How to interact with the person my wife had an emotional affair with?
August 17, 2012 5:20 PM Subscribe
My wife has been having an emotional affair with another man, a married co-worker. Help me get what I want out of my first social interaction with him since the news broke.
posted by anonymous to human relations (44 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
My wife and I have reconciled things in such a way that they are allowed to remain friends. Everyone is basically comfortable with this reconciliation, including the co-worker's wife. I don't need help with that part. As far as my wife and I are concerned, we're satisfied with where we're at and ready to move forward from this to focus on what's going wrong in our marriage.
I do need help managing my interaction with this man: we'll be seeing him on Sunday, and it will be the first time that I've seen him since I've learned about the situation between he and my wife. I expect to have to see him every few months or so for the forseeable future (he, my wife and I share a hobby, and will see each other at hobby events from time to time). I want to take control of my interaction with him in a way that expresses the following sentiments:
I'm not angry with you, exactly, but have no interest in being friends or even friendly with you. I would prefer not to talk to you at all, ever, but I will insofar as you are a human being who is in the same room with me from time to time, whose existence I have to acknowledge. I especially don't want to talk with you about what went on between you and my wife-I neither want to forgive you nor not forgive you. My wife is the person involved here who matters to me and I've already forgiven her. I'm being ok with my wife continuing to be your friend as a favor to her.
Here are the two things I especially don't want: 1) Having to listen to some kind of apology or explanation or discussion from him, and then having to either validate it or not validate it. I am interested in cutting this off at the head if it happens or starts to happen, in a non-angry, non-confrontational, but firm way. But I am having a hard time imagining what that looks like. 2) Pretending that nothing happened and treating him in a friendly way, like I would have before the news broke. My wife and are moving forward from this, but he and I are not. I never liked him very much in the first place, anyway. I am not a doormat.
How can I get what I want out of this crucial first interaction with him, and set things up to continue to get what I want going forward? My wife will be a partner in this with me. If getting what I want is impossible or inadvisable, how should I modify what I want, and how should I act to get that? Thanks for your help.