Would starting another relationship behind my wife's back be so bad?

DEAR DEIDRE: FOR three years my wife and I have been little more than flatmates, so would starting another relationship really be so bad?

We had a whirlwind romance after meeting at a gym nine years ago. Within three months we’d moved in — and tied the knot after a year.

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She was bubbly, kind and our relationship was full of passion. We’d have sex at least five times a week.

But everything changed after the birth of our third child. We argued constantly or were giving each other the silent treatment.

By the time our son was two, I wasn’t bothered about fighting my corner or saving our marriage.

Now I’m 35, she’s 34 and our kids are seven, six, and three.

We sleep in separate rooms, cook our own meals and send each other calendar invites to organise the kids’ schedules.

We discussed divorce but she worries it would be traumatic for the children.

One of my colleagues at work noticed that I hadn’t been myself for a while, and offered to take me out for a drink.

We ended up chatting for hours and bonding over our love of travel. I couldn’t help but think how much I wanted to kiss her.

I didn’t, though. My wife once said in an argument I would never see my kids again if she ever discovered I had cheated.

My colleague and I have spent a lot of time together since that date. We have fallen for each other but are saving a physical relationship until we can be a legitimate couple.

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I know sneaking around behind my wife’s back is wrong but I can’t risk upsetting her.

Am I being naive in thinking I could have this relationship in secret until we split?

DEIDRE SAYS: In a word, yes.

These things have a habit of coming out and I doubt your wife would be understanding, despite the circumstances between the two of you.

It is always best to stay together if you can work problems through. But staying in a miserable relationship can be very damaging for children who get caught up in the crossfire and pick up on the bad atmosphere.

If you are sure there is no future for your marriage, best be honest.

Tell your wife you have met someone and before taking things further, you wanted her to know. She may well rethink her stance on divorce.

My support pack When Parents Fall Out explains. Family Lives (familylives.org.uk) can give you support.

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