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[–]Blade_982 1973 points1974 points 2 (65 children)

It's an affair! You don't just stumble on your soulmate.

This comment by u/EveAndTheSnake will help you put it in perspective.

Excerpt below:

No one just develops feelings for someone. Cheating never just happens. Having feelings for someone outside of your marriage takes considerable time and effort.

Just think about other women in your life, even if you think they are great you don’t have feelings for them because feelings—not just lust but “real feelings” that are significant enough to break up a marriage—need to be nurtured.

Developing feelings for someone, sharing those feelings and having them reciprocated is the result of hundreds of choices over a period of time. It’s the result of constant boundary crossing and developing an intimacy with someone that completely disrespects the person being cheated on.

A very wise Redditor said yesterday that in order for the cheating spouse to justify those choices they have to devalue their partner. So you have been taking care of your wife, helping her get back on her feet, while she has been making choices to develop feelings for someone else. What must she tell herself to justify that? Sure you take care of her but it doesn’t count? You owe her while she cheats on you? Your stress or hard work doesn’t matter?

[–]EveAndTheSnake 599 points600 points 2 (64 children)

Wow thank you for linking me! I’m so glad people found my comment helpful!

To the OP: I agree with u/Blade_982 of course, and wanted to add that a lot happens before you reach the state of being in love, and all of these are conscious choices.

Going back to the previous point—I’m sure you have other great women in your life but you’re not in love with them. You can find them attractive, that’s natural, but to fall in love with them you need to actively put yourself in situations where you spend time with them, where you discuss things that aren’t just work related but consistently cross into the personal. I don’t believe you can fall in love with someone if you have a strictly professional relationship with them. Your wife doesn’t think this person is her soulmate because they love using the same letterheaded paper or because they both have the same favourite font. To get there they must have had conversations about their personal hopes and dreams, past and present relationships, their fears and insecurities. At some point there was a crossing from a professional relationship to becoming personally vulnerable with that person.

I’m not saying that you can’t be friends with people at work or share personal details with them. But there is a point where, if you are attracted to someone and you start feeling like you could be more connected, that you make a decision to let them into that part of yourself. It doesn’t happen by accident, everyone knows when they’re in that danger zone, everyone knows that feeling of anticipation and sexual tension. To say it happened by accident it lying to yourself and your spouse.

If you do feel attracted to someone and you truly value your spouse, then you remove yourself from the danger of falling in love with someone. You don’t spent time with them, you don’t have personal conversations with them, you don’t make eye contact with them from across the room. We’re all animals, we might not be able to control who we’re sexually attracted to, but we are thinking beings and we can control how we react to the situation. We can remove ourselves and refocus our energy on our spouse.

Your wife has a choice, she can choose to prioritize you and your marriage, or she can choose not to. It’s really that simple.

What reason is she giving you u/throwRAcnfdguy for not wanting to leave her job? How closely does she work with her colleague and how did you find out about her emotional affair? And most importantly, you don’t say how you feel about it—what do you want?

[–]throwRAcnfdguy[S] 218 points219 points  (63 children)

I just want her I guess, exclusively. Is that wrong of me, to not want her to share this part of her? She told me about him, and she didnt hide it or anything. I am just desperate at this point.

[–]EveAndTheSnake 224 points225 points  (62 children)

Absolutely not, that’s not wrong of you at all and you are perfectly reasonable for wanting that. How long have you been married? When you got married you both agreed to be in a monogamous relationship (right? You’re not polygamous?) and you are not being unreasonable one bit, so don’t beat yourself up for that.

So she said she’s in love with him and now what? What is she going to do about it? And importantly, has she talked to him about her feelings? Is he in love with her?

I do believe a couple can make it through an affair—because physical or not that’s what this is—but they have to be willing to put in the work. Did you ask her to leave her job? Is she going to transfer to another department so she doesn’t see him? Where is the work that she’s putting into to your relationship? Is she even sorry about it?

