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Joined: Mar 2003
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i recently discovered my husband had a 2-3 year affair (1 year of which was sexual) with his married co-worker. my husband says he never went "all the way", but they did everything short of that, and the relationship contained a lot of very explicit sexual innuendos, offers, touching, talking about it, almost doing it, etc.

I suspected something wasn't quite right the whole time, and finally confronted him 2 weeks ago. the OW is married as well, and has 2 boys just like we do. He marriage is very unhappy, and my husband claims he never claimed anything was wrong with his marriage, he only commiserated about his work troubles to her. despite the pain this has caused, i believe by following dr. harley's advice, our marriage could be stronger than ever.

my problem is that we may not be able to even start Plan A because my husband had an affair with the woman he depends on at work (she is very good at what she does and helps him keep his job). For him, leaving his job is out of the question. She has been there 12 years and is loved and respected by everyone. They still have work contact every day and that thought is very difficult for me. He insists that as of last year, he was the stronger of the two, and convinced her that they were doing the wrong thing and the sexual part of the affair is over. Now it is only a "professional relationship" and he promised that as soon as she starts flirting or offering up sexual innuendos and services, he would stop her in a firm but kind way.

What led up to the affair, as explained by my husband, are that they had an incredible mutual sexual attraction from the moment they met, that as the months went by, it turned from making each other feel good through flirting to physical contact and that it was very difficult to stop, especially for her. For him, it was a power/male/sex appeal thing, for her it was an emotional bond as well as a very strong sexual attraction. She met his need for being adored and manly, and he met her need for listening (about her troubled marriage) and making her feel sexy, worthy, and attractive. They built each other up and formed a bond. He now considers her a friend, and she would like it to continue even though she reluctantly understands that it cannot be.

Is there any way these two can work together in a mature and professional way. It is highly likely that at least for a while, she will try to get my husband's attention in any way she can. (after all, he couldn't resist her in the past, and he has a strong libido and a wide open personality).

Is there any way a man can be so strong that he can resist the temptation of working with his lover daily, whilst working on his marriage with me? He says he can be - because for him it was sexual, now he understands what caused it, and if i am willing to meet those emotional needs she met, then all is well. (Our sex life during all this was wonderful - just like during our entire marriage). Of course i am willing - i love him, i love our 2 sons (11 & 13) and i believe in our family. i want to do the right thing to make it all better, but at this point, i'm not emotionally capable of being hurt twice and need to know my efforts will not be in vain. help please? thank you.

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My dear Friend, my heart goes out to you as to try to rebuild, retrust and recover.
Speaking from experience, it will not be easy, they will be incredible moments of doubt, worry mistrust.
I am in the same situation, I am trying very hard to encourage my H to either have the OW leave or that he does. It is met with opposition and anger.
I hope that the lines of communicate are open with H and that the OW is willing "keep her hands off".
It is like trying to hang wall paper with one arm. Not impossible but a whole lot harder.
I hope that you are a praying woman, you are going to need all the support you can get, both from here and the spiritual fortitude that only God can provide.

<small>[ March 21, 2003, 10:32 AM: Message edited by: anchorhugger ]</small>

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Hi! Welcome to MB! <img border="0" title="" alt="[Smile]" src="images/icons/smile.gif" />

Listen, I wrote a thread about this a couple of years ago... I worked with the OM, and I feel it DOES NOT work to stay at the job. I did get some who responded to the thread who have DONE IT, so you'll get a nice balance.

Here's the thread:

Why I think the WS should quit their job if they work with the Other Man/Woman (OM/OW)

Best wishes!!

<small>[ March 21, 2003, 10:41 AM: Message edited by: new_beginning ]</small>

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Cleveland,

I feel your pain and I am in the same boat with you. My WH company is small, and the OW serves on several of his boards. I'm new to this, but feel that we are rapidly approaching recover thanks to the fact that I found this board right away and read and learned everything that I needed to do and needed to stop.

First, the decision to leave his job or to ask her to leave will have to be HIS decision, not yours. I have gently hinted at my WH that he should be thinking about leaving his work. It will involve us moving somewhere else, probably selling our custom built house that we just moved into less than a year ago. Still, it must be his decision, and he must do it for himself and your marriage.

