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'My wife confessed she's been feeling limerence towards a coworker. Is my marriage over?' UPDATED 4X

'My wife confessed she's been feeling limerence towards a coworker. Is my marriage over?' UPDATED 4X

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Honesty is the best policy, but it can also open up its own can of worms.

"My wife (30 yrs old, 5 yrs marriage) confessed lately that she's been feeling "strong" limerence towards a coworker and she hates herself for it..is my marriage over?

My wife and I have been happily (at least me) married for 5 years. We dated for 4 years before marriage and it was a very exciting time. Basically we had a lot of s#x and enjoyed each other's company so much. We were best friends and crazy in love. At least that's what I experienced. The last 2 years of marriage were tough.

Trying and failing to have a baby, two consecutive misc@rriages, and a loss of a loved one, all had a toll on our physical and mental health. However, we remained very much close and supported each other. Lately, I sensed my wife was distancing away from me, and she suddenly decided to "put on hold" trying to have a baby until she "figures herself out."

After I insisted on answers (I'm part of the baby project), she admitted to have lost s#$ual interest and attraction to me since at least a year, and she have often forced herself to have s@x with me for the sake of baby. She was terrified of saying anything on her own, and she's been seeing a therapist without me knowing.

After several nights of constructive conversations, where I recommended starting couple therapy, she said that what made things worse for her is a strong limerence she has been feeling towards a new coworker (who started 4 months ago) and she is unable to stop fantasizing about him. She swears that she has been trying to avoid him, but to no avail.

I know there is no affair, because she always comes early from work, and we stay together on holidays and weekends. BUT I have this nagging feeling that my marriage might be over, and no couples therapy can save it. I AM HEARTBROKEN AND FEEL BETRAYED.

The internet had lots of comments and question to share.

NoContest9016 wrote:

Doesn’t mean the coworker felt the same, go try therapy all the same. Exhaust all options before calling it quit. Marriage is a huge commitment, not something to simply throw away when met with adversity. You both recognize the problem, so why not try to fix it.

OP responded:

Part of me wants to believe this is possible. But another more nagging part of me says that I'm fooling my self with wishful thinking. I heard limerence stays for years. How can I live with her until she "forgets" about him? I still have some self dignity, give or take.

PracticalPrimrose wrote:

The fact she seems to recognize it as Limerence, tells me that she’s probably being betrayed by her own brain and is likely frustrated as well. I don’t think your marriage is over. I just think you’ve hit a rougher patch in the rough patch.

Good for her to recognize that bringing a baby into the situation was not a good idea.

Good for you for pushing for answers so you can begin to work on the problem as a team, assuming that’s what you want.

OP responded:

I want to work on it, I really do, and I might as well do it. I'm just preparing myself for the worst, and I don't want to be fooling myself with wishful thinking, lest I get hurt again.

carlorway wrote:

She can quit her job to get away from him. Does he have feelings for her, or is it one-sided? My concern is that she stated that her feelings for you changed a year ago. This coworker is more recent. Why is that? Was there someone else before him? Do you want to be with someone who isn't attracted to you? Also, no more unprotected s#x. Don't have a baby right now. It will fuzz things up.

OP responded:

She says at the first, they were friendly and easy going, but everyone there is like that over there. I know many of her colleagues. He caught her attention, and when she noticed she is starting to have emotions for him, she started avoiding him as much as possible.

Now, she says she is even isolating herself in the office and eating lunch there.

I don't think there will be any s@x for sometime, she's taking her distance from me, and admitted she does not feel attracted to me to have s#x.

In another comment, OP shared what he knows about his wife's coworker.

I did my homework on the guy. He is not married. She insists that she has been avoiding him and isolating herself from everyone so she wouldn't bump into him. But she still "feels attraction" to him, and she is unable to suppress it. It is painful.

kem1326 wrote:

Before you jump straight to divorce - it’s normal for feelings to be stronger and not as strong at points in your marriage. She honestly might be feeling this way because of her crush. As of now, she hasn’t acted on these feelings and if she is willing to work on things you might suggest her finding a new job.

