Question: I am recently separated and I'm also dealing with an awful lot. We have two kids and they are still young. The marriage was never good – we should not have married except it happened due to family pressures, his mother more so than anything telling him to marry me. Hindsight is a great thing but I should never have married – he was not the type of man I was ever into. We both have interest in sport so that kept us interested. Without going into too much, things got very bad between us: name calling, he was never there and so on.
Then, two years ago I met a guy and we have been in touch since and started getting physical 15 months ago. He is married with three kids and likes to give me the impression all is perfect, which is fine by me. He doesn't know I'm recently separated for two reasons – in the event he would run away or he could start wanting more on his terms.
We are arguing a lot lately – I'm jealous of his wife and sometimes he doesn't treat me properly even though he likes to deny that. I'm finding second-best very hard. He does like me and when I try to pull away he is on to me. He can clearly lead this double life and I doubt he is emotionally attached to me and I don't know if any man is, to be honest.
He is a gentleman and he was the reason why I decided to leave my husband, not because I ever thought we would be together but because the way he treats me when we are together and the way he treats his wife sounds so much better than the way my husband carried on. This guy is a family man albeit cheating on his wife. My husband was selfish and looked after himself.
Answer: It is time to put all your learning into use: You have been on a journey where you recognise that your decisions and the way you are treated are not worthy of you and gradually you have demanded more for yourself and for your life. Now you are again facing the truth of an uncomfortable situation and it is again decision time and from the way you write, you are coming to a conclusion not too dissimilar to the one you made when you left your husband.
It seems that you had yet to develop a strong sense of self when you got married as you were unable to resist the pressure to get married by other people. Perhaps it was fear that led to that decision: fear of being alone or fear that you would not be able to attract someone better. Using fear as the main factor in decision-making rarely turns to our advantage and the result for you was regret and suffering. It seems that your own sense of self worth was also diminished by remaining in a relationship where name-calling was a daily occurrence. Again, fear appears to play a major part in your life as you cannot demand to be other than “second best” for fear that your lover will run away or create an even more demeaning position for you in his life.
It is a cliché but nonetheless true that if we don’t love or care for ourselves, it is difficult for others to treat us to the level that we deserve.
Loving yourself is a practical thing – the more you “do” for yourself the more respect and validation you will feel, eg if someone can make themselves study every evening (even though it is hard), the happier they will feel with themselves and their confidence will expand. In this situation, you must treat yourself with the level respect you know would be good for you and as you have already done this once (separating from your husband), it is possible that you could do this again. You have learnt a lot about what you want from a relationship – to be loved and put as number one in your lover’s life. You are clear that your lover will not leave his family and so it is your decision to make: stay in a situation in which your self-esteem is deteriorating or leave and have faith in your ability to cope and to demand more from those you love.
There is far more involved in this situation than just two people having an affair, there are two sets of children and a wife who is being betrayed with your full knowledge and compliance. Is this really the person you want to be? Taking a small chuck of solace at the cost of many other’s misery is something to be reckoned with and this is the reality you find yourself in.
Be brave, stand up for your right to be loved fully, openly and honestly and trust that with developing your self-worth you will attract more honourable people in your life.