Saturday, May 11, 2013

Ask Abbie: In Love With Another Woman

In Love With Another Woman Asks:

I am turning 52 this month. I've been happily married for nearly 25 years, we have three kids, the youngest of whom is 14, the oldest in college. I work at home, and several years ago, with my wife's full knowledge and consent, I hired a friend of ours, a mom I'll call Karen, to help me with my business. We got along fine, it was good for my business, a strictly working relationship, and she left after about 2 years to take a full time job.

She was a friend to both of ours, and she still came over often after her job ended, our kids were pals, etc. We walked dogs together. On one of these walks, she gave me a letter, asking me to read it later. When I did, it told me that she loved me, but she knew I was married, and that she couldn't keep relating to me the same way. We could no longer be friends.

The problem is, I'd fallen in love with her as well. I rushed to her and told her so. We spent a month talking tearfully back and forth before my wife found out. She was outraged, naturally, and I stopped all communication with Karen.

That was three years ago. It's been a painful three years. My wife is a great person, my kids are great, I have a great life. But I related to Karen, could talk with Karen, like I've never experienced with anyone else on earth. I didn't realize how much I needed her. My work has suffered. I can't concentrate, can't focus. I can't stop thinking about Karen, can't stop feeling that I threw away my chance at true love. Am I being a big baby and I should just get on with my life? Or should I risk it all, this family I've worked so hard -- we've worked so hard-- to create and nurture, for this woman, this love? Can you answer that?

Ask Abbie Answers:

Whoa. That's a lot. It's not unusual or "bad" to fall in love with another person. Given your age and how long you've been married, I'm guessing you didn't have a lot of adult relationships before you got married. This is the first time in 25 years that you're experiencing that rush from the early stages of love but your emotions sound genuine. It does seem to me to be more than a high.

Now here's the tough part. Do you leave the life you're comfortable with and venture into the unknown? I noticed you referred to what you have with Karen as "true love". That's a heavy sentiment and definitely something that can't be ignored. If what you have with your wife has lost its spark or actually isn't love anymore -- you need to figure that out first. Your wife is a great person but are you happy with her? Perhaps you and your wife have grown apart; she's a great person but is she meant to be your wife? Are you still married to her because of the children or simply because you put so much time in so "why not stay"?

I know you love Karen and the last 3 years of no contact with her have been tough but you have to figure things out at home first. You owe it to yourself and your wife of 25 years to figure out where you both stand. Break-ups/divorce can be amicable IF that's where this ends up. Either way it's going to be an emotionally rough time, but honesty will be the best way to handle it with everyone involved, including your children. Try not to act out of fear or guilt. If Karen is still single and still feels the same THEN you can deal with that.

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