I’m not going to give you a hard time for having feelings for someone other than your wife. The feelings sound superficial enough – you mention nothing about Maria at all except that you find her attractive — and you didn’t act on your feelings despite what you perceived as countless invitations over the period of many, many months. So, I guess, kudos for that?
What I will give you slack over is regretting not having an affair and for sharing your feelings with Maria. I mean, no shit, Maria sounded angry that you finally confessed your feelings. For one thing, you may have been wrong about what you thought were advancements on her part. I admit, it sounds a little shady that she invited you to her place when her husband and kids were out of town, but perhaps you misperceived the invitation? Maybe it was merely a friendly invitation? Maybe she wanted to discuss work in a more comfortable environment than the office, especially considering neither of you works in the office regularly and both of you consider your respective homes places of work. Imagine how she might feel if, for well over a year, you misconstrued friendly professionalism as flirting and sexual advances and then told her as much! Pretty angry.
But maybe you’re right and Maria was hitting on you over and over and over for many, many months despite your both being married and despite your being colleagues and despite your constantly rejecting her. Finally, she decides she’s done trying and she puts thoughts of an affair with you out of her mind. It’s THEN — when she decides to give up after a very long, concerted effort to seduce you — that you finally admit that, well actually, you liked her all along?! How do you think she’d feel? Probably pretty angry — and not just at you. She’s probably pissed at herself and for good reason — all that time spent pursuing a married man and threatening her own marriage as well as her career. What a stupid thing to do.
And, now, finally: your own regret. Regret for what? For not breaking the vows you made to your wife? For not risking your job, your family, your whole life, really, for a extramarital fuck in a married woman’s bed? Come on, you know you made the right decision. And you only finally confessed your feelings to Maria when you knew it was unlikely she’d be responsive since so much time had passed. I suspect you only admitted your feelings to her when you did to extend the spark of excitement — to tug on the status quo of your day-to-day life that, if you’re like most people, can feel mundane and monotonous. You didn’t really want an affair – not a physical affair anyway – but just the continued idea that you could have one because that’s exciting and fun. Instead, you were shut down — the invitation to pursue something elicit yanked back, kicking you out of a multi-month daydream that you were special to someone other than your wife — a daydream where the dull demands of day-to-day married life cease to exist and the thrill of something forbidden fueled you through each boring day. That’s your regret. And, oh yeah — a ruined “friendship” with Maria.
Focus on what you get to keep instead for rejecting an opportunity to pursue an affair: your wife, your family, your job, and, hopefully, some self-respect. I promise, losing any of those would not have been worth the momentary — the very temporary — thrill of an affair. If you crave excitement — if you need to shake up your life a bit and remind yourself you’re still alive, and if you need to threaten what you hold safe and dear in order to do that: go sky diving. At least then you have a parachute to break your fall.
We had a third child recently and she had never held a newborn, so I showed her how and she was a natural. She texted me later, saying: “Thank you for trusting me with the new one ❤.” A lot of her texts have emojis and sometimes hearts or I’ll say something and she’ll heart the message.
My friend and his wife were with me when I received her text as they stopped over to visit. The wife immediately said that the babysitter was flirting. I don’t think so. She gives her reasons as:
She’s talking to her friend about you.
The hearts in some of the texts.
The “one of the best dads….” text out of nowhere.
She says it in texts because she knows that there are times that your wife is still around.
You sent her flowers and she was deeply touched. (I sent her flowers from the girls when she was recovering from an accident and she was touched and told us she was so happy that she cried.)
My friend’s wife, as nice as she is (and I have always liked her) is a bit overdramatic. I told her that it is unlikely.
We’ve been together with just us and the kids running around playing and she’s never done anything to even make me think she was flirting. I am realistic. I am not much to look at (not putting myself down, but again being honest). I am 5’9, 220 pounds, and it is not all muscle. I am also fourteen years older than she is. She has been with her boyfriend since they were thirteen and he looks like he is chiseled out of granite: 8-pack abs, 6’3, and a with much better paying job than I have, plus he’s twelve years younger. Complimenting parenting doesn’t mean flirting. She may have been talking to her friend about sitting for us and it came up.
My wife’s friend mentioned it to her and my wife even laughed and said: “Yeah, he wishes a 23-year-old woman was in to him.”
Is there a way to tell if this is flirting or if she is just being nice and sweet since that’s how she appears to be naturally? — Being Flirted With?
There’s a difference between flattery and flirting. One allows a college girl to keep a job she enjoys with employers who treat her well. The other makes an out-of-shape married dad of three who’s pushing forty look — and maybe feel? — foolish. I suspect your wife’s friend who thinks your babysitter is flirting with you isn’t up with the emoji-laden communication style of Generation Z. Hearting someone’s text is basically saying, “ok, cool,” or “thanks,” or “sounds good,” but with a warm smile — the kind of smile women are so often urged to make. Young women will use such emojis in a non-romantic way much more than young men because this is still a deeply sexist society where girls continue to be socialized (“Smile!”) to make boys and men feel good and important and special, and hearting a text is a super simple way to achieve that, just like sending flowers to a female employee who’s recovering from an accident achieves a similar outcome.
You want each other to feel appreciated – probably for different reasons — and your interactions reflect that. I sincerely hope you are doing far more to make your wife – the mother of your three children, including a newborn she’s just given birth to — feel appreciated and valued. Good babysitters who can pitch in a few hours a week and look like “a natural” holding a baby are great, sure. But a mother who’s down in the trenches, day in and day out, wiping butts and packing lunches and nursing babies, all while keeping a sense of humor, is a treasure. And, you know, she’s right: you do wish a 23-year-old woman was in to you. Appreciate and respect the woman who actually is and quit entertaining such a thought, unless you want to have to find a new babysitter and a new wife.
P.S. For what it’s worth, just because a man is young, chiseled, tall, sports an 8-pack, and is well-employed doesn’t mean he’s a great boyfriend. It’s entirely possible that your babysitter recognizes a trait in you that her boyfriend lacks – like respect for her, or kindness, or being a good dad. This still doesn’t mean she’s flirting with you or has any romantic interest, but it’s important to remember that there are traits that women — people, in general — find attractive that defy what you find on the cover of romance novels or whatever. What traits do you find attractive in your wife — you know, the woman in your life taking care of you and your children who isn’t 23 and endlessly gushing about how selfless you are?