There is still a chance as long as you are both willing to work for it and do the things that will be necessary for yourselves to get to a good spot again. Don’t just throw it away if you don’t have to.

OP responded:

She says she wants to work on the marriage, but I'm not sure what to trust right now. I'm a mess, she is a mess, and this whole situation is a mess. She might be saying this just to console me or shut me up...

kem1326 responded:

That’s ok to be messed up over it right now, it’s a hard thing to go through. Just be patient and gentle with yourselves. You don’t need to make a definitive decision right away and could try just taking things one day at a time. I don’t know her but I don’t think she would tell you all this and then tell you she wanted to work on it if she didn’t.

She may have come to you with this because she doesn’t want it to get worse and wants you both to try and save things. She did the best thing she could do by telling you all this before anything happened that could not be undone. Does she have a history of trying to manipulate or lie? Or are you feeling like this because everything is so fresh and you are still processing?

OP responded:

She does not have a history of manipulation or lying as far as I know. However, for the past year, she never said anything about losing her s#xual desire towards me. I thought the decline in s@x was due to the life stresses we were facing together, like the baby fiasco, two misc*rriages, loss of a loved one, and other daily hardships.

I know she lacks self-confidence in many situations and had her fair share of parents-related trauma and ab#se.

A week later, OP shared an update.

UPDATES: We've been talking a lot openly and constructively with many emotions involved. She still says she does not know if she wants to end the marriage, and she hasn't made her mind up, but it is still a possibility. She is afraid of the consequences and potential regret afterwards.

She often asks me if I'm willing to live with someone like her "who doesn't love me as I love them" and if I want to live "a s#xless marriage." She asks if I'm willing to "miss out on life, s#x, and love just because of her." She thinks she doesn't have the energy to see couples counseling and she isn't totally convinced that it will help. She refuses to change jobs, at least for the forseeable future.

I know she has invested a lot in it and she is one of the most devoted employees there, with a bright future with the company. Also she feels like her coworkers and boss are her second family, and it would be extremely difficult for her to quit.

She FIRMLY insists that nothing is going on between her and the coworker, no texting, no flirting, no one-on-one meetings, and very minimal contact (only when other employees are around). She believes that even if we divorce, there is not even a slight chance for a viable relationship with the coworker.

She says the latter also chose to distance himself, and apologized to her about "his unprofessional behavior." She said she wants space again, without questions from me or pressure for a while. We decided to take time away from each other, with no contact unless necessary, to "reflect and heal a bit" for 1 week. I'm at home and she is staying with her relatives who live nearby.

From my perspective, things are still going in the direction of divorce, which I don't wish to happen at least until we try to shake things up and see couples counseling. If it doesn't work after that, then I will seek divorce. But I don't want to live my life thinking that we could've done something.

The internet continued to offer up support.

stella_ella26 wrote:

I don't think that it's going to work if she isn't open for help like couples therapy or marital counceling. And if you (both of you) don't change, nothing will change. All the best wishes.

thegreathonu wrote:

Man, I'm sorry to hear you are going through this.

Do you know what she meant by...

"She says the latter also chose to distance himself, and apologized to her on 'his unprofessional behavior.'"

I take it she told the guy that she was attracted to him. Was she trying to see if he was interested? What was this "unprofessional behavior"?

I hope the week goes by with a lot of soul searching and her really taking time to herself to try and figure things out. I wish you all the best in whatever path you end up taking.

OP responded:

She said when she distanced herself from him (they were friendly before, but everyone there is like that. I know her coworkers), he noticed and distanced himself too. He told her that "if I did something wrong, I apologize for my unprofessional behavior" and he distanced himself. That's what she said at least. Thanks for your support and best wishes.

thegreathonu responded:

Yeah, it sucks to be in this position and unfortunately I don't see it getting any better if she doesn't get some individual counseling and possibly marriage counseling. The brain is a wonderful thing but sometimes does sucky things to us. It's during those times that seeking professional help is the only way to go to get through things.