Second, although fiancial support is an EN for you, you must be willing to let him know that the material things in your life are not as important to you as your M is. This may mean giving up a car, buying less expensive clothes, whatever it is you are spending money on has to become less important to you than your M. I am gently trying to prove to me WH that I don't need all of this stuff. All of the material things in your life can be replaced eventually, your M cannot.

Third, never nag about the fact that they work together. My WH and OW (with 5 others) left for a business trip this morning. I mentioned one time, and one time only that I wished he didn't have to go. I made his leaving pleasant, helped him to pack, kissed him goodbye at the door. That's it, it's in his hands now. Hopefully, he'll remember that kiss and my gentleness while he's gone this week.

Good luck, you're in a tough situation. I promise that it will get better.

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No...they can't work together and not start back up again...no matter how strong their intentions are! Does the OW's H know about the A. I also hate to say it but it is very doubtful that this went on for a year with a strong sexual attraction and they never had a full blown PA. My H told me for the first month that it never progressed to full PA...right before I had him take a polygraph he confessed that they did have sex 2 days before dday.

You will go crazy worrying about them everyday!

Besides reading SAA..I would read Shirley Glass's Not Just Friends (book about office A's) and Dave Carder's Torn Asunder. In Torn Asunder really goes into the phases of an A...one phase that can be dangerously repetitive is the one where they break it off...they break it off with good intentions and then the desire for each other (if still in contact) just builds until A starts back even more intensely.

Don't just walk...run to the book store get the book and have your H read with you!

Best Wishes!

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I agree with the above poster, and do not completely think your husband is telling the whole truth. I am sorry to say this and know that you want to believe him.... it is highly unlikely he did not have the PA.... seriously think about it.

I do not think it will work for you or your marriage to have them working together. I would not accept this amount of disrespect, I also feel her family should know, her husband that is what has happened.

I am sorry this may be blunt, and I do not mean to hurt you by my post.

Are you in counseling? How about you and your h? I would highly reccomend. It also sounds like he is trying to put much of the blame on her for what happened. There is more at stake in your marriage than this just sex affair, it is more than that, he is emotionally involved with her.... especially as someone who helps him be successful, that is very dangerous to you and your marriage. I would say one of them HAS to leave.... someone else can do her job... she will use this to continue the A, as will he, especially if her husband is kept in the dark.

He probably told her his needs weren't being met at home as well, and obviously placed her above your marriage.

There must of been a loss of intimacy in your marriage before he did this, don't deny it. Read Surviving an Affair and Torn Asunder, also reccomended is After the Affair.

The Affair has a message, and this woman has met needs you have not for him... don't deny it.... He is meeting her needs, and has been for some time.

You are playing with fire if you allow him to continue any contact at all with her and work on your marriage, he will surely make a mistake.

Hope and Prayers to you, I am sorry you are in this situation.

It sounds like you are a very good person and it is admirable that you are trying to believe your h and what he says... DON'T believe everything he says right now for your own good.

Hugs, H <img border="0" title="" alt="[Frown]" src="images/icons/frown.gif" />

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cleveland,

First off, let me say that I am very sorry you are here. However, under the circumstances, it is the best place you can be. I will only point you to Harley's remarks about the adulterers staying in contact. It just doesn't work:

"My experience helping couples recover from infidelity has taught me that any contact between the unfaithful spouse and the lover ruins reconciliation. Even casual contact prevents completion of withdrawal from the addiction of an affair. Since an affair is usually an addiction, the only way to fully recover is to permanently separate the unfaithful spouse (the addict) from the lover (the source of the addiction). But even in the very few cases when an affair is not an addiction, total separation of the spouse and lover is a necessary act of consideration for the feelings of the betrayed spouse. It's the very least a wayward spouse can do to compensate for the suffering caused by the affair. Continued contact with a lover simply perpetuates the suffering of the betrayed spouse indefinitely.

It's been my experience that without total separation, mutual love cannot be restored, resentment cannot be overcome and protection from the threat of another affair cannot be guaranteed. So when I counsel couples who want to reconcile after an affair, I insist on total separation of the unfaithful spouse and the lover with extraordinary precautions to guarantee that they never see or talk to each other again. "

http://www.marriagebuilders.com/graphic/mbi8113_ab.html

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Hi - I thought I was lucky. My H was laid off from the company where the OW worked. 4 months ago I found out about A and he swore he'd cut all ties with her. Just this week found cell phone calls to her number and I asked him to move out, which he obliged. Now I'm regretting my anger and am scared to be a single parent! He still says he and OW are just friends. He has a 3-month lease at an apt. and says we need space from one another. I am kicking myself for kicking him out.

