I’ve met a man through a work friend and something’s definitely happening, but I don’t know if I should stop it because he’s married.
He also has three daughters and I’m thinking about what I would’ve felt like had my father left our home for another woman.
One of his daughters is 16, in high school. I’m only nine years older than her, so she’d never look at me as a mother... probably more like a stepmother she’d hate!
The man is 43, and very young in his ways.
His wife thinks that he’s working late, while she has dinner every night with her daughters and talks with her parents online. He’s usually home by 10pm.
He has a good job in a small company. He’s mostly in the office alone due to Covid. So, no one’s aware of where he is or where he goes once his work’s done.
We’ve been seeing each other for the past few months, meeting only at my place now, though he used to take me to dinner. I was hesitant at first because he’s married.
I’ve flirted with other married men, had drinks with others, but this is my first relationship with one.
He sometimes talks about his wife or his kids, and I feel awkward.
Is this my conscience telling me to end this because of hurting these girls whom I don’t know?
Their mother never did me any harm, but then I think, if he still loved her, he wouldn’t be with me!
Do these relationships ever work out?
The Younger Woman
Some do, some don’t. Either way, there are almost always people who get hurt.
You’ve recognized this strong possibility on the daughters’ side, especially the one you can most easily relate to, given that you’re not that many years from your own high-school days.
But any hope that she’ll welcome you as her father’s girlfriend is baseless. Any such understandings usually take many years, if ever.
Meanwhile, much depends on how the cheated-on wife responds.
In this case, she’s being blatantly lied to, while she carries the load of keeping family connected and safe through her children and parents, during the complicated and anxious time of the pandemic.
But not your guy. He’s got his work, so no financial issues, and he’s got you.
No weekday time, however, for seeing his daughters, and helping them with any schoolwork, or teenage and friendship problems.
And no taking any responsibility off his wife’s shoulders by coming home to help with dinner, and just hanging out as a family.
No wonder you relate to the 16-year-old instead of the wife. She has a role you cannot even think about, because you’ll recognize how much you’re helping him avoid and neglect her.
Maybe there are reason he’s given you about why he can do this... she doesn’t understand him anymore, they’ve grown apart, etc.
Lucky for him that you have no way, so far, of knowing if this is true.
So, here’s my advice: Tell him to go home after work. Say that if he wants to divorce his wife and break up his family, that’s his business.
If he does so, he should do it for his reasons but not for you.
Frankly, from what you’ve written, I think you’ll appreciate having time to think this through without it being all about his need for having it both ways - a girlfriend on-the-side, plus a waiting, trusting family.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman’s neighbour who reacted furiously when his tree branch overhanging her property, was used to hang a small Halloween ornament (November 23):
Reader #1 – “Her neighbour’s a boor who doesn’t know the law and uses anger to debase his neighbours.”
Reader #2 – “Any part of that tree that overhangs your property is legally yours, you may cut it off. She should also check her local bylaws.”
Reader #3 – “In Toronto, legally, anything hanging into your garden is fair game.”
Reader #4 – “In Ontario, hanging the decoration wasn’t something for her to have to apologize for.”
Reader #5 – “It was still a bad decision given the absurdity of the neighbour’s response.”
Reader #6 – “This irrational neighbour wouldn’t respond well to being told legal facts nor is unlikely to respond well to attempts to prune the tree branch.”
Ellie - This reaction to the aggressively rude verbal assault from the letter-writer’s neighbour reflects the overriding decency and caring about others, of most people.
Tip of the day:
Consider this: If your lover weren’t married, would you be chosen for marriage, or just for cheating?