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Cheating With a Co-Worker Never Works: Ask Noah

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Q: I'm a married man, 15 years come this December. For the last four months, I've been working on a project with a younger female colleague. She is a wonderful, brilliant, gorgeous woman to whom I'm feeling ridiculously attracted. Deeply upsetting to me is the knowledge that it would take very little encouragement from her to cheat on my lovely wife. Things are imperfect in my marriage, but far from terrible. I need help to somehow anchor myself, as I do not want to cheat.

A: Don't be that guy! Don't be the guy who cheats because he wants to avoid his reality.

The difference in how you've described this co-worker versus your wife strikes me as highly telling. Apparently your colleague is "wonderful, brilliant and gorgeous." While your wife is "lovely" and your marriage is "imperfect, but far from terrible."

It's more than obvious in your wording that the issues surrounding your relationship and your feelings about your wife are at the heart of your conflict.

Your desire here to cheat is symptomatic; glossing over the real issues that threaten the fabric of your marriage. You said, it "would take very little encouragement" from your gorgeous young colleague to start an affair. You then clearly state that you don't want to cheat.

I don't believe a little encouragement would cause you to cheat -- if this were the case, it probably would have happened already. Even if you did, it would be very difficult to enjoy the affair with all of your current conflicted emotions.

Everyone gets crushes, and physical attractions don't end at marriage. This does not make you an immoral person. It is whether you act on those feelings that ultimately matters.

After 15 years of a marriage that clearly encompasses some unresolved issues, cheating won't sharpen your knowledge of what isn't working in your relationship.

Perhaps this is what is really "deeply upsetting" to you. It is easier to place focus on this work colleague and an affair that may or may not happen, than it is to admit to being one half of an equation that has gone array.

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