I am having an affair with my neighbor. She is 20 years younger than me and is also married. We are desperately in love and have decided to blow up our lives and be together. I know it sounds like I am "that guy" but it's not like that. I've never felt this happy in my whole life, now that we have decided to do this. She is amazing on every level.
My problem is that my wife is a good person and will be devastated when I tell her. Is there a good way to handle this? My mind is made up.
-- Living the Dream
An acquaintance of mine, who I'll call Mack, was in your boat a while back. Married to the same woman for 25 years, he met a much younger woman and decided to chuck it all – wife, kids, house, even his job – so he could be with her. He said he had found his soulmate. I thought he just found someone who blew his mind in a way he'd never been blown before, if you know what I mean. In honor of the place they met, we'll call her by her World of Warcraft name - Tonguestud.
Desperately in love, Mack leaves his wife, apologizes to the kids, and moves three states away. A year later he sends me some pictures - of his wedding, Mack and Tonguestud on the beach on their honeymoon, etc. This was the first time I'd ever seen a picture of Tonguestud. When Mack told me he was running off with a 24-year-old woman, I figured he was trading up for a newer and sportier model. Middle aged guy grabs the trophy wife, that sort of thing. Boy, was I wrong. She looked like Shrek on steroids, at least a foot taller than Mack and shading him a good hundred pounds. It still pains me to think of it.
The thing is, Mack really had found his soulmate. I never believed him until that moment.
Is there a good way to handle this? Tell her you've found your soulmate and her lawyer will only smile and whet his knives, knowing you will do anything and give up everything to get out of your marriage to the old ball and chain.
The answer is – no, there's no good way to sugarcoat your betrayal. If it's really over, don't try to spare her feelings by being anything less than completely honest, because all you will do is create doubt about your commitment to your decision. Don't hang around forever. Don't try to soften the blow by letting her talk you into counseling. It won't soften the blow. It will only drag out the inevitable.
At the same time, don't be a dick. Don't just up and leave. Don't send her a text or an email. Be a man and face her. Quietly suffer everything she throws at you, because you deserve it. When she's taken out her fury and the ice cold hate starts to settle in her heart, then you can pick up your suitcase and make yourself scarce.
You say you are desperately in love. If I may offer a small piece of advice – never do anything permanent out of desperation. Divorce lawyers buy their trophy wives with the money of desperate men.
Got a problem? Jack Waggon will set you straight: firstname.lastname@example.org