Phoenix Men is a fellowship that offers advice and support to heartbroken, lonely or ageing men.

Wife Having An Affair With Work Colleague

Hi, my name is Eric, I am new to all this and my emotions are still raw. Reading through the posts, I am glad that I found this site.

My wife and I have been together seven years and married for five. We have two kids of 18 months and 4 years and I found out this time last week that she had been having an affair with a guy that she worked with.

I knew it was coming as all the signs were there, but I choose to believe her when she said nothing was going on as I loved her and wanted it to work for the sake of the kids. She has told me that I’ve been a nightmare to live with, and I guess we may have been heading for separation anyway.

I spent the week away at a friends house and went back to see my kids over the weekend. It was an absolute nightmare as she would not stop begging me to come home, so for the kid’s sake I went back to her. All I really ever wanted was my old life back. I now know that it’s not possible after spending two days in her company. It’s like a living nightmare. It’s only the kids that make me want to work at this, but if I am unhappy, is it really worth it?

I know if I walk away from her, she will make the whole break up a mess and be nasty and be as hard on me as she can. I am afraid of the repercussions if I say to her, I want a divorce. We are going to counselling tomorrow. Have any of you guys been before? Does it work or not? Can anyone tell me what the process like? Any advice you guys can give would be really appreciated. Thank you for listening to my story.

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6 thoughts on “Wife Having An Affair With Work Colleague”

  1. Eric welcome to the site, although its sad to see you here. You are on the start of an emotional roller coaster that is very hard to get off. Cant comment on counseling but I have been in your situation. You need a bit of space to get your head around all of this so take your time and don’t make any rash decisions and don’t move out of the house ! You need to protect your self for the future, moving out can be a big mistake. She will be in no hurry to settle anything financially if you are living elsewhere while you continue to pay for the home and other bills. At this stage you are probably in emotional shock. Be careful of guilt transfer, your wife has done wrong, has been leading a double life for some time, with lies, false alibis etc that all add to the stress. She knows that deep down, but has rationalized her behavior by blaming you and she will continue to do that. Its easier to justify your position by blaming others than your self. Its almost a natural response. At this moment you are both under a lot of stress, emotions on knife edge, and probably very uncomfortable in each others company. Don’t get into relationship talks, arguments in front of the kids they pick up a lot and you don’t want to alienate them against you or your wife. Don’t get mad or even try to behave in away that when you look back on this, you know you did the right thing. Always Act, Dont React. (A damn side easier to say than do !) There is an argument that an affair is not the end of the marriage but a symptom of a breakdown of the primary relationship. (Something I agree with) It helps to recognize that if you want to rebuild your marriage. I am currently rebuilding our future, we are still married and still together. So its not necessary the end if that’s what you want. However if your wife has decided it’s the end, there’s not awful lot you can do but protect your self and the children. Focus on yourself and your kids. Your wife is her own person and can make her own decisions but must also take full responsibility for them. Others will give better advice than I can Regards Dava.

  2. Eric After posting the above I remembered I had save some excellent advice that someone posted a while ago. I’m not sure who might have been so with retrospective permission I will copy it here “you need to decide at some point if this is going to end up in divorce or reconciliation, and how long you are prepared to wait and see. Sadly these types of situations, whilst very common are very undermining to confidence and general well being. So there will be only so long you can wait, if at all. Many people, just knowing that they have betrayed them this badly is enough… but not everyone. We all make our own choices. Only about 30% of affairs do end in divorce, but I think the rate for the woman having the affair is higher, and they tend to ‘be in love’ as opposed to ‘having a bit on the side’. This often makes them very determined to go through with it. Her blaming you for her having an affair is just classic guilt transfer. No doubt she currently criticises everything about you, and her behaviour has changed.

    All that is upsetting, but do not take it personally. It says more about her self centredness and feelings of guilt, than anything about you. My suggestion is that you sit down perhaps with a trusted friend, and decide on what terms there might be reconciliation, but make her confront her guilt first. Also, what do you want if this comes to divorce? Some key don’ts: 1) Do not leave the house – it will leave you with a worse financial settlement and make it more likely you will lose the kids. She may be desperate to be with this guys, and if you stay put, she may just leave. Either way, do not give up this bargaining chip, as it will effectively hand over your keys to the other guy. 2) Do not get angry. Be polite and smile. Anger, however justified, can be misrepresented as violence. That could get you evicted from the house by her. Also, whether or not it is justified, it upsets the kids, and if you are bitter it will drive your kids away from you. 3) Do not criticise you ex2b to your kids. If she is bad to them, let them suss it themselves. Some key dos: Get some purpose back into your life – focus on your kids? Accept that she does not care one jot about your fate, so you need to decide what you want, not her be as friendly as possible, until you have all the court usable proof you want… then use it to get what you want. Keep your tactics away from her use negotiation over confrontation, especially when it comes to the kids. For the kids argue in terms of what is best for them. Also, accept they should have a relationship with their mum and do not undermine it. Focus on building yours with them. Agreements over the kids, as well as one side having them and the other not having them, can end up as shared care. This is often the ideal, as the kids love both their parents, engineer the status quo towards what you want.

