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Love and depression

Posted: Wed Sep 09, 2015 6:49 pm
by orca1972
About 12 months ago I realised that I was in love (really in love, not just some crush) with a colleague that I have been working with for a bout 3 years. I thought initially we were just getting on well and was thinking how great it was to have someone like that to work with. However what I started to feel became a lot stronger and something that I have not felt at all since possible getting married about 20 years ago.

I am male, married and have 2 wonderful children. However there have been strains in my relationship going back years but out of a will to make things work and for the well-being of the children I persisted. They are now 12 and 15. My work as a consultant means that often work away and this also doesn't help from a relationship point of view though I find the balance of time spent at home and time away (maybe 3 days every other week) good for me and dare I say it gives me some respite from problems at home.

I never told my colleague how I felt openly. We did go out after work and have a few drinks and a hug and a peck on the cheek before she going home and me back to a hotel was all that ever happened. Despite a desperation to tell her everything my head said 'no' and I just bottled it all up and kept on going. She only indication of any feelings she had for me came from saying things to the effect that she was glad when I decided to stay on with my employer when my contract was up for renewal. When it finally completed she said how strange it would be not having me around and that she would miss me. More drinks, hugs, the odd text and that was all. But my feelings never changed. Even after long periods working from home, getting into exercise, would not stop how I felt.

My colleague is a quiet person similar to me but doesn't let much out about her private life. I know she is in a relationship, no children, but her partner works for long periods abroad. Whenever I have mentioned him she brushes the subject aside.

When these feelings first started I took them to be very positive. All I think I wanted was for her to acknowledge them and to say she felt the same. But my fear of loosing her as a friend stopped me. My home and marital situation I put to one side because what I felt was stronger than anything I had ever previously felt for anyone (possibly even my wife). But with my head screwed on I knew that if I admitted all, if she reciprocated, then that would destroy my family and lead to a lot of heart ache. Equally I didn't want to burden her with all my family issues. I thought perhaps if I did leave my wife and children then she might open up more to me. If she had any sense she was doing the right thing in not showing any interest. I would expect any woman to do the same of a married man.

So now, those feelings of love to my colleague still exist but alongside is a growing feeling of despair and possibly depression. Everyday I get that feeling in the pit of my stomach and if my wife says something to upset me (I am fairly quiet but she can be hot headed) then it can almost drive me to tears. I just don't know what to do now. Sometimes I think I am just being week but do I ignore what I'm feeling and push on with a marriage where both of us know it hasn't really worked properly for a while?

Life goes on, I'm no longer with that employer but I keep in contact with my former colleague. My feelings though are still as strong. I just don't know where to go from here.

Re: Love and depression

Posted: Thu Sep 10, 2015 6:52 pm
by Tarantula
I didn't expect that I would be saying this when I started reading your post, but THANK YOU, on your wife's behalf, for not having taken things further. Clearly this was more her choice than yours, but you could've done more to instigate and you didn't, so that's positive.

Usually people only start writing once they've already crossed that Rubicon, and I find it hard to give constructive advice after that point, as cheating disgusts me like nothing else.

I also applaud this woman for being mature and moral enough to also not mess about just because 'feelings'. Used to justify all sorts of bad behaviour, aren't they? Or, maybe she just isn't that into you.

Either way, it sounds to me like she is just an escape for you. You haven't said anything about WHY you like this woman; and if she is being as professional as it sounds like she is, then really, you haven't had much of a chance to really get to know her personally, so how can this be love? It's infatuation at best, fuelled largely by an unhappy marriage for you.

You say you've possibly never felt this way for anyone - time really does make the heart forget, no? Probably you were just as crazy about your wife back in the day. You married her, after all. That means you committed for life. There are reasons why you chose her over every other possible woman of the future. And some of those reasons - most, hopefully - are because of who she was as an individual, how she treated you, all the things that were good.

I suggest, as you probably can guess I'm going to, that you spend more time thinking about how to bring that woman back rather than fantasising about pastures new. I realise this is not something you have full control over. But you can decide how you deal with it.

In a parallel life, you married your colleague and it's your current wife who you have the hots for and wish you could be with. I think this is just the symptoms of an old love. Like, really old. You and your wife have passed the test of time. Through whatever challenges life has thrown at you, including raising two kids together, you have seen it through. Don't throw that away for the sake of something shiny and new which would ultimately take it's place in time, and thus lose it's shine.

Perhaps you could go into more detail with us about what your marital problems are, and why you seem to be fairly sure that they are irreconcilable?

Where there's a will, there's a way. I don't want you to feel guilty, as you haven't done anything thus far. But think very very carefully before you chase your short term interests at the expense of someone who, no matter what the landscape may be now, at one time gladly gave their life to you over any other man in this world. And has stood by that so far at least enough to not pursue a divorce.

Just think, please.

Re: Love and depression

Posted: Fri Sep 11, 2015 11:19 am
by orca1972
Thank you for your sensible and honest reply. You are right, cheating is not at all fair and I committed to a marriage, rightly or wrongly, and that marriage developed, we had children and as such I've a whole load of responsibilities. I married my wife whilst quite young when I was quite shy and inexperienced when it comes to relationships. She cheated on me when we first got engaged, I called it off, then we got back together, we got engaged again and then married. She flirted with others in our early years of marriage but then settled down. Over those first years tempers would flair but we still stuck together. We continued to have many heated arguments and didn't see eye to eye on a lot of things which makes general conversation even a struggle sometimes. Now I just think what is it that we actually have in common other than the children, house etc. We are good friends at best and have just muddled on like that for a while.

I guess what I saw in my colleague was someone who I could have a conversation with and just fills that part of my marriage that is missing. And for 2 years of working with her that's how it was up until 12 months ago. I really wasn't expecting to feel like I did, it just happened. There is not even anything sexual about it. Just that I 'like' her a lot for just being herself and talking about all manner of subjects. That 'like' then developed into these feelings that I don't even want to put a label on. Maybe they are infatuation, I don't know.

But the reason I put this post here in this section was to do with how I should manage how I feel, not because I am about to start cheating. I have never cheated before and know it would just simply cause even more problems.

If I could re-build that passion and love for my wife then that would extinguish the other feelings I have to my work colleague. But I just don't know how that can happen given the way things are. In the meantime a feeling of despair and depression just gets the better of me. Sometimes it goes away when I focus on something else but it soon returns.

Re: Love and depression

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2015 10:28 am
by Bel Bel
The other woman is a fantasy, an escape from your problems.
There is no way you can know if a relationship would even work with her.
You say she is guarded and doesn't open up, perhaps if she did you wouldn't like her as much.
It's easy to see the good in someone who we don't live with and whom has the time to listen to our problems

If you have decided you want to give your marriage another go then I think you are going to have to go to counselling with your wife. You will both have resentments and issues and you need to be able to air them in an environment where somebody can mediate and it cannot escalate

It may be that there is no way back for you relationship but then the counselling will help you split more amicably for the sake of the kids