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Discussion Starter #1
been married for 5 years and together for about 9. Went through a rough patch a few years ago with a 1 week separation sparked by a brief flirt with a co-worker. We both realized that since we were married that nothing was going to happen and we stopped. I however really analyzed my relationship and thought there were issues that were causing me to want to "look"elsewhere. We went to counseling and worked on things and after a few months seemed better. eventually we decided to have kids.

prior co-worker comes to me a few months ago and says that she and her husband are divorcing and I was...very conflicted. We sort of flirted again and realize that we have an attraction between us but I told her unless I'm single we can only be friends. we haven't communicated for a month or 2.That said I really do think about what can happen between us and again I have been really evaluating my marriage. I contacted my therapist and we've had several sessions and she thinks that we should divorce, that we are just a bit too different and that i will probably feel this way again if we don't split now.

However we have a 5 month oldl. And I have a constant battle in my brain about leaving or staying. My wife is a nice kind woman but we really don't connect. I tune her out about 95% of the time and I don't have great respect for her.

When I set a date in my mind to have the talk I get overwhelmed and think that I should just suck it up and stay. When I don't pressure myself I am convinced that I should leave
anyone else feel this way
 

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Your counselor told you to just get a divorce? Ummm... I understand that if you tell your counselor that you just tune out your wife 95% of the time, that things are looking grim. But, if you want to really give this marriage another try I think it may be time to find a different counselor.

If you haven't yet, read the book Not Just Friends. It really helped me to understand how insidiously friendships with co-workers can undermine even "good" marriages.

You have to stop talking to the other woman. As long as you respond to her "fishing" your thinking will be messed up. Human brains are pre-programmed to become infatuated when a member of the opposite sex tells us that we are desirable. You get a rush of the brain chemical dopamine which is also released when people have a gambling or drug high. It's addictive. So, if you are "just friends" with this co-worker, who is trying to lure you in because she's in a position where she's looking to hook up with someone new, and you've previously told her you are interested by flirting, you will (even if you do not consciously realize it) be filling your head with doses of the "affair drug." Your wife won't stand a chance!

I understand that your wife and you are struggling. But, you have a 5 month old child, and you are both probably stressed out, sleep deprived, and I'll bet you anything your wife is not feeling as attractive & desirable as she used to.

Edited to add:
It would help to know WHY you think you and your wife are just "too different."
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I don't talk with the co worker (or text) other than professionally which is maybe once every 2 weeks. Doesn't stop me from thinking about her though

My therapist is the author of too good to leave too bad to stay mira kirshembaum and we have gone over her book and countless other things over the course of 2 years. When we decided to stay together last time I think mira knew that it wouldn't last so when we started sessions this time we really focused on what our differences are and that we really should separate
 

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I don't talk with the co worker (or text) other than professionally which is maybe once every 2 weeks. Doesn't stop me from thinking about her though
OK -- but clearly your talks have been inappropriate. Having a co-worker tell you that she is interested in having AN AFFAIR with you (because that is what she has been telling you), is NOT okay while you are still married. If your work keeps you with this woman (and you can't change your job) then be sure that you never slip into this kind of talk again.


My therapist is the author of too good to leave too bad to stay mira kirshembaum and we have gone over her book and countless other things over the course of 2 years. When we decided to stay together last time I think mira knew that it wouldn't last so when we started sessions this time we really focused on what our differences are and that we really should separate
I've read that book, and while I found it very useful I also think it is biased so that a person who is in a low point in their marriage will come to the too bad to stay conclusion. The reason is because when a person is infatuated with another (extramarital) person, the individual tends to focus on what is BAD in their marriage and think about the potential for happiness outside the marriage to be GOOD. If the same person answered the diagnostic questions 1 year earlier or 1 year later, they would answer them differently.

I think I would be really pragmatic about what a divorce will mean for your & your child. Have you read up on child custody and spousal support guidelines in your state? Have you worked out a budget to see how expensive this divorce will be? With a 5 month old child, the costs of childcare alone are probably at least $10K a year, and if you divorce your wife you'll be responsible for at least 1/2 of that. Do you have a house that you will be selling? Will you lose 1/2 of your retirement account? Etc.

Then I would also think about the OW. Do you really see yourself in a committed relationship with a woman who is willing to pursue a married man? Do you think your wife will *ever* accept this woman as a step mother for your child knowing that she was a big player in breaking up your marriage? Are you okay with the idea that if you persist in having a relationship with this co-worker it is (1) likely to poison your relationship with your child, and (2) unlikely to work out in the long run, meaning that you may need to find a new job?

I'm not saying that things are really too bad for you to stay in this marriage I am saying that your mind is probably more messed up than you realize and you need to think very soberly about what you life will be like in the long term without either your wife or the OW. (In the short term I'm pretty sure you could have a sex-fueled rebound relationship with the OW.)
 

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Oh i've thought of all of this and my mind is a complete jumbled mess. I think about this multiple times an hour every hour to be honest.

