Question: Dear Luise: This is extremely complicated but I need help so I’ll try to explain. I’m 19 and currently having an affair with a 29 year-old man. And he’s married with 2 children to make matters worse. This all started last summer. We’ve worked together for nearly a year, and he actually befriended me when he saw how badly my ex-boyfriend was treating me. At first we were just like best friends and as we talked more we found out just how much we had in common and being around him began to be all I wanted every day. I’d always known he was married, as I’d overheard him talking to his friends at work about their marriage problems and how they sometime talked about separating. In October he told me to come over one day while his wife was at work. That’s when the actual affair started. The next time we worked together he said we needed to talk and what he told me was that this wasn’t just an affair to him he’d really loved me for a long time before that. It scared him to say it I could tell, but I of course felt the same way. He and his wife fight worse than ever now, and every day he talks about leaving her because of how unhappy he is. He says he would’ve divorced her years ago, but he’s been trying hard to stay for the kids. He says he wants to marry me if I will just wait for him to get things straightened out with the divorce. I want to wait because I love him and I know without a doubt he loves me and would do anything to make me happy. But my question is this: could something that started out so wrong and bad ever bring anything good? I struggle with the guilt of all of this but he is my best friend and I want to spend the rest of my life with him. He’s the best man I’ve ever known and I have a lot of respect for him and even though this situation looks bad on the outside if someone could just see how things are between us I think they would understand. I’m just at a total loss as of what I should do. Should I wait for him to make his decision on the divorce, or should I end this? J.
Answer: Dear J: You know one thing about the guy that would always haunt you if you got together legally. He’s a cheater. I know it is easy to sell yourself on the idea that it’s the circumstances and he would never do that to you…but that’s his M.O. Do you really want someone whose character is so obviously flawed? And how about you? Don’t you owe yourself the opportunity to be number one with someone without having to start out sneaking around the way you have? Your self-esteem can’t help but be taking a huge hit.
And children don’t “make matters worse.” I know what you meant but look at that statement. The two of you are making matters worse…pure and simple.
It’s an old, old story and it’s not complicated. It’s just the infidelity game all dressed up to look like a meaningful and justifiable relationship. I went through something similar although the guy cheated on his wife with someone else, not me. We were all friends and I knew about it. And after his wife dumped him and the person he was cheating with moved on, we got together. I was so sure we would be “different” and his wandering days were over because he had the perfect mate (me, of course.) Well, it lasted 18 years, and then…guess what? Blessings, Luise