    Courts prefer to not disturb the status quo. Thus, if she wants you to have the kids 3 nights a week to go out clubbing with ‘new man’ let her do it. Then keep a diary of what you do, and use it to support your case. Separate out the finances now, and before she has a chance to empty out the joint account. Also, shut off that credit card fast. Then tell her, and if appropriate give her some monthly money to get by on for now. Expect to come out of a divorce with about or less than half the assets (include your pension in that). The level of division depends on making sure the kids are adequately housed. If she is planning to cohabit with the other guy, get proof of this that can be used in a court of law and that your solicitor says can be used. If the other guy is rich, this matters more, as his assets might be included in any settlement. Beware that they will try, and it is possible to do so, to conceal his assets. Therefore the initial priority to to lure them out and get proof before using any facts in arguments over finances.”

  3. Eric welcome to the site. I echo what the others say about the support that you will get here. Keep posting! Please read other stories, you will profit from the investment of your time. Ok, you will see a *ton* of raw emotion, you will see some amazing stories, you will laugh, you will cry — prepare to run the entire gamut of human emotion. You will find, in time, should you so wish, that you will start to help others that arrive here too, with your own experiences and advice. A little more about the roller coaster. It is a pretty wild ride — the depths of despair are plumbed, but so are the ups — and you *can* be up — total equanimity can be restored (for a period). The ratio of good days to bad days slowly improves, but in a highly non-linear fashion — it appears to me to be somewhat unpredictable and the swings can occur over timescales ~5 minutes (OK, that’s my most extreme experience). Occasional total emotional “crashes” occur, there appears to be a canonical period of ~6 days duration, during which eating and sleeping are very difficult. BUT there *is* light at the end of the tunnel, you *will* pull through this! The human spirit is indomitable and *demands* survival. Courage! Semper Fidelis! Alan

  4. Hi, Eric – this is the club every one wants to join. We cant promise you fun and frivolity everyday but we can offer you a sympathetic ear. All of us have experiences & tales to share. You will find that you are not alone – make use of this site & rant away. For my first 6 weeks this site became my personal diary of rants. As Dava says above – you will have good days & you will have bad days. I still do. Dont beat yourself up on it tho’. Take Care & welcome Scream Defiance at the world. Si

  5. Hi Eric – and welcome. We went to counseling for an initial consultation, and will be going for a first session of a series early in Jan. In the first interview its really a case of assessing whether both of you are willing and able to benefit from counseling. Note that counseling does not exist only to “put marriages BACK together” – indeed I would argue that this is impossible after one spouse has “pulled the trigger”, BUT they will try to help you both ( or only one of you if it goes that way…) to adjust in the most healthy way possible to your new circumstances, and also, to build the foundations for a NEW relationship with your (maybe ex-) spouse. Sometimes this could be as a (still) married couple, sometimes as separated/divorced ex’s who still need to collaborate over children, finances etc etc.

    There can be quite a gap between initial appointment (which they try to get within a few weeks of your call) and the start of regular counseling – you may have to gee them up a bit after a few weeks, and in the mean time you will have to have a strategy and tactics of your own in place. Do not doubt your self, or accept your wife’s assessment of you – she will be programing herself to stress only the bad points of your joint history. At the same time, accept some of the responsibility for getting to this place in your relationship, ie do not appoint yourself “Victim”, and do not beat yourself up. Look forward not back. I don’t know if you like reading self-help books, but there are a few which other folks here have recommended, and which have ( and are.. ) helping me to turn around my own crisis. I really suggest that you get hold of them and read like a man possessed. They will help you get your head around what YOU want, and then give you some behavioral pointers on how to get there. There are no guarantees, but at least you will have the comfort of having tried for what you want rather than just accepting passively whatever comes your way. TAKE YOUR TIME do not rush, or be rushed into taking actions or making decisions, give yourself a chance to adjust, and try to keep it amicable. Good luck – and post here as often as you need – we all have off-days and this site is a life-saver. Paul

  6. Hi Thanks for the advice guys. Our home(?) is only rented so we don’t have to fight over it thankfully. I am back there because I want my kids to have a good Xmas and to try and make my marriage work. Counseling was okay but my wife didn’t answer any of the really difficult questions put to her!!! So time will tell on that score. Life seems unreal at the moment, living at home with kids and playing happy families while dealing with all the pain of her affair. I am not sure who mentioned about not moving out to allow him in, that’s a sound piece of advice. I am off for some free legal advice this afternoon and have phoned the council about being rehoused, not good news unless i get 3.5 days and week and she gets 3.5 days a week and then they may consider it. So that’s fair. Renting privately would be okay on the short term but the cost is pretty scary to carry on one not huge wage. Hope everyone has a good Christmas.


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