Patricia Redlich

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Married Lover Has New Flame

January 31st, 2010


I can no longer go on. I have been having an affair with a married man for 18 years and it was great. I love him so much. Now he's getting a divorce from his wife, I thought we'd be even closer, that we'd no longer have to hide our love, and I could walk out in public with him without being scared of getting caught. Well, that's not the case.

My lover told me the other night that he has started to see someone else and that he loves her. When he said that I felt I'd been shot in the heart. The amount of pain it caused me hearing those words will haunt me forever. He said we could continue our affair, but as before. I'd be nothing but the fries on the side in his life and that kills me. He only started divorce proceedings a couple of months ago, but apparently the new girl in his life has already met his children and his parents.

I'm just at a loss. Sometimes I feel like I don't want to live anymore. I can't eat, or sleep, and each day is a huge challenge, just to get by. The worst part of all is that I had it coming to me. Because what goes around comes around. I hurt his wife, and now this new woman is hurting me. And chances are he'll do it again and again. He's 48, the same age as his wife, I'm 42, and the new girl is 30 years old. I think he's going through a mid-life crisis and that he won't stick around with his new love for very long. At least that's what I'm praying will happen.

Affairs are inherently abusive. There's the abuse of trust, a wife who doesn't know that there's someone else in her marriage, playing an active, albeit secret role. There's the abuse the cheat brings on himself, the lies he tells, the betrayal he enacts, the corrosion of his character. And then there's the total lack of dignity a mistress must accept, the role of being the 'fries on the side' as you put it. It is not a good scene, for anyone.

I don't know what stories you told yourself, but remaining a secret mistress, not just for 18 years, but from the young age of 24, must have taken some doing. You clearly had a capacity for deluding yourself. No, I'm not trying to be punitive. I think you're suffering more than enough as it is. My concern is that your suffering will bring no healing, no redemption if you like, unless you change the way you think. Basically you have to stop fooling yourself.

You're still avoiding the truth. Your lover is not having a mid-life crisis. He's met someone he wants to be with. And she didn't suddenly appear after he decided to divorce his wife. She's the reason he's prepared to divorce. He doesn't want to keep her as a secret affair. He's found someone he wants to formally, and publicly, engage with. He did for her, what he wouldn't do for you. Yes, that's hard. But until you face it, you'll never find happiness. And while I  don't know why he said that the two of you could continue as you are, what I do know is that it was an extraordinarily offensive comment. My guess - and I know this is very painful - is that he was just trying to pacify you - or drive you away with his outrageousness.

Let's forget him however. He's not the story, you are. You need to take a long look at your self-esteem. Yes, I know you loved him, but that's not the issue. If we're systematically treated with serious disrespect, then we have to leave. Accepting bad behaviour makes us feel bad about ourselves. So we have to walk away. That's the way it works. No-one is worth losing your self-respect for. No-one. Accept this relationship as a history lesson, one from which you have much to learn, questions you have to answer for yourself. Why do you think so little of yourself? What do you have to do to change your self-image? What programmed you, way back, to accept such a raw deal? That's what you have to tackle. And, of course, refuse to have any further contact, of any description, with this man. That's where dignity begins.
Irish based professional therapist and journalist. Website By : Deise Design