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Nearly 3 years into recovery my H still works with the FOW, however, they aren't in the same building, just same complex.

But, their A didn't end the first 3 times I found it was continuing. Even when she began dating the guy my H lived with while we were separated, they continued EA contact for another 4 months. So the A went on in some form at least 2 years, 18 mo PA. When I discovered the last leg of the contact, I served the D papers myself. And, I'd do it again if I ever discover anymore.

She married the other guy. But still when we go to work socials, she puts herself in my line of sight, fortunately doesn't try to talk to me, avoids me.

My H says she despises him and he avoids her. And, I think perhaps that is the only way former affair partners can work together without re-igniting.

Having her in his life is like a ugly shadow, seeing her myself is something I have to prepare for and/or get over afterwards.

All that said, my H & I are in good recovery. Happy, in love and we renewed our vows this past January.

If your husband appreciates the OW, is kind to her, there's little chance the A will end.

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my problem is that we may not be able to even start Plan A
“We” don’t start Plan A. Plan A is for the betrayed spouse (bs) to do while the wayward spouse (ws) is having/continuing an affair. The ws does not do Plan A or even agree to it. You don’t need to sit down and explain it to them. It is something you just do.

You love them and want to stay married. You fulfill their needs as best you can and keep lovebusters to a minimum.

(she is very good at what she does and helps him keep his job).
He‘s not good enough to keep it himself? If he is dependent on her for his job, then she has the power over him, right?

Is there any way these two can work together in a mature and professional way.
Almost never, no. Besides, look at the line below.

It is highly likely that at least for a while, she will try to get my husband's attention in any way she can. (after all, he couldn't resist her in the past, and he has a strong libido and a wide open personality).

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Any thoughts from you trying in cleveland?

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Thank you all for your caring thoughts. It seems that your suspicions were on target - my husband had 5 affairs over the last 3 years, one of which lasted the entire time. He still swears that it was a "power over women" thing and was addicted to the way it boosted his ego and the way they couldn't keep their hands off him. (yes, he drove a sportscar and works downtown an hour away from home).

He never went all the way with any of them because he loved me, and admits the affairs caused more shame and guilt than pleasure. He said he was walking around in a cloud, viewing women as "t's and a's" and is profoundly ashamed of his behavior. His rationale for pursuing his illicit pleasures, was that as long as he didn't have intercourse, it wasn't really cheating. From my knowledge of him, and listening to how "juveline" these affairs actually were (certainly not on a 40 year olds' level), I choose to believe him.

At times, because of our talking about this, we oddly feel closer to each other than we ever have.

I'm not sure I did the right thing here, but my sister-in-law and I are friends and I confided in her when I was desperate and in shock. She told her mother, grown daughter and brother about the affairs, so now my husband's mother, niece and brother know about his. My own parents have also been very supportive, so this has become a family event.

My WH is embarassed and seems truly remorseful. He called each of them yesterday and said it was his fault, has no excuses, and he wants to move forward in building a great relationship with me. He says that when he looks at the OW at work, he feels sick to his stomach, and can't believe how stupid he was.

He also started to wear his wedding ring again (he took it off a long time ago because it hurt his finger during hockey), and she noted "oh, you're wearing THAT again" when she saw it. Since then, work has been busy and he manages to keep her at bay. He is worried however, because "hell hath no fury like that of a woman scorned", and is very careful to keep his distance but not alienate her. In a month or so, the OW will be switching departments and their contact will be minimal.

I am trying very hard to be loving, smart, and trusting about this. We have two children, we have history together, i try to see him for the totality that he is now, and not just for what he did and how he deceived me. If I can get the man of my dreams out of this, the pain will be well worth it.

I have to BELIEVE that by following the process in Dr. Harley's books, it will work out. I can see now, that honesty is the key. My only fear is that maybe he's a sex addict (since he even cheated on the OW). But having everything out in the open with both families has so far been very therapeutic to both of us. Any thoughts? Thank you again to all of you who have replied - I took your messages to heart, and it is SO GOOD to know that I'm not alone.