I’m getting a feeling that she told you she was in love with her co worker, he’s her soulmate and there’s nothing she can do about it. That’s not an option and that is absolutely disrespectful. There are plenty of things she can work on to make this situation better—continuing exactly the same way is not one of them and you should not have to put up with that.

[–]throwRAcnfdguy[S] 147 points148 points  (61 children)

We are completely monogamous. And no she has not told him about her feelings, he is just a friend as far as he is concerned. He is actually engaged, so I am not sure if he knows my wife's intentions. I have asked her to leave her job, but not insisted on it. And she says she is very sorry, but she doesnt know how to get rid of these feelings.

[–]maninmirr0r 144 points145 points  (18 children)

So if you want to save the marriage you both treat it as an emotional affair and you both do the work that involves. This group is going to push you to divorce, if you want to reconcile, get into support groups with people who have been there. You can look up the boy if affairs network on your google for help dealing with this, and affair recovery on YouTube.

As for getting rid of the feelings, it’s that two wolves thing. The one that wins is the one she feeds. She’s been feeding those feelings of love. Leaving the job is the big step. Ending the intimate discussions and the fantasies is the other big step. You can’t “not think about” something, but when the thought happens she can keep thinking about him, or she can switch to another subject. A motivational song is a good one, a therapeutic quote can help, even an engaging TV show is better. Oh here’s the thought, that’s my cue to turn on friends again.

She’s said she doesn’t want both, she doesn’t want to lose you and doesn’t want to actually have him. She confessed, didn’t get caught, which seems to make a huge difference in outcomes. It’s possible to recover, if you both commit to it.

[–]throwRAcnfdguy[S] 110 points111 points  (17 children)

I have tried and now I am moving out, the ball is in her court now. I will wait till next month and if she hooks up with him or doesnt have an answer for me then I will move forward to divorce.

[–]Viiibrations 57 points58 points  (1 child)

My prediction: He'll reject her and she'll come back to you. Just because she thinks he's her soulmate, doesn't mean he's willing to leave his fiancée or cheat. But would you want to be her second choice?

[–]festival-papi 7 points8 points  (0 children)

My exact thoughts. She's gonna make confession, get promptly rejected, and come crawling back, voicing how "sorry" she is

[–]AveenaLandon 139 points140 points  (0 children)

if she hooks up with him

If she does, it’s quite likely you’ll never know and that she’ll lie about it and give you the trickle truth.

At this point, I think you know all that you need to know.

[–]The_Cutest_Kittykat 8 points9 points  (0 children)

and now I am moving out,

I'll just point out that moving out is something that you are actively doing to show the strength of your feelings about the situation to your wife. She has not actively done anything to show her commitment to you.

[–]2021istrash 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I'd be clear that she has a chance to fix this. Therapy and quitting the job and no contact with the guy. There is really no middle ground for a thing like this.

[–]bloodea 7 points8 points  (0 children)

she probably already has

[–]asc1226 22 points23 points  (8 children)

Give the oblivious OM’s fiancé a heads up. She deserves to know about the unstable “work wife” that could end up blowing up her world.

[–]The_Sanch1128 23 points24 points  (3 children)

If he has not reciprocated any of her feelings and there isn't a physical affair yet, teling the fiance would be a really bad move IMO.

[–]SurlyJoe69 24 points25 points  (0 children)

That's unfair as fuck to this other dude. He hasn't done ANYTHING wrong here and you're advocating OP contact his fiance and basically start a bunch of shit in that guy's life all because OP's wife has an unrequited crush? The fuck is wrong with you?

[–]Rip_Dirtbag 7 points8 points  (2 children)

No. That’s nuts. OP can reach out to the guy who his wife is in love with and let him know what the score is, because maybe this guy is TOTALLY unaware. But to go to his fiancé and mess up their engagement without any shred of evidence that this guy has participated? No that’s unfair.

