A female reader who wishes to remain anonymous asks: I am a regular reader of Gulf News, especially In Mind. Here goes my problem. I am happily married since the last three years.
I happened to meet a married guy. We know each other for the last nine months. I started this so called extramarital relationship just because of the excitement of it all, not because I don't get enough attention and love from my husband. We both like each other a lot, but our family is our priority.
This guy and I am very close and we share everything under the sun. He has some issues with his wife.
On the other hand, I am very much happy with my husband. Neither of our families know about our fondness for each other. Now, from the last few days after he has come back from India after his dad's funeral, he doesn't call me much.
Earlier, I used to feel bad, but now I am preventing myself from getting too much involved with him.
I started this relationship when my husband was away from home (offshore work) and now thank God my husband got shifted to a company near my house. So, I guess its the right time to put an end to this relationship.
Please advise me on how to get out of this relationship with the other guy.
Melanie C. Schlatter (PhD, Consultant Health Psychologist, HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY UAE) replies: Thank you for describing your current situation. It sounds like you are already firm in your commitment not to continue this extramarital relationship, and you clearly perceive yourself to be out of it, which is of great significance to your emotional recovery. As such, I will address the key strategies that you need to think about in order to move forward for yourself, and in order to end contact with this person.
You spent nine months of your short married life in an extramarital relationship, so at this point you need to concentrate on those factors that gave you the strength to re-focus on your marriage—because essentially, aside from your husband initially working offshore, there were no problems within your marriage directly, except a feeling for the need for excitement.
You also need to think about what deeper underlying thoughts or emotions ignited this need for excitement—were you actually lonely or isolated? Bored? Overwhelmed? Craving physical affection or emotional attention?
These could be warning signs for you in the future. Furthermore, be aware of that need for excitement within yourself, and think of alternative ways to obtain that, should the feeling arise again. You are human for wanting excitement, but you have to be extremely cautious when it may lead to the unnecessary sabotage of your marriage.
This is the track you could have been on, and indeed, both of you could have lost your families if this progressed.
Luckily, however, you do not appear to be pining for your friend, nor for the experiences you shared with him, which is a great strength. As such, ensure that your relationship with your husband remains strong in all areas, where possible, and communicate clearly with him when you do not feel it is. Get in the habit of sharing your close feelings with your husband now that he is back, and keep your family a priority.
The death of your friend’s father may necessitate a time of mourning for him, and time away to address thoughts and feelings about his own life, and place in life. It may have also invoked a sense of guilt within him regarding your relationship, hence the lack of contact.
He has his own family after all. As such, do not try to make contact, and do not feel bad about his reaction. If you are not in regular contact with him (i.e., through work or proximity for instance), then the previous feelings may just come to a natural conclusion—like an unspoken mutual understanding.
However, it is possible that once your friend has had sufficient healing time, he may try to resume contact with you, in order to re-establish that companionship and sense of excitement for life that you have provided him previously.
Indeed, he may still have hope for the relationship, especially if he is unaware of how you feel at this time. This could make things very difficult for you if you see him around, so be aware of your own vulnerability (and rekindling of emotion) if he does this.
You need to politely stand your ground and affirm your commitment to your husband and family now—indeed, the passing of your friend’s father, and the return of your husband, have been some of the key factors in enabling you to end this relationship sooner rather than later, so utilize these as key reasons for maintaining your distance now.
I believe that you are very lucky to feel so secure in your perception of this temporary relationship, and you are right to look for ways of securing yourself within your marriage again. You are already very strong in your sense of conviction.
Write with your concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org and selected questions will be answered by a panel of qualified psychiatrists and psychologists. Your contributions will be modified for length and appropriateness, and will be open to other Gulf News readers to comment and suggest solutions. Let us know if you would like GulfNews.com to withhold your name from your letter should it be published.
Disclaimer: This blog is a conversation and is not an alternative for treatment. The recommendations and suggestions offered by our panel of psychiatrists are their own and Gulf News will not take any responsibility for the advice they provide.