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Dear Mary, my husband does not know about my work affair. It’s over, but I’m in love with her and I can’t cope

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I’m desperate and having a hard time dealing with it. I am 40, married and have two children. In the last two years I became very close with a co-worker and things escalated when we kissed passionately at work on several occasions. We hung out all the time after work and on days off.

We never slept together and she never really brought up her sexuality. I’m not gay – well, until she came. I don’t know what I am anymore because she confused me. She doesn’t tell me how she feels and never wants to talk about it – it’s like she’s embarrassed. She has no boyfriend and never talks about men.

After two years I had enough and needed answers – she didn’t have any, so I walked away. It was nice two months without contact. But I find it all extremely hard. We still work together and I see her often, but I don’t make eye contact and avoid her all day.

I feel guilty for what I’ve done, but I feel like a relationship is over. I would say I’m in love with her. Why is it so hard for me to pick up the pieces and move on with my life? She seems to be doing fine. I just can’t stop thinking about her and what we had.

Maria answers: I can understand why you’re feeling so confused by all of this, so let’s try to make sense of it. Once you disregard the fact that the other person involved is a woman, things get a little easier.

They met someone at work whom we call Jean, became extremely attracted to her and the relationship developed. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t have actual sex – you kissed passionately many times and spent as much time together as possible.

But Jean knows that you are married and have children and therefore are not permanently available to her unless you leave your family to be with her. When you want to discuss things, she closes herself off and refuses to talk about your situation.

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Then comes the complication. Up to now you have led a heterosexual life and have not had to question your sexuality. But now you question it and can’t find the answers.

It would help if you could think of your sexuality as a continuum with straight on one end and homosexual on the other. You’ve been at one end of that continuum until now, but since you met Jean you’ve moved. I don’t know how far you’ve come, only you can tell.

The question is: what are you going to do about it? A friend of mine who has since passed lived happily with his male partner until he died. He told me that prior to meeting his partner he had no idea he was gay and that he fell in love with the person his partner was rather than the fact that he was gay. My boyfriend never considered himself gay, he just felt like he was in love with a random male person.

I can understand Jean’s reluctance to reveal her sexuality. She has shown that she is attracted to you, but knows that you are not free. She may be afraid that you will react badly if she tells you that she is in fact a lesbian, or she may be afraid of being outed at work. Therefore, she keeps her personal information very private.

You hurt naturally because you ended a relationship that you were heavily invested in. You haven’t fallen out of love or been discovered – you’ve decided to walk away. But you still have feelings for Jean and it can’t be easy to be constantly reminded of that when you see her on a daily basis.

I wonder what your husband thinks about all the time you spent with Jean. Did he suspect anything or is he happily unaware of this threat to his marriage?

As always, there are choices. You can choose to remain in your marriage, in which case it would be great if you could get another job although I realize this may not be possible. Or you can take the very big step of telling Jean that you want to continue a relationship with her, which would ultimately mean telling your husband what happened and then leaving the house to be with her .

But whatever you do, you need someone you can freely talk to about your feelings. visit iacp.ie to find an accredited consultant in your area.

You can contact Mary O’Conor anonymously by going to dearmary.ie or by emailing her at dearmary@independent.ie or by writing to c/o 27-32 Talbot St, Dublin 1. All correspondence will be treated confidentially. Mary O’Conor regrets that she cannot answer questions privately.

https://www.independent.ie/style/sex-relationships/dear-mary-my-husband-is-unaware-of-my-work-affair-its-over-but-im-in-love-with-her-and-not-coping-41398869.html Dear Mary, my husband does not know about my work affair. It’s over, but I’m in love with her and I can’t cope

Fry Electronics Team

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