(Closed) "Jen" the Work Wife Update — one year later (brief update)

posted 2 years ago in Relationships
Post # 226
Member
19 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: January 2007

“Have any of you been in a similar situation of liking someone but needing to end the friendship to focus on your own partner? Wasn’t it extremely difficult? I’m having a hard time processing all this, and the thought of following through with such an extreme measure sounds really challenging to me right now. “

Hello. You may remember that I posted on your thread last year saying that I had a long term affair with a coworker, completely torpedoed my marriage and his, and that it began much like the relationship with your husband and Jen did.  Let me reiterate that these were terrible, selfish decisions and I’ve done a lot of therapy and self-work to try to work on my coping mechanisms and decision-making.

Well your story of your friendship with the mutually unavailable gym friend is actually EXACTLY how my affair began. We were coworkers but began running together, as we both enjoy running and neither of our spouses did. We shared a little bit about our respective marital troubles, established that we were both firmly committed to our marriages, and mainly just chatted about mutual interests and current events. As we became closer and our friendship became a bit of an escape from “real life”, we both developed feelings for each other (unwittingly). In retrospect, I believe the fact that we were both married gave us a false sense of security, as PPs have mentioned. I knew I would NEVER cross that line, and I assumed the same for him. 

Well, it becomes a slippery slope. We eventually crossed one small inappropriate line, and then another, and another, until it was a full fledged affair. The entire time, from the very beginning, I was just like you.  I knew that I needed to drop the friendship (and later the relationship), but I just couldn’t force myself to do it. I fell into the “it’s harmless” line of thought in the beginning, and then the “what they don’t know won’t hurt them, and I deserve a little happiness” after it became an affair.  Then it all blew up.

More than anything, I would just tell you that right now, you DO recognize the potential utter chaos and destruction you are in danger of inflicting on your life if you continue down this path. So get off the path. Break up with your friend, stop using him as an emotional crutch and happiness booster in place of your unhappy marriage, and deal with your marriage. It will never be easier to break up with your friend! You will only become more addicted to the friendship! So do it now. If you’re unable to be in a three way marriage with Jen, get a divorce. Your daughter is young enough that it won’t be a permanent trauma for her, and you will be free to find someone who is madly in love with you. Or, work on your marriage, if you can. 

That’s what I wish I had done. Instead I had an affair, fell in love with my affair partner, and blew up two marriages. It was very traumatic for everyone involved. And guess what, no one remembers that our spouses were actually pretty shitty spouses. The fault is now 100% on me for the end of my marriage – as it should be. But the 15 years I was a damn good wife to a less good husband is completely lost in the mushroom cloud. Same thing will happen to your marriage. 

Side note, he and I are actually very happily married now and have a young child. As crazy as it sounds, we trust each other completely and have a wonderful marriage, in part because we are much better suited for each other than either of our previous marriages. But. I very wish I could have gotten to this point without being a shitty person and hurting my ex husband so badly in the process. 

i empathize with you. But please do what you know you need to do, before the situation becomes much more complicated. 

Post # 227
Hostess
2073 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

I just want to add on the note of ending friendships to save your marriage that I had a great group of guy friends before my husband and I got together. 

It made him a little uncomfortable that I spent so much time with them and not him and this was the source of our first real fight tbh. 

Anyway, my marriage comes first, I don’t see those friends nearly as often as I used to because I respect my husband. 

And no these relationships were not sexual. 

I know my husband would do the same for me. When I was in a relationship with a man who put his female friends before me I knew it was time to split. He was never going to put me first and he never did. 

IMO bee you should come first. No matter what. 

Post # 227
Member
313 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2018

This thread makes me so angry.  I can see how your husbands emotional affair would leave you to seek attention elsewhere, thus creating your emotional affair with Gym Friend.  However, GF’s wife doesn’t deserve to have that laying in her doorstep.

 

there are two things you need to do:

1.  End the relationship with Girlfriend.  No good can come of it.

2. Tell your husband in no uncertain terms that his relationship with Work Skank need to end.  He needs to decide what’s more important, his wife or his work.  If he refuses to let go of WS, let go of him.  You deserve better bee.

Post # 229
Member
241 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2018

anoncheater :  i think you (unintentionally) gave OP a glimmer of hope by saying you ended up married to & happy with the guy you destroyed other ppl’s lives with :/ May i ask what was shitty about both your previous spouses?? 

