I’ve learned a lot in the last couple of years. My wife and I have been married a long time. Married at 19 years old, still married and in love at 51 years old. Raised three great kids to adulthood in that time. Great life together.
Sometimes, however, I think someone can meet another person they just click with in an unbelievable way. I think this happened to my wife. We had moved 1000 miles away from our hometown for my work. She got a job at a hospital in the new town and HATED the job. For the first three years there she absolutely hated going to work every day. She’d cry regularly. I was there for her in any way she needed. I helped her with her resume because she wanted to find something else. I gave her a shoulder to cry on. I listened and sympathized when she vented. I love her with all my heart and will always be there for her.
After about three years they hired a new guy at her work. He did the same kind of work she did but for another department in the hospital. He’s a really nice guy, I’ve met him multiple times. Anyway, he was closer to all the bullsh*t they had to put up with at their jobs. He understood better than I could. He spent more time with her than I could. If you’re employed full time you spend more time with your job/coworkers than you do your family. That’s a fact. He was instrumental in helping her turn the job around. He understood exactly what they were going through better than I ever could. Misery loves company and now my wife had company. They started working as a team and the job got better for both of them.
I could see them growing closer professionally but then it transcended work and they started growing closer as friends outside work…..and we all know where that can lead. I started to become really concerned about this but never wanted to look like an insecure jealous husband so I let it go. They texted regularly and hung out together at work all day long. They were the only two people in their office (they shared an office) so they chit chatted all day. I could see their relationship growing every day right in front of my eyes. My wife and I are as close as any two human beings can be but I saw that this relationship at work was starting to impact our “me and you against the world” closeness. There was a third person entering into my marriage even though it was currently still at the very early innocent stages.
I started to bring up that I was concerned about it and that I didn’t like how she was acting around another man. That would get shut down on me. “Don’t be silly, we’re just friends and coworkers, he has a fiancée” or “He’s the one person that has made this job bearable and you want me to ignore him?” It was just a sh*tty situation all the way around. I really didn’t know what to do.
My own field is very specialized and lucrative. As luck would have it, or God stepped in, or Karma, or fate, or the universe (whatever is your bag) I get a call from a head hunter. A place in our hometown was looking for a new c-level executive to run an entire division. Huge job, huge salary, in our hometown. I really loved what I was doing in my current job and now my wife loved her job/and her coworker, and we loved the new town. Usually that would lead me to say thanks but no thanks to the head hunter. This time, however, I saw it as an opportunity to make a positive impact on my marriage.
My wife couldn’t argue the opportunity. It was huge and almost doubled my salary. We have family and friends back in our hometown. I could tell she was absolutely heartbroken over the potential of losing this new best friend that I know in my heart they were both developing real feelings for each other. I know in my heart that my wife loved this man. I know that she still loved me, and I don’t think she would have ever cheated or left me for this guy, but I know I was slowly losing her to him. She didn’t act on anything but there was something growing between them. I could tell when we all got together that his fiancée hated my wife even though they had never met before so that told me that she could sense a threat to her relationship too and didn’t like it one bit.
So I applied, interviewed, got offered, and accepted this job. In my heart I’d say only 10% of it was because of the opportunity and 90% of it was to get my wife away from her job and that person. We moved. She hated leaving that job and her buddy. I could tell she was sad and depressed over the loss of this other man in her life. I knew in my heart they were having a full on emotional affair even if both of them were not aware of it. A lot of times that is how these things start. One or both parties aren’t even consciously aware of what’s happening until it’s too late and they’ve ruined some lives.
I know this might not be an ideal way to handle such a situation but it worked. My wife found a new job back home, we’re back in our old social circle of friends and family. For a few months they would message on Facebook occasionally (nothing bad, she’d always show me, but they were maintaining their connection) but that stopped months ago. Out of sight, out of mind. They don’t communicate at all anymore. He has since married his fiancée and my wife and I are very happy back home again. I could literally feel the change and one day while we were sitting on the couch watching Fixer Upper, her head was on my shoulder, she looked up and said:
“I love you so much. I know for a while in _______ (city we used to live in) I wasn’t being the best partner but I was so miserable in my job and part of me blamed you for moving me there. _________ (coworker/OM) was really like a wartime buddy where you share the same horrible experience with so you start bonding with them but in retrospect I think it was wrong and I shouldn’t have done that. I’m so sorry if it hurt your feelings. I’ll never do anything like that again. You’re the love of my life.”
All’s well that ends well. I love my wife with all my heart. She loves me. We’ll be together until one of us dies of old age. There’s a good chance I would have taken this job anyway because it’s such a good opportunity but at that time that’s not why I took it. I took it because I had a threat to my marriage (the thing that is most important to me in life) and I saw an opportunity to remove the threat from the equation. I took that opportunity and won’t ever apologize for why I did it.