I’m in love with a married man who’s in love with me. But he loves his two sons more, and he also loves his wife as their mother.
We’re not planning to do anything about our mutual feelings, not for now and likely not for years, if ever.
We’ve been friends, part of a group, for many years. I like his wife a lot but I can see that she isn’t his match, not in the ways that he and I connect. We think alike, both have curious minds always seeking to learn more.
We’ve admitted our feeling for each other. But we’ve also both been adamant that we’ll do nothing about it.
He’s devoted to his kids, and to being a person who does the right thing in his community, in his work, and with his wife who’s still in love with him.
I know that if we tried to be together, it wouldn’t work because leaving his family would destroy them and him, too.
What’s your take on all this?
Frustrated but Firmly Apart
My take is this: You’re both still playing with fire, though you convince yourselves you’re not fanning the flames.
But declaring mutual love is already a step towards trouble.
Lots of people get restless at some point in their “committed” relationships – whether it’s age-related, work-related, health/sex-related, boredom, etc.
The dangerous turning point if you intend to stay/honour an existing marriage, is when you start talking about the other choice. It may be sustaining enough for now, but that won’t last.
End that conversation. Put some distance between you.
I’m worried about my friend who’s 32 and in a new relationship. It started a couple of months ago, after they chatted online once. He immediately planned their first date.
He arrived with a designer purse gift-wrapped for her, which she found thrilling, but I found creepy.
For their second date, he chose an expensive restaurant far from where he lives. She said she’d save him the drive by meeting him there but he got angry and said he was insulted.
He now picks her up and takes her everywhere. He says he doesn’t like her to drive on her own and has even driven her to work and back sometimes.
When she talked about going back to school to upgrade her job qualifications, he said she’ll soon never have to work again.
They’re planning to move in together in a month or two. I know I sound judgmental but I see red flags in his behaviour. Do you?
Red Flags, alarm bells, stop signs - I see them all.
You’re a caring friend but the problem is getting your concerns across to your friend without her thinking you’re overreacting, envious, etc.
The goal is to get her thinking about his behaviour, not you monitoring it.
At the very least, he’s a controlling guy, easily moved to anger. Since she tells you a lot about their time together and even mentions his reactions, ask her, how did she feel about that response of his? Make it a conversation, not a judgement.
Also, gently ask about his past relationships, his upbringing, and whether he’s always needed to be “in charge” of situations.
Hopefully, she’ll start connecting some of these red-flag signals on her own, maybe re-think moving in with him so soon.
Stay close and let her know that you’re there for her if she ever needs your help.
FEEDBACK Regarding the husband who has multiple affairs (May 4):
Reader – “My husband was having an affair years ago, and confessed that he had sex with prostitutes. He’d had affairs previously and each time said he realized there was something wrong with this behaviour, he wanted to seek help.
“I suggested Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA), he started attending meetings. He also joined Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Both groups gradually changed his thinking/feelings, and eventually his behaviour.
“From the letter-writer’s description, this man’s heading for bottom where he may lose wife, children and his job. Mine did.
“But with determination and dedication to those programs, my husband stopped the drinking and behaviours. With therapy, he also learned his triggers (feelings of low self-esteem and self-worth).
“Now, 25 years later, he still attends both meetings and is a sponsor for many. His self-esteem and self-worth have risen to high levels as he helps others.”
Tip of the day:
Declaring mutual love with a married person is a step towards a family’s breakup, no matter how much you insist otherwise.