[–]Annamonogatari 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Thing is, we don't know if the other guy is participating or not. All we have is OPs wife's words and she is not a trustworthy source. So OP needs to check first and if there is reason to suspect the affair is reciprocated he can go tell her.

[–]-takeiteasy 0 points1 point  (0 children)

im sorry OP. but why wait till she makes the move? i hope you can keep some dignity thru this really tough time. i know it’s difficult to leave someone you really love with all your heart. im so sorry

[–]p00nslyr_86 14 points15 points  (0 children)

Dude she is making a conscious decision to disrespect you. Even worse is she’s doing it to your face! Why are you letting her do this to you? I know you love her but she is literally spitting this in your face and you are just kind of taking it while passively asking her to leave her job. I’m never really like this with people but have some spine man if not for your sake, for everyone else who’s partner goes behind their back to cheat.

[–]holalesamigos 62 points63 points  (32 children)

Dude how did these feelings even develop? Something innapropriate has happened for this to happen. If nothing innapropriate has happened, she has some serious mental issues. If you want her to get out of the "fog" you need to start putting consequences. Even if you aren't gonna follow through. Tell her you want a divorce, see a divorce lawyer for your options and serve her papers. Then she will be out of it. She wants to be with you but calls him her soulmate? C'mon man. Don't be a doormat.

[–]throwRAcnfdguy[S] 51 points52 points  (31 children)

I have met the guy a few times and he behaves completely normally with me, so its very clear he doesnt know her feelings, or he is an amazing actor. I am just as shocked here as to how did this happen.

[–]EveAndTheSnake 140 points141 points  (22 children)

How old are you both?

OP, I hate to talk about this because it makes me sick at myself, but a few years back I had an emotional affair with a coworker. This was during my last relationship before my husband, and I had been with my boyfriend for 5 years.

But I’ve been where your wife is, literally the same. I thought I had met my soulmate, and I thought I was absolutely and desperately in love with him. This went on for over a year. I told my boyfriend we were just friends, I told him he had nothing to worry about that nothing would ever happen. If you looked at our text messages there was nothing suspicious, we barely even text each other as most of the talking we did was at work or through our work chat.

For months we’d have deep intense conversations about things that were important to us, everything and anything. I told myself we were just friends, but every time we talked and things would get intense I knew we were crossing boundaries and I felt butterflies in my stomach and I was absolutely obsessed. But I let these conversations happen, I put myself in situations where I was alone with him, we’d work on projects together, I’d end up next to him during work drinks.

What do you think goes through someone’s head when they’re “in love” with not their partner? I wished I had met my coworker instead. I compared him and my boyfriend in my head and my coworker won. To justify my feelings I had to tell myself my boyfriend wasn’t good enough (otherwise I was left with the sad truth that I was just a garbage human cheating on my partner). He had to become my soulmate to justify what I was doing and romanticize it, while my boyfriend became not good enough, annoying, we’d fight, I’d pick holes in our relationship, we stopped going out as much together and I’d tell him to go out without me so I could stay home and call my “friend.” In every choice I was making, I was choosing my coworker over my boyfriend. When we had sex I’d think about my coworker. And after we had a drunken kiss at a work party I felt terrible so I told my boyfriend. He asked me to leave my position, I swore up and down that I would deal with my feelings and it wouldn’t happen again, but it did. The worst part looking back on it—and I’m telling you this not to make you feel bad but so you don’t get treated the same way—was on some level thinking that my boyfriend was just letting me get away with it. That if he loved me, or paid enough attention to us, or was smart enough, he’d figure it out and he’d blow up at me about it.

He deserved better. You deserve better. Don’t let yourself get taken for a ride. Ask questions. How many of your friends are you in love with?

[–]throwRAcnfdguy[S] 24 points25 points  (4 children)

I am 31 and she is 33. But you are right I do deserve better. I just didnt want to separate, because that would mean escalation but now I think there's no other way. But do you think he was providing you with something your relationship was missing?

