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I've been in a 15+ year relationship with a married man. We

have an incredibly intertwined love...
I've been in a 15+ year relationship with a married man. We have an incredibly intertwined love relationship and are best friends. We grew up 2 blocks from each other, went to the same high school and met 20 years later some 400 miles from our home town. Turns out our mothers are best friends. Our children are like cousins. And his wife, a wonderful woman, is one of my dear friends. I left my husband 10 years ago and have been deeply in love and committed to this man since. The pitfalls are extremely obvious, but I have been unable to leave this relationship. He just turned 60 and I am turning 58. We have the most deeply passionate relationship and bring each other tremendous joy. Our relationship has never been about breaking up his family to be together, but in the past year I realize I need, want and deserve more. AND, for the first time in almost 20 years I have allowed myself to meet and get involved with a very kind and loving and stable man who has been divorced from his 25 year marriage for several years and would like to pursue a relationship with me. The solution may seem obviously clear for most, but I am very torn. How do I begin to sort this all out and make the healthiest decision?
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1/1/2011
Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 7,664
Experience: 35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
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Dear friend,

You are indeed involved in a tangled web. You say that his wife and you are best friends, yet you did not say if she, or her children, know about your relationship, and if so, how they feel about it.

You say that the solution may seem obviously clear for most, but you am very torn. This is what is confusing to you. These are two separate issues.

Yes, the solution is obviously clear, not only to others, but to you too. This may be the only opportunity to end this relationship with everyone fairly intact.

You are torn, not between two situations, but rather between causing pain or not causing pain. Any transition of this enormity has to cause heartache, and bring tears. No one is dying, however, and there is an opportunity for four people to succeed in having a new start, unencumbered by whatever you had to do for the past 15 years to keep this relationship going.

You had many years to become a couple but never did. Now you finally realize that you want more as you approach retirement age. You want someone to share your life with, not someone to share with someone else. You are not about to move in to his house as a second wife either.

You didn't realize what you were missing, perhaps, until you met this new man. Now it will be hard to turn back, and if you do you will henceforth have regrets, or at least second thoughts, especially at home in your lonely bed.

This is your midlife crisis, a time to rethink your life as you enter your late middle years, and contemplate further into the future.

Sometimes a difficult solution can be made with the help of a simple list or chart. I suggest a list for each alternative man, of pros and cons in having a relationship with each man. The simple act of clarifying your thoughts and crystalizing them on paper will show you the best path.

Your current lover will have to make his own way if you decide to move forward with your life. He has a lot to confront, but it is his to work out, and not yours.

This is a coming of age for you. The very fact that you "allowed" yourself to meet someone else shows that unconsciously that is exactly what you wanted and needed to do.

All sorrow and grief from loss is endured and then fades away. You do not have to lose your friends, but just re-establish the relationship, and have your own partner for the next stage of your life.

I urge you to physically make the list, add to it as needed, and let it guide you to mold your decision. I believe that you will ask wisely and in your best long-range interest.

I hope this new year brings you great joy and happiness, and renewal, if that is what you seek.

My very best wishes,

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 7,664
Experience: 35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
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Customer reply replied 7 years ago
Dear Elliott,
Thank you for your helpful and well written response! I intend to "accept" your answer, but I first wanted an opportunity to address the piece I didn't mention. Yes, his wife is aware of our close bond and even of the sexual energy between us and of one indiscretion, which she believes (or wants to believe) was the only one. She is surprisingly accepting and even respectful of our relationship. This is of course a mixed blessing and at times enhances our belief that it could all work out in some way. It can also add to some guilt and sense of betrayal I can feel at times. Our teen sons, (his 2 and my 1), as far as I know, are not aware. My 17 year old daughter has known for over a year. 2 of my close sibs are also in my confidence. All of which has prompted more of my 'reality check' on myself, I'm sure.
I appreciate your non-judgemental words and your seeming understanding of my situation. Your advice is very helpful and I intend to take the time to ponder and to write as you suggested.
Thank you very much and all the best for you in the new year too!
Sincerely,
Mariane
Hi Mariane,

I just returned and found your reply. Your friend's wife is absolutely trusting of you. I fear that if she knew the true story she might be crushed.

Living in a menage-a-trois is not impossible and can work for some rare individuals, but can end up badly because of jealousies.

You seem to have a great deal of insight and maturity, and I believe that you will find the solution with the best outcome for all concerned.

Thank you for your kind words. I will think of you and hope for the best.

Elliott
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Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 7,664
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Experience: 35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.

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