I am a married man, 47, going into my sixth year of marriage. I am having a bit of trouble lately. For starters, the marriage has been strained, mostly due to some mistakes I made, but we are slowly working things out.

My main problem of late is depression and anxiety triggered by that situation and one other pressing issue. I have found myself developing a crush on my wife’s best friend. I know this is an almost impossible situation, as she also is involved with someone and we are all good friends.

I find myself nervous when I am around her and when I am not around her. I am playing it cool and do not want to hurt my wife, or anyone else for that matter, but it is bothering me. I am trying to work through this in the hope it will pass or that my wife and I will rekindle and get back on track.

~ Travis

Travis, what does “mostly due to some mistakes I made” mean? Wayne & Tamara

I lied about financial issues and job related stuff. My wife and I are past that, but still not on the same page. She claims there is a big lump where her heart used to be. I believe this is what has led to my attraction to her friend.

While waiting for your reply, I confronted my wife’s best friend with my feelings towards her. She was okay and very accepting towards it. I chose not to mention it to my wife until I feel it is appropriate to bring it up.

I am also going to therapy. Travis

Travis, in psychology there is a principle known as the maturity principle. The maturity principle says that adults tend to become more emotionally stable and responsible as they age. They also tend to become less neurotic and self-centered.

What’s the basis of your problems? You are trying to buck the maturity principle Chaos rains down on your life, and you act as if it is someone else’s fault. A young man might use his youth to excuse impulsive behavior. “I was 21 and married this stripper in Vegas. What was I thinking!”

But at 47, excuses wear thin.

You’d like to use anxiety and depression as a defense, but your problems can be explained by simple cause and effect. For most people, money and job issues equal safety. You lied about both to your wife. Now her heart is cold. Take credit for what you caused.

You thought intimate involvement with her best friend was a solution to your problems, and all you did was create one more problem: what if she tells my wife?

People aren’t dolls in a dollhouse or avatars on a computer screen for you to manipulate. You said you are in therapy. If that’s true, you cannot get the level of care you need until you link the way you feel with the acts you commit.

You have to face your self-centered nature. You can’t be with others, or connected to others, when all you think about is yourself. A truly selfish person can only be alone in the world.

Your past will be your future until you have a new outlook. Imagine this. I will be brutally honest about myself and my motivations. I won’t complicate the lives of others until I can act with the understanding a 47-year-old man should possess.

Embracing the maturity principle is the only way out of your problems.

~ Wayne & Tamara

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