I am 27 and happily married. I have been married for 2 and one half years. Before our marriage I dated my wife for about six years. Presently, there is little wrong with my marriage. My wife is wonderful person who cares about me dearly.Several months ago I met a woman who in many ways ranks as one of the most extraordinary that I have ever met. I say this in terms of intelligence, maturity and personality. I am attracted to her as well. There is the possibility that she might feel the same way, she has dropped a few very subtle hints. Right now we are very good friends. She is in a serious relationship with someone as well. They are going through a rocky period and she is concerned about the future of that relationship. I have been there to listen to her problems and have tried to be as neutral as possible in giving any advice.At bottom, I care a great deal for her. I think that I have fallen in live with her. I have tried to do just the opposite, given that I am married. It has not seemed to work. I am a moral person. I have no desire to have an affair, nor would I if the opportunity presented itself. My word is the most important thing to me. I do not want to cause my wife any pain from mishandling the situation. The relationship that I have with this woman is strong as well. My feelings are the big problem. The longer I have known her the more strongly I have felt about this woman.My question is simple. Do I stifle my emotions in the hope that they will abate, or do I risk a great deal and tell this woman how I feel. Right now, if given the option, I would want to try to have a relationship with her if at all possible. But I don’t want to handle this poorly. Should I tell her and if I do, how do I? My wife is too wonderful a person to be treated badly. It just seems that this other woman has made me realize that I want something other than what I have. I know I can’t have both. I have too much respect for both of these women to act any other way than with as much grace as possible. The stress of this situation is starting to affect my life, how ever. Any advice on how to deal with this situation would be invaluable.
You sound like a very moral and honorable person who is divided. I know you want to do the right thing for you and for your wife.What strikes me about your letter is the following: You describe a happy marriage, so I wonder why you are so vulnerable to falling for another woman? Are you sure that your marriage is so fine? I don’t think you would be so easily tempted by an affair if your marriage were as fine as you say it is.You asked me what is the right thing to do? It sounds like you are asking me a moral question. (Tell me how to behave.)One thing is sure, if you tell this other woman that you are interested, you will probably have an affair. And, sneaking behind your wife’s back isn’t the right thing to do, as you know.Since you are an honorable person, I think you know that you have a decision to make. Either to end it with your wife and to date this other woman, or leave this other woman and stay with your wife. To two-time your wife isn’t Kosher.You said that you love your wife and yet you experience something with this other woman that you don’t have with your wife. Can you define this something? Are you sure that you aren’t simply comparing apples and oranges (an exciting new relationship versus a settled long-term relationship). Did you experience this something with your wife when your love was new? Is there anyway that you could bring this certain something into your marriage. If you think you can, then, you might want to go into marrige counseling and work on the marriage.If you are sure that you can’t achieve what you are looking for with your wife, then you need to have the courage to make a clean break. Yes, there is a risk involved. What if you are wrong and this other woman turns out not to be right for you?If you really believe that this other woman is for you, then, you should be willing to take this chance–to end it with your wife and then begin the relationship with the other woman.The option I think you are leaning toward, is to check out the other woman while staying married. Then, if you find that you are correct and this other woman is better for you, you will jump ship (and the marriage) later down the road. This is certainly the safest approach for you. But, it is sneaky and not above board.I think that you are feeling so tormented because your conscience is screaming at you. Given your sense of honor, I don’t think that you could live with yourself if you did not behave properly.I think that you can be true to yourself and still not lie to your wife. If you decide to give the marriage a chance, you can tell her about your doubts and discuss what is missing and then work on the marriage for a given interval. If, you aren’t able to kindle that special something with your wife, then, you can end the marriage with a clear conscience. You gave it your all, and behaved properly with respect to your wife.I am sure that this other woman loves your honorable nature and that she would respect your handling the situation in this way. And, she would probably be willing to wait a reasonable amount of time while you investigate whether the marriage can be saved.Good luck. This is a torturous situation to be in. Once you decide to take action, one way or another, the conflict will subside.