The OW is not pursuing me and neither am I her. We do not talk text etc unless at work thats it. We don't talk about anything between us. Thats the best that I can do, but it doesn't stop my thoughts

I have tried to picture life without either my wife or the OW and its difficult to do obviously its all conjecture. It does scare the **** out of me

I agree with you on her book to some extent, but at what point do you say that your answers are valid? At what point do you say that the scared side of you is telling you you should stay and answers the questions so that they come out that way that points to staying. I've done the book twice with her and when I reflect on my relationship (honestly and genuinly) I am really troubled by the fact that I probably never really loved her. There were huge traumatic issues with her son that happened early on in our relationship that occured every 6months on a regular basis with either him running away, getting arrested , doing drugs getting beat up etc, that forced me into (not forced, i did it) a role of a protector (of my wife). You would just get over one bad incident psychologically and then another one would happen. I grew resentful of her and her son. I mean everyone has some baggage but this was alot of baggage
 

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Okay. We'll set the coworker aside.

It sounds like your wife has a son (who must be a teenager or older?) from a previous relationship, but it also sounds like he doesn't live with you. I don't have experience with step children, but one thing I've gathered from reading the parenting forum on these boards is that the step parent role is extremely challenging in the best of circumstances. Having a troubled youth to step parent would be a pretty big stressor for both you and your wife.

Let me ask you a question --
At least in her book, Kirshenbaum suggests that if you work through the diagnostic questions and decide to stay in a relationship, the next step is to work on the marriage. She has a list of books to read (which I can't remember off the top of my head). Did you work with your therapist or with a marriage counselor to try to address issues in your marriage? Was your wife open to working on the relationship or not? (I guess I'm asking if you feel that you've really exhausted all possibilities.)
 

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Actually she essentially says that i cant blame our marriage difficulties on her sons constant troubles and that i am just being shallow. And that if anything all of the drama should bring us closer together.

I worked with mira 2 years ago and we tried many things to have a better marriage. Unfortunately this time in working with her i realize that I just don't love her and that I just chose wrong
 

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I worked with mira 2 years ago and we tried many things to have a better marriage. Unfortunately this time in working with her i realize that I just don't love her and that I just chose wrong
I wouldn't say you chose "wrong." At the time the choice you made was "right." Unfortunately, you are once again at the point where you need to make a decision, and this time it sounds like you would like to leave the marriage.

To me it seems like your questions really all revolve around your role as a father. Since that's a guy thing, I'd recommend that you make a new post in the men's clubhouse. You'll get a lot of perspectives from other men.

My own take on your situation is that it looks grim. Your 5 month old baby recognizes you, but will not remember you as father. [Neuroscientists think that humans are not able to remember events (form memories) until they develop language -- so you're still at least 1.5 years away from that.]

It's also hard to imagine a judge (or your wife) agreeing to a custody plan with substantial parenting role for you, unless you can make a very good case that your child will not be harmed. From what you've said about your problems with your wife, it sounds like she has been a dedicated mom to her son (too dedicated, in fact, putting his needs ahead of yours as a couple). That's a bad situation for your marriage, of course, but it also suggests that she will be fiercely defensive about your 5 month old baby.

What do you want to get out of your child care arrangement?
  • Do you truly want to have a 50-50 split with your wife or, deep down, do you believe that your baby would be better off with her as the custodial parent?
  • Are you struggling because you can't imagine not seeing your child, or is the struggle because you never imagined yourself to be the sort of man who would leave a marriage if small children were involved?
I can imagine -- depending on your circumstances -- going to your wife and laying out your feelings as honestly as possible. You might be able to go to her and propose divorcing but staying in the same house (possibly in a nesting set up in which each one of you would move out of the house for part of the week, but your child would stay in the house). Your wife is no doubt aware that your relationship is very fragile, and she might be willing to emotionally detach from you and focus only on your child's well being.

If you don't feel that you need to see your child every day (or have a 50-50% parenting arrangement) then I see a different path. IC for you to work through the disconnect between your vision of your life and the reality of dealing with the hand that life has dealt you, and working with financial planner/ lawyers to make sure that your child's future is a stable (at least financially) as you can make it.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Her son ran away soon after we started dating and I was the "stand up guy" acting as her support never really asking myself if this is really what i want. Unfortunately this behavior of putting everyone else ahead of me gets me into relationships that i really don't want and should not be in.

Actually I love my daughter and want to split 50/50 andbe as much a part of her life as I can. In fact I am worried that if she is raised more by her mother that she may turn out just like her son (my stepson)

I would find it incredibly difficu;t to live in the house and be separated/divorced. I woud give in to the "puppydog eyes" etc
 

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Actually I love my daughter and want to split 50/50 andbe as much a part of her life as I can. In fact I am worried that if she is raised more by her mother that she may turn out just like her son (my stepson)

I would find it incredibly difficu;t to live in the house and be separated/divorced. I woud give in to the "puppydog eyes" etc
If you go for a nesting arrangement in which your daughter stays in the home while you and wife take turns moving out and going to your own separate spaces, then in theory you wouldn't see your wife at all. It's an expensive strategy (because you and W would each need your own 'bachelor pads') but if you are really trying to convince your wife and judge that you want things to be split 50-50 and that you do not want to cause undue stress to your child, it might suit your needs.
 
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