Post # 230
Member
19 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: January 2007

made2comment:  that wasn’t my intention, so hopefully that isn’t the takeaway message OP gets from my post. I see what you mean though, thanks for pointing that out. I can honestly say this is the absolute WORST way to start a relationship. A decent relationship from an affair is a needle in a haystack, and even if that does happen, you destroy so many important friendships, your reputation, and your sense of self in the process.

I don’t really want to get into our previous marital problems, because it comes across as justification for the affair – and there is no justification at all for that. If you have problems in your marriage, like most of us do at some point or another, you should work on the problems, work on acceptance, or get a divorce – not go outside the marriage.  

It just gets harder and harder to extricate yourself the further you get down that path, so I hope the OP can get out of this friendship and deal with her problems head on. 

Post # 231
Member
241 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2018

anoncheater :  fair enough! & it does sound like you’ve recognized & learned from your mistake. Hopefully OP can do the same before it goes that far.

Post # 232
Member
12517 posts
Honey Beekeeper

“To add to that, if I were to make more demands to him about his relationship with her (or if I went behind his back and told her to stay away from him) it would probably be the end of my marriage.”

The truth finally comes out. You’re afraid of your husband and what he’d do if you insisted on reasonable boundaries. If there was ever better evidence of emotional abuse, I don’t know what it could be. 

Why shouldn’t he be afraid of what would happen if YOU got angry enough to leave? It’s not as if you have no cards here. He’d potentially have to split assets, pay child support, be dragged to family court and pay a fortune to lawyers. Are finances your real issue here? 

I simply cannot believe that after all you’ve been through over the infamous Jen, that he’d think it was OK to allow her into your home, alone. Or that you would tolerate it. You should be furious, but he’s got you so browbeaten and gaslit that he’s managed to turn you into a meek, obedient mouse. 

Also, why are so sure she was just “coincidentally” leaving? How do you know they didn’t see you coming or even that he can track you by phone or car? The fact that you think there’s a good chance your husband would never have told you really says it all, doesn’t it? 

More to the point, why do you find it so difficult to believe nothing is going on? Because she said a brief “hello” to you? Someone who is not guilty might have had the courtesy to have a decent conversation with you in your own home.  Not that she belonged there in the first place. 

Or because your husband can still be affectionate at times? I hate to tell you, that’s not uncommon either. 

Back to your friend, you really need to rip off gym boy like the clingy, stuck on bandaid he is. It’s the only decent thing. Just do it and be done, as in tomorrow. Then get to therapy and focus on your own suffering marriage. 

Post # 233
Member
984 posts
Busy bee

weddingmaven :  I interpreted her response as she was afraid he would leave her.   Not harm her, or penalize her.  

Is there a large financial gap between you two, OP?  You seem to be tolerating a lot and are clearly in emotional pain (even if it is currently masked).  Sometimes that turns us into people we are not, and we lose ourselves. I know it seems easier to put your head down, ignore it, and try to bandage yourself up with another man – but do you think you might be causing yourself prolonged emotional pain by living this way?  A year ago you were very hurt and sad. If you lean too hard on Gym Friend and start behaving in the manner of an affair, you could lose your husband anyway. But, potentially also your daughter’s partial custody and respect for being “the” cheating spouse.  As a previous poster said, you may lose friends, respect, and even face court challenges if you are the “offending party” in your marriage at the time of the divorce.

This may feel good now, but it won’t later.

 

Post # 234
Member
12517 posts
Honey Beekeeper

notmeeither :  That’s what I meant, too. It’s emotional abuse. Nobody should be made to fear speaking up in their marriage to feel loved and respected. And nobody should fear they’ll be divorced if they do. 

Post # 235
Member
984 posts
Busy bee

weddingmaven :  I completely agree. I’m curious if this is a financial issue, an issue of perceived investment (so much time spent in her marriage that she can’t “fail” now) or if he has just damaged her so badly that she has normalized all of this.

Post # 236
Member
12517 posts
Honey Beekeeper

“How do you know they didn’t see you coming or even that he can track you by phone or car?”

Or Friendfinder, which you apparently have shared, with the exception of the times he conveniently turns it off, for example at the conference.

It boggles my mind that you had concerns to the point of asking him for his summer work schedule and he still let her into your home, alone. It’s because you were never supposed to know. Be outraged! 

Post # 237
Member
1043 posts
Bumble bee

You look forward to seeing Gym Buddy, don’t you? Do you take care with your appearance on days you will see him? Does it feel good that he pays attention to you? You are ripe for an emotional affair, which will turn into a full-blown affair, because your husband is not only neglecting you, he’s actively giving all his time and attention to another woman. And I’m so, so sorry. That must be incredibly painful.

