My wife is flirting with a co-worker

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My wife and I have been married for 25 years, and just like most marriages, it's had its ups and downs. But for the most part it's been great – until recently when I found out she was flirting with a co-worker. I found out when she left her computer on (she works from home three days a week, two in the office). This co-worker is also married, and my wife claims he started flirting with her first.

She had been considering a new position at work. When she told me about it, I asked her if it would add stress to her life. She got upset with me for being negative. When she went back to work, he was supportive. Said she was perfect for it, etc. That’s when the flirting started.

The messages I found were about him asking her to come to the break room or to come to his office when nobody was in the facility. She would take him coffee in the morning, and they met for lunch once that I know of. He would message her to ask when she was coming in, and she’d respond, "Why, am I missed?"

There was a trip to Phoenix for work. He was also there and he had asked her what hotel she was staying at, and she told him where. That same evening before going to bed I had texted her a couple of times but got no response until the next morning. She swears that nothing physical happened. I don't know if I believe her.

She understands how devastated I am after finding out about their interactions. I don't know how much she talks to him now, but I believe they still communicate. I just don't know to what extent. When she gets up to leave her office at home, she will turn her computer off. I ask if she has something to hide, and she says she doesn't want me reading her stuff. Why would she turn it off every time?

Our sex life has changed. I don't feel enthusiastic about it, and she feels she doesn't know how to approach me. I lost some respect for her because of everything that's happened. I love my wife and I know she fees bad, but is it because I found out? Or does she really feel bad? I don't know what to believe.

I just don't know if I can ever trust her enough to get over this. I'm hoping I can, but I guess time will only tell. What should I believe?

– Disappointed


Have you considered couples therapy? It sounds like you need to be guided through this process – to learn how to pull yourselves out of this vey bad place where you're upset and doubting her, and she's waiting for a change without making any changes herself.

At the very least, therapy alone could help. Based on your letter, there have been no calls to action, no plans for making things better.

Sometimes with cheating (and it's unclear what actually happened/is still happening here), people get focused on the object of their partner's affection – in your case, this other guy. But the bigger issue is your own marriage. Compartmentalize him for a second – push aside the messages and the computer behavior, etc. – and think about that moment when you asked your wife if a work change would cause her stress. That seemed to be a turning point. Why did your response upset her so much? Can you talk to her about how the two of you were doing before that discomfort?

Focus on whether you both love this marriage and why. This other person is a distraction. Trying to decode messages and computer time isn't helping anyone. Ask her if she can work with you to figure out how you got here.

– Meredith

Readers? Sounds like they're stuck. What should happen next?