I was experiencing rough times in my long-distance relationship, and met a wonderful woman whose marriage was also having troubles.
I ended the long-distance relationship and started seeing her. She was preparing to leave her husband.
Then I met and became infatuated with another girl.
I told the married woman that we can't be in a relationship anymore. However, it never became “just friends” for us, even though I was dating the new girl. This went on for a year.
Then she had to find somewhere else to live and I suggested we get our own place and live together.
At the same time, I heard from my supposed “friend” that she was pregnant.
I didn't know how she’d handle it when she was still married, and with me now having a live-in girlfriend.
I advised that she have an abortion, which she did. Afterwards, we still continued having relations.
Three years passed and I married my girlfriend, while still seeing my married lover.
She and her husband bought a house, as did me and my wife. Then, my wife gave birth to our child.
My married lover has tried to end our relationship but we turn to each other whenever we have problems in our other relationships.
My wife and I constantly fight about finances. In recent years I’ve felt lonely whenever my lover wouldn’t see me for weeks/months.
My married sex life has been zero since our baby was conceived.
I’m contemplating a separation, with the hope that my lover will, too, so we can be together.
I told her I want to grow old with her, and that my love for my wife is gone.
But I fear being alone and I also have my child, who’s my priority.
I can't be a good father to him if I'm feeling lonely and depressed. What should I do?
My Wife or My Lover?
Let’s get real about who’s always been your priority…YOU. Involved with a woman and someone better comes along? You switch without concern that she’s married.
Sure, you love your child, but do you have the self-discipline and character to be a responsible, devoted joint-custody father if you separate? The evidence so far is lacking.
So long as you think life is only about pleasing yourself, you’ll be “lonely and depressed” whenever you can’t do exactly as you want, and seek the next person to fulfill your “must-have” needs.
It’s possible that your married lover’s happy enough with the current situation and doesn’t want to grow old with a man she knows can be fickle and cheat (she does the same thing, but won’t want it done to her in later years).
Your marriage has soured partly because you never gave it a full, honest effort. Maybe there’s no sex because you never emotionally needed her, always had a backup partner. But maybe not for the future.
IF you really want to make your child your priority, get to counselling and find out why you have a constant need to be comforted.
Maybe your own childhood wasn’t supported by parents who inspired self-confidence or modelled that relationships can’t be treated like playthings.
Or there’s another back story that you can discuss in therapy and learn to truly focus on your child’s development.
Then, you can either work on your marriage through couples’ counselling, or move on to a separation that’s about your responsibilities, not just your passing needs.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman “Deceived By A Pro” (October 10):
Reader – “I was 13, he was 21; we were together 18 years, during which he’d secretly gotten married.
“His job required frequent travel, and hostile relationships with our families, made his “double life” easy.
“Discovering this felt like someone had died. The toughest part of letting go had to do with the relationship I had with myself.
“It meant believing that I was not dependent on his love to feel worthy, or his presence to feel complete. And accepting that he wasn’t my best friend. But it didn't mean I was unlovable to everyone else.
“I had to find self-respect: Believing I was worth more than how he was treating me, and not wanting to purposely/knowingly hurt the other woman.
“I wish that women in similar situations could see they deserve much more than to be “second best” and have the confidence to walk away.”
Tip of the day:
If your intimate relationships are maintained only to please yourself, you can end up being very lonely.