassionally threatened when I felt she behaved badly towards me). This time she not only agreed, she filed. I relented but she refused to and filed. We agreed I would stay at home and pay the bills until she could find a job. A week later, I came home early and found them sleeping in our bed together. The door was locked, as were the doors to our childrens' rooms. When she opened the door, we fought briefly. She claimed they were both fully clothed (they were) and nothing was going on. I felt this was no excuse and I moved out.
This was two months ago. Now when I call each night to say goodnight to my kids, he is there in my house. My kids have started calling him daddy. When my wife drops the kids off at my apartment, he is always there, with her looking lovingly in his eyes and putting her arm around huim. She still insists that he's just her "best friend" and I still think she's lying. He tells me that "believe it or not, I really am your friend" and also insists that nothing's going on sexually. If I challenge that idea, he gets angry and threatening, claiming righteously that he is a "truthful person".
So the questions. How the hell do I get my wife back? Should I even want her back? (BTW, I suspect she may be manic depressive but I can't prove it and she says she's fine). How do I prevent my kids from calling this guy daddy? How do I show the woman I love that she's being conned and is going to get hurt? Most importantly, how do I deal with a skilled Puppetmaster? I am clearly out of his league but have to deal with him.
Instead of worrying about how to deal with them, make a life away from them. Get new friends, new love, and new hobbies. Don't torture yourself by watchng them together and by talking to them and letting them lie to you. Forget about proving anything to either of them. Move on. This whole situation is toxic.
Run for your life,
You're doing the right thing by starting out as friends and co-workers. It's okay if the dates are casual and not as lovers. As a matter of fact, it's best. After all, should you become actual lovers, your lovelife could complicate your worklife. One reason he could be holding back is because he doesn't want to have a love affair with someone who works for him.
If I were you, I would just let things go on the way they are for a while. Don't tell him how you feel. If he doesn't feel the same way, you could ruin a good friendship and lose a job. Instead, let him continue to get closer in a non-intimidating way. Go out as friends. If he is attracted to you, he'll eventually let you know it. One way to get his attention is to start going out with someone else yourself. And your friends have a good point -- you don't always have to be available.
Don't give up. He sounds like a possible, but play it cool. After all, reeling in a man is a little like catching a fish. You have to let him take the bait. Read Why People Love in my Love Library.
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