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  1. Thank you for all the advice. It's very helpful. I am in therapy and getting stronger. My son is my priority.
  2. I met R when was 17 and I was 43. I was a teacher working at the school. She was a student at the school but was not in any of my classes. She reached out to me through an app called QuizUp, which is a trivia game that was popular at the time. It was December 2013. Over the course of six months, we became friends, maintaining an inappropriately close relationship for a teacher and student to have. I know that it was unethical but we never intended it to go any further. However, there was some physical contact during the last two weeks of school. After that, we agreed it was best to not pursue this relationship any further and remain friends. We fell in love with each other but understand that the consequences were disastrous. That was June 2014. In September 2014 we said goodbye to each other as she left for college. We stayed in constant contact for the next few months. In December 2014 she returned for the holidays and our emotional affair became a full-blown love affair, although a secret one. I am married. I have a son. We kept our relationship discreet for the next 12 months. My world exploded in January 2016. R and I had been in daily contact for two years. One of her cyber friends reported me to the principal because our relationship started when she was 17 (the age of consent in CA is 18). I was pressured to quit my 11 -year teaching career (for which I'd won awards). I was investigated by the police. R and I stayed in contact. She felt terrible for confiding in the wrong people. I felt terrible for betraying my wife. We had to move into my parents' house because my wife cannot work because our son has severe autism. He's 10. I have worked off and on but have been battling severe depression over losing my job and fearing for my son's future. My wife wants to work on the marriage. I broke it off with R in March but we stayed in secret contact for the emotional support. She came home from college in May 2016. We finally saw each other in July 2016. It was secret. It was wrong. But we love each other. We've agreed to give each other space and work on repairing our lives. Her life is going well with school, work, friends and family. My life...well, it's August and my wife, son, and I are still at my parents. The investigation was closed because told both the police and the DA that she doesn't want charges pressed against me because she loves me and she entered the relationship with open eyes. I confessed to seeing R last month. My wife and my mother are understandably furious at me for being dishonest and disrespectful. My wife still wants to work on the marriage in counseling. I have agreed even though my heart is not in it. I see no other option since my son is severely autistic and will need my daily care for the rest of my life. R wishes I would leave my wife for her but is not pressuring me. My wife wants me to cut off all contact with R forever. I have stopped communicating with her but I think about her all the time. My wife has said that if I begin a relationship with R that she will make sure R has no contact with our son even if that means limiting my custody to monitored visits. My mother has stated she will not support me or help me if I go back to R. The pressure all around me from friends and family is to work on the marriage, find a new career and leave the girl alone. I am torn. The right thing to do is take care of my wife and son. I will do that for the rest of my life whether or not we are married. I am terrified of being aware from my son even though taking care of him takes an emotional toll on me. I adore him and would die for him. I am still severely depressed and sometimes suicidal because I miss my teaching career. I miss teaching so much. I'm more upset about losing my career than possibly ending my marriage. My credential might be revoked next month unless the teaching commission decides to merely suspend me or admonish me. Teaching was my calling and I ruined it. I never imagined having an affair with a young woman. Never. I never imagined having an affair, period. But I did. I hurt people and I'm paying the price now. The only comfort I receive is thinking about R and our moments together, our conversations, our Christmas and Valentine's Day cards. We began planning a future together even though I was unsure the age gap would work between us. She's confident it would and she believes we have the strength to endure the ridicule and scorn. But then there's issue with my son. He needs me and will continue to live at home for the next 10-20 years unless his behaviors became unmanageable. Am I strong enough to raise an autistic son AND maintain an age-gap relationship after going through a divorce. Should I just leave this girl alone even though she has begged me not to give up on her? I am unable to find a full-time job. I am either unqualified, overqualified or lack experience. I am ready to work at Wal-Mart. I have been dependent on the generosity of my parents for eight months and my self-esteem and confidence is little to none. I think about death every day as a way out of this mess but I cannot abandon my son. I cannot hurt my family or send the message to hundreds of former students that one should give up when facing difficult situations. But the truth is that while I love my spouse as a friend and the mother of our beautiful son, I am still in love with R. She's 19 now, turning 20 in two months. I am 45. Do I give her up? Is the relationship doomed because it began inappropriately and as a secret affair? Will it disgrace me? Most people do not know why I left teaching. Only close friends and family. Most students do not know and the ones who do are supportive of me teaching again.
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