Used and Confused

Dear Robin:

I would classify myself as a very happily married guy. My wife and I get along great and besides the occasional stress over work, the kids and all the usual crap we have a pretty great life together. So maybe you can help me understand why I think I’m falling in love with someone else?

I met a single younger woman through a work event and she and I had some business intersections that gradually morphed into a friendship. To be honest I was deeply attracted to her when we first met and I suspected she felt the same.

As it turns out she did and long story short we have gotten together a few times and last week ended up in bed. I swear to God I have NEVER cheated on my wife before.

She was very sexually assertive but after we slept together (and she told me she loved me) she suddenly decided we couldn’t see each other or even talk anymore because she didn’t feel right about having an affair with a married man.

I don’t mean to sound like a chick or anything but frankly I’m feeling used, angry, rejected, and pretty fucking confused about how I got here.  I don’t have anyone to talk to about this because obviously I don’t want it to get back to my wife.  

How do I forget about this whole thing and get rid of this sinking feeling in my stomach? And how can you start falling in love with someone when you already love your wife?

Idiot in Illinois

Dear Idiot:

You aren’t an idiot. You are a human being.

Marriage is a marathon that can’t be run without a few stumbles here and there.  This stumble was a big one but I think you are going to be OK.

I believe you when you describe yourself as happy and in love with your wife but something is going on that led you down this dirty little path.  For future reference, the next time you are tempted to become “friends” with a woman to whom you are attracted, please know there is a 94% chance your swimmers will wind up in her Hot Tub o’ Love.

In our emails you admitted that your marriage of 14 years was in a rut sexually and emotionally as you and your wife struggle to find time alone together amidst all the challenges of your daily lives.

That’s hardly unusual, but what is troubling is that you and your wife actively avoid discussing tough topics including the current state of your marriage. I urge you to learn how or you will end up as road kill on the Divorce Super Highway to Hell.

A marriage counselor can be very helpful in facilitating a meaningful dialogue between you and your wife so give it a try.

I do not suggest you confess your indiscretion to your wife, however, and I know I am going to take some heat for that but if your goal is to stay married and improve your relationship telling your wife you boned someone else is about as helpful as Keith Richards at a sobriety conference.

You would also do well to talk to a therapist solo because you put your entire life on the line in an arbitrary and capricious manner which leads me to wonder not only what’s happening in your marriage but also between your ears. Sometimes we act against our interests for reasons we cannot pinpoint on our own and we need professional help to identify what is driving us and how we can repair ourselves and lead a better life.

In other words, you need to hire a counselor to tell you it’s all your mother’s/father’s fault. 

As for the Other Woman, I have some thoughts for you to consider:

Maybe she was falling in love with you too and she didn’t want to end up being destroyed by this affair.

There is nothing as lonely as being a mistress to a married man and though she should have known this at the start, the consummation of your mutual desire probably shocked her back into her senses and made her realize she was going to get hurt – and probably very badly – if she continued the affair.

Either that or you are really, really shitty in bed. My condolences to your wife.

Maybe she is protecting you from yourself.

The Other Woman may also be protecting you because she knows you are on a very dangerous path that will lead to terrible consequences for you and your family.  

Do you know the difference between the chicken and the pig in a bacon and egg breakfast?  The chicken is involved but the pig is committed.  

In case I have confused you, you are the pig in this scenario.

It doesn’t matter how careful you think you are: if you have an affair, especially one that goes on for some time and includes deep emotional involvement as well as the hottest sex ever your wife will find out, meaning a likely divorce and the end of your happy (albeit slightly boring) life.

Perhaps she cares enough about you to let you go and the only way she can make you go is to cut you off from the friendship as well as the sex.

Maybe she’s a horrible person.

The Other Woman may enjoy toying with people and then discarding them.  This could be some sort of sick game she plays to bolster a sagging self-esteem or alleviate the boredom that comes with an ordinary life.

It is interesting that she aggressively fought your protestations to progress from flirtation to fucking and then dumped you immediately after her conquest during which she told you she loved you.  If she is indeed a broken manipulative bitch that’s good news, because it means you dodged a major bullet when she cut you off. 

You asked me how to make the pain go away, and I think that’s something that will come with time. You’ve only known this woman for a few months so respect her wishes, stay away, work on your marriage and I think you’ll find yourself healed soon. She was obviously special to you but further association with her is not worth the risk of losing everything you cherish.

Finally, you asked me: how can you fall in love with someone when you are already in love?

I don’t know.

Love is a magical, terrible, wondrous emotion that makes no sense whatsoever and yet is the reason we get out of bed every day and keep living.  I know we can love more than one friend, one child, one parent at a time and yet society rejects the notion of having romantic love for more than one person at a time.  

As Woody Allen once said, “the heart wants what the heart wants.” Of course in his case, the heart wanted his teenage stepdaughter so it’s no wonder he coined that phrase. Self-serving bastard.

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Colleen

    I LOVE THIS QUESTION!!! I’m so glad that he asked it. Can’t wait to “share” it, but first I’d like to say that you are spot on with keeping it away from his wife.

    I think one of the punishments for stepping out of the marriage is to carry the burden of being dishonest and unfaithful with you to your grave. Spouses are not like the catholic church – you aren’t forgiven just because you have shared your horrible deed with them.

    Living up to your own mistakes and not causing further hurt is the best punishment of all.

    You continue to dispense awesome advice, Robin.

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