I've been in a relationship with a man for seven and a half years. We have a five-year-old son together. He has left his wife many times to live with me, and has also left me many times to go back to her. He doesn't want to leave me alone and I don't know if I'm ready to end the relationship either. I love him dearly and he loves me too. He doesn't answer his phone when he is at home and he doesn't text me. When he is at work and out of the house he remembers me. His wife knows that he has a son and she knows that he loves me but she won't leave him. He has two kids with her, one of whom is younger than my son. I am tired of crying every night and I'm tired of telling him to spend more time with his son. I've had enough, but I find it so hard to end things with him as I'm afraid he will not support his son and not be a father to him. He told me that he is staying with his wife because he has no place to live at the moment, but that's just one of his sad excuses. We hardly have sex and he says he doesn't sleep with her either. Is he lying? I really want to let go. I know it will be the best thing for my life and my future, but how do I let go?
Let's summarise what's going on here. You are in a relationship with a man who is the father of your son but he is also involved in a marital relationship with another woman, with whom he has two children. You are not happy in the situation and you are ambivalent about leaving the relationship.
Sometimes in life we enter situations blindly and we find out later that we were deceived, or we may know the likely outcome of an action we take, but we proceed just the same and hope for the best. Which of these two scenarios best describes your situation?
There are instances where women get involved with men and after months or years they discover that the men are married. Many times men tell unsuspecting women that their wives are beasts and that they will be leaving her soon. The women buy the story and patiently wait for eternity for the divorce papers to go through. With this false hope they get comfortable and proceed to start families.
Women who are misled in this way failed to do their homework. They did no background checks on the men and were overwhelmed by the emotional forces at play in the initial stages of the relationship. Whenever you meet a married man and he demonises his wife, that is a red flag that you would not want to ignore. Ask him some pertinent questions and try to ascertain if his claims have merit.
Even if the claims have merit, it is very unlikely that he is going to divorce her and move in with you full-time, especially if children are involved. The mistake the other woman makes is that she becomes so emotionally attached that she would do anything to win the man over, even it means having a child for him. It is hoped that by this act of establishing a family unit he will spend more time with her and by extension, the child. This again is a false sense of hope. She then becomes very frustrated as she realises that Mr Mention has no intention of leaving his wife and would rather have his cake and eat it.
Then there is the woman who is cognisant of the fact that the man is married and still pursues the man as she believes that she possesses the ability to lure the man away from his wife. Then there are others who don't care and believe that there is a shortage of men and so they have no problem sharing with someone else.
The other woman in this scenario tries to disconnect her emotions from the relationship but finds that she can't, and so over time, begins to make demands on the man to increase his visiting hours. She either threatens to terminate the relationship or go to the other extreme of having a child for him with the hope that he will spend more time with her. She, too, becomes frustrated as she realises that the physical and sexual hold she had on him is no longer applicable.
I don't know which of the above scenarios best fits your case, but it does appear that you are playing the role of the other woman. It is not unusual for married men who are having extramarital affairs to establish non-communication rules, "Don't call my house; Don't call me, I will call you." This, as you know, is to avoid confrontation between you and the wife which would upset the apple cart.
This situation you have found yourself in is going to require you to take some decisive actions as it is not likely, by his admission, that Mr Mention is going to walk away from the matrimonial home anytime soon. Your reason for not wanting to terminate the relationship is one you need to rethink, because, as you know, there are legal means to ensure he carries out his responsibilities as a father. Should you decide to walk, this should not affect his ability to bond with his son, as it is expected that you will give him access to the child.
You have to decide what you want out of the relationship and if you are receiving same. If you are not, then you have to find the inner strength to do what you must do. But you must be at the place in your heart and mind to do what will certainly hurt but will heal with time.
Don't wait on the man's wife to make it easy for you by leaving him. Remember, she is the legitimate partner in this scenario and is under no obligation to accede to your wishes.
Wayne Powell is a relationship counsellor. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org.