Patricia Redlich

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I Told My Lover To Leave


I suppose I've called it a day with my partner of over four years. Last December I asked him to move out of my house after yet another lie. We met through work, being in the same profession, and hit it off straight away. We actually became friends first because I thought he was married. When he asked me out he explained that he and his wife had been separated for over five years, although nothing had been done at a legal level. He still lived in the family home, in a somewhat separate annex. And he told me he had basically no contact with his wife except when it came to his three children, all of whom were in college.

So began our whirlwind romance. It was heaven. I was in my mid-thirties and thought I'd finally found the man of my dreams. He was my soul-mate. Six months later he moved into my house. Shortly afterwards several issues emerged which annoyed me. I found him quite mean about money, slow helping with household bills. And he never introduced me to any of his family. His post still went to his old home, he continued to pay the bills there, his status at his workplace was 'married' and he still shared a bank account with his ex-wife.

Yes, I know, alarm bells should have started ringing, but I always got plausible excuses and even though I was never entirely convinced, I put up with it, thinking that when his children were finished college, everything would change. I couldn't even begin to recount how many lies he told me over the years. The final straw, however, was realising that he talked about me to his wife in a way that indicated he and I were not a permanent couple. That, and the fact that an alleged business trip he was taking turned out to be a holiday - possibly with someone else. He'd certainly been trawling internet chat-rooms. So I asked him to leave. We didn't stop seeing each other. I just hoped that a break in living together would help him sort things out. It didn't. I remained in my role of playing second-fiddle to his wife and children. I loved him so much and would have done anything for him when things were good between us. All I ever asked was to be his first priority.
Have I been taken for a complete idiot, or is this guy just not capable of making the break from his family? Is there any hope? I still have feelings for him, although they are dwindling as the months go on. We are apart now. I told him I needed space. And for the first time, he has stayed away. Why do I feel so awful, and so very sad? I miss him, especially when it comes to social things we did together. I know I'll run into him in the course of business. It's just a matter of time. Could there really be any hope?

No, there is no hope. But that's not because this man is incapable of making the break from his family. And no, you were not taken for a complete idiot. You just saw the wrong picture. More precisely, you construed a false picture.

Your boyfriend has no desire to break with his wife, or formalise their separation. He is not waiting for the children to finish college. He has no deadline in his head at all. He's content with the way things are. And always was. OK, so maybe he said lots of things, particularly when you pushed it. In other words he told you lies. But he never behaved any differently. You just created deadlines in your own head, like the kids leaving college, saw things your way, because it helped you keep up the hope that he would become a true partner to you, and put you first. Viewed objectively, your boyfriend has organised his life in such a way that he's free to establish romantic involvements, but ones that will never really go anywhere. And that's the way he likes it.

Now he's moved on. You finally asserted your own needs - and he started shopping around. Yes, it is hurtful. But that's what happens when we deliberately live in a false reality. We buy hope and happiness now, and pay later. I am, by the way, most definitely not criticising you. We all get through life as best we can. And yes, hope is often worth that later pain. At the time you met him, you needed the love of your life. So, in part, you created him. He brought enough with him to allow you create the dream. Well, for a while anyway. Then you saw the light. And you called halt, which took great courage and a sound self-esteem. That same courage will carry you into a better relationship next time.

Let it go. And smile fleetingly next time you see him, as you walk on by.
Irish based professional therapist and journalist. Website By : Deise Design