My husband and I employed a young girl in the company that we manage in October 2006, three weeks after the birth of our second daughter. My gutfeel told me after a mere 3 weeks that she was trouble - I didn't have a good feeling about the way my husband looked at her, or how he called her "babes" - something he's never said to me ever before. During 2007 their relationship grew to a proper emotional affair - including personal emails, phone calls and sms messages in the early morning hours behind my back. I finally confronted him in October 2007. The bomb that went off was really nasty, and with devastating effects.

He finally agreed that he was wrong, although I'm still pretty sure he only said the words to get out of the "dog box" - without realling meaning them or feeling true remorse. In January of this year we went for three sessions of counselling, after which he said he was done with any therapists. I've continued seeing a psychologist since January until now, and have really tried to do three things: a) get my marriage back on track and b) become emotionally stronger and a little less needy and c) get over the trauma and deal with working with this third party every day.

It seems I haven't succeeded with any of these. During January I asked him very nicely to please let this girl go - to get her out of the company. He just can't seem to see or appreciate that it is such an issue for me. He simply refused - saying she was good for the business. And since he is the managing director, there's not much I can do about it. The past year has been gruelling. I can, however, in all honesty say that I've never been nasty to her, and have always treated her decently and even friendly. I have too much self respect and pride to let her know that she's gotten the better of me.

Meanwhile, I planned to leave the company and start up my own. This was my exit plan - an attempt to flee from seeing her on a daily basis, and worse - from seeing them together on a daily basis. The company is really small, and with a workforce of only 5 people (us included) there is no way that they can NOT be in each other's company. The still often do business trips together, and speak frequently over the phone regarding operational matters (I hope).

My newly planned company didn't realize, and I'm back to where I started. Recently my husband said to me that he was very unhappy, and that it doesn't feel to him as if we've been making any progress on our marriage in the past year. He also said that he cannot see it working in future, However, he is not prepared to go through the whole divorce thing now. He is very confused, doesn't know what to feel, and doesn't know what to do. I appreciate this, and recognize all these feelings since I've been there numerous times.

While he doesn't currently have hope, I still do. I know that I love this man with all my heart, and I know that he is the guy I want to be sitting next to me when we are old and wrinkly. But I can't seem to get through the pain. I can make peace with what has happened in the past, but our daily interaction with this girl feels like new injuries all the time. I feel it is unreasonable to expect me to heal if the dagger is still sitting in the wound. I wish she'd just disappear. She's not a bad person at all, and under different circumstances, she might even have become a friend of mine. But she reminds me of too much pain.

I know we cannot fire her, because she's really doing a good job in our company. However, she is decent enough to maybe take a serious plea to resign of her own will, seriously. My husband just won't make this request to her. Why? I'm not sure - since he would be the first person to boldly state that nobody in a company is irreplacable. It feels as if he is still choosing her above me. And if it is not her he is choosing, then he is at least valuing the company more than his marriage to me.

The only thing that I can equate this to (to try and get him to understand) is the following hypothetical scenario: Suppose you were continually molested for a year, and are now expected to work alongside your molester (who happens to be very sorry, and promised to never do it again) on a daily basis. Would you be albe to do this? Do you really think that you will not be touched or hurt by his/her mere presence in the same room as you. Do you really think that all the old nasty memories will stay safely tucked away, and that you will be able to embrace this person with geniune friendliness. Do you really think that it won't impact on how you behave towards this person, and in your personal life? I don't think so. Yet, this is stricly speaking, what is expected of me.

I've tried during the past year to work with her and to see my husband and her work closely together without being hurt every time they go on a trip together, or every time they speak over the phone (also after hours). But my heart just isn't that strong. Am I unreasonable to expect of him to get rid of her altogher by means of asking her nicely to resign? I know you will probably ask why she should go, and not him. Well, my husband and I have started this company four and a half years ago, and sold it to another holding company with a strict clause in the contract that we keep on managing the company for them. Without my husband, there is no company. It would also mean that both my husband and I would have to resign - something that we financially simply can't do. We're also still tied to the purchase contract. She is, however, very young (24) and the world is her oyster. She's a good enough worker to easily find another job elsewhere, or she could even go overseas for a year or two.


3447 days ago
I am glad you are in therapy. I am sure you wish your husband had not left therapy prematurely. If he is so unhappy in this marriage, why is he both staying and refusing to work on it? I would wonder if he still wants it "both ways".

His long-term ambivalence and refusal to take your feelings seriously are not good signs, in my opinion. He is clearly not valuing your needs.

Has he been willing to talk openly about what the sources of his unhappiness/unfullfillment within the marriage are? Is he willing to take ownership for being part of the "fix" of those unmet needs?

I think you need to decide if you are ready for ultimatums....either he gets back into therapy (with you, or an his own initially)... or you begin taking steps to get out of this relationship--for your mental health and to model for your children your unwillingness to be an emotional doormat.

You stated you and your spouse both manage this company, but that he is the managing director. Most employment these days is "at will" employment...meaning people can be fired "just because"....Have you considered firing her yourself? I see no reason why your emotional needs should be so yourself or your spouse. If he refuses to honor your firing of this employee, it is time to let him know that you are good for the company and your decisions must be honored.

Clearly, both your spouse and this employee acted in a dishonorable and unprofessional manner. What real assurance do you have that this "emotional affair" is not continuing? I believe your top priorities are the integrity of your marriage, your healthy parenting and your company. Why continue to participate in a situation that undermines all three?

3439 days ago
You can fire her because of what has happened before--but will it really change anything other than making you feel better for a few minutes?

You will have less chances to see her, and more time to wonder if he is going somewhere else seeing her--which he may or may not be anymore.

While of course, emotional affair is extremely bad and horrendous, can things have changed?