'I got too close to a work colleague and I don't know how to rescue my marriage'

The Mirror’s resident agony aunt, Coleen Nolan, advises a reader who started sending flirty texts to his work colleague. When his wife found out, she felt hurt and betrayed

Upset man sitting on the bed with woman in the back
A reader doesn’t know how to rescue his marriage after he became too close to his work mate (Stock photo)

Dear Coleen

I’m a married guy aged 42 and recently I got too involved with a female colleague, who’s a lot younger. I know it’s a cliche and has mid-life crisis written all over it. My colleague is 28 and also married.

It started innocently enough, just the odd friendly text out of work hours and then progressed to texting (and sometimes calling) whenever we got the chance.

She started talking to me about her marriage, saying it was struggling and I provided support and advice. I then took the lead and suggested meeting after work for drinks and then lunch.

Nothing physical happened between us, not even a kiss, but I felt strongly attracted to her and still am.

My wife discovered the messages – which were pretty flirtatious and which I had stupidly not deleted – after she asked for my phone so our son could access something.

She was really mad at first, then calmed down a bit and wanted to talk, and now she doesn’t know what she wants to do.

She feels betrayed and hurt, and I get it. The question is, can we move on from this – and, if so, how?

What would you tell this reader to do? Have your say in the comment section

Coleen Nolan is the Mirror’s resident agony aunt

Coleen says

What you had was an emotional affair and it’s actually quite common in the workplace because you spend so much time with colleagues.

Sometimes it’s because your
relationship with your partner isn’t meeting your needs, but sometimes it’s just about opportunity.

Nothing physical happened, but make no mistake, this is an affair and it can cause just as much damage to relationships as sexual cheating. You lied, you hid things from your wife and you were emotionally invested in another woman, sharing
intimacies with her instead of with your wife.

You had feelings for this other woman and that can hurt a lot more than a ­one-night stand.

Emotional affairs can also be a gateway to full-blown affairs involving sex and your wife is probably wondering how far things would have gone if she hadn’t found the messages.

Can you move on from it? Yes, you can, if you both want to and if you can talk honestly about your relationship, but it’ll take time to rebuild the trust and you may need counselling.

You’ve damaged the marriage and your wife’s self-esteem. If you still have to work with this woman, make sure you end the affair directly and then set very clear boundaries around contact, like no out-of-hours chatting and ­conversations should only be about work and delete her from social media.

Also, you should think about what you needed from this other woman that you were not getting from your wife and focus on bringing it back to your marriage.

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