OP responded:

We both have individual counselors who we visit on a bi-weekly basis. I want us to see marriage counseling to help us make a decision. That's how I framed it to her. She is so far not interested. It was a shock for me that I never saw all of this coming.

Last thanksgiving dinner and new years eve we had a very pleasant and happy time together and everything was going great. But just a few days into 2024 she flipped 180°, and called it quits. Still seems very odd to me.

utahraptor2375 wrote:

You both do IC, but she's not interested in MC? Now THAT'S weird. Like really, really weird. It makes me suspect she's already checked out of the marriage. You might be getting trickle truthed.

OP responded:

I know she kinda checked out, but her brain is a mess right now. She never stops crying and lost a lot of weight. She is not thinking straight, because she has been miserable and depressed for quite sometime due to the miscarriages and fertility problems. It is not just some dis-satisfied girlfriend who thinks she can do better.

gsearay wrote:

Are you kidding me? She said literally- I do not love you, we will not have s*x. Do you actually understand what she said?

OP responded:

I do. I just want us to at least try to work on those issues before we call it quits, that's all.

NoContest9016 wrote:

I mean there’s nothing you do besides waiting, I do think it is inching towards the inevitable though.

So are we expecting an update in about 1 weeks time? All the best I guess.

OP responded:

It's really tough for me, I feel like someone stole my life from me, kicked me hard in the gut and left me in a rut. I'm not sure it will be a week from now, or when a "decision" will be made. She said she wants this week a chance to take care of ourselves and get our minds off the problem a bit.

At some point, the situation will get unbearable for me, and I have to make the decision. I still have a glimmer of hope somewhere though. Thanks for the support and best wishes.

IfIWereNYourShoes wrote:

You need to set ground rules, no dating, no contact with each other or limited. You should suggest two weeks or a month, actually give it some time to adjust to a new routine.

OP responded:

It's easier said than done, it has been 24H since we last talked or saw each other and I'm already feeling withdrawal symptoms.

thegreathonu responded:

I couldn't go 24 hours without talking to the woman I love so I know how it goes but I would highly suggest that you send her a text with ground rules for this temporary break and she what she says.

OP responded:

I think she prefers we don't talk. I'm the one obsessing about calling to check on her. I think she is not interested in talking anyways. I'm trying out this so-called "no-contact rule" and see how things turn out.

Alfie281 responded:

You’re in denial. I know what a happy marriage is and this isn’t it, and she’s not even wanting to make effort to salvage. It’s a two way street bud.

OP responded:

Maybe I am. But I have a responsibility as the man of this family to try to make things work for the best of this family.

Two weeks later, OP shared another update.

Two weeks have passed since my wife and I "separated." She calls me daily to check on me, and we both feel emotional and sometimes cry. She returns home tomorrow but still feels "lost" and undecided about what she wants. She longs for our good old days but also says she has been feeling empty and unhappy in our marriage for quite some time.

I still insist that we can fix things and bring back the attraction and emotional connection we once had. It takes effort and commitment to make things work, even if they don't eventually. I have been seeing a marriage counselor who assured me that things might still work out and we can be a happy couple again, but it requires commitment from both of us.

She tells me that she feels deadly guilty and miserable for putting me in this dire situation and breaking my heart and my trust. She now thinks she was never a good partner to me and was rarely excited to do anything she wanted with me, especially after the marriage.

She told me about her dreams, fantasies, and things that excited her in a relationship, but for some reason, she has always felt that I wasn't the "one" she wanted to do those things with, and she hated herself every day for it. She says, "I am a fantastic person with all the great qualities a woman wants in a man," being loyal, caring, gentle, romantic, loving, and so on.

Still, she has always felt an emptiness inside her and that something was missing to make her fulfilled. She thought a baby might be the cure to this, and the two miscarriages made her profoundly depressed and devastated. She is afraid of divorce (for social reasons), and she doesn't want to end up alone, but at the same time, she is also afraid of breaking my heart again if things do not work out.

