We have been married for five years and have a child whom I love very much. Recently a relationship with a colleague at work began to take hold. There was always sympathy, but now we realized that we were attracted to each other. There was no sex, I do not want to cheat on my wife. We never had an understanding, we got married somehow by inertia. We often quarrel and more than once talked about divorce. We are very different. I love her, but with a different love. With her it is as if I am not living my life, but the script she wrote. My wife is struggling with panic attacks, and for the first time there is progress. I do not want to ruin her and my child’s life, but in my relationship with my colleague I feel good for the first time.
Michael, 32 years old
You are living the life you have chosen for yourself. At the same time, you may have the feeling that it’s not quite what reflects you. But it’s not your wife’s choice, it’s yours. With the help of other relationships, you are trying to solve the problems of pathological fusion with your wife.
Her panic attacks voluntarily or involuntarily don’t just keep your attention on her, they cause increased anxiety and guilt. She is both healthy and not quite healthy; you cannot and are not ready to leave. Even more than that, you probably love your wife and are very attached to her, otherwise you wouldn’t have written about your feelings for her.
You have indicated that you are not going to move away from the family. An affair on the side is necessary, but you don’t know how to control it, because you haven’t been independent enough in the relationship. You should indicate your capabilities to a colleague, to explain that you are not ready to go further than friendship-attraction. With a colleague can learn things that are not available to you in marriage. This relationship can bring a lot, if properly build them.
Try to see a psychologist at the same time to figure out what “feel good” is for you, whether it is possible to achieve this in marriage, in your life, within your self. I also recommend reading Virginia Satir’s book, You and Your Family.