He's married but...
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I met this really nice man at work, and he is married, but he says he does not have a relationship with his wife at all. He says he's just living with her because of the kids and mortgage, and they were having problems long before I came in the picture. He is a really nice man, and takes good care of me and my daughter. He says I am the love of his life, and he envisions a future with me. He told me that he wants to get out of the relationship with his wife, but it's hard because of his kids. I need some advice please, because even though I like him a lot, I am afraid of retribution on me and my child, and I also know how men lie. What do you think?

Well, I think you have a right to be suspicious. Not that I am inferring that all men lie, but I do know that some husbands can exaggerate the woes of the wife in order to get compassion from an unsuspecting woman they're attracted to. It is possible that this mister isn't having much of a "relationship" with his wife right now. However, you don't want to be hurt either. Office romances have brought ruin to many homes and broken many hearts. Watch out!

You've mentioned twice that he's "a nice man", yet you doubt his honesty. You've stated that he takes good care of your daughter and yourself, so it seems that you've already allowed him into your life. In caring for you both he may expect to be cared for too. You may genuinely like him, and he may generally be a kind fellow, but there are safeguards you don't want to ignore.

My advice:

Make it platonic: If he is as nice a guy as you say then he'll understand your resorting to a friendship and not a present romantic relationship. Be clear. Until he's actually separated or divorced, he's not available to you. If you truly care, and he's having marital troubles, advise him to get help. He can always make an appointment for help at www.counsellorscouch.com.

Be strategic: You have a child who needs your care. You don't want to have anything happen that results in another child and leaves you requiring additional help. Guard your heart and home. Protect your stability. Be very cautious with this situation. Protect your daughter too from forming a relationship with someone who might not be permanent in her life. And know that if you are emotionally entangled with this man, you may not be emotionally available for someone else who might be more ready to be permanent with you both.

What goes around comes around: Yes, indeed, "retribution" is a thing – Proverbs 22:8 says it, "Whoever sows injustice reaps calamity". There are good wives out there who are faithfully "tending to" their husbands and homes, doing their utmost best to love them and to be loved by them. Yet their husbands lament to other women about their "troubles at home". The Bible also says, "Treat people the same way you want them to treat you" (Matthew 7:12). If you wouldn't want another woman disrespecting your marriage, then don't disrespect this woman's marriage. So from the perspective of "sowing and reaping", be careful not to reap troubles.

Be patient: It's easy to get enticed into letting your guard down when you're lonely, and someone is being kind, especially if you really need their help. But you don't want to make a difficult situation worse. So be patient, and do things the correct way. And ensure you're building a secure future for your child and yourself.

I pray that you'll have the strength and the wisdom to manage this situation well. And listen, if you also need further help — www.counsellorscouch.com. Book a session with me directly.

Get on The Counsellor's Couch with Rev Christopher Brodber, who is a counsellor and minister of religion. E-mail questions to allwoman@jamaicaobserver.com.

Rev Chris Brodber

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