As for her feelings for the coworker, she says that she had no control over them, and they "just happened out of the blue" and made her feel young, desired, excited, and euphoric like a 16-year-old teenager. She says she hasn't had such feelings in many years and missed them.

However, she swears to me that no actual affair is taking place, that she doesn't want to be in a relationship with that guy, and that she doesn't want to "s#$t where she eats." She said that she told me about her limerence because it was a sign (to her) that our marriage was unfulfilling and dysfunctional, and wanted us to be honest and transparent. I am still super confused right now.

I love her so much and miss her so damn much. I can't stop thinking about her and us as a couple. I still can't fathom the fact that this might be over. I still can't imagine myself with another woman and her with another man.

I can't believe this is happening to me. Never imagined it in my entire life. I always felt she was the one. I want a divorce to relieve myself and her from any further pain, but I wish we could agree to fix things...many contradictory emotions at the same time. I'm exhausted, sick, and emotionally drained.

The internet offered a lot of support.

FSmert wrote:

I am sorry you are going through such pain. From an outside perspective the only thing that has changed is the diminishing of goodwill on her part to give your relationship juice. She’s more concerned about social perceptions of a failed marriage rather than solving problems. She will keep you on the edge of her love fog as long as she’s lit up.

Could be months or a year, but this is her lifestyle now. I wouldn’t be surprised if she meets and falls in love with a younger man if this guy at work has decency. Because she would be alone. You remind her of how disloyal her behavior has been. But she stopped loving you over a year ago.

Sorry but you cannot reanimate the old love. Sooner or later you’ll get tired of her psychological and emotional games, but it may take you seeing her physically embrace another man to slap you in the face with reality. Such are our choices. I appreciate you updating things and I hope a positive outcome eventually.

Original-King-1408 wrote:

Bud if you really want to fix things the best chance you have is to serve her with divorce papers now. She is never going to move off the dime as long as she thinks you will do nothing, you have to be willing to lose your marriage if you want to save it. You are letting her ab#se and disrespect you.

Serving her may be the catalyst to knock her to her senses. Many example of this in these subs. If she doesn’t then what have you really lost other than her with one foot in and one foot out the door and you with nothing.

IfIWereNYourShoes responded:

This OP, I was about to say the same thing. Stop trying to fix something you didn’t break. Serve her the divorce, and start to think about living your life without her. Make a budget without her, a 1 year plan, 3 year plan, and a 5 year plan. Learn about yourself without her, and go enjoy life. She is an anchor weighing you down.

Learn gray rock and one eighty and emotionally distance yourself from her. Stop answering her calls or texts. When she realizes you are no longer her backup plan, she may actually come around, but until you actually let go and take the steps in letting go, you will be in limbo and her backup plan. And OP just food for thought, cheaters lie, and manipulate.

KelceStache wrote:

Everything she says is about why she wants it to end. The only thing why she doesn’t want it to end is how she will be seen socially.

That’s messed up.

I know it’s hard, but don’t beg her for a chance. Don’t force someone that doesn’t want to be there, to be there. Be way more indifferent. Like “hey, I can’t make you want me so do what you gotta do. I’m not going to Beg for you, or tell you this and that to get you to stay.

You either want to commit yourself to our marriage or you don’t. If you don’t, let’s end this here and now.”

Right now she is in control of everything. It’s easy for her to say nothing is going on with that guy, but why take it at face value? I wouldn’t.

Two weeks later, OP shared another update.

I have posted on other subs about my marriage and how it is falling apart after my wife confessed about being limerent to a coworker and having intense feelings towards him.

She has been unhappy in our marriage for at least a year (we have been together for nine years, married for five years). Although she says I'm a good and decent husband, and I know I am, she blames me for what happened.

I love her so much and want nothing more than for her to be happy. I have been loving, caring, romantic, and providing on all scales (financial, social, emotional, and sexual). At least that's what I would like to believe, and I have a lot of evidence to support it. (I'm not saying her feelings are not valid, they are).

I have many flaws, but who is perfect? I can be annoying, clumsy, and passive at times. I can be forgetful and irresponsible about some stuff, But who isn't? I'm working on myself to change. She, too, has a lot of flaws that make me go nuts. But I have never thought about hooking up, cheating, or befriending women I find attractive.

