Columnist and trained counsellor Fiona Caine offers guidance on how to cope when your husband is pushing boundaries.
“My husband has started flirting with his boss at work and they sort of have an ongoing flirtatious relationship. He also once tried making out with her, but she stopped him, although she continued flirting with him and tries to keep him interested.
“A friend of hers keeps teasing him and feeding him information about her. A couple of weeks ago the friend told him (while the woman was sitting there) that she knows they both like each other, to which the woman reacted by saying it might be true. He teased her about it and asked for a kiss, but she refused. He then went to see her behind my back; she was travelling, and he went on a three-hour drive to talk about what she said, but she told him she doesn’t want to talk. When I found out, I asked for a divorce, but he told me he loves me and doesn’t want to leave me.
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“He also said that because he never had any kind of a relationship with a woman before me, he’s interested in this whole thing. He’s intrigued by the fact a woman is interested in him and is fascinated by all the teasing and the games she plays.
“In the end I agreed to let him do what he wants (I thought maybe he would get it out of his system). He said he just wants to go with it for a while and see what happens, and if it gets to the point of sleeping with her, he would. He said this could be a nice experience, yet he wants me to be ok with it and consider it an adventure.
“I am so confused. I don’t know if she would still be interested in him or is it just a teasing game to her, but I’m scared and am not sure how I feel.”
“No wonder you’re confused! I suspect your husband is, too, if he thinks the average woman would be happy to let him have an affair without any repercussions. However, from what you’ve said, that’s really not an option.
“His boss – let’s not forget that’s who she is – has rebuffed him twice. She may be flattered by his attention (as he is flattered by hers), but she’s shown no inclination to let things go any further than that. That may be for personal or professional reasons, or because she’s amused but not serious.
“I don’t know how old he was when he married you, but it sounds like he was young and inexperienced. Age hasn’t added to his wisdom though! I can understand why you feel that if you continue to pretend you’re alright with this game, he’ll tell you all about it – but that’s all a part of his fantasy! Could it be that, after 20 years together, things between the two of you have become a little stale?
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“Perhaps it’s time to sit him down and have a sensible talk about what he’s risking if he continues down this path. That’s not just his marriage, but his relationship with his children and, potentially, his job. At the same time, perhaps recognise that your relationship might need spicing up a little. Perhaps a little flirting between the two of you might not go amiss?
“Deep down you know you are not ok with him behaving in this way – it you were, you wouldn’t have written to me.
At present he’s taking advantage of your confusion and your love for him, but he’s being grossly unfair and perhaps it’s time you stood up for yourself. This isn’t what you want out of your marriage – so tell him – but recognise that things can’t just bumble along as they have been.
“It’s time to put some real effort into putting the spark back in your relationship and improving things between the two of you.”
:: If you have a problem you need help with, email Fiona by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org for advice. All letters are treated in complete confidence and, to protect this privacy, Fiona is unable to pass on your messages to other readers. Fiona regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence.
- Press Association