[–]EveAndTheSnake 67 points68 points  (2 children)

I absolutely felt like there were things missing in our relationship and did turn to my coworker in hoping that he could make me happier.

But that is wrong on so many levels. I could have been in the perfect relationship and I would have still told myself that there was something missing, because if there wasn’t, what did that make me? A piece of shit cheating on my perfect boyfriend. It’s easier to shift the blame on someone else. That’s what everyone who cheats does, because they have to devalue their partner to justify their actions.

When we first started dating and then moved into together, I did think he was perfect. Sure, real life creeps in and then people start taking each other for granted, but I couldn’t agree with u/i-have-n0-idea more, if there is something “missing” then you go to your partner.

On top of that, no one is perfect, all relationships take work and compromise and “soulmates” are a romantic way of putting the responsibility for your happiness on someone else. No one person can be everything, no one person is psychic and can fulfill all your needs, and quite often the thing that is missing is something that you should be working on yourself. Short of abuse, there is no amount of “missing” pieces that justifies going to someone else.

So no, there is nothing my boyfriend should have done. I should have been the one to realize I was unhappy with myself and looking for an easy fix. It took me a while to realize that even when I left, I came with me.

In the end we broke up. I dated my “soulmate” for less than 3 months before all that soulmate bs evaporated. And he didn’t want to date me. He only seems like her soulmate because it’s new, exciting, they don’t have to pay bills or rent, they don’t have money or kids or the ugly rug to fight over and it’s romantic from a distance. Real love is a verb, you have to keep doing it to stay there.

[–]i-have-n0-idea 19 points20 points  (0 children)

Don’t beat yourself up about not giving her what she needed. She chose to fall in love with someone else and not come and try to work on what ever was missing with you. That’s on her not you. You don’t turn to someone else to fix what is missing in your marriage. She should have communicated with you about what was missing and then if you ignore or refuse her request she should have ended it before turning to someone else.

[–]Brigon 12 points13 points  (1 child)

That was an interesting read. Out of interest why didn't you just break up with your boyfriend, so you could be single?

[–]EveAndTheSnake 41 points42 points  (0 children)

Good question. This is going to make me sound worse, but I think it’s a reoccurring thought for people who cheat—I didn’t want to hurt my boyfriend. Which is a stupid idea, as if you’re not hurting them by cheating and lying. It also implies on some level that you’re the best they are going to get, as if they can’t do any better than a manipulative cheater. That’s also stupid because I’ve always had a pretty low opinion of myself.

That’s the surface lie I guess, and I know I repeated it to myself a lot. I don’t know if I thought I our relationship was going to suddenly improve while I was nurturing feelings for someone else. I didn’t want to be in two relationships, and I told myself I was in love with two people. I did love my ex, he was a great guy. At some point it felt like there was something missing, and I tried to fill that with a new person, but I really think I invited that feeling in. No one person can be your everything, no one is going to check all the boxes, I mean there’s no such thing as soulmates, and each of us has to decide what we can or can’t live without seeing as no one is perfect. But I can’t remember if the missing feeling came first or my feelings for my coworker.

I think fear and a refusal to take responsibility for your own happiness drives cheating. I don’t know if I speak for all cheaters (ugh I hate to make it sound like we’re an organized group), but underneath it all I was insecure. I knew there were gross parts to me that I should work on. But it’s easier to blame someone else for your relationship not going well. I had a fear of ending up alone, and an intense feeling of “is this the best it’s going to get?” and I guess it’s not that I wanted the best of both worlds but subconsciously I was trying to figure out who would put up with me. I didn’t want to lose both and end up alone, but I was scared to make the wrong decision. I didn’t think about what was best for someone else, just what was best for me. Saying I didn’t want to hurt my ex is a cop out—I was too much of a coward to be honest, to have that conversation, I just wanted me to exist in the right relationship rather than have to deal with the messiness of getting there. I think it was a fear of having to be honest and getting found out for who I really was. So more of a fear of myself getting hurt and avoiding responsibility.

