Thursday, July 10, 2008

Loving a Married Man

I just dropped one kid off at camp, and the other one and my aunt are still sleeping. I received the following letter, and despite yesterday's post, I felt compelled to respond:

Dear Terry,

I am recently going through divorce and the divorce hearing is next

Before I got separated from my ex husband, I was seeing a colleague in my office. It's been two years now. Yes, I have been seeing a married man for two years now.

He has indicated from day one when we met that he had no intention to leave his "wife;" he says his wife will not be able to handle the "blow" of the breakdown. He says between them there islittle physical connection. They don't have sex, and the relationship is one of convenience and companionship.

We share a lot about our work, lives and interest. We have so much in common.

He has been very attentive to me more so lately than the last year. He took me on a trip and bought me some really expensive gifts... I am beginning to feel he really loves me, and he says he does many times recently.

Both he and his wife are in their 40s, and they don't have children. They are recently turning to IVF to have a baby.. he says he just wants to keep her busy and occupied so she is less reliant on him.. he says that with or without a child my relationship with him doesn't change.

Obviously all my activities, holidays and time spent with him are under wraps, and he takes his wife to the formal parties and invitations where they are invited as a couple, and I often feel terrible. He is leaving on a 10 day vacation with his wife on a hiking holiday in Italy and he says that he has to play an obligatory duty to her since she does not work.

I hear his wife is beginning to suspect that "he" is having and affair, which he denies.

I have tried breaking up with him many times, but everytime he comes back, and I don't have the heart to let go, especially since i am just out of a marriage. looking for someone to fill the gaps..

I don't like being the other woman.


Dear Confused-

My head is percolating with so many points, I wonder if I'll be able to remember them all.

You don't like being the other woman, but you are the other woman. You have chosen to conduct a relationship with another woman's husband.

In your mind, what's the best thing that come out of this situation for you? That he leave his wife? If he does leave her for you, you do realize that you'll have "won" a man who lies and cheats.

This is not a recipe for anybody's happily ever after.

Yes, I understand that you are going through a divorce right now, and my heart goes out to you. Divorce is stressful, painful, and gut-wrenching (one of my closest friends is going to divorce court this very morning. The process is hard enough to watch; can only imagine what it feels like).

I sympathize with your desire to "fill the gap." We all need love and attention, especially when we're going through an extremely stressful ordeal.

But I beseech you to forget this man. "Fill the gap" by developing self-love, self-regard, and self-esteem. Don't laugh. The way you're feeling right now, you may think I'm blowing smoke, but your whole life (the men you attract, the jobs, the houses, the clothes, the friends) will change once you devote yourself to the care and feeding of the most important person in your life: You.

(I couldn't help but notice that, in your letter, you didn't capitalize the pronoun, "I," which I changed, and you did not capitalize "Confused" in your signature, which I did not change. This, to my mind, indicates a self-esteem issue.)

I heartily suggest you get hold of You Can Heal Your Life, the groundbreaking book by Louise Hay. It will help you more than I can say. I also recommend her audio CD, Self-Esteem Affirmations, which you can listen to as you fall asleep at night.

You're going through a tough time now, and things are not going to get better until you take care of yourself. A relationship with a married man will only make things much, much worse.

Please be open to the possibility that you can be happy without a man (because, really, have the men you've been with lately made you happy?). Please be open to the possibility that you can make yourself capable of a having a relationship with a man who does not make you work for his affection or ever cause you to question it.

It must be difficult running into the married man at work every day. Would you consider looking for another job to stay away from him?

In the meantime, picture yourself five years from now:

-Still hung up on this married man, who now has a four-year-old kid, is still married and taking trips with the family and parceling attention your way only when it suits him.

-Married to the married man, who has left his wife but sees her every now and then out of "obligation." He also has another girlfriend somewhere. He tells her the girlfriend he's only married to you for convenience and companionship, and he feels obligated to you and needs to keep you occupied (this guy's a real prince, by the way).

-Happily making strides in your career, feeling good about yourself, in a relationship with an honest, loyal, loving, reliable, fun man who loves you and never lets you forget it.

Life is a series of choices. What choices will you make?