Good Day, Terry-
I have learnt a lot from your articles. I have a problem of my own. I have been with my partner for 9 and half years. We have a 7-year-old boy, who's such an angel and a blessing to me. My boyfriend promised to marry me for years, and one time I felt like cheating, and I did it then he found out. We had our fights and sorted things out. It's been 2 years now and no quarrels. He uses every opportunity he gets to go abroad on work related issues, and I only find out when he comes back with gifts.
I'm tired of receiving gifts. I need to be loved and given attention, but it's not happening every time I talk to him. He goes to a casino the whole night and comes back in the morning to prepare for work. It's a year now I have packed and moved out of the house and all is well. My mom told me the affair is over, and I have to accept it but its hard. How do I do that after nine years of my life? I feel so miserable and empty without him.
I don't know your mother, but I suspect that she loves you and dearly wants you to be happy.
Since the affair does indeed seem to be over (and that's not a bad thing because you're not getting from it what you need, anyway), the time has come for you to take extremely good care of yourself. Okay, you cheated, and I'm sure you're sorry about it. It wasn't your finest moment, but you can't turn back time.
It's time to love and forgive yourself for past mistakes, and to move on. I know this hard, but if you are ever to get the love you deserve I suspect you'll have to stop waiting to get it from a man who goes to the casino all night.
Since it seems you've been continually disappointed in your relationship (he promised to marry you for years, for example), it occurs to me that you may be used to being disappointed and even expecting to be disappointed. This can set a low bar for circumstances in all parts your life, your job, your friendships, and, yes, your next relationship. I'm not a psychologist, but I did go through a period of dating disappointing men, so I may be able to relate here.
You may have read in past articles how I built myself up by treating myself as my own best boyfriend. It's been said that you can't love anyone else until you love yourself, but I truly believe that no one can love you unless you love yourself, either. So start loving yourself.
If you want to travel, book a trip for you and your son. If your mother is willing to babysit, think about going by yourself. (Nothing like solo travel for getting a fresh perspective on things.) If you want to see a movie, see it alone if you have to. Get used to your own company. Learn to love your own company. It's when we dislike being alone that we stay in rotten relationships.
If you have it, get over the idea that you need a man to make your life complete, worthwhile, or anything else for that matter.
When it comes to this particular man, remember "Out of sight, out of mind." Seriously. He's your son's father, so you'll see him, but when he's not around, don't let him live rent-free in your head.
If you find yourself thinking of him, stop. Fill your time with new friends of all sorts; you don't know where life will take you when you make new friends. If you have an old friend from a job or school you've lost touch with, give her a call. Expand your horizons.
You'll find that getting over this relationship will get easier over time. You've invested nine years in it already. Why make it ten?
I hope this helps.