MM and I have been together emotionally and physically for more than a year. We tried to separate a few times this fall / winter at my request, but end up back together as he's my manager in a small office. I like my job and other coworkers and don't want to quit, on the other hand there's no way to keep my distance from him while working on his projects. Also the whole office knows of our relationship - my buddies openly laugh about it, the others just smile and treat us as a couple (i.e. assume we'll share a car, sit together, know each other's whereabouts and moods).
I'm looking for help in how to motivate myself to end my involvement with MM. I don't go home to a betrayed partner; I'm not religious at all and don't innately believe multiple relationships are wrong; and I can't seem to empathize with MM's wife (allegedly doesn't know of the A). Before the A started I'd tried to befriend her, hoping I could have an appropriate friendship with MM and his wife together as I don't have any female coworkers in the office, but she condescendingly ignored me. I've considered telling his wife of the A, but forums all advise not to, plus that would be further involving myself in their marriage rather than removing myself from it?
Wouldn't you want to be told, if you were the wife?
Married 2.5 years
We remarried in 2014 on our would-have-been 7th anniversary
Expecting our first child February 2016
I only got involved with MM after ex-bf started distancing himself from me despite my best efforts to connect.
Seriously, and not so gently, read that a hundred times.
Do you notice any thing wrong with your logic? Anything at all?
Let's paraphrase: "I went out and screwed a married man because my boyfriend didn't appreciate enough my fabulous efforts to connect with him".
And screwing MM was because his wife was condescending toward you. And people know and laugh about it? So you showed her - by seducing and banging her husband? I'm guessing she saw you for what you are - a threat. Congratulations - you won. Pat yourself on the back.
It is sad how little you value YOU.
Good luck. I'm going to struggle to have any sympathy for you. Feel free to change my mind.
[This message edited by JustDesserts at 4:51 PM, January 13th (Monday)]
I get a sense that you think less of her or that she deserves this based on your "condescending" comment? Regardless, she could be a freaking nightmare banshee, still doesn't mean she deserves to be betrayed by her H.
All that aside, don't look to her for motivation to end it. Do it for you. Don't you want more than this? While you're involved with him things won't get better. They'll only get worse.
The sad fact is you probably need to change your job (or MM needs to) if you truly want this to end.
Also, it's just kinda creepy to me that MM would set you up with someone.
This is a brand new member asking for help...pull it back in, ok?
My tolerance for stupid shit is getting less and less.
I don't go home to a betrayed partner; I'm not religious at all and don't innately believe multiple relationships are wrong; and I can't seem to empathize with MM's wife (allegedly doesn't know of the A)
So over the time you've been together you said you've tried to break it off with him a few times - what was feeling wrong about the relationship that made you want to break it off?
It doesn't sound like either of you are very invested in it, if you're dating his friends and he's setting you up with them. More like the relationship was one of proximity and convenience?
I've considered telling his wife of the A, but forums all advise not to, plus that would be further involving myself in their marriage rather than removing myself from it?
Yes and no.
If you and the MM were in complete NC then contacting his wife as a way of putting yourself back into his life would feel like you were involving yourself further. However since you work together and are actively engaged in an A, telling his wife would be no more involvement in his marriage than anything else you do with him. And it would serve to sever the involvement, ultimately.
And really, as long as you're working that closely together, then the likelihood of getting back into the A would be pretty high. By removing yourself from him superficially (but not really), you'd probably only be pausing the A rather than ending it.
By telling his wife (aside from any other consideration) you're ensuring the A that used to be so convenient for both of you suddenly becomes highly inconvenient if not impossible. So of the two above scenarios, telling his wife is the one that would ultimately lead to the end of the affair.
There are other ways of ending the affair, maybe not so abruptly and definitively, but it is possible. Start with IC.
@ 210012: Welcome & good luck. I hope SI will be place of growth and healing for you.
I'm new here, and still getting used to everyone's strong opinions, but I happen to believe that there are some instances in which a BS would not want to know the truth. I don't think it's any of your business as the OW to tell her.
This has inspired me to officially request that MangledHeart give us a "facepalm" emoticon.
Unfortunately, your choice to get involved with a married man that you work with has left you few options if you really want to move forward with living authentically. NC (no contact) is the cornerstone of ending an A. It appears that you will need to quit your job to do that. I'm sorry, but that's how it is. If you stay at your job, the MM stays in your life and the connection is never severed.
The choice to expose the A to his BS is yours to make. It will put another nail in the coffin of the A, for sure. His W dies deserve to know, you just might not be the best messenger. Can it be done anonymously?
Have another job lined up first.
I'm glad you're here seeking help to end this unhealthy relationship.