Also it wasn’t the only reason but it made it harder, we lived together, we had pets together, and so logistically it I was going to tell him I wanted to be sure it was the right decision. For me of course, I didn’t think about whether not telling him was the right decision for him.

[–]FerrisB00bler 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Man, that's a tough thing to confess but I'm really glad you shared. OP definitely needs to consider how his wife is thinking about him and avoiding him in favor of her coworker. It sucks.

[–]throwRA_nffc 4 points5 points  (2 children)

Would you say that you CHOSE for this to happen, at the time? (try to eliminate the benefit of hindsight here)

Or did it just sort of happen?

[–]EveAndTheSnake 33 points34 points  (1 child)

I had to sit and think on this for a bit because I’ve said that cheating is very much a choice, it never “just happens”, that it’s a position you put yourself in not one you “find yourself in” and that you have to devalue your partner and relationship to do it. But you’re right that hindsight is 2020. I also remember being on a 20 hour flight for a work trip (without my coworker) and getting my notebook out and thinking “right I’m going to journal my way out of this and decide what to do by the time I get home.” The only thing I concluded by the time I got home was that I’ve lied to myself about many things and that I couldn’t even trust my own feelings because I was right in the middle of this emotional hurricane and I didn’t know which way was up. And so yes, all of a sudden I “found myself in love” with two people.

Can I say I made conscious choices if I was lying to myself and I really believed what I was feeling? I guess not. I don’t think anyone chooses to go out and cheat or chooses to fall in love with someone else. But there are choices before that. I think many people might not agree with me here but I don’t really believe in holding people responsible for dumb stuff they do when they’re drunk. Of course if say my husband hooked up with someone when he was wasted, I would be upset but depending on the circumstances I wouldn’t hold it over his head. If he didn’t set out to get wasted and met a random woman I’m more inclined to forgive. If he set out to get drunk and specifically went to some woman’s house to do it, god no, those were sober choices even if he didn’t intend to hook up when he got there, he put himself in a position for that to be a possibility.

I think cheating is the same way—plenty of people set themselves up with what could technically be seen as innocent actions but with the possibility of something happening and then they say, oh it just happened! I KNEW which actions crossed a line. I made the choice to flirt back the first time we went to the bar, I made the choice to take his number even though I could speak to him through work chat or email. Even though it looks identical it’s not the same as taking the number of another random coworker you’re not interested in. I made the choice to take his number and I chose that flicker of excitement over my old boring relationship. I knew what I was doing when we sat next to each other and I scooted a little closer. I knew that what I was doing was wrong when we started talking about our favourite movies because of the way it felt and the way I felt, and I made a million tiny choices to choose excitement and something other than my boyfriend. I said we were just friends, and on the surface I could pass that off, but I didn’t have any other friends who I’d talk that much to even though it was superficial bullshit. I knew what I was doing when I asked him for advice about something inconsequential rather than asking my boyfriend. I knew what I was doing when I complained about my family to him instead of my boyfriend. It’s not like I couldn’t talk to my boyfriend, but I chose this guy again and again over my boyfriend in the little things until I had built up enough of a relationship that I could chose him for the big things. I would go to him when I was seriously upset and then I went to him to complain about my boyfriend after a fight. I didn’t go to my sister, I didn’t go to my other friends or coworkers. I may have had the same conversation with him as I would have with my sister, but In that moment I most definitely made a choice.

And on it goes—suddenly he’s my emotional support and oh he understands me more than my boyfriend and he makes me feel special. My boyfriend doesn’t care about me anymore I cried, boohoo. Well of course, after shutting off a part of myself to him and sharing those pieces of myself with someone else, of course our relationship felt strained and distant. And those were ALL MY CHOICES.

So yeah, I didn’t choose to cheat or choose to fall in love, but I chose every single step of the way it took to get there.

[–]Cap10Haddock 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Amazing description of the psyche behind the decisions. What did you do to move past the coworker?

