He’s planning to run off and get married
I live with my child’s father in a house we bought together. We’re both professionals, spiritual, and have been together for over 12 years. We’re not married, but for all intents and purposes, we are committed. The other day I overheard a conversation between him and a friend, that led me to snoop, for the first time ever. Basically, I heard mention of ‘migrating’ and ‘married’. Anyway, I logged into his computer (I know his password and he was still signed into his e-mail and social media) and found evidence of him not only talking to a woman overseas, but making plans to migrate next April and marry her. There was no mention of me, or his daughter — like we don’t exist. And I read many, many months of messages. He has not said anything to me, nor I to him. I suspect that he plans to run off, to disappear, and say nothing at all. That hurts. But rather than dwell on the hurt, I have started making plans to set myself up to lessen the hurt, as well as to protect myself both emotionally and financially. How do you suggest that I navigate the next few months?
Okay, so you’re clued in on what seems to be an imminent vanishing act by your partner. You’re understandably hurt. It’s a difficult situation indeed. You don’t deserve anyone pulling a stunt like that. However, I do think you may have responding incorrectly.
Yes, it’s good that you’ve maintained a calm and collected attitude. And you have become focused on creating a plan to protect yourself. No, I don’t think you should have attacked him, as some with less self control might. But you certainly should have confronted him. Not confronting him leaves questions unanswered.
Missing from your letter is a reference of “love” for each other. Instead, you’ve referenced “intents and purposes” and “we are committed”. It seems there may not be much of a genuine romantic relationship. The tone of your letter suggests a relationship of simple convenience.
Determine what you really want: If you are not in love and trying to build a strong relationship based on healthy principles, then what are you hanging around for? “Convenience” is a fragile foundation to build a life on. As you may be realising, that can cave-in at anytime.
Speak to your partner: You should have spoken to him from the get-go. When you realised something was up you should have pulled him aside and asked, “What’s up with Felicia?” Or “What’s up with foreign?” You should have let him know that you’re aware something is up. Yes, you may have thought that you needed to hustle in the background, but that shows you were not quite committed yourself. And it suggests he could have perceived a fragility in the relationship. So sit with him and talk to him about what you know. After all, there is a remote chance there could be some misunderstanding. He should explain.
Make your plans: Yes, ensure that if things fail you have a route out and a plan to take care of your daughter and yourself. Do your best to ensure neither of you become bitter about the hurtful situation. As you’ve said, don’t dwell on the hurt. Bitterness and hatred creates a cancer that eats away at the core. Find a way not to fall prey to bitterness.
Facilitate counselling: Yes, there will be more to address coming out of this experience. And there will have to be a plan of action to ensure your daughter is able to develop well with any absence of her father. You can always reach out to me at www.counsellorscouch.com for more support.
It’s quite unfortunate that such secrets are kept from a romantic partner. I pray you both find a mutually beneficial path forward.
Get on The Counsellor’s Couch with Rev Christopher Brodber, who is a counsellor and minister of religion. E-mail questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.