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31 Jul 2017

I had an affair and now I'm stuck with the 'other woman' - how did this happen to me?

By: Dr Petra Boynton

I have messed up and don’t know how to get out of it. I was happily married for 15 years and a proud dad. But at an office party I ended up kissing a colleague. Afterwards, I tried to make it clear I wasn’t interested but somehow she and I began sexting and sharing explicit photos. I wanted to end it but it was a thrill and ego boost. Then my wife found out and left me. I was very shocked and begged her for a second chance. She refused. I tried to win her back by making her jealous. I told her if she left me I would start dating the woman from work. I didn’t actually plan to do it, but my wife saw this as evidence that I was not to be trusted.

Next thing I knew, the woman from work started acting like we were an item. I have ruined my chances with my wife, but would like her to forgive me. The woman from work is nice but she’s not a patch on my wife and now I’m stuck with her. She keeps telling me how she’s always had a thing for me and can’t believe we’re finally together. She was meant to be a no-strings flirt. I was meant to be married. I’ve no idea how all this happened.

I know how all this happened. And I imagine everyone reading this will know as well.

Youhappened.

All of the things that took place here were choices YOU made. They may not have been especially wise choices, and it seems you regret many of them.

But this isn’t going to get sorted until you take responsibility for your actions and exercise control in what you do next.

Begin with the woman from work. She evidently sees things very differently from you, and while you seem surprised she thinks you’re in a relationship, it is clear she got that impression from your words and deeds.

Given she has liked you for a while, and believes you are an item, she is liable to be very hurt, bewildered and upset about you finishing with her. You can’t put off upsetting her, but the quicker you end things the less likely she is to be misled. There is no need to be cruel or unpleasant, or make unfavourable comparisons with your ex-wife. Simply explain this relationship isn’t what you want, that you are sorry to disappoint her, but you need her to know where she stands.

Avoid getting into lengthy discussions, a return to sexting, or any of the kind of game playing you previously attempted with your ex-wife.

As you both work together it may make things very awkward, so make a plan to be professional and calm. If it’s likely there will be issues at work as a consequence of your break up you may want to talk to your union, HR department, or manager (if available/appropriate).

If it’s liable to threaten your career then looking for a new job may be sensible as you end the relationship.

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