My wife and I own a small gardening business together. For the past four months I’ve been sleeping with one of our employees. It was unintentional — she was cute and single, we had a lot in common, and soon talks about our shared interests turned flirty and then …. I didn’t intend to have an affair, but I can’t deny the spark between us. In the last month I’ve been feeling guilty about my behavior and unsure what to do. My wife and I have built a life together and I’m not sure I’m ready to give that up, especially for someone who’s 10 years younger than me. But we do have something, and I’m not sure I want to give that up either. I’ve been thinking about coming clean and seeing if my wife will let me have my girl on the side, but on some level I know that telling her will implode our relationship. Right now I have the best of both worlds, except my guilt won’t let me enjoy it.
-Sick With Worry
Hi Sick With Worry,
What do you want from me?
Permission to cheat? Granted.
Permission to not tell your wife? Okay, fine.
Absolution if you tell her and it breaks apart your marriage? That too.
I get the urge to confess your secrets to a stranger. But I can’t give you clarity on what you should do or even what’s best for you. I can’t reassure you that telling your wife won’t blow up the life you’ve built or that keeping it a secret won’t backfire in some terrible way.
I can’t reassure you that telling your wife won’t blow up the life you’ve built or that keeping it a secret won’t backfire in some terrible way.
I can’t go back in time and tell you to initiate that conversation about opening things up when you first felt sparks for your employee. I can’t go back in time and remind you of how often messing around with employees is effing terrible for all parties. And I’m not interested in moralizing to you either. I’m sure you know all this stuff, but you did it anyway and you’re only a little bit sorry, which is fine.
Only you can figure out the right way forward. It’s your life. What do you want from it? The safety and certainty of the relationship with your wife? The new joy of your fling?
It’s your life. What do you want from it? The safety and certainty of the relationship with your wife? The new joy of your fling?
If you don’t decide what you want, the risk is that someone else will get to decide it. That might be your wife, when she finds your flirty texts. It might be your girlfriend, when she confesses her secret to the wrong person. I’m not telling you this to make you upset, or to force your hand. I’m reminding you of this so you understand the stakes of continuing as you have been – trying to keep your guilty pleasure on the side.
You’ve built a life with your wife. You have a business. But you don’t say you love her.
So do you?
If you don’t, or if you’re not sure, then it seems like your relationship might be at a natural end. This woman is a symptom of your problems, and not necessarily the answer to them.
If you do still love your wife, then end your fling. Or come clean and beg for her forgiveness and a change in your relationship model. She may surprise you with an open mind and heart.
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