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I'm a 30 year old male and I've been married for 10 years. I work in an all-male environment. I don't have female friends. I have no male-female relationship experience outside of my marriage. In short, I suck at it.

A couple of months ago, I decided to learn to play violin. I hired a very attractive girl a few years younger than me, and made a big mistake of not telling her that I was married (I don't wear a ring). We talk a lot during our lessons and progressively I came to realize that she's attracted to me. She doesn't flirt openly, but I know. The fact that I'm also attracted to her probably contributed to why I never said anything, because enjoying opposite sex attention after 10 years of a somewhat mundane relationship was very important to me, which is selfish and I blame myself for that. I mirrored her interest, i.e. I showed her signs that I was interested, too. Because I was and am, and I'm not used to controlling my emotional feedback.

Now comes a moment where I think she's about to ask me out very soon, especially with Christmas around the corner. I don't know what to do, because I can't bring myself to disappoint her by casually mentioning my wife in a conversation. I know it may be painful to her, because it sure is very painful for me to know that this thing cannot lead anywhere. I don't want to cause her any suffering, because I care about her. I realize that this mess is my fault entirely...

What is the least painful way to tell her that I'm married? Is there any way to turn this into a friendship? Leaving my wife or having an affair is not even on the table.

Edit 1: I was asked in the comments to specify the country/culture. It's Western Europe.

closed as too broad by avazula, Suimon, dhein, sphennings, Alina Cretu Nov 27 '18 at 15:57

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Given your self professed tendency to suck at male-female interaction, can you indicate why, in absence of open flirting, you know she is attracted to you? – Spagirl Nov 18 '18 at 22:43
  • is getting a from-wife phone call an option ? – bigbadmouse Nov 19 '18 at 10:25
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    @Zorkolot rings are going out of style quickly in Western Europe. Many people don't even have any. – Erik Nov 19 '18 at 20:40
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    You said you "talk a lot" during the lessons but you did not mention if that includes "personal" details like family. Specifically, did she mention her family in these conversations? (If yes, that's a clear miss on your part to not mention your wife). – alwayslearning Nov 20 '18 at 7:40
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    Since nobody wears rings have you considered that she may also be married or at least have a boyfriend? – Zorkolot Nov 20 '18 at 17:04
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You don't go into detail about how direct or obvious you have been in showing interest in your violin teacher, but assuming you have said things to her which a married man ought not, there is not going to be an easy way of breaking this to her. Not without her thinking you've been playing her, ironically, like a fiddle.

Your stated goal is to put this right and keep your marriage, so you need to remember that whatever fallout you get from this, your marriage is your priority. What you are doing, you are doing for your wife and your family stability. If you get some grief, lose the friendship, lose your violin lessons, or wind up looking like a bit of a jerk, that is just what you're going to have to go through for the sake of your marriage. Take the hit, and learn the lesson.

Personally, I do not think it would be a good idea to continue lessons with this tutor given that you admit feelings for her. In fact, once you tell her that you are married it might make an affair easier because you might learn that she is prepared to sneak around behind your wife's back and that will just make the temptation more real. If you really want to save your marriage, removing the temptation would be the wisest course of action.

If you only see the tutor weekly for lessons and have no dialogue outside this, then frankly you don't really owe her an explanation. You could just cancel your lessons and find a new tutor. This may not sound like much of an interpersonal solution, but communication is relative to each situation and here the situation is you have been paying her for violin lessons. You are a customer, client, student, whatever you want to call it, it is a business arrangement and you could end it in a businesslike fashion.

If you really believe you can overcome that temptation, continue lessons and have a friendship, then the best approach would be to take the initiative to tell your tutor straight the next time you see her. As you have stated, this is better than waiting for the subject to come up 'naturally', such as the next time conversation gets flirty. You need to "own" the mistake you have made, not pretend everything is fine and act like you just "forgot to mention" your wife. So walk in there, take control of the situation and say what you got to say.

If you go with this option I also think that you might be safer, and even claw back a bit of your self-respect, if you just tell it from your perspective and not assume any feelings on her part. Even if she does have feelings for you, if you have never actually confirmed this or done anything about it, there is a good chance that when you tell her you are married she will put her defences up and deny as much as she can. So just make this about you, about putting things right that you have been worried about.

Adapting what you have said in your question background, you could perhaps say:

Before we begin the lesson, I just want to speak to you about something. This has been bothering my conscience for some time.

These violin lessons have been time taken out of my regular life, something for me, and because of that, I haven't told you any great detail about my life, or about my family. I never told you that I was married, my wife's name is [name], we've been married for 10 years. I've been feeling guilty about never mentioning her to you, and I just wanted to clear that up.

Using your wife's name is important - it will keep this priority clear in your mind, and make your situation clear, and more real to your tutor. You have been deliberately obscure about your life, it is time to change that around and be completely transparent. Also, whatever you do, don't admit feelings for her, even if she admits them to you. It won't make her feel any better about the situation, it can only make her think that there is a chance of a relationship, or that you are in conflict. Resolve to neutralise the situation you have created.

I can't guarantee her reaction to this, but it is at least direct, and gets it over and done with.

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The other answer are OK, but they suppose that your teacher has already given a step forward declaring her interest on you.

Before trying those approach, you can start with something more basic. Call your teacher and tell her that next class has to be a little shorter than usual, because you need to leave earlier to help your wife with "put something here", for example, buy Christmas gifts.

With that small lie you can tell her not only that you're married, but also that you put your wife interest above your teacher, because you want to spend time with your wife when you have to choose between your wife or your violin classes.

The problem: You'll have a shorter class once, or maybe a canceled class.

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While I think Astralbee's answer in removing the temptation is the safest option. I feel like you have another option when trying to turn it into a platonic friendship. Being completely honest and admitting that you're having some feelings of guilt.

Before we begin the lesson, I just want to speak to you about something I've been feeling guilty about of late. I don't work with any women, don't really have any female friends, and so have been enjoying working with you for our lessons, but I haven't revealed that I'm married. I feel that in withholding that I may have been giving the wrong impression and wanted to apologize for that. I hope you're not offended, I'm very committed to my wife, [wife's name], but I still hope we can continue with our lessons.

Note that here you are giving your lack of experience with women as pretext (hopefully this will soften the blow a bit) and admitting to your mistake of hiding your marriage and giving the wrong impression, you are not admitting that you like her.

I'll admit now that this advice is not coming from personal experience and should be taken with a grain of salt but I feel there should be a way to keep your new friendship and stay faithful to your marriage.

If you feel there is any chance your violin teacher may try to continue to pursue your interest after this admission I would certainly recommend taking Astralbee's suggestion of cutting contact and finding a new teacher.

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