Dear Constance,

I’m writing in with mixed feelings. I found out that my wife of 7 years is having a sort of affair. From what I’ve been told and can tell, nothing sexual beyond pictures and text messages has occurred, but it appears that she is definitely having romantic feelings for another man she met online. I’m pretty devastated at this point. I always trusted her and never even really thought about it. She talked about me not being around enough (I work 60-80 weeks in the trades) and that we needed to spend more time together. I’m an essential worker, so the pandemic hasn’t put us together at home for months like other people. She got laid off, on the other hand, and has been home alone quite a bit. I’m grateful I still have my job and that money is coming in. We don’t have kids; it’s just us. I don’t know what is going on or why this is happening. She’s mad at me for being mad about it and posting about it online. I’ve talked to friends, and everyone seems to think I should just leave. She doesn’t get why I’m mad about the whole thing. I’m hoping you can give me a way forward or just give me the name of a good divorce lawyer. 

Cheated in Minneapolis

Dear Cheated,

This is hard to read. I’m sorry you’re going through this. Clearly, some major lines have been crossed. Based on your email, I’m going to assume this relationship was monogamous, or at least that was the idea until now. Emotional affairs are more common than people think. However, they are the sort of thing that can be recovered from with time and hard work. Clearly, she felt neglected, needed an outlet, and found a willing party to be that outlet. Whether you decide to end the marriage is up to you; however, if she is willing to see someone together, it would be wise to explore that before deciding just to end it. Marriage is a lot of work and takes time out of our lives. From the looks of things here, it might be wise to strike some compromises on what kind of time she needs from you and if you can rebalance your work schedule and make dedicated and special times to be together moving forward if that is the path you choose. I can’t help you with the name of that lawyer, but I can tell you that there is life after this, whichever path you choose. 

Good Luck to you. 

Moving Coast to Coast

Dear Constance,

The job market is a mess out here these days, and I just found a great opportunity to land a new job, but there’s only one problem: it involves moving out to the west coast. I’ve been lucky to stay pretty near friends and family, which have been great during the pandemic. I was furloughed back in March, and I’ve been looking like everyone else, and now it seems like I’ve found a great opportunity. I don’t really want to leave my friends and family, but I also think that this would be fantastic for my resume and my career. I’m also excited about some new dating opportunities (the early 30s here). I’m excited, but I’m nervous not to have anyone I know close by. Should I move for this job or just keep looking? 

Looking for Brighter Pastures in Virginia

Dear Pastures,

This is a tough decision. I’ve had many friends leave behind friends and family for opportunities. Most of them ended moving back for one reason, or another and a few made it happen, met someone great, and stayed, but it is easily a 70/30 split. During these pandemic times, it is nice to be close to home where friends and family are present and available (socially distanced, of course). The research is pretty clear too: staying around friends and family helps us live longer and makes us happier. That all being said, good career opportunities don’t just pop up like noodles at a boil, either. Just because you move for this job doesn’t mean that you have to stay there forever. You could try it out and if it works out and you meet someone, it’ll be wonderful! If you hate it, you can always move back. Home is where the heart is, whether that involves building a new hearth or keeping the one you have. 

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