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How to end a relationship I should never have allowed to start

(15 Posts)
howto Sun 21-Jun-09 21:48:36

First, lets make it clear I know I have done a very bad thing and risked hurting a lot of people. I know that, have no idea how/why I let it happen and if I hadn't been there myself I would agree with all of you who will say these things can't "just happen" but it did to me.

I have been married 17 years. 15.5 of them completely faithfully and had scathing views of men and women who were unfaithful.

Marriage OK, DH lovely man, but I suppose we'd drifted apart a bit. I became close to a colleague and although we haven't slept together we have been very (too) close for 18 months.

This man is also married. His wife appears to have lost interest in him and their children and he is very bitter about feeling that he can't leave because of the DCs (who he loves very much) but not being wanted at home. I have known him 20 years and have never heard any rumours about him. I believe he has been faithful to his wife for 20 years.

He loves me, a lot. I am very fond of him, but there's no way on earth I'm going to break up my family for him.

I have been kidding myself that we are just friends, but we're not and I need to put a stop to it. He is going to be devastated, last thing I want is to see him hurt, but I can't see an alternative. And I still have to work with him.

I know I just have to tell him we won't be having lunch, drinks after work etc anymore.

Please don't tell me it's what I (and he deserve) It will sound ridiculous if you've never been there, but I honestly believe we are both good people, who went wrong for a while and now I need to put it right. Help me?

FigmentOfYourImagination Sun 21-Jun-09 21:53:24

Just tell him the truth.Tell him what you've told us.

HolyGuacamole Sun 21-Jun-09 22:25:51

Agree with figment. You know it is the right thing to do.

PacificDogwood Sun 21-Jun-09 22:27:39

Brutal honesty.

Niftyblue Sun 21-Jun-09 22:31:52

You need to be honest with him
and in return honest with yourself

SolidGoldBrass Sun 21-Jun-09 22:58:38

TBH I woulnd't go for any kind of confrontation or declaration. Just back off from him. Be 'too busy' to have lunch with him. Concentrate on your own life. If he pushes for a straight talk, tell him gently that you think you are becoming inappropriately close to each other, and that you wish him well but want to keep a bit of distance.

cheerfulvicky Mon 22-Jun-09 08:05:57

Ditto SolidGold. If he asks, then you can always be brutally honest. Until then, just take a massive step back. x

Wordweaver Mon 22-Jun-09 09:46:39

Tell him the truth - I think that if you only back off and he loves you as he says he does, he'll be hurt and confused and pursue you for an answer.

If you just back off from him now, you're inviting further pursuit and debate. Someone in his position is likely to seek reasons to have one-to-one conversations with you; effectively maintaining a relationship, even if it's negative or destructive. Hard as it is bound to be, I think you will cause less pain for yourself and him if you are straight with him now.

Explain to him that you need to put your energy into growing closer to your husband again. Be kind but direct with him, and make it clear that you are drawing a line. Then, if he starts to pester/pursue you, you have laid the foundations for simply ignoring emails/messages.

I hope it goes as well as it can for you. Good luck.

ActingNormal Mon 22-Jun-09 10:50:10

I'm sorry I don't have any good advice but just want to say that I do believe it can "just happen", or it can gradually creep up on you and you suddenly realise it has gone too far. It is hard to stop once you have started. I don't want to get into this type of situation (again) and have decided not to trust myself or another person but instead to avoid situations where I get close to a man on a one-to-one basis. It's old fashioned, and maybe a bit sad, but I know my level of self control in these things (not very high).

It sounds like your friend is the one with the lower level of self control who is now making it complicated for you (and horribly painful for himself). You may be able to trust yourself but you can't count on other people to not feel too much and want to act on it. It makes me think that the best thing if you are with a man who you want to stay with, is to avoid getting too close to other men, even as a close friend, as it can escalate. SGB, I know you will think I'm being much too old fashioned and I dread to think how 'sad' you think my views are grin

toomanystuffedbears Mon 22-Jun-09 14:26:34

I agree with your strategy, Acting Normal.

I don't mean that I avoid men (many years in martial arts), but at the first inkling of a chemistry spark-boundaries spring up for a siege to ward off any development-as if it were poison-because ultimately it is.

Maybe I am prudish -but what the hell is wrong with that? N-o-t-h-i-n-g wink

quoting the Wicked Witch of the West: "These things must be done very delicately"... to remain civil in the work place (this is why getting involved with work mates is never a good idea-married or not)...
Just morph into superficial contact (moritorium on one to one time) and talk about your dh/family alot more. Give him some credit, I think he'll figure it out.
If he wants an explanation, say the obvious: "I can not pursue a relationship with you." Repeat that to anything he responds with; nothing else need be said-you certainly don't need to apologize for preserving your family-or his.

howto Mon 22-Jun-09 19:38:04

Thank you everyone.

Possible to maintain any kind of friendship?

It all started in earnest (although we had been mates before, not particularly close) because I had a real crisis at work. Was been bullied and looked like I might lose my job over it. He was an absolute rock to me, not sure I'd have made it through without him. Has since all worked out really well and I have been promoted. Those kinds of friends don't come along very often. For the cynics amongst you, I don't think for a minute he had an ulterior motive at the time - he was as shocked as me at how it developed.

Since then he had a serious helath issure (though for a while he might die, or best case not be able to work again) and I helped him through that.

sameagain Mon 22-Jun-09 20:32:09

It would be nice to think there could be a possibilty of maintaining the friendship when you've relied on each other so heavily, but look where that led.

Maybe a complete break and then some small contact again to test the water, on a very strict understanding, but I think you'd have to be very confident in the strength of your willpower.

SolidGoldBrass Mon 22-Jun-09 22:50:24

You can be friends again with him when the idea of shagging him becomes both ridiculous and a bit kicky - like shagging your brother.

ActingNormal: while I am in favour of people deciding strategies that work for them, I rather think that your method of treating all adult males as potential AFFAIRS actually leads to more of the sort of trouble you are trying to prevent. Hanging out with men and seeing them s people not just potential couple-partners generally cuts down on the sort of romantic feverishness that builds up in people who just don't get enough adult interaction.

ActingNormal Tue 23-Jun-09 16:29:21

That's an interesting point SGB and I will think it over! Thank you.

howto Tue 23-Jun-09 16:52:28

SGB - I agree with you in theory and would certainly like to belive it, but I was the only girl in my 6th form and since then have worked in all male environments, so practically all my freinds have been male. Which has been great while they were "mates". The problem,I have found, is that the good one, a proper friend, developed into much more without either of us trying or even really wanting it.

i.e if you are confiding in someone you like as a person, why wouldn't you find them attractive? If there is someone of the opposite sex, who you can be good friends with, lean on, have a similar approach to life, laugh with etc what else do they need to have to be a candidate for partner? Even if on first sight they didn't strike you as attractive, as you grow to know them and like them more, I have found the physical side grows on you. Which is a bugger frankly.

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