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Cathy, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1436
Experience:  Ms, MS.Ed., thirty years clinical practice
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where do I start ! I am in a relationship with a loving, caring

Customer Question

where do I start?! I am in a relationship with a loving, caring man that wears his heart on his arm (for 7 months). He is going through divorce, his wife had an affair with his best friend (she has done small similar things before in 10 years).

He has children and I was there for him through the hardest times, he almost took his own life... he says I am his angel and that he wants a future with me, we have lots in common. His kids like me and I think they are fab and they are important human beings.

However, his ex plays games with him when they do speak and he is paying for the house until it is sold, she doesnt like that he met someone and he can see what she is doing. He just doesnt know how to handle her.

When he was in a bad place (start of August) I found out he was still chatting to girls online, I confronted him and called it off, he explained it was no excuse but he was scared about it happening to him again. He took himself off there and I do know his passwords and he isnt on there anymore. He confessed to this family and asked his sister to contact me to explain how awful he felt.

The key thing is that he overreacts emotionally when she says the most awful things to him, especially when she uses the children to do this.

I was really upset last night, he wont hang up on her calls as he says it will make her angry, but I feel he gives way to her and she wins.

We did discuss this and I said I don't want this anymore. He has gone to see the children today and I would love to know how to trust my intuition whether to carry on or stop this before it goes further down the line?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Cathy replied 5 years ago.

Hi JA customer and thanks for writing.



I am sorry to read your post and that you are in such a difficult situation. Your situation, however, is not at all uncommon.


Dating/becoming involved with people during a difficult divorce can be terrifically painful. For one thing, most relationships started during this period, do not last. I refer to them as the "transition" relationship and every one reads exactly like what you have posted here.


I think it is wonderful that you have been there for him during such a painful time, but at the same time I wonder how much you can expect from him now or in the future? These relationships rarely stand the test of time because they start out in such an unbalanced way (he was vulnerable and you were strong). As time goes on and he begins to heal this loss (and even if his wife cheated on him numerous times the failure of the marriage is a grave loss) the dynamics of your relationship will change. Only then will you know if he is in it for the long haul with you (no matter what he says now) and what your options can be. Seven months is a very young relationship under the best of circumstances and in this situation, where you have begun, under very bad circumstances it is too early to know what to expect.


As for how to handle his current behaviors? Let him do what he needs to do when he talks to his wife. If he needs to not hang up the phone and listen to her nonsense, leave him be to do that. If he becomes upset and aggravated when she manipulates his children, leave him be. Right now he is under tremendous pressures and the last thing he needs from you is more pressure.

I think you are wonderful to stand by him and I know you are trying hard to help him and help him to make choices to spare him more harm but the fact of the matter is that you may inadvertently be doing more harm to him and your relationship by not stepping back and letting him sort things out by himself.


Use care with yourself. As I have said before, relationships with people who are divorcing are risky at best, XXXXX XXXXX have been more than generous with your friend, but do not forget to take care of you while you are nurturing him. Make sure you are taking care of yourself.

Warm wishes to you.


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