Q. I have been married for 14 years, and have two children, 9 and 11 years old. Recently, I have noticed myself flirting with one of the female accountants in our large company who works on another floor in our building. I am not unhappy at all in my marriage, we get along fine, our kids are great, the only complaint I would have is that our marriage is a bit boring, the same thing day in and day out.
The flirting with my co-worker has progressed from sending each other funny jokes on e-mail to having lunch together occasionally. Last night, I walked out with her to her car and kissed her on the cheek. I now find myself thinking about her more and wishing I could spend more time with her. She is not married and I don't want to hurt her. It's just that I find when I talk to her I can say what's really on my mind and I feel she listens to me. I don't really want this to go any further, but I don't know how to stop it either. What should I do?
A. You are correct to be concerned because this is a slippery slope to a stronger involvement with your co-worker, which could seriously harm your marriage. You are developing a strong friendship with your co- worker, along with the spice of building chemistry between the two of you.
In comparison, your marriage seems all the more dull and boring because the chemistry may have faded and the novelty of what's new and exciting about your wife has long ago faded.
The best thing to do at this point is to do a major overhaul of your marriage right away before things unravel any further. Both of you must take this seriously for it to be productive. Write a new marital contract and shake things up. Carve out special times together to just talk, like you are doing with your co-worker. Send her funny e-mails and text messages. Notice what she is wearing. Take interest in her everyday life. Pour the energy you are putting into the budding affair back into the marriage and open up windows of communication that did not exist before. Take some classes together so you have new areas to explore and discuss. Breathe life into your lovemaking by picking up some lovemaking books and ask for things you need that you have never asked for before.
Much of what takes place in wooing a new love interest is romantic attention that is long lost in a marriage. Searching glances, tender, gentle kisses, quiet exploration of touch and sensation are all part of what goes into developing passion.
Make yourself aware of bringing back into your marriage the kissing and affection that mark the earliest and most exciting stages of foreplay, and do this at times when not only when sexual intimacy is on the horizon. The anticipation of sexual intimacy for many is far more interesting than the act itself.
Finally, it is important to cut off the communication with your co-worker other than to discuss office business.
Tell her you want to rekindle your marriage and also don't want to stand in her way of finding a partner for herself. Try this, as best you can.
Janet Hibel has a diplomate in counseling psychology from the American Board of Professional Psychology. E-mail your questions to email@example.com or call (561) 694- 6703. Her Web site is