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Ask psychlady Your Own Question
psychlady, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 6893
Experience:  I have over 16 years experience in treating adults presenting with a variety of relationship issues
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Ive been involved with a married man for 11 years, firmly

Customer Question

I've been involved with a married man for 11 years, firmly believing that he did not love his wife but was staying in the marriage due to a strong sense of obligation, a tendency towards martyrdom and Catholic guilt. He and I both believed that we were so compatiable with each other, he said he never felt this way before about a woman and that I completed him and met his needs in every way--emotionally, physically and mentally. I took on a caretaker role with him, accommodating his schedule, needs, etc. however over the last few years my patience was wearing thin for him to end the relationship with his wife. His approach was that he wanted her to end the relationship as he didn't want to be seen as a bad guy. She would one day say she wanted a divorce, then take it back, saying they could work on the relationship, find the feelings again, etc. In the meantime my intolerance for the situation was growing and I asked him more than once why doesn't he just try to make it work with her. He assured me that wasn't what he wanted, so we kept moving on towards their relationship ending. She moved to another state last March to take a job, but then moved back in December to "save her marriage". He pushed to end the relationship, she came to my office and confirmed we were seeing each other, said she wanted a divorce and then a couple of days later changed her mind. He did not agree with that and kept moving towards the divorce. However, they still lived in the same house, separate bedrooms, he said. Their house is for sale and he said it is a point of pride with him to not leave the house that he takes care of and she said she couldn't afford to leave. I kept telling him how much I hated their living in the same house and he should be sensitive to how I feel. She has sent me Emails which detail a long unhappy relationship with him and in the Emails she waffles from loving him to wanting a divorce. She did disclose to me that they had sex in December over the holidays (I was out of town). When I questioned him about it, he said no, she was confused. The wife has made the ending of the relationship about me, which is something he didn't want to do; they have been unhappy for a long time, his long-term relationship with me has been a saving grace, or so he said. We've been house hunting, planning for the future, living together, household goods, trips, etc. I even added him to my cell phone plan and he joked that I was stuck with him for 24 months (length of the contract). She kept picking at him, calling me a skank (she left a note on my vehicle), asking if he was going to move in with me, etc. She retained an attorney, filed and had him served with papers. She asked that he not see me until the divorce was final out of respect to her. This was about 3 weeks ago and since then he has been in a panic. He does suffer from anxiety/panic attacks that I usually calm him down. We talked about his feelings, his questioning is he doing the right thing, his mother saying did he do everything, give me up to see if things could be worked out with her, I didn't agree with that proposal but he asked that I give him some space to get over "this hurdle" so he could get back "to us". Then he talks with her, she says she doesn't want a divorce, they should have done things differently, could do things differently, etc. so lo and behold he calls me and says he is going to "try" with her and if it doesn't work out it will be what they decide, no one else. This means then he would not see or communicate with me as he told her he wouldn't. He even called me while she was standing their listening on the phone! I do realize this has not been a healthy relationship, and I had sought counseling in the past but was never strong enough to end it as I knew I should. So, I'm having quite a mixture of feelings. On one hand I have a sense of relief, but more often I'm having a sense of loss, betrayal, being used, duped and keep wondering if they will have the life he and I spoke of! It's like there are two or three sides to me and I'd like the side to have a sense of relief be the dominating one! I'd like some help in letting go, which for me means I need to process. What sort of individual is he? Has he been using me all this time or is he just a weak individual who would want a life with me but just can't make the break with the "family" when the pressure is on? I've done well not contacting him, but I'm not doing so well with the obsessive thoughts!


I should also say that over the past 11 years I have not always been treated as I should have been as he would pretend he wasn't involved with me. I put up with it sometimes but then others I would get upset and let him know I didn't like it, but it wouldn't stop him from doing it again. It has been good to write this down because I see a lot of toxity in the relationship, so I don't want to continue it, so why am I having all of these other feelings?

Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  psychlady replied 6 years ago.

You are having feelings most likely becuase the relationship at one time has been good. People tend to miss the relatiionship and they reflect on what was good. You are not unusual. You want to reflect to understand and to analyze. That is only human. Now you have to move forward. try not to look back too much. Don't get caught up in what they do. It is now their problem. He may be weak, he may be thinking of not giving up what he has, he may love her to a certain extent, he may be trying to salvage his dignity. Who knows. He is with her and that is all that matters. You concentrate on you. Mostly learn how to grieve the relationship. Don't spend any time on "us". Focus on other things and other distractions. If you need to see a therapist to talk don't be afraid to do so. That could address the thoughts. In the end your best friend is time.



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Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Unfortunately my therapist that I've used in the past is on a 4 week vacation to Europe! and this just happened this week!


How do I grieve? I've been reading a lot online and I get the usual "distract yourself", "stop the thoughts", and as you said "time". I understand these feelings won't go away overnight and even when I try to distract myself I find myself thinking of him and the situation because it has been a constant for 11 years.


For me, I try to find out the why something happened and I'm the queen of coulda-woulda-shoulda, so I try to keep that in mind when I'm processing, so I don't over analyze. So while I understand your saying "it is what it is", that doesn't help me move on at this point,.


He told me and he told her that he doesn't love her and doesn't want to live with her, yet this is where we are at.Before he had "the talk" with her he said he missed us but he felt he needed to do this. But one day he tells me he wants to get over the hurdle to get back to us and the next he tells her he doesn't want a divorce right now as he wants to make sure he doesn't make a mistake.


After all he counted on me, relied on me to meet his needs is he missing me or "us" at all? It would help me let go if I knew that--he can't be so inhumane can he or can he just put me out of his mind as if I cease to exist?


I really need some strategies on how to let go and control my thoughts!



Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
When will I receive a response?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.

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