Re: Any way back from 2nd EA?
I'm going to go in a slightly different direction as the others here have gone. Not saying I'm right, just a different POV.
I think your wife has a certain loyalty to this man, for starters. He got her a job, and likely helped her in her previous career (where they met). She obviously liked him then (though not necessarily liked him) and he's clearly shown her a certain level of admiration.
And that's something that's difficult to reject, especially after so long. That doesn't mean AT ALL that she shouldn't, for your sake, of course, but it's clearly not something she wants to consider.
I don't think she's IN love with him. I do think she loves him, but not romantically. For starters, 15 years is a long time, and it's highly likely that she's never seen anything but the 'good' side of him.
It's also highly likely she doesn't see the forest for the trees. They guy is in love with her, clearly, and while she probably knows this, she also doesn't quite see what he's doing - and that's playing the long game. I'd be surprised if she hasn't, at some point over the years, assumed she's made it clear he's not an option. She's married, he knows this. She has kids, he knows this. She doesn't even live in the same country any more.
From her POV, she feels that this is safe, IMO, and that she can continue to talk with him, confide in him, etc. just like friends do, because, in her mind, nothing will ever happen between them.
That doesn't make any of it okay, but I don't get the impression she feels she's carrying on an affair, let alone an EA, despite her trying to keep it somewhat underground.
If I were in OP's shoes, I wouldn't be making accusations or even getting visibly upset. I'd be sitting down and talking to her about the optics of this, and how it impacts our marriage. How it's not okay to accept other people showing romantic love, regardless of whether you feel the same or not.
And that's what I think this is - he's in love with her, she loves him as a trusted (and old) friend, who she feels some sort of loyalty towards. They're each getting totally different things out of this, and the distance between them allows her to feel safe about her choice to continue with him in this manner.
But the underlying issue, to me, is that she doesn't see this for what it really is, or how the OP sees it. It's an EA, to be sure, but not necessarily a romantic one for her. As OP said, the messages he's come across seem to be rather one-sided on OM's part, with nothing more than non-romantic affection returned by his wife. No mention of anything sexual, either. And no mention of whether she tells this guy how unhappy she is, or otherwise negative comments about her marriage or OP in general. From the sounds of it, she speaks to him like she'd speak to any other friend.
That said - it's not okay, of course, and it should stop.
*ETA - this reminded me of a girl I knew back in high school. I had been dating another girl for well over a year at that point, and this girl had a thing for me. It was clear and obvious, and my girlfriend was not comfortable with it. From my POV, which I remember clearly, I saw no problem with it all - because I had zero interest in this other girl. She wasn't a side-chick or a back up plan to me, she was just a girl that happened to like me, which was not MY problem. Because she hung around in the same circles as I did, it wasn't as simple as never speaking to her, let alone seeing her. Besides, I liked her, but as nothing more than a friend. Basically, I didn't think twice about it, especially in regards to my girlfriend. She was no threat TO ME, but she definitely was to her. I didn't get that at the time.
Then one night, she tried to kiss me. I (obviously) never once said anything or did anything with this girl that she may have construed as interest in her - or so I thought. In hindsight, not saying "no, not interested" CAN be construed as her maybe, possibly having a chance, especially if I were to find myself single. She didn't wait until I was single. Lesson learned.
This is kind of how I feel about this situation. Again, I may be wrong, but this is what I'm seeing from what OP has so far posted. Apart from his wife simply speaking to this man, it doesn't appear that she's actually said anything romantic or sexual or otherwise indicating those kinds of feelings towards him.
What I don't think she's seeing is that the relationship she has with him is FAR different than the one he has with her.
"Every time I read your posts about your wife I want to swallow strychnine."
Last edited by alexm; 02-10-2017 at 08:15 AM.