DEAR AMY: I started a new job four years ago and quickly began to develop feelings for my supervisor. Over the years, we have gotten to know each other well. We are similar in temperament and personality. I am very attracted to him and I have sensed all this time that the feeling is mutual. Besides the fact that he is my supervisor, we are both married. For four years I have attempted to push down, ignore, cover up, rationalize and in every other way tried to remove my feelings from my heart and mind. Obviously, there is no future for us, and I can't figure out why I can't just accept the attraction and move on. I'm in my mid- 40s -- too old for this! Sometimes it feels like I'm keeping a secret that has power over me, and if I could just share the secret with him it would diffuse the power. But I realize that would endanger my job and my reputation, so I immediately put that thought out of my mind. How can I work out these feelings? Is leaving my job the only way? My husband is a good man. He is hardworking, smart and he loves me deeply.ConflictedDEAR CONFLICTED: Having a great spouse doesn't make you blind. And most people continue to feel attractions to people other than their partners throughout their lives. Mainly, this is relatively benign and even life-affirming. But the key to how you are feeling now is to be found in your marriage and your inner life. You are at a midlife transition and you can grow through it.
I give you credit for not blaming your husband for this or inventing faults to justify your feelings. This is an opportunity, really, to reassess your life (personal and professional).
Find a counselor to share this with before you do anything drastic. I agree with you that sharing this secret may diminish its power, but you need to share it with the right person.
For insight, read "The Breaking Point: How Female Midlife Crisis Is Transforming Today's Women," by Sue Shellenbarger.