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"Minimal" is not good enough. I tolerated minimal (about once every two months they attended a meeting with 30 collegues, and had probably 10 phone conversations related to follow up on projects thay had worked on together in the past) work-only contact for a year or so before the OM took another job on another continent. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Smile]" src="images/icons/smile.gif" /> Our recovery was going pretty well at that point, actually, but the true ending of ALL contact made a difference.

<small>[ March 27, 2003, 09:45 AM: Message edited by: johnh39 ]</small>

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once again thank you - i keep re-reading your posts for inspiration. anchor hugger, melody lane, new beginning,i still luv him ...you give me hope that things can work even with the OW and WH working together, but unfortunately the other posts were right on....in that it's messing with my head. thanks for your replies chris,lor,whatnow,john

this morning, while WH was showering, i checked his cell phone (last 10#'s dialed) and sure enough, he called OW on his way to work yesterday ...could be about business...or not. will i need to resort to a mini tape-recorder? what kind of radical honesty would that be? i hate that this is turning me into a snoop.

WH has been very reassuring (he keeps his cell phone on continuously at work so i can contact him whenever i need to (last night i called to check to make sure he was out with his male colleagues, and it was great to hear their voices in the background).

just now while i was writing this, he called me and told me he had just talked to the OW about a project and she said "nice shirt", and he said "thanks" and changed the topic.....so he seems to be trying. am i being overly suspicious? it's so hard to trust now - did any of you get totally past the daily suspicion? and when?

forever together , No, i haven't called the OW's husband. I had to STOP myself several times...i know their number and feel that if he knew, maybe he could focus her attention away from my husband, but then i don't want to hurt him and their children. should i tell him? also, if i do, my husband's job will most likely be compromised and he might not forgive me. he keeps insisting this was HIS problem, and the women were just props. any thoughts?

honey i wanted to go to counseling, but my WH feels very good about reading Dr. Harley's books together. he says that he loves me, wants ME, and to forgive him, accept him, and let him prove to me every day that he changed his ways. we are learning a lot from each chapter and feel that we are making progress.

new beginning , i read the entire thread and you're right...it's half and half...sometimes it works to have the two of them together, sometimes it doesn't...wonder what the long-terms statistics are....and which one it will be for me.

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Cleveland,

I'm a Former wayward spouse. When all contact was cut off between the OM and I, I was very sure I wanted my marriage and had pulled completely out of the fog. That being said, however, I don't think that either the OM nor I could have healed and moved on completely without the iron clad no contact situation. If I had been forced to remain in contact DAILY through work or other social arrangements...healing might have been impossible.

The fact is, there are other people out there who can do the job she is doing...or there are other jobs that your H can find that will provide for you as well as this one. It may seem like it's an impossible situation, but it really isn't.

Good luck...I hope you work it all out!!

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Cleveland..it sounds like your H is doing some things right...but...he shouldn't this early after dday be going out to socialize with male colleagues..how do you know that the female co-workers weren't there.

I still believe that even though your H is reading the books with you (mine did this as well and we learned alot) that you both still need to be in IC and MC. Have you thought about counseling with Steve Harley? My H and I counseled with him, did IC and MC along with reading all the books.

Even though he says he knows why he did it....why does he feel he needs showy cars, why does he disrespect women that way, why does he need constant attention/conquest of OW? Those are the things he needs help with...he needs to know why he has these needs/thoughts....he's not like that just because you weren't meeting all of his EN's.

Only a qualified therapist can help him determine root cause of that and help him with the psychological tools necessary to change.

As for telling OW's H...that is a personal decision...I for one did tell OW H's as soon as I found out. I would want someone to tell me if they knew...how awful did you feel when you found out you'd been living a lie? The OW's H thanked me for telling him...a couple of months later he thanked me again and said my telling him saved his M.

If you do tell...you need to let your H know that you are going to do it. Explain why and then do it...either together or by yourself. My H apologized to OW H's and OW's mom. He also like your H apologized to our kids, my mom and his parents.

If you haven't checked out the In Recovery board, I'd recommend it.

Best Wishes!


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