She was and still is the only woman I have been with for nine years.

In my eyes, she is the s#xiest woman in the world. And I tell her that, and I behave as such! I have always supported her dreams, and tried my best to fulfill her wishes. She makes me feel like the luckiest man in the world.

She knows all that and acknowledges it. I've put myself second to her, and have even rejected high-paying job offers that required constant traveling and moving towns to start a family with her. I wanted that! I prefer family to work. We have no kids yet. We had a tough 2023 with two consecutive miscarriages and fertility issues.

She has felt "empty", "invisible" and "worthless" for many many years, she says (even before we got together). Something that I did not understand, until she was diagnosed with depression. She also feels our marriage had many problems and made her unhappy. I now know that it had a major communication problem.

She tends to avoid conflict as much as possible with everyone (not just me) and has never spoken to me about any issues until she exploded now. She never communicated her unmet emotional needs, and she doesn't know what they are. When I ask her about her emotional and s#xual desires and fantasies, she always replies, "you are my favorite fantasy". Obviously, I wasn't.

This new coworker came in 4 months ago, and she fell hard for him. No affair is going on, and I have solid confirmation. She is limerent for him, and her feelings are getting stronger daily. She confessed it. He makes her feel "intense emotions," "desirable," and "somebody" when she is around him. She believes he is "perfect" even though I'm "better looking" (BS!).

She felt this with me at the beginning of our relationship. But when things have calmed down as they should, she thought we have failed and love has died. She insists of having no intention of leaving me for him, but I wouldn't bet on that. Anyway, she feels super guilty and shameful and blames me for this turmoil and her limerence. And I don't know what to believe or what to do!

The internet kept it real.

RiotGrrl2 wrote:

It’s not right or fair to blame you for this. It sounds like she might be attempting to deflect her guilt or indirectly address issues between you without being specific about what she feels is lacking in the marriage.

The fact that she has been open with you about it and has trusted you with this information says something and I wonder whether this is a way of coping with the misc*rriages and fertility issues. Like a bit of an escape. I’d definitely encourage you to have couples counseling as it sounds like there is a lot you both need to unpack here.

Evey_17 wrote:

You got some really good advice in your previous threat. Go re-read that. Get into counseling yourself. From what you said earlier, she had feelings but never acted and the feelings were not communicated to this co-worker and she came to you in distress about the feelings. You have a lot of good stuff to work with in terms of saving your marriage like the fact that she sought therapy.

Like the fact that she’s been honest about this attraction and is distressed by it, sometimes distress people blame others. You are both distressed but there is hope. You get yourself to therapy too. It’s been a rough year with two misc#rriages and her depression. Go get the help you deserve...the internet can be a toxic place for it.

PsychologicalArt2368 wrote:

Calm down, this is typical limerent behaviour. Whenever someone is emotionally invested outside of their marriage they find reasons to shift the blame or find out why are they like this. It also happens during emotional affairs. It makes this mindf#ckery seemingly more bearable to think you have a valid reason to "love" someone else.

But you know, the LO would be dull, or even way worse for her than you are now, if she got to spend even just a year with her LO. Then, she would get bored of LO and maybe would long for you out of nostalgia, who knows.

Prior_Beginning_6774 wrote:

Jeesh, at least she told you. My partner of 20 something years ignored me, and acted as if she hated my guts for an entire year. I read books and everything to figure out how I spark the relationship back up.

Then she started doing stuff like starting arguments and scripting things like having my kids climb out the bedroom windows when I went outside to cool down following a dispute I didn't even understand.

Then I'd go in only to see that she had taken everyone to her sister's house 35 minutes away. She stopped cooking for my son for an entire year, and acted as if she hated my guts.

Then she fake domestic vi$lence me in order to remove me from the house we just bought. Was homeless, facing a felony, have to prove paternity of my kids, I'm blind and jobless, and the list goes on. It's so crazy, I could share a novel over what has happened over the past18 months. the kids climb out the window.

