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Office fling is tearing me apart

Community Member
Long story short, I am married but was going through a down patch feeling lonely at home with all the attention on the kids etc. Sex life dried up and also a bit depressed about work, except that I had a crush on a girl at work and seeing her every day was my inspiration. She was a divorcee also in a long term relationship with a boyfriend of about 4 or so years. We were quite close and when she announced she was leaving, she became very flirty for the last few weeks. On her last day, we got drunk and ended up having sex, stopping part way through. The first few weeks after that was hell. I was so confused, crying all the time and shutting out my wife (who doesn't know). We ended up catching up with intention to talk it over but never did, just talked general chit chat, until a few weeks later, when she said she didn't want it to get out as her previous husband had left her for another woman after a long term affair. It seemed like she was more worried about repercussions than not wanting anything, but we agreed that it was a drunk fling and basically it didn't happen. This was months ago but I still have that crush. We see each other every now and then for drinks, only as friends, but she doesn't know how I feel and I don't want to stop seeing her - its the only thing that makes me happy apart from my kids. I literally think about her all day, every day. Have tried being intimate with my wife to get over it but she is always tired and never initiates anything. We're only in our mid 30s but averaging less than once a month for intimacy. I have tried to tell OW how I feel to see what she says, but I can't muster up the courage and then feel like crap again for days until I get a chance to see her. All has been friendly with OW, no intimacy , until the other day when we were flirty a bit and she blew me a kiss (after I joked about not kissing her and smudging her lipstick) then affectionately rubbed my arm when she said goodbye. That touch felt amazing. I am so confused and don't know what to do. On one hand, I want to be with her, but on the other I don't want to break up my family. Also, if I do split and OW doesn't want to join me, I would feel worse. My best guess at the moment is to get financially sorted so worst case I can afford a divorce and OW if she wants to, tell my wife and see if she forgives me. I think I would try pretty hard not to make the same mistake again. Should I just ask her if she likes me and if not bury it all? This sucks.
27 Replies 27

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Itsagamble~

Welcome here, if you have a look around you will find your situation happens quite often. It can be a very confusing and unhappy time.

In fact from what you've said it was an unhappy time that started this, felling your home life was not what it should be, feeling lonely with the kids getting all the attention, plus your depression over work. In such circumstances you were a prime candidate to look elsewhere, even if it was only in your mind, at least to start with.

I guess one of the big dangers is that you loose your sense of perspective and build up something in your mind that may not actually be there. After all you said it was a last minute fling, followed by a casual acquaintanceship. The other person has not expressed great enthusiasm and if I understand you is already in a relationship elsewhere.

When children come along a family changes a lot, and both parents tend to have their needs sacrificed to provide a healthy and loving environment for the kids. This new stage in life takes a lot of adjustment, and I'd expect that at least part of your wife's lack of enthusiasm for intimacy is straight out fatigue. Does she get enough support do you think?

It does sound as if you do value your family, in particular the kids who you say make you happy. Is it possible to improve your work situation so that is one thing less to worry about?

No matter what your feelings the only suggestion I'd have is not to rush. Circumstances can change.


Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi itsagamble and welcome to the forums.

I'm going to give my honest opinion which is probably not easy to hear.

Your wife deserves better than this.

If you aren't content in your marriage that's ok but the bit where you wrote about being intimate with your wife to try block out the feelings made me feel pretty yuck.

Is it fair to waste your wife's time if you're solely waiting to see if this other woman is keen? If you don't want her let her go. There will be someone else out there to make her happy.

In terms of your kids it is always better to end things amicably then for one party to find out about infidelity. Once that's involved it is so hard to keep a civil and polite relationship which your kids will need.

You talked about sorting finances so it does sound like your mind is made up. Isn't it time to have a conversation with your wife so she at least knows you are unhappy and looking elsewhere?

Just my few cents. Feel free to ignore or be annoyed.


Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Itsagamble, welcome to the site.

Having a crush on someone at work to eventually being intimate isn't being truthful to your marriage, as you're not being honest with yourself.

We all have a crush on another person at some stage in our life, but I'm not sure this should be a reason to leave your family and if there are problems happening within the marriage these need to be addressed, a crush isn't going to help just complicate the issue.

There's always been a saying that has lasted for many years and it says 'the grass is always greener on the other side', and I say this because people can have a crush and whether it involves intimacy or not it will damage your marriage.

You can't guartanee if you get a divorce that she will come and live with you.

I'm all for having a crush because it brings life back into you, but you may have different ideas, tastes and how you want to live, a crush is just that but you may not be compatiable.

Best Wishes.


Community Member

Thanks guys. You're all right and I have considered all of this, that's why I'm so confused.