 

Your husband is having an affair with Jen. Definitely emotional, and most likely physical. It is NOT normal for someone in a committed relationship to spend so much of their time “chatting” with their “coworker”. All this constant chatting is BULLSHIT. There is nothing so important she has to say to him, that can’t wait until work hours. He is stealing the time he SHOULD be spending with you, and giving it to Jen instead.

Of course this hurts you! It’s fucking hurtful behavior. You are starving for attention. You want to be noticed. Gym guy noticed you. It must feel wonderful! That is how affairs start.

 

I’m not a fan of ultimatums. But if you said to him, “You need to choose. Me or Jen.” and you worry this would cost you the marriage, that is all the answer you need.

You are married but you are not his number 1 priority. Jen is. And that has destroyed  your marriage. Your husband is a gaslighting asshole who keeps turning it around like YOU are the crazy one (you are not crazy). What your husband is doing is like pouring acid on concrete. It’s eating away at the love and trust.

 

You don’t need to catch your husband and Jen in bed together to give yourself permission to leave.

Please see a therapist, and then a divorce lawyer.

Post # 238
Member
2292 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

I haven’t read the entire thread, but I read all the recent updates from OP. I think OP’s husband is such a selfish jerk. Honestly, at this point, he would be doing OP a favor by leaving her. She clearly fears divorce as the worst possible outcome here, and if he would just make that decision for her, she could start dealing with it and healing and realize that being out of a painful marriage and single is much better than being in a painful marriage.

 

I mean, he’s completely emotionally checked out, so I am guessing he doesn’t want to go through the hassle of child support and custody and maintaining two households (I get the impression he outearns OP considerably), possibly losing a portion of his pension/retirement package in a settlement, if Darling Jen isn’t truly available anyways. In fact, if OP’s husband was suddenly available, that may tarnish his appeal, not add to it, if Jen’s motivation here is only the illicit emotional affair in which she’s constantly prioritized over her co-worker’s wife. She may not be so interested in him once he’s single.

 

So husband is doubly assholish for emotionally cheating on his wife but still stringing her along as his backup option. He should just make his choice and deal with the consequences. Selfish prick.

Post # 239
Member
458 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

There isn’t one bone in my body that would put up with your husband’s affair with Jen. Period. You’re not asking for anything unreasonable. AT ALL. Hey, the girl that has caused issues for the better part of the past year is NOT ALLOWED AT MY HOUSE. Ever. Period. End of discussion. Also, you’re no longer going to be texting her outside of work hours. PERIOD. End of discussion.

If my husband couldn’t adhere to those simple requests, that means he’s not putting ME first. He’s not putting my marriage first. If he would walk because I’d set these boundaries, then he LOVES HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH THIS OTHER WOMAN MORE THAN ME. Regardless of the fact that there’s now a third person in this relationship, if I don’t come first, there is no marriage.

Lots of bees have asked what you’re so afraid of, especially considering your statement that if you requested COMPLETELY NORMAL AND APPROPRIATE boundaries that your husband would leave you, which means your marriage is DOA anyway, and I’d like to echo that sentiment. I realize that you love your husband. Lots of women leave their husbands even though they love them, because their marriage is beyond repair. Your husband doesn’t love you anymore. Or at the very least, he loves Jen more. It’s clear to you and to all of us that she is his number one priority. You are aware of this, because you literally said he would leave if you asked him to end his outside of work relationship with her. The writing is on the wall.

You keep pointing out that your daughter is a toddler, and all she sees is the (fake show of) “love” between you and your husband. Even if she doesn’t fully realize it now (newsflash, she probably does), do you know what happens to children? They grow up. She becomes more astute literally by the day. At what point do you think she starts to pick up on it? When does she come to the realization that “daddy also loves his friend Jen”? Sure, you might be able to pull off this farce now, when she’s a toddler, but at some point, she will grow up, and she will see all of it. She will know all of it. She’ll also develop her own conclusions about it since you’re intent on staying with your cheating husband and pretending everything is fine rather than leaving him and telling her the truth. But sure, stay together for the kids, that always works.

Also, just because your husband didn’t have sex with Jen THIS TIME (since you are so sure based on approximately 0 evidence), doesn’t mean they won’t have sex in the future, or that they haven’t in the past.

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