Reader You Know What I’m Going To Say writes:
Help!!! After a 30 year marriage where I was the breadwinner, I finally left. For 5 years I remained busy, happy, and alone. Then I met Mike. Bang, love at first sight. It was 15 months of heaven, joy, laughter, companionship, sex was regular, fun, healthy, and exciting. So here’s the problem. He’s married, with a 17 year old son. His wife has an illness. His son is going to college and is soooo spoiled- dad’s boy and mummy’s baby. Until he goes to college Mike won’t leave home- but then what? Am I setting myself up for hurt?
Getting involved with a married man is a very risky proposition. We all know that one story where the man (or woman!) left their spouse for a new partner, but this is not the norm. And you yourself say that the son is very close to his parents, and it is likely that they will never want to disrupt his world by divorcing. A son of 17 nowadays is like a pre-teen son in previous generations. Adult children stay dependent on parents, emotionally and financially, a lot longer than they used to. Thinking of this son as on the cusp of adulthood and separation is probably going to disappoint you. What if he doesn’t go off to college after all? What will Mike say then?
Another issue with Mike is that we are unclear how he will behave within your marriage if he were to marry you. History is the best predictor of future behavior, and we know that this man is capable of dishonesty. Would you be able to trust him once the honeymoon phase was over, the intimacy less frequent, when you started to get a little bit bored with one another as people do in the most compatible of relationships? It might prove difficult to forget that he was capable of deceiving his wife during his initial relationship with you.
History is the best predictor of future behavior, and we know that this man is capable of dishonesty.
And, what is the wife’s illness? If she is terminally ill, I would wonder about the ethics of a man who is stepping out on her on her deathbed. If she is not terminally ill, I have the same question, PLUS in that case, why will he not leave her? What would happen if he married you and you became sick one day? This cannot all be about the illness and the son. Both the son and the wife would likely prefer him to be open and leave the marriage rather than cheat on and humiliate his wife.
Is your boyfriend possibly the sort of guy who is a people pleaser, who wants to come out of all situations looking like roses? Is he a narcissist? (Sam Vaknin would likely say yes.) Here he gets to be the loyal husband, the devoted dad, AND the dashing, romantic boyfriend. Where does he lose? Yet, all three of the other people involved in the situation, you, his wife, and his son, are losing. You because you don’t get either this (or another, since you’re invested in him) truly committed, monogamous partnership, his wife because he is cheating on her, and his son because he would probably feel betrayed, angry and saddened if he ever discovered his father’s infidelity
I understand that this relationship was new, exciting, and fulfilling in ways that your marriage was not.
I understand that this relationship was new, exciting, and fulfilling in ways that your marriage was not. However, just because you did not find this with your ex-husband does not mean that your current boyfriend is the only one with whom you can experience love and passion. There are many single men who would feel lucky to have you. My divorced clients in your age group are always surprised by the sheer number of available, attractive potential matches that can be found by even a cursory glance through online dating websites.
I encourage you to seek counseling, both to discuss why you stayed in an unhappy marriage for as long as you did, and then to turn to why you may be getting involved in a situation where your needs are not being prioritized. I would imagine that early in life, you learned somehow that women’s needs do not matter within intimate relationships, and this has shaped your ideas about male female interactions.
I wish you luck, this is not an easy road ahead of you no matter what you choose. But I am confident you can find a romantic situation that is more straightforward and less fraught with potential hurt.
Till we meet again, I remain, The Blogapist Who Wants You To Find Someone Who You Fully 100% Trust.