Relationship Connection: My wife has a crush on another man

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Question

My wife of 25 years has a serious crush on a guy we do volunteer work with.

When we are working together she tries to spend as much time with him as she can. She has admitted to the crush and says she can’t control it.

I am at a loss what to do.

Answer

Your wife may believe she can’t control her feelings, but that is simply not true. She’s not only allowing the feelings for this other guy to linger, but she’s also choosing to move closer to him. There are several decision points when she can choose something different. She’s not powerless.

Even though you are powerless to stop her, you aren’t powerless to make decisions for your own life if she continues on this path.

Attraction and chemistry are unpredictable but completely manageable. It’s not unusual to discover a strong connection with another person who isn’t our spouse. Our social networks are full of attractive, interesting and engaging people who might grab our attention. However, the strength of this attention grows or shrinks depending on whether we nurture it or block it. There is nothing wrong with internally acknowledging that there is some energy with another person, but if you want to avoid further trouble, it’s time to widen the distance.

The vulnerability to feeling infatuated with another person increases when there are unacknowledged emotional or relationship needs – it doesn’t always mean there is trouble in the marriage. Your wife may or may not have issues with her marriage to you, but this is certainly an opportunity to begin talking about what’s happening to her.

If she’s unwilling to create distance with him, I recommend you find a different place to volunteer. If she’s unwilling to switch locations, then you will have to decide if you want a front row seat watching your wife flirt with another man. She may not understand why she has these strong feelings, but she can create some space until she can sort them out.

You don’t have to passively wait to see what she does, especially if she’s actively building a connection with this other man. In fact, the more she moves toward him, the more difficult it will be for her to choose out.

Speak clearly with your wife about your concerns and invite her to talk with you about this relationship and why she chooses to pursue proximity to him. If she’s willing to set boundaries with him and talk openly with you, then there is hope for your marriage. If she refuses to talk and continues to find ways to connect with him, then you’ll need to make some decisions about your marriage.

Healthy marriages can tolerate virtually any type of difficult discussion if there are protective walls around the marriage. These walls safeguard the marriage and keep outside threats from breaking security and trust. If she has confused feelings, complaints, hurts, unmet needs or other struggles, these are things you guys can work through together or with professional support.

The biggest threat isn’t her feelings. It’s her unwillingness to keep distance from him and protect her marriage. This is the most important request you can make right now.

Let her know you’re willing to listen and sort through anything as long as there is a guarantee of protection of the marriage.

Stay connected!

Geoff Steurer is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in St. George, Utah. He specializes in working with couples in all stages of their relationships. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Have a relationship question for Geoff to answer? Submit to:

Email: geoff@lovingmarriage.com

Twitter: @geoffsteurer

Instagram: @geoffsteurer  

Facebook: facebook.com/GeoffSteurerMFT

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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14 Comments

  • Sapphire November 22, 2017 at 8:22 am

    Funny! Talk about turning the tables… like women haven’t had to put up with their men looking at other attractive females all the time, not to mention porn – after all, they are just guys, and men will be men. On a practical note, I agree that these two should volunteer somewhere else and he better turn on the charm and attention or he will be signing divorce papers and bye-bye family. Our disposable promiscuous society makes it easy to move on to a new toy.

    • comments November 22, 2017 at 3:14 pm

      In today’s society the wife is just as often the homewrecker as the man. Women watch so much daytime tv it puts these ideas in their heads that they are perfectly justified in their sexual conquests. It’s a very shallow world.

    • redrock4 November 29, 2017 at 12:43 pm

      You sound bitter and your points are irrelevant.

  • comments November 22, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    I’ll be blunt here. If your wife is homely, overweight, or unattractive, and the guy she’s flirting with isn’t into her as any more than a friend you’ll probly be alright. If she’s sending late night texts or other types of behavior they will likely end up having sex if they haven’t already. And the fact she’s so open to you about flirting with other men is a big red flag. Would you be ok with an “open marriage” and letting your wife have sex with other men? If there’s no kiddos involved now would be a good chance to cut and run. Find yourself a true and loyal woman.

    • comments November 22, 2017 at 3:18 pm

      ok, I didn’t factor in “wife of 25 years”. I guess I was thinking “25years old wife” LOL. So any kids are likely grown already. Really got no good advice in that case.. other than just keep an eye on her. hmm

  • ladybugavenger November 22, 2017 at 5:07 pm

    “She can’t control It”

    Sorry bud, she’s gonna sleep with him.

    • comments November 22, 2017 at 6:28 pm

      Would be good if people would write in to Geoff with more than two sentences. These letters are so very very vague. They really don’t leave much to go on. Like if this women in this letter in the 25 year marriage is flirting up this guy how many other men has she flirted with or possibly had encounters with in the last 25 years. Basically we’re left with so little detail we’re forced to speculate so much we can’t really give sound advice. To Geoff, can’t you choose letters to answer that aren’t so so vague?

      • ladybugavenger November 22, 2017 at 7:11 pm

        So very true and do you think Geoff’s advice is based on the same vagueness?

        This one is clear. She’s about to cheat (if not already 😕) nothing innocent about this affair

        • ladybugavenger November 22, 2017 at 7:13 pm

          Also, the other man can stop it by keeping his distance.
          They are both going to cause a lot of troubles

        • comments November 22, 2017 at 7:56 pm

          We have no real context and we know nothing of the history of their relationship. Someone should easily be able to write in a few paragraphs to give us some context. For example, It’s as if I wrote in to Geoff: “My wife slept with her coworker. What should I do?”. With such vague questions there’s no context. I don’t know, maybe geoff doesn’t get that many letters and this is really what there is to choose from. Yes, I think his advice is based off the same vague letter and I’m assuming it hasn’t been heavily edited, redacted or chopped down when presented to us.

          • ladybugavenger November 23, 2017 at 9:03 am

            Lol….all I could think to your question, “My wife slept with her coworker” was: well, did you cheat first? Lol.

            The questions leave out the writers indiscretions.

          • ladybugavenger November 23, 2017 at 9:43 am

            Happy Thanksgiving Bob! May you eat so much turkey that activist protest outside your door!

          • comments November 23, 2017 at 12:43 pm

            lol same to you 😉

  • redrock4 November 29, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    Google Michelle Weiner-Davis. She’s a relationship therapist that wrote the book The Walkaway Wife. You will find a lot of info there that might help. While you can’t control your wife or her rather uncaring attitude, you can regain some self respect. In fact this could be a killer stepping stone for you to do some major self improvement. Picture yourself way stronger emotionally and physically and in a better place in general. This is an open invitation for change and it will all make sense when you get into Michelle’s material. Trust me that you can totally improve your life because of this lame thing that your wife is doing. Also, it’s not to compete with the other guy. It’s to better yourself so that you feel strong and good. Things will fall into place.

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