It is counterintuitive really... the less we defend our well-being, the more well we feel. ~ Nancy Colier
One thing that I wish I knew now, that I didn't know then was the less attractive side of my AP. During the A, I was in a complete fog. I only saw the best in my AP. We spent a lot of time together, and work together like you and your MM.
Since the A has ended, I have seen much less desirable side of him. He is immature, selfish, and can only think about his own needs. Even when faced with the damage he has caused, he can only see what he feels. He can not empathize with his wife, child, or even me. Because if he had my best interest at heart I would not have had to remind him of my desire for NC (as much as possible) because I really want to fix my family. He couldn't "love" me enough to want the best for me and my family. I was only as important as what I could offer him. Since I have stuck to my guns and our contact is professional, he mopes around at work, and is messing up to the degree that he may loose his job. To me he looks over emotional, needy, and pathetic. This is not the person I thought I knew.
One thing you have to rewrite for yourself is your image of your MM. In your head right now, he so great and everything would be perfect, if only you could be together. No matter how much time you spend together, you can't see the broken person you are really seeing. All people in affairs are broken. You are, I am, he is. Until you clear what they call the fog, and start seeing him for who he really is, it will be a white knuckle situation. You will waiver and go back. I don't know your MM's brand of brokeness, but you need to work to see it.
[This message edited by breakingpoint at 7:37 PM, January 13th (Monday)]
[This message edited by DanteJace at 10:06 PM, January 13th (Monday)]
I happen to believe that there are some instances in which a BS would not want to know the truth.
I, too, think there are some instances where the spouse would prefer not to know if the affair was fully in the past. I think the fact that it is an active affair complicates 210012's situation.
@210012: Workplace romances are tough when the DON'T involve the boss, and DON'T involve infidelity, and AREN'T the subject of casual joking betwixt the office mates. You are taking on all three!
I have a hunch the wife is going to find out. This affair is far from secret! I think you need to be prepared for a lot of stuff hitting the fan. For one, this may not be a hospitable place to work after it does. (The again, WHO KNOWS in this day and age: maybe the boss's wife is herself fooling around, and happy that her husband has a distraction.)
Maybe one way for you to figure out what to do NOW is to consider where you want to be in two, five, or ten years. I doubt "fooling around with a married man" will be a high "relationship priority" several years from now.
If not: why not start to make a change now?
You have a PM.
What I can tell you is that I lied to AP about my marriage, portrayed my (amazing, wonderful, caring) wife in a completely false light, while conveniently failing to highlight my flaws. You've been with your MM for longer than I was with my AP but it sounds like there is a shallowness to your relationship. You should assume that you don't have the whole story, and that your MM is lying to you at least as much as he's lying to his wife. Seeing him clearly for what he is - a total jackass who's betraying his wife while exploiting his position of authority - might help as you take the plunge into ending things for good. I can say with complete confidence that he IS a jackass, because I was him.
Also, re: your coworkers, I'm speculating here but since you refer to the MM as the manager in a small office - of course people are smiling and playing along. They aren't going to mess with the boss's GF. Just guessing that you might be surprised at the way they really feel.
I agree with everyone who says you probably will need to quit. That sucks, especially if you've put a lot of energy into building your career. You may actually find that it wins you some respect from your coworkers, though. FWIW, I work for a large company and was able to transfer into a different division, although as noted above I'm no longer a manager. I may very well end up leaving entirely; for now we're erring on the side of financial stability while we figure sh*t out.
Before the A started I'd tried to befriend her, hoping I could have an appropriate friendship with MM and his wife together as I don't have any female coworkers in the office, but she condescendingly ignored me. I've considered telling his wife of the A, but forums all advise not to, plus that would be further involving myself in their marriage rather than removing myself from it?
Welcome to SI. I'm a former OW. Are you wanting to tell the wife to hurt her or because you truly care that her husband is cheating on her? Is this affair kind of like payback because she ignored you?
If you truly want to end this you will quit that job and find another one. It's not healthy to have all this drama going on in the office and I'm quite sure that when the wife finds out she is going to be mad and hurt that everyone knows except her.
The behaviour in the office and the jokes is so unprofessional. How can people take us seriously when we behave this way? This kind of stuff does not belong there. Would you really want to be with a man that would treat his wife like this?
Quitting a job we like, sometimes is some of the consequences we have to face for engaging in this behaviour. We all pay the piper in some way.
I hope you can get this whole thing sorted out in your head.
