Question: Dear Luise: I like many others have been searching for some answers for some tough questions. I have been seeing a married man for the last approximately five years. We discovered that we have a lot in common. We communicate very well. We are both professionals and have other mutual interests. We only became sexually involved after 3 years into the relationship. His marriage, like before, goes through many ups and downs. Luise my problem is that initially I indicted it was OK for him to sleep with his wife, because I told myself that it was safer, if not me her. Additionally, we were seeing very little of each other and having sex. But knowing that our relationship has grown and the level of intimacy has also gotten more intense I am now feeling depressed and frustrated having to deal with this. He says he doesn’t love her even though their relationship is continuously having highs and lows. He has confessed that they have been having sex with each other infrequently. He has said the reason for his actions is that she is still his wife and he does it out of a moral obligation and for peace. They still share the same bed. He has indicated that most of the times it’s on her initiation. He has confessed that he loves me and I have recognized that I love him, too. I am frustrated because he is now having more sex with her than me because we do not see each other as frequently as before due to work commitments. We have discussed it but he thinks that I am overreacting. He has given me the option to seek consultation from other males to get a better idea of his position and to clarify that it’s not about love but about release. Luise what do you think? Am I being unfair and jealous or am I deserving of much more from this relationship at this point, knowing that we have now known each other for 5 years. C.
Answer: Dear C. It sounds to me like you are getting frustrated with a relationship that is no longer fulfilling. If that is true, I don’t blame you. Five years is a half a decade of accepting the crumbs that have been tossed you way while he gets to have his cake and eat it, too.
You are definitely in a secondary position and it clearly isn’t working for you to think that you have anything to say about how he conducts himself when he’s not with you. You can’t give him permission to be with his wife, not really. It is just as unreasonable for him to think that he can give you permission to look elsewhere.
It’s probably time to look more closely at your last remark, where you ask if you aren’t deserving of much more. You certainly are but it’s not reasonable to think it’s going to come from what you now have (and don’t have.) Five years haven’t given you any more status than your first encounter did.
Whatever you do, there is going to be pain and loss involved. If you stay, you are going to continue to limit your experience of life and if you go, you are going to have to give up a love that has been very meaningful to you. Blessings, Luise