It was a 'last minute fling' as per Croix, but I know there was underlying attraction before then, months for me - not sure for her but I knew she was attracted to me, so could have happened at any time. Timing was just cos I had the guts (or stupidity) to do anything (dutch courage and all). We know each other quite well and would be compatible. My understanding is we actually have more in common than her and her BF.

I think hanging out and waiting if the OW likes me is me seeking the easy way out maybe, but I would sooner do what Nat suggested to not admit to my infidelity and maybe move on. But then there's trying to avoid that pain too. You don't think of all this when you're caught up in the moment. I just can't understand how somebody could live a lie so I want to ask her how she feels but without destroying the friendship. I'm happy if its a no and I'll deal with my guilt as long as I can, work on my marriage (which is just me, my wife is oblivious to any issues) and eventually the feelings may subside. I can and do love my wife, but think deep down I still would like to love somebody I haven't been unfaithful to. I've never really felt deep, head over heels type love, usually dies after the honeymoon phase so maybe this time is different??

Hey Quercus, I didn't mean I was intimate with wife to block feelings of the OW. I meant I tried to be more intimate so my feelings for my wife would come back. Trying to do what I've read elsewhere to get over it and move on with my family, but can't yet.


I'm going to reveal a little bit about myself here to see if it helps you. I've been married 20yrs, many ups and downs and probably never has it been that 'head over heels' type of love you mentioned though I love & respect him deeply. I did feel that once with a man before my husband, everything was similar to what you describe. I couldn't go two minutes without thinking about him, read something into every glance, every smile. We also worked together. He had a long term GF and I was single. I had a few nice guys interested in me but I ignored them all because I was waiting and hoping this man at work would leave his GF and choose me.

In the end he broke my heart. It was always just a flirtation for him, he was never going to leave his GF for me. So I guess I lost faith in the 'head over heels' feeling, because it's often the mark of infatuation, not love.

Flash forward to now and there is a guy at my current work who I could easily fall for. He's cute, we get along great, he's in an open marriage & I'm pretty sure with one indication from me, we could have an affair. I've never done anything & never will because he's a fantasy, not reality. The idea of him might occasionally seem exciting but that's because we don't have this history & baggage between us like I have with my husband. He's a blank slate I can paint an imaginary perfect relationship on. I don't go out for drinks with him, never put myself in a position to be tempted even though I've had my own marriage difficulties including lack of intimacy. The thing is, he is not the answer to my marriage problems. If I leave hoping to hook up with someone else, I take my problems with me & ruin any chance to start fresh with anyone new.

I understand your confusion. It's easy to see someone else you find attractive as a potential escape hatch from a difficult situation. But I think it's only the idea of the OW that provides the escape, the reality would be far different. If you leave your relationship, it should be because you've tried everything you possibly can to save it first, you have children to consider. There is no way to avoid the upsetting discussion you need to have with your wife that won't make everything worse. Be honest with her, tell her what you're going through. It won't be worse than what will happen if you leave one failing marriage for the illusion of another.


Thanks GoodWitch. A good perspective.

I am confident if I was to confess that marriage would be done anyway. I think that's where I am getting confused and holding out hope for OW, who, as you said with your experience, is probably unlikely to leave her BF, unless she is hiding feelings also I suppose. I just don't know if I could continue with the guilt and also, if she (OW) doesn't have feelings, how can she continue with it?

Your marriage might be done if you confess, but as long as you have one foot halfway out the door your marriage is going to disintegrate anyway, it'll just be slower and probably more painful.

As for the OW I can't second guess what's going through her head, and neither can you. 'Feelings' could mean so much. She might have feelings for you but no desire to actually have a relationship with you. She might be madly in love with you but still would rather stay with her BF. If she's having her own relationship problems, you could be nothing more than a distraction for her, a way of rebelling against her responsibilities, of feeling alive. For all you know, she could be a serial cheater. How well do you really know her, as opposed to your idea of her?

This is stuff you ought to know about her before you even consider her as an alternative to the woman you share a home and children with. If you can't live with not knowing how she feels, ask her, if it destroys the friendship so be it. Frankly, it's not as important as your marriage anyway and that ought to be the focus. Your wife deserves your loyalty, so I think you need to forget this other woman until you work out what's going on in your marriage. If your marriage ends anyway, only then can it be time to contemplate other relationships.

I hope you sort this out, itsagamble.



Having an extra-marital fling's controversial for most people, but as you've asked for help, I think it's a credit to you.

Coming back from this will take some attention no doubt, but well worth the effort. What are your biggest concerns at this point considering emotions vs practicality?

This forum's ideally a non judgemental space to be yourself and discuss options for your situation; please don't feel you need to defend yourself. We're here to help and want what's best for all concerned.

Kind thoughts;