Dear Viv: Can I keep my husband and the man I had an affair with?

On this week's podcast, Viv discusses what to do when you don't want to end an affair

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By Viv Groskop on

Dear Viv,

I’m a mum to an almost 2 year old, married to a lovely man. We’ve been together for almost 10 years now. Up until recently I’ve been fulfilled in our relationship, he is a kind, caring person, loyal and supportive. A wonderful daddy. 

But I think the process of becoming a mum, a bout of mild postnatal depression during maternity leave, the pressure of being back at work full time and just the general monotony of working/parenting life has meant I’ve been feeling dissatisfied. 

I returned back to work last September and since then, I’ve managed to rediscover my adult/professional self a bit, and started to enjoy feeling groomed and polished. And then early this year, I started to become closer to a new colleague. It started making me excited about going to work, and motivated me to start working out again. We swapped numbers and we would (initially) exchange funny messages and inside jokes, and schedule impromptu coffees. And then the chemistry between us grew and it became apparent he was attracted to me. So the innocent texts evolved into exciting charged messages, and escalated to describing sexually explicit scenarios and exchanging sexy images. 

This continued for a month or so until one weekday, I invited him to spend a day in a hotel room together, and we had amazing electrifying sex. It was wonderful and to my embarrassment and shame, I didn’t really feel guilty because it had nothing to do with my home life, husband and son. I thought I had successfully compartmentalised that moment and initially it felt like the sexual pressure that had built up between us had been released. But it wasn’t just the intimate connection, and we continued to grow close and we established real feelings for each other. We vowed to “keep it in the box”, for self-preservation and acknowledging we were both married (to other people!) and we also worked together. 

However around the same time my husband grew suspicious of my overly late work nights out and he confronted me about having my head turned. So the hotel sex day was disclosed…

My husband was so incredibly hurt, and was deeply disappointed that I would risk the stability of our family for “a fling”. I explained that my intention was never to replace my long term commitment to him and our boy. But equally I felt so invigorated by the passion between me and my colleague. His desire for me was intoxicating, and the rush of being “in love” helped me regain my sexual confidence again and just gave me so much joy. My husband may deny it but in the past few months I’ve been happier at home and way more tactile. 

My husband doesn’t want either of us to leave and while he is angry and upset with me, he still loves me and wants to make it work. We’re booked in for relationship counselling next week and have discussed ways we can reconnect… but he is fervent about all contact with my colleague ending. He has given me very absolute terms that it cannot happen ever again - While he has every right to state these conditions, they’re not practical or realistic (he wants to me change job, but our future relies heavily on my income and I’m not about to just get any new job to get away from my colleague, if it jeopardizes my long term career path). And he seems to be in denial of how much I felt for his other man - I’ve just fallen in love with him, I can’t just turn it off.

I’ve been reading about open marriages and being “monogamish” but I feel my husband has just strict, rigid expectations that he would not be open to such an arrangement. 

In my rational brain, I should accept my longer commitment to my marriage and family. But my emotions currently are so fraught. I miss my new lover and the friendship and connection he offered me. I am being selfish but I don’t want to lose that feeling.

Please help, Viv!

Got a question for Viv? Email her at The Dear Viv podcast airs weekly on The Pool at 5pm on Tuesdays. All letters will be edited for length. Unfortunately Viv cannot reply to your emails personally. 

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