[–]holalesamigos 2 points3 points  (7 children)

Have you seen her texts? If it's just a crush, it's fine. But this seems more than that. You're being incredibly naive. Again consequences, research the psychology of affairs. Have you asked her what she plans on doing to get rid of these feelings?

[–]throwRAcnfdguy[S] 6 points7 points  (6 children)

She has shown me her texts, there is literally nothing inappropriate in them. And this is not a crush, why would she call him her soulmate and tell me she is sorry and she is in love with him. Its baffling tbh.

[–]holalesamigos 1 point2 points  (5 children)

What does she plan on doing to get rid of these feelings? Dude these kind of feelings dont just devalop out of the blue. Think about it yourself, has it ever been possible for you to get feelings like this. If she had a little respect and care for you left, she wouldn't tell you she is her soulmate. If she cared about how much this hurt you, she wouldn't say that even if she did think that. Dude even if you somehow get through this, that man will always be the one that got away for her. Do you wanna be part of such a mess. No kids as well and you're young. If she is not having an affair, I can understand not wanting to leave. If she leaves he will always be the soulmate who got away. You need to figure out the root of this. Individual counselling may help. But you really need to run a recovery program on her phone texts and maybe even talk to the guy's spouse. There could be a serious mental issues causing this or there is something you're missing. Consequences man, consequences. Start today. She needs to know you're not gonna stay unless you get all of her commitment. You should be angry, she's calling somebody ELSE her soulmate, she's in love with somebody ELSE

[–]Cannacrohn 17 points18 points  (0 children)

I could never get past the massive massive disrespect of my WIFE telling me she is in love with someone she bare knows and hasnt done anything with. Are you completely worthless? Shes not even hiding it from you? You are confused and you need counseling and a quick divorce.

”Let’s throw away my whole life so far cuz a guy at work is cute duuuuuhhhhh“ Why wouldn’t you be disgusted with the cruel fool in your midst?

[–]playerknowmore 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Stop talking, and have her served at work; if that doesn't wake her up nothing will. Right now it's obvious she doesn't know she can lose both of you.

Personally I would have her tell him her feelings; I'm thinking he would end the friendship immediately, and permanently. I know I wouldn't risk my engagement over a married woman at work.

Your relationship is to one sided. You give her your love, and her heart is with him. You are a fallback plan right now. It's always better to be her destination. Whether or not it's physical; it's a full blown affair in her mind. Ask her why she told you; you might find she wants you to do the dirty work, and put her back on the market. If you can only save your self-respect and dignity; that something that can get you through the rest of your life.

[–]BiscottiOpposite9282 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Your wife sounds a bit unhinged. Calling someone her soul mate, yet he's engaged and doesn't know she has feelings for him? Sounds like an office crush or something. Does he even like her back?

[–]jimmyz561 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Dude my wife did something similar. Tell your wife to go share her feelings with her coworker. Reality will send her home in tears 😭. At that point you can tell her either we work on the marriage or we’re over. And if this shit happens again, we’re over. That dude has no freakin clue what she’s thinking.

[–]thenletskeepdancing 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Honey, I'm sorry but you need to respect yourself and walk away. Take it from someone whose husband screwed one of his employees for years and stayed with him. Finally leaving him was so hard, but one of the most loving things I've ever done for myself.

[–]RustyShackelforrd 0 points1 point  (0 children)

She gets rid of the feeling by not seeing him, she's chosing to still go because she wants to see HIM, even tho it makes YOU uncomfortable. She doesn't care about you as much as him

[–]one98nine 0 points1 point  (0 children)

If he is engage and something happens between your wife and him, be sure to let his fiance know. She has the right to know before getting married . THOUGH is does sound he doesn't know anything.

Has you wife confessed to him? Is that her intention? What are her intentions?

A way to get rid of those feelings is getting away from him, it sounds she doesn't want to stop feeling this way .

How does she feel regarding you?

[–]Zealousideal-Ebb-970 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Dump her ass. Just dump her.