In love with a married man
Hello, I am a single mother of 2 children and am deeply in love with a married man for the past 2 years. He says he has never loved anyone the way he loves me, and knows in his heart that one day we will be together. Since the beginning I have told him that he should he leave his wife and that he could not move in with me. I also told him that he would need to be on his own for a little while before jumping into another marriage. He has been married to his wife now for 17 years and has 2 children. I know he loves me very deeply. We have an unbelievable friendship bond as well.
However, lately it seems that my conscience has been adding a great deal of stress within the relationship. I know what I am doing with him is wrong, but I just can't seem to walk away from him. I am ok as long as I see him - once I see him, all the insecurities disappear. We live in a small town and our paths cross on a regular basis. Please help me - this is beginning to take a large toll on my sense of self. I know I should be stronger, but I just can't seem to walk away when he is pulling so hard for me to stay.
Do you have any suggestions?
It is evident that you are in a lot of pain and anguish over this affair. I commend you and encourage you to muster all the strength you can to follow that inner voice which is telling you something is wrong in this relationship, because there is.
You are not alone Cody. Your story is one which countless women have painfully endured before they too realized their mistake, ended the affair and moved on. The truth is that men who partake in extra-marital affairs, many in serial affairs, have nothing to lose in the forbidden relationship and everything to lose if they leave their wives and families. The things he says about being together "someday" are also typical and predictable. Such men often tell their lovers that they will be together one day, or will leave their wife when the time is right. The reality is that most of them never do. A cheating man will often tell his mistress what she wants to hear in order for her to stay in the relationship because it works to his advantage, but painfully at the expense of hers. The odds are against him leaving his wife despite his professions to the contrary, as actions speak louder than words. Hence, your stress level and the toll this man is taking on your life. Remember, if he truly loved you as he says he does he would have done it already. While it's painful to come to terms with, I believe you need to fully explore this for your own well-being and eventual happiness.
One of the best things you can do for yourself right now is to focus on your own life apart from him. Set some goals for yourself - whether they are educational, personal, employment, etc. If you work independently on some of your own life goals and try to keep your focus on yourself, you're likely to develop some life-plans apart from him which will boost your self-esteem, give you a stronger sense of control of your own destiny, and lead to more independent thinking and action on your part. In doing this, you'll gain inner strength and be able to make better decisions and choices in your best interest and your children's, apart from what he does or doesn't do.
In addition, I suggest that you set up a "support system" to help gain the strength to live more independently. Going through this alone is only likely to continue the cycle. It sounds like you ultimately want to do what's best for yourself, but don't know how to start and don't have a support system to help you. This is crucial because peer support can help you understand your weaknesses and give you strength to help you along. There are several ways to develop a support system: you can confide in a trusted clergy member or close friend, join a confidential community support group like SLAA where members deal exactly with this sort of thing (Sex & Love Addicts Anonymous), seek professional counseling, join a women's prayer group, and even find several support groups on the Internet to join. I also recommend you immerse yourself in relevant literature and books on the subject.
Good luck on your journey to do what's best for you!
Carole L. Miller, LCSW-C
Grace Tree Counseling Services
This question was answered by Carole L. Miller, LCSW-C. Carole is a clinical social worker in Maryland State, USA, and founder of Grace Tree Counseling Services, a provider of affordable Online Counseling and Therapy services. She has over ten years of counseling and social work experience, and extensive experience working with individuals and families. She believes that healing and personal transformation is possible through a genuine connection with others. Grace Tree offers crisis counseling, pre-counseling, trauma related therapy, brief treatment therapy, insight oriented therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapies, relationships and family interventions, and more. For more information, visit her site or her compact information page on QueenDom.For more information visit: http://www.gracetreecounseling.com