Following are leftover questions from my online chat, “Messy Relationships,” (May 27):
My “girlfriend” of four years doesn’t want to be more than bed buddies. Her father and ex-husband were both control freaks, so she values her independence more than a long-term relationship.
We live separately, but sleep together on weekends and travel together. She has adult children, I don’t.
I’d like to live together – we’d both save money if we shared the expenses.
Also, when she gets older she’ll always have her kids, while I’ll have no one (we’re late-40s, I’m just thinking ahead).
I care a lot for her and am lonely without her. We have sex and occasional companionship, but not much intimacy.
Tell her how you feel about her. Then give her an ultimatum.
Tell her that her thinking that you’ll eventually try to control her, is insulting and unfair.
She chose a man with the same domineering trait as her father. YOU are not that man.
If she doesn’t change her mind, move on. Hanging on will just become more frustrating.
PS - Don’t mention the money angle. That should be a bonus, not the reason.
I was pregnant when I discovered my husband was cheating. We decided to not separate till he’d bonded with our baby so he could be a better father to him.
A business associate was attentive to me but we didn’t start our affair for another year. He was married, in business with his wife.
He claimed he’d planned to leave her anyway, and now would. Twice he set a “date” for our new life together. It never happened.
I lived with this mess for two years, mostly feeling overwhelmed. Then, one day, it became clear that I had to end it. My son is now ten, and that man’s still with his wife, having other affairs.
Good for you for untangling yourself. But you don’t say whether ten years later, you’ve found a partner.
Forget that man. He was a self-absorbed user, and likely stayed with his wife to not lose part of his business. He played with your heart and mind shamefully.
But there are many decent guys out there.
Be open to meeting new people (but be selective too).
My wife and I have made the first steps of separating after she cheated, but we’re living in the same house till we agree on finances and child custody, and prepare the house for sale.
She’s dating the man she cheated with, which she thinks is fine, because he’s a “known factor.”
I’ve dated a few women through online sites but am getting threatening messages from my wife that my “lifestyle” could affect custody issues.
I’m reluctant to move out and lose equal rights to our house as an asset. But the situation’s tense.
You need clear legal information on your rights regarding custody and marital assets.
Do not be so easily threatened. If she’s dating, you can date. Just be discreet, and don’t bring home any of these dates whom you’re just getting to know.
Push forward on your separation agreement. It’s worth a lawyer’s fee to not live in limbo in a hostile atmosphere together.
It’s also an unhealthy environment for young kids.
Move out even temporarily as soon as possible, without waiting months to sell the house.
You’ll be able to work on making your children feel secure again, in a different, but peaceful situation.
Soon after our son was born, my wife became a workaholic and climbed the corporate ladder. I felt I had to find a way to work from home.
She stayed out late, fought with me, and controlled the budget since she earned more. And travelled when she chose.
I don’t know if she has or had lovers, other than her job and her massive ego, but I can’t take it anymore.
I worry about our three kids who’ve grown up with tension and an absent mother.
It’s time to get pro-active about your life, both as a father and as an individual.
Get professional guidance to make a plan that’s workable, and to regain your confidence to take charge of your life.
It’s clear that you’re considering whether to separate. Meanwhile, start a fitness regime to boost your energy and self-esteem, and look for ways to invigorate both your work life and your involvement with your kids.
Tip of the day:
Don’t let someone’s hang-ups about commitments limit your life for too long.