OP responded:

I'm very sorry to hear that! It must be chaotic for you. I haven't got to this extreme (yet!). I hope I don't, but I still don't trust her mind and she has been acting in a very very weird way, over the past few months. As if she is a totally new person that I've never known, and suddenly I'm married to.

My wife also acts super cold and distant most of the time, except when we are actually arguing or discussing the crisis. She immediately starts crying, turns red, becomes emotional, and hugs me every 10 minutes.

About six weeks later, OP shared another update.

After months of drama and misery, where I was caught off guard by my wife when she suddenly put our baby project on pause, I filed for divorce. She does not love me anymore and has been "not satisfied with the marriage" for the past two years, as she puts it.

She finally confessed to having an affair with her coworker that stretched for a little more than three months, after which it was "paused" so she could figure herself out. She finally said she did not want to work on our marriage because she obsessively wanted to be with the other man and initiate a relationship with him.

So that's it. A 9-year relationship (5-year marriage) ended in the most horrible way for me. The woman I thought would be my life-long lover and partner betrayed me and dumped everything we had and might have had together to be with another man. I hope she will be happier...I really do wish her the best.

The commenters were quick to respond.

GoonerSoccer wrote:

So sorry for you OP! But in a way this must be a relief for you, since deserve better and can move on. I know it's hard since it's a 9 year relationship but at least you don't have kids and can make a clean break now. I remember you had mentioned that she had a very conservative upbringing. Have you informed her family the real reason so you are not painted as the villain by her? Not that it matters.

OP responded:

Yes her parents are conservative. And that's the tricky part right ther ...the parents. My parents know all the truth, her parents do not know about the affair (yet). They know about the limerence. though. I don't think they will paint me as a villain, they actually love me and we've always been on good terms. I am actually more sad that I lost them as a family more than that I lost her.

Lazy-River2102 wrote:

I'm sorry to hear about your divorce. That's a tough situation to go through. If you don't mind sharing, could you tell us about any red flags or warning signs you noticed in your relationship? It could help others spot potential issues before things get too serious.

OP responded:

Well I can state three since the beginning of our marriage at least: I was mostly the giver and she was the taker. She gets irritated when I don't tell her "I love you honey" frequently and fill my text messages to her with hearts and love stickers, but she has rarely done any of that for me.

She might have expressed love in another way, but I don't seem to remember a time (except for the first 2-3 years of relationship, not marriage) where she was excited to do anything with me or for me. That was a super major red flag that I often dismissed out of love. I was weak. She used to compare us and me to other couples/men that we know and are friends with.

She cares a lot about what other people think of her and us as a couple. Although she has always criticized her parents for being this way too. That is, always afraid of other people's opinions and always caving in to social and peer pressure.

NoContest9016 wrote:

Oh, I remember you OP. So wife has been lying about the "limerence" nonsense all along.

It is for the best it seems, I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

OP responded:

Well yes, apparently they both liked each other "at first sight" so to say. He started approaching her offering some "acts of services" like organizing her meetings, bringing her coffee, helping with a dead car battery along with flirting and texting. So she fell for it quite quickly and things escalated from there to an affair.

There is some sort of deep obsession from her side, she thinks about him a lot and has been acting like a teenager. Anyways, good luck to them.

tealparadise wrote:

This is the exact reason boundaries and education about emotional affairs is so important. She should have cut that sh*t off instead of falling for it. If you don't like someone in that way, it's fine to help each other out at work.

If there's a crush brewing you have to just be honest with yourself that you're moving away from your marriage by getting close to this person. She's gonna regret this I'm sure. She has no idea how this guy will act within a real relationship. She's just addicted to new crush energy. She is dumb and weak for this.

OP responded:

What drove me a bit crazy is that she genuinely seems to regret what happened and cried a lot about it. YET, she did not want in any way to leave her job nor cut ties with him. instead she insisted she wants to pursue this guy further.

Hopefully, OP can move onto something far more reciprocal in the future.

Sources: Reddit
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