Also, I don't think that having multiple relationships means the relationships are shallow... though I am convinced dishonesty destroys emotional intimacy and an affair is not the same as a consensual poly relationship. I've sometimes dated multiple men, sometimes been monogamous (but always before openly and honestly) and can see the pros and cons to each. Long term I do want to find a life partner, whether that is exclusive or not is TBD. MM is well informed and supportive of me dating other people as he knows his own involvement in my life is limited and he wants me to find happiness, if necessary without him. (I think his brand of fucked-up is putting his own feelings completely last, and eventually acting out very selfishly and thoughtlessly as his subconscious fights to take care of his neglected needs. Then he feels all the more guilty and steels himself to be even more self-sacrificing... setting himself up to fail again.)
I should also clarify, he is and isn't my boss - he isn't the owner and our office is small enough there is no org chart... so he couldn't fire me himself, but he is the one I talk to about my schedule and tasks; he was the one I told/tell about my bipolar and med changes and whatnot. Which in retrospect probably didn't help boundaries, otoh it affects my work from time to time and it is important to have someone in the office knowing the full story (and sigh no it couldn't be a woman because there are none, also I'm bisexual as well as bipolar so I don't think a same-sex manager would guarantee no sexual involvement either).
Welcome to SI
You've received some really good advice.
I noticed you seem to think highly of your MM.
I offer a different perspective. It may aid you in detaching.
MM is well informed and supportive of me dating other people as he knows his own involvement in my life is limited and he wants me to find happiness, if necessary without him. (I think his brand of fucked-up is putting his own feelings completely last, and eventually acting out very selfishly and thoughtlessly as his subconscious fights to take care of his neglected needs. Then he feels all the more guilty and steels himself to be even more self-sacrificing... setting himself up to fail again.)
"Do not say a little in many words but a great deal in a few." Pythagoras
There are two kinds of people in the world.
Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data.
But the impression I had even before the A was of distance, disrespect, and general dissatisfaction; maybe mostly his own fault, and even if not he's a coward to ignore it rather than fix it or divorce. I've been thinking about their marriage recently because it is my whole reason for ending the affair, but I don't have enough information to draw conclusions beyond something is wrong and the best I can do to fix it is to walk away.
There's pretty much no way to know what their marriage is actually like as his willingness to have an A (and the A itself) has already ensured that he'll be distant at home, is disrespectful of his wife and creating an air of dissatisfaction for both of them. And if his wife doesn't respect him - well, of course she doesn't, he's directing a huge amount of his day and energy into other women and so he's not a husband any wife could respect. Whether she knows the details of the affair or not.
The affair just by its very nature changes the marital dynamics to the extent that there's no way for a happy marriage to exist. He's not a good husband. She's not going to respect him or be satisfied at home. That's what happens when one half of the couple is engaged in an A. Those characterizations become self-fulfilling.
Also, even though you're the affair partner, you don't have any control over their marriage at all. There's nothing you can do to fix it, nor is it your business in the slightest. You're a tool that he's using to cause damage and you can take yourself out of his marital damage toolbag, which would be a very decent thing to do, but you're not fixing anything. That's for them to do, or not do, in private.
Personally I would make a plan to separate yourself from him before alerting his wife, if that's what you choose to do, if only because it leaves everything in a really untenable situation - both of you still working closely together, his wife trying to deal with the A while knowing you two are still spending your days together - and chances are, one of you will have to leave the workplace. Have you discussed with him which one of you will find a new place to work?
And I think you should redirect the thoughts you have about their marriage and what she's like, or knows or thinks, and instead concentrate those thoughts on yourself.
I really liked what you said about how talking to him about your medication was one way that your professional boundaries with him were weakened. I think that's so important to recognize. There are ways that you can share necessary information like this without it creating any unnecessary intimacy with the person you're informing. I have an employee with a similar condition and I know many personal things about his medications and needs that has in no way created any additional intimacy between us, weird as that sounds. Just like when I became pregnant in my last position, I told my male boss about appointments, plans, physical issues and limitations without any lack of professionalism.
The key is to have the boundaries solid inside of you - you're genuinely FEELING professional, rather than feeling intimate, or open to intimacy when you have these conversations, and even if the other person uses this information to try to create a bond ("how are you feeling today?" with a private 'I understand' smile, or whatever), it doesn't have any place to hook in to you. Maybe this is something you can talk to your therapist or IC about? Because for sure you'll encounter this type of work/personal boundary repeatedly for as long as you're in the workforce.
the best I can do to fix it is to walk away
As a former single OW, this was the exact plan I had. I cut off all ties and just walked away. Period.
You can do this. You can. There are a ton of people on this site that can help you through this transition.
Please, please, make healthier decisions for yourself. Keep reading on here, keep posting on here. Especially when you want to reach back out to him. Let this website and the people on it guide you through the rough patches.
FSOW - late 30's, married now.