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I get a lot of emails from wives trying to heal themselves and their marriages after an affair. There are many common roadblocks or places where we tend to get “stuck” and unable to move on. One very common one that I’m seeing with a lot more frequency is a situation where both parties are wanting to save the marriage, but the husband still works with the woman that he had the affair with. This is a difficult situation on so many levels because it is a constant reminder of the affair and constant contact with someone that you don’t want your husband any where near. This article will discuss how I believe that you should best handle this situation.
The Best Case Scenario When Your Husbands Works With His Former Mistress: If I had my way, I’d like for the husband to get another job pronto. No good can come out of him working with the woman he cheated on you with. Even if he is fully committed and determined to save your marriage, it’s not healthy for him to have to see her (and even interact with her) on a daily basis. This is difficult for you too, because the doubts and insecurities that you already have are only going to be multiplied knowing that he’s seeing her every day.
I realize that in today’s economy it can be hard to just walk away from a job. I understand that your husband can’t do that and still be a responsible family provider. But, perhaps he can ask for a transfer out of her department or he can apply for openings in other divisions of the company. At the very least, he should take some concrete action to get out of there, whether this is sending out resumes for other companies or applying wherever he can within the same company (where he doesn’t have direct contact with her.)
No matter what he does, it’s very important that you know that he’s making a continuous effort to limit and end his contact with her. Many companies have very strict policies about fraternizing among co workers, not to mention sexual harassment issues and policies. So, it’s vitally important (for so many reasons) that your husband distance himself from this situation as soon as possible.
What If He Can’t Leave His Job And Must Work With The Other Woman?: I realize that sometimes there are going to be situations where your husband just can’t get out of working with her (at least for a while.) Finding a new job or transferring within a company takes time. So, there may be a period of time where he is stuck until he can make a move to get out of there.
Still, it’s so important that he make very clear that the relationship is going to be a very limited working one only (and very hopefully for a short time, at that.) He needs to make it very clear to her that the contact is going to be extremely limited and on a professional basis. It’s best for him to be very brief with this message, simply stating what needs to be said and removing himself from her and the situation. He must be very convincing about this, avoiding eye or physical contact. This meeting should be very brief and matter of fact. This should be the last time that they really need to talk this over. In the future, he should communicate with her via email, fax or brief communication about professional matters only. (Written communication also protects your husband from any allegations – there is a written record of brief, professional exchanges only.) Face to face contact between them should be limited.
Many husbands will tell me “but dealing with her is part of my job,” or “I’m required to work closely with her,” or “we’re partners, there’s no getting around it.” Well, the truth is sometimes difficult choices must be made. Your marriage can not fully heal if you’re constantly confronted with this woman and your wife constantly has to worry about her. You must distance yourself through whatever means possible. Your first choice should be to get a new job and you must keep pursuing this until you reach this goal. Until that time, your wife should see you doing everything that you possibly can to limit contact with this woman. If communicating in the work place is a necessary evil (only for now) make sure that you are responsible